Chorus. And then, with booty large and fine, etc.
Chorus go off, with bows, arrows, etc., bought ofBobinet.
Bobinet. Not a bad day’s haul. We’ve sold two dozen bows. Now for my bow! (Strings bow and strikes attitude.)
Zerbinette. Are you really going to compete? You’re no shot.
Bobinet. True, but I have kept the only good bow in my stock. I may hit the target by a fluke; I know the others can’t if they use the bows I sold them.
Zerbinette (looking off.) Here’s a lady coming.
Bobinet. It’s that splendid woman, the Marquise!
Zerbinette. If you dare to wink at her I’ll pull your hair out, and never speak to you again! (EnterMarquise.)
Marquise. Excuse me, my good girl —
Zerbinette. I am not your good girl!
Bobinet. She’s nobody’s good girl!
Marquise. You seem to be a mountebank of some sort. Have you seen a young man of the name of Gerard? I will describe him —
Bobinet. No need, Madame — he is with us!
Marquise. Oh! (Recognizes Bobinet.) Thank you. Then I need not ask this young person further. (Is going, as Baronenters.)
Baron (looking round wildly). Have you seen my daughter, Mademoiselle Bianca — Ah! it is you, Madame la Marquise! (Bows very coldly.)
Marquise. Precisely, Monsieur le Baron!
Baron. I presume that Madame has not seen my daughter anywhere? My dear, heedless child has apparently lost her way in the fair.
Marquise. I have not seen Mademoiselle.
Baron. A thousand thanks! Then I will no longer annoy Madame with my presence. (Bows very coldly.)
Marquise. As Monsieur le Baron pleases! (Curtseys coldly.) (ToZerbinette.) May I ask if a young woman of the name of Mirette is here? (Picorin enters from his booth.)
Picorin. Who wants Mirette? (SeesMarquise.) Madame!
Marquise. I beg that you will not address me, fellow!
Zerbinette. Well, we are all doing the high and mighty to-day!
Quintet. — Zerbinette, Marquise, Picorin, Bobinet, and the Baron.
[words by Adrian Ross]
Zerbinette. I’m a little gipsy dancer, though my dress is rather Flemish;
Marquise. I’m a very lofty lady with a scutcheon void of blemish;
If her nephew jilts my daughter, she may go to well to Hades!
All. So the dancer, lady, gipsy, noble lord, and comic peasant
Will agree with one accord to cut each other dead at present.
Picorin. So I’ll cough, Ahem!
Bobinet. And I’ll shout, Yah, boo!
Zerbinette. And I’ll say that you’re another!
Marquise. Then I’ll cut them —
Baron. And she’ll cut you —
All. And we’ll all of us cut each other!
Exeunt all, cutting each other. As they go, enterMirettefrom booth.
Mirette. I’m out of patience with Monsieur Gerard — he’s not a bit like a fairy prince. Fairy princes can do everything well, and he can’t even beat a drum. Rally these great people are rather tiresome. I wonder if my parents were great people, as I used to fancy? (EnterBianca, with hood drawn round her face.) Ah, a customer! Do you want your fortune told, my pretty lady?
Bianca. There is my hand.
Mirette (aside). Where have I heard that voice before? (Aloud.) You will have a long and happy life — you will marry the man you love.
Bianca. Oh, no, I sha’n’t! (Throws back hood.) It’s you who will marry him —
Mirette. Mademoiselle Bianca!
Bianca. Hush! Don’t speak so loud! Papa’s looking for me all over the fair! I have slipped away from him — oh! such fun — at least, it would be fun if I were not so unhap — hap — happy! (Sobs.)
Mirette (aside). Poor child! (Aloud.) What is the matter, Mademoiselle?
Bianca (indignantly). You know what the matter is. You’ve taken Gerard away, and now papa wants to marry me to a horrid old count, and I wish I was dead — of I wish somebody was dead!
Mirette. Are you so fond of Monsieur Gerard, then?
Bianca. You call him Monsieur still. Are you not — married?
Mirette. Certainly not; I can’t afford to keep a husband!
Bianca. Then papa is right after all; he said he was sure Gerard would never marry you.
Mirette. I’m much obliged to your father, Mademoiselle!
Bianca. Oh, you mustn’t mind what papa says — I never do, I pretend to. But, Mademoiselle —
Mirette. Call me Mirette.
Bianca. Mirette, then — I thought that if Gerard hasn’t married you — and you haven’t married him — you can’t love him so very much. People who love each other always get married, don’t they?
Mirette. Not quite always, I think!
Bianca. Well, you know more about it than I do. But I was thinking that if you didn’t love Gerard very much, you might —
Mirette. I might send him back to somebody who does.
Bianca. Oh, I never said that! I know it’s a great deal to ask. Of course you must love Gerard — nobody could help that — but if you don’t think it would quite kill you to give him up — (Sobs.)
Mirette. Poor child! Well, Mademoiselle Bianca, I will give him up.
Bianca. Oh, thank you, thank you, Mirette! (EmbracesMirette.) But are you sure — quite sure — it won’t kill you? If you went into a decline I should never forgive myself.
Mirette. No, no, I sha’n’t pine away to a shadow just yet! Now, come into my booth. (Opens the door of booth.) Gerard’s there! (Pointing to inn.)
Bianca. Let me go to him —
Mirette. Not for worlds. I must speak to him first. (PushesBiancainto booth.) Yes, that settles the matter. I must give Gerard up — I daresay he won’t mind much — and take pity on poor Picorin. It’s all right in fairy tales for princes to love peasants, but in real life it’s hardly ever a success!
Song. — Mirette.
There was once a pretty peasant,
And she had a gipsy swain,
(With a heigh, ho! heigh, ho! summer days are fair!)
And his wooing was as pleasant
As the sunshine after rain
(With a heigh, ho! heigh, ho! little birds will pair!)
But a noble high and mighty,
Came to court the peasant girl,
And her little heart was flighty
And her head was in a whirl,
So she left the woodland shady,
In the hope to be a lady
(With a heigh, ho! heigh, ho! castles in the air!)
And be our noble archer King!
Exeunt all. EnterPicorinfrom booth.
Picorin. I can’t stay any longer near Mirette and see her so fond of this Gerard. I don’t know what she can see in the fellow. But he’s a noble, and that’s enough. I’ll give her up, and go — (EnterMirettefrom her booth. She comes up toPicorin.)
Mirette. Why have you not gone to the archery?
Picorin. I haven’t the heart to play the fool any more to-day. I’ve earned enough.
Mirette. Indeed you have. You’re a capital showman. When you played that trick upon poor Gerard —
Picorin. I am sorry, Mirette — I ought not to have done it. I should have remembered —
Picorin. That you are going to marry him!
Mirette. You ought to remember it, certainly; for I fancy Gerard is rather forgetful.
Picorin. Does the villain dare —
Mirette. He’s not a villain, and he doesn’t dare. Only he’s been silly, and he’s beginning to find it out. So am I, Picorin.
Picorin. Mirette, I cannot understand you.
Mirette. I daresay not, you stupid boy! It would take a cleverer man than you!
Picorin. Somebody like Gerard, I suppose.
Mirette. Gerard’s beginning to understand me, and I’m beginning to understand him.
Picorin. Because you love each other so much!
Mirette. On the contrary — because we don’t!
Picorin. But surely, Mirette — you don’t mean it? Why, has he not left his home for your sake? Did he not love you when he kissed you at the Château, and I surprised you?
Mirette. That’s nothing, Picorin. Do you want to pay him out? I see him coming. You kiss me — and let him surprise us. Then we shall have the joke! (Gerardappears at the door of the inn in his ordinary dress.)
Picorin. I don’t understand you, Mirette!
Mirette. I don’t want you to. Kiss me — that’s what you have to do.
Gerard (aside). What’s this?
Picorin. I ought not to — but I can’t help it. (KissesMirette.)
Gerard. Mirette! (Comes out, Picorinsteps back.)
Mirette. Oh, Monsieur Gerard, how you startled me!
Gerard. Evidently! I see I am not wanted here!
Mirette. But you are. Picorin, go away for a minute, while I talk to Monsieur Gerard.
Picorin. I’ll go. (Aside.) Yes, I’ll go for good and all. So she only used me to draw him in. (Exit into booth.)
Gerard. What is the meaning of this pretty little scene?
Gerard. I think that I have been a fool — an idiot!
Mirette. That seems to be the prevailing opinion.
Gerard. Then you, too, think I was a fool to love you — to lose my rank and my wealth for you?
Mirette. You can’t expect me to say I think so. Besides, you haven’t lost them; you can have rank and wealth, and love too, any time you like!
Gerard. Kindly explain yourself.
Mirette. No, I won’t explain; but I’ll send you some one who can. Au revoir, Monsieur Gerard! (Exit into booth.)
Gerard. Whom can she mean? I suppose she’ll go to my aunt. Well, this gipsy life is purgatory. I can’t stand it any longer, even for her. (EnterBiancafrom the first booth. He does not see her.) Why did I behave so badly to that poor little Bianca?
Bianca (aside). Yes, poor little Bianca!
Gerard. But it’s no use thinking of her — she could never forgive me!
Bianca (advances). Are you quite sure?
Gerard (turns round). Bianca! Mademoiselle Van den Berg!
Bianca. Those are my names, Gerard — Monsieur de Montigny, I mean!
Gerard. You heard what I said?
Bianca. Not being deaf, Monsieur, I did.
Gerard. Then what can you think of me?
Bianca (demurely). A good many things — too numerous to tell you now.
Gerard. But listen to me! I know I’ve behaved like a brute, but if only you would give me another chance —
Bianca. But what would papa say?
Gerard. Confound papa — I beg your pardon!
Bianca. I don’t know if I can trust you, Gerard. You told me before that you loved me.
Gerard. Did I?
Bianca. No, it was other people told me you loved me — but the effect was the same!
Gerard. Then there was an effect. You loved me?
Bianca. I tried to show you, didn’t I? But what was your answer? One little kiss on my front curl, and then — a parting! (Sobs.)
Gerard (agitated). Dearest, darling, don’t cry! If you’ll only forgive me, I won’t part your hair — I mean, I won’t kiss you on your parting — I mean —
Bianca (puts up her face). Is that what you mean?
Gerard. Is it? (KissesBianca.)
Bianca. Oh, that’s a much nicer way! (EnterMarquisehurriedly.)
Marquise. Ah, those gipsy vagabonds are out, and I may find Gerard alone. (SeesGerard.) There he is — and with a girl, too! The young reprobate — it’s not even Mirette.
Bianca (looks up). No, Madame, it’s not Mirette!
Marquise. Gracious! what can this mean? Gerard, my dear boy, you’ve behaved disgracefully, and I’m delighted! You deserve a scolding, though!
Gerard. I deserve everything, aunt, except this dear child.
Bianca. Don’t scold him, dearest auntie. (EmbracesMarquise.) I’m going to do all that now!
Marquise. But what will the Baron say?
Bianca. Papa? Oh, you tell him, and all will be right.
Marquise. My dear, I can’t!
Gerard. You must, aunt. I see him coming this way, so I’ll withdraw till my peace is made. (ExeuntBiancaandGerardinto inn asBaronenters.)
Marquise (aside). How my heart flutters!
Baron. Where can my daughter Bianca be? She was seen her last!
Marquise. Bianca is quite safe, Monsieur le Baron!
Baron. Madame! (Advance to her, recollects and bows coldly.) I thank you for the information. Kindly tell me where I can find her.
Marquise. All in good time, Baron. I must have a talk with you first.
Baron. Excuse me, Madame, if I decline the honour!
Marquise. That is too bad of you!
Duet. — MarquiseandBaron.
[words by Adrian Ross]
Marquise. Ah, Monsieur le Baron!
Baron. Madame la Marquise!
Marquise. Quelque froideur de ton!
Baron. And why not, if you please?
Marquise. A manner so chilly
Is hardly in season.
Baron. Madame, this is silly,
You must know the reason.
Marquise. So cold is your carriage,
As cold as December!
Baron. The cause is a marriage,
You doubtless remember;
So my manner must freeze —
Marquise. Oui, comme un vrai glaçon!
Baron. Madame la Marquise!
Marquise. Ah! Monsieur le Baron! Marquise. Ah, Monsieur le Baron!
Marquise. Oh, Monsieur le Baron! Marquise. Ah, Monsieur le Baron!
Baron. Madame la Marquise!
Marquise. Puis-je dire, Gaston?
Baron. Puis-je dire, Louise?
Marquise. Ah, do you remember
The passion you cherished?
Baron. Though sunk to an ember,
The flame has not perished.
Marquise. You’re really so pressing,
I cannot resist you.
Baron. Recall the old blessing
The day when I kissed you.
Quelle douceur exquise! (kissesMarquise.)
Marquise. Je ne peux dire non!
Baron. Madame la Marquise!
Marquise. Oh, Monsieur le Baron! Dance.
AsBaronembracesMarquise, enterGerardandBianca, together, andMirettefrom booth.
Mirette. Really, Madame, I can’t permit such goings on before my booth!
Baron. The gipsy girl!
Bianca. Oh, papa! it’s all her doing, and I am so happy!
Marquise. Dear Mirette, I thank you with all my heart. But you have given up so much —
Mirette. Not at all, Madame — I’m provided for. (EnterPicorinon the steps of the booth with sticks and bundle.) There’s my lover!
Gerard. But he’s going away, surely!
Mirette. That’s only his shyness. I positively had to make love to him — I did make him kiss me; and he was so shocked that he’s got his bundle and is running off, for fear he should have to marry me!
Picorin. Then you meant it, Mirette! (Throws away bundle, runs toMiretteand embraces her. EnterFrancalandBertuccio.)
Francal. Mirette! we’ve seen the old parish clerk!
Bertuccio. And he knows who your mother was!
Mirette. Stop! — I’m going to marry Picorin, if she was a queen. Now tell me!
Francal. She was dressed like a beggar, you know!
Mirette. Yes, yes — what was she?
Bertuccio. Well, she was a beggar!
Mirette. I’m glad of it!
Picorin. So am I, dear! (Shouts outside. The Chorus begin to re-enter shouting, “Hurrah! Hurrah!”)
Gerard. It’s Bobinet! He’s won the match! (Re-enter all. Bobinet is carried in triumph on the shoulders of some of the men. He has his bow and is holding Zerbinette.)
Chorus. Oh! the pride of the Belgian bowmen,