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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 –
MAFFIO. I have watched this pretended Spaniard from the beginning of the supper; he has drunk nothing but water.
JEPPO. What! at your suspicions 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 myself, Gil-Basilio-Fernan-Ireneo-Felipe-Frasco Frasquito Comte de Belverana ?
JEPPO (in a whisper to Maffio). I hope you do not now doubt of his being a Spaniard
he has at least twenty Christian names ! 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 awaywhat'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 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 am, in order that I might celebrate such admirable women!
GUBETTA. And I wish I were more rich than I am, in order to present my friends with just such other women.*
OLOFERNO. Nothing is so agreeable as to sing the praise of a good supper and a beautiful woman!
* Rather singular language in a Princess's Palace, and addressed to her and her friends!
OLOFERNO. Yes, I wish I were a poet; I would raise myself to heaven-I wish I had two wings !
OLOFERNO. You dispense me from my sonnet ?
GUBETTA. As I dispense the dogs from biting me, the pope from blessing me, and the people in the street from pelting me.
OLOFERNO. By God's head, I believe, little Spanish gentleman, that you mean to insult me!
GUBETTA. I don't insult you, colossus of an Italian; I don't choose to listen to your sonnet-nothing more. My throat thirsts more after the Syracusan wine than my ears after poetry.
OLOFERNO. Your ears, you Spanish rascal--I'll nail them to your heels!
GUBETTA. You are a foolish beast! Fie! did one ever hear of such a lout, to get drunk with Syracusan wine and have the air of being sottish with beer?
GUBETTA (still carving a pheasant). I won't say as much for you; I don't carve such big fowls. Ladies, let me offer you some pheasant.
OLOFERNO (seizing a knife). Pardieu! I'll cut the rascal's belly open, were he more of a gentleman than the eniperor himself!
The Women (rising from the table). Heavens! they are going to fight!
The Men. Come, come, Oloferno!
(They disarm Oloferno, who attempts to rush upon Gubetta. While they are doing this, the women disappear.)
OLOFERNO (struggling). By God's body
GUBETTA. Your rhymes are so rich with God, my dear poet, that you have put these ladies to flight. You are a terrible bungler!
ASCANIO. Bah! they'll come back again.
OLOFERNO (menacing Gubettaj. I'll find you again to-morrow, my little devil Belverana!
(Oloferno seats himself, tottering with rage. Gubetta
bursts out laughing.) That idiot! to send away the prettiest women in Ferrara with a knife wrapped up in a sonnet! To quarrel about rhymes !- I believe indeed he has wings. It is not a man, it's a bird--it perches; it ought to sleep on one leg, that creature ( loferno.
There, there, gentlemen, let's have peace - you 'll cut one another's throats gallantly to
morrow: by Jupiter! you 'll fight, at all events, like gentlemen-with swords, and not with knives!
Don APOSTOLO. You forget that they were taken from us in the antechamber.
GUBETTA. And a good precaution too, or we should have been fighting before ladies - a vulgarity that would bring blushes into the cheek of a Fleming drunk with tobacco !
GENNARO. A good precaution, in sooth!