A new Opera in Three Acts. Written expressly for the Savoy Theatre


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We’ve called as pillagers

On the villagers,

When they all were out;

We’ve opened the doors

Of barns and stores

And left them a little bit thinner!

So perhaps they’re wondering

Who’s been plundering

Every house about;

But while they think,

We’ll eat and drink

Their goods for supper and dinner!

Zerbinette (goes up to Picorin). Now then, Mr. Stay-at-home, see what I’ve got! (Holds up purse.)

Picorin. Where did you get that?

Zerbinette. Out of somebody’s pocket, of course! What do you think?

Picorin. You’re not clever enough to pick a pocket.

Zerbinette. Oh, I’m not, am I? Take the purse yourself — (throws purse to Picorin) — and I’ll show you how I got it.
Pantomime Dance.

(In which Picorin plays the part of the young man from whom Zerbinette steals the purse, and Francal that of her accomplice.)

The Pantomime.

A young man taking a walk is met by a pretty gipsy girl, who offers to tell his fortune. He crosses her hand with gold: she tells him he will marry three wives, and have all sorts of good luck. He tries to kiss her; she eludes him, but meanwhile steals his purse. He misses it — accuses her of the theft. She denies it. He makes her show her hands, which she does in turn; finally, putting both arms around his neck, and so passing the purse successfully behind his back to her confederate.

Francal. A good night’s work indeed. But where’s Mirette? And where’s our sentinel Bobinet?

Picorin. Mirette’s over there, and I’ll fetch her; but Bobinet’s gone. [Exit Picorin.]

Zerbinette. He’s gone! Perhaps I was too cruel to him, and drove him to suicide! (Sobs.)

Francal. Perhaps fiddlesticks! His gun’s gone too!

Zerbinette. It is suicide! He’s blown out his brains!

Francal. Brains! Impossible! Perhaps he’s run away from you, my dear.

Zerbinette. He wouldn’t dare! He’s been carried off! Well, I don’t mind (sobs); I’m not such a stupid. But I should like to know where the poor boy is! (Sobs.)

Francal. What’s this? The marks of feet — not Bobinet’s! Can the gendarmes have been here? We must be going at once.

Bertuccio. Too late! I hear the tramp of soldiers!

Francal. Put out the lights. Hide, all of you. [Gipsies conceal themselves.]
The soldiers enter, the Baron at their head, with Bobinet held by two soldiers.
Baron. Though the wood is very dark —

Soldiers. And the night is very damp —

Baron. Yet I venture to remark —

Soldiers. This must be the gipsy camp.

Bobinet. Here’s the tree where I was caught —

Soldiers. What is that within the shade?

Bobinet. Here they are, sir, as you thought!

Baron. There they are, then, as I thought!

Gipsies (starting up). Let us fly! We are betrayed!

Baron. Arrest them! Arrest them all!

Seize them! Seize them! Seize each bold offender!

Gipsies. We surrender!
Enter Picorin and Mirette in charge of two soldiers.
Bobinet. Oh! that’s Mirette!

Baron. Oh! that’s Mirette!

Although you have a pretty name,

You go to prison all the same!

Gipsies. Shame! Shame! It is shameful!

Shame! Shame! It is shameful!

Mirette. Enough, my friends, we need not care,

Though fate be hard, ’tis one for all;

Your joy, your luck I used to share,

Why should I shrink if ill befall?

Nay, we are comrades still,

Nay, we are comrades still,

Comrades in good or ill,

Ever and everywhere!

Enter Gerard.
Gerard. No, no! Her innocence I can proclaim,

She was with me — she’s not to blame —

So set her free!

Mirette. Thanks! Thanks! But if ’tis so,

Where shall I go?

Where may I roam?

I cannot find a home!

Gerard. A home is yours at the château,

As maid!

Baron. Then let her go!

Gipsies. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! He lets her go!

Baron. Oh! ho! She’ll have a pleasant task.

Now for her friend — (pointing to Picorin)

What shall we do?

Perhaps he’ll suit as valet, too!

Picorin. Let me come, I love her so!

Where she goes, I wish to go.

I will serve you as you will

If I can but serve her still;

To be near her all the day,

Grant me this for ample pay,

And a debt I still shall owe,

For I love her, love her so!

Mirette. Sir, set him free!

Baron. It shall be as you please!

Mirette. He comes with me

To serve the Marquise.

(To Gipsies.) Friends, I will not forget;

All I can do I will!

Gipsies (girls only). Mirette! Good-bye!
Gerard takes charge of Mirette and Picorin.
Bobinet (to Baron). Well, what of me?

Yes, what of me?

I, sir, guided you over the trail!

Baron. As a reward you shall go to jail!

Come then! Quick march!

Soldiers. Come along! Come along! Quick march!

Gipsies. Good-bye, Mirette!

Good-bye, Mirette!

Mirette. Good-bye! Some day — who knows?

Gipsies. Come along then!

So let it be! So let it be!

All. Where we sleep we do not care

Prison cell or open air;

Both alike are given free,

And both are a home for the Zingari!

Onward, then, with foe or friend

Down the road that has no end;

Still we sing our melody,

The marching song of the Zingari!

Scene. — Large Hall in the Château of the Marquise, a terrace at the back opening on the gardens. On the left, entrance to the banqueting hall. On the rising of the curtain the Marquise is discovered seated, listening to Mirette, who is singing to her a ballad from an old book.
Old Ballad. — Mirette.
So forward through the fading light,

Her faithless lover rode away,

Forgetting her he wooed last night,

And all the vows of yesterday.

“Ah stay! She loves thee so, Sir Knight!”

But ever still he rode away.

And all the birds were mute o’erhead,

And all the stars grew dark in Heaven,

Just for a word that was not said,

Just for a kiss that was not given!

Broken-hearted at the door,

The little maiden pined away,

Remembering all the love he swore,

The golden dreams of yesterday!

“Come back! She loves thee evermore!

Come back, Sir Knight, come back and stay!”

And then, ah! then, the word was said,

And then, ah! then, the kiss was given;

And all the birds sang overhead,

And earth was Heaven, was Heaven!

Marquise. Very pretty, but in real life girls don’t pine away.

Mirette. I think I should, of my lover deserted me.

Marquise. I thought so once myself. I will tell you a story — not poetical, but true. Once upon a time I was an extremely pretty girl. The Baron Van den Berg tells me I am so still; but he was always a gay deceiver. Well, one day a king — a young king — told me that he loved me.

Mirette. A real king?

Marquise. A real king. I can’t tell you his name, for he is married now, and mightn’t like it. He swore he would make me his queen, and we both vowed that if we were parted we should die. Well, we were parted! He married his cousin — it’s a way kings have — and I married a Marquis — an old Marquis.

Mirette. Were you not very unhappy?

Marquise. Yes, for a time — so was the Marquis, but we did not die. The Marquis died, certainly; but that was from gout in the — ahem! — the chest! That’s my story; and I don’t know why it should make you look so sad.

Mirette. Pardon me, Madame. I was thinking of my poor friends, the gipsies. It is a month since I came here, and they are still in prison.

Marquise. That is the Baron Van den Berg’s affair, not mine.

Mirette. But I am sure the Baron would release them if you asked him, Madame. You will ask him! (Kneels at Marquises side.)

Marquise. There, there, child! Somebody is coming! (Mirette rises confused, as Gerard enters.) Ah, Gerard!

Gerard. And what of me, dear aunt? (Kisses Marquise’s hand.)

Marquise (taps him with fan). No good, vagabond! Here you go hunting, when I’m expecting your sweetheart, Bianca, every moment.

Gerard. And her father, the Baron, eh?

Marquise. Naughty boy!

Mirette. Then, Monsieur Gerard, you will intercede with the Baron for my poor friends in prison!

Marquise. Yes, Gerard, it would look better from you, and he could refuse you nothing on your betrothal day.

Mirette (aside). His betrothal day!

Marquise. What’s the matter with the child?

Gerard. Dearest aunt, you ask him; — send him a nice note — to please me!

Marquise. Well, I will. You will have other business on hand. (Gerard gives an impatient start.) Yes, I quite understand, dear boy — you’re impatient to see Bianca — sweet child!

Gerard (aside). Bother Bianca!

Marquise. Come, Mirette, to keep me in countenance. I feel quite bashful writing to the Baron. (Going.)

Mirette (goes up to Gerard). Monsieur Gerard, I do thank you for your kindness!

Gerard. I would do far more for you, Mirette. Can’t you see —

Marquise (turning at door). Mirette! Come!

Mirette. Yes, Madame! [Exit after Marquise.]

Gerard. I was going to make a fool of myself. That gipsy Mirette has bewitched me. Bianca’s a pretty child, but insipidly innocent. Yet I don’t dislike her either. There are two sides to me; one likes freedom, poaching — and Mirette; the other is all for respectability, game-preserving — and Bianca. Why can’t I be allowed to love them both at once?
Song . — Gerard.

[words by Adrian Ross]

In quiet convent closes

The rosebud maidens grow;

The fairest of the roses

Is mine from long ago.

Mine is the right and power

To win and wear her soon;

My pure and perfect flower,

The garden rose of June.

Oh, my rose, shy rose,

Purest pink and white;

What joy to think the white and pink

Is all for my delight!

Above the hedge of briar

That walls the woodland ways,

High as my head and higher

A lonely blossom sways:

A rose that none has planted,

A vagrant forest maid;

To give one hour enchanted,

And then to fail and fade.

Oh, child rose, wild rose,

Roses fade and fall;

But till they’re thinned by Autumn wind,

I love, I love then all!

Gerard. Now for my convent rosebud! (Enter Mirette.) No, the other! Mirette!

Mirette. Monsieur Gerard! I did not think you were here. Madame sent me to speak to Picorin.

Gerard. Picorin can wait. Waiting is what he is paid for.

Mirette. But Madame wishes the banqueting hall prepared for the guests who are coming —

Gerard. To see me tied up! I know! Plague take them!

Mirette. They say Mademoiselle Bianca is so pretty, and you are so fond of her.

Gerard. I know someone prettier — and I’m fonder of that somebody! (Tries to put his arm round Mirette.)

Mirette. Oh, Monsieur Gerard, that is very wrong of you.

Gerard. I can’t help it. Mirette, I must tell you — (Enter Picorin.) Confound the fellow!

Picorin (bowing). Has Monsieur any commands for me?

Gerard. No — oh, yes! Go to the head gardener and tell him to make me up a bouquet of roses — red and white.

Picorin (aside). Roses mean love! Whom does he want them for? (Aloud to Mirette.) Has Madame any orders for me, Mirette?

Mirette. Yes, Picorin. Madame wants the banqueting hall got ready.

Picorin (aside). Humph! I’ll look in on them now and then! (Exit.)

Gerard. Mirette, you’re so pretty, and I’m so miserable having to marry a girl I don’t care for — I should like to throw up ranks and riches and turn gipsy.

Mirette. You join the gipsies? You’re jesting!

Gerard. I swear I mean it. There’s nothing I won’t do to be with you.

Trio. — Gerard, Mirette, and Picorin.

[words by Adrian Ross]

Gerard. Maiden with the wavy tresses,

And the look that is a spell,

Do not shrink from my caresses,

Hear me vow I love you well.

Mirette. You are born so far above me,

That I cannot hold you true,

For I know you must not love me,

And I cannot stay with you.

Mirette and Gerard. Words are soft and glances tender,

And our pulses leap and fall;

Can we make the sweet surrender,

Each to each be all in all?

Gerard draws Mirette to him. Enter Picorin. They do not at first notice him.
Picorin (to Gerard). Beg your pardon, if you please, sir,

But my lady, the Marquise, sir,

Wants to have the salon ready

For the noble company.

(to Mirette). You can stay there as you are, pet,

And assist me with the carpet —

Kindly hold it firm and steady,

And you won’t mind me!

Mirette and Gerard start each side, angrily. Picorin in centre shakes carpet.

Mirette and Gerard.

Oh, it’s very disconcerting

To be spied upon when flirting,

And we wonder what the use is

Of a servant such as he!

For he’s only more annoying

By incessantly employing

Such conventional excuses

As “Oh, don’t mind me!”


If they find me disconcerting,

They have probably been flirting,

And I wonder what the deuce is

The result of this to be!

But I’ll stop his dainty toying,

By incessantly employing

Such conventional excuses

As “Oh, don’t mind me!”

Exit Picorin.
Mirette and Gerard. Once again renew the rapture,

Once again our love repeat,

And recover and recapture

All the bliss of lips they meet.

Once again renew the rapture, etc.
As Gerard is going to kiss Mirette, re-enter Picorin with bunch of roses.
Picorin. Sir, I humbly beg your pardon,

But there’s someone from the garden,

Brought this very nice bouquet, sir,

That I thought you’d better see.

(to Mirette). Then I’ll put it here in water,

For the noble Baron’s daughter,

And it won’t be in my way, sir,

If you won’t mind me.


Mirette and Gerard.

It is vain to seek seclusion

From continual intrusion;

We had best adjourn the meeting

Till the time and place are free.

For the words that might be spoken

Are irreparably broken

By his imbecile repeating

Of “Oh, don’t mind me!”


I can see, from their confusion,

They object to my intrusion,

For a pair of lovers meeting

Do not want a Number Three;

But, before their love is spoken,

Their embraces shall be broken

By my entrance and repeating

Of “Oh, don’t mind me!”

Gerard tries to offer bouquet to Mirette, Picorin interposing. Enter Marquise.

Marquise. Dear me! Why are you not arranging the banqueting hall, Picorin?

Picorin. Monsieur Gerard ordered me to bring him some flowers. (Exit.)

Marquise. What lovely roses! You are always robbing me of my flowers; but I’ll forgive you this time, as they are for Bianca. You are improving, Gerard. A bunch of roses is a declaration of love all the world over. What say you, Mirette?

Mirette. Ah, Madame, a gipsy knows nothing of these pretty courtesies.

Marquise. That reminds me, I have a note from the Baron. He has released the gipsies, and the good creatures are coming here to thank me.

Mirette. Oh, Madame, you are good!

Marquise. You will like to see your old friends; and if you want to show your gratitude you can sing us one of your songs this evening in your gipsy costume.

Mirette. Shall I sing before all your company, Madame?

Gerard (aside to Mirette). Yes, sing — for me, not for them!

Marquise. What’s that? Mirette, go and get ready. (Mirette curtseys and exit.) And you, Gerard, do finish your toilet. Bianca may be here at any moment.

Gerard (angrily). Bianca be —— All right, aunt, I’m going. (Exit.)
Re-enter Picorin.
Marquise. What is it, Picorin?

Picorin. Madame, a deputation from the gipsies.

Marquise. Show the deputation in. (Exit Picorin.) I wonder if Gerard has been making love to Mirette? He might wait till he was married. But young men nowadays have no sense of propriety.

Re-enter Picorin, showing in Bobinet.

Bobinet. Madame, I have the honour to solicit the privilege of laying at your feet the respectful homage of myself and my comrades.

Marquise. I thank you, sir. Are your friends without?

Bobinet. No, Madame. I am without my friends.

Marquise (to Picorin). But you said there was a deputation.

Bobinet. I am the deputation — Celestin Bobinet.

Marquise. Pray be seated, Monsieur Bobinet.

Bobinet (aside). What a splendid woman! I have evidently made an impression.

Marquise. You can go and see to the banqueting room, Picorin.

Bobinet. Yes, Picorin — we can do without you, dear boy. Good-bye!

Picorin (aside to Bobinet). You little rascal! Wait till I catch you outside! (Exit).

Bobinet. As you are probably aware, Madame, I am the leading comedian — light comedy, not low comedy — of the troupe of the celebrated Francal, who is about to re-open —

Marquise. After a month in prison —

Bobinet. I beg your pardon, Madame. In our profession, we call that resting — even when accompanied by hard labour. The Baron Van den Berg informed us that it is to your ladyship we owe the end of our holiday. We tender our humblest thanks.

Marquise. You were glad to get out, I suppose.

Bobinet. Madame, we had reason to be glad. The local magistrates kept a very bad table, and the straw they laid down in our cells was disgracefully damp — evidently not properly aired. We threatened to leave at once, but they paid no attention to our complaints.

Marquise. Well, now you have left, I want you to do me a favour. My nephew signs his contract of marriage to-night. And I should like to celebrate the happy occasion with a little entertainment.

Bobinet. Ah, Madame, you invite us to your party? We shall be delighted!

Marquise. Yes, I invite you — to sing and dance.

Bobinet. Quite so. (Aside.) An entertainment on the cheap. It’s been done before.

Marquise. Of course your entertainment will be refined.

Bobinet. Madame, I can only say it has been given before royalty, and royalty was graciously pleased to smile. That is a guarantee of perfect propriety.

Marquise. You do not bring a clergyman on the stage, I hope.

Bobinet. We did have a Doctor of Divinity, but he has now taken a degree in medicine.

Marquise. Then propriety is satisfied!
Duet. — Marquise and Bobinet.

[words by Harry Greenbank.]

Marquise. The programme I’ll discuss with you,

So kindly take me through it.

I want to know what you can do,

And how you mean to do it;

For, though it must be up-to-date,

My friends and my relations

Of course will only tolerate

Respectable gyrations.

Bobinet (bowing). Madame has made it clear as day,

She wants a most refined display.

Marquise. I beg you won’t by any chance

Perform an unbecoming dance,

You might, perhaps, suggest it so —

But nothing more than that, you know!


{Marquise. I beg you won’t by any chance, etc.

{Bobinet. She begs, I won’t by any chance, etc.

Bobinet. We’ve got the champion pugilist,

And everybody backs him;

Cuirasses that a shot resist

By Dowe and by Maxim,

Of comic songs you’ll hear the gem,

And, when our audience wearies,

We wake them up by showing them

Our Tableaux Vivants series!

Marquise. Oh! hush! my worthy fellow, hush!

You wouldn’t like to see me blush!

Bobinet. There’s nothing that will make you start,

We only deal in works of art,

And realize a picture, so —

With just a little less, you know!

Both. There’s nothing that will make you/me start, etc,
Marquise. Although I’ve danced the minuet,

So stately, grave, and haughty,

I’ve never tried a dance as yet

That anyone called naughty.

Skirt dancing now is all the rage,

I’d learn it in a minute;

But do you think at middle age

It’s prudent to begin it?

Bobinet (bowing). Madame would look extremely sweet

When tripping on those dainty feet!

Marquise. You’ve no idea what ladies do!

I’ve seen them dance the gay Chahût,

And fling their little feet up so —

But rather more than that, you know!

Both. You’ve/I’ve no idea what ladies do! etc.
Bobinet. I will not conceal from you, Madame, that these exertions have given me a magnificent appetite, and a still more magnificent thirst. (Enter Picorin.)

Marquise. You shall have any refreshments you like. Picorin! Give Monsieur Bobinet all he desires.

Bobinet (aside). She’s a splendid woman. (To Picorin.) Picorin, I’m dying of thirst; so if you can find me a ham —

Picorin. That will make you thirstier still!

Bobinet. Precisely. I shall have a thirst I wouldn’t take a Louis d’or for. Then I can do with a bottle or two of Rhine wine — Steinwein, I prefer.

Picorin. Madame?

Marquise. You hear what Monsieur Bobinet says. A ham and a bottle of Steinwein.

Picorin (bows). Steinwein it is, Madame! (Exit.)

Bobinet (to Picorin). In Boxbeutel, remember! (Aside.) She’s a splendid woman. (Exit after Picorin.)

Servant (enters). The Baron Van den Berg and Mademoiselle Bianca. (Exit, as Baron and Bianca enter).

Marquise. Delighted to see you, Baron. Ah, my dear child! (Kisses Bianca.) I hope you had a pleasant journey?

Baron. Delightful, was it not, Bianca?

Bianca (very primly). Yes, papa.

Baron. That’s my own dear appreciative impulsive child! Ah, my daughter!

Bianca. Ah, papa!

Baron. Your happiness makes me think of my own young days. It is many years since then.

Marquise. Don’t say how many, baron; you must remember that your young days were my young days as well.

Baron. Then my young days have never ended.

Marquise. Flatterer! Isn’t your papa a gay deceiver, Bianca?

Bianca. Yes, Madame!

Baron. Bianca!

Bianca. You told me not to contradict, papa!

Baron. You let your spirits run away with you, my child. I am an indulgent father, but I do not like impertinence.

Bianca. Oh, papa!

Marquise. Come, Baron, I must take Bianca under my wing. Well, child, I suppose you’re quite delighted that you’re going to be married — and to Gerard, too! — You like Gerard, don’t you?

Bianca. Yes, Madame!

Baron. That’s my dear affectionate gushing child! But, my dear, don’t be too hasty in showing your affection; let him know his happiness by degrees. Try to seem cold.

Marquise. Yes, Bianca, always imitate your dear papa.

Baron. Madame la Marquise! Ah, here is Gerard!

Enter Gerard.
Marquise. My dear boy, you have been keeping us waiting.

Gerard. A thousand pardons, Baron! (Shakes hands.) Mademoiselle Bianca, my sincere homage. (Kisses Bianca’s hand.)

Bianca (primly). I thank you, Monsieur Gerard.

Marquise. Now, Baron, these young people will have a thousand and one things to say to each other. Give me your arm.

Baron (to Marquise). Gerard is hardly so ardent as I should wish. (To Bianca.) Bianca — remember to be chilly at first, dear!

Bianca. Yes, papa! (Exeunt Marquise and Baron. As soon as they are out, Bianca explodes with laughter.) Oh, ha, ha, ha! It is all so funny!

Gerard (stiffly). I am glad I have the good fortune to amuse you, Mademoiselle.

Bianca. No, it isn’t that, though you do look funny in your fine clothes. You can’t even put your own silly coat on right. Just stand still, and let me smooth out the wrinkles, dear! You don’t mind me calling you “dear,” do you? It is rather forward!

Gerard. Oh no, not at all. Why should I?

Bianca. Papa was just telling me — what do you think? You’ll never guess! I was to be cold to you, very chilly, and say “Yes, Monsieur” to you, just as I do to him. And then you would be ardent, he said! That’s all he knows about it!

Gerard. Do you know much about it, then?

Bianca. Well, papa thinks I don’t; but he doesn’t know! You don’t mind me chattering, do you? Your aunt — I am so fond of your aunt! — said we had a thousand and one things to say. I fancy you think I’m saying a thousand, and that’s why you won’t say the one.

Gerard (aside). I haven’t had a chance yet! (Aloud.) Forgive me, Mademoiselle, I never was much of a speaker.

Bianca. Why, papa says you can talk philosophy, and other pernicious nonsense, by the hour!

Gerard. Really!

Bianca. I like nonsense, for I’m always talking it myself. He says you would like to go about with gipsy vagabonds. Are gipsy girls pretty, Monsieur Gerard?

Gerard. Ah — sometimes!

Bianca. Papa says you picked up a pretty gipsy girl for your aunt’s maid. I shall be jealous of her. You might be running off with her some day, and I should never see you again till you were taken up for stealing your own chickens! Ha, ha, ha!

Gerard (vexed). I am glad you are so easily amused!

Bianca. Oh! to think of you as a gipsy! Oh! ha, ha, ha!

Gerard. Don’t you think, Mademoiselle, that your thousand things are nearly said by now?

Bianca. Now you are angry with me, Gerard. You would chatter if you’d been saying nothing for years but lessons and “Yes, papa!” You’re taking me out of all that old dismal life, and that’s why I’m fond of you — at least, that’s one of the reasons, and the rest I won’t tell you.
Song. — Bianca.

But yesterday, in convent gray,

By gloomy walls enfolded,

I was at studies all the day,

And sometimes — often — well always scolded.

’Twas lessons on an endless plan,

And miscalled recreation,

And not a sight of any man,

Except some near relation!

Today the sky is bright on high,

Today the world uncloses,

I see unfold its gates of gold,

And all the way is roses!

Today, today my dream comes true,

And all through you, and all through you!

Today, today my dream comes true!

And when a holiday would come

I gained but little by it,

Beneath the stern paternal thumb

I was demure and quiet.

He talked of genealogies,

But I could not discover,

In all those dead old pedigrees

A single living lover!

Good-bye to wars of ancestors

I hear my bride-bells ringing,

“Thou art a woman now,” they cry,

And love is all they’re singing!

Today, today my dream comes true,

And all through you, and all through you!

Today, today my dream comes true!
Bianca. Well, Monsieur, you are very silent.

Gerard. I was listening to you, Mademoiselle.

Bianca. I see — you mean I do all the talking. Well, somebody must do the talking. When two people are fond of each other —

Gerard (aside). When they are!

Bianca. Then of course they want to be talking — or — or something to pass the time, you know. I have heard of people even — even kissing, sometimes, when they were very fond of each other!

Gerard. Really, Mademoiselle, you are quite learned. (Aside.) I suppose I must! (Kisses Bianca on the forehead.)

Bianca. Is that how you always mean to kiss me?

Gerard. It’s the most respectful way!

Bianca. But aren’t there any nicer ways? Ah! here’s my aunt! I mean your aunt! No, our aunt, of course!
Enter Marquise.
Marquise. Well, and how are the turtle doves getting on? (Aside to Bianca). Billing and cooing, eh, Bianca?

Bianca (aside to Marquise). I have been doing all the cooing, Madame, and Monsieur Gerard —

Marquise. He did the billing, eh?

Bianca. It was a very little bill — only one.

Marquise. I shall have to talk to that young man seriously. Gerard!

Gerard (comes down). Yes, aunt?

Bianca. Don’t say anything now, please, Madame!

Marquise (to Gerard). I’ll talk to you later. (Aloud.) Our guests will be here soon. Come, Bianca, and let me put the finishing touches to your dress. (Exeunt Marquise and Bianca.)

Gerard. She’s a nice little girl, but she hasn’t the charm of Mirette.(Enter Bobinet with napkin and table.) Eh? Who’s this? One of the noble guests?

Bobinet. Perhaps you do not recollect me, my lord. When I had the honour of making your acquaintance I was up a tree — very much up a tree. You don’t mind my going on with my lunch? (Sits at table.)

Gerard. This is an odd place for lunch.

Bobinet. I know it is. I’ve been lunching all over the house. Are you having a spring-cleaning? I began in the kitchen, and was ousted by preparations for the banquet. I ate bread and ham up the back staircase — you could track me by the crumbs. I have just abandoned a very fine ham-bone because the servants were laying the table; and if I can’t find a refuge here I must try the garden.

Gerard. Drink away, my good fellow. I shouldn’t mind a glass myself.

Bobinet. Here, Picorin! A glass for Monsieur Gerard. Let us be hospitable! Where are you? (Enter Picorin with bottle. Picorin pours out wine for Gerard, who sits at table.)

Gerard. To the help of our friends the gipsies!

Bobinet. To our noble selves! (Drinks.)

Gerard. Yours must be a merry life, eh?

Bobinet (with his mouth full).Kindly ask him! (Points to Picorin.) He knows all about it — he’s one of us. Excuse me if I finish my lunch!

Gerard. Well, Picorin, take a glad of wine yourself, and tell us how the gipsies live. I’ve often thought I should like to join them.

Picorin. Well, Monsieur Gerard, I’m much obliged. (Sits at table.) We had a merry life enough till you found us — then of course Bobinet and the rest of them went to jail.

Bobinet. Don’t say that. We went to the seaside, if you please.

Picorin. And we lost Mirette — the luck of the band.

Bobinet. Yes, our patron saint and prima donna! We’d do anything short of murder to get her back! (Drinks.)

Gerard. Glasses round! All men are free and equal. (Servant brings bottle and exit.)

Bobinet. Then I’ll make free with another bottle!

Picorin. And I’m equal to another glass!

Gerard. If you could get Mirette back I’d like to come too!

Picorin (aside). I thought so! (Aloud.) You wouldn’t like our life — it’s a poor trade singing and dancing at fairs, telling fortunes, weaving baskets —

Bobinet. And stealing ducks! What are you talking of? You’re drunk! Why it’s a glorious life — always merry, always laughing and quaffing, and singing good old drinking-songs. (Drinks.) Know our song about Old Noah? I’ll sing it! You don’t want to hear it, but I’ll sing it all the same!

Picorin. Don’t sing, idiot! The noble guests may be here in a moment.

Gerard (excited). Bother the noble guests! We’re all equal. Sing away.

Trio. — Bobinet, Picorin, and Gerard.

Bobinet. When Noah sailed his good old Ark,

Gerard. Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

Picorin. He was a thirsty patriarch

Gerard. Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

Bobinet. And like the ancient mariner

Picorin. He was very, very sad to think

Bobinet. It was water, water everywhere,

All. And never any drop to drink!
Picorin. So when he came to Ararat,

Gerard. Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

Bobinet. He thought he’d had enough of that,

Gerard. Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

Picorin. He planted half a mile of vine

Bobinet. On a sunny mountain shelf,

Picorin. And he brewed a barrel —

Bobinet. Of good strong wine,

All. And finished up the lot himself!
All. Then by came Ham, his thirsty son,

Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

And found the liquor all was done,

Tique-tique, tique-tin, tin, tin!

It’s written by a learned monk

That this is the reason why

Good wine will make you very, very drunk,

And ham is sure to make you dry!

Marquise (outside). Gerard, Gerard!

Picorin. Mercy, the Marquise! Off with you, Bobinet! (Bobinet and Picorin bolt off different ways as Marquise enters.)

Marquise. Gerard, this is most disgraceful conduct.

Gerard. But really, aunt —

Marquise. I’ll talk to you afterwards. Our friends have arrived.

Enter Baron and Bianca, then the Guests.

Chorus of Guests.
Obedient to your kind command,

Your courteous invitations,

We come to give with heart and hand

Our true congratulations!

Long life to you, O happy pair,

We sing to you, we sing to you,

Warm hearts of love and hopeful prayer

We bring to you, we bring to you;

May all your day

Be blithe and gay,

With roses all the way.
Marquise. Now, Bianca, my child, you’re the queen of the evening. Try to look like a bride.

Bianca. Ah, Madame! I can’t, I’ve had so little experience.

Marquise. The nuns must have neglected your education; but, poor things, you can’t expect them to know. Why they haven’t even taught you how to handle your fan.

Bianca. Is that so important, Madame?

Marquise. It is one of the most important branches of the higher education of women.
Fan Song. — Marquise and Chorus.

[words by Adrian Ross]

Marquise. When Eve was mistress Adam,

And lived in Eden Square,

As far as we know,

She hadn’t a clo’.

Or anything fit to wear.

But like a modern Madam,

Who flirt with modern man,

Though she’d even less

Than an evening dress,

She carried a palm leaf fan!

A fan, a fan, a fan!

Since ever the world began,

The sword and shield

That women wield,

Is the swaying, playing fan!

Chorus. A fan, a fan, a fan! etc.

Marquise. And mother Eve’s invention

Her daughters all can use;

They put it like this

When asking a kiss,

A hint that you can’t refuse.

It draws a man’s attention,

Resist you how he can,

When he sees your eyes

In a shy surprise

Peep over a plumy fan!

A fan, a fan, a fan!

From Italy to Japan,

None can resist

The skilful twist

Of a dancing, glancing fan!

Chorus. A fan, a fan, a fan! etc.
Marquise. If someone woos too boldly,

Your fan you shut and swing,

You give him some taps

That stop him, perhaps,

(They don’t, as a general thing!)

But if he lingers coldly,

You try another plan:

For you spread it wide,

As a hint to hide

Two faces behind a fan —

A fan, a fan, a fan!

When spread to its widest span,

A beautiful blind

To kiss behind,

Is the screening, meaning fan!

All. A fan, a fan, a fan! etc.
Baron. A most interesting and delightful lecture, Madame la Marquise. May we ask for another — say on the ethics of flirting?

Bianca. Would you like to be experimented on, papa?

Baron. Bianca!

Marquise. No, Baron, I have contrived a pleasant surprise for the company. The band of gipsies whom you released —

Baron. At your command, Marquise!

Marquise. Are coming to sing and dance for our entertainment, and Mirette —

Gerard (comes down, aside). Mirette —

Marquise. My maid, you know, Baron — she will give one of her songs that she used to sing at fairs. I hear them coming.
Enter Gipsies, led by Francal, Bobinet, and Bertuccio.

[words by Adrian Ross]

Gipsies (entering). We come, Madame la Marquise;

Here tonight, at your command,

You and all your guests to please

With the song and dance of gipsy-land.

Song and dance,

Song and dance,

And we hope that they may please.

Marquise. ’Tis well! But stay! Ere you begin,

Where is Mirette? (Enter Mirette.)

Chorus. Mirette!

Marquise. She will dance tonight

And sing for you a gipsy song.

Chorus. Bravo! Bravo!

Mirette. I will sing for you tonight!

Chorus. Bravo! Bravo!

Sing on, Mirette!

Song. — Mirette with Chorus.
Once a cavalier of Spain

Loved a maid of low degree;

He was come of royal strain,

She was of the Zingari!

So he offered house and land,

Jewels gold, or anything;

Only on her little hand,

No ring! no ring!

Zingari. La la la la, etc.

Mirette. No, said she, no!

Go, let me go!

Take away your purse of gold!

Costly dresses

Win Princesses,

Gipsy love is never sold!

Love cannot be bought,

Not bought, nor sold!

Chorus. No, said she, no!
Mirette. But the noble Spanish Don

Could not brook a slight like this,

So he would not get him gone,

And he tried to snatch a kiss!

Then a dagger bright he drew,

Held it up before his eye,

And no more he cared to woo —

Good-bye! Good-bye!

Zingari. La la la la, etc.

Mirette. No, said she, no!

Go, coward, go!

Take the kiss, you feel the blade!

Till the trusty

Steel is rusty,

None shall wrong the gipsy maid!

She is not afraid,

The gipsy maid!

Chorus. No, said she, no!
Guests. Brava, Mirette! Brava! Brava! Brava!

Baron (ostentatiously taking out his purse).

. Though the song’s absurd ferocity

Much offends me, I confess,

My ancestral generosity

Forces me to give largesse!

(He throws the purse before Mirette.)

Gerard (goes to Mirette). Cast away the dross they fling to you,

Gold and gems are all too mean;

Take and wear the gift I bring to you,

Royal roses for my queen.

(He gives her roses, which she holds.)
Marquise. Gerard, this is really scandalous,

Are you mad, or are you tipsy?

Baron. Do you dare to treat and handle us

Worse than any common gipsy?

Bianca. Gerard, why are you disgracing me?

Tell me, why are you so cruel?

Baron. He’ll explain when he is facing me

In a sword or pistol duel!

Gerard. For your feeble sword or gunnery

I have neither care nor dread;

Take your daughter to a nunnery,

You yourself go home to bed!

To a nunnery, nunnery, go!

Bianca. No, no nunnery, nunnery, no!

Gerard. To a nunnery, nunnery, go!

Gerard and Chorus. To a nunnery, nunnery, go!
Marquise. For this insolence of attitude

You shall have the fate you merited;

(To Mirette.) You’re dismissed for your ingratitude!

(To Gerard.) You, sir, shall be disinherited!

Gerard. Keep your girl, and all the dross of her,

Keep your houses and your land;

I, a penniless philosopher,

Join the merry gipsy band!

For the wind of night comes wandering,

And forth with the wind we wander,

We’re queen and king of the birds that sing

In the lands of morning yonder!

Mirette and Gerard. We’ll seek the shore of a southern sea,

We’ll take the path of the swallow,

Who would be free with him and me,

Follow, follow us, follow, follow!



Hail to gipsy mirth and jollity,

As we wander to and fro!

Freedom, brotherhood, equality,

Those are all the laws we know!


Out on this absurd frivolity!

How can he be maddened so,

As to leave a bride of quality,

And a-gipsying to go!

During Chorus enter Picorin, who at first cannot understand what is happening, but is informed by Francal.


All my innocent frivolity,

Turns to bitter grief and woe!

Why does he, a man of quality,

With a gipsy maiden go?


Such inconsequent frivolity,

Will result in bitter woe!

Though he is a man of quality,

That is what he does not know.


When a man of noble quality,

Tries a-gipsying to go!

He will find it won’t be jollity,

Or I hope to teach him so.


Won’t we all have mirth and jollity,

Won’t our stalls and boxes go!

When we have a man of quality,

Playing in our splendid show!


It’s these notions of equality,

That upset the country so!

All our European polity,

Will to rack and ruin go.


Hail to gipsy mirth and jollity, etc.


Out on this absurd frivolity! etc.


Bianca, Marquise, Baron, Guests.

This blend of high and low degree

Is far too silly to swallow;

All who will be such fools as he,

Follow, follow him, follow, follow!

Mirette, Picorin, Bobinet, Gerard, Gipsies.

We’ll seek the shore of the southern sea,

We’ll take the path of the swallow,

Who would be free and glad as we,

Follow, follow us, follow, follow!

Picorin tears off his badge and throws it down before the Marquise. She waves him away disdainfully, and he goes to Mirette, and beckons her to the door. Bianca appeals to Gerard, who repulses her, and she falls fainting into the Baron’s arms.)
Scene. — A village green, near the Château of the Marquise. Village fair going on. Showmen’s booths erected. Pedlars, dancers, and men drinking at the tavern.
Oh, the light of the golden summer,

Mirth and merriment everywhere —

Join our revelry, every comer,

This is the happy village fair!

Summer passes,

Lads and lasses,

Faded soon is the rose of June;

Then in cadence,

Men and maidens,

Beat the time to every tune!

Drinkers [Basses]. So drink, my lads, and drink again,

And make the glasses clink again!

And cast a glance

At girls that dance,

Until they blush and wink again!

We will not stop to think again,

To see the liquor shrink again,

But chalk the score,

And call for more,

And drink again!

Pedlars [Tenors] (offering their good to the young girls.)

Come, buy my jewels, buy my laces,

Pretty things for pretty faces.

Feathers, slipper, fans, and gloves,

Meant for you, my pretty loves.

Good and cheap, and useful too,

Come and buy, they’re all for you!

Girls. Come, show your jewels, show your laces,

Pretty things to suit our faces.

Feathers, slipper, fans, and gloves,

Oh! what beauties! Oh! what loves!

Take the money, take it do;

If you cheat us, woe to you!

Repeat ensemble.
Picorin as conjuror, Mirette as harlequina, Gerard as pantaloon, and Bertuccio as clown, invite people to their booth. Gerard beats a drum.
Picorin. Walk up! walk up! walk up! Now, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to walk up and watch me closely. There is no deception. I have nothing up my sleeve or concealed about my person, but simply by my skill and dexterity I will endeavour to astonish those who are good enough to honour me with their attention for a few minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, our entertainment is unique. Any young lady of fifteen may bring her other with perfect safety. We have a magnificent band, as you may observe. I will now perform a few feats of pure sleight-of-hand, and explain them with drum obbligato. Where have you put that drum obbligato?

Mirette. Wake up, Gerard — drum! drum! drum!

Gerard (sullenly). Confound it! (Drums.) There, will that do? (Enter Francal.)

Francal. Now, then, keep it up, my boys! Capital, Mirette! Good business, Picorin!

Picorin. Will any lady or gentleman oblige me with a tall hat? I won’t hurt — only knock the crown out! Ah, here is one! (Snatches off Gerards hat.) Ah! stupid fellow! you’ve left your head in it! (Produces cauliflower. Laughter.)

Gerard. The devil!

Francal. Come, my boy, it’s only his fun. Drum away now! Earn your dinner. (Gerard drums viciously.)

Mirette (to a man who has come forward). Cross your palm with silver, and I’ll tell your fortune. Ah! it’s a bad one!

The Man. A bad fortune?

Mirette. No, a bad florin! (Bites coin and throws it away.) Give me a good one, or I’ll tell the Burgomaster! (The man gives coin.) Now your hand — oh, what a bad line of life! If you try to pass another bad florin you’ll be hanged!

Francal. Ah, Gerard, my lad, there isn’t anything like a gipsy life!

Gerard (savagely). You’re right — there isn’t! (Bangs drum.)

Picorin. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I will swallow an ordinary bedroom candlestick and bring it out lighted. During the performance my assistant will perform the Prussian Grenadier March on the drum to drown my screams of agony. (To Gerard.) Drum, now, stupid — drum!

Gerard (enraged). The devil take the drum. (Throws off drum.)

Bertuccio. Thank you. (Takes drum.)

Mirette. Oh, Gerard, we all help in the show! Why should you mind? (Mirette takes Gerard down.)

Gerard. I wasn’t born a mountebank.

Mirette. Still, as you have taken up the business, you might do it better. If you want to be a noble again, go back; if you’re a gipsy, try to be a decent gipsy!

Gerard. Oh, Mirette, you are too cruel!

Mirette. There, no more! I might have told two florins’ worth of fortunes while I’ve been talking to you.

Picorin. Walk up! walk up! and see the show!

Mirette. This way, ladies and gentlemen, to see the waxworks — all the prominent statesmen of Europe, including a very fine stuffed crocodile. (Mirette enters her booth, followed by some of the people and Picorin. Enter Bobinet and Zerbinette with bows, bow-strings, and arrows.)

Bobinet. Hi! hi! hi! Who’s going to enter for the archery contest? Ten shots at fifteen yards. Prizes given by the Baron Van den Berg!

Gerard. The deuce!

Bobinet (notices Gerard). Oh, you’re there, are you? All your friends are coming found to see you perform. There’s the Baron and his daughter! (Gerard starts.)

Zerbinette. Yes, and I saw your noble aunt, the Marquise, in the fair!

Bobinet. The Marquise is a splendid woman! (Zerbinette puts her hand on his mouth.)

Francal. I think I see her coming!

Gerard. Where shall I fly? If my aunt sees me in this dress — oh, the devil! (Gerard tries to escape. Francal and Bertuccio head him off. They produce a big circus-hoop with paper.)

Zerbinette. Houp-la! (Gerard jumps through the hoop and bolts into the inn. Francal and Bertuccio exeunt laughing.)

Bobinet. Now them who wants bow-strings? Bow-strings, first quality, as used by the Sultan of Turkey for his favourite wives! Bows? anybody want any more bows? Bows are cheap today. No lady should be without a beau, or better still, two beaux. Buy, buy! who’ll buy? Hang it! I’ll buy one of myself, and go shooting.

Zerbinette. Are you an archer, then?

Bobinet. I should think I am! I’d beat Robin Hood, William Tell, and anybody else at drawing the long bow!
Long Bow Song. — Bobinet and Zerbinette and Chorus.

[words by Adrian Ross]

Bobinet. Good William Tell was a mighty one,

In the days of long ago;

Chorus. In the days of long ago;

Bobinet. He shot an apple off his son,

At a thousand yards or so;

Chorus. At a thousand yards or so;

Bobinet. But since the self-same tale is told

Of each and every bowman bold,

I fear some chronicler of old

Was drawing the long, long bow.

Chorus. We fear some chronicler of old, etc.

Bobinet. So pull the bow-string up to the ear,

And let the arrow go!

Chorus. So pull the bow-string up to the ear,

And let the arrow go!

Bobinet. And if you miss the target clear,

You’ll hit some neighbor in the rear;

So shoot away, and have no fear

Of drawing the long, long bow!

Chorus. And if you miss the target clear, etc.
Zerbinette. If you are a maker of patent pills,

Or a salt that’s good eno’,

Chorus. Or a salt that’s good eno’,

Zerbinette. Of course you cure all human ills,

From a cold to lumbago.

Chorus. From a cold to lumbago.

Zerbinette. And noblemen and noble wives

Will say your drugs have saved their lives —

A needy noble often thrives

By drawing the long, long bow!

Chorus. A needy noble often thrives, etc.

Zerbinette. Then bill your nostrums everywhere,

Let handbills fly like snow!

Chorus. Then bill your nostrums everywhere,

Let handbills fly like snow!

Zerbinette. And get some lovely dame to swear

She owes to you her wealth of hair.

For none can match a lady fair

In drawing the long, long bow!

Chorus. And get some lovely dame to swear, etc.
Bobinet. If you’re a great financial man,

And you want to start a Co.;

Chorus. And you want to start a Co.;

Bobinet. You’ll find the most successful plan

Is to gas, and puff, and blow.

Chorus. You must gas, and puff, and blow.

Bobinet. You’ll scoop the curate’s little store,

And ruin windows by the score,

And bag the half-pay man of war,

By drawing the long, long bow!

Chorus. You bag the half-pay man of war, etc.

Bobinet. Then put the money in a mine

Away in Mexico!

Chorus. So put the money in a mine

Away in Mexico!

Bobinet. And then, with booty large and fine,

You seek the distant Argentine;

Like other men who used to shine,

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