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The Follies of a Day; or, the Marriage of Figaro. A Comedy, as it is now performing at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden. From the French of M. de Beaumarchais by Thomas Holcroft (London: G.G. and J.J. Robinson, 1785).
The second of 3 plays Beaumarchais wrote about a master-servant relationship, Count Almaviva and Figaro, during the social upheavals on the eve of the French revolution. In this play they become rivals for the affections of Suzanne.
The text is in the public domain.
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THOUGH to thank the Public is to thank nobody, since no particular Person takes this Sort of Compliments to himself, yet were I not to feel that Gratitude, which individually I know not where to pay, I were unworthy of past, of present, or of future Favours.
An Author’s Thanks to the World at large may be seen under two very different Aspects: For, to thank the Public is to tell the Public he is successful; which, supposing it true, it would be strange if they did not already know; it appears therefore only to be taking an Opportunity of indulging his Vanity: And yet to thank them seems his Duty, since his Silence might not only be construed a want of Respect, but an arrogant Self-confidence that, when they applauded or approved his Work, they only did him justice. The Reader must determine which of these Faces he will please to view.
I am so well convinced that the best Writer stands in need of Indulgence, and that he only does well by Comparison, and might do much better, that I shall find little Mortification in subscribing to the Opinions of those who shall tell me I am in this latter Predicament.
Readers are divided into two Classes; the one will allow an Author much more than he merits, and the other much less; but the principal Excellencies of The Follies of a Day are so known to be another’s Right, that for me to claim them would be ridiculous. Some, however, have affirmed that it is a mere Translation, who have never seen, read, or heard the Original; if they had, indeed, they would have been still more culpable. Few will trouble themselves to examine the precise Extent of my Claims; nor, if they did, would they have an Opportunity ’till M. de Beaumarchais shall think proper to publish La Folle Journee. The Public in general are so willing to overlook Defects, and applaud wherever they can, that to complain of, or be angry at the Few who seek for, and wish to find, Errors only, can proceed alone from that Self-love which is so inherent and irritable in all bosoms, and so difficult to subdue.
To enumerate all the Obstacles encountered and overcome in bringing this Comedy on the English Stage, would be to indulge this Vanity; which it is every wise Man’s Pride, and every prudent Man’s Interest to resist. It may, however, afford some Pleasure to be informed, that, finding it impossible to procure a Copy of the original French, though a Journey to Paris was undertaken expressly for that Purpose, the Copy made use of in the composing The Follies of a Day, was taken by Memory, only, during eight or nine Representations; that I furnished the Plot, Incidents, Entrances, and Exits, and gave some other occasional Hints; that the remainder was the Work of a young Frenchman, whose Talents and whose Heart are an Ornament and an Honour to his Country; and that, after it was brought to England and received by Mr. Harris, it was translated, cast, copied, recopied, studied, and, in one of its longest Parts, re-studied, and played in little more than a Month. The Attention and Care of Mr. Harris, and the Merits of the respective Performers in playing, as they did, under such Circumstances, need not my Encomiums. Had the Town known the peculiar Exertions, of those especially who performed the longest and most essential Parts, the applause would have been endless. From me they are justly entitled to my warmest and sincerest Thanks.
Feb. 21, 1785.
Spoken by Mr. DAVIES.
|Count Almaviva,||Mr. LEWIS.|
|Don Guzman,||Mr. QUICK.|
|Doctor Bartholo,||Mr. WILSON.|
|Crier of the Court,||Mr. BATES.|
Counsellors, Guards, Vassals.
☞ The Passages put between inverted Commas are omitted in the Representation.
SCENE, the Castle of Count ALMAVIVA.
FIGARO and SUSAN.
(Figaro measuring the chamber with a wand.)
EIGHTEEN feet by twenty-six, good.
What art thou so busy about?
Measuring, to try if the bed our noble Lord intends to give us will stand well here.
In this chamber!
I won’t lie in this chamber.
I tell you I won’t lie in this chamber.
I don’t like it.
What if I have no reason?—What if I don’t chuse to give my reason?
“Ah, ah!—Thus it is when once they think they have us fast.
“Are you, or are you not my most obedient very humble servant?
“Your slave—(Bows very low.)
“But wherefore take exception to the most convenient room in the whole house?
“Yes, yes!—The most convenient!—(Satirically.)
“If during the night my Lady should be taken ill, she rings her bell, and crack!—in two steps thou art standing at her side.—In the morning when my Lord wakes, he calls, I start, and pop—three skips and I am there.
“Very true—And in the morning when my Lord has sent thee on some fine errand of an hour long, he starts from his bed as soon as Mr. Figaro’s back is turn’d, and crack!—in three skips—he—(significantly.)
“(Keeps rubbing his forehead and looking at Susan.) He!
“He!—Dost thou feel any thing?
“(Presses his finger and thumb against his forehead) Buttons!—In pairs!—Mushrooms sprout not so suddenly—Yes, yes—it’s a fruitful spot.”
Thou knowest how our generous Count when he by thy help obtained Rosina’s hand, and made her Countess of Almaviva, during the first transports of love abolished a certain gothic right—
Of sleeping the first night with every Bride.
Which as Lord of the Manor he could claim.
Know it!—To be sure I do, or I would not have married even my charming Susan in his Domain.
Tired of prowling among the rustic beauties of the neighbourhood he returned to the Castle—
And his wife.
And thy wife—(Figaro stares)—Dost thou understand me?
And endeavours, once more, secretly to purchase from her, a right which he now most sincerely repents he ever parted with.
Most gracious Penitent!
This is what he hints to me every instant, and this the faithful Basil, honest agent of his pleasures, and my most noble music master, every day repeats with my lesson.
Indeed! But if tough ashen plant or supple-jack twine not round thy lazy sides, Rascal—
Ha, ha, ha! Why wert thou ever wise enough to imagine the portion the Count intends to give us was meant as a reward for thy services?
I think I had some reason to hope as much.
Lord, lord! What great fools are you men of wit!
I believe so.
I am sure so.
Oh that it were possible to deceive this arch Deceiver, this Lord of mine! To lead him into some excellent snare, pocket his gold and—
Hah! Now thou art in thy element—Gold and intrigue—Plots and purses—But let him that diggeth a pit beware he—
I’ll try—“The Lover’s jealousy and the Husband’s shame shall not deter me”—Your trick, most noble Count, is common place—A thousand blundering Boobies have had art enough to filch a Wife from the side of her sleeping, simple, unsuspecting Spouse, and if he complained, to redress his injuries with a cudgel—But to turn the tables on this Poacher, make him pay for a delicious morsel he shall never taste, infect him with fears for his own honor, to—
(The bell rings) Hark! My Lady is awake—I must run, for she has several times strictly charged me to be the first at her bedside the morning of my marriage.
Why the first?
The old saying tells us, that to meet a young Bride the first on the morning of her wedding-day is lucky to a neglected wife. (Going.)
Prithee, my Susan, give me a kiss before thou goest—It will quicken my wits, and lend imagination a new impulse.
To be sure!—But if I kiss my Lover to-day what will my Husband say to me to-morrow? (seems to refuse, Figaro kisses her). Pshaw Figaro! when wilt thou cease to trifle thus from morning till night (playfully).
When I may trifle from night to morning (in the same tone).
There, there—There’s all the kisses I shall give. (Kisses her hand at him and runs, he pursues to the side.)
Stop, stop, you cheating little knave; that was not the way you received them. (Returns) A sweet Girl! An Angel! Such wit! Such grace! and so much prudence and modesty too!—I am a happy fellow!—So Mr. Basil! Is it me, Rascal, you mean to practice the tricks of your trade upon?—I’ll teach you to put your spoon in my milk—But hold—Dissemble is the word—Feign we ignorance and endeavour to catch them in their own traps—I wondered why the Count, who had made me Steward and Inspector-general of the Castle, should change his mind so suddenly, and want to take me with him on his embassy to Paris, there to institute me his Messenger in ordinary—A cunning contrivance that—He, Plenipotentiary in chief, I, a break-neck Politician, and Susan, Lady of the back-stairs, Ambassadress of the bed-chamber—I dashing through thick and thin and wearing myself to a skeleton, for the good of my most gracious Lord’s family, and he labouring, night and day, for the increase of mine—Really, most honorable Count, you are too kind—What to represent his Majesty and me both at once—It’s too much, too much by half—A moment’s reflection friend Figaro on the events of the day—First, thou must promote the Sports and Feasting already projected, that appearances may not cool, but that thy Marriage may proceed with greater certainty; next, keep off one madam Marcelina, whose liquorish mouth waters at thee, and to whom thou hast given a Promise of Marriage, in default of the repayment of certain borrowed Sums which it would be very convenient to thy affairs never more to mention—Talk of the Devil and—
Enter Doctor BARTHOLO and MARCELINA.
Good-morrow to Mr. Bridegroom.
Good-morrow to madam Marcelina—What! My old fat friend the Doctor! Are you there?
Yes, Knave’s face.
As witty, I perceive, and no doubt as wise as ever—And have you been complaisant enough to come thus far to see me married?
To see thee hang’d.
Most kind Doctor—But who takes care of your Mule? I know you have as much mercy on your Beast as you have on your Patient.
Do you hear him?
And you, gentle Marcelina, do you still wish to marry me—What, because I cannot fall in love with you, would you drive me to hate you?
The Rascal will never mend.
’Tis you, Doctor, will never mend—“You are so eternally wise, dull and slow, that when a Patient has need of your assistance he may die before you get to him, like as formerly your Mistress got married in spite of your precautions.”
Was it to entertain me thus agreeably that you sent for me in such haste from Seville?
Not entirely for that.
What then—Is any body ill? Is the Count indisposed?
No, it is the Countess who is indisposed.
What the artful, the deceitful Rosina? What’s her disorder?
A faithless Husband.
A very common complaint indeed.
The Count forsakes her, and falls in love with every fresh face.
I am glad of it—I am glad of it—I foresaw it—I thought Count Almaviva would revenge the wrongs of Doctor Bartholo.
After toying with a thousand neighbouring Beauties, he now returns to the castle to terminate the marriage of Susan and Figaro.
Which he himself has made necessary.
Oh no—But at which he wishes to act rather as a Principal than an Agent.
In private with the Bride.
She I suppose has no great objection.
Charitable Doctor—Basil, however, her music master, who takes great pains to instruct her, says to the contrary.
Basil! What is that other Rascal here too?—Why the house is a den of Thieves—What does he do here?
All the mischief he can—He persecutes me with his odious love unceasingly; I cannot get rid of him.
Marry him—I’ll answer for his cure.
That’s what he wants—But pray Doctor, why will not you get rid of me by the same means? The claims of Justice and oaths out of number should—
So so so so—What is the matrimonial furor come upon you again?
Our long lost son, Fernando! the dear pledge of my virgin love! were he but found, perhaps—
And so you sent for me to hear this stale rhodomontade?
“And are you, now you have lost your Rosina, as inflexible and unjust as ever?”
Well—Since you are determined never to marry me yourself, will you have the complaisance to aid me in marrying another?
With all my heart!—With all my heart!—
But who?—What miserable Mortal, abandoned of Heaven and Women—
Who but the amiable, the gay, the ever sprightly Figaro?
Figaro! That Rascal!
Youthful and generous!
As a Highwayman.
As a Nobleman—
Pshaw, impossible! what on the very day he is going to marry another?
“Things more improbable have come to pass.
“But your motive?
“For you, Doctor, I have no secrets.
“Women seldom have for Doctors.
“I own our sex, though timid, is ardent in the pursuit of pleasure. There is, in all our bosoms, a small still voice which unceasing cries—Woman, be as beautiful as thou canst, as virtuous as thou wilt, but, at all events, be conspicuous, be talk’d about; for thy Wisdom, if thou hast it—if not for thy Folly.
“She utters Oracles—Well, well, accomplish this, and I will engage you shall be talk’d about.”
We must endeavour to work upon Susan by fear and shame, for the more obstinately she refuses the amorous offers of the Count, the more effectually she will serve our purpose; disappointment and revenge will lead him to support my cause, and as he is sovereign Judge in his own Lordship, his power may make Figaro’s promise of marriage to me valid.
Promise—Has he given you any such promise?
A written one—You shall see it.
By Galen, this is excellent! The rascal shall marry my old House-keeper, and I shall be revenged for the tricks he lately played me, and the hundred pistoles he contrived to cheat me of.
(transported) Yes, yes, Doctor! I shall have him! He shall marry me! He shall marry me!
Enter SUSAN, with a gown on her arm, and a cap and riband of the Countess, in her hand.
Marry you! Who is to marry you? Not my Figaro, I assure you, madam.
Why not me, as soon as you, madam?
Indeed! your most obedient, madam.
(aside) So now for a merry scolding match.—We were saying, handsome Susan, how happy Figaro must be in such a Bride—
(Susan curtsies to the Doctor.)
Not to mention the secret satisfaction of my Lord the Count.
Dear madam, you are so abundantly kind.
Not so abundant in kindness, as a liberal young Lord—But I own it is very natural, he should partake the pleasures he so freely bestows upon his Vassals.
(half angry) Partake—Happily madam, your Envy is as obvious, and your Slander as false, as your Claims on Figaro are weak and ill founded.
“If they are weak, it is because I wanted the art to strengthen them, after the manner of madam.
“Yet madam has ever been reckoned a mistress of her art.
“I hope, madam, I shall always have your good word, madam.(Curtsies.)
“Oh, I can assure you, madam, you have nothing to regret on that score, madam.”
The young Lady is really a very pretty kind of Person—
(with a contemptuous side glance.)
Oh yes (mimicking) The young Lady is at least as pretty as the old Lady.
“And very respectable.
“Respectable! Oh no, that is the characteristic of a Duenna.
“A Duenna! A Duenna!
(coming between them) “Come, come—
“I—I—You—your very humble servant, madam.
“Your most devoted, madam.”
(Exeunt Doctor and Marcelina.)
Adieu, madam—this old Sibyl, because she formerly tormented the infancy of my Lady, thinks she has a right to domineer over every person in the Castle—I declare I have forgot what I came for. (Susan hangs the gown on a great arm chair that stands in the room, and keeps the cap and riband of the Countess in her hand.)
Enter HANNIBAL the Page, running.
So, Youth! What do you do here?
Good morrow, Susan—I have been watching these two hours to find you alone.
Well, what have you to say, now you have found me?
(Childishly amorous) How does your beauteous Lady do, Susan?
(Poutingly) Do you know, Susan, my Lord is going to send me back to my Pappa and Mamma?
Child indeed!—Umph!—And if my charming God-mother, your dear Lady, cannot obtain my pardon, I shall soon be deprived of the pleasure of your company, Susan.
Upon my word!—He is toying all day long with Agnes, and is, moreover, in love with my Lady, and then comes to tell me he shall be deprived of my company. (Aside.)
Agnes is good natured enough to listen to me, and that is more than you are, Susan, for all I love you so.
Love me!—Why you amorous little villain, you are in love with every Woman you meet.
So I am, Susan, and I can’t help it—If no-body is by, I swear it to the trees, the waters, and the winds, nay, to myself—Yesterday I happened to meet Marcelina—
Marcelina! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
Why, she is a Woman, Susan.
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
And what’s more, unmarried? Oh how sweet are the words Woman, Maiden, and Love, in my ear!
Ha! ha! ha!—He’s bewitch’d!—And what is the Count going to send you from the Castle for?
Last night, you must know, he caught me in the chamber with Agnes; begone, said he, thou little—
Lord, he called me such a name, I can’t for shame repeat it before a woman.
And what were you doing in the chamber of Agnes?
Teaching her her part.
Yes, the love scene, you know, she is to play in the Comedy this evening.
Which my Lord would chuse to teach her himself. (aside.)
Agnes is very kind, Susan.
Well, well, I’ll tell the Countess what you say—But you are a little more circumspect in her presence.
Ah Susan, she is a Divinity! How noble is her manner! Her very smiles are awful!
That is to say, you can take what liberties you please with such people as me.
Oh how do I envy thy happiness, Susan! Always near her! Dressing her every morning! Undressing her every evening! Putting her to bed! Touching her! Looking at her! Speaking to—What is it thou hast got there, Susan?
(Counterfeiting the amorous air, and animatedtone of the Page.) It is the fortunate riband of the happy cap, which at night enfolds the auburn ringlets of the beauteous Countess.
Give it me—Nay, give it me—I will have it.
But I say you shan’t (the Page snatches it, and runs round the great chair, dodging Susan) Oh my riband!
Be as angry as thou wilt, but thou shalt never have it again, thou shouldst have one of my eyes rather.
I can venture to predict, young gentleman, that three or four years hence, thou wilt be one of the most deceitful veriest Knaves—
If thou dost not hold thy tongue, Susan, I’ll kiss thee into the bargain.
Kiss me!—Do not come near me, if thou lov’st thy ears—I say, beg my Lord to forgive you, indeed! No I assure you—“I shall say to him, you do very right, my Lord, to send this little Rascal packing, who is not only in love with my Lady, but wants to kiss other folks into the bargain.”
“How can I help it, Susan”? Here, take this paper.
It contains a Song I have written on thy beauteous Lady, my charming God-mother.
Ah! I’m undone!—’Tis my Lord! (The Page crouches down, and hides himself behind Susan’s petticoats and the great chair.)
Enter Count ALMAVIVA.
(Page remains hid behind the great chair.)
So, charming Susan, have I found thee at last? But thou seemest frightened my little Beauty.
Consider, my Lord, if any body should come and catch you here—
That would be rather mal-a-propos; but there’s no great danger.
(The Count offers to kiss Susan.)
Fie, my Lord! (The Count seats himself in the great chair, and endeavours to pull Susan on his knee, who resists.)
Thou knowest, my charming Susan, the King has done me the honour to appoint me Ambassador to the court of Paris. I shall take Figaro with me, and give him a very—excellent post; and as it is the duty of a Wife to follow her Husband, we shall then have every opportunity we could wish.
I really don’t understand you, my Lord. I thought your affection for my Lady, whom you took so much pains to steal from her old Guardian, Dr. Bartholo, and for love of whom you generously abolished a certain vile privilege.—
For which all the young girls are very sorry; are they not?
No indeed, my Lord—I thought, my Lord, I say—
Prithee say no more, my sweet Susan, but promise thou wilt meet me this evening, at twilight, by the Pavilion in the garden; and be certain, that if thou wilt but grant me this small favour, nothing thou canst ask shall—
(without.) He is not in his own room.
Heavens! Here’s somebody coming!
Where can I hide! Is there no place here? (The Count runs to get behind the great chair, Susan keeps between him and the Page, who steals away as the Count advances, leaps into the great chair, with his legs doubled under him, and is covered over with the Countess’s gown, by Susan.)
Ah, Susan, Good morrow—Is my lord the Count here?
Here! What should he be here for?
Nay, there would be no miracle in it if he were: would there, hey gentle Susan?
(Smiles and leers at her.)
It would be a greater miracle to see you honest.
Figaro is in search of him.
Then he is in search of the man who wishes most to injure him—yourself excepted.
It is strange, that a man should injure the Husband by obliging the Wife.
(The Count peeps from behind the great chair.)
I shall hear, now, how well he pleads my cause.
For my part, Marriage being, of all serious things, the greatest Farce, I imagined—
All manner of wickedness.
That though you are obliged to fast today, you might be glad to feed to-morrow, grace being first duly said.
Be gone, and do not shock my ears with your vile principles.
Yes, my pretty Susan, but you must not suppose I am the dupe of these fine appearances. I know it isn’t Figaro who is the great obstacle to my Lord’s happiness, but a certain beardless Page, whom I surprised here, this morning, looking for you as I entered.
I wish you would be gone, you wicked—Devil.
Wicked Devil! Ah, one is a wicked Devil for not shutting one’s eyes.
I wish you would be gone, I tell you.
Was it not for you that he wrote the Song, which he goes chanting up and down the house, at every instant?
O yes! For me, to be sure!
At least it was either for you, or your Lady.
Why really, when he sits at table, he does cast certain very significant glances towards a beauteous Countess, who shall be nameless—But let him beware! If my Lord catches him at his tricks, he’ll make him dance without music.
Nobody, but such a wicked creature as you, could ever invent such scandalous tales, to the ruin of a poor Youth, who has unhappily fallen into his Lord’s disgrace.
I invent! Why it is in every body’s mouth.
(The Count discovers himself, and comes forward.)
How! In every body’s mouth!
Run, Basil, let him have fifty pistoles and a horse given him, and sent back to his friends instantly.
I’m very sorry, my Lord, I happened to speak—
I’m quite suffocated. (Susan seems almost ready to faint, the Count supports her, and Basil assists.)
Let us seat her in this great chair, Basil.
(Frightened, and exclaims) No!—I won’t sit down!—(After a pause)—This wicked fellow has ruined the poor boy.
I assure you, my Lord, what I said, was only meant to sound Susan.
No matter, he shall depart! A little, wanton, impudent Rascal, that I meet at every turning—No longer ago than yesterday I surprised him with the Gardiner’s daughter.
In her very bed-chamber.
Where my Lord happened to have business himself.
Hem!—I was going there to seek your uncle Antonio, Susan, my drunken Gardiner; I knock’d at the door, and waited some time; at last Agnes came, with confusion in her countenance—I entered, cast a look round, and perceiving a kind of long Cloak, or Curtain, or some such thing, approach’d, and without seeming to take the least notice, drew it gently aside, thus—Hey!
Zounds! (The Count, during his speech, approaches the arm chair, and acting his description draws aside the gown that hides the Page. They all stand motionless with surprise, for some time.)
Why, this is a better trick than t’other!
No!—I won’t sit down!
(To Susan) And so it was to receive this pretty Youth, that you were so desirous of being alone—And you, you little Villain, what you don’t intend to mend your manners then? But forgetting all respect for your friend Figaro, and for the Countess your Godmother, likewise, you are endeavouring here to seduce her favourite woman! I, however (turning towards Basil) shall not suffer Figaro, a man—whom—I esteem—sincerely—to fall the Victim of such deceit—Did he enter with you, Basil?
No, my Lord.
There is neither Victim nor deceit in the case, my Lord. He was here when you entered.
I hope that’s false: his greatest Enemy could not wish him so much mischief.
Knowing that you were angry with him, the poor Boy came running to me, begging me to solicit my Lady in his favour, in hopes she might engage you to forgive him; but was so terrified, as soon as he heard you coming, that he hid himself in the great Chair.
A likely story—I sat down in it, as soon as I came in.
Yes, my Lord, but I was then trembling behind it.
That’s false, again, for I hid myself behind it, when Basil entered.
(Timidly) Pardon me, my Lord, but as you approach’d, I retired, and crouched down as you now see me.
(Angrily) It’s a little Serpent that glides into every crevice—And he has been listening too to our discourse!
Indeed, my Lord, I did all I could not to hear a word.
(To Susan) There is no Figaro, no Husband for you, however.
Somebody is coming; get down.
Enter the COUNTESS, FIGARO, AGNES, and VASSALS, in their holiday cloaths. Figaro carrying the nuptial cap—The Count runs and plucks the Page from the great chair, just as they enter.
What! Would you continue crouching there before the whole world?
(The Count and Countess salute.
We are come, my Lord, to beg a favour, which we hope, for your Lady’s sake, you will grant. (Aside to Susan) Be sure to second what I say.
It will end in nothing. (Aside.
No matter: let us try, at least. (Aside.
You see, my Lord, I am supposed to have a much greater degree of influence over you than I really possess.
Oh no, my Lady; not an atom, I assure you.
(Presenting the cap to the Count) Our petition is, that the Bride may have the honor of receiving from our worthy Lord’s hand, this Nuptial-Cap; ornamented with half-blown roses, and white ribbands, Symbols of the purity of his intentions.
Do they mean to laugh at me? (Aside.
“And as you have been kindly pleased to abolish that abominable right, which, as Lord of the Manor, you might have claimed, permit us, your Vassals, to celebrate your praise, in a rustic Chorus I have prepared for this occasion. The Virtues of so good a master should not remain unsung.
“A Lover, a Poet, and a Musician!—These titles, Figaro, might perhaps merit our indulgence, if”—
Let me beg, my Lord, you will not deny their request: in the name of that Love you once had for me.
And have still, Madam.
Figaro, Join with me, my friends.
Why should your Lordship refuse Eulogiums which you merit so well?
Oh the Traitress. (Aside) Well, well,—I consent.
Look at her, my Lord; never could a more beauteous Bride better prove the greatness of the sacrifice you have made.
Oh do not speak of my Beauty, but of his Lordship’s Virtues.
My Virtues!—Yes, yes,—I see they understand each other. (Aside) Who can tell me where is Marcelina?
I met her, my Lord, just now, in the close walk by the park wall, along with Doctor Bartholo. She seemed in a passion, and the Doctor tried to pacify her. I heard her mention my Cousin Figaro’s name.
(Aside) No Cousin yet, my dear; and perhaps never may be.
(Pointing to the Page) Have you forgiven what happened yesterday, my Lord?
(Afraid lest the Countess should hear, and chucking Agnes under the chin) Hush!
(To the Page) What’s the matter, young Hanibal the brave? What makes you so silent?
He is sorrowful because my Lord is going to send him from the castle.
Oh pray, my Lord!
Let me beg you will forgive him.
He does not deserve to be forgiven.
Consider, he is so young.
(Half aside) Not so young, perhaps, as you suppose.
My Lord certainly has not ceded away the right to pardon.
And if he had, that would certainly be the first he would secretly endeavour to reclaim. (Looking significantly at the Count and Figaro, by turns.)
(Understanding her) No doubt: no doubt.
My conduct, my Lord, may have been indiscreet, but I can assure your Lordship, that never the least word shall pass my lips—
(Interrupting him) Enough, enough—Since every body begs for him, I must grant—I shall moreover give him a Company in my Regiment.
Thanks noble Count.
But on condition that he depart immediately for Catalonia to join the Corps.
Oh my Lord?
To morrow my Lord.
To day! It shall be so. (To the Page) Take leave of your Godmother, and beg her protection. (The Page kneels to the Countess with a sorrowful air. As he approaches to kneel, he goes very slowly and Figaro gently pushes him forward.)
Go, go, Child; go.
(With great emotion) Since—it is not possible—to obtain leave—for you to remain here to day, depart, young man, and follow the noble career which lies before you—Forget not those with whom you have spent some of the first years of your life, and among whom you have friends who wish you every success—Go where Fortune and Glory call—Be obedient, polite, and brave, and be certain we shall take part in your Prosperity.
You seem agitated Madam.
How can I help it, recollecting the perils to which his youth must be exposed? He has been bred in the same house with me, is of the same kindred, and is likewise my Godson.
(Aside) Basil I see was in the right.—(Turns to the Page) Go; kiss Susan for the last time.
(The Page and Susan approach, Figaro steps between them and intercepts the Page.)
Oh! There’s no occasion for kissing, my Lord: he’ll return in the winter, and in the mean time he may kiss me—The scene must now be changed my delicate Youth: you must not run up stairs and down, into the Women’s Chambers, play at Hunt-the-slipper, steal Cream, suck Oranges, and live upon Sweetmeats. Instead of that, Zounds! You must look bluff! Tan your face! Handle your musket! Turn to the right! Wheel to the left! And march to Glory.—At least if you are not stopt short by a Bullet.
(Terrified.) What a Prophecy!
Were I a Soldier I would make some of them scamper—But, come, come, my friends; let us prepare our feast against the evening. Marcelina I hear intends to disturb our Diversions.
That she will I can assure you. (Aside) I must go and send for her. (going.)
You will not leave us, my Lord?
I am undrest, you see.
We shall see nobody but our own servants.
I must do what you please. Wait for me in the study, Basil.
Exeunt Count, Countess, and Vassals.
Manent Figaro, Basil and Page.
(Retains the Page) Come, come; let us study our parts well for the Play in the evening: and do not let us resemble those Actors who never play so ill as on the first night of a Piece; when Criticism is most watchful to detect Errors, and when they ought to play the best—“We shall not have an opportunity of playing better to-morrow.”
My part is more difficult than you imagine.
Figaro, And you may be rewarded for it, in a manner you little expect. [Aside.
You forget, Figaro, that I am going.
And you wish to stay?
(In the same sorrowful tone.)
(Sighs.) Ah yes,
Follow my advice, and so thou shalt.
Make no murmuring, but clap on your boots, and seem to depart; gallop as far as the Farm, return to the Castle on foot, enter by the back way, and hide yourself till I can come to you.
And who shall teach Agnes her part, then?
Why, what the devil have you been about, young Gentleman, for these eight days past, during which you have hardly ever left her? Take care, Hannibal, take care, or your Scholar will give her Tutor a bad character.—Ah Hannibal! Hannibal! The Pitcher that goes often to the Well—
Listen to the Pedant and his Proverb.—Well, and what says the wisdom of Nations—The pitcher that goes often to the well—
Stands a chance, sometime, to return full.
Not so foolish as I thought.
End of ACT I.
SCENE, the COUNTESS’s Bed-Chamber.
(A state-bed in the back ground under an Alcove: three doors; one the entrance into the room, another into Susan’s room, and the third to the Countess’s dressing-room: a large window that opens to the street.)
The COUNTESS seated, SUSAN waiting.
SHUT the door—And so the Page was hid behind the great chair?
But how did he happen to be in your room, Susan?
The poor Boy came to beg I would prevail on you to obtain his pardon of my Lord the Count.
But why did not he come to me himself? I should not have refused him a favor of that kind.
Bashfulness, Madam. Ah Susan! said he, she is a Divinity! How noble is her Manner! Her, very smiles are awful.
(Smiling) Is that true, Susan?
Can you doubt it, Madam?
I have always afforded him my protection.
Had you, Madam, but seen him snatch the ribband from me!
(Rising) Pshaw! Enough of this nonsense—And so my Lord the Count endeavours to seduce you, Susan?
Susan, Oh, no indeed, Madam, he does not give himself the trouble to seduce; he endeavours to purchase me: and because I refuse him will certainly prevent my marriage with Figaro, and support the pretensions of Marcelina.
Fear nothing—We shall have need, however, of a little artifice perhaps; in the execution of which Figaro’s assistance may not be amiss.
He will be here, Madam, as soon as my Lord is gone a coursing.
Your Lord is an ungrateful man, Susan!—An ungrateful man! (The Countess walks up and down the room with some emotion) Open the window; I am stifled for want of air—Vows, protestations and tenderness are all forgotten—My Love offends, my Caresses disgust—He thinks his own Infidelities must all be overlook’d, yet my Conduct must be irreproachable.
(At the window looking into the street). Yonder goes my Lord with all his Grooms and Greyhounds.
To divert himself with hunting a poor timid harmless Hare to death—This, however, will give us time—Somebody knocks, Susan.
“For Figaro’s the lad, is the lad for me.”
(Goes singing to the Door.)
(He kisses Susan’s hand, she makes signs to him to be more prudent, and points to the Countess.)
Well, Figaro, you have heard of my Lord the Count’s designs on your young Bride.
Oh yes, my Lady. There was nothing very surprising in the news. My Lord sees a sweet, young, lovely—Angel! (Susan curtsies) and wishes to have her for himself. Can any thing be more natural? I wish the very same—
I don’t find it so very pleasant, Figaro.
He endeavours to overturn the schemes of those who oppose his wishes; and in this he only follows the example of the rest of the world. I endeavour to do the very same.
But with less probability of success, Figaro.
Follow my advice, and I’ll convince you of your mistake.
Let me hear.
You, my lovely Susan, must appoint the Count to meet him, as he proposed, this evening, by the Pavillion in the Garden.
How! Figaro! Can you consent?
And why not, Madam?
But if you can, sir, do you think I—
Nay, my Charmer, do not imagine I would wish thee to grant him any thing thou wishest to refuse—But first we must dress up the Page in your cloaths, my dear Susan; he is to be your Representative.
He is gone.
Is he?—Perhaps so. But a whistle from me will bring him back. (The Countess seems pleased.)
So! Now Figaro’s happy!—Plots and Contrivances—
Two! Three! Four at a time! Embarrass’d! Involv’d! Perplex’d!—Leave me to unravel them. I was born to thrive in Courts.
I have heard the Trade of a Courtier is not so difficult as some pretend.
Ask for every thing that falls, seize every thing in your power, and accept every thing that’s offered—There is the whole art and mystery in three words.
Well, but the Count, Figaro?
Permit me, Madam, to manage him—And first, the better to secure my property, I shall begin by making him dread the loss of his own.—“Oh, what pleasure shall I have in cutting out Employment for him during the whole day!—To see him waste that time in jealously-watching your conduct, Madam, which he meant to employ in amorous dalliance with my sweet Bride—To behold him running here and there and he does not know where, and hunting a monstrous Shadow, which he dreads to find, yet longs to grasp.”
Surely, Figaro, you are out of your wits.
Pardon, my dear Lady, but it is your good Lord who will soon be out of his wits.
But as you know him to be so jealous, how will you dare?—
Oh, Madam! Were he not jealous, my scheme would not be worth a doit: but it will now serve a double purpose—The Jewel which Possession has made him neglect, will again become valuable, if once he can be brought to dread its loss.
To confess the truth, Figaro, your project exactly corresponds with the one I meant to practise—An anonymous Letter must be sent, informing him, that a Gallant, meaning to profit by his neglect—
And absence—is at present with his beauteous Countess—The thing is already done, Madam.
How!—Have you dared to trifle thus with a Woman of Honor?
Oh, Madam, it is only with a Woman of Honor I should presume to take a liberty like this; least my Joke should happen to prove a Reality.
(Smiles). You don’t want an agreeable excuse, Figaro.
The hour of performing the mariage ceremony will arrive poste haste—he will be disconcerted, and having no good excuse ready, will never venture in your presence, Madam, to oppose our union.
But if he will not, Marcelina will; and thou wilt be condemned to pay—
Poh! Thou hast forgot the Count is our Judge!—And, after being entrapp’d at the rendezvous, will he condemn us, thinkest thou?—But come, come, we must be quick—I’ll send the Page hither to be dress’d—We must not lose a moment.
(Examining her head dress in a pocket looking-glass). What a hideous cap this is, Susan; its quite awry—This Youth who is coming—
Ah, Madam! Your Beauty needs not the addition of Art in his eyes.
And my hair too—I assure you, Susan, I shall be very severe with him.
(Smoothing the Countess’s hair). Let me spread this Curl a little, Madam—Oh, pray Madam, make him sing the song he has written.
(Susan throws the song into the Countess’s lap, which the Page had given her.)
I shall tell him of all the complaints I hear against him.
Oh yes, Madam; I can see you will scold him, heartily.
(Seriously). What do you say, Susan?
(Goes to the door). Come; come in Mr. Soldier.
(Susan pretends to threaten him by signs.)
Well, young gentleman, (With assumed severity)—How innocent he looks, Susan! (Aside to Susan).
And how bashful, Madam!
(Resuming her serious air). Have you reflected on the duties of your new Profession?
(The Page imagines the Countess is angry, and timidly draws back.)
(Aside to the Page). Ay, ay, young Rake, I’ll tell all I know.—(Returns to the Countess). Observe his downcast eyes, Madam, and long eyelashes.—(Aside to the Page) Yes, Hypocrite, I’ll tell.
(Seeing the Page more and more fearful). Nay, Hannibal—don’t—be terrified—I—Come nearer.
(Pushing him towards the Countess). Advance, Modesty.
Poor Youth, he is quite affected—I am not angry with you; I was only going to speak to you on the duties of a Soldier—Why do you seem so sorrowful?
Alas, Madam, I may well be sorrowful! Being, as I am, obliged to leave a Lady so gentle and so kind—
And so beautiful—(In the same tone and half aside.)
Ah, yes! (Sighs).
(Mimicking). Ah, yes!—Come, come, let me try on one of my Gowns upon you—Come here—Let us measure—I declare the little Villain is not so tall as I am.
Turn about—Let me untie your cloak.
(Susan takes off the Page’s cloak.)
But suppose somebody should come?
Dear, my Lady, we are not doing any harm—I’ll lock the door, however, for fear—(The Page casts a glance or two at the Countess, Susan returns) Well! Have you nothing to say to my beauteous Lady, and your charming God mother?
(Sighs). Oh, yes! That I am sure I shall love her as long as I live!
Esteem, you mean, Hannibal.
Ye—ye—yes—Es--teem! I should have said.
(Laughs). Yes, yes, Esteem! The poor Youth overflows with Es-teem and Aff--ection—and—
Um! (Aside to Susan).
Nia, nia, nia, (Mocking the Page).—Dear, Madam, do make him sing those good-for-nothing Verses.
(Takes the verses Susan gave her, from her pocket) Pray who wrote them?
(Pointing to the Page). Look, Madam, look! His sins rise in his face—Nobody but an Author could look so silly—
Come, Hannibal, sing.
Ah, the bashful Scribbler!
(During the song the Countess is evidently affected by the Passion with which the Page sings.
Now let us try whether one of my Caps—
There is one of mine lies on my dressing-table. (Exit Susan to the dressing room of the Countess.)—Is your Commission made out?
Oh yes, Madam, and given me. Here it is.
(Presents his commission to the Countess.)
Already? They have made haste I see! They are not willing to lose a moment—Their hurry has made them even forget to affix the Seal.
(Returns) The Seal! To what, Madam?
I was observing, there has been no time lost. (Returns the Page his Commission; he sticks it in his girdle.)
Come—(Makes the Page kneel down, and puts him on the cap) What a pretty little Villain it is! I declare I am jealous: see if he is not handsomer than I am! Turn about—There—What’s here?—The riband!—So, so, so! Now all is out! I’m glad of it—I told my young Gentleman I would let you know his thievish tricks, Madam.
Fetch me some black patches Susan.
(Exit Susan to her own chamber.
The Countess and the Page remain mute for a considerable time during which the Page looks at the Countess with great passion, though with the bashful side glances natural to his character—The Countess pretends not to observe him, and visibly makes several efforts to overcome her own feelings.)
And—and—so—you—you are sorry—to leave us?
(Observing the Page’s heart so full that he is ready to burst into tears) ’Tis that good-for-nothing Figaro who has frightened the child with his prognostics.
(Unable to contain himself any longer) N-o-o-o indee-ee-eed, Madam, I-I-am o-on-only-griieved to part from-so dear a-La-a-ady.
(Takes out her handkerchief and wipes his eyes) Nay, but don’t weep, don’t weep—Come, come, be comforted. (A knocking is heard at the Countesses chamber door) Who’s there? (In an authoritative tone.)
The Count speaks without.
Open the door, my Lady.
Heavens! It is the Count!—I am ruined!—If he finds the Page here after receiving Figaro’s anonymous Letter I shall be for ever lost!—What imprudence!
(Without) Why don’t you open the door?
Alone! Who are you talking to then!
To you, to be sure—How could I be so thoughtless—This villainous Figaro.
After the scene of the great chair this morning he will certainly murder me if he finds me here.
Run into my dressing-room and lock the door on the inside. (The Countess opens the door to the Count.)
Enter the COUNT.
You did not use to lock yourself in, when you were alone, Madam! Who were you speaking to?
(Endeavouring to conceal her agitation) To—To Susan, who is rumaging in her own room.
But you seem agitated, Madam.
That is not impossible (affecting to take a serious air) We were speaking of you.
Your jealousy, your indifference, my Lord.
“I cannot say for indifference, my Lady, and as for jealousy, you know best whether I have any cause.
“In short, my Lady, there are people in the world, who are malicious enough to wish to disturb either your repose or mine. I have received private advice that a certain Thing called a Lover—
“Ay, or Gallant, or any other title you like best, meant to take advantage of my absence, and introduce himself into the Castle.
“If there even were any one audacious enough to make such an attempt, he would find himself disappointed of meeting me; for I shall not stir out of my room to day.
“What, not to the Wedding?
I am indisposed.
“Its lucky then that the Doctor is here.” (The Page oversets a table in the Countess’s dressing-room.)
(Terrified.) What will become of me? (Aside.)
What noise is that?
I heard no noise.
No? You must be most confoundedly absent, then.
(Affecting to return his irony) Oh, to be sure.
But there is somebody in your dressing-room, Madam.
Who should there be?
That’s what I want to know.
It is Susan, I suppose, putting the chairs and tables to rights.
What! Your favourite woman turned house-maid! You told me just now she was in her own room.
In her room, or my room, it is all one.
Really, my Lady, this Susan of yours is a very nimble, convenient kind of person.
Really, my Lord, this Susan of mine disturbs your quiet very much.
Very true, my Lady, so much that I am determined to see her.
These suspicions are very much to your credit, my Lord.
If they are not to your discredit, my Lady, it is very easy to remove them—But I see you mean to trifle with me (he goes to the Countess’s dressing-room door, and calls) Susan! Susan! If Susan you are, come forth!
Very well, my Lord! Very well! Would you have the girl come out half undressed? She is trying on one of my left off dresses—To disturb female privacy, in this manner, my Lord, is certainly very unprecedented. (During the warmth of this dispute, Susan comes from her own room, perceives what is passing, and after listening long enough to know how to act, slips, unseen by both, behind the curtains of the bed which stands in the Alcove.)
Well, if she can’t come out, she can answer at least. (Calls) Susan!—Answer me, Susan.
I say, do not answer, Susan! I forbid you to speak a word!—We shall see who she’ll obey.
But if you are so innocent, Madam, what is the reason of that emotion and perplexity so very evident in your countenance?
(Affecting to laugh) Emotion and perplexity! Ha! ha! ha! Ridiculous!
Well, Madam, be it as ridiculous as it may, I am determined to be satisfied, and I think present appearances give me a sufficient plea. (Goes to the side of the Scenes and calls) Hollo! Who waits there?
Do, do, my Lord! Expose your jealousy to your very servants! Make yourself and me the jest of the whole world.
Why do you oblige me to it?—However, Madam, since you will not suffer that door to be opened, will you please to accompany me while I procure an instrument to force it?
To be sure, my Lord! To be sure! If you please.
And, in order that you may be fully justified, I will make this other door fast (Goes to Susan’s chamber door, locks it, and takes the key.) As to the Susan of the dressing-room, she must have the complaisance to wait my return.
This behaviour is greatly to your honor, my Lord! (This speech is heard as they are going through the door, which the Count locks after him.)(Exeunt.)
Enter SUSAN, peeping as they go off, then runs to the dressing-room door and calls.
Hannibal!—Hannibal!—Open the door! Quick! Quick!—Its I, Susan.
Enter PAGE, frightened.
Oh my poor Mistress!
What will become of her?
What will become of my marriage?
What will become of me?
Don’t stand babbling here, but fly.
The doors are all fast, how can I fly?
Don’t ask me! Fly!
Here’s a window open (runs to the window) Underneath is a bed of flowers; I’ll leap out.
(Screams) You’ll break your neck!
Better that than ruin my dear Lady—Give me one kiss Susan.
Was there ever seen such a young—(Page kisses her, runs and leaps out of the window, and Susan shrieks at seeing him) Ah! (Susan sinks into a chair, overcome with fear—At last she takes courage, rises, goes with dread towards the window, and after looking out, turns round with her hand upon her heart, a sigh of relief, and a smile expressive of sudden ease and pleasure.) He is safe! Yonder he runs!—As light and as swift as the winds!—If that Boy does not make some woman’s heart ache I’m mistaken. (Susan goes towards the dressing-room door, enters, and peeps out as she is going to shut it.) And now, my good jealous Count, perhaps, I may teach you to break open doors another time. (Locks herself in.)
Enter COUNT, with a wrenching iron in one hand, and leading in the COUNTESS with the other. Goes and examines the doors.
Every thing is as I left it. We now shall come to an eclairessement.
But, my Lord!—He’ll murder him! (Aside.)
Now we shall know—Do you still persist in forcing me to break open this door?—I am determined to see who’s within.
Let me beg, my Lord, you’ll have a moment’s patience!—Hear me only and you shall satisfy your utmost curiosity!—Let me intreat you to be assured, that, however appearances may condemn me, no injury was intended to your honour.
Then there is a man?
No—none of whom you can reasonably entertain the least suspicion.
A jest!—A meer innocent, harmless frolic, for our evening’s diversion! Nothing more, upon my Honor!—On my soul!
But who—who is it?
Let us see your child!—What child?
The Page! (Turns away) This damnable Page again?—Thus then is the Letter!—thus are my Suspicions realized at last!—I am now no longer astonished, Madam, at your emotion for your pretty Godson this morning!—The whole is unravelled!—Come forth, Viper!
(In great wrath.)
(Terrified and trembling) Do not let the Disorder in which you will see him—
The Disorder!—The Disorder!
We were going to dress him in women’s cloaths for our evening’s diversion—
I’ll stab him!—I’ll!—“And this is your indisposition!—This is why you would keep your Chamber all day! False, unworthy Woman! You shall keep it longer than you expected.”—I’ll make him a terrible example of an injured Husband’s wrath!
(Falling on her knees between the Count and the door) Hold, my Lord, hold! Or let your anger light on me!—I, alone, am guilty! If there be any guilt—Have pity on his youth! His infancy!
What! Intercede for him!—On your knees!—And to me! There wanted but this!—I’ll rack him!—Rise!—I’ll (Furiously.)
Promise me to spare his life!
Rise! (The Countess rises terrified, and sinks into an arm chair ready to faint.)
He’ll murder him!
Come forth, I say, once more; or I’ll drag—(While the Count is speaking, Susan unlocks the door and bolts out upon him.)
I’ll stab him!—I’ll rack him!
(The Countess, at hearing Susan’s voice, recovers sufficiently to look round—Is astonished, endeavours to collect herself, and turns back into her former position to conceal her surprise.)
(After standing fixed some time, and first looking at Susan and then at the Countess) Here’s a seminary!—And can you act astonishment too, Madam? (Observing the Countess, who cannot totally hide her surprise.)
(Attempting to speak) I—My Lord—
(Recollecting himself.) But, perhaps, she was not alone. (Enters the dressing-room, Countess again alarmed, Susan runs to the Countess.
Fear nothing—He is not there—He has jumped out of the window.
And broke his neck! (Her terror returns.)
Hush! (Susan claps herself bolt upright against her Lady, to hide her new disorder from the Count.) Hem! Hem!
Re-enter COUNT, (greatly abashed)
Nobody there!—I have been to blame—(approaching the Countess.) Madam!—
(With great submission as if going to beg her pardon, but the confusion still visible in her countenance calls up the recollection of all that had just passed, and he bursts out into an exclamation.) Upon my soul, Madam, you are a most excellent Actress!
And am not I too, my Lord?
You see my Confusion, Madam—be generous.
As you have been.
Hush!—(Makes signs to Susan to take his part.) My dear Rosina—
No, no, my Lord! I am no longer that Rosina whom you formerly loved with such affection!—I am now nothing but the poor Countess of Almaviva! A neglected Wife, and not a beloved Mistress.
Nay, do not make my humiliation too severe—(His suspicions again in part revive.) But wherefore, my Lady, have you been thus mysterious on this occasion?
That I might not betray that headlong thoughtless Figaro.
What! He wrote the anonymous billet then?
It was without my knowledge, my Lord.
But you were afterwards informed of it?
Who did he give it to?
Who sent it me by a Peasant—Indeed, Mr. Basil.—Yes, vile Thrummer, thou shalt pay for all!
But where is the justice of refusing that pardon to others we stand so much in need of ourselves? If ever I could be brought to forgive, it should only be on condition of passing a general amnesty.
I acknowledge my guilt. (The Countess stands in the middle of the stage, the Count a little in the back ground, as if expressive of his timidity, but his countenance shews he is confident of obtaining his pardon—Susan stands forwarder than either, and her looks are significantly applicable to the circumstances of both parties.)
To suspect a man in my Lady’s dressingroom!—
And to be thus severely punished for my suspicion!—
Not to believe my Lady when she assured you it was her Woman!
Ah!—(with affected confusion) Deign, Madam, once more, to repeat my pardon.
Have I already pronounced it, Susan?
Not that I heard, Madam.
Let the gentle sentence then escape.
And do you merit it, ungrateful man?
(Looking at Susan, who returns his look) Certainly, my Lady.
A fine example I set you, Susan! (The Count takes her hand and kisses it.) Who, hereafter, will dread a Woman’s anger? (Countess turns her head towards Susan, and laughs as she says this.)
(In the same tone) Yes, yes, Madam—I observe—Men may well accuse us of frailty.
And yet I cannot, for the soul of me, forget the agony, Rosina, in which you seemed to be just now! Your cries, your tears, your—How was it possible, this being a Fiction, you should so suddenly give it the tragic tone of a Reality?—Ha! ha! ha!—So astonishingly natural!
You see your Page, and I dare say your Lordship was not sorry for the mistake—I’m sure the sight of Susan does not give you offence.
Hem!—Offence! Oh! No, no, no—But what’s the reason, you malicicious little hussey, you did not come when I called?
What! Undress’d, my Lord?
But why didn’t you answer then?
My Lady forbad me: and good reason she had so to do.
Such distraction in your countenance! (To the Countess) Nay, it’s not calm even yet!
Oh you—you fancy so my Lord.
Men, I perceive, are poor Politicians—Women make Children of us—Were his Majesty wife, he would name you, and not me, for his Ambassador.
Enter FIGARO, chearfully: perceives the Count, who puts on a very serious air.
They told me my Lady was indisposed, I ran to enquire, and am very happy to find there was nothing in it.
You are very attentive.
It is my duty so to be, my Lord. (Turns to Susan.) Come, come, my Charmer! Prepare for the Ceremony! Go to your Bridemaids.
But who is to guard the Countess in the mean time?
(Surprised) Guard her, my Lord! My Lady seems very well: she wants no guarding.
From the Gallant, who was to profit by my absence? (Susan and the Countess make signs to Figaro.)
Nay, nay, Figaro, the Count knows all.
Yes, yes, we have told my Lord every thing.—The jest is ended—Its all over.
The jest is ended!—And its all over!
Yes—Ended, ended, ended!—And all over—What have you to say to that?
Say, my Lord! (The confusion of Figaro arises from not supposing it possible the Countess and Susan should have betrayed him, and when he understands something by their signs, from not knowing how much they have told.)
I—I—I wish I could say as much of my Marriage.
And who wrote the pretty Letter?
Not I, my Lord.
If I did not know thou liest, I could read it in thy face.
Indeed, my Lord!—Then it is my face that lies; and not I.
Pshaw, Figaro! Why should you endeavour to conceal any thing, when I tell you we have confess’d all?
(Making signs to Figaro) We have told my Lord of the Letter, which made him suspect that Hannibal, the Page, who is far enough off by this, was hid in my Lady’s dressing-room, where I myself was lock’d in.
Well, well, since my Lord will have it so, and my Lady will have it so, and you all will have it so, why then so let it be.
Still at his Wiles.—
Why, my Lord, would you oblige him to speak truth, so much against his inclination? (Count and Countess walk familiarly up the stage.)
Hast thou seen the Page?
Yes, yes: you have shook his young joints for him, among you.
Enter ANTONIO, the Gardiner, with a broken Flower-pot under his arm half drunk.
My Lord—My good Lord—If so be as your Lordship will not have the goodness to have these Windows nailed up, I shall never have a Nosegay fit to give to my Lady—They break all my pots, and spoil my flowers; for they not only throw other Rubbish out of the windows, as they used to do, but they have just now tossed out a Man.
A Man!—(The Count’s suspicions all revive.)
In white stockings! (Countess and Susan discover their fears, and make signs to Figaro to assist them if possible.)
Where is the Man? (Eagerly.)
That’s what I want to know, my Lord!—I wish I could find him,—I am your Lordship’s Gardener; and, tho’ I say it, a better Gardener is not to be found in all Spain;—but if Chambermaids are permitted to toss men out of the window to save their own Reputation, what is to become of mine?—“It will wither with my flowers to be sure.
Oh fie! What sotting so soon in a morning?
Why, can one begin one’s day’s work too early?
Your day’s work, Sir?
Your Lordship knows my Niece, there she stands, is to be married to day; and I am sure she would never forgive me if—
If you were not to get drunk an hour sooner than usual—But on with your story, Sir—What of the Man?—What followed?
I followed him myself, my Lord, as fast as I could; but, somehow, I unluckily happened to make a false step, and came with such a confounded whirl against the Garden-gate—that I—I quite for—forgot my Errand.
And should you know this man again?
To be sure I should, my Lord!—If I had seen him, that is
Either speak more clearly, Rascal, or I’ll send you packing to—
Send me packing, my Lord?—Oh, no! If your Lordship has not enough—enough (Points to his forehead) to know when you have a good Gardener, I warrant I know when I have a good Place.
There is no occasion, my Lord, for all this mystery! It was I who jump’d out of the window into the garden.
My own self, my Lord.
Jump out of a one pair of stairs window and run the risk of breaking your Neck?
The ground was soft, my Lord.
And his Neck is in no danger of being broken.
To besure I hurt my right leg, a little, in the fall; just here at the ancle—I feel it still.
(Rubbing his ancle.)
But what reason had you to jump out of the window?
You had received my letter, my Lord, since I must own it, and was come, somewhat sooner than I expected, in a dreadful passion, in search of a man.—
If it was you, you have grown plaguy fast within this half hour, to my thinking. The man that I saw did not seem so tall by the head and shoulders.
Pshaw! Does not one double one’s self up when one takes a leap?
It seem’d a great deal more like the Page.
Oh yes, to be sure, the Page has gallop’d back from Seville, Horse and all, to leap out of the window!
No, no, my Lord! I saw no such thing! I’ll take my oath I saw no horse leap out of the window.
Come, come, let us prepare for our sports.
Well, since it was you, as I am an honest man, I ought to return you this Paper which drop’d out of your pocket as you fell.
(Snatches the paper. The Countess, Figaro, and Susan are all surprised and embarrassed. Figaro shakes himself, and eadeavours to recover his fortitude.) Ay, since it was you, you doubtless can tell what this Paper contains (claps the paper behind his back as he faces Figaro) and how it happened to come in your Pocket?
Oh, my Lord, I have such quantities of Papers (searches his pockets, pulls out a great many) No, it is not this!—Hem!—This is a double Love-letter from Marcelina, in seven pages—Hem!—Hem!—It would do a man’s heart good to read it—Hem!—And this is a petition from the poor Poacher in prison. I never presented it to your Lordship, because I know you have affairs much more serious on your hands, than the Complaints of such half-starved Rascals—Ah!—Hem!—this—this—no, this is an Inventory of your Lordship’s Sword-knots, Ruffs, Ruffies, and Roses—must take care of this— (Endeavours to gain time, and keeps glancing and hemming to Susan and the Countess, to look at the paper and give him a hint.)
It is neither this, nor this, nor that, nor t’other, that you have in your hand, but what I hold here in mine, that I want to know the contents of. (Holds out the paper in action as he speaks, the Countess who stands next him catches a sight of it.)
Tis the Commission. (Aside to Susan.)
The Page’s Commission. (Aside to Figaro.)
Well, Sir!—So you know nothing of the matter?
(Reels round to Figaro) My Lord says you—know nothing of the matter.
Keep off, and don’t come to whisper me. (pretending to recollect himself.) Oh Lord! Lord! What a stupid fool I am!—I declare it is the Commission of that poor youth, Hannibal—which I, like a Blockhead, forgot to return him—He will be quite unhappy about it, poor Boy.
And how came you by it?
By it, my Lord?
Why did he give it you?
To get what? It wants nothing!
(to Susan) It wants the Seal.
(to Figaro) It wants the Seal.
Oh, my Lord, what it wants to be sure is a mere trifle.
You know, my Lord, it’s customary to—
To affix your Lordship’s Seal.
(Looks at the Commission, finds the Seal is wanting, and exclaims with vexation and disappointment) The Devil and his Imps!—It is written, Count, thou shalt be a Dupe!—Where is this Marcelina? [Going.
Are you going, my Lord, without giving Orders for our Wedding?
Enter MARCELINA, BASIL, BOUNCE, and Vassals.
(The Count returns.)
Forbear, my Lord, to give such Orders; in Justice forbear. I have a written promise under his hand, and I appeal to you, to redress my injuries! You are my lawful Judge.
Pshaw! A trifle, my Lord: a note of hand for money borrowed; nothing more.
Let the Advocates and Officers of Justice be assembled in the great Hall; we will there determine on the justice of your claim. It becomes us not to suffer any Vassal of ours, however we may privately esteem him, to be guilty of public injury.
Your Lordship is acquainted with my claims on Marcelina: I hope your Lordship will grant me your support.
Oh, oh! Are you there, Prince of Knaves?
Yes, that’s his title, sure enough.
Approach, honest Basil; faithful Agent of our Will and Pleasure. (Basil bows) Go order the Lawyers to assemble.
And tell the Peasant, by whom you sent me the Letter this morning, I want to speak with him.
Your Lordship is pleased to joke with your humble Servant. I know no such Peasant.
You will be pleased to find him, notwithstanding.
My Office, in this House, as your Lordship knows, is not to go of Errands! Think, my Lord, how that would degrade a man of my talents; who have the honour to teach my Lady the Harpsichord, the Mandoline to her Woman, and to entertain your Lordship, and your Lordship’s good Company, with my Voice and my Guitar, whenever your Lordship pleases to honor me with your Commands.
I will go, if your Lordship pleases to let me: I should be very glad to oblige your Lordship.
What’s thy Name?
Pedro Bounce, my Lord, Fire-work maker to your Lordship.
Thy zeal pleases me, thou shalt go.
Thank your Lordship, thank your noble Lordship. (Leaps.)
(To Basil) And do you be pleased, Sir, to entertain the Gentleman, on his Journey, with your Voice and your Guitar; he is part of my good Company.
(Leaps) I am part of my Lord’s good Company! Who would have thought it!
Depart! Obey! Or, depart from my Service. (Exit.)
’Tis in vain to resist. Shall I wage war with a Lion, who am only—
A Calf—“But come, you seem vex’d about it—I will open the Ball—Strike up, tis my Susan’s Wedding-day.”
Come along, Mr. Bounce, (Basil begins to play, Figaro dances and sings off before him, and Bounce follows, dancing after.(Exeunt.)
Manent COUNTESS and SUSAN.
You see, Susan, to what Danger I have been exposed by Figaro and his fine concerted Billet.
“Dear Madam, if you had but seen yourself when I bounced out upon my Lord! So pale, such Terror in your Countenance! And then your suddenly assumed tranquillity!
“Oh no, every Faculty was lost in my Fears.
“I assure your Ladyship to the contrary; in a few Lessons you would learn to dissemble and fib with as good a Grace as any Lady in the Land.”
And so that poor Child jumped out of the Window?
Without the least hesitation—as light and as chearful as a Linnet.
I wish however I could convict my false Count of his Infidelity.
The Page will never dare, after this, to make a second attempt.
Ha!—A lucky project! I will meet him myself; and then nobody will be exposed.
But suppose, Madam—
My Success has emboldened me, and I am determined to try—(Sees the Riband left on the chair) What’s here? My Riband! I will keep it as a Memento of the danger to which that poor Youth—“Ah my Lord—“Yet let me have a care, let me look to myself, to my own Conduct, lest I should give occasion to say—Ah my Lady!” (The Countess puts the Riband in her Pocket.) You must not mention a Word of this, Susan, to any body.
No exceptions, he must not be told; he will spoil it, by mixing some plot of his own with it—I have promised thee a Portion thou knowest—these men are liberal in their Pleasures—Perhaps I may double it for thee; it will be Susan’s Right.
Your Project is a charming one, Madam, and I shall yet have my Figaro.
[Exit Susan, kissing the Countess’s Hand.
End of ACT II.
SCENE, the Great Hall.
(A Judge’s Chair, four other Chairs, Benches with red Baize, a Table and a Stool, with Pen, Ink and Paper.)
Enter the COUNT, dressed, and a SERVANT, booted.
RIDE to Seville with all speed; enquire if the Page has joined his Regiment, and at what o’clock precisely he arrived; give him this Commission, and return like lightening.
And if he is not there—
Return still quicker.—Go; fly!—(Exit Servant)—I was wrong to send Basil out of the way—He might have been very serviceable—But Anger was never wise—I scarcely know at present what I wish—When once the Passions have obtained the Mastery, there is no Mind, however consistent, but becomes as wild and incongruous as a Dream—If the Countess, Susan, and Figaro should understand each other and plot to betray me!—If the Page was shut up in her dressing-room—Oh! no!—The Respect she bears herself—my Honor!—My Honor? And in my Wife’s keeping?—Honor in a Woman’s possession, like Ice Cream in the mouth, melts away in a contest of Pleasure and Pain—I will sound Figaro, however.
Enter FIGARO, behind.
Here am I. (Aside.)
And if I have reason to suppose them plotting against me, he shall marry Marcelina.
Perhaps not. (Aside.)
But in that case, what must Susan be?
My Wife, if you please.—(Figaro’s eagerness occasions him to speak aloud—The Count turns round astonished.)
My Wife, if you please!—To whom did you say my Wife, if you please?
To—to—to—That is—They were the last words of a sentence I was saying to one of the Servants—Go and tell so and so to—my Wife, if you please.
Your Wife!—Zounds, you are very fond of your Wife.
I love to be singular.
You have made me wait for you here a long while.
I have been changing my Stockings, which I dirtied in the fall.
Servants, I think, are longer dressing than their Masters.
Well they may—They are obliged to dress themselves.
If in sifting my Gentleman, I find him unwilling to go to France, I may conclude Susan has betrayed me. (Aside.)
He has mischief in his head, but I’ll watch his motions. (Aside.)
(Approaches Figaro with familiarity)—Thou knowest, Figaro, it was my intention to have taken thee with me on my Embassy to Paris, but I believe thou dost not understand French.
Indeed!—Let’s hear.—(Figaro pull’s out his purse and jingles it)—Is that all the French thou understandest?
All!—Is not that enough, think you, my Lord?—That’s a I anguage understood in every corner of the habitable Earth, and in no place better than in Paris.—“Your Philosophers, who lament the loss of an universal Language, are Fools—They always carry one in their pockets. As for a knowledge of French, my Lord, I maintain, s’il vous plait, and a Purse are all that’s necessary—Let but the sound of Silver jingle in a Frenchman’s ears, and he will instantly understand your meaning, be it what it will.—“If you have a Law-suit, and wish to gain your Cause, go to the Judge, pull off your Hat, and pull out your Purse; smile, shake it, and pronounce, s’il vous plait, Monsieur—
“And your Adversary is overthrown.
“Undoubtedly—Unless he understands French still better than you—Do you wish the Friendship of a great Lord, or a great Lady, its still the same—Chink, chink, and s’il vous plait, Monseigneur—S’il vous plait, Madame—The French are a very witty People!—Amazingly quick of apprehension!—Therefore, my Lord, if you have no other reason than this for leaving me behind—”
But thou art no Politician.
Pardon me, my Lord, I am as great a master of Politics—
As thou art of French.
Oh, my Lord, the thing is so easy—He must be a Fool indeed who could find his vanity flattered by his skill in Politics—To appear always deeply concerned for the good of the State, yet to have no other end but Self-interest; to assemble and say Nothing; to pretend vast Secrecy where there is nothing to conceal; to shut yourself up in your Chamber, and mend your Pen or pick your Teeth, while your Footmen inform the attending Croud you are too busy to be approach’d—this, with the art of intercepting Letters, imitating Hands, pensioning Traitors, and rewarding Flatterers, is the whole mystery of Politics, or I am an Idiot.
This is the definition of a Partisan not a Politician.
Party and Politics are much the same, they are become synonimous terms.
(Aside) Since he is so willing to go to Paris, Susan has said nothing.
’Tis now my turn to attack. (Aside.)
And—I suppose thou wilt take thy Wife with thee—to Paris?
No—no—I should be obliged to quit her so frequently, that I am afraid the Cares of the marriage state would lie too heavy on my head (sgnificantly.)
Susan has betrayed me. (Aside.)
(Aside) He does not like the retort. (The Count smiles, approaches Figaro with great familiarity, and leans upon his shoulder—By-play between the Count and Figaro.)
The time was, Figaro, when thou wert more open—Formerly thou wouldst tell me any thing.
And at present I conceal nothing.
What can be the Countess’s motives—(The Count puts his arm round Figaro’s neck—By-play again)—I—Thou seest I anticipate her wishes, load her with presents—
Will give her any thing but yourself—Of what worth are Trinkets when we are in want of Necessaries?
Come, come; be sincere—Tell me—How much did the Countess give thee for this last plot?
As much as your Lordship gave me for helping you to steal her from her old jealous Guardian—“A noble Lord should not endeavour to degrade an honest Servant, lest he should make him a Knave.”
But wherefore is there continually some Mystery in thy conduct?
Because the Conduct of others is mysterious.
Appearances, my dear Figaro, really speak thee a great Knave.
(Looking round at the Count’s hand upon his shoulders, and observing his familiarity)—Appearances, my dear Lord, are frequently false—I am much better than I appear to be—Can the Great in general say as much?—(Aside)—Take that.
Yes, yes; she has told him. (Aside.)
“I shall content myself, my Lord, with the portion your Lordship has promised me on my Marriage, and the place of Steward of this Castle, with which you have honoured me, and willingly remain with my Wife here in Andalusia, far from troubles and intrigue.
“But thou hast Abilities, and might rise to Preferment.
“Preferred by my Abilities my Lord!—Your Lordship is pleased to laugh at me.”
Yes, yes; Susan has betrayed me, and my Gentleman marries Marcelina. (Aside.)
He has been angling for Gudgeons, and what has he caught? (Aside.)
Enter a SERVANT.
Don Guzman and the Counsellors are without.
Let them wait.
(Ironically) Aye, let them wait. (Exit Serv.)
And dost thou expect to gain thy Cause?
With the assistance of Justice and my Lord’s good wishes, who respects Youth too much himself to force others to wed with Age.
A Judge knows no distinction of persons.
“Well—Time, say the Italians, is a valiant Fellow, and tells Truth”—But what was it your Lordship was pleased to send for me for?
For—(Somewhat embarrassed) To see these benches and chairs set in order.
That is already done, my Lord. Here is the great chair for your Lordship, a seat for the President, a table and stool for his Clerk, two benches for the Lawyers, the middle for the Beau monde, and the Mob in the back ground. (Exit.)
He is too cunning; I can get nothing out of him; but they certainly understand each other.—They may toy and be as loving as they please, but as for wedding—
(She comes up to the Count’s elbow while he is speaking, and is surprized to see him in such an ill humour.)
My Lady has sent me for your Lordship’s smelling-bottle; she has got the vapours.
Here; and when she has done with it, borrow it for yourself,—it may be useful.
I the vapours, my Lord! Oh no, that’s too polite a disease for a Servant to pretend to!
Fits may come;—Love so violent as your’s cannot bear disappointment; and when Figaro marries Marcelina—
Oh, suppose the worst, my Lord, we can pay Marcelina with the Portion your Lordship has promised us!
I promis’d you a portion?
If my ears did not deceive me, I understood as much.
Yes, if you had pleas’d to understand me, but since you do not.—
(Pretending bashfulness) It’s always soon enough to own one’s weakness, my Lord.
(with an instant change of countenance) What! Wilt thou take a walk this evening in the garden, by the Pavilion?
Don’t I take Walks every evening, my Lord?
Nay, nay, but let us understand each other—No Pavilion, no Marriage.
And no Marriage, no Pavilion, my Lord! (curtsying)
What a witty little Devil! I wonder what she does to fascinate me so!—But prithee tell me why hast thou always, till now, refused with such obstinacy? This very Morning, thou knowest—
This Morning, my Lord!—What, and the Page behind the Great-chair!
Oh, true! I had forgot!—But when Basil has spoken to thee in my behalf.—
Is it necessary, my Lord, such a knave as Basil should know every thing that passes?
She is right again!—But—(Suspicious) thou wilt go, now, and tell Figaro all.
To be sure, my Lord. I always tell him all—except what is necessary to conceal.
Ah the Hussey! What a charming little Knave it is! Run, run to thy Mistress; she is waiting, and may suspect us.
(Hesitati g) So your Lordship can’t perceive that I only wanted a pretext to speak to your Lordship.
(The Count unable to conceal his transport, is going to kiss her, but hears somebody coming, and they separate)
(As he turns.) She absolutely bewitches me! I had sworn to think no more of her, but she winds me just as she pleases!
(The Count goes off, and Figaro enters, but the Count hearing Figaro’s Voice, returns and peeps)
Well, my Susan, what does he say?
Hush! Hush! He is just gone—Thou hast gained thy Cause—Run, run, run.
(Exit Susan, running, Figaro following.)
Well, but how, how, my Charmer?
Thou hast gained thy Cause—Aha! And is it so, my pair of Knaves!—Am I your Dupe then?—A very pretty Net! But the Cuckoo is not caught—Come!—Proceed we to judgment! (With passion) Be we just!—Cool!—Impartial!—Inflexible— (Exit.)
Enter Don GUZMAN, MARCELINA, and DOCTOR.
I shall be happy, Mr. President, to explain the justice of my Cause.
To shew you on what grounds this Lady proceeds.
(Stuttering) We-e-e-ell, le-et us exa-a-mine the matter ve-erbally.
There is a promise of Marriage—
I co-o-o-ompre—hend! Gi-i-iven by you-ou-ou—to—
No, Mr. President, given to me.
I co-o-o-omprehend! Gi-iven to you.
And a sum of Money which I—
I co-o-o-omprehend! Which you-ou ha-ave received.
No, Mr. President, which I have lent.
I co-o-o-omprehend!—It is re-e-paid.
No, Mr. President, it is not repaid.
I co-o-o-omprehend—The m-m-man would marry you to pay his de-de-de-bts.
No, Mr. President, he would neither marry me, nor pay his debts.
D-d-do you think I d-d-d-don’t co-o-omprehend you?
And are you, Mr. President, to judge this Cause?
T-t-t-to be sure—Wha-at else did I purchase my Place for thi-ink you, (Loughs stupidly at the supposed folly of the Question) And where is the De-fe-e-endant?
Here, at your service.
Yes, that’s the Knave.
Perhaps I interrupt you.
“Ha-ave not I see-een you before, young Man?
“Oh yes, Mr. President, I once served your Lady.
“How lo-ong since?
“Nine months before the birth of her last Child—And a fine Boy it is, though I say it.
“Y-es—He’s the F-flower of the Flock”—And the cau-ause betwee-een—
A Bagatelle, Mr. President! A Bagatelle.
(Laughs.) A Ba-ag-a-telle! A pro-o-mise of Ma-a-arriage a Ba-a-gatelle! Ha! ha! ha!—And dost thou hope to ca-ast the Pla-aintiff?
To be sure, Mr. President! You being one of the Judges.
(With stupid dignity) Ye-e-es! I am one of the Judges!—Hast thou see-een D-D-Doublefee, my Se-ecretary?
Yes, Mr. President! That’s a duty not to be neglected.
The young Fellow is not so si-i-imple I thought.
Enter Cryer of the Court, Guards, Count, Counsellors and Vassals.
Make room there, for my Lord, the Count.
Wherefore in your Robes, Don Guzman? It was unnecessary for a mere domestic matter like this.
Pa-a-ardon me, my Lord! “Those who would tre-e-emble at the Clerk of the Court in his Robes, would la-augh at the Judge without ’em.” Forms! Forms! are sacred things.
(The Count and the Court seat themselves.)
Call silence in the Court.
Silence in the Court.
Read “over the Causes”, D-D-Doublefee.
“The Count de los Altos Montes di Agnas Frescas, Senor di Montes Fieros, y otros Montes, Plaintiff, against Alonzo Calderon, a Comic Poet. The question at present before the Court, is, to know the Author of a Comedy that has been damned; which they mutually disavow and attribute to each other.
“They are both very right in mutually disavowing it; and be it decreed, that if, hereafter, they should produce a successful Piece, its Fame shall appertain to the Count, and its Merit to the Poet—The next.
“Diego Macho, Day-labourer, Plaintiff, against Gil-Perez-Borcado Tax-gatherer, and receiver of the Gabels, for having violently dispossessed the said Diego Macho, Day-labourer, of his Cow.
“This Cause does not come within my Jurisdiction; but as it is probable the Day-labourer will never obtain Justice, do thou see, Figaro, that another Cow be sent him, lest his Family should be starved—The next.”
Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustacio, Spinster, Plaintiff, against—(To Figaro) Here’s no surname!
Ano-o-onymous—I never heard the Name before!
Against Figaro Anonymous. What Profession?
I might have been born a Prince, if Heaven had pleased.
Against Figaro Anonymous, Gentleman, Defendant. The Question before the Court relates to a promise of Marriage; the Parties have retained no Council, contrary to the ancient and established practice of Courts.
What occasion for Council? A race of Gentleman who are always so very learned, they know every thing, except their Briefs! Who insolently interrogate Modesty and Timidity, and endeavour, by confusing, to make Honesty forswear itself; and, after having laboured for hours, with all legal prolixity, to perplex self-evident Propositions, and bewilder the understandings of the Judges, sit down as proud as if they had just pronounced a Phillipic of Demosthenes—(Addressing himself to the Court) My Lord, and Gentlemen—The Question before the Court is—
(Interrupting him) It is not you to speak, you are the Defendant—Who pleads for the Plaintiff.
You! A Physician turn Lawyer?—
Oh yes, and equally skilful in both.
Read the Promise of Marriage, Doctor.
Re-e-ead the Pro-o-omise of Marriage.
(Reads) I acknowledge to have received of Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, the sum of two thousand Piasters, in the Castle of Count Almaviva, which sum I promise to repay to the said Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, and to marry her. Signed, Figaro. (Addressing himself to the Count) My Lord, and Gentlemen! Hem! Never did cause more interesting, more intricate, or in which the Interest of Mankind, their Rights, Properties, Lives and Liberties were more materially involved, ever claim the profound Attention of this most learned, most honourable Court, and from the time of Alexander the Great, who promised to espouse the beauteous Thalestris—
Stop, most formidable Orator; and ere you proceed, enquire whether the Defendant does not contest the validity of your Deed.
(To Figaro) Do you co-ontest the va-va-va-va-lidity of the Dee-eed?
My Lord and Gentlemen! Hem! There is in this Case, either Fraud, Error, Malice, or mischievous Intention, for the Words of the Acknowledgment are, I promise to repay the said Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, the said sum of two thousand Piasters or to marry her, which is very different.
I affirm it is AND.
I affirm it is OR.
Well, suppose it.
No Supposition, I will have it granted.
Clerk, Read you the Promise.
Re-e-ead the P-P-P-Promise, D-D-D-Double-fee.
(Reads) I acknowledge to have received of Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, the sum of two thousand Piasters, in the Castle of Count Almaviva, which sum I promise to repay the said Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, and—or—and—or—or—The Word is blotted.
No matter; the sense of the Phrase is equally clear. This learned Court is not now to be informed the word or particle, Or, hath various significations—It means otherwise and either—It likewise means before—For example, in the language of the Poet.
This was the language of Prophesy, and spoken of the Doctor’s own Patients.
“Silence in the Court.
“Silence in the Court.
“Hence then, I clearly deduce (granting the word to be Or) the Defendant doth hereby promise, not only to pay the Plaintiff, but marry her before he pays her—Again, the the word Or doth sometimes signify Wherefore, as another great and learned Poet hath it,
“That is wherefore? For what reason could heavenly Justice do such an unjust thing? Let us then substitute the adverb Wherefore, and the intent and meaning of the Promise will be incontestable; for, after reciting an acknowledgement of the debt, it concludes with the remarkable words, Or to marry her, that is, wherefore, for which reason, out of gratitude, for the Favour above done me, I will marry her.
“Oh most celebrated Doctor? Most poetic Quibbler!
“What think you we know not Quotations, and Poets, and Ands, and Ors, and Whys, and Wherefores.
(Pointing first to the Doctor, and then to Marcelina.) “We have neither forgot our Reading nor our Syntax, but can easily translate a dull Knave into a palpable Fool—” My Lord, and Gentlemen, You hear his Sophisms, Poetical, and Conundrums, Grammatical.
Yes, yes, we hear.
(Count and the Counsellors rise and consult together.)
Antonio, I’m glad they have put an end to your prating.
Their Whisperings and wise Grimaces forebode me no good. That Susan has corrupted the chief Judge, and he is corrupting all the others.
It looks devilish like it.
(The Count and Counsellors resume their seats.)
Silence in the Court.
Silence in the Court.
The judgment of the Court is, that since the validity of the promise of Marriage is not well-established, Figaro is permitted to dispose of his Person.
The Day’s my own.
I thought how it would be.
But as the Acknowledgement clearly expresses the words, Which sum I promise to pay the said Marcelina-Jane-Maria-Angelica-Mustachio, or to marry her, the said Figaro stands condemned to pay the two thousand Piasters to the Plaintiff, or marry her in the course of the Day.
I am happy!
And I am revenged!
Thank your noble Lordship! Most humbly thank your noble Lordship!—Ah ha! I’m glad thou art not to marry my Niece! I’ll go and tell her the good news! (Exit.)
Clear the Court.
(Exeunt Guards, Counsellors, and Vassels.
Manent Don Guzman, Figaro, Marcelina and Dr. Bartholo.
’Tis this Furze-ball, this Fungus of a President that has lost me my Cause.
I a F-F-Furze-ball and a F-F-Fungus!
(Sits down dejected) I will never marry her.
Thou mu-ust ma-arry her.
What! Without the Consent of my noble Parents?
(Returning) Where are they? Who are they?—He will still complain of injustice—Name them.
Allow me time, my Lord—I must first know where to find them, and yet it ought not to be long, for I have been seeking them these five Years.
What! A Foundling?
No Foundling, but stolen from my Parents.
Poh! This is too palpable.
Had I no other Proof of my Birth than the precious Stones, Ring, and Jewels found upon me, these would be sufficient—but I bear the Mark— (He is going to shew his Arm.)
Of a Lobster on your left Arm.
How do you know that?
’Tis he himself!
“Yes, its me myself.”
Thou wert stolen away by Gypsies.
By Gypsies!—Oh Doctor, if thou can’st but restore me to my illustrious Parents, “Mountains of Gold will not sufficiently speak their gratitude.”
Behold thy Mother.
(Pointing to Marcelina.)
Nurse, you mean!
Thy own Mother!
And there behold thy Father.
(Pointing to the Doctor.)
He, my Father! Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Oh Lord! (Stamps about.)
(With great wisdom) It will be no m-m-match—that’s evi-dent.
Hast thou not felt Nature pleading within thee, at sight of me?
This was the secret cause of all my Fondness for thee.
No doubt—And of my aversion—Instinct is very powerful.
Come to my arms, my dear, my long lost Child. (Figaro and Marcelina embrace, the Doctor leans against the Benches.)
Enter ANTONIO and SUSAN.
(The latter runs to find the Count)
(In great Agitation) Oh, where is my Lord? Here is the Money to pay Marcelina with! The Portion which my noble and generous Lady has given me!
(pulling Susan, and pointing to Figaro, who kisses Marcelina.) Here! here! Look this way! (Susan, at seeing them embrace becomes furious, and is going away, Figaro runs and brings her back.)
Stop, stop, my Susan.
I have seen enough—Since you are so fond of her, pray marry her.
Thou art mistaken.
No, I am not mistaken.
(Gives him a slap in the face.)
(Rubbing his Cheek) “This is Love—Pshaw! Prithee come hither, look at that Lady—How dost thou like her?
“Not at all.
“Well said Jealousy, she does not mince the Matter.”
Dear Susan, this, this is my Son!
“Yes, they wanted me to marry my Mother.”
“Your Mother!—It is not long since—
“I have known it—True”
Yes, my dearest Susan, embrace thy Mother—Thy Mother, who will love thee dearly.
And do you consent I shall have my Figaro?
Willingly, (Susan runs and kisses her) Here, my Son, here is the Promise.
(Gives him the Paper.)
And here is the Portion.
(Gives him a Purse of Money.)
“My manly Pride would fain make me restrain my tears, but they flew in spite of me—Well, let ’em! Let ’em flow! Joys like these never come twice in one’s Life! Oh, my Mother, Oh, my Susan!”
(They all three embrace, weeping.)
(weeping.) What a Foo-oo-ool am I! L-L-Look, if I don’t k-k-k-cry as well as the best of ’em.
(to the Doctor) My Father.
Keep off! I disclaim thee!
Why then, if you are his Father, you are a Turkish Jew, and no Christian Father.
A Knave that tricked me of my Ward, cheated me of my Money, and now has been turning my Wisdom into ridicule.
And are not you, being a wise Man, proud to have a Son wiser than yourself?
No—I would have no one wiser than myself.
Come, come, look you, I am “a good Catholic, and” an old Castilian, therefore, unless your Father and Mother become lawful Man and Wife, I will never consent to give you my Niece. No, no, she sha’n’t marry a man who is the child of Nobody, neither.
Here’s an old Fool!—The Child of Nobody, Ha! ha! ha! (Laughs stupidly, and then assumes great Wisdom) Hav’n’t you lived long enough to know that every Child must have a Father?
“Consider, good Doctor, your Promise, if ever our Child was found.
“And here is a Son you surely need not be ashamed of.
“Ah my dear Pappa!
“My generous, worthy Father.
(Susan strokes his Cheek, Figaro kneels, and Marcelina coaxes him.)
“You don’t know how we will all love you.
“What care we will take of you.
“How happy we will make you.
“Good Doctor, dear Pappa, generous Father! (Bursts out a crying) See, if I am not even a greater Foo-oo-ool than Mr. President! (Guzman staggers back at the Doctor’s Compliment) they mould me like Dough, lead me like a Child, (Marcelina, Susan, and Figaro testify their Joy by their Actions.) Nay, nay, but I hav’n’t yet said yes.
“But you have thought yes.
“And look’d yes.
“Come, come, we must be quick; let us run and find the Count, otherwise he will invent some new pretext to break off the Match.
(Exeunt Doctor, Marcelina, Figaro and Susan.)
Manent Don GUZMAN.
“A greater Foo-oo-ool than Mr. President!—The People in this House are truly very stupid and ill bred.” (Exit.)
End of ACT III.
SCENE, a large Saloon.
FIGARO and SUSAN, both joyous.
SHE has converted her Doctor at last—They are to be married, and these so late implacable Enemies are now become our dearest Friends.
What unexpected Happiness!
Chance, my Susan—All the effect of Chance—“Yesterday, without a Relation in the World I could claim, to-day, behold me restored to my Parents—True it is, they are neither so rich nor so right honorable, so belaced nor betitled as my imagination had painted them—But that’s all one, they are mine”—I may truly be called both a Chance Child, and a Child of Chance—By Chance was I begot, by Chance brought into the World, by Chance was I stole, by Chance am I found, by Chance have I lived, and by Chance I shall die—Chance is Nature’s Sovereign, and must be mine.
Yes, and by Chance thou mayst come to be hang’d. (Laughs.)
Or thou to be an Empress—Neither of them are impossible—He, the Conqueror, whose Ambition ravages the Earth, and whose Pride eats up Nations, is not less the sport of Chance than the blind Beggar who is conducted by his dog.
Ha, ha, ha!—Prithee leave thy Philosophy, and—
And think of that other blind beggar, Love—Most willingly, my Angel. (Kisses her.)
Pooh, Pooh!—That was not what I meant.
Rather say it was not half thy meaning, or thy meaning ill expressed. (Kisses her again.)
Ah, Figaro! Were this fondness, these days but durable—
Durable!—Iron and Adamant—No; may millions of imaginary Gallants wrack my heart and decorate my—
“No rhodomantade, Figaro—Tell me the simple truth.
“By the truest of all Truths I swear—
“Truest of Truths!—Are there various kinds of Truths then?
“There are Truths that may be spoken: such as the Peccadillos of a poor Rascal! Truths that may not be spoken: such as the Robberies of a rich Rascal—There are your Truths comprehensible: such as that two and two make four; and your Truths incomprehensible: such as that two and two make five—Then there are your Tradesman’s Truths, which he retails to his Customers, your Lover’s Truths, which he pours wholesale into his Mistress’s ear—Your Courtier’s Truths, on which he feeds his Dependants and Parasites—Your Court of Law, or Kiss-the-Book Truths, which are the daily support of a vast number of very honest people—There are also your physical and metaphysical Truths—Your old Truths and your new Truths—Your heterodox and orthodox Truths—Your Mahometan Truths, your Jewish Truths, and your—other kind of truths, concerning which there never was nor ever will be any doubt—Not to mention your Truths in fashion: such as that Idleness, Ignorance, Dissipation, Gaming and Seduction are the requisites of a Gentleman—And your Truths out of fashion: such as that Gentleness, Obedience, Œconomy, and connubial Love are the requisites of a Gentlewoman.
“I find by your account of the matter, Figaro, that poor Truth, like a Lottery Ticket, is so divided and sub-divided, so halved, quartered, cut, carv’d, split and spliced, it is no where entire to be found.
“And moreover, that what is Truth to-day may be a Lie to-morrow.
“May be! Must be.
“Consequently, that in less than twenty-four hours, my very tender submissive, ardent Lover may be metamorphosed into an arbitrary, cold, haughty Husband.
“Impossible!—Impossible, my Susan! As it is for thee, my gentle, kind, and beauteous Bride, to be transformed into an ill-tempered, extravagant slatternly Wife.
“I understand thee”—Well, Well—We will endeavour to convert the iron Bands of Matrimony into a flowery Wreath which Love shall teach us to bear lightly and joyously through Life.
Aye, and thus live a happy Exception to the established usage of a mad World.
But prithee, who is to go disguised and meet the Count?
Who?—Nobody—Let him wait and fret, and bite his Nails—I never meant thou shouldst go.
I assure thee I never had any inclination.
“Is that the real Truth, Susan?”
“What! Thinkest thou I am as learned as thou art? And that I keep several sorts of Truths?”
(With fond Vivacity). And dost thou love me?
(Tenderly). Too much, I doubt.
Ah!—That’s but little.
In Love’s Creed, too much is not even enough.
I understand nothing of this over-refinement, but I feel I shall love my Husband most heartily.
Keep thy word, and put our modern Wives to the blush.
Afford them a subject to laugh and point at, thou mean’st.
Enter the COUNTESS.
Wherever you meet One of them, be certain you shall find a Pair. (They salute the Countess)—The Bridesmen and Maids wait for you, Figaro.
I will take my excuse in my hand—(Going to lead out Susan)—Few offenders can plead so charming a one.
No, no; stop Susan: I want you—She shall come presently. (Exit Figaro).—Well, Susan, the time approaches, we must prepare for the Rendezvous.
“I must not go, Madam, Figaro is unwilling.
(Angry). “Figaro!—Figaro is not so scrupulous when a Marriage-portion is in question—That’s a poor Pretence; you are sorry you have told the truth, and discovered the Intentions of the Count.—Go, go—I am not to be so deceived. (Going).
(Catching hold of her and kneeling). “Ah, Madam! Let me conjure you to hear me, to pardon me.—How can you think me capable of deceiving so good, so liberal a Lady, whose bounties I have so often felt!—Oh, no; it is because I have promised Figaro.
(Mildly and Smiling). “Rise—Hast thou forgot, silly Girl, that it is I who am to go and not thee.—(Kisses her forehead,—But—I was too hasty.
“My dear, my generous Mistress.”
And what is the place of Rendezvous?
The Pavilion in the Garden.
There are two.
But they are opposite.
True—At what hour?
I don’t know.
That must be fixed—Sit down, take the pen and write—(Susan sits down, the Countess dictates)
A NEW SONG,
To the Tune of,
The Twilight past, the Bell had toll’d.
(Writes). New song—Tune of—Bell had toll’d—What next, Madam?
Dost think he will not understand thee?
(Looking archly at the Countess). Very true—(Folding up the Letter)—But here is neither Wax nor Wafer.
Fasten it with a Pin, and write on the direction, Return the Seal.(Smiling.)
(Laughs) The Seal!—(Gets up.)—This is not quite so serious as the Commission just now was.
(Sighs). Ah, Susan.
I have never a Pin.
Take this. (Gives her one which fastened the Page’s riband to her breast; it falls.)
(Picking up the riband) This is the Page’s riband, Madam.
Wouldst thou have me let him wear it? It will do for Agnes; I will give it her the first Bouquet she presents me. (Just as the Countess has said this, Agnes and a troop of young Maidens, among them the Page, in girl’s cloaths, enter with nosegays for the Countess, who instantly puts the riband in her pocket, with an evident wish, by her looks and action, to preserve it.)
(Looking at the Page) What pretty maiden is this?
A Cousin of mine, Madam, that we have invited to the Wedding.
Well, then, as we can wear but one nosegay, let us do honour to the Stranger (Takes the Nosegay from the Page, and kisses his forehead.—Aside to Susan) Don’t you think, Susan, she resembles amazingly—(Stops short, and looks at Susan).
Amazingly, indeed, Madam!
(Aside) What a precious kiss! I feel it here. (Putting his hand on his heart.)
Enter the Count, and Antonio with a hat in his hand.
(As he enters) Yes, yes, my Lord, I’m certain it was him. The rakish little Rascal is disguised among the Girls. I found his new hat and cockade here—hid in a basket. (The Countess and Susan surprised, look at the Page, and then at each other. The girls surround and endeavour to hide Hannibal; Antonio seeks among them). Ay, ay, here he is—here he is. (Antonio takes off his cap, and puts on his hat) There, my Lord! There’s a pretty, modest Virgin for you!
Well, my Lady!
Well, my Lord!—I am as much surprized as you can be; and, I assure you, not less vex’d.—At present, however, it is time to tell you the whole Truth. This young gentleman (Pointing to the Page) was hid in my Dressing-room.—We attempted a Joke, which these Girls have put in practice.
But wherefore hide him from me?
Because, my Lord, when your Passions are predominant, you are incapable of either listening to or believing the Truth.
(Aside) Must I for ever be disturbed, haunted, and bewitch’d thus by this beardless Boy? (Turning with great wrath towards the Page) What is the reason, Sir, you have not obeyed my Commands?
(Draws back frightened, and takes off his hat) My-my-my Lord, I staid to teach Agnes the Love scene she is to play in the Comedy this evening.
(Steps forward) Ah, my Lord, when you come to my room, you know, and want to kiss me—
I! (The Countess remarks his embarrassment, Susan laughs silently, and makes signs to the Countess).
Yes, my Lord! You say to me, My pretty Agnes, if you will but love me, I will give you any thing you wish to have; now, my Lord, if you will give me Hannibal for a husband, I will love you with all my heart.
You hear, my Lord!—Has not the simplicity of this Child’s confession, as artless as the one I have this moment made, sufficiently justified my Conduct? And do not circumstances prove, how injurious your Suspicions have been, and how well founded mine? (Count bows to the Countess.)
You see, my Lord, what a giddy young thing it is.
And very loving too.
Her mother, as every body knows, was just such another.
Come, my pretty Maidens, come. (Turns to the Count) While you keep the Lasses here, my Lord, we can neither begin our Procession nor our Dances.
(Gravely putting on his hat) Why surely, Sir, you don’t intend to dance.
Why not, my Lord?
What! With a hurt in your ancle?
Oh! Is that all?—It pains me a little, to be sure; but that’s a trifle—Come Girls.
(Turning him back) You were very lucky to light upon such soft ground.
Exceedingly, my Lord:—Come Lasses.
(Turning him back on the other side) And then you double yourself up, when you take a leap? Yet, like a Cat, you fall on your feet.
What then?—Come Gir—
But how unhappy the poor Youth will be about his Commission.
What is the meaning of all this, my Lord?
(Bringing the Page forward) Do you know this bashful young Lady?
The Devil! Hannibal!—(Aside.) Well, and what Riddle has he to propound?
No Riddle, Sir, but a simple matter of fact:—He affirms, it was he who jump’d out of the window.
Does he?—Well, if he say so, I suppose it is so.
How! What two at a time?
Two? Twenty! Why not, my Lord? One sheep begins, and the rest naturally follow: (Flourish of Music without) Come, come, my merry Maidens, don’t you hear the music? Quick, quick, run, run, run.
(Exeunt Susan and Figaro, with the Girls)
(To the Page) Harkee, little Rascal, begone, instantly; put off your Petticoats, and don’t stir out of your room the rest of the day.—Take care, Sir, I don’t meet you again.
(Putting on his hat) No matter—I bare away that upon my forehead, which would compensate for an age of imprisonment (Exit joyously).
(Looks at the Countess, who recollects the kiss she had just given the Page) His forehead! What is it he bears away so triumphantly upon his forehead?
(Embarrassed) A—His Officer’s hat, I suppose. Every new Bauble pleases a Child.
The Procession is coming, will not your Ladyship stay and be a witness of your Favourite’s happiness?
As your Lordship pleases.
(Enter the Procession of the two Weddings. A March is played; Doctor Bartholo and Marcelina are preceded by Cryer of the Court, Guards, Double-fee, Counsellors, Don Guzman; after them come Antonio, Figaro, and Susan, followed by the Bridesmen and Maids, and a troop of Dancers. They all salute the Count and Countess as they pass; and after making the tour of the stage, Antonio presents his Niece to the Count; Susan kneels, one of the Bridemaids gives the Count the nuptial Cap; and Susan, while the Count is placing it on her head, plucks him by the cloak, and shews him the Note she had just before written. He pretends to keep adjusting the Cap, and slily reaches to take the Note, which he instantly claps in his bosom, having previously unbuttoned himself for that purpose. While this is transacting a Castanet-Dance is performed. As soon as Susan rises, she purposely places herself before the Countess, to encourage the Count to read the Note, who accordingly steps forward, is going to open it, and pricks his finger with the Pin, which he plucks out and throws angrily on the floor.)
These Women and their curst Pins.
(Aside to his Mother laughing) The Count has received a Billet-doux from some pretty Girl, sealed with a Pin! This is a new fashion, which he does not seem to admire. (The Count reads the Note, is exceedingly pleased, folds it up again, and reads on the outside, “Return the Seal,” hepretends to walk carelessly about the stage, but is all the while looking earnestly for the pin he had thrown away, which he at lost finds, picks up and sticks upon his Sleeve.)
(To his Mother) Every thing is precious that appertains to a beloved object.—He picks up the very Pin, you see. (All this while Susan and the Countess remark who is passing with laughter, and private looks and gestures.)
(Rising) Come with me, Susan. We shall soon be back, my Lord, (Aside to Susan) Let us make haste and exchange dresses.
(Exeunt Countess and Susan.
“Guards! Guards!—This way, Guards! (Places the Guards at the door, runs up to the Count) My Lord, here’s Mr. Basil coming, my Lord, with the whole Village at his heels, because he has been singing all the way he went.
“Orpheus and the Brutes. But I’ll make him change his Tune.
Enter BASIL singing, followed by BOUNCE.
So, Mr. Basil, what is your will and pleasure?
“After having fulfilled your Lordship’s commands, by amusing this honest Gentleman—
“Me, my Lord? I assure your Lordship he has not amused me in the least.
“I now return to enforce my claims on Marcelina.
“Look you, Sir—Should you venture but to cast one look, or approach one step nearer that Lady—
“Let him speak, Figaro, let him speak.
“Oh f-f-fie!—What f-f-friends!—
“I disclaim such friendship.
“And I—Error in Judgment, Mr. President.
“He!—A Street-corner Ballad-Bawler!
“As good, at least, as a Barber-Surgeon!
“Who hashes up a dinner out of Horse-hair and Catgut!
“Who has hungrily devoured Razors and Hones, and fed half his life upon Froth! (Imitates beating up a Lather.)
“The high Priest of Pimps!
“The vile Drudge of Intrigue!
“Execrated by those he serves!
“Gulled by his own Cunning!
“So great a Fool, Knavery itself cannot make him thrive!
“So stupid, he never yet could invent a probable Lie!
“How now!—Is this all the Respect you shew?—
“You hear, my Lord, how he insults me! When, it is well known, there is not, in all Andalusia, a more eminent!—
“Is this to be borne?
“Whose countenance prophecies of Pillories, Scaffolds, and the stretching of Hemp; and whose whole appearance is a continual Memento of public Calamity, Plague, Pestilence, and Famine;—A Misericordia, Sackcloth-and-ashes Knave;—A Scape Goat, that looks like a Jew in the yellow Jaundice. (Doctor Bartholo and Don Guzman prevent Basil from falling upon Figaro.)
“Do you think this proper, Mr. Figaro?
“Why not, my Lord?—Let him listen to Truth, since he is too Poor to pay Parasites and Liars.
“Silence, Sir!—Let us hear, Mr. Basil, what you have to say.
“(Composing himself) I demand the hand of Marcelina, my Lord, who promised to marry me.
“On what condition was this promise made?
“That I should adopt your lost Son, if ever you should be happy enough to find him.
“He is found.
“Where is he?
“Here he stands. (Pointing to Figaro).
“The-e-e-ere he stands.
“He!—Oh, my curst Stars!
“Do you re-e-nounce your pre-e-tentions to his de-e-ear Mother?
“Renounce!—As I would renounce the Devil and all his Works.
“What! Renounce your best Friend?—But that’s like your Rogue’s tricks.
“I will not live under the same roof with him—I would rather even quit the service of my Lord.
“Don’t be uneasy, I shan’t trouble you long—Restored to my Parents, and married to my Susan, I shall retire and live in Peace.
“(Aside) And I shall retire to meet my Mistress.
“So every body is sa-a-tisfied.”
Let the marriage Contracts be prepared, and I will sign them.
Thanks, gracious Lord.
And I will go and prepare the Fireworks in the Garden, near the Pavilion.
(Returning) Who, pray Sir, gave you those Orders?—The Countess is too much indisposed to come out; let them, therefore, be played off in front of the Castle, facing her Windows—(Aside)—The Rascal was going to set fire to my Place of Rendezvous! (Exeunt).
Manent FIGARO and MARCELINA.
How attentive he is to his Wife.
“It is necessary”—My dear Figaro, “I should undeceive thee respecting my former false accusations of Susan—Basil has always told me she obstinately refused to listen to the Count’s Overtures, and” I am both sorry and ashamed to have excited thy Jealousy.
Oh, be under no apprehensions, my dear Mother; Jealousy is the foolish Child of Pride, the Disease of a Madman—My Philosophy is invulnerable to its poisonous Arrows.
(Figaro turns and sees Agnes just behind him, coming down the Stage).—So! What you have been listening, my little inquisitive Cousin?
Oh, no; they tell me that is not polite.
Then what’s your errand?—He is not here.
Oh, I know that very well—I know where he is—I want my Cousin Susan.
Aye!—And what do you want with her?
Not much; only to give her a Pin.
(Starts) A Pin! (Striding about in great anger) A Pin!—And how dare you, you little Hussey, undertake such Messages?—What! Have you learnt your trade already?—(Marcelina makes a sign to Figaro, who recollects himself, and endeavours to disguise his feelings)—Come, come, my pretty Cousin, don’t be frighten’d, I was but in joke—I—I—I know all about it; its a Pin that my Lord has sent by you to Susan.
Since you know so well, why need you ask me then?
(Coaxing) Only to hear what my Lord said when he sent thee on this errand.
Here, said he, here, my pretty little Agnes, take this Pin to thy Cousin Susan, and tell her it is the Seal of the new Song about the Twilight and the Pavilion.
The Pavilion—And take great care, said he, that nobody sees thee.
Well, well, I was but joking; go and execute thy Message faithfully, exactly as my Lord bade thee.
Law! My Cousin takes me for a Ninny, I believe. (Exit skipping).
So, my Mother!
So, my Son!
Here’s a sweet Daughter!—A delightful Bride!—And will be a most virtuous Wife!—(Walking up and down with great agitation)—A false—Deceitful—I’m happy, however, I have found her out—I will detect, expose, and abandon her!
Nay, but gently, my Son, gently; recollect that Jealousy is the disease of a Madman, and that your Philosophy is invulnerable.—Fie! fie!—All this passion about a Pin!
A Pin that has wounded me to the heart!—Didn’t we see the Count pick it up?
We did so; but how can we tell whether she means to deceive thee or him?—Art thou sure she will go to the Rendezvous; and wilt thou condemn her without hearing her?
I am sorry—I am a Fool—And yet!—If she should be false!
Nay, but my dear Figaro—
Well, well; I will be calm—Yes, my amorous Count, you will at least meet with somebody you don’t expect—If you do not make haste we shall be at the Pavilion as soon as your Lordship! (Exeunt).
The End of ACT IV.
SCENE, the Garden,
With walks of cut trees in the back ground, and two Pavilions, one on each side of the stage.
Enter AGNES. (A lanthorn in one hand, and two cakes and an orange in the other)
THE Pavilion to the left? Ay, that’s it.—But if he should not come soon!—He has not half learnt me my part yet—Poor thing, he hasn’t eat any thing all day; and the cross, good-for-nothing Cook would not give me a morsel for him; so I was obliged to ask the Butler for these Cakes and this Orange:—It cost me a good kiss on the cheek, but I know who’ll repay—Oh dear, here’s somebody coming!—
Enter FIGARO, disguised in a red Rocquelaure; Doctor Bartholo, Don Guzman, Basil, Antonio. Figaro imagines at first Agnes to be Susan; and, as it is too dark to see, endeavours to follow the sound of her voice, having entered while she was speaking. Agnes enters the Pavilion on the left.
I was mistaken, ’tis Agnes! (They all grope down the stage till they get round Figaro) What a clock is it?
Almost near the moon’s rising.
What a gloomy night.
We look like so many Conspirators.
You understand, Gentlemen, why you are come hither—It is to be Witnesses of the Conduct of the virtuous Bride I am soon to espouse, and the honourable Lord who has graciously bestowed her upon me.
(Aside) This will be a precious Revenge.
Remember, Figaro, a wife Man has never any Contest with the Great; it is the Battle of Don Quixote with the Windmills; they whirl and dash you to a Distance, without once altering or retarding their Course.
Rather remember they have not courage to oppress any but Cowards.
Ye-e-es, he is ma-a-ad.
But what about?
A certain Rendezvous;—Come this way, and I’ll tell you the whole.
Hide yourselves hereabouts, and come running the Moment you hear me call.
He is turning Fool.
Ye-e-es, he’s turning foo-oo-ool—Stay and take ca-are of him,
Manent Figaro and Doctor.
“Oh Woman, Woman, Woman! Inconstant, weak, deceitful Woman!—But each Animal is obliged to follow the instinct of its Nature; and it is thine to betray!—What, after swearing this very Morning to remain for ever Faithful; and on the identical Day! The bridal Day!—
“I even saw her laugh with Delight, while he read her Billet!—They think themselves secure, but perhaps they yet may be deceived.”—No, my very worthy Lord and Master, you have not got her yet—What! Because you are a great Man, you fancy yourself a great Genius.—“Which way?—How came you to be the rich and mighty Count Almaviva? Why truly, you gave yourself the Trouble to be born! While the obscurity in which I have been cast demanded more Abilities to gain a mere Subsistence than are requisite to govern Empires. And what, most noble Count, are your Claims to Distinction, to pompous Titles, and immense Wealth, of which you are so proud, and which, by Accident, you possess? For which of your Virtues? Your Wisdom? Your Generosity? Your Justice?—The Wisdom you have acquired consists in vile Arts, to gratify vile Passions; your Generosity is lavished on your hireling Instruments, but whose Necessities make them far less Contemptible than yourself; and your Justice is the inveterate Persecution of those who who have the Will and the Wit to resist your Depredations.” But this has ever been the Practice of the little Great; those they cannot degrade, they endeavour to crush.
Be advised, Figaro—be calm—there has ever been a Respect paid—
To Vice—where it is not due.—Shame light on them that pay it.
Consider, he is—
A Lord—and I am—a Man!—Yes, I am a Man, but the nocturnal Spells of that enchantress Woman, soon shall make me a Monster. “Why, what an Ass am I!—Acting here the idiot part of a (Strikes his forehead)—a—Husband—Altho’ I am but half finished.” (Agnes peeps out of the Pavilion, and approaches a little way to listen.)
Is that Hannibal?
I hear somebody! (Agnes hears the voice of the Doctor, and runs in again) I will retire, but if you are wise, you will wait the Event patiently; your suspicions may be unjust,—should they prove real, then shake her from you, as her Ingratitude deserves. (Exit.
“Oh, how easy it is for the prayer mumbling Priest to bid the Wretch on the Rack suffer patiently. (Figaro listens) I hear nothing—all is silent—and dark as their designs. (Figaro pulls off his Roquelaure, and throws it on a Garden-bench) Why, what a Destiny is mine—Am I for ever doom’d to be the foot-ball of Fortune?—Son of I knew not who, stol’n I knew not how, and brought up to I knew not what, lying and thieving excepted, I had the sense, tho’ young, to despise a life so base, and fled such infernal Tutors. My Genius, tho’ cramp’d, could not be totally subdued, and I spent what little time and money I could spare in Books and Study. Alas! it was but time and money thrown away. Desolate in the world, unfriended, unprotected, my poor stock of knowledge not being whip’d into me by the masculine hic hæc hoc hand of a School-master, I could not get Bread, much less Preserment.—Disheartened by the failure of all my projects, I yet had the audacity to attempt a Comedy, but as I had the still greater audacity to attack the favorite Vice of the favorite Mistress, of the favorite Footman of the favorite Minister, I could not get it licensed.—It happened about that time, that the fashionable Question of the day was an enquiry into the real and imaginary Wealth of Nations; and, as it is not necessary to possess the thing you write about, I, with lank Cheeks, pennnyless Purse, and all the simplicity of a Boy, or a Philosopher, freely described the true causes of national Poverty: when suddenly I was awaken’d in my bed at Mid-night, and entrusted to the tender care of his Catholic Majesty’s Mirmidons, whose Magic-power caused the heavy gates of an old Castle to fly open at my approach, where I was graciously received, lodged, and ornamented, according to the fashion of the place, and provided with Straw, and Bread, and Water gratis. My ardor for Liberty sufficiently cool’d. I was once more turned adrift into the wide World, with leave to provide Straw and Bread and Water for myself.—On this my second birth, I found all Madrid in Raptures, concerning a most generous Royal Edict, lately published, in favor of the Liberty of the Press: and I soon learnt, that, provided I neither spoke of the Wealth of Nations in my writings, nor of the Government, nor of Religion, nor of any Corporate-Companies, nor offended the favorite Mistress of the Minister’s favorite Footman, nor said any one thing which could be twisted into a reference, or hint, derogatory to any one Individual, who had more powerful friends than I had, I was at liberty to write, freely, all, and whatever I pleased, under the inspection of some two or three Censors!—Soon after this, a Place happened to be vacant, which required a person well acquainted with Calculation; I offered my Services; my Abilities were not questioned; I waited, in anxious expectation of the Event, and, in three days, learnt it had been bestowed, two days before, upon a Dancing-master.—Persecuted by Creditors, tired of starving, and unable, through the feebleness of Youth to sustain so unequal a Struggle, I had the weakness, at last, to sink before Temptation, and set up a Pharaoh Bank. And now, for once, behold the Scene changed! See me equally familiar with Lords as with their Lacquies! Every door was open to me! Every hand held out! But, notwithstanding my desire to be Something in this world, my detestation of the brazen Effrontery, profound Ignorance, and insupportable Insolence of these fashionable Friends of Nobility was so innate that I found I could better endure all the Miseries of Poverty than the Disgrace and Disgust of such Society.—Quitting, therefore, with contempt this new Trade, and leaving false Shame behind me, as a burthen too heavy for a Foot-passenger, I once more took up my strap and hone, and travelled for employment from Town to Town.—At Seville I found a Lord mad to marry his Mistress; my Wit procured him what his could not, a Wife; and, in return, he gratefully endeavours to Seduce mine—Strange concatenation of circumstance! My Parents all at once claim me!—’Tis he, ’tis she, ’tis me, ’tis—I don’t know who!—I came into the world without my Knowledge, and I shall go out on’t without my Will; and thus do I continue to torment myself about this Being of mine, without understanding what this Being is, what it was, what it shall be, whence it came, where it is, or whither it shall go.—I only know it to be a compound of Contradictions! A little, wise, foolish Animal, ardent in the pursuit of Pleasure, capricious through Vanity, laborious from Necessity, but indolent by Choice. After having exhausted every Art for enjoyment, and every Profession for a livelihood, I found myself intoxicated by a heavenly Illusion, that has vanish’d at my approach!—Vanished!—And is it vanish’d?”—Oh Susan! Susan! (Figaro sinks melancholy upon the garden-seat; but being suddenly roused by a noise, wraps himself up in his Rocquelaure.
Enter softly, in each other’s dress, the COUNTESS and SUSAN, followed by MARCELINA.
So Figaro is to be here. (In an under voice)
He is here.
Thus one is come to lay the Springe, and the other to seize the Game.
I will go and hide myself in this Pavilion, where I shall hear all. (Exit into the Pavilion on the left.)
We may begin. (Speaks louder) If my Lady does not want me, I will walk and enjoy the fresh air.
Oh, the Cecatrice.
It may give thee cold.
Oh no, my Lady.
Oh no! She’ll not take cold to-night. (Aside). Susan retires a little towards the Pavilion on the left; Hannibal is heard singing, and, as he enters, perceives the Countess, in Susan’s dress.
Is that Agnes, yonder? (He approaches) By her long Lappets and white Feathers, it must be Susan. (Comes up and takes hold of the Countess’s hand) Ah, my dear Susan!
Let me go. (In a feigned voice.)
Come, Come; don’t be so coy. I know it is not Figaro you are waiting for, it is my Lord the Count—What! Did not I hear, this Morning, when I was behind the great Chair?
(Aside). The babbling little Villain.
Enter the COUNT behind, and hears the Page.
Is not that somebody with Susan?—(Advances close up to them, and draws back in a fury).—’Tis that infernal Page again. (Susan keeps out of the way and silently laughing.)
’Tis in vain to say no:—Since thou art going to be the Representative of the Countess, I am determined to give the one kiss for thyself, and a hundred for thy beauteous Lady.
(Aside). “As impudent as a Page, says the Proverb.”
(The Countess draws back to avoid being kissed by the Page, and the Count advances and presents himself in her place; the Page feels the rough beard of the Count, and suddenly retreats, crying in an under voice)—Oh, the Devil!—The Count again!
(Exit Page into the Pavilion on the left.)
(While this passes, Figaro likewise advances to drive the Page from Susan; meanwhile the Count, on the Page’s supposed next approach, prepares to give him a proper reception).
(Thinking he speaks to the Page). Since you are so fond of kissing, take that. (Gives Figaro a severe box on the ear).
I have paid for listening. (Susan cannot contein herself, but bursts out a laughing).
(Hears her laugh). Why this is inconceiveable!—Do such Salutations make the impudent Rascal laugh?
It would be strange if he should cry this time. (Aside).
(Count and Countess approach).
But let us not lose the precious moments, my charming Susan!—Let these Kisses speak my ardour! (Kisses the Countess several times with rapture).
(Aside, and beating his forehead). Oh! Oh! Oh!
Why dost thou tremble?
(Cominuing her feigned voice). Because I am afraid.
Thou seemest to have got a cold. (Takes the Countess’s hand between his own, and amorously strokes and kisses her fingers). What a sweet, delicate, Angel’s hand!—How smooth and soft!—How long and small the fingers!—What pleasure in the touch!—Ah! How different is this from the Countess’s hand!—
(Sighing). And yet you loved her once.
Yes—Yes—I did so—But three Years of better Acquaintance has made the Marriage-state so respectable—And then Wives are so loving—when they do love, that is—that one is surprised when in search of Pleasure, to find Satiety.
Oh, no; Love is but the Romance of the Heart; Pleasure is its History—As for thee, my dear Susan, add but one grain more of Caprice to thy Composition and thou wilt make one of the most enticing, teazing, agreeable Mistresses.
’Tis my Duty to oblige my Lord.
Yes—Women’s Duties are unlimited—They owe all—Men nothing.
It is not our Faults; ’tis the law of Nature—And then Wives think to ensure our fidelity by being always Wives—Whereas they should sometimes become—
Our Mistresses—I hope thou wilt not forget this Lesson.
Oh no, indeed, not I.
(Aloud). Nor I.
(Aloud). Nor I.
(Astonished). Are there Echoes here?
And now, my sweet Susan, receive the Portion I promised thee. (Gives a purse and puts a ring upon her finger)—And continue likewise to wear this Ring for my sake.
Susan accepts your Favors.
(Aside). Was there ever so faithless a Hussey?
(Aside). These riches are all for us! (Still keeps chuckling very heartily at what is going forwards.)
I perceive Torches.
They are preparatory to thy Nuptials. (the Countess pretends to be afraid). Come, come, let us retire for a moment into the Pavilion.
What! In the dark?
Why not? There are no Spirits.
(Aside). Yes, but there are; and evil ones too. (Countess follows the Count). She is going!—Hem! (Figaro hem’s in a great passion).
(Raising his voice majesterially). Who goes there!
(Aside to the Countess). It’s Figaro! (The Countess enters the Pavilion on the right hand and the Count retires).
(Desperate). They are gone in. (Walks about). Let her go—Let her go!
(Aside.) Thou shalt pay presently for these fine Suspicions. (Susan advances and mimics the voice of the Countess). Who is that?
’Tis the Countess (Aside).—What lucky Chance conducted you hither, Madam—You know not what Scenes are this moment transacting.
Oh yes, but I do, Figaro.
What! That the Count and my very virtuous Bride are this moment in yonder Pavilion Madam!
(Aside). Very well, my Gentleman!—I know more than thou dost.
And will you not be revenged?
Oh yes, we always have our Revenge in our own power.
(Aside). What does she mean?—Perhaps what I suspect—Why that would be a glorious Retaliation.—(To Susan) There is no Means but one, Madam, of revenging such Wrongs; that now presents itself.
(Jealous) What does the good-for-nothing Fellow mean? (Speaks in a tone of compliance to Figaro). Does it Figaro?
Pardon my Presumption, Madam! On any other occasion, the Respect I bear your Ladyship would keep me silent, but on the present I dare encounter all! (Falls on his knees). Oh, excuse, forgive me, Madam; but let not the precious moments slip!—Grant me your hand.
(Unable any longer to contain herself gives him a slap on the face). Take it.
I have it, I think!—The Devil! This is the Day of Stripes!
Susan gives it thee (as soon as Figaro hears it is Susan, his satisfaction is so extreme, he laughs very heartily, and keeps laughing all the while she keeps beating him) and that, and that, and that, and that for thy Insolence—And that for thy Jealousy—And that for thy Infidelity (Susan out of breath, Figaro still laughing.)
Oh happy Figaro—Take thy Revenge, my dear, kind, good Angel; Never did Man or Martyr suffer with such Extacy!
Don’t tell me of your Extacy! How durst you, you good for nothing, base, false-hearted Man, make love to me, supposing me the Countess.
I must bring myself off, (aside)—Dost think I could mistake the music of my Susan’s Voice?
What, you pretend you knew me then?
Pretend! Canst thou doubt it?
And this was a Trick upon me!—But I’ll be revenged.
Talk not of Revenge, my Love, but tell me what blest Angel sent thee hither, and how thou camest by this Disguise, which so fully proves thy Innocence!
“I could find in my Heart not to tell thee; but know, to thy Confusion, it is my Lady’s; and that, coming to catch one Fox, we have entrapped two!
“But who has taken the other?
“His Wife!—Go and hang thyself, Figaro—Go and hang thyself, for wanting the Wit to divine this Plot!—And has all this intriguing been about his Wife?
“Yes, about his Wife.
(a little suspicious) “But who did the Page kiss?
“The Count! Ha! ha! ha! that is excellent, (Resuming his gravity) But who did the Count kiss?
“Ay, but who did he kiss this Morning—behind the great Chair?
“Art thou—quite sure?”
(Holding out her Hand) Dost thou want another Proof?
Ah! Thine are but proofs of Love—That of the Count, indeed, was not so gentle.
Enter COUNT behind.
(Aside to Susan) A lucky thought strikes me; prithee second me, Susan, (Speaks in a feigned Voice, falls on his Knees and kisses Susan’s Hand)—Ah Madam! Let us not longer converse of Love, but enjoy it’s Treasures.
What’s here! A Man on his Knees to the Countess!—(Feels for his Sword, they keep silently laughing) And I unarm’d!
(Acting the Petit Maitre) Upon my Honour, Madam, I could not have supposed Timidity should make you hesitate a moment.
(Furiously) So this is our Dressing-room Gentleman, at last! I shall know all at least, now—(Figaro kisses her hand again.) Oh Rage! Oh Hell!
How delightfully he swears.
(Figaro and Susan still inwardly laughing) Quickly then, Madam, let us repair the wrong which Love this Morning suffered at the impertinent intrusion of your Lord.
This is not to be borne (Darts between them, seizes Figaro by the Collar, while Susan escapes into the Pavilion on the left.)
(Pretends amazement) My Lord!
How! Rascal! And is it you!—Hollo—Hollo—Who hears?
Enter blundering in the dark, and in a great hurry, the COURIER, who had been to Seville after the Page.
Here!—Here!—Here am I, my Lord! Just arrived from Seville! But he is not there! I might as well have sought for this Page in my pocket! Here is the Packet again.
Stand out of the way, Rascal—Hollo!—Where are my People? Lights! Lights!
What’s my Lord afraid of? Is there not Mr. Figaro and I?
Enter Flambeaux, Don GUZMAN, Dr. BARTHOLO, ANTONIO, BASIL, and Servants.
(To the Servants) Guard that Door and some of you seize this Fellow.
You command, with absolute Authority, over all present, my Lord, except yourself.
“The Villain’s impenetrable, cool Impudence is intolerable.
“We are not Soldiers, that we should kill one another without Malice: for my part, I like to know why I am angry.”
Be pleased, Sir, to declare, before this Company, who the—the—Woman is that just now ran into that Pavilion.
Into that—(Going to cross to the Pavilion on the right.)
(Stopping him) No, prevaricating Fiend; into that. (Pointing to the other.)
Ah! That alters the Case.
“The Lady that escaped into that Pavilion?
“Ay, Demon, the Lady.
The Lady “that escaped into that Pavilion,” is a young Lady to whom my Lord once paid his Addresses, but who, happening to love me more than my Betters, has this day yielded me the Preference.
The Preference!—The Preference!—he does not lie at least.—Yes, Gentlemen, what he confesses, I pledge my Honour I just have heard from the very mouth of his Accomplice!
Come forth, Madam! (Enters the Pavilion.)
Which of these two has made a—Gentleman of the other.
(In the Pavilion.) Come forth, I say, shew yourself. (Enter, dragging out the PAGE, still speaking and not looking at him till he gets on a line with the rest of the Company.) Happily, Madam, there is no Pledge of a Union, now so justly detested.—
(After all the rest.) The Pa-a-age!
Again! And again! And everlastingly this damn’d, diabolical Page. (Page flies to the other side of the stage.) You shall find, however, he was not alone.
Ah, no! My lot would have been hard indeed then.
Enter Antonio, and drag the guilty Thing before her Judge.
(In the Pavilion.) Come, Madam, you must come out; I must not let you go since my Lord knows you are here.
Enter with his Daughter, AGNES.
Odzooks, my Lord, its a pleasant Trick, enough, to send me in, before all these good Folks, for my Daughter.
I’ll find her, I warrant. (Going.)
(Stopping the Count.) Pardon me, my Lord, but you are too angry at present; let me go.
(Exit Doctor to the Pavilion.)
This Cause is very perplex’d.
(Entering with Marcelina.) Fear nothing, Madam, fear nothing.
My Mother too! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
Where then is this Daughter of Infamy who thus evades my just Fury?
Enter SUSAN, with her Fan before her face.
Here she comes, at last; bearing her own Shame and my Dishonour. (Susan kneels to him, still hiding her Face.)
Pardon, pardon, gracious Lord!
No! No! No! (They all fall on their knees.) No! No! Were the World to kneel I would be deaf.
Enter the COUNTESS from the Pavilion on the right, and kneels to the Count, whose back is turned to her.
At least I will make one of the Number. (Susan drops her fan, the Count hears the voice of the Countess, looks round, and suddenly conceives the whole Trick they have been playing him. All the Company burst into a laugh: the Count’s shame, confusion, &c.)
(Laughing stupidly) Ha! ha! ha! ha! ’Tis the Countess!
(With great humility.) And—is it you my Lady?
(Inclines her body in token of Affirmation.)
(Returning her bow with great confusion.) Ah!—Yes!—Yes! A generous pardon—tho’ unmerited.—
Were you in my place, you would exclaim, No! No! No! But I grant it without a single Stipulation.
And I.—There are Echoes here.
(Surprised) I perceive—I perceive—I have been rightly served.
Here, Susan, here is the Purse and Ring, which my Lord gave thee. He will remember thy sweet delicate Fingers, so long and so small.
Thank your Lordship—Here Figaro.
(Gives him the Purse.
It was devilish hard to get at—
(To Susan) And the Letter you wrote—
Was dictated by my Lady.
(Smiling good naturedly.) Well, well! I am an Answer in her Debt.
Thus every Man shall have his own.
And shall we throw the Stocking?
There is the Garter. (Throws down the Riband Hannibal had stolen in the Morning; Bounce is going to stoop for it, and the Page pushes him back.)
This is my Right, and if any one dare dispute it with me—
Indeed! Mr. Officer—So bold a Champion already!—Pray how did your Valour like the Box on the Ear I gave you just now?
(With his Hand to his Sword) Me! My Colonel?
Which I kindly received.
I—And thus do the Great distribute Justice.
(laughing) Well, Mr. President, (Don Guzman instantly calls up all his Wisdom on finding himself addressed) what do you think of all these things?
Thi-ink, my Lord? (Considers) I—I think that—I do-o-on’t know what to think.
I think, a few such Days as this would form an excellent Ambassador—But lately I was a poor, deserted, solitary Being, in this wide World, and now I have Gold, Relations, and a handsome Wife—
And Friends will flock in abundance.
Do you think so?
Oh I know so.
Well, let them, they shall be welcome to all I have—My Wife and my Wealth excepted.
Our Errors past, and all our Follies done, Oh! That ’twere possible you might be won To pardon Faults, and Misdemeanors smother, With the same ease we pardon One-another! So should we rest, To-night, devoid of Sorrow, And hope to meet you, joyously, To-morrow.