Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

demands the offender's pardon on discovering the insult to have been offered by the young Gennaro. The duc, however, more and more confirmed in his jealousy, persists in his determination that death should be inflicted on the culprit, and only allows his wife to choose whether her supposed paramour should be. stabbed or poisoned ; on Lucrèce preferring the latter, the famous Borgia poison is served to Gennaro, who, however, believes himself pardoned—and the duc then, quitting the room, tells his wife that he gives her her lover's last quarter of an hour. Lucrèce, on finding herself alone with Gennaro, offers him an antidote for the poison he has taken—and there is a fine moment where he doubts whether the Duc de Ferrara has really poisoned him, or whether it is Lucrèce herself who wishes to do so. Finally, however, he swallows the antidote, and is warned by Lucrèce to quit Ferrara without delay. But I pass by the second act, which, however, is fully worthy of the reader's attention, in order to arrive at the third act, which closes the play, that opened with the insult given to Dona Lucrèce, at the masked ball at Venice, by a vengeance she takes for that insult at a supper at Ferrara. The five young Venetian nobleman have been invited by Lucrèce's order to an entertainment at the Negroni Palace, and Gennaro, whom he supposes distant from Ferrara, accompanies them thither.

ACT III.

OLOFERNO (his glass in his hand). What wine like that of Xerès ?-Xerès of Frontera is a city of Paradise !

Maffio (his glass in his hand). The wine that we drink, Jeppo, is better than any of, your stories.

ASCANIO. Jeppo has the misfortune to be a great teller of tales when he has drunk a little.

Don APOSTOLO. The other day it was at Venice at his serene highness's the Doge Barbarigo's: to-day it is at Ferrara, at the divine Princess Negroni's.

JEPPO. The other day it was a mournful tale; to-day it's a merry one.

MAFFio. A merry tale, Jeppo !-How happened it that Don Siliceo, a fine cavalier not more than thirty, after having gambled away his patrimony, married that rich Marquesa Calpurnia, who has counted forty-eight springs, to say the least of it? By the body of Bacchus, do you call that a gay story?

GUBETTA. It's sad and trite-a man ruined who marries a woman in ruins; one sees it every day.

(He turns to the table. Some get up and come to the

front of the scene during the continuance of the orgie.) The Princess Negroni (to Maffio, pointing to Gennaro.)

You seem, D'Orsini, to have but a melancholy friend there.

MAFFIO. . He is always so, madam. You must pardon me for having brought him without an invitation; he is my brother in arms-he saved my life in an assault at Rimini; I received a thrust intended for him in the attack of the bridge of Vicenza: we never quit one another. A gipsy predicted we should die the same day.

THE NEGRONI (smiling). Did the gipsy say that it was to be in the night or the morning?

MAFFIO.
He said that it should be in the morning.

THE NEGRONI. Your Bohemian did not know what he was saying ; and you are friends with that young man ?-

MAFFIO.
As much as one man can be with another.

[ocr errors]

THE NEGRONI.
Well, and you suffice one to the other: you are happy.

MAFFI0.
Friendship does not fill all the heart, madam.

The NEGRONI.
My God! what does fill all the heart?

Maffio.
Love.

THE NEGRONI.
You have love always on your lips.

MAFFIO.
And you, madam, have love in your eyes.

THE NEGRONI.
You are very singular.

Maffio. You are very beautiful !

(He puts his arm round her waist.)

THE NEGRONI.
Monsieur Orsini !*

Maffio.
Give me, then, one kiss upon your hand.

THE NEGRONI.
No.

(She escapes.) Gubetta (approaching Maffio.) Your business goes on well with the princess.

MAFFIO. . She always says “ No” to me.

GUBETTA. But in a woman's mouth “No” is the eldest brother to “ Yes."

Jeppo (coming up to Maffio). What do you think of the Princess Negroni ?

The reader will observe that it is not my fault if the Count Or. sini and the Princess Negroni behave a little too much like a young cantab and a Dover chambermaid.

MAFFIO. She is adorable! Between ourselves, she begins to work upon my heart most furiously.

JEPPO. And her supper ?

MAFFIO. As perfect as orgie can be !

Jeppo.
The princess is a widow.

MAFFIO.
One sees that well enough by her gayety.

JEPPO. I hope that your sears of the supper are gone by this time ?

MAFFIO. I! how then ?-I was stupid.

JEPPO (to Gubetta.) Monsieur de Belverana, you would hardly think that . Mallio was afraid of supping at the princess's ?

GUBETTA. Afraid !--why?

Jeppo.
Because the palace Negroni, forsooth, joins the palace
Borgia!

GUBETTA.
To the devil with the Borgia, and let's drink!

JEPPO (in a whisper to Maffio). What I like in this Belverana is, his thorough hatred of the Borgias.

MAFFio (in a whisper). True, he never misses an occasion of sending them to the devil with a most particular grace. Nevertheless, my dear Jeppo

JEPPO. Well.

MAFFio. I have watched this pretended Spaniard from the beginning of the supper; he has drank nothing but water.

JEPPO. What! at your suspicion again, my good friend Maffio! The effect of your wine is strangely monotonous !

MAFFIO. Perhaps so; I am stupid. GUBETTA (retiring, and looking at Maffio from head to foot).

Do you know, Monsieur Maffio, that you are built to live ninety years, and that you are just like my grandfather, who did live to those years, and was called, like mysell, Gil-Basilio-Fernen-Fernan-Ireneo-Felipe-Frascon Frasquito Comte de Belverana ?

JEPPO (in a whisper to Moffio). I hope you do not now doubt of his being a Spaniard -he has at least twenty Christian names ! What a litany, Monsieur de Belverana!

GUBETTA. Alas! our parents have the habit of giving us more names at our baptism than crowns at our marriage. But what are they laughing at down there ? (Aside.) Those women must have some pretext to get away ; what's to be done?

(He returns and sits down to table.)

OLOFERNO (drinking). By Hercules, I never passed a more delicious evening! Ladies, taste this wine ; it's softer than the wine of Lacryma Christi, more generous than the wine of Cyprus! Here, this is the wine of Syracuse, my seigneurs !

GUBETTA (eating). Oloferno's drunk, it seems.

OLOFERNO. Ladies, I must tell you some verses that I have just made. I wish I were more of a poet than I an, in order that I might celebrate such admirable women!

« VorigeDoorgaan »