THE FAN A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS CARLO GOLDONI





THE FAN



A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

COUNT ROCCA MARINA.
BARON DEL CEDRO.
SIGNOR EVARIST.
SIGNORA GELTRUDE, _a widow._
CANDIDA,          _her niece._
CORONATO,         _an innkeeper._
MORACCHIO,        _a peasant._
NINA,             _his sister._
SUSANNA,          _a small shopkeeper._
CRISPINO,         _a shoemaker._
TIMOTEO,          _an apothecary._
LIMONATO,         _a waiter._
TOGNINO,          _servant to the two ladies._
SCAVEZZO,         _boots to the innkeeper._

_Scene of action, a little village near Milan._




THE FAN.




ACT I.

[An open space bounded at the back by a house bearing the inscription
_Osteria_ (_Inn_). Houses to right and left; on the left a gentleman's
mansion with a low projecting terrace. The foremost house has the word
Café upon a swinging shield; before its main door and windows stand
small tables and chairs. It has also a back door which adjoins a little
pharmacy. At the end of the right-hand side of houses, a small general
store. The inn has a restaurant on the ground-floor, and on the left a
small shoemaker's workshop. Right and left, between the inn and the side
houses, runs the street.]


SCENE I.

[_Evarist_ and the _Baron_ sit towards the front at a little table
drinking coffee. _Limonato_ serves them. _Crispino_ is cobbling in his
booth, near to him _Coronato_ sitting beside his door, writing in a
note-book. The _Boots_ cleans the restaurant windows. In the middle of
the stage sits the _Count_ reading a book. He is dressed in a white
summer costume, while the _Baron_ and _Evarist_ are in shooting dress,
with their guns beside them. _Geltrude_ and _Candida_ on the terrace,
knitting. To the right _Tognino_ is sweeping the square, _Nina_ is
spinning before her house door, beside her stands _Moracchio_ holding
two hunting dogs by a cord. Every now and again _Timoteo_ puts his head
out of the pharmacy; in the background _Susanna_, sewing before her
shop. A pause after the rise of the curtain. All absorbed in their
occupations. _Crispino_ hammers energetically upon a shoe at which he is
working. _Timoteo_ is pounding loudly in a mortar, therefore invisible.]

_Evarist._ How do you like this coffee?

_Baron._ It is good.

_Evarist._ I find it excellent. Bravo, Limonato! to-day you have
surpassed yourself.

_Limonato._ I thank you for the praise, but I do beg of you not to call
me by this name of Limonato.

_Evarist._ I like that! Why, all know you by that name! You are famed by
the name of Limonato. All the world says, "Let us go to the village and
drink coffee at Limonato's." And that vexes you?

_Limonato._ Sir, it is not my name.

_Baron._ Eh, what! From to-day onwards I will call you Mr. Orange.

_Limonato._ I will not be the butt of all the world.

[Candida _laughs aloud._]

_Evarist._ What think you, Signorina Candida? [_He takes up a fan which_
Candida _has put down on the parapet of the terrace and fans himself,
replacing it._]

_Candida._ What should I think? Why, it makes one laugh.

_Geltrude._ Leave the poor creature in peace; he makes good coffee, and
is under my patronage.

_Baron._ Oh, if he is under the patronage of the Signora Geltrude, we
must respect him. [_Whispers to_ Evarist.] Do you hear? The good widow
protects him.

_Evarist._ [_Softly to the_ Baron.] Do not speak evil of the Signora
Geltrude. She is the wisest and most reputed lady in all the world.

_Baron._ [_As above._] As you like; but she has the same craze for
patronizing as the Count over there, who is reading with the very mien
of a judge.

_Evarist._ Oh, as regards him, you are not wrong. He is a very
caricature, but it would be unjust to compare him with the Signora
Geltrude.

_Baron._ For my part, I think them both ridiculous.

_Evarist._ And what do you find ridiculous in the lady?

_Baron._ Too much instruction, too much pride, too much self-sufficiency.

_Evarist._ Excuse me, then you do not know her.

_Baron._ I much prefer Signorina Candida.

[_After having carried on this talk in half tones, they both rise to
pay. Each protests to the other, the_ Baron _forestalls_ Evarist.
Limonato _returns to the shop with the cups and money._ Timoteo _pounds
yet louder._]

_Evarist._ Yes, it is true. The niece is an excellent person. [_Aside._]
I would not have him as a rival.

_Count._ Hi, Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ Who called me?

_Count._ When will you cease pounding?

_Timoteo._ Excuse me. [_Pounds on._]

_Count._ I cannot read, you crack my skull.

_Timoteo._ Excuse me, I shall have done directly.

[_Continues yet louder._]

_Crispino._ [_Laughs aloud as he works._] Hi, Coronato!

_Coronato._ What would you, Master Crispino?

_Crispino._ [_Beating hard on a sole he has in hand._] The Count does
not wish us to make a noise. [_Beats yet louder on his shoe._]

_Count._ What impudence! Will you never end this worry?

_Crispino._ Does not the Count see what I am doing?

_Count._ And what are you doing?

_Crispino._ Mending your old shoes.

_Count._ Quiet, impudent fellow! [_Continues to read._]

_Crispino._ [_Beats on and_ Timoteo _also._] Host!

_Count._ Now, I can bear it no longer. [_He rises from his seat._]

_Scavezzo._ Hi, Moracchio!

_Moracchio._ What is it, Boots?

_Scavezzo._ The Count.

[_Both laugh and mock at the_ Count.]

_Moracchio._ Quiet, quiet! after all, he is a gentleman.

_Scavezzo._ A strange one.

_Nina._ Moracchio!

_Moracchio._ What do you want?

_Nina._ What did Scavezzo say?

_Moracchio._ Nothing, nothing. Attend to your own affairs, and spin.

_Nina._ [_Turns away her chair with contempt, and goes on spinning._] My
good brother is truly as amiable as ever. He always treats me thus. I
can hardly await the hour when I shall marry.

_Susanna._ What is the matter, Nina?

_Nina._ Oh, if you knew! In all the world I don't think there is a
greater boor than my brother.

_Moracchio._ I am as I am, and as long as you are under me--

_Nina._ [_Pouts and spins._] Not much longer, I hope.

_Evarist._ [_To_ Moracchio.] Now, what is it all about again? You are
always teasing that poor child, and she does not deserve it, poor
thing.

_Nina._ He makes me wild with anger.

_Moracchio._ She wants to know everything.

_Evarist._ Come, come, it will do now.

_Baron._ [_To_ Candida.] Signor Evarist is kind-hearted.

_Candida._ [_With disdain._] It seems so also to me.

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Candida.] Look to yourself, child. We do nought but
criticise the actions of others, and do not take care of our own.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] There, these are the sort of doctrines I can't abide
to hear.

_Crispino._ [_Aside while he works._] Poor Nina! But once she is my
wife, he won't tease her any more.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Yes, I will marry her, and if it were only to
free her from the brother.

_Evarist._ Well, Baron, shall we go?

_Baron._ To tell you the truth, this morning I do not feel like going
shooting. I am tired from yesterday.

_Evarist._ Do as you like. You will excuse me if I go?

_Baron._ Do not let me detain you. [_Aside._] So much the better for me.
I will try my luck with Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ Moracchio! we will go. Call the dogs and take your gun.

_Baron._ [_To_ Evarist.] You come back to dinner?

_Evarist._ Certainly. I have ordered it already.

_Baron._ Then I will await you. _Au revoir_, ladies. [_Aside._] I will
go to my room, so as to rouse no suspicions.


SCENE II.

_The above._ Moracchio _comes back._

_Moracchio._ Here I am, sir, with the dogs and the gun.

_Evarist._ If you allow, ladies, I will go shooting a while.

_Geltrude._ Pray do as you please, and enjoy yourself.

_Candida._ And good luck.

_Evarist._ Accompanied by your good wishes, I must be lucky. [_He busies
himself with his gun._]

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Signor Evarist is really amiable.

_Geltrude._ Yes, amiable and well-mannered. But, niece, distrust all
strangers.

_Candida._ Why should I mistrust him?

_Geltrude._ For some time since I have had my reasons for this.

_Candida._ I have always been reserved.

_Geltrude._ Yes, I am content with you. Continue to be reserved towards
him.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] This warning comes too late. I am deeply enamoured
of him.

_Evarist._ All is right. Come, Moracchio. Once more, ladies, your humble
servant.

[Geltrude _bows_. Candida _the same. In doing so her fan falls into the
street._ Evarist _picks it up._]

_Candida._ Oh, never mind.

_Geltrude._ Do not trouble.

_Evarist._ The fan is broken. How sorry I am!

_Candida._ What does it matter?--an old fan!

_Evarist._ Well, if you allow. [_Gives the fan to_ Tognino, _who takes
it into the house._]

_Candida._ There, aunt, you see how it vexes him that the fan is broken.

_Geltrude._ Good manners demand this. [_Aside._] Here love is in play.


SCENE III.

_The above._ Tognino _on the terrace. He hands the fan to_ Candida.

_Evarist._ I am vexed that this fan broke on my account, but I will
make it good. [_To_ Susanna.] I should like to speak to you, but inside
the shop. [_To_ Moracchio.] Go on ahead, and wait for me at the edge of
the wood. [_With_ Susanna _into the shop._]

_Moracchio._ [_To himself._] I call this waste of time. Out upon these
gentlemen sportsmen.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ [_To herself._] So much the better that my brother has at last
gone. I can scarcely await the moment to be alone with Crispino. But
this tiresome man, the host, is always around. He follows me
perpetually, and I can't abide him.

_Count._ [_Reading._] Oh, beautiful, beautiful! [_To_ Geltrude.]
Signora!

_Crispino._ What have you read that is interesting, Count?

_Count._ What does that matter to you? What do you understand about it?

_Crispino._ [_Hammering._] Who knows who knows most?

_Geltrude._ You called me, Count?

_Count._ You a lady of taste, oh, if you heard what I have just read! A
masterpiece!

_Geltrude._ Something historical?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ A philosophical discussion?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ A poem?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ What then?

_Count._ Something astonishing, unheard of, translated from the French!
A fable.

_Crispino._ A fable! Astonishing! Unheard of! [_He hammers hard._]

_Count._ Would you like to hear?

_Geltrude._ Gladly.

_Crispino._ Why, he reads fables like little children! [_Hammers._]

_Count._ Will you at last leave off your noise?

_Crispino._ [_Hammering on._] I am putting a patch on your shoe.

[Timoteo _pestles._]

_Count._ The devil's own noise! And you too?

_Timoteo._ [_Puts his head outside the pharmacy._] It is my business.

_Count._ [_Reads._] "There was once a lovely maiden"--[_To_ Timoteo.] Go
to the devil with your mortar! It is not to be borne.

_Timoteo._ I pay my rent, and have no better place in which to pound.
[_Goes on._]

_Count._ If you will allow, signora, I will take the liberty of coming
up to you. You will then hear the beautiful fable. [_Goes into the
house._]

_Geltrude._ This chemist is too tiresome. Let us go and receive the
Count.

_Candida._ I don't care to hear his fables.

_Geltrude._ But good manners demand it.

_Candida._ Out upon this Count!

_Geltrude._ Niece, honour that you may be honoured. Come. [_She goes
into the house._]

_Candida._ [_Rising to follow her._] To please you.


SCENE IV.

_The above without the_ Count _and_ Geltrude. Evarist _and_ Susanna
_come out of the shop._

_Candida._ What! Signor Evarist still here? Not gone shooting? I should
like to know the reason. [_Watches him from the back of the terrace._]

_Susanna._ Do not complain, sir, the fan is cheap.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] Candida is no longer here. [_Aloud._] I am sorry
that the fan is not more beautiful.

_Susanna._ That was the last of those of the first quality. Now my shop
is emptied. [_Smiling._] I suppose it is a present?

_Evarist._ Certainly. I do not buy fans for myself.

_Susanna._ For Signorina Candida, because hers broke?

_Evarist._ [_Impatiently._] No; for some one else.

_Susanna._ All right, all right. I am not curious. [_Reseats herself in
front of the shop to work._]

_Candida._ He has great secrets with the draper. I am curious to hear
some details. [_Approaches to the front._]

_Evarist._ [_Approaching_ Nina.] Nina!

_Nina._ Your wishes, sir?

_Evarist._ A favour. I know Signorina Candida loves you.

_Nina._ Yes, she has pity on the poor orphan. But alas! I am subjected
to my brother, who embitters my life.

_Evarist._ Listen to me.

_Nina._ [_Spinning on._] Spinning does not make me deaf.

_Evarist._ [_To himself._] Her brother is full of whims, but neither
does she seem free of them.

[Susanna, Crispino, _and_ Coronato _stretch out their heads to observe
the couple._]

_Candida._ Business with the shopwoman; business with Nina. I do not
understand. [_Comes forward yet more._]

_Evarist._ May I ask you a favour?

_Nina._ Have I not already answered you? Have I not told you to command?
I am not deaf. If my spindle disturbs you, I will throw it aside. [_Does
so._]

_Evarist._ But how impetuous!

_Candida._ What does her anger signify?

_Coronato._ It seems to me they are getting hot. [_Creeps to the front,
his note-book in hand._]

_Crispino._ She throws aside her spindle. [_Does the same with his shoe
and hammer._]

_Susanna._ Would he give her a present were she less angry? [_She too
approaches from out the background._]

_Nina._ I am at your orders.

_Evarist._ You know that Signorina Candida broke her fan?

_Nina._ Why, certainly.

_Evarist._ I have bought a new one at the shop.

_Nina._ As you please.

_Evarist._ But Signora Geltrude must not know.

_Nina._ There you do wisely.

_Evarist._ And I wish that you should give her the fan secretly.

_Nina._ I cannot serve you.

_Evarist._ How unkind of you!

_Candida._ [_To herself._] He told me he was going shooting, and he is
still here.

_Crispino._ [_Approaches, pretending to be at work._] If I could only
hear something!

_Coronato._ [_Approaches also, pretending to do accounts._] I can
scarcely contain myself for curiosity.

_Evarist._ Why will you not do me this favour?

_Nina._ Because I want to know nothing about this matter.

_Evarist._ You take the matter too seriously. Candida loves you so much.

_Nina._ True, but in such matters--

_Evarist._ You told me you wanted to marry Crispino. [_Turns and sees
the two listeners._] What do you want here, you rogues?

_Crispino._ [_Seating himself hastily._] I am working, sir.

_Coronato._ [_Does the same._] Can I not reckon and walk around at the
same time?

_Candida._ They are discussing important secrets.

_Susanna._ What is there about this Nina that all men are after her?

_Nina._ If you want nothing else of me, I will go on spinning. [_Does
so._]

_Evarist._ But listen, do! Candida has begged me to give you a dowry
that you may wed your Crispino.

_Nina._ [_Suddenly grows friendly._] Really?

_Evarist._ Yes; and I gave her my word that I would do all--

_Nina._ Where is the fan?

_Evarist._ Here.

_Nina._ Quick, quick, give it to me, but so that no one sees.

[Evarist _gives her the fan._]

_Crispino._ [_Advancing his head, to himself._] Ho, ho, he gave her
something!

_Susanna._ [_The same._] In very truth--he gives her the fan!

_Coronato._ [_Ditto._] What could he have given her?

_Candida._ [_Ditto._] Yes, he deceives me. The Count is right.

_Evarist._ But, mind, quite secretly.

_Nina._ Let me act, and do not fear.

_Evarist._ Addio.

_Nina._ My respects.

_Evarist._ Then I rely on you?

_Nina._ And I on you. [_Seats herself and resumes her spinning._]

_Evarist._ [_About to go, sees_ Candida _on the terrace._] Ah, there she
is again! I will tell her to be attentive. [_Calls._] Signorina Candida!

[Candida _turns her back to him and goes away._]

_Evarist._ What does this mean? Is it contempt? Does she despise me?
Impossible! I know she loves me, and she knows my passion for her. And
yet--no, now I understand! Her aunt will have seen and observed her, and
she would not show before her. Yes, yes, it must be that, it cannot be
anything else. But I must at last give up all this secrecy and talk with
Signora Geltrude, and obtain from her the precious gift of her niece.

_Nina._ In truth, I owe the Signorina thanks that she interests herself
in me. Shall I not repay her? These are little services one exchanges
without any base thoughts in the rear.

_Coronato._ [_Gets up and goes to_ Nina.] Hm, great secrets, great
consultations with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ What does not concern you, does not matter to you.

_Coronato._ Were that the case I should not interfere.

[Crispino _approaches the couple quietly to listen._]

_Nina._ I am not subservient to you, Master Host.

_Coronato._ Not yet, but I hope soon.

_Nina._ Indeed! and who says so?

_Coronato._ He has said it and promised it and sworn it, and he can and
may dispose of you.

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Perchance my brother?

_Coronato._ Yes, your brother; and I will tell him of all the secrets,
the confidence, the presents--

_Crispino._ [_Comes between them._] Ho, ho! what right have you to this
girl?

_Coronato._ I owe you no answer.

_Crispino._ And you, what have you to discuss with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ Leave me in peace, both of you.

_Crispino._ I will know!

_Coronato._ What, you will? Command where you may command. Nina is my
betrothed, her brother has promised her to me.

_Crispino._ And I have her word, and the word of the sister is worth a
thousand times more than that of the brother.

_Coronato._ She is as good as engaged to me.

_Crispino._ We will speak of this again. Nina, what did Signor Evarist
give you?

_Nina._ Go to the devil with you!

_Coronato._ No answer! But stop, I saw him come out of Susanna's shop.
She will tell me. [_Goes towards_ Susanna.]

_Crispino._ He bought her a present. [_He too goes to_ Susanna.]

_Nina._ [_To herself._] I shall reveal nothing. But if Susanna--

_Coronato._ Neighbour, I beg you, what did Signor Evarist buy of you?

_Susanna._ [_Laughing._] A fan.

_Crispino._ Do you know what he gave the girl?

_Susanna._ What could it be but the fan?

_Nina._ That is not true.

_Susanna._ Why, certainly it is!

_Coronato._ [_To_ Nina.] Produce the fan.

_Crispino._ [_Pushing him away._] Here I command! I must see the fan.

_Coronato._ [_Raises his fist towards_ Crispino.] Wait a while.

_Crispino._ [_Ditto._] Yes, you wait too.

_Nina._ [_To_ Susanna.] It is all your fault.

_Susanna._ Mine?

_Nina._ Chatterbox!

_Susanna._ Oh ho! [_Threatens her._]

_Susanna._ I go. Peasant girl, consort with your likes. [_Retires into
her shop._]

_Crispino._ But now I will see the fan.

_Nina._ I have not got one.

_Coronato._ What did the gentleman give you?

_Nina._ Your curiosity is impertinent.

_Coronato._ I will know.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] I tell you that does not concern you.

_Nina._ This is not the way to treat a respectable girl. [_Goes towards
her house._]

_Crispino._ [_Approaching her._] Tell me, Nina.

_Nina._ No.

_Coronato._ I must know. [_He pushes_ Crispino _aside._]

[Nina _hurries into the house and shuts the door in both their faces._]

_Coronato._ It's your fault.

_Crispino._ Impudent fellow!

_Coronato._ Do not excite yourself.

_Crispino._ I do not fear you.

_Coronato._ Nina will be mine!

_Crispino._ We shall see about that. And should she be, I swear--

_Coronato._ What, threats! Do you not know to whom you speak?

_Crispino._ I am an honest man, as all know.

_Coronato._ And what am I, pray?

_Crispino._ I know nothing about it.

_Coronato._ I am an honoured innkeeper.

_Crispino._ Honoured?

_Coronato._ What! you doubt it?

_Crispino._ Oh, it is not I who doubt it.

_Coronato._ Who, then, may I ask?

_Crispino._ All the village.

_Coronato._ My good man, it is not about me that all talk. I do not sell
old leather for new.

_Crispino._ Nor I water for wine; nor do I trap cats at night to sell
them as lamb or hare.

_Coronato._ I swear to Heaven--[_Raises his hand._]

_Crispino._ What! [_Does the same._]

_Coronato._ The devil take me! [_Feels in his pocket._]

_Crispino._ His hand in his pocket! [_Runs to his booth to fetch an
implement._]

_Coronato._ I have no knife.

[Crispino _seizes the apothecary's chair and threatens to hurl it at his
adversary._ Coronato _takes up a bench and swings it at_ Crispino.]


SCENE V.

_The above._ Timoteo, Scavezzo, Limonato, _the_ Count.

[Timoteo _hurrying out of his shop, pestle in hand._ Limonato, _out of
the café with a log of firewood._ Scavezzo, _out of the inn with a
spit._]

_Count._ [_Coming out of_ Geltrude's _house._] Peace, peace! quiet
there, I command!--I, you villains, the Count Rocca Marina! Ho there,
peace, I say, you rogues!

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] Well, to please the Count.

_Coronato._ Yes, thank the Count, for but for him I would have broken
all the bones in your body.

_Count._ Quiet, quiet, it is enough! I would know the reason of the
strife. Go away, you others. I am here, no one else is needed.

_Timoteo._ Is no one hurt?

[Limonato _and_ Scavezzo _depart._]

_Count._ You wish that they had cracked their skulls, contorted their
arms, disjointed their legs, is it not so, Apothecary, to show us a
specimen of your talents and powers?

_Timoteo._ I seek no one's ill; but if there were wounded to heal,
cripples to succour, breakages to bind up, I would gladly help them.
Above all, I would with all my heart serve your worship in such an
eventuality.

_Count._ Impertinent fellow! I will have you removed.

_Timoteo._ Honest men are not removed so easily.

_Count._ Yes, one removes ignorant, impudent impostors of apothecaries
like you.

_Timoteo._ I am astonished to hear you talk thus, Count--you who without
my pills would be dead.

_Count._ Insolent fellow!

_Timoteo._ And those pills you have not yet paid for.      [_Exit._

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Here the Count might be of use to me.

_Count._ Well, now, my men, tell me what is the matter, what is the
reason for your quarrels?

_Crispino._ I will tell you, sir--I will tell it before all the world. I
love Nina.

_Coronato._ And Nina will be my wife.

_Count._ [_Laughing._] Ah ha! I understand: a love quarrel; two
champions of Cupid, two worthy rivals, two pretenders to the lovely
Venus of our village.

_Crispino._ If you think to make fun of me--[_Moves to go away._]

_Count._ No, stay.

_Coronato._ The matter is serious, I assure you.

_Count._ Yes, I believe it. You are lovers, you are rivals. By Jupiter,
what a combination! Why, the very theme of the fable I was reading to
Signora Geltrude just now. [_Points to his book._] "There was a maiden
of rare beauty"--

_Crispino._ I understand. With your permission--

_Count._ Where are you going? Come here!

_Crispino._ If you will allow me, I go to finish cobbling your shoes.

_Count._ Yes, go, that they may be ready by to-morrow.

_Coronato._ And be careful that they are not patched with old leather.

_Crispino._ I shall come to you when I want a fresh skin.

_Coronato._ Thank Heaven I am no cobbler nor shoemaker!

_Crispino._ It does not matter, you will give me a horse's skin or a
cat's.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I know I shall kill that man.

_Count._ What did he say of cats? Do you give us cats to eat?

_Coronato._ Sir, I am an honest man, and this person is a rogue who
persecutes me unjustly.

_Count._ The effect of love, of rivalry. So you are in love with Nina?

_Coronato._ Yes, sir, and I was about to seek your protection.

_Count._ My protection? [_Gives himself an important air._] Well, we
will see. Are you sure she loves you in return?

_Coronato._ To tell the truth, I fancy she loves him better than me.

_Count._ That is bad.

_Coronato._ But I have her brother's word.

_Count._ A thing not much to be relied on.

_Coronato._ Moracchio has promised it to me most faithfully.

_Count._ So far so good, but you cannot force a woman.

_Coronato._ Her brother can dispose of her.

_Count._ [_Hotly._] It is not true. Her brother cannot dispose of her.

_Coronato._ But your protection.

_Count._ My protection is all well and good. My protection is valid, my
protection is powerful. But a nobleman, such as I, does not arbitrate
nor dispose of a woman's heart.

_Coronato._ But, after all, she is a peasant.

_Count._ What does that matter? A woman's ever a woman. I distinguish
the grades, the conditions, but as a whole I respect the sex.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I understand. Your protection is worthless.

_Count._ How are you off for wine? have you a good supply?

_Coronato._ I have some that is quite perfect, good and exquisite.

_Count._ I shall come and taste it. Mine has turned out ill this year.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] It is two years that he has sold it.

_Count._ If yours is good, I will take a supply.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I do not care for this patronage.

_Count._ Do you hear?

_Coronato._ Yes, I hear.

_Count._ Tell me one thing: if I were to speak to the girl, and induced
her by explanations--

_Coronato._ Your words might do something in my favour.

_Count._ After all, you deserve to be preferred.

_Coronato._ It seems to me, too, that between me and Crispino--

_Count._ Oh, there is no comparison!--a man like you, educated, well
dressed, a respectable person.

_Coronato._ You are too kind.

_Count._ I respect women, it is true, but just because of that, treating
them as I treat them, I assure you, they do for me what they would do
for no one else.

_Coronato._ It is that which I thought too, but you wanted to make me
doubt.

_Count._ I do like the lawyers, who start by making difficulties.
Friend, you are a man who has a good inn, who can afford to maintain a
wife decently. Have confidence in me, I will take up your cause.

_Coronato._ I beg your protection.

_Count._ I accord it. I promise it.

_Coronato._ If you would put yourself out to come and taste my wine--

_Count._ Most gladly, good man. [_Puts his hand on his shoulder._]

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Two or three barrels of wine will not be ill
spent here.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.




ACT II.


SCENE I.

Susanna _alone, comes out of her house and arranges her wares._

_Susanna._ Bad times, little business to be done in this village. I have
as yet sold but one fan, and that I have given for a price--really just
to get rid of it. The people who can spend take their supplies in the
city. From the poor there is little to earn. I am a fool to lose my time
here in the midst of these peasants, without manners, without respect,
who do not know the difference between a shopwoman of education and
those who sell milk, salad, and eggs. My town education stands me
no stead in the country. All equal, all companions, Susanna, Nina,
Margherita, Lucia; the shopkeeper, the goatherd, the peasant, all one.
The two ladies yonder are a little more considered, but little, very
little. As for that impertinent Nina, because she is a little favoured
by the gentry, she thinks she is something great. They have given her
a fan. What will a peasant girl do with such a fan? Cut a dash, eh!
the minx must fan herself, thus. Much good may it do you! Why, it's
ridiculous, and yet these things at times make me rage. I, who have been
well educated, I can't tolerate such absurdities. [_Seats herself and
works._]


SCENE II.

Candida, _who comes out of the mansion._

_Candida._ I shan't be at peace till I have cleared it up. I saw Evarist
coming out of the shop and go to Nina, and certainly he gave her
something. I must see if Susanna can tell me something. Yes, aunt is
right, "Mistrust all strangers." Poor me! If he prove unfaithful! It is
my first love. I have loved none but him. [_Advances towards_ Susanna.]

_Susanna._ [_Rises._] Ah, Signorina Candida, your humble servant.

_Candida._ Good day, Susanna. What are you working at so busily?

_Susanna._ I am making a cap.

_Candida._ To sell?

_Susanna._ To sell, but Heaven knows when.

_Candida._ It might be that I need a nightcap.

_Susanna._ I have some in stock. Will you see them?

_Candida._ No, no, there is no hurry. Another time.

_Susanna._ Will you take a seat? [_Offers her chair._]

_Candida._ And you?

_Susanna._ Oh, I will fetch another chair. [_She goes into the shop and
brings out a second chair._] Pray sit here, you will be more comfortable.

_Candida._ You sit down also and go on working.

_Susanna._ [_Does so._] What an honour you afford me! One sees at once
you are well-born. He who is well-born despises no one. The peasants
here are proud, and Nina especially.

_Candida._ Speaking of Nina, did you notice her when Signor Evarist
spoke to her?

_Susanna._ Whether I noticed? I should think so.

_Candida._ He had a long confab with her.

_Susanna._ Do you know what happened after? Such a fight as there was!

_Candida._ I heard a noise, an angry discussion. They told me Crispino
and Coronato were at loggerheads.

_Susanna._ Precisely, and all because of this beauty, this treasure.

_Candida._ But why?

_Susanna._ Jealousy between themselves, jealousy because of Signor
Evarist.

_Candida._ Do you think Signor Evarist has any friendship for Nina?

_Susanna._ I know nothing. I do not concern myself about others'
affairs, and think ill of no one; but if the host and the shoemaker
are jealous of him, they must have their reasons.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Alas! the argument is but too true,
to my prejudice.

_Susanna._ Excuse me, I should not like to make a mistake.

_Candida._ In what?

_Susanna._ I hope that you take no interest in Signor Evarist?

_Candida._ I? Oh, none whatever! I know him because he sometimes comes
to the house, and is a friend of my aunt's.

_Susanna._ Then I will tell you the truth. [_Aside._] I do not think
this can offend her. I almost thought that between you and Signor
Evarist there was some understanding,--of course permissible and
respectable,--but since he was with me this morning, I am of another
opinion.

_Candida._ He was with you this morning?

_Susanna._ Yes. He came to buy a fan.

_Candida._ [_Eagerly._] He bought a fan?

_Susanna._ Precisely; and as I had seen that you had broken yours, so to
speak, on his account, I at once said to myself, He buys it to give it
to the Signorina Candida.

_Candida._ So he bought it for me?

_Susanna._ Oh no, Signorina. I will confess to you I took the liberty of
asking him if he were buying it for you. He replied in a manner as if I
had offended him, "That is not my business; what is there between me and
the Signorina Candida? I have destined it elsewhere."

_Candida._ And what did he do with this fan?

_Susanna._ What did he do with it? He gave it to Nina.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Oh, I am lost! I am miserable!

_Susanna._ [_Observing her agitation._] Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Ungrateful, unfaithful, and for whom?--for a
peasant girl!

_Susanna._ [_With insistence._] Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Aside._] The offence is insupportable.

_Susanna._ [_Aside._] Poor me! What have I done?--Signorina Candida,
calm yourself, it may not be thus.

_Candida._ Do you believe he gave the fan to Nina?

_Susanna._ Oh, as to that, I saw it with my own eyes.

_Candida._ And then you say it may not be thus?

_Susanna._ I do not know--I do not wish that by my fault--


SCENE III.

_The above._ Geltrude _at the door of the villa._

_Susanna._ See, there is your aunt.

_Candida._ For Heaven's sake, say nothing!

_Susanna._ Do not fear.--[_Aside._] And she would have me believe she
does not love him! It's her own fault. Why did she not tell me the
truth?

_Geltrude._ What are you doing here, niece?

[Candida _and_ Susanna _rise._]

_Susanna._ She is condescending to accord me her company.

_Candida._ I came to see if she sold nightcaps.

_Susanna._ Yes, it is true, she asked me about some. Oh, do not fear
that your niece is not safe with me. I am no chatterbox, and my house is
most respectable.

_Geltrude._ Do not justify yourself without being accused.

_Susanna._ I am very sensitive, Signora.

_Geltrude._ Why did you not tell me you needed a nightcap?

_Candida._ You were in your writing-room, and I did not wish to disturb
you.

_Susanna._ Would you like to see it? I will go and get it. I pray, sit
down. [_Gives her chair to_ Geltrude, _and goes into the shop._]

_Geltrude._ [_Seating herself, to_ Candida.] Have you heard nothing of
this encounter between the shoemaker and the host?

_Candida._ They say it is a matter of love and jealousy. They say Nina
is the cause.

_Geltrude._ I am sorry, for she is a good girl.

_Candida._ Oh, aunt, excuse me; I have heard things about her of a
nature that would make it better we should no longer let her come to the
house.

_Geltrude._ Why? What have they told you?

_Candida._ I will tell you after. Do as I do, aunt; don't receive her
any more, and you will do well.

_Geltrude._ Since she came more often to see you than to see me, I leave
you free to treat her as you please.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] The minx! she will not have the impudence to
appear before me.

_Susanna._ [_Returning._] Here are the caps, ladies; see, choose, and
content yourselves. [_All three occupied with the caps, and speaking
softly among themselves._]


SCENE IV.

_The above. The_ Count _and the_ Baron _come out of the inn._

_Count._ I am glad you have confided in me. Leave the rest to me, and do
not fear.

_Baron._ I know you are Signora Geltrude's friend.

_Count._ Oh, friend!--well, I will tell you. She is a lady who has some
talents; I like literature, I converse with her more willingly than with
any other. For the rest, she is a poor city dame. Her husband left her
this wretched house and some acres of ground, and, in order to be
respected in this village, she needs my protection.

_Baron._ Long live the Count who protects widows and fair ladies!

_Count._ What would you have? In this world one must be good for
something.

_Baron._ Then you will do me the favour--

_Count._ Do not fear, I will speak to her; I will ask her niece's hand
for a cavalier, who is my friend, and when I have asked her I am sure
she will not have the courage to say no.

_Baron._ Tell her who I am.

_Count._ To what purpose, when it is I who ask?

_Baron._ But you ask for me.

_Count._ For you.

_Baron._ You know precisely who I am.

_Count._ How should I not know your titles, your faculties, your
honours! Oh, we members of the aristocracy all know each other.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] How I should laugh at him if I had not need of him!

_Count._ My dear colleague!

_Baron._ What is it?

_Count._ Behold Signora Geltrude and her niece.

_Baron._ They are busy; I do not think they have seen us.

_Count._ Certainly not. If Signora Geltrude had seen me, she would have
moved instantly.

_Baron._ When will you speak to her?

_Count._ At once if you like.

_Baron._ It is not well I should be there. Speak to her. I will wait at
the apothecary's. I am in your hands.

_Count._ Good-bye, dear colleague and friend.

_Baron._ Good-bye, beloved colleague. [_Embraces him._] [_Aside._] He is
the maddest March hare in the world.

_Count._ [_Calling aloud._] Signora Geltrude!

_Geltrude._ [_Rising._] Oh, Count, excuse me! I did not see you.

_Count._ I beg, give me a word.

_Susanna._ Pray approach. My shop is at your service.

_Count._ No, no; I have something private to say. Excuse the trouble,
but I beg you come here.

_Geltrude._ In a moment. Allow me to pay for a cap I have bought, and
then I am at your disposal. [_Pulls out a purse to pay_ Susanna, _and to
prolong the moment._]

_Count._ What! you would pay at once! I never had that vice.


SCENE V.

Coronato _comes out of the inn with_ Scavezzo, _who carries a barrel of
wine on his shoulders._

_Coronato._ Honoured sir, this is the barrel of wine for you.

_Count._ And the second?

_Coronato._ After this I will bring the second. Where shall we take it?

_Count._ To my palace.

_Coronato._ To whom shall I consign it?

_Count._ To my steward, if he is there.

_Coronato._ I am afraid he is not there.

_Count._ Give it to any one you find.

_Coronato._ All right. Let us go.

_Scavezzo._ The Count will give me some drink money.

_Count._ Take care not to drink my wine, and don't put water to
it.--[_To_ Coronato.] Don't let him go alone.

_Coronato._ Never fear, never fear! I go too.

_Scavezzo._ [_Aside._] No, no, don't fear; between the master and me we
have prepared it by now.      [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ [_Who has paid, advances towards the_ Count. Susanna _is
seated, and works._ Candida _remains seated. They whisper together._]
Here I am, Count, and what is it you wish?

_Count._ In a few words, will you give me your niece?

_Geltrude._ Give? What do you mean by give?

_Count._ What? don't you understand? In marriage.

_Geltrude._ To you?

_Count._ Not to me, but to a person I know and propose.

_Geltrude._ I will tell you, Count: you know my niece has lost her
parents, and, being the daughter of my only brother, I have undertaken
to fill for her a mother's place.

_Count._ All these, excuse me, are useless discourses.

_Geltrude._ Excuse me. Let me come to my point.

_Count._ Well, what then?

_Geltrude._ Candida has not inherited enough from her father to suffice
to marry her in her own rank.

_Count._ It does not matter; it is no question of that here.

_Geltrude._ Let me finish. My husband left me an ample provision.

_Count._ I know.

_Geltrude._ I have no children.

_Count._ And you will give her a dowry?

_Geltrude._ Yes, when the match shall meet her favour.

_Count._ Oh yes, that is the needful point. But I am proposing this
match, and when I propose, it must meet her favour.

_Geltrude._ I am certain that the Count is incapable of proposing other
than an acceptable person, but I hope he will do me the honour to tell
me who this person is.

_Count._ A colleague of mine.

_Geltrude._ What! a colleague! What does that mean?

_Count._ A nobleman, like yourself.

_Geltrude._ Signore--

_Count._ Do not raise objections.

_Geltrude._ Pray let me speak. If you will not let me, I shall go.

_Count._ Come, come, be gracious! Speak, I listen. I am amiable,
complaisant with ladies. I listen to you.

_Geltrude._ I will tell you what I feel in a few words. A title makes
the honour of a house, but not of a person. I do not think my niece is
ambitious, nor am I inclined to sacrifice her to the idol of vanity.

_Count._ [_Laughing._] Ah, one sees that you read fables.

_Geltrude._ Such feelings are not learnt from fables nor novels. Nature
inspires them and education cultivates them.

_Count._ Nature, education, all you will. He whom I propose is the Baron
del Cedro.

_Geltrude._ The Baron is in love with my niece?

_Count._ Oui, Madame.

_Geltrude._ I know him and respect him.

_Count._ You see what a good match I propose to you.

_Geltrude._ He is a gentleman of merit.

_Count._ And my colleague.

_Geltrude._ He is perhaps a trifle free of speech, but without harm.

_Count._ Well, now, your answer, I beg?

_Geltrude._ Adagio, adagio, Count. Such matters are not decided all in a
moment. I should like the Baron to have the goodness to speak to me.

_Count._ Excuse me, if I say a thing, there can be no doubt about it. I
woo on his behalf, and he has begged my intercession, implored me--And I
speak to you, beg you--that is to say, I do not beg you, I demand of
you--

_Geltrude._ Let us admit that the Baron is in earnest.

_Count._ By Jupiter, what is this we are to admit? the thing is certain
when I say so.

_Geltrude._ Admitted, then, that the thing is certain. The Baron desires
her, you demand her. It is always needful I should ask Candida if she
assents.

_Count._ She cannot know about it unless you tell her.

_Geltrude._ [_Ironically._] Have the goodness to believe that I shall
tell her.

_Count._ Here she comes. Speak to her about it.

_Geltrude._ I will speak to her.

_Count._ Go, then, and I will wait you here.

_Geltrude._ [_Bowing._] Excuse me.--[_Aside._] If the Baron is in
earnest, it would indeed be a piece of good luck for my niece, but I
doubt. [_Goes towards_ Susanna.]

_Count._ Ha, ha! with my good manners I attain from people all I want.
[_Takes a book from his pocket, seats himself, and reads._]

_Geltrude._ Candida, I have to speak to you. Let us take a turn.

_Susanna._ Will you go into my little garden? You will be quite free
there.

_Geltrude._ Yes, let us go there, because I must come back here at once.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] What can she want to tell me? I am too miserable
to expect any good news. [_Both into the shop._]

_Count._ She is capable of keeping me waiting here for an hour. It is
well that I have this book to entertain me. What a beautiful thing is
literature! A man with a good book to hand is never alone. [_Reads._]


SCENE VI.

Count. Nina _comes out of her house._

_Nina._ Well, one good thing, the dinner is ready, so when that fellow
Moracchio comes he can't scold me. No one is looking. I had better go
now and take the fan to Signorina Candida. If I can give it her without
her aunt seeing, I will; if not, I'll wait another chance.

_Count._ Why, Nina, Nina. Ho, here, my girl! [_Goes towards the villa._]

_Nina._ Signore. [_Turns to look at him._]

_Count._ A word.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] I did not need this impediment.

_Count._ [_Aside._] I must not neglect Coronato. I have promised him my
protection, and he merits it. [_Gets up and puts aside his book._]

_Nina._ Here I am. What would you, sir?

_Count._ Where were you going?

_Nina._ To do my own business, sir.

_Count._ What! You reply like that to me, with such audacity, such
impertinence?

_Nina._ How would you have me speak? I speak as I know how; I am not
used to converse. I speak like that with every one, and no one has told
me I am impertinent.

_Count._ You must distinguish the people with whom you speak.

_Nina._ I don't know how to distinguish. If you want something, say it!
If you want to amuse yourself, I have no time to lose with your worship.

_Count._ Come hither.

_Nina._ I am here.

_Count._ Would you like to marry?

_Nina._ Yes, sir.

_Count._ That is well; you please me now.

_Nina._ Oh, what I have in my heart, I have in my mouth.

_Count._ Would you like me to find you a husband?

_Nina._ No, sir.

_Count._ How no?

_Nina._ How no? Because it's no, because to marry I have no need of you.

_Count._ Do you not need my protection?

_Nina._ No, indeed, not a bit of it.

_Count._ Do you understand all I can do in this village?

_Nina._ You may be able to do all in the village, but you can do nothing
in my marriage.

_Count._ I can do nothing?

_Nina._ [_Smiling gently._] Nothing, in truth, nothing, nothing.

_Count._ You are in love with Crispino.

_Nina._ He is to my taste.

_Count._ And you prefer him to that worthy man, to that rich man, that
admirable man, Coronato?

_Nina._ I would prefer him to others far better than Coronato.

_Count._ You would prefer him to any other?

_Nina._ [_Laughing, and making him understand that she refers to him._]
Oh, and if you knew to whom, for instance!

_Count._ And to whom would you prefer him, then?

_Nina._ To what end? Do not make me chatter.

_Count._ No, because you would be capable of saying some impertinence.

_Nina._ Do you want anything else of me?

_Count._ Simply this: I protect your brother, your brother has given his
word for you to Coronato, and you must marry Coronato.

_Nina._ [_With affectation._] Your worship protects my brother?

_Count._ Just so.

_Nina._ And my brother has given his word to Coronato?

_Count._ Just so.

_Nina._ Well, if things be so--

_Count._ Well?

_Nina._ Let my brother marry the host.

_Count._ I swear that you shall never marry Crispino.

_Nina._ No? And why?

_Count._ I shall send him away from this village.

_Nina._ I shall go and seek for him wherever he is.

_Count._ I shall have him beaten.

_Nina._ Oh, as for that, he will think about it.

_Count._ What would you do if he were dead?

_Nina._ I do not know.

_Count._ Would you take another?

_Nina._ It might be.

_Count._ Imagine that he is dead.

_Nina._ Sir, I can neither read, nor write, nor reckon.

_Count._ Saucy girl!

_Nina._ Do you want anything else?

_Count._ Go to the devil!

_Nina._ Show me the road!

_Count._ I swear, were you not a woman--

_Nina._ What would you do?

_Count._ Go hence, I say!

_Nina._ I obey at once, for I am well bred.

_Count._ Well bred? and goes off and does not salute!

_Nina._ Oh, pardon me. I am till death your worship's obedient servant.
[_Laughs and runs towards the villa._]

_Count._ [_With scorn._] Rustica progenies nescit habere modum. I do not
know what to do. If she does not want Coronato, I can't force her. It is
not my fault. What on earth does he want a wife for, who does not want
him? Are women scarce? I will find him one better than this. He shall
see what my protection is worth.


SCENE VII.

_The above, and_ Geltrude _and_ Candida _outside the shop._

_Count._ Well, Signora Geltrude?

_Geltrude._ Count, my niece is a prudent girl.

_Count._ Well, then, briefly?

_Geltrude._ Count, permit me.

_Count._ Pardon me, but if you knew what I have endured with a woman--it
is true, another woman--[_Aside._] But all women are alike.--Well, then,
what does niece Candida say?

_Geltrude._ If the Baron really--

_Count._ Really! out upon your suspicions!

_Geltrude._ Admitting the condition and the circumstances, my niece is
content to marry the Baron.

_Count._ Bravo! [_Aside._] This time at least I have had a success.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] All to revenge myself on that false Evarist!

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] I certainly did not think she would consent. I
fancied another affection held her, but I see I erred.


SCENE VIII.

Nina _on the terrace. The above._

_Nina._ She is not here, and I can find her nowhere. Oh, there she is!

_Count._ Consequently the Signorina Candida marries the Baron del Cedro.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] What do I hear? What will she answer?

_Geltrude._ She will do it as soon as the conditions--

_Count._ [_To_ Candida.] What conditions do you put?

_Candida._ None, sir; I marry him in any case.

_Count._ Excellent Signorina Candida! I like you thus. [_Aside._] Ah,
when I have to do with matters, all goes swimmingly.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] But this is a terrible business! Poor Signor Evarist!
It is useless for me to give the fan to Signorina Candida.      [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] I deceived myself. She loves the Baron, and I
thought her attracted to Signor Evarist.

_Count._ If you will allow me, I will go and give this good news to the
Baron, to my dear friend, my dear colleague.

_Geltrude._ And where is the Baron?

_Count._ He expects me at the apothecary's. Do as I beg. Go to the
house, and I will conduct him to you at once.

_Geltrude._ What do you say, niece?

_Candida._ Yes, he can speak with you.

_Count._ And with you?

_Candida._ I will do whatever my aunt wishes.--[_Aside._] I shall die,
but I shall die avenged.

_Count._ I go at once. Expect us, we will come to you. As the hour is so
advanced, it would not be amiss if you invited him to dinner.

_Geltrude._ What! the first time!

_Count._ Oh, these are exaggerated considerations. He will gladly
accept, I answer for him, and to induce him, I will stay too.   [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ Let us go, then, and await them.

_Candida._ Yes, let us go.

_Geltrude._ What is the matter with you? Do you do it willingly?

_Candida._ Yes, willingly.--[_Aside._] I have given my word, it is
irremediable.

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] Poor child, I pity her. In these cases,
notwithstanding one's love, one feels confused. [_Goes towards the
villa._]


SCENE IX.

Nina _on the terrace, and the above._

_Nina._ Oh, Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Angrily._] What are you doing here?

_Nina._ I came to look for you.

_Candida._ Go away, and do not presume to set foot in our house again!

_Nina._ What! this affront to me?

_Candida._ What affront? You are an unworthy creature, and I cannot and
will not tolerate you longer. [_Enters the villa._]

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] This is a little too severe.

_Nina._ I am amazed, Signora Geltrude.

_Geltrude._ I am indeed sorry for the mortification you have had, but my
niece is a person of good judgment, and if she has treated you ill, she
must have her reasons.

_Nina._ What reasons can she have? I am astonished at her.

_Geltrude._ Come, come, do not forget your respect; do not raise your
voice.

_Nina._ I will go and seek justification.

_Geltrude._ No, no, stay here. It is no good now, do it after.

_Nina._ And I tell you, I will go now!

_Geltrude._ Do not presume to pass this door. [_Places herself on the
threshold._]


SCENE X.

_The above._ Count _and_ Baron _going from the apothecary's to the
villa._

_Count._ Come, come, let us go.

_Baron._ I must go.

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Nina.] Impudent lass! [_Goes in and throws to the door
at the moment that the_ Count _and_ Baron _are about to enter. She does
not see them._]

[Nina _goes away angered._ Count _remains speechless, looking at the
closed door._]

_Baron._ What, they shut the door in our faces!

_Count._ In our faces? No, it is impossible!

_Baron._ Impossible, you say! But it is a fact.

_Nina._ This insult to me! [_Walks up and down trembling._]

_Count._ Let us go and knock.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] If they go in, I will get in too.

_Baron._ No, stay; I want to know no more. I do not wish to expose
myself to fresh insults. You have served me but ill. They have laughed
at you, and made fun of me on your account.

_Count._ [_Hotly._] What way of speaking is this?

_Baron._ And I demand satisfaction!

_Count._ From whom?

_Baron._ From you.

_Count._ In what manner?

_Baron._ Sword in hand!

_Count._ With the sword! But it's twenty years that I am in this
village, and that I no longer use a sword.

_Baron._ With pistols, then. [_Draws two pistols from his pocket._]

_Nina._ [_Running towards the house._] Pistols! hi, folks, here!
pistols! They are murdering each other.


SCENE XI.

_The above._ Geltrude _on the terrace._

_Geltrude._ But, gentlemen, what is this?

_Count._ Why did you bolt the door in our faces?

_Geltrude._ I? Excuse me, I am incapable of such a vile action with
whomsoever it should be; how little, then, with you and the Baron, who
deigns to condescend to my niece!

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear!

_Baron._ But, Madame, at the very moment we wanted to come to you, the
door was closed in our faces.

_Geltrude._ I assure you I did not see you. I closed the door to hinder
that saucy girl Nina from entering.

_Nina._ [_Puts her head, out of her own door._] What? saucy! saucy
yourself!

_Count._ Quiet the impudent lass!

_Geltrude._ Will you enter, pray? I will give orders that the door be
opened.

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear?

_Baron._ I have nothing more to say.

_Count._ What will you do with these pistols?

_Baron._ Excuse my acute sense of honour. [_Puts away the pistols._]

_Count._ And you mean to present yourself to two ladies with two pistols
in your pocket?

_Baron._ I always carry them in the country for self-defence.

_Count._ But if they knew you had these pistols,--you know what women
are,--they would not come near you.

_Baron._ You are right. Thank you for warning me, and, as a sign of good
friendship, allow me to present you with them. [_Draws one from his
pocket and presents it._]

_Count._ [_Nervously._] A present to me?

_Baron._ Yes; surely you will not refuse it?

_Count._ I accept it because it comes from your hands. But they are not
loaded?

_Baron._ What a question! Do you expect me to carry empty pistols?

_Count._ Wait! Ho there, café!

_Limonato._ [_From out his shop._] What would you, sir?

_Count._ Take these pistols and keep them till I ask you for them.

_Limonato._ At your service. [_Takes the pistols from the Baron._]

_Count._ Take care, they are loaded!

_Limonato._ [_Laughing._] Oh, I know how to manage them.

_Count._ Take care, no follies!

_Limonato._ [_Aside._] The Count is courageous, truly.

_Count._ I thank you, and shall value them.--[_Aside._] To-morrow I will
sell them.

_Tognino._ [_From the villa._] Gentlemen, my mistress expects you.

_Count._ Let us go.

_Baron._ Yes, let us go.

_Count._ Well, what do you say? Am I a man of my word? Ah, dear
colleague, we noblemen--our protection is worth something.

[Nina _comes out of her house softly, and goes behind them to enter._
Tognino _has let the_ Count _and_ Baron _pass, and remains on the
threshold._ Nina _wants to enter._ Tognino _stops her._]

_Tognino._ You have nothing to do here.

_Nina._ Yes, but I have.

_Tognino._ My orders are not to let you pass. [_Goes in and shuts the
door._]

_Nina._ I am furious!--I feel choking with rage! This insult to me--to a
girl of my kind! [_Stamps with rage._]


SCENE XII.

Evarist _from the street, his gun, on his shoulder, and_ Moracchio _with
a gun in his hand and bag with game, and the dogs tied by a cord. The
above._

_Evarist._ Here, take my gun, and keep those partridges till I dispose
of them. [_Seats himself before the café._]

_Moracchio._ Never fear, I will take care of them.--[_To_ Nina.] Is
dinner ready?

_Nina._ Quite ready.

_Moracchio._ What on earth is the matter? You are always angry with all
the world, and then complain of me.

_Nina._ Oh, it's true, we are relations, there is no gainsaying it.

_Moracchio._ Come, let us go in and dine. It is time.

_Nina._ Yes, yes, go. I will come after.--[_Aside._] I want to speak to
Signor Evarist.

_Moracchio._ Yes, come; if not, I shall eat all. [_Goes into the
house._]

_Nina._ If I ate now, I should eat poison.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] No one on the terrace! Doubtless they are at
dinner. It is better I go to the inn, the Baron expects me. [_Rises._]
Well, Nina, nothing new to tell me?

_Nina._ Oh yes, sir, I have something to tell you.

_Evarist._ Have you given my fan?

_Nina._ Here it is, your accursed fan!

_Evarist._ What does this mean? Could you not give it?

_Nina._ I have received a thousand insults, a thousand impertinences,
and have been chased from the house like a good-for-nothing.

_Evarist._ Then Signora Geltrude noticed it?

_Nina._ Oh, not only Signora Geltrude. The greatest insults came from
Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ But why? What did you do to her?

_Nina._ I did nothing to her, sir.

_Evarist._ You told her you had a fan for her?

_Nina._ How could I tell her when she never gave me time, but sent me
off like a thief?

_Evarist._ But there must be some reason.

_Nina._ For my part, I know I have done nothing to her. But all this
ill-treatment, I am sure, I am certain, has been done to me because of
you.

_Evarist._ Because of me? The Signorina Candida, who loves me so much!

_Nina._ Does the Signorina Candida love you so much?

_Evarist._ There is no doubt about it. I am sure of it.

_Nina._ Oh yes, I too can assure you that she loves you much, much,
much.

_Evarist._ You put me into a terrible agitation.

_Nina._ [_Ironically._] Go, go and seek your lady-love, your dear one.

_Evarist._ And why should I not go?

_Nina._ Because the place is taken!

_Evarist._ [_Anxiously._] By whom?

_Nina._ By Baron del Cedro.

_Evarist._ The Baron is in the house?

_Nina._ Why should he not be in the house, seeing he is to marry the
Signorina Candida?

_Evarist._ Nina, you dream--you are raving! you do nothing but talk
absurdities!

_Nina._ You don't believe me? Well, go and see, and you will know if I
speak the truth.

_Evarist._ In Signora Geltrude's house?

_Nina._ And in Signorina Candida's.

_Evarist._ The Baron!

_Nina._ Del Cedro.

_Evarist._ Marries Signorina Candida!

_Nina._ I have seen it with these eyes, and heard it with these ears.

_Evarist._ It cannot be! It is impossible! You talk nonsense.

_Nina._ Go, see for yourself. Listen, and you will soon learn if I talk
nonsense.

_Evarist._ I will see at once! [_Runs to the villa and knocks._]

_Nina._ Poor fool, he trusts in the love of a city girl. The city girls
are not as we are.

[Evarist _goes on knocking._ Tognino _opens and looks out of the door._]

_Evarist._ Well, what is it?

_Tognino._ Excuse me, I can let no one pass.

_Evarist._ Have you told them it is I?

_Tognino._ I have.

_Evarist._ To Signorina Candida?

_Tognino._ To Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ And Signora Geltrude does not wish that I should come in?

_Tognino._ Yes, Signora Geltrude had said you might pass, but Signorina
Candida did not wish it.

_Evarist._ Did not wish it? I swear to Heaven I will come in! [_Tries to
push aside_ Tognino, _who bolts the door._]

_Nina._ Well, and what did I tell you?

_Evarist._ I am beside myself! I do not know in what world I am. To shut
the door in my face!

_Nina._ Oh, do not be amazed! They treated me in the same beautiful way.

_Evarist._ How is it possible Candida could thus deceive me?

_Nina._ What is a fact cannot be doubted.

_Evarist._ I still do not believe it--I cannot believe it--I will never
believe it!

_Nina._ You do not believe it?

_Evarist._ No; there must be some mistake, some mystery. I know
Candida's heart. She is incapable of this!

_Nina._ All right. Console yourself that way, and enjoy your
consolation. Much good may it do you!

_Evarist._ I absolutely must speak to Candida.

_Nina._ But since she won't receive you?

_Evarist._ It does not matter. There must be some other reason! I will
go into the café. It will be enough for me to see her, to hear a word
from her. A sign alone from her will suffice to assure me of life or to
give me my death-blow.

_Nina._ Well, take it.


SCENE XIII.

Coronato _and_ Scavezzo _return._ Scavezzo _goes straight to the inn._
Coronato _remains aside to listen. The above._

_Evarist._ What do you want to give me?

_Nina._ Why, your fan!

_Evarist._ Keep it. Don't torment me.

_Nina._ You give me this fan?

_Evarist._ Yes, yes, keep it, I give it you.--[_Aside._] I am beside
myself!

_Nina._ If it is so, I thank you.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Ho, ho! now I know what the present was! A fan.
[_Goes to the inn without being seen._]

_Evarist._ But if Candida won't let me see her--if by chance she does
not look out of the window--if seeing me she refuses to listen to me--if
her aunt forbids her! I am in a sea of confusion, of agitation.

[Crispino, _with a sack full of leather and shoes on his shoulder, goes
towards his booth. Seeing the two, he stops to listen._]

_Nina._ Dear Signor Evarist, you make me sad; I am deeply grieved for
you.

_Evarist._ Yes, my good girl, I deserve your pity.

_Nina._ So good, amiable, and polite a gentleman.

_Evarist._ You know my heart, you bear testimony to my love.

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Nice things these! I see I came in time.

_Nina._ Indeed, if I knew how to comfort you--

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Better and better!

_Evarist._ Well, at all costs I will try my luck. I will not have to
reproach myself that I neglected to clear up the matter. I go to the
café, Nina; I go and tremble. Retain to me your friendship and
good-will. [_He takes her hand, and goes into the café._]

_Nina._ On the one hand he makes me laugh, on the other I am sorry for
him.

[Crispino _puts down his sack, pulls out some shoes, puts them on the
bench, and goes into his shop without speaking._]

_Nina._ Why, here is Crispino! Welcome back! Where have you been till
now?

_Crispino._ Don't you see, to buy leather and to take shoes for mending.

_Nina._ But you do nothing but mend old shoes. I would not have people
say--you know they are so ill-natured here--

_Crispino._ The evil tongues will find more to say about you than about
me.

_Nina._ About me! What can they say?

_Crispino._ What do I care what they say--that I am more of a cobbler
than a shoemaker? It is enough for me to be an honest man, and to earn
my bread righteously. [_He sits down and works._]

_Nina._ But I don't want to be called the cobbleress.

_Crispino._ When?

_Nina._ When I shall be your wife.

_Crispino._ Eh?

_Nina._ Eh! What does this eh! mean? what does this eh! mean?

_Crispino._ It means that Signorina Nina will be neither cobbleress nor
shoemakeress; she has aims most vast and grand.

_Nina._ Are you mad, or have you drunk this morning?

_Crispino._ I am not mad, I have not drunk, but I am neither blind nor
deaf.

_Nina._ Then what the devil do you mean? Explain yourself if you would
have me understand you.

_Crispino._ I am to explain myself! You would have me explain myself? Do
you think I have not heard your fine words with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ With Signor Evarist?

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Evarist.] Yes, my good girl, you know my heart;
you bear testimony to my love.

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] You silly fellow!

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Nina.] Indeed, if I knew how to comfort you--

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Silly fellow, I say!

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Evarist.] Nina, retain to me your friendship
and good-will.

_Nina._ [_Laughing yet more._] Sillier than ever!

_Crispino._ I?

_Nina._ Yes, absurd; madly absurd!

_Crispino._ But, by Jove, did I not see, did I not hear your beautiful
conversation with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ Silly boy, I tell you!

_Crispino._ And what you replied.

_Nina._ Silly boy!

_Crispino._ Nina, have done with this "silly," or I shall go silly in
very deed. [_Threatens her._]

_Nina._ Eh! eh! [_Becomes serious, and changes her tune._] But do you
really think Signor Evarist loves me?

_Crispino._ I know nothing about it.

_Nina._ Come here. Listen. [_Speaks rapidly._] Signor Evarist loves
Signorina Candida; and Signorina Candida has planted him, and wants to
marry the Baron. And Signor Evarist is desperate, and came to pour out
his heart to me; and I pretended to be sympathetic to make fun of him,
and he let himself be comforted that way. Do you understand now?

_Crispino._ Not a word.

_Nina._ Are you persuaded of my innocence?

_Crispino._ Not entirely.

_Nina._ Then, if things are thus, go to the devil with you! Coronato
desires me, seeks me; my brother has promised me to him. The Count, who
respects me, implores--I shall marry Coronato.

_Crispino._ Come, come, don't be so angry instantly. Can you assure me
you speak the truth--that there is nothing between you and Signor
Evarist?

_Nina._ And you do not wish me to call you silly! But, my own good
Crispino, whom I love so much, my dear betrothed! [_She caresses him._]

_Crispino._ [_Gently._] And what did Signor Evarist give you?

_Nina._ Nothing.

_Crispino._ Nothing? nothing? nothing?

_Nina._ When I tell you nothing, nothing--[_Aside._] I do not want him
to know about the fan, or he will suspect me again.

_Crispino._ Can I be sure?

_Nina._ Come, come, you tease me.

_Crispino._ You love me?

_Nina._ Yes, I love you.

_Crispino._ Well, then, let us make peace. [_He takes her hand._]

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Silly fellow.

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] But why silly?

_Nina._ Because you are.


SCENE XIV.

Coronato, _who comes out of the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ At last I know what present Signorina Nina has had.

_Nina._ What business is that of yours?

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] From whom has she had a present?

_Coronato._ From Signor Evarist.

_Nina._ It is not true.

_Crispino._ It is not true?

_Coronato._ But it is, and I know, too, what it is.

_Nina._ Well, be it what it be, it does not concern you. I love
Crispino, and shall be the wife of my Crispino.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] Well, what is the present?

_Coronato._ A fan.

_Crispino._ [_Angrily to_ Nina.] A fan?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] Confound that fellow!

_Crispino._ [_To_ Nina.] Did you receive a fan?

_Nina._ It is not true.

_Coronato._ It is so true, that you have it in your pocket.

_Crispino._ I wish to see that fan.

_Nina._ No, no!

_Coronato._ I will find the means to make her show it.

_Nina._ You are an interfering fellow.


SCENE XV.

Moracchio _from out the house, a table napkin in his hand, eating._

_Moracchio._ What's all this noise about?

_Coronato._ Your sister has had a fan given her, it is in her pocket,
and she denies it.

_Moracchio._ [_Sternly._] Give me that fan.

_Nina._ Leave me alone.

_Moracchio._ Give me that fan, or, I swear by Heaven--[_Threatens her._]

_Nina._ Confound you all! Here it is.

_Crispino._ [_Wants to take it._] I want it.

_Coronato._ No; I.

_Nina._ Leave me alone, I say!

_Moracchio._ Quick, give it here. I want it.

_Nina._ No; rather than to you or Coronato, I will give it to Crispino.

_Moracchio._ Give it to me, I say!

_Nina._ To Crispino! [_Gives the fan to_ Crispino, _and runs into the
house._]

_Coronato._ Give it here.

_Moracchio._ Give it here.

_Crispino._ You shall not have it.

[_Both fall on_ Crispino _to yet it from him. He escapes from the scene,
they follow him._]


SCENE XVI.

_The_ Count _on the terrace._ Timoteo _outside his shop._

_Count._ Hi! Signor Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ What do you command?

_Count._ Quick, quick, bring spirits and cordials! Signorina Candida has
fainted!

_Timoteo._ Instantly. [_Returns into the shop._]

_Count._ What was she looking at? One would think some poisonous plants
grew in the garden of the café.      [_Exit._

[Crispino _crosses the stage, running._ Coronato _and_ Moracchio _run
after him, and all three disappear._]

_Baron._ [_From the villa to the apothecary._] Quick, quick, Signor
Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ [_Advancing with various phials and cups._] Here I am.

_Baron._ Quick, quick!

_Timoteo._ All right, all right. [_Goes up to the door._]

[Crispino, Coronato, Moracchio, _from outside the scene, run furiously
across the stage, knock against_ Timoteo, _throw him down, breaking all
his bottles._ Crispino _falls over him and loses hold of the fan._
Coronato _snatches it up and runs off._ Timoteo _gets up and returns to
his shop._]

_Coronato._ [_To_ Moracchio.] Here it is, here it is! I have got it!
[_Exit._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.




ACT III.


SCENE I.

_Crispino_ comes out of his shop, with bread, cheese, and a bottle of
wine, seats himself on the bench, and breakfasts. _Tognino_ comes out of
_Geltrude's_ villa with a broom, and crosses to the pharmacy. _Coronato_
and _Scavezzo_ come out of the inn; the latter carries a barrel on his
shoulders; the former passes _Crispino_, looks at him and laughs. Then
both go off. _Crispino_ looks after him and clenches his fist. _Tognino_,
issuing from the pharmacy, sweeps the square. _Timoteo_ with glasses
and bottles hurries across to the villa. _Crispino_ has emptied his
wine-bottle, and goes into the inn. _Susanna_ comes out of her shop,
seats herself to do some needlework. _Tognino_ off into the villa.
_Crispino_ comes back, his bottle refilled. He draws the fan from his
pocket, looks at it smiling, and seats himself again. _Nina_ also seats
herself outside her door to spin. _Crispino_ hides the fan under his
leather apron, and goes on eating. _Coronato_ comes back, passes
_Crispino_, and smiles. _Crispino_ smiles also. _Coronato_, arrived at
his own door, turns round once more to look at _Crispino_ and smile,
then enters. _Crispino_ laughs too, takes up the fan, looks at it with
pleasure, and then hides it again.

Count _and_ Baron _coming out of_ Gertrude's _villa._

_Count._ No excuse! my friend, that should not vex you.

_Baron._ I assure you it can't please me either.

_Count._ If Signorina Candida felt ill, that was an accident; you must
excuse. You know women are subject to vapours and nervous attacks.

_Baron._ But when we went in she was not ill, and scarcely did she see
me than she retired to her room.

_Count._ Because she felt it coming on.

_Baron._ And then, did you notice Signora Geltrude when she came out of
her niece's room, with what attention, what interest she read some
papers that seemed letters.

_Count._ She is a woman who has much business on her hands, and a large
correspondence. Doubtless they were letters just arrived.

_Baron._ No; they were old papers. I bet anything they were something
she had found either on the table or on the person of Signorina Candida.

_Count._ Dear friend, your suspicions are strange! Your imagination runs
away with you!

_Baron._ I imagine that which doubtless is the case. I suspect that an
understanding exists between Signorina Candida and Evarist.

_Count._ Impossible! Were it so, I should know it. I know everything!
There is nothing done in the village that I do not know! And further,
were it as you think, do you suppose Signorina Candida would ever have
accepted your proposal? How can you suppose she would thus compromise
the mediation of a nobleman of my standing?

_Baron._ Oh, for that a good reason can be found. She was forced to say
"Yes;" but Signora Geltrude was not as amiable to me after reading those
letters; indeed, she seemed to me to show pleasure that we should go.

_Count._ Well, I think that all we have to complain of against Signora
Geltrude is, that she did not ask us to stay to dinner with her.

_Baron._ To that I am indifferent.

_Count._ I gave her some hints, but she pretended not to understand.

_Baron._ I assure you she was most anxious we should leave.

_Count._ I am sorry for you. Where will you dine to-day?

_Baron._ I told the host to prepare dinner for two.

_Count._ For two?

_Baron._ I expect Evarist, who has gone shooting.

_Count._ If you will come and dine with me--

_Baron._ With you?

_Count._ But my dinner is half a mile from here.

_Baron._ Thank you, but the dinner is already ordered. Hi there,
Coronato!


SCENE II.

Coronato _from out the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ You called me?

_Baron._ Has Signor Evarist returned?

_Coronato._ I have not seen him yet, sir. I am sorry, because the dinner
is ready, and the food will get spoilt.

_Count._ Evarist is capable of amusing himself shooting till evening,
and making you lose your dinner.

_Baron._ What can I do? I promised to wait for him.

_Count._ Well, it's all very well to wait for him up to a certain point.
But, my dear friend, it does not seem to me you should wait long for a
person who is your social inferior. I admit the demands of politeness,
of humanity; but, my dear colleague, let us also preserve our
aristocratic decorum.

_Baron._ I feel half inclined to ask you to come and take Evarist's
place.

_Count._ If you do not wish to wait for him, or if you dislike eating
alone, come to my house and take pot-luck.

_Baron._ No, no, my dear Count. Do me the pleasure of dining with me.
Let us go to table, and if Evarist is not punctual, that is his loss.

_Count._ [_Content._] It will teach him politeness.

_Baron._ [_To_ Coronato.] Tell them to serve.

_Coronato._ Yes, sir. [_Aside._] H'm, h'm! there'll be little left for
the kitchen now.

_Baron._ I will go and see that they have prepared for our dinner.
[_Enters._]

_Count._ [_To_ Coronato.] Have you taken the second barrel of wine?

_Coronato._ Yes, sir, I sent it to your house.

_Count._ You sent it! without going with it? I fear mischief.

_Coronato._ I will tell you. I accompanied the man until the turn of the
road, where we met your servant.

_Count._ My steward?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ My footman?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ My lackey?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ Who then?

_Coronato._ That man who lives with you, and sells your fruit, salad,
vegetables.

_Count._ What! that man?

_Coronato._ Just so. I met him, showed him the barrel, and he
accompanied my servant.

_Count._ [_Aside._] The devil! that fellow, who never sees wine, is
capable of drinking up half the barrel. [_Goes towards the door._]

_Coronato._ Excuse me.

_Count._ What is it?

_Coronato._ Have you spoken for me to Nina?

_Count._ [_Embarrassed._] All right, all right!

_Coronato._ All right?

_Count._ [_Advancing towards the door._] We will speak about it after.

_Coronato._ But tell me one thing.

_Count._ Come, come, let me go in, so as not to keep the Baron waiting.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I have good hopes. He is a man, if he takes up a
cause, to succeed with it--sometimes.--[_In loving yet harsh tones._]
Nina! Nina!

[Nina _spins on and does not reply._]

_Coronato._ Allow me at least to salute you.

_Nina._ [_Without looking up._] You would do better to give me back my
fan.

_Coronato._ Indeed!--[_Aside._] Oh, by the bye, I left that fan in the
cellar!--Yes, yes, let us speak of that fan.--[_Aside._] I hope no one
has carried it off. [_Goes into the house._]

[Crispino _laughs aloud._]

_Susanna._ You seem to have a light heart, Crispino, you laugh so
merrily.

_Crispino._ I laugh because I have my reasons for laughing.

_Nina._ [_To_ Crispino.] You laugh, and I feel gnawed with anger.

_Crispino._ Anger? And what are you angry about?

_Nina._ That that fan should be in Coronato's hands.

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] Yes, it is in Coronato's hands.

_Nina._ Then why do you laugh?

_Crispino._ I laugh because it is in Coronato's hands. [_Gets up and
carries the remains of his meal into his workshop._]

_Nina._ What silly laughter!

_Susanna._ I never thought my fan would pass through so many hands.

_Nina._ [_Looking at her with amazement._] Your fan?

_Susanna._ Oh, I say my fan because it came from my shop.

_Nina._ I suppose you were paid for it?

_Susanna._ Of course, else I should not have given it.

_Nina._ And it will also have been paid double its worth?

_Susanna._ Not so; and even were it so, what does it matter to you? For
what it cost you, you can accept it.

_Nina._ How do you know what it costs me?

_Susanna._ [_Sarcastically and pointedly._] Oh, I don't know what it
cost you, nor whether he who gave it you has great obligations towards
you.

_Nina._ What obligations? What do you mean by obligations? Do I meddle
in your affairs?

_Susanna._ There, there, don't excite yourself! You don't intimidate me
with your fury!

_Crispino._ [_From out the shop._] What's the matter? Incessant
bickerings, incessant high words.

_Susanna._ She makes side hits and expects one to keep silent.

_Crispino._ Are you angry, Nina?

_Nina._ I angry? I am never angry!

_Susanna._ Oh, she loves peace, and never excites herself!

_Nina._ Never, except when I am teased, if I have to hear impertinences,
if I am trampled under foot.

[Susanna _mutters to herself._]

_Crispino._ Is it I who ill-treat you, tease you, trample you under
foot?

_Nina._ [_Spinning sulkily._] I am not speaking of you.

_Susanna._ No, she does not refer to you, she refers to me.

_Crispino._ One might really say it is an art to live for five minutes
in peace on this square.

_Nina._ When evil tongues are abroad.

_Crispino._ Quiet! it is shameful.

_Susanna._ One is to be insulted, and then not speak.

_Nina._ I speak reasonably.

_Susanna._ Better I should be silent.

_Nina._ Certainly it is better to be silent than say foolish things.

_Crispino._ You will always have the last word.

_Nina._ Yes; and were I in my grave--

[Timoteo _from out the villa with cups and bottles._]

_Nina._ He who wants me, takes me as I am, and who does not want me,
leaves me alone!

_Crispino._ Do be quiet at last!

_Timoteo._ [_Aside._] I won't go again into that house. Is it my fault
that these waters don't help? I can only give what I have. They expect
to find all the refinements of town in a village. And then what are
spirits, cordials, essences? So many quack remedies. The corner-stones
of an apothecary are, water, quinine, mercury. [_Goes into his shop._]

_Crispino._ Some one must be ill at the villa.

_Nina._ [_With contempt._] Yes, that dear jewel of a Signorina Candida!

_Susanna._ Poor Signorina Candida!

_Crispino._ What is the matter with her?

_Susanna._ [_Pointedly._] Nina should know something about it.

_Nina._ I? What have I to do with it?

_Susanna._ Because she is ill on your account.

_Nina._ On my account! [_Springs to her feet._]

_Susanna._ Oh, one cannot speak quietly with you.

_Crispino._ I should like to know what all this means. [_Gets up from
his work._]

_Nina._ [_To_ Susanna.] You are only able to say silly things!

_Susanna._ There, there, don't excite yourself.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Nina.] Let her speak.

_Nina._ Well, speak, then.

_Susanna._ I won't say anything more to you!

_Nina._ If you have any sense of honour, speak.

_Susanna._ If matters are thus, well, I will.

_Crispino._ Quiet there! Signora Geltrude is approaching. No scenes
before her.

_Nina._ She shall give me an explanation!


SCENE III.

Geltrude _from the villa. The above._

_Geltrude._ [_Gravely._] Is your brother returned?

_Nina._ [_Ungraciously, and turning away._] Yes, he is.

_Geltrude._ [_As above._] Has Signor Evarist returned also?

_Nina._ [_As above._] Yes, he has.

_Geltrude._ Do you know where he is?

_Nina._ [_With annoyance._] I know nothing! Good day. [_Enters the
house._]

_Geltrude._ What manners!--Crispino!

_Crispino._ [_Rises._] Madame?

_Geltrude._ Do you know where to find Signor Evarist?

_Crispino._ No, Madame, in truth I do not.

_Geltrude._ Do me the favour to go and see if he is in the inn.

_Crispino._ Certainly. [_Goes towards the inn._]

_Susanna._ [_Softly._] Signora Geltrude!

_Geltrude._ What would you?

_Susanna._ One word.

_Geltrude._ Do you know nothing about Signor Evarist?

_Susanna._ Ah, Madame, I know many things. I have many things to tell
you.

_Geltrude._ Alas! I too have much to disquiet me; I have seen letters
that surprise me! Speak, enlighten me if you can.

_Susanna._ But here, in public! Shall I not come to your house?

_Geltrude._ I first want to see Signor Evarist.

_Susanna._ Will you then step into my shop?

_Geltrude._ Yes, rather let us do that. But first let us await Signor
Evarist.

_Susanna._ There he is!

_Crispino._ [_From the inn._] He is not there. They expected him to
dinner, and he has not come.

_Geltrude._ Yet he must have come back from shooting.

_Crispino._ Oh yes, he came back; I saw him.

_Geltrude._ Where can he be?

_Susanna._ He is not at the café either.

_Crispino._ Nor at the apothecary's.

_Geltrude._ Let us search a little. The village is not so large. Look
about, we must discover him.

_Crispino._ I will set off at once!

_Geltrude._ If you find him, tell him I want much to speak to him, and
that I wait for him in Susanna's shop.

[Crispino _goes._]

_Geltrude._ [_Enters_ Susanna's _shop._] Now I am ready and anxious to
hear you.

_Susanna._ Well, well, you will hear nice things.

_Crispino._ There is something wrong about this Signor Evarist. And then
this fan--I am glad I have got it. Coronato noticed it was gone, I
suppose. He is scarcely likely to suspect me. No one will have told him
that I went to buy some wine. I went just in time. I found the fan a-top
of the barrel. Silly fellow! And while his man filled my flask, I
pocketed the fan! I shall take pretty good care not to confess that I
took it. He is capable of calling me a thief. But where am I to look for
this gentleman? Not at the Count's, for he is dining in there. In the
village? I am sorry I am not enlightened as to Susanna's meaning. But I
will get to the bottom of it. And if I find Nina guilty--Well, and what
shall I do then? Cast her off? I don't know. I love her too much. What
can it all be?


SCENE IV.

Crispino _and_ Limonato _from the café. Then_ Coronato.

_Crispino._ Do you know where Signor Evarist is?

_Limonato._ I! why should I? I am not his servant.

_Crispino._ Don't excite yourself thus. Might he not happen to be at
your place?

_Limonato._ Then you would see him.

_Crispino._ Out upon you, you lemonade manufacturer!

_Limonato._ What does this mean?

_Crispino._ Wait till your shoes want cobbling again.      [_Exit._

_Limonato._ The wretch! Shall I tell him Signor Evarist is in our
garden? No, he is only just comforted, why disturb him again? Hi, host!

_Coronato._ [_At his door._] What would you?

_Limonato._ Signor Evarist sends me. Tell the Baron he is not to wait
dinner for him; he is busy, and does not wish to be disturbed.

_Coronato._ Tell him the notice comes too late. The Baron has nearly
done his dinner.

_Limonato._ All right. [_About to go._]

_Coronato._ And if you hear that some one has found a fan, let me know.

_Limonato._ With pleasure. Have you lost one?

_Coronato._ Yes; I don't know how. A rogue carried it off, and my stupid
cellarman can't tell me who came to fetch wine. But if I discover him,
then--Good-day.      [_Exit._

_Limonato._ I will do my best.      [_Exit._


SCENE V.

_The_ Count _at the window of the inn. The above._

_Count._ I heard Limonato's voice. Hi, Limonato!

_Limonato._ Sir?

_Count._ Two cups of coffee!

_Limonato._ Excuse me, for whom?

_Count._ For me and the Baron. [_Disappears._]

_Limonato._ At once!--[_Aside._] Now I know the Baron is inside and
pays, he shall have the coffee.

_Nina._ Hi, Limonato!

_Limonato._ And what do you want?

_Nina._ Is Signor Evarist still with you?

_Limonato._ How with me?

_Nina._ Yes, with you.

_Limonato._ There is the café, if he were there, you would see him.

_Nina._ Bah! I mean in the garden.

_Limonato._ Bah! I don't know anything.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ Rude fellow! And people say I am irritable! How can I help it,
when all tease, all maltreat me?--those ladies, that creature over
there, Coronato, Moracchio, Limonato, and Crispino. I can bear it no
longer.


SCENE VI.

Evarist _running excitedly out of the café. The above._

_Evarist._ [_To_ Nina.] There she is, there she is! Now I am happy!

_Nina._ What does this joy mean?

_Evarist._ Oh, Nina, I am the happiest, the most contented man in the
world!

_Nina._ I am glad to hear it. I hope, then, you will make up to me for
all I have had to endure on your account.

_Evarist._ Anything you wish! Know, Nina, that they suspected that I
loved you. Signorina Candida knew I had given you the fan, thought I had
bought it for you, was jealous of me, was jealous of you!

_Nina._ Was jealous of me?

_Evarist._ Precisely; and to avenge herself, and in despair, she was
about to marry another. She saw me, and fell down lifeless in a faint.
Happily, a moment after her aunt left the house, Candida went into the
garden. I climbed over the hedge, sprang over the wall, fell at her
feet, wept, swore, implored, called all the saints to witness, and
convinced her. She is mine, is mine, and will be mine in all eternity!

_Nina._ I congratulate you. I am glad to hear it, sir.

_Evarist._ One only condition she makes in order to be quite convinced
of my love.

_Nina._ And that is?--

_Evarist._ In order that I may justify myself and you also, it is
needful that you give her the fan.

_Nina._ Oh dear, oh dear!

_Evarist._ My honour and your own are at stake. It would seem otherwise
as if I had really bought the fan for you. She must be relieved of every
suspicion. I know you are a sensible girl, therefore give me back that
fan.

_Nina._ But, sir, I have it no longer.

_Evarist._ Why tell this lie? I gave it you, and I would not ask it back
did not my whole life's happiness hang on it. I will buy you another,
far better and more beautiful. But, for Heaven's sake, give me back that
fan, and quickly too!

_Nina._ Oh, if I but had it!

_Evarist._ Nina, I repeat, our honour is at stake.

_Nina._ I swear I no longer have the fan!

_Evarist._ Oh, heavens! And what did you do with it?

_Nina._ Oh, they knew I had the fan, and forced me to give it up by
violence.

_Evarist._ Who?

_Nina._ My brother.

_Evarist._ [_Goes towards the house and calls._] Moracchio!

_Nina._ No, stop! He has not got it!

_Evarist._ Who, then?

_Nina._ He gave it to Crispino.

_Evarist._ [_Runs towards the workshop._] Crispino!

_Nina._ Stop and listen, I say!

_Evarist._ I am beside myself.

_Nina._ Crispino no longer has it either.

_Evarist._ Heaven and hell, who has it then? Quick!

_Nina._ That rogue of a Coronato.

_Evarist._ Coronato! hi, host, Coronato!

_Coronato._ Yes, sir?

_Evarist._ Give here that fan.

_Coronato._ What fan?

_Nina._ That which you stole.

_Evarist._ Out with it! Quick!

_Coronato._ Sir, I am sincerely sorry, but--

_Evarist._ How so? What is this?

_Coronato._ I can no longer find it.

_Evarist._ Not find it!

_Coronato._ I stupidly forgot it in the cellar, and went away. When I
came back, it had vanished. Some one must have stolen it.

_Evarist._ Look for it!

_Coronato._ I have searched the whole house, in vain.

_Evarist._ I will pay you whatever you like for it!

_Coronato._ But if it is gone--I tell you it is gone.

_Evarist._ I am in despair!

_Coronato._ I am most sorry, but I can do nothing.      [_Exit._

_Evarist._ It is all your fault! You are my misfortune!

_Nina._ I? And how am I to blame in it all?


SCENE VII.

Candida _on the terrace. The above._

_Candida._ [_Calling him._] Signor Evarist!

_Evarist._ There she is, there she is! Oh, I am in despair!

_Nina._ What, what! the world is not come to an end because of this!

_Candida._ [_Calls more loudly._] Signor Evarist!

_Evarist._ Oh, Candida, my dearest! I am the most miserable, the most
wretched man in the world!

_Candida._ What! you can't get the fan?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] She guesses it at once!

_Evarist._ If you knew what a coil of complications, and all to my
injury! It is too true, the fan is lost, and it is not possible to find
it as yet.

_Candida._ Oh, I know where it is!

_Evarist._ Where? where? If you could give us some hint!

_Nina._ [_To_ Evarist.] Who knows? Some one may have found it.

_Candida._ The fan will be in the hands of her to whom you gave it, and
who will not give it up, and she is right.

_Nina._ [_To_ Candida.] This is not true.

_Candida._ Be silent!

_Evarist._ I swear to you on my honour--

_Candida._ It is enough! My decision is made! I am astonished at you, to
prefer a peasant girl to me.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ Peasant girl! What does she mean?

_Evarist._ I swear to Heaven, you are the cause of all my miseries,
which will be my death! She has decided! Well, I have decided too; I
will await my rival here, and will challenge him. Either he or I must
fall! And all this is your fault, Nina!

_Nina._ I go, or I shall lose my reason. [_She turns slowly towards her
house._]

_Evarist._ How passion consumes me! My heart thumps, my brain is in a
whirl, my breath comes heavily. I can scarcely stand! Oh, who will help
me? [_He staggers towards a chair._]

_Nina._ [_Turns round and sees him._] What is this? What do I see? He is
dying! Help, help! Here, Moracchio! here, Limonato!


SCENE VIII.

Limonato _from the café with two cups on a tray._ Moracchio _runs from
his house to succour_ Evarist.

_Crispino._ [_Comes out of the side street._] Oh, there is Signor
Evarist. But what is the matter?

_Nina._ Water, water!

_Crispino._ Wine, wine!

_Limonato._ Give him wine. I will just carry these cups to the inn.

_Moracchio._ Courage, courage, sir! He is in love; that is his malady.

_Timoteo._ [_Comes out of his shop._] What is the matter?

_Moracchio._ Come here, Timoteo.

_Nina._ Yes, do you help.

_Timoteo._ What is the matter?

_Nina._ He has fainted.

_Timoteo._ There I can help.

_Nina._ The poor gentleman, he is in love.

_Crispino._ [_With a bottle of wine._] Here, here! that will restore him
to life--five-year-old wine.

_Nina._ He is reviving!

_Crispino._ Oh, this wine would make the dead rise!

_Moracchio._ Courage, courage, sir, I say!

_Timoteo._ [_With bottles, glasses, and a razor._] Here I am. Quick,
undress him!

_Moracchio._ What is the razor for?

_Timoteo._ In case of need, it is better than a lancet.

_Crispino._ A razor?

_Nina._ What?

_Evarist._ [_Gets up._] Oh ho! who wants to cut my throat with a razor?

_Nina._ The apothecary.

_Timoteo._ Excuse me; I am an honest man, and no assassin. When one has
the best intentions, it is not right to make one appear ridiculous. See
whether I will come another time.      [_Exit._

_Moracchio._ Won't you step into my house, sir, and rest on my bed?

_Evarist._ Wherever you like.

_Moracchio._ Take my arm and lean on me.

_Evarist._ Oh, how much rather I would that my miserable life were
ended! [_Walks off, leaning on_ Moracchio.]

_Nina._ [_Aside._] If he wanted to die, he could not have done better
than give himself up to the apothecary.

_Moracchio._ Here we are at the door. Let us go in.

_Evarist._ Useless kindness to him who only asks to die. [_They enter._]

_Moracchio._ Nina, get the bed ready for Signor Evarist.

_Crispino._ [_As she is going to enter, calls her._] Nina!

_Nina._ What is it?

_Crispino._ You are wonderfully compassionate for this gentleman.

_Nina._ I do my duty, because you and I are the cause of his illness.

_Crispino._ Speak for yourself, there I can't answer. But I? What have I
to do with him?

_Nina._ Because of that accursed fan. [_Goes in._]

_Crispino._ Accursed fan, indeed! I have now heard it named millions of
times! But I am glad to think I did Coronato. He is my enemy, and will
be so till Nina is my wife. But what now? I could bury this fan in the
ground; but if it be trodden on, it will break. What shall I do with it.
[_Pulls out the fan._]

[Limonato _crosses from his café to the inn._]

_Count._ [_From out the inn._] The dinner was excellent! For once I have
eaten my fill.

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Ho, ho, the Count. Shall I--Yes, that will be the
best way. [_Advances towards him, fan in hand._]

_Count._ What is that you have in your hand?

_Crispino._ A fan. I found it on the ground.

_Count._ [_Takes it._] A lady must have lost it in passing by. What will
you do with it?

_Crispino._ I really don't know.

_Count._ Do you want to sell it?

_Crispino._ Sell it? I should not know what to ask for it. What may it
be worth?

_Count._ I don't know, for I don't understand such things. There are
figures painted on it; but a fan found in the country can't be worth
much.

_Crispino._ I wish it were worth very much.

_Count._ In order to sell it well?

_Crispino._ No, certainly not; but only in order to offer it to your
honour.

_Count._ To me! You want to give it to me?

_Crispino._ But as it seems of no value--

_Count._ Oh no; it is not bad, and seems quite decent. Thank you, my
friend. Whenever I can be of use to you, count on my
protection.--[_Aside._] I shall give it away.

_Crispino._ But one thing I beg of you.

_Count._ [_Aside._] Didn't I think so! This class of people gives
nothing for nothing!--Well, what is it? Speak.

_Crispino._ I beg you to tell no one that I gave it to you.

_Count._ Is that all?

_Crispino._ All.

_Count._ If it's nothing but that--[_Aside._] He is cautious. But, my
good friend, why should people not know? Have you perchance stolen it?

_Crispino._ Excuse me. I am not capable of that.

_Count._ Then why should no one know it comes from you? If you have
found it, and the owner does not turn up, I don't see why--

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] And yet I have my reasons.

_Count._ And they are?--

_Crispino._ Well, I am in love.

_Count._ I know it. With Nina.

_Crispino._ And if Nina knew I had this fan, and did not give it to her,
she would be angry.

_Count._ Just as well for her not to have it. This is no fan for a
country girl. Do not fear; I shall not betray you. But that reminds me,
how do matters stand with you and Nina? Do you really mean to marry her?

_Crispino._ I confess I desire her as my wife.

_Count._ Well, then, you shall have her. This very evening, if you like,
we will celebrate the wedding.

_Crispino._ Really, you are in earnest?

_Count._ In earnest. Who am I? What is meant by my protection? I am
almighty!

_Crispino._ But Coronato wants her also.

_Count._ Coronato! Who is Coronato? A stupid fellow! Does she love you?

_Crispino._ Yes, dearly.

_Count._ Good, then: you are loved, Coronato is not. Depend on my
protection.

_Crispino._ Most certainly. But--her brother?

_Count._ Brother! what brother? what of him? If the sister is satisfied,
the brother has nothing to say. Depend entirely on my protection.

_Crispino._ By Saint Crispin!

_Count._ There now, go back to your work, that my shoes may get done at
last.

_Crispino._ As your Honour desires.

[Count _examines the fan._]

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] The devil a bit! I forgot that Signora Geltrude
sent me to look for Signor Evarist, and now I have found him and not
told her. But his illness--the fan--in short, I forgot! I will call him,
but I don't like to go to Moracchio's house. I will go to the Signora
Geltrude and tell her Signor Evarist is found, and she is to have him
called, only not by me. [_Goes off towards the draper's shop._]

_Count._ What can it cost? Not much. Were it more choice, I would give
it to Signorina Candida, who broke her own. But why should I not? It is
not half bad.

_Nina._ [_At the window._] Where is Crispino? Not there!

_Count._ The figures are badly painted, but it seems to me they are well
drawn.

_Nina._ Oh, what do I see! The fan is in the Count's hands! Quick,
quick, to wake Signor Evarist!

_Count._ And who refuses a gift? She shall have it.


SCENE IX.

Count. Baron _from the inn. Then_ Tognino.

_Baron._ What! you abandon me?

_Count._ I saw you were not inclined to talk.

_Baron._ Yes, it is true. I can't resign myself. Tell me, do you think
we might go now and try to see those ladies once more.

_Count._ Why not? I have a happy thought! Shall I make you a present,--a
present that will make you cut a good figure in Signorina Candida's
eyes?

_Baron._ What is this present?

_Count._ You know she broke her fan this morning.

_Baron._ Yes, I heard of it.

_Count._ Here is a fan. Let us go and find her and give her this one
from you. [_Gives it to the_ Baron.] Look, it is not ugly.

_Baron._ You want me then to--

_Count._ Yes, you give it. I do not want to have any merit in the
matter. I leave all the honour to you.

_Baron._ I gladly accept this excuse, but you will at least let me know
what it cost?

_Count._ Oh, a trifle.

_Baron._ Nevertheless, kindly tell me the price.

_Count._ But to what end? Did you not give me a present of two pistols?

_Baron._ I do not know what to say. Well, I accept your present
gratefully.--[_Aside._] Where did he find this fan? It seems to me
impossible that he bought it.

_Count._ Well, what do you say to it? Isn't it a pretty thing? And just
in the nick of time! Oh, I understand these things, I have much
experience. I am well provided. There is a whole room full of nick-nacks
for ladies. But do not let us waste time. Let us go. [_Rings at_ Signora
Geltrude's _house._]

_Tognino._ [_From the terrace._] What do you wish, gentlemen?

_Count._ Will the ladies receive us?

_Tognino._ Signora Geltrude is out, and Signorina Candida is resting in
her room.

_Count._ Let us know as soon as she is awake.

_Tognino._ Yes, sir.      [_Exit._

_Count._ Did you hear?

_Baron._ Well, we must just wait. I have to write a letter to Milan; I
will go and write it at the apothecary's. If you will come too--

_Count._ No; I don't like going to that man's house. Go and write your
letter, and I will wait here till the servant calls us.

_Baron._ Very well. As soon as you want me, I am at your service.

_Count._ Count on me, do not fear.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] I do not count on him, and still less on the aunt,
and yet less on the niece. [_Goes to_ Timoteo's.]

_Count._ I will amuse myself with my book, with my beautiful collection
of wonderful fables. [_Pulls out his book, seats himself, and reads._]


SCENE X.

Count. Evarist _comes out of_ Nina's _house._

_Evarist._ Oh, there he is still! I thought he was gone. I can't
think how I was able to fall asleep amid so much distress of mind.
Fatigue--exhaustion. Now I feel born anew with the hopes of having back
the fan.--[_Calls._] Count, your servant.

_Count._ [_Reading and smiling._] Your servant, Signor Evarist.

_Evarist._ Will you permit me to say a few words?

_Count._ [_As above._] In a moment I am at your disposal.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] If he has not got the fan in his hand, I don't
know how to begin speaking about it.

_Count._ [_Gets up laughing, and pockets his book._] Here I am, at your
services.

_Evarist._ [_Searching with his eyes for the fan._] I should be sorry if
I have disturbed you.

_Count._ It does not matter, I will finish reading my fable another
time.

_Evarist._ [_As above._] I should not like you to think me impertinent.

_Count._ What are you looking at? Have I some spot about me?

_Evarist._ Excuse me, I was told you had a fan.

_Count._ [_Confused._] A fan! It is true. Was it perchance you who lost
it?

_Evarist._ Yes, sir, I lost it.

_Count._ But there are many fans in the world. How do you know it is
yours?

_Evarist._ If you would have the kindness to show it to me?

_Count._ My friend, I am sorry you come too late.

_Evarist._ How too late?

_Count._ The fan is no longer in my possession.

_Evarist._ What?

_Count._ No; I gave it away.

_Evarist._ And pray to whom?

_Count._ That is just what I would rather not tell you.

_Evarist._ Count, I must know! I must have back that fan, and I will
know who has it now!

_Count._ I will not tell!

_Evarist._ Heavens and earth, but you shall tell!

_Count._ Do not forget who I am!

_Evarist._ [_Angrily._] I say it, and I will maintain it! This is an
ungentlemanly action!

_Count._ Do you know that I have a couple of loaded pistols?

_Evarist._ What do I care about your pistols? I want my fan!

_Count._ How absurd! So much eagerness and noise for a bit of a fan
which is worth perhaps five paoli!

_Evarist._ Let it be worth whatever it is worth, you cannot know that
for me it is priceless. I would give twenty ducats to have it!

_Count._ You would give twenty ducats!

_Evarist._ If I tell you so, I promise it! If you can get it back I will
gladly sacrifice twenty ducats.

_Count._ [_Aside._] The devil! It must be painted by Titian or Raphael
of Urbino.--I will see if I can get you back the fan.

_Evarist._ If the owner likes to sell it for twenty ducats, I repeat I
am willing.

_Count._ Had I the fan, such a proposal would offend me.

_Evarist._ But perchance it will not offend its present owner.

_Count._ Perchance, who knows? My friend, I assure you, I am quite
confused.

_Evarist._ Let us do like this, Count. This is a gold snuff-box whose
weight alone represents a worth of over twenty ducats. Its workmanship
makes it worth twice as much. Never mind; for that fan I will willingly
give this box. Here it is!

_Count._ [_Holding the box in his hand._] Are there perhaps diamonds on
that fan? I noticed nothing.

_Evarist._ It is not of the faintest value, but it is of worth to me.

_Count._ Then I must try and satisfy you.

_Evarist._ I beg of you!

_Count._ Await me here.--[_Aside._] I am quite confused.--But am I to
give the box in exchange?

_Evarist._ Yes, yes, give it!

_Count._ Wait. [_Walks a few steps._] And if the person gives me the
fan, and does not want the box?

_Evarist._ I have given it to you. Do what you like with your property.

_Count._ In earnest?

_Evarist._ In earnest.

_Count._ [_Aside._] After all, the Baron is a gentleman and my friend.
Because of the twenty ducats I would not accept it, but a gold
snuff-box--that gives an aristocratic, refined, well-to-do
air.--[_Aloud._] Wait for me here. [_Goes into the pharmacy._]

_Evarist._ To justify myself in her eyes I would sacrifice my life, my
heart's blood!


SCENE XI.

Crispino _from out of_ Susanna's _shop. The above. Then the_ Count,
_after_ Nina.

_Crispino._ Oh, there he is! Sir, your servant. Signora Geltrude wishes
to speak with you. She is here in the shop, and begs you to have the
kindness to step in there. She expects you.

_Evarist._ Tell her I am at her service in one moment. I must urgently
speak to some one before.

_Crispino._ Yes, sir. And how are you now--better?

_Evarist._ Much better, I am glad to say.

_Crispino._ I am delighted to hear it. And Nina is well?

_Evarist._ I think so.

_Crispino._ She is a good girl, is Nina.

_Evarist._ Yes, indeed, and I know she loves you dearly.

_Crispino._ And I love her too, but--

_Evarist._ But what?

_Crispino._ I have been told certain things.

_Evarist._ Concerning me, perhaps?

_Crispino._ To say the truth, yes, sir.

_Evarist._ Friend, I am a gentleman, and your Nina is a good, honest
girl.

_Crispino._ I think so too. There are always evil tongues about.

[Count, _coming out of the pharmacy._]

_Evarist._ There now! Go to Signora Geltrude and tell her I shall come
directly.

_Crispino._ Yes, sir. [_Walks away._] I feel easy now that nothing is
wrong here.--[_Aloud as he passes the_ Count.] I commend myself to you
on behalf of Nina.

_Count._ Count on my protection!

_Crispino._ I desire it earnestly. [_Goes into the shop._]

_Evarist._ Well, Count?

_Count._ Here is the fan. [_He shows it him._]

_Evarist._ [_Seizes it eagerly._] Oh, what happiness! How greatly I am
obliged to you!

_Count._ Look whether it be yours.

_Evarist._ Beyond a doubt. [_Wishes to move off._]

_Count._ And the snuff-box?

_Evarist._ Do not let us name that. I am but too grateful. [_Off to_
Susanna's _shop._]

_Count._ What it means not to understand things perfectly! I thought it
a common fan, and now it seems it is worth so much,--so much, in fact,
that it is worth exchanging against a gold snuff-box. No doubt the Baron
would have liked the box. He was vexed that I asked for the fan back,
but when I said I would present it in his name, he was mollified a
little. I will now go and buy one like it.

_Crispino._ [_Returning._] Well, this job is done. I like to serve
Signora Geltrude. So you give me good hopes, Count?

_Count._ Most excellent hopes! To-day is a fortunate day for me, and all
I do in it succeeds.

_Crispino._ Let us hope this will succeed too.

_Count._ Most undoubtedly! Hi, Nina!

_Nina._ [_Comes out of her house testily._] What do you want now?

_Count._ Do not be angered so quickly. I want to do you a service. I
want to marry you.

_Nina._ I don't need you for that.

_Count._ With some one to your taste.

_Nina._ And I say no!

_Count._ With Crispino.

_Nina._ With Crispino?

_Count._ Aha, what do you say now?

_Nina._ With all my heart!

_Count._ There, Crispino, you see what my protection means!

_Crispino._ Yes, sir, I see.


SCENE XII.

Moracchio _from the house. The above._

_Moracchio._ What are you doing here?

_Nina._ What does it matter to you?

_Count._ Nina is going to be married under the ægis of my protection.

_Moracchio._ As you like, sir; and she must consent, whether she like it
or no.

_Nina._ [_Gravely._] Oh, I will consent dutifully.

_Moracchio._ The better for you!

_Nina._ And to show you I consent, I will give my hand to Crispino.

_Moracchio._ [_Amazed._] But--Count--

_Count._ [_Placidly._] Let them be.

_Moracchio._ But, Count, did you not give your word to Coronato?


SCENE XIII.

Coronato _from the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ Who is talking about me?

_Moracchio._ Come here, and behold! The Count wants my sister to
marry--

_Coronato._ [_Anxiously._] Count!

_Count._ I am a just man and a nobleman, a sensible protector and human.
Nina does not want you, and I cannot, and must not, and will not use
violence!

_Nina._ And I want Crispino, though the whole world oppose it!

_Coronato._ [_To_ Moracchio.] And what say you?

_Moracchio._ [_To_ Coronato.] And what say you?

_Coronato._ I don't care a fig! Who does not want me, does not deserve
me!

_Nina._ That is the saying.

_Count._ [_To_ Crispino.] See the results of my protection!

_Coronato._ Count, I have sent the second barrel of wine.

_Count._ Bring me the bill, and I will pay it. [_While speaking, he
pulls out the gold snuff-box, and ostentatiously takes snuff._]

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] He has a gold snuff-box--he can pay.     [_Exit._

_Moracchio._ [_To_ Nina.] Well, you have had your way after all.

_Nina._ So it seems.

_Moracchio._ And if you repent, it will be your affair.

_Count._ She will never need to repent. She has my protection.

_Moracchio._ Bread seems to me better than protection.      [_Exit._

_Count._ And when shall we hold the wedding?

_Crispino._ Soon.

_Nina._ Yes, soon.


SCENE XIV.

Baron _from the pharmacy. The above._

_Baron._ Well, Count, have you seen Signorina
Candida, and have you given her the fan? Why would you not let me have
the pleasure of giving it her myself?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] What! Signor Evarist has not got it!

_Count._ I have not yet seen Signorina Candida, and as for the fan, I
have others, and have destined a better one for her. Oh, here is Signora
Geltrude!


SCENE XV.

Geltrude, Evarist, _and_ Susanna, _all three come out of_ Susanna's
_shop._

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Susanna.] Do me the favour of telling my niece to come
down. I must speak to her.

_Susanna._ I go at once. [_Goes to the villa, knocks, they open, she
enters._]

_Geltrude._ [_Softly to_ Evarist.] I do not wish the Count and the Baron
to go into the house.

_Count._ Signora Geltrude, the Baron and I were just about to visit you.

_Geltrude._ I am obliged for the polite intention. The evening is so
fine, we can talk out of doors.

_Baron._ So you have come back, Signor Evarist?

_Evarist._ [_Curtly._] As you see.


SCENE XVI.

_The above._ Candida.

_Candida._ What does my aunt wish?

_Geltrude._ Let us take a few turns.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Why, there is the false Evarist!

_Geltrude._ But why have you got no fan?

_Candida._ Don't you remember I broke mine this morning?

_Geltrude._ Ah, yes, true; if we could find another.

_Baron._ [_Whispers to_ Count.] Now is the time to give it.

_Count._ [_Aside._] No, not in public.

_Geltrude._ Signor Evarist, you do not happen by chance to have one?

_Evarist._ Here it is, at your service. [_He shows it to_ Geltrude, _but
does not give it to her._]

[Candida _turns aside contemptuously._]

_Baron._ [_Softly to the_ Count.] Your fan! out with your fan!

_Count._ [_As above._] Don't poke me so!

_Baron._ [_As above._] Out with it, I say!

_Count._ [_As above._] Not now, not now!

_Geltrude._ Niece, won't you accept Signor Evarist's polite offer?

_Candida._ No, aunt, excuse me; I don't need it.

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] You see, she does not accept it!

_Baron._ [_To_ Count.] Give it me at once!

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] Do you mean to pick a quarrel?

_Geltrude._ May I ask why you will not accept this fan?

_Candida._ Because it is not mine; because it was not meant for me. It
would not become either you or me were I to accept it.

_Geltrude._ Signor Evarist, can you answer this?

_Evarist._ I can if I may.

_Candida._ Excuse me. [_Turns to leave._]

_Geltrude._ Stay here! I command it. [Candida _obeys._]

_Baron._ [_To_ Count.] What is all this imbroglio?

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] I know nothing about it all.

_Evarist._ Susanna, do you know this fan?

_Susanna._ Yes, sir. It is that you bought from me this morning. I most
imprudently concluded you had bought it for Nina. I confess I was wrong,
but appearances were against you, for in truth you gave the fan to the
girl.

_Evarist._ Nina, why did I give you that fan?

_Nina._ That I might give it to Signorina Candida; but when I went to do
so, the ladies would not let me speak, and turned me out of the house. I
then wanted to give it back to you, and you would not have it, so I gave
it to Crispino.

_Crispino._ And I fell down, and Coronato took it.

_Evarist._ But where is Coronato? How did it leave Coronato's hands?

_Crispino._ Don't call him! As he is not there, I will tell the truth. I
was annoyed, went into the inn to fetch wine, saw it lying about, and
carried it off.

_Evarist._ And what did you do with it then?

_Crispino._ I gave it to the Count.

_Count._ And I gave it to the Baron.

_Baron._ [_Contemptuously._] And then took it back again!

_Count._ Yes, and restored it to Signor Evarist.

_Evarist._ And I present it to Signorina Candida.

[Candida _accepts it with a deep courtesy, smiling sweetly._]

_Baron._ What comedy is all this? what complication have we here? Am I
made ridiculous through your fault?

_Count._ I swear to Heaven, Signor Evarist, I swear to Heaven--

_Evarist._ Come, come, Count, do not distress yourself. We are friends.
Give me a pinch of snuff.

_Count._ [_Offers him the box._] Yes, I am like that; if I am treated
well, I don't excite myself.

_Baron._ You may not, but I do.

_Geltrude._ Baron!

_Baron._ And you, too, helped to make me ridiculous.

_Gertrude._ Excuse me; you don't know me, sir. I have not failed in my
engagements. I listened to your proposals, my niece heard and accepted
them, and I consented with pleasure.

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear? That was because I spoke.

_Baron._ [_To_ Candida.] And you, Signorina Candida, why did you give me
hope? why did you deceive me?

_Candida._ I must ask your forgiveness, sir. I was torn by two
conflicting passions. The desire for revenge made me wish to be yours,
and love gives me back to Evarist.

_Count._ I did not know this.

_Geltrude._ And if you had been a bolder lover and a sincerer friend,
you would not have found yourself in this case.

_Baron._ It is true. I confess my passion, I condemn my weakness; but I
despise the friendship and conduct of the Count. [_He salutes and moves
off._]

_Count._ There, there, it is nothing. Let us be friends. We are joking.
Among colleagues these things are understood. Come, let us think of
these weddings.

_Geltrude._ Let us go into the house, and I hope all will be arranged to
universal satisfaction.

[Candida _fans herself._]

_Geltrude._ Are you contented to have that much-desired fan in your
hands?

_Candida._ I cannot express the measure of my content.

_Geltrude._ A great fan! It has turned all our heads, from the highest
to the lowest.

_Candida._ [_To_ Susanna.] Is it from Paris, this fan?

_Susanna._ Yes, from Paris; I guarantee it.

_Geltrude._ Come, I invite you all to supper, and we will drink to this
fan which did all the harm and brought about all the good.

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