Accademia degli Intronati, Gl'Ingannati

The Deceived





Texto utilizado para esta edición digital:
Accademia degli Intronati, The Deceived, in “Five Comedies from Italian Renaissance”, L. Gianneti & G. Ruggiero (trans.), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Marcación digital para Artelope:
  • Romeu Guallart, Luis María (Artelope)

Characters:

GHERARDO, an old man
VIRGINIO, an old man
CLEMENZIA, a balia
LELIA, a young girl
SPELA, GHERARDO’s servant
SCATIZZA, VIRGINIO’s servant
FLAMMINIO, a lover
PASQUELLA, GHERARDO’s maid
ISABELLA, a young girl
GIGLIO, a Spaniard
CRIVELLO, FLAMMINIO’s servant
The PEDANT
FABRIZIO, a young man, son of VIRGINIO
STRAGUALCIA, FABRIZIO’s servant
AGIATO, an innkeeper
CITTINA, the daughter of the balia CLEMENZIA
FRULLA, an innkeeper

Act I

Scene I

GHERARDO and VIRGINIO

GHERARDO:
Virginio, if you want to make me happy, as you’ve promised, let’s arrange this holy matrimony quickly and get me out of this hopeless mess that has somehow overwhelmed me. And if something is holding you back, like not having enough money for clothes or furnishings for the house or if you’re unable to pay for the wedding right now, don’t worry – I know all too well that you lost everything in the terrible sack of Rome. Just tell me, and I’ll take care of everything. It wouldn’t be any problem for me to spend another ten scudi, especially if we could move this up a month to satisfy my eagerness. Thank God I have the money. And you know as well as I do that neither of us are spring chickens any longer, we’re pushing our prime a bit, and maybe… well, anyway, the older one gets the less time one has to lose. Don’t be surprised Virginio, if I press you, because I swear that since I’ve begun to dream of this, I haven’t had half a night’s sleep. Look at how early I was up this morning! Why, in order not to disturb you I heard the first mass at the cathedral before I came here. But if you have had a change of heart and have decided that your daughter’s too young for me, since I’m already well into my middle years and perhaps a bit beyond, tell me straight out. I’ll take care of it by turning my thoughts elsewhere. We’d both then avoid the problem, for, as you know, there’s no lack of others who would like to have me for a relative.

VIRGINIO:
None of these things are holding me back, Gherardo. If it was in my power to give you my daughter today, I would. But I lost virtually everything in the sack of Rome – including Fabrizio, my beloved son. Still, thank God, I have enough left that I hope I can pay to dress and marry my daughter without having to ask for help. Don’t worry that I want to break my promise, either. As long as the girl agrees, she’s yours, for as you know, a merchant needs to keep this promises.

GHERARDO:
Unfortunately, these days the promises of merchants are more upheld in words than in deeds. But you aren’t like the others, I’m sure. Still seeing myself put off day after day makes me worry that something is wrong. And knowing how forceful you are, I know that when you want to, you can make your daughter do what you want.

VIRGINIO:
Let me explain. You know that I had to go to Bologna to close a deal that with Messer Buonaparte Chisilieri and the Cavalier da Casio. I was living alone in my country home and didn’t want to leave my daughter in the hands of the female servants there, so I sent her to the convent of San Crescenzio to stay with Sister Camilla, her aunt. She’s still there, because I only returned last night, as you know. Just know I sent a servant to have then send her home.

GHERARDO:
Are you sure she’s in the convent and not somewhere else?

VIRGINIO:
Why shouldn’t she be there? Where else do you think she would be? What are you suggesting?

GHERARDO:
Well, I’ve been there several times on business of my own, and I’ve asked to see her but without success. And certain sisters have told me that she’s not there.

VIRGINIO:
That’s because those good sisters want her to become a nun in order to get what little remains of my wealth after I die. But their plan won’t work, for I’m not so old that I can’t still father a couple of sons when I take a wife.

GHERARDO:
Us, old? Why, I can tell you that I feel as strong and hard as I did when I was twenty-five, especially in the morning before I pee. Even if I have this white beard, between my legs I’m still as green as Boccaccio! And I defy any of these pansy-boys who prance around Modena trying to act tough with their hat feathers standing up stiff in the Guelph style, with their swords at their thigh, with their daggers hanging behind their ass, with their silk tassels – I defy them to outdo me at anything, except perhaps running.

VIRGINIO:
You’ve a great heart, even if I don’t know how you’ll hold up.

GHERARDO:
You just ask Lelia how it held up after her first night with me!

VIRGINIO:
In God’s name, take it easy with her! She’s still young, and it’s not good to be too forceful in the beginning.

GHERARDO:
How old is she?

VIRGINIO:
When we were prisoners of those swine, the Germans, during the sack of Rome, she was thirteen.

GHERARDO:
That’s perfect for me. I don’t want a wife who’s too young or too old. I have the most beautiful clothes, the most beautiful jewels, the most beautiful necklaces, and the most beautiful accouterments for a woman of any man in Modena.

VIRGINIO:
Excellent! I’m satisfied for her well-being and yours.

GHERARDO:
Press ahead, then!

VIRGINIO:
As far as the dowry’s concerned, we’ll stick to our agreement.

GHERARDO:
Do you think I would change my mind? Goodbye.

VIRGINIO:
Good day to you.

Scene II

CLEMENZIA and VIRGINIO

CLEMENZIA:
[To herself] I wonder what to make of the fact that all my hens were so excited this morning. They made so much noise that it was as if they wanted to throw the house into confusion, or else make me rich with their eggs. Something strange is going to happen to me today; they never make such a commotion unless there's bad news or something goes wrong.

VIRGINIO:
[Aside] This woman must be talking with angels or with the blessed preacher of the Church of Saint Francis.

CLEMENZIA:
[To herself] And another strange thing happened to me that I don't know how to interpret, even if my confessor told me that I shouldn't believe in such sings.

VIRGINIO:
What are you doing, talking to yourself? They day of the Befana has already passed.

CLEMENZIA:
Oh! Good day, Virginio. In God's name, I came by to visit you for a little, but you'd already gone out. I'm very glad to see you back!

VIRGINIO:
What were you mumbling to yourself just now? Were you planning to talk me out of some bushels of grain or bottles of oil or some lard, as usual?

CLEMENZIA:
Sure! [Aside] How easy it is to talk a magnanimous tightwad like him out of something! Is he perhaps putting away money for his children?

VIRGINIO:
What were you saying, anyway?

CLEMENZIA:
I was saying that I didn't know what to make of the fact that a pretty kitty that disappeared fifteen days ago turned up this morning. And then she caught a mouse in my dark room, and while playing with it, she upset a flask of Trebbiano wine that the preacher of the Church of Saint Francis had given me for doing his wash.

VIRGINIO:
This is a sign that there'll be a wedding. But you wanted me to give you another flask of wine, right?

CLEMENZIA:
Of course.

VIRGINIO:
See, I do know how to read signs! But where's Lelia, your nursling?

CLEMENZIA:
Oh, the poor child, it would've been better if she'd never been born!

VIRGINIO:
Why?

CLEMENZIA:
You ask why? Isn't that Gherardo Foiani going around saying that she's his wife and that everything's arranged?

VIRGINIO:
He's telling the truth. Why not? Don't you think it's good that she'll be set up in an honorable house with a rich man, well furnished with all the goods one could ask for and without anyone else in the house, so she won't have to fight with a mother-in-law, a daughter-in-law, or a sister-in-law (usually they're at each other like cats and dogs)? And he'll treat her like a daughter.

CLEMENZIA:
That's the problem: young girls want to be treated like wives, not daughters. They want me who sweep them off their feet, bite them, lay into them first from one side and then the other, not someone who treats them like a daughter.

VIRGINIO:
You think all women are like you, and you know that I know you well enough! But she's not like that - even if Gherardo is more than ready to treat her as a wife.

CLEMENZIA:
How? Why, he's already well over fifty!

VIRGINIO:
What does that matter? I'm almost that old, and you know I'm still capable of giving you a good ride, right?

CLEMENZIA:
Oh my, there are few men your equal! But if I thought that you would really give her to him, I'd drown her first.

VIRGINIO:
Clemenzia, I lost everything. Now I have to make do as best I can. If one day Fabrizio were to be found and I'd given everything away for her dowry, he'd die of hunger. And that I don't want. This way I can marry her to Gherardo with the proviso that if Fabrizio doesn't turn up within four years, she'll have a dowry of one thousand florins. If he does, she'll get only two hundred from me, and Gherardo will make up the rest.

CLEMENZIA:
Poor child! [Aside] I know that if she did as I wish she would...

VIRGINIO:
What's she up to? How long has it been since you saw her?

CLEMENZIA:
More than fifteen days. I wanted to visit her today.

VIRGINIO:
I think those sisters want to make her a nun, and I'm afraid that as usual they've tried to put a bug in her ear. Go to the convent and tell them I want her to return home.

CLEMENZIA:
You know, I need you to lend me two carlini to buy some wood. I don't have a stick.

VIRGINIO:
Devil, you never give up! Get going now, and I'll buy you some myself.

CLEMENZIA:
I want to go to mass first.

Scene II

LELIA (dressed as a boy) and CLEMENZIA

LELIA:
[Aside] Leaving the house alone at this hour requires real courage when one considers the evil ways of the rowdy young men of Modena! Oh, it would serve me right of one of those young rogues forced me into one of these houses to see for himself whether I was a boy or a girl! That would teach me to be out so early! But I'm here because I love that fickle and cruel Flamminio. Oh, how unlucky I am! I love someone who hates me, who is always cursing me. I serve someone who doesn't even recognize me. And to make matters worse, I help him in his pursuit of another woman - who would believe it! - without any other hope than so satisfy my desire to see him one day at a time. And actually up to this point everything has gone pretty well.But what I am I to do now? What strategy can I use? My father has returned, Flamminio has come to live in the city, and I can't stay here without being recognized. But if that should happen, I'd be dishonored forever and become a scandal in the whole city. So I'm out at this hour to ask the advice of my balia, whom I saw come this way form the window. Together we can decide on the best strategy. But first I want to see if she recognizes me in this get-up!

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] My goodness, Flamminio must have returned to Modena, for I see his door is open. Oh, if Lelia knew, she would be eager to return home! But who is this young showoff cutting back and forth in front of me in the street this morning? [To LELIA] What are you up to, you little pansy, tripping me up? Get lost! What are you doing? What do you want form me? If you only know how much I'm attracted to your type!

LELIA:
God give you a good day, Lady Sponger.

CLEMENZIA:
Save your "good days" for someone you ought to have said good night to.

LELIA:
Even if I did say good night to someone else, I want to say good day to you, if you'll let me.

CLEMENZIA:
Don't give me a hard time, or I'll tell you what you'll make me do to you this morning?

LELIA:
Are you waiting for the preacher of the Church of Saint Francis, perhaps, or are you going to Fra Cipollone?

CLEMENZIA:
Shoo! Go to hell! What's it to you where I'm going or who I'm going to see? Keep your nose out of my business! What preacher? What Fra Cipollone?

LELIA:
Oh, don't get all upset, Lady-Full-of-Threats-but-without-Deeds!

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] I'm certain I know this kid, but I don't know form where, even though it seems like I've seen his face a thousand times. [To LELIA] Tell me, boy, where do you know me from, and why are you so nosey about my affairs? Lower that cape a bit so I can see your face better.

LELIA:
Come on! Are you pretending you don't recognize me?

CLEMENZIA:
If you keep hiding behind that cape, neither I nor anyone else will recognize you.

LELIA:
Come this way a little.

CLEMENZIA:
Where?

LELIA:
Over here. [Pulling back her cape] Now do you recognize me?

CLEMENZIA:
Is that you, Lelia? Oh, my life is ruined! What a disaster! Yes, it's you! Good heavens! What does this mean, my dear child?

LELIA:
Be quiet. You’re acting like a madwoman. If you keep shouting, I'll leave.

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] Is she the least but ashamed? [To LELIA] Have you become a woman of the world, a whore?

LELIA:
Yes, I'm of the world. How many women have you seen from outside the world? As far as I'm concerned, I don't remember ever being outside the world.

CLEMENZIA:
But have you lost, then, the name of virgin?

LELIA:
The name, no - not as far as I know, especially here in Modena. For the rest, you'll have to ask the Spaniards who held me prisoner in Rome.

CLEMENZIA:
Is this the honor you owe to your father, your house, yourself, and you me who nursed you? Why, I could cut your throat with my own hands! Come along, now, I don't want you to be seen out here in these clothes.

LELIA:
Oh, please calm down!

CLEMENZIA:
Aren't you ashamed to be seen like this?

LELIA:
Am I perhaps the first woman who ever dressed like this? I've seen hundreds in Rome. And in Modena there are plenty of women who go about their business every night dressed like this.

CLEMENZIA:
They're wicked women!

LELIA:
Oh well, among so many wicked women isn't there room for one good much?

CLEMENZIA:
I want to know way you’re running arround like this and why you left the convent. Oh, if your father knew, he’d have your head, poor child!

LELIA:
That would solve my problems. Do you think I value mi life all that much?

CLEMENZIA:
Why are you running around like this? Tell me.

LELIA:
I'll explain, if you'll listen. And then you'll understand my misfortune and why I left the convent dressed like this and what I need you to do for me. But come this way a bit so that if anyone passes by they won't recognize me talking with you.

CLEMENZIA:
You're driving me crazy. Tell me quickly, or I'm going to die of desperation! Oh my!

LELIA:
You know that after the horrible sack of Rome, my father, having lost everything, including my brother Fabrizio, in order not to live alone took me away from the Lady Marchesana in whose service he had left me earlier. Our poverty forced us to return to our home here in Modena to escape our evil fortune and live as well as we could with what little we had. And you know that my father, because he had been a close friend of Count Guido Rangone, was not well received here by some.

CLEMENZIA:
Why are you telling me what I already know better than you do? And I know that this was the reason that you both went to stay on your farm at Fontanile and I went with you.

LELIA:
Exactly. You remember also how difficult and hard my life was then. My thoughts were not only far from love but far from virtually everything human. For I was afraid that having been in the hands of Spanish soldiers, everyone would be pointing at me. I was certain that no matter times you scolded me and urged me to be happier?

CLEMENZIA:
If, as you say, I know this already, why are you telling me again? But go on.

LELIA:
Well, if I hadn't repeated it, you wouldn't be able to understand the rest. It so happened that at that time, because Flamminio Carandini was one of our faction, he became a close friend of my father. Day after day he came to our house and sometimes very secretly he would look at me, sigh, and lower his eyes. You were the one who pointed it out to me. I began to enjoy his manners and conversation and his way of carrying himself much more than I did at first. But I wasn't thinking of love. Still, visiting our house, he made me aware of how much he was taken with me, first with one thing and then with many sings of love, sighs, longing gazes, and glances, so that although I'd never been in love before, felling that he was worthy of love I began to turn my thoughts towards him, and eventually I fell for him so completely that to see him was my only desire.

CLEMENZIA:
I knew all his already, also.

LELIA:
And you will remember that when all the soldiers finally left Rome, my father wanted to go back partly to see if any of our possessions were still there, but mainly to see if he could learn anything about my brother. And because he didn't want to leave me alone, he sent me to Mirandola to live with my aunt Giovanna until he came back. How unhappy I was to be separated from my Flamminio, you know well, for many times you dried my tears! I remained at Mirandola for a year. Then when my father came back, as you know, we returned to Modena, and I was more than ever in love with Flamminio. Since he was my first love, I was very happy, assuming that he would love me as he did before.

CLEMENZIA:
Silly little girl! How many men of Modena do you know who'd be able to love a woman a whole year rather than deceiving first one for a while and then another?

LELIA:
When I found him, in fact, I might just as well have never existed as far as he was concerned. And what was worse, he was committed heart and soul to winning the love of Isabella, the daughter of Gherardo Foiani, who not only is very beautiful but also is his only heir, if that old madman doesn't decide to marry and have other children.

CLEMENZIA:
Gherardo believes that his marriage with you is all arranged, and he's going around saying that your father has given his word. But all this still doesn't explain why you're running around dressed like a man or why you've left the convent.

LELIA:
Let me finish, and you'll understand. But as far as Gherardo is concerned, I can tell you that he'll never have me. After my father returned from Rome, he had to go to Bologna on business. And because I didn't want to return to Mirandola, he put me in the convent of San Crescenzio with our relative, Sister Amabile, while he was away, which supposed to be for a shot time only.

CLEMENZIA:
I knew all this.

LELIA:
Living there, I found that the reverend mothers didn't talk about anything except love. So it seemed to me that I could reveal my love as well to Sister Amabile de'Cortesi. Taking pity on me, she worked day and night to get Flamminio to come to the convent to talk with her and the other nuns so that hidden behind a curtain, I could comfort my eyes and ears looking at him, I heard him lamenting the death of a young boy in his service and singing his praises. And he said that if he could find another boy like that, he would trust him with everything he owned and be the happiest person in the world.

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] Woe is me! I'm afraid that this "boy" business is going to make my life very unhappy.

LELIA:
I immediately decided that I wanted to see if I could become that lucky boy. So as soon as he left, I broached the subject with Sister Amabile. Since Flamminio was not living in Modena, I wanted to see if I could become his servant and get away with it.

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] Didn't I say that this "boy" - ... I'm ruined!

LELIA:
She agreed with me and showed me how I should act, giving me some clothes that she has recently made for herself so that she could leave the convent every now and then on her own business dressed as a man like the other sisters. So one morning earl, I left the convent in these clothes, and being outside of Modena, I was quite confident and things went very smoothly. I went to the villa where Flamminio was living, which as you know is not far from the convent, and I waited there until he came out. In this I must thank Fortune, for the minute Flamminio saw me he asked me very courteously where I was from and if I has anything to ask him.

CLEMENZIA:
Didn't you die of shame on the spot?

LELIA:
Actually, with the help of Love, I answered him earnestly that I was a Roman seeking my fortune because of my poverty. He looked me up and down from head to toe several times so closely that I was afraid he would recognize me. Then he said that if I was agreeable he would gladly take me on and that he would treat me well and as a gentleman. And although I felt a bit embarrassed, I accepted.

CLEMENZIA:
Listening to you, I wish I'd never been born! What good did you see in such craziness?

LELIA:
What good? Does it seem to you a small thing for a woman in love to be able to see her lord all the time, to speak with him, touch him, hear his secrets, meet his friends and discuss things with him, and be sure that if she's not enjoying him, at least no one else is?

CLEMENZIA:
These are the way of a foolish child. They don't accomplish anything beyond adding wood to the fire, unless you think they make the man you love happier. But how do you serve him?

LELIA:
At the table, in the bedroom. And I know that he's been so pleased with me in these fifteen days that if I'd been wearing my regular dress, I would feel truly blessed!

CLEMENZIA:
Wait just a minute - where do you sleep?

LELIA:
In a small room off his bedroom, alone.

CLEMENZIA:
What would happen if one night, moved by an evil lust, he should call you to sleep with him?

LELIA:
There's no sense worrying about problems before they occur. If it happens, I'll think it over and decide.

CLEMENZIA:
What will people say when they learn about this, you naughty little girl?

LELIA:
Who's going to say anything, if you don't tell? Now, this is what I want you to do, because I've learned that my father returned last night, and I imagine he'll send for me: see to it that for four or five days he doesn't. Or tell him that I've gone with Sister Amabile to Roverino and that I'll return in four or five days.

CLEMENZIA:
Why?

LELIA:
I'll tell you. Flamminio, as I told you earlier, is in love with Isabella Foiani, and often, very often, he sends me to her with letters and messages. She, however, has fallen madly in love with me thinking that I'm a man and gives me the sweetest caresses ever. Meanwhile, I'm pretending that I don't want to be her lover unless she makes Flamminio forget about her. I've already brought matters to a head, and I'm hoping that in the next three or four days everything will come together and he'll leave her.

CLEMENZIA:
I'm afraid that your father has already asked me to get you. So I want you to come to my house now so that I can send for your clothes. You shouldn't be seen like this. And if you don't do as I say, I'll tell your father everything.

LELIA:
If you do, you'll be responsible for me going where neither of you will ever see me again. Do as I ask, please! [Seeing GHERARDO coming out his house] But I can't tell you the whole story now. I hear Flamminio calling me. [Calling as if to FLAMMINIO] My lord! [To CLEMENZIA] Wait for me an hour from now at your house; I'll meet you there. And you should know that if you want to find me, you should ask for Fabio degli Alberini, which is the name I've taken. Don't forget. [Calling as if to FLAMMINIO] I'm coming, sir! [To CLEMENZIA] Goodbye.

CLEMENZIA:
My goodness, she saw Gherardo, who's headed this way, and she's disappeared. What am I to do now? I can't tell her father, and I can't let her stay here like this. I'll keep quiet until we speak again.

Scene IV

GHERARDO, SPELA and CLEMENZIA

GHERARDO:
If Virginio keeps his promise, I'm going to be giving myself the best time of any man in Modena. What do you think, Spela? Wouldn't that be something?

SPELA:
I think it would be much better if you gave something to your nephews, who need it, or to me, since I've served you so long that I've worn the soles off my shoes. I'm afraid that this wife will send you over the edge or give you a set of- ... actually, I'm sure of it.

GHERARDO:
You'll see that she'll be well paid by me.

SPELA:
I believe you. While other men would satisfy her with good hard coin, you'll pay her with tiny little hapfpennies.

GHERARDO:
[As CLEMENZIA approaches] Here's her balia. Be quiet, while I cleverly ask her know Lelia is.

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] What a handsome lily fresh from the garden that Gherardo is to want a wife so young! Who would ever think it was a good idea to hand that poor child over to this wheezing old geezer? By the holy cross, I'd suffocate her before I'd let her be given to that run-down, moldy, drooling, rancid snotnose. I want to work him over a bit. I'll go over to him. [To GHERARDO] God give you a good day and a good morning, Gherardo. You look like a little cherub this morning.

GHERARDO:
And may God give you a hundred thousand and more ducats.

SPELA:
[Aside] Those would be better given to me.

GHERARDO:
Oh, Spela, how happy I'd be if I were Clemenzia!

SPELA:
Because you would've gotten to try a bunch of husbands rather than just the one wife you've had? Or are you trying to say something else?

CLEMENZIA:
And according to you, just how many husbands have I tried, Spela? May God have the flies skin you alive! Are you jealous that you weren't one of them?

SPELA:
Sure, by God! But I don't know if I could have handled all the pleasure!

GHERARDO:
Shut up, you idiot. I wasn't saying that at all.

SPELA:
What were you saying, then?

GHERARDO:
I meant that if I were she, I would so often have hugged, kissed, and held to my breast my sweet Lelia, made of sugar, of gold, of milk, of roses, and so much else that I'm at a loss for words.

SPELA:
Oh, oh, my master, let's go indoors! Get going! Hurry up!

GHERARDO:
What?

SPELA:
You have a fever, and staying out here in the air will make it worse.

GHERARDO:
I have only the pain in the butt that I hope God will give you. What fever? I feel perfectly fine.

SPELA:
I'm sure that you have a fever, and I'm certain that it's a big one.

GHERARDO:
I know that I feel fine.

SPELA:
Does your head hurt?

GHERARDO:
No!

SPELA:
Let me take your pulse. Does your stomach hurt, or do you feel some sort of vapor rising to you brain?

GHERARDO:
You've lost your mind! DO you want to make me into a Calandrino, perhaps? I tell you, I don't have any problem other than missing my Lelia, so delicate, so sweet.

SPELA:
I'm certain that you have a fever and that you're very sick.

GHERARDO:
How can you tell?

SPELA:
How? Can’t you see that you're out of your mind, raving, frenzied, and that you don't know what you're saying?

GHERARDO:
It's love that makes me act like that, right, Clemenzia? Omnia vincit amor!

SPELA:
[Aside] Right! What a beautiful! Neapolitan saying! Facetis manum, everybody: it's never been said before.

GHERARDO:
That sweet cruel one, you little daughter, sweet traitor...

SPELA:
[Aside] This isn't a fever, this is a terminal idiocy. Oh my! Woe is me! What can I do?

GHERARDO:
Oh, Clemenzia, I want to hug and kiss you a thousand times!

SPELA:
[Aside] I'm afraid we need ropes to tie the madman down.

CLEMENZIA:
Watch out! I've no desire to be kissed by and old man.

GHERARDO:
Do I seem to you that old?

SPELA:
[Aside] What do you think? At least my master's eyes haven't fallen out of his mouth yet - oops, I mean his teeth.

CLEMENZIA:
Well, now that I take a better look at you, I can say that you aren't as old as you seem.

GHERARDO:
Tell Lelia that. And listen, if you put in a good word for me with her, I'll give you a veil.

SPELA:
[Aside] Wow, the big spender! And what will you give me?

CLEMENZIA:
If you were as much in the graces of the duke of Ferran as you are in the graces of Lelia, how lucky you would be! Yes, of course! But who are you kidding? If you really loved her, you wouldn't be doing this to her or trying to ruin her life.

GHERARDO:
What do you mean, ruin her life? I'm trying to give her a good life, not ruin it.

CLEMENZIA:
Why have you kept her waiting a whole year with your negotiations over whether or not you would marry her?

GHERARDO:
What? Does Lelia think that was my fault, then? Why, if you should find that I didn't ask her father every day, that this hasn't been my greatest desire, that I didn't wish to marry her immediately, may you see me laid out in my coffin sooner rather than later.

CLEMENZIA:
With God's grace, let's hope that's the case! I'll tell her everything. But do you realize that she'd prefer to see you dressed differently? Now you look like an old goat.

GHERARDO:
What do you mean, old goat? What have I done?

CLEMENZIA:
Nothing, but you're always out all wrapped up in animal skins of one kind or another.

SPELA:
[Aside] To win her love, then, he'd be better off if he has himself skinned alive or at least went naked through the streets. Can you believe it?

GHERARDO:
I have the finest clothes of any man in Modena. Still, I'm grateful for your advice, and she'll soon find that I have a different look. But where will I be able to see her when she returns from the convent?

CLEMENZIA:
At the Bazzovara gate. I'm going to get her right now.

GHERARDO:
Why don't you let me come with you? We could talk as we walk.

CLEMENZIA:
No, no. What would people say?

GHERARDO:
I'm dying. Oh, love!

SPELA:
[Aside] I'm bursting with laughter. Oh, heaven above!

GHERARDO:
Oh, how blessed you are!

SPELA:
[Aside] Oh, you're crazier by far!

GHERARDO:
Oh, Clemenzia, so lucky!

SPELA:
[Aside] Oh, blockhead, so ducky!

GHERARDO:
Oh, milk of kindliness!

SPELA:
[Aside] Oh, brains of emptiness!

GHERARDO:
Oh, Clemenzia, so joyful and dear!

SPELA:
[Aside] Oh, you, so full in the rear!

GHERARDO:
Go on now, Clemenzia! Goodbye. [CLEMENZIA leaves] Come along now, Spela, I want to refashion myself. I've decided to dress myself more stylishly to please my wife.

SPELA:
This is going to end badly.

GHERARDO:
Why?

SPELA:
Because you're already beginning to do things her way. She's going to wear the pants in the family.

GHERARDO:
Go to the shop of Marco, the perfume maker, and buy me a jar of musk. I'm ready to lead the live of a lover.

SPELA:
Where's the moner?

GHERARDO:
Here, take this bolognino. And be quick about it. I'm going home.

Scene V

SPELA and SCATIZZA

SPELA:
[Alone] If anyone wished to wrap up all the foolishness in the world in one package, they could wrap up my master and the job would be done. And now that he has embarked on this mad passion of love, it's even more true. He shaves, he combs his fair, he paces back and forth before her house, he goes out at night to parties armed with dagger, he goes about all day caterwauling with that raspy, coarse voice of his and a lute even more out of tune than his singing. And he has even given himself to writing efistulas (may he come down with one) - snotnets, rhyndes, stramboats, mad-gals, and a thousand other things that belong in comedies. It's enough to make the asses of this world die laughing, never mind the dogs! Now he wants to start putting on musk. In God's name, it's enough to make even one's balls go crazy. But here's Scatizza, who ought to be coming back from the convent.

SCATIZZA:
[Muttering to himself] Why, these fathers who have their daughters made nuns must be just like the great men of the time of Bartolomeo Coglioni. Can they really believe that their daughters spend all their time on their knees before crucifix praying to God that he reward them for putting them in the convent? It's true that they pray to God, and the devil as well, but asking rather that they break the necks of those who've has then locked up in there.

SPELA:
[Aside] I want to hear this story.

SCATIZZA:
[Still muttering to himself] As soon as I knocked at the supposedly locked door into the inner cloisters, the room filled with nuns, all young and as beautiful as angels. I started to ask for Lelia. On one side some laughed, on the other side some giggled, and then they all began to play around with me as if I were a sweet hard candy.

SPELA:
God bless you, Scatizza! Where are you coming from? Sure, you have the sweetest candy. Let me try some.

SCATIZZA:
A pox on you and that madman, you master!

SPELA:
Leave alone, and keep the pox for yourself. Bbut where are you coming from?

SCATIZZA:
From the nuns of San Crescenzio.

SPELA:
All right, but what about Lelia? Has she returned home?

SCATIZZA:
May the gallows return for you! Can God allow that imbecile, you master, to think that he's going to have her?

SPELA:
Why not? Doesn't she want him?

SCATIZZA:
I really doubt it. Does she strike you as being meat for his teeth?

SPELA:
She's right not to want him. But what did she say?

SCATIZZA:
She didn't say a thing. What could she say, considering that I didn't get to see her? When I go there and asked for her, those hungry nuns wanted to make a snack of me.

SPELA:
They wanted more than a snack! More like the meat course. You clearly don't know them.

SCATIZZA:
I know them better than you, may the pox take them! You should have been there. The first one wanted to know if I was lovesick, then another if I would marry her. Yet another said that Lelia was all wet in the bath and drying herself off, and one said that she was all tied up at the moment in the sleeping quarters. One asked me, "Did you father have any male children?" Oh! I was about to say to her, "I have a large co- ... cock-a-doodle-do," but finally I realized that they were just kidding around and that they didn't want to me to talk with Lelia.

SPELA:
You really weren't very clever. You should've marched right in and told them you wanted to look around for her yourself.

SCATIZZA:
Are you crazy? Go rught in there by myself? Come on, man, come on. Do you want to see me ruined? Oh, there isn't a stallion in the Maremma who could stand up to them alone! Nuns? A pox on hem! But I can't hang around here any longer, I have to get back to my master.

SPELA:
And I have to buy some musk, for my own crazy one.


Act II

SCENE I

LELIA (dressed as a boy) and FLAMMINIO

FLAMMINIO:
It's very disheartening that after all this time you still haven't been able to win a kind word for me form that cruel and ungrateful Isabella. Still, to see you always welcomed so warmly and listened to so willingly makes me think that she doesn't hate me. And as far as I know, I've never done anything to displease her. You'd now form what she said if she was upset with me about anything. But please tell me again, Fabio, what she said to you last night when you took her my letter.

LELIA:
I've already told you twenty times.

FLAMMINIO:
Well, tell me again. What's it to you?

LELIA:
What's it to me? It makes me sad to see you so downcast; it makes me suffer as much as you. Since I'm your servant, I don't want to give you anything by pleasure, and I worry that her replies will make you unhappy with me.

FLAMMINIO:
Don't worry, my dear Fabio. I love you like a brother, and I know that you love me, so you can be sure I'll never let you down, as you'll see with time. Say your prayers and don't worry about anything else. But what did she say?

LELIA:
As I told you already:that the greatest pleasure you could give her in the whole world would be to leave her alone and stop thinking about her because she's fallen in love with someone else; and that she can't stand the sight of you anymore and you're wasting your time courting her, because when all is said and done, you're going to find yourself empty-handed.

FLAMMINIO:
Did it seem to you that she really meant it, or is she upset with me about something? There was a time when every now and then she seemed to like me, and I really can't believe that she dislikes me that much, for she accepts my letters and messages. I'm prepared to court her until the day I die. At least I want to see what the future has to offer. What do you think, Fabio? Don't you agree?

LELIA:
I don't, sir.

FLAMMINIO:
Why not?

LELIA:
Because if I were in your shoes, I'd want her to be happy with my courtship. What woman would pass up a man like you, noble, accomplished, gentle-mannered, and handsome? Take my advice, Master:drop her and find someone else who loves you. You'll have no trouble finding another and, yes, perhaps one just as beautiful. Tell me, haven't you ever loved another who appreciated your attentions here in Modena?

FLAMMINIO:
Of course. There was one among the others called Lelia - in fact, many times I have been tempted to say that you remind me of her. She's reputed to be the most beautiful, wise, and well-mannered young woman in these parts - I should point her out to you someday. She would be very pleased if I showed her a bit of favor. She's rich and has been at court. And she was my love for about a year, showing me much favor, until she went off to Mirandola. Then my evil fortune make me fall in love with this woman who's been as cruel to me as the other was gentle.

LELIA:
Master, turn about is fair play. You have ignored someone who loves you; it's only fair that now you are being ignored.

FLAMMINIO:
What are you trying to say?

LELIA:
If that poor young woman was your first love and she continues to love you more than ever, why have you abandoned her to run after another? I'm not sure that God can ever forgive such a sin. Heavens, my lord Flamminio! You're clearly very much in the wrong.

FLAMMINIO:
You're still a boy, Fabio, and you don't understand the power of love. Look, I'm forced to love and adore this new woman, and I can't think about anyone else. I don't know how to, and I'm not cpaable of it. So go talk to her again and see if you can wheedle out of her why she's so upset with me that she doesn't want to see me.

LELIA:
You're wasting your time.

FLAMMINIO:
I'm willing to waste this time.

LELIA:
You're not going to accomplish anything.

FLAMMINIO:
That's life!

LELIA:
Give up on her, I say.

FLAMMINIO:
I can't. Go on, do as I ask.

LELIA:
I'm going, but ...

FLAMMINIO:
Come back immediately with her reply. I'll walk on the cathedral.

LELIA:
As soon as the moment is right, I'll give it my best shot.

[Walks off towards the cathedral]

FLAMMINIO:
Fabio, if you can do it, I'll be very pleased with you!

LELIA:
[Aside] We split up just in time, because here comes Pasquella looking for me.

SCENE II

PASQUELLA and LELIA (dressed as a boy)

PASQUELLA:
[Alone] I don't believe there's a greater pain or hassle in the whole world for someone like me than to serve a young girl in love. And that's even more true when that girl doesn't have to fear her mother, sister, or other person, like my mistress. Recently she's fallen so madly in love and become so lathered up that she can't find any peace, day or night. She's always scratching between her legs, stroking her thighs, or running up onto the porch or over to the window or running down the stairs or up the stairs. She just can't seem to stop; it's as if she had quicksilver in her feet. For God's sake, oh, yes, I too was young once and in love as well, and I did some little things that I shouldn't have done, but I also calmed down from time to time.It would be better, however, if only she'd decided to fall in love with someone of worth, someone mature, a man who would know how to take care of his business and scratch her itch. But she's all caught up with a fancy boy who looks like he would have trouble buttoning up his pants without help if they were unbuttoned. And all day long she sends me to finds this lover-boy, as if I didn't have any work to do around the house. Can his master really think that he's acting on his behalf? [Nothing LELIA] But this is certainly him coming along now. What luck! [To LELIA] Fabio, God give you a good day. My dear boy, I was looking for you.

LELIA:
And may God give you a thousand scudi, my dear Pasquella. What's your pretty mistress up to? What does she want form me?

PASQUELLA:
What do you think she's going? She's crying, she's all upset, she a mess because you haven't visited her yet this morning.

LELIA:
My goodness, what does she want? Does she want me to het there before the sun comes up?

PASQUELLA:
I imagine she'd like to have you stay the whole night, I'm afraid.

LELIA:
Well, I have other things to do. I have to serve my master. Do you understand, Pasquella?

PASQUELLA:
Well, I'm sure your master would feel that you were serving him in coming here, right? But wait, are you perhaps sleeping with him?

LELIA:
I wish to God he liked me that much! If that were the case I wouldn't be in the mess I'm in.

PASQUELLA:
Oh my! But wouldn't you rather sleep with Isabella?

LELIA:
Not me.

PASQUELLA:
What? You're not serious!

LELIA:
I wish I weren't!

PASQUELLA:
Hmmm. Well, let's change the subject. My mistress told me to ask you to come visit her right away because her father isn't at home and she needs to speak with you about something important.

LELIA:
Tell her that she's just wasting her time if she doesn't get rid of Flamminio first. She knows that I'd be ruined otherwise.

PASQUELA:
Come tell her yourself.

LELIA:
I said I had other things to do. Didn't you hear me?

PASQUELLA:
What do you have to do that's so important? Run over to see her, and you can hurry right back.

LELIA:
Oh, you're a pain in the neck. Get lost.

PASQUELLA:
Won't you come?

LELIA:
I said no. Can't you undestand?

PASQUELLA:
In good faith and in all honesty I'll tell you, Fabio, you're too arrogant. Remember that you're just a young dandy, and you don't really understand how lucky you are. But this fascination with you isn't going to last forever, you know. You're going to grow a beard, you cheeks aren't going to remain so fresh, your lips so red. You won't always be so sought after by everyone - no, sir. Then you'll realize what a fool you've been, and you'll regret what you missed when it's too late. Tell me, how many men do you think there are in this city who'd be delighted if Isabella even smile at them? And do you think you can just laugh at such a sweet dish!

LELIA:
Well, why doesn't she smile at one of them, then, and leave me alone? I'm not interested.

PASQUELLA:
My God! It's obvious that these youngsters today don't have enough good sense to get by.

LELIA:
Come on, Pasquella! Don't keep preaching at me, you'll only make it worse.

PASQUELLA:
Stuck up, stuck up, you're going to miss being so stuck up when you grown up! Come on, my dear, sweet Fabio, my soul! COme, for goodness sake, quickly. If you don't, she'll just send me out again to find you because she won't believe I've talked with you.

LELIA:
Fine. Relax! I'll come, Pasquella. I was just kidding.

PASQUELLA:
When, my sweet?

LELIA:
Soon.

PASQUELLA:
How soon?

LELIA:
Soon enough. Now get lost.

PASQUELLA:
I'll be waiting for you at the door, all right?

LELIA:
Yeah, yeah.

PASQUELLA:
And, uh, you know that if you don't show up, I'll be mad.

SCENE III

GIGLIO and PASQUELLA

GIGLIO:
[Aside] For the life of me, if this isn't the lucky old bag who serves the most beautiful young thing in this city! What I wouldn't give to have two words alone with her! By the vow of virginity of all the clerics of Rome, I swear I'd make her howl like a cat in heat! But for now, let me see if I can sweet-talk this old bag into helping me with her mistress. [To PASQUELLA] Good day, kind and gentle Madonna Pasquella. Where are your coming form this morning?

PASQUELLA:
Oh! Good day, Giglio. I'm coming from mass. Where are you going?

GIGLIO:
Seeking my fortune. I'm looking for a woman who would be give me some kindness.

PASQUELLA:
Oh, sure! That's exactly what you Spaniards need! Why, there's not a one of you who doesn't have a dozen women hanging around.

GIGLIO:
It's true that I have two myself, but I can't visit them anymore without danger.

PASQUELLA:
What? Are they gentlewomen if the Easylay family, perhaps?

GIGLIO:
Yes, by my word, exactly. But now I want a mother who'll wash my shirts sometimes and mend by socks and jacket and keep me like a son. And I'll help her with good service.

PASQUELLA:
Keep looking, keep on looking; no doubt you'll find plenty. A man like you who already has his gentlewomen will have no trouble finding servants.

GIGLIO:
I've already found someone, with your permission.

PASQUELLA:
Who?

GIGLIO:
You yourself.

PASQUELLA:
Really! But I'm too old for you.

GIGLIO:
Old? I swear by the Virgin Mary of Monserrat that you seem to me a sweet thing of fifteen or twenty. Old? Don't ever say such a thing again, because I can't bear to hear it. If you decide to be kind to me, you'll see soon enough whether I treat you like a young woman or an old me!

PASQUELLA:
No, no, Spanish Rooster, get lost! I don't want to get involved with Spaniards. You're like horse flies, either you bite or you harass, and you're like coal, either you burn or you blacken. We've has plenty of experience with you by now, unfortunately for us! We know you well, thank God. And there's clearly nothing to be gained from becoming involved with you.

GIGLIO:
Gain? I swear to God that you will gain more from me than from the most important gentleman of this city! And although I may appear to you now to be down on my luck, I can tell you that I come from one of the most noble families in all Spain.

PASQUELLA:
It's a miracle that you didn't claim to be a lord or a knight! All the Spaniards who come here make themselves lords. And then take a look at how they behave!

GIGLIO:
Pasquella, accept my friendship. It will bring you great benefit!

PASQUELLA:
What will you do for me? Make me a lady, maybe?

GIGLIO:
I'm not asking you to be anything except my mother. And I want to be your son and sometimes also your husband, if that would please you.

PASQUELLA:
[Laughing] Oh, leave me alone!

GIGLIO:
[Aside] Ah, she's laughing. Let's see if this puts her in the carnival spirit.

PASQUELLA:
What did you say?

GIGLIO:
That I want to give you a rosary to say during carnival.

PASQUELLA:
And where is it?

GIGLIO:
Here it is.

PASQUELLA:
Oh, it's beautiful! Why don't you give it to me?

GIGLIO:
If you'll be my mother, I'll give it to you.

PASQUELLA:
I'll be whatever you want, if you give it to me.

GIGLIO:
When can we talk alone together for an hour?

PASQUELLA:
Whenever you wish.

GIGLIO:
Where?

PASQUELLA:
Oh, I don't know where.

GIGLIO:
Isn't there someplace in the house where you can keep me tonight?

PASQUELLA:
Yes, there is. But what if my master should find out?

GIGLIO:
What? Don't worry, he won't find out anything!

PASQUELLA:
Look, I'll see if it's possible tonight. Come by the house, and I'll tell you if you can come in or not. Now give me that rosary. Oh, it is beautiful!

GIGLIO:
Good. I'll be here to find out at nightfall.

PASQUELLA:
Right, yes! But give me the rosary.

GIGLIO:
I'll bring it with me when I return. I want to have it perfumed a little for you first.

PASQUELLA:
There's no need for that. Give it to me as it is; I don't want it more perfumed.

GIGLIO:
Look, this piece is broken. I'll have it replaced with a bit of gold, then I'll give it to you this evening. There's no rush, it will be yours.

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] It will be mine when I have it. One can't rely very much on the word of you Spaniards, I'm afraid. I'm not the only one who says that you're like the tax collector:whatever happens, you never give, only take.

GIGLIO:
What are you saying, my mother?

PASQUELLA:
I have to go inside, my mistress is waiting for me.

GIGLIO:
Wait just a little longer. What's the rush? What do you have to do for your mistress?

PASQUELLA:
Oh, you wouldn't believe it. May the devil take me if these young girls nowadays don't fall in love before they're dry behind the ears and if they aren't ready to use the pestle and mortar before the needle and thread.

GIGLIO:
What are you trying to say?

PASQUELLA:
Dying to say? Why, I'm just trying to say that she really would like to start grinding away!

GIGLIO:
But it's no possible, she's still too young. Please tell me who she's in love with.

PASQUELLA:
I wish it weren't true, or at least that she was in love with someone worthy of her.

GIGLIO:
Tell me, on your life, who is he?

PASQUELLA:
I don't want to say. Look, you must keep this a secret. Do you know that boy who serves Flamminio de'Cardini?

GIGLIO:
Who? That kid that goes around all dressed in white?

PASQUELLA:
Yes, him.

GIGLIO:
Good God! It is possible? How could she want to be served by him? He's more fit for being screwed than for screwing.

PASQUELLA:
You got that right.

GIGLIO:
And that boy, does he love the girl?

PASQUELLA:
Well, more or less.

GIGLIO:
Doesn't her father know about this?

PASQUELLA:
I don't think so. Actually, he has twice discovered him in the house and given him a thousand little caresses, taking his hand and chucking him under the chin as if he were his son. And he says that he thinks he resembles a daughter of Virginio Bellenzini.

GIGLIO:
Ah, damn that boy! Ah, that old pig, that lecher! Yes, yes, I know what he's after.

PASQUELLA:
Ugh! You've kept me too long. I must go.

GIGLIO:
Remember that I'll come tonight. Don't forget your promise!

PASQUELLA:
And you, don't forget that rosary!

SCENE IV

FLAMMINIO, CRIVELLO and SCATIZZA

FLAMMINIO:
You haven't gone to look for Fabio, and he hasn't returned. I don't know what to make of his delay.

CRIVELLO:
I was going, and then you called me back. Is that my fault?

FLAMMINIO:
Well, go now, and if he's at Isabella's, wait for him outside and when he comes out send him here immediately.

CRIVELLO:
Well, how can I tell if he's there or not? Do you want me to ask her if he's there?

FLAMMINIO:
What an ass! Do you think that would be a good idea? It's clear that I don't have anyone to serve me who's worth a fig besides Fabio. God help me reward him as he deserves! And you, what are you muttering about? Do you have something to say, you knave? Isn't it true?

CRIVELLO:
What do you do want to me to say? I say yes, of course. Fabio is good. Fabio is handsome. Fabio serves well. Fabio with you, Fabio with your girl. Fabio is everything, Fabio does everything. But ...

FLAMMINIO:
But what?

CRIVELLO:
He may not be entirely the right stuff.

FLAMMINIO:
What are you suggesting with this "stuff" thing?

CRIVELLO:
That you can't always trust him. Look, he's a foreigner, and one day he could carry off your stuff.

FLAMMINIO:
I wish I had a much faith in you others as I have in him! [SCATIZZA enters] Here's Scatizza, ask him if he's seen Fabio. I'll be at the Porrini bank.

[He leaves]

CRIVELLO:
Hello, Scatizza. Have you seen Fabio?

SCATIZZA:
Who? Your boy with the right stuff? That little bastard! You can have him.

CRIVELLO:
Where are you headed?

SCATIZZA:
To find my old boss.

CRIVELLO:
He left just a moment ago.

SCATIZZA:
Where did he go?

CRIVELLO:
They way. Come on, and we'll catch up with him. Hurry up! I have a funny story to tell you about what happened to me with my Caterina - the best story ever!

SCENE V

SPELA, alone

SPELA:
Could there be a worse thing in the world than to serve a master who's crazy? Gherardo sent me to buy musk. When I told the apothecary that I had only one bolognino, he insisted that Gherardo wouldn't know what to do with musk. So I began to explain Gherardo's mad love so that he would believe me, and he, along with several other young fellows who were there, almost died laughing. He even wanted me to take him a jar of asafetida, so I left with laughter ringing in my ears. Now if my master wants that musk, he'll have to give me more money.

SCENE VI

CRIVELLO, SCATIZZA, LELIA (dressed as a boy), and ISABELLA

CRIVELLO:
So that's it. And if you want to come, I'll do everything to find a girl for you too.

SCATIZZA:
See what you can do, and I promise you that if you find me a cute serving girl, we'll have a great time together. I have the keys to the granary, to the wine cellar, to the pantry, to the wood, and if you get me an easy lay, I'll make us rich in any other way.

CRIVELLO:
Good, I'll ask Bita to find you some easy piece so that all four of us can have a good time together this carnival.

SCATIZZA:
Yeah! But it's already the last day of carnival.

CRIVELLO:
We'll have us a good time during Lent, then, while our masters are praying and only dreaming of women. But wait a second, Gherardo's door is opening. Let's hide over here for a bit.

SCATIZZA:
Why?

CRIVELLO:
Oh, let's say out of good manners.

[They move off as LELIA and ISABELLA appear in the doorway]

LELIA:
All right, Isabella! But don't forget what you promised.

ISABELLA:
And don't forget to come to see me. Listen to me a second.

CRIVELLO:
[To SCATIZZA, unheard and unseen by LELIA and ISABELLA] If I were in the place of that pansy, I know my master wouldn't be able to forgive me.

SCATIZZA:
You'd have the chick for yourself, eh?

CRIVELLO:
What do you think?

LELIA:
Now what else do you want?

ISABELLA:
Listen a little.

LELIA:
I'm listening.

ISABELLA:
Do you see anyone out in the street?

LELIA:
Not a living soul.

CRIVELLO:
What the devil is she up to?

SCATIZZA:
No good; they're too close.

CRIVELLO:
Let's wait and see.

ISABELLA:
Listen, just a word.

CRIVELLO:
They're very close together.

SCATIZZA:
That's it! That's it!

ISABELLA:
You know, I would like...

LELIA:
What would you like?

ISABELLA:
I would like... come a little closer.

SCATIZZA:
Get closer yet, you animal!

ISABELLA:
See if there's anyone out there.

LELIA:
Didn't I tell you there's no one?

ISABELLA:
Oh, I'd like you to come back after dinner when my father will me away.

LELIA:
All right. But when my master passes by, be sure to shut the window in his face and run off.

ISABELLA:
If I don't, you needn't love me anymore.

[She touches LELIA]

SCATIZZA:
Where the devil does she have her hands?

CRIVELLO:
Oh, my poor master! But that's it, of course, I've got it now!

LELIA:
Goodbye.

ISABELLA:
Wait a second. Do you really want to leave?

SCATIZZA:
Go ahead, kiss her. May you get the pox!

CRIVELLO:
She's afraid to be seen.

LELIA:
Go on, now. Go back in the house.

ISABELLA:
I want one favor form you.

LELIA:
What?

ISABELLA:
Come this way a little more into de doorway.

[She tries to kiss LELIA]

SCATIZZA:
The deed is all but done!

ISABELLA:
[As LELIA pulls away] Oh, you're so difficult!

LELIA:
We'll be seen.

[ISABELLA grabs LELIA and kisses her]

CRIVELLO:
Oh my! Oh my! Oh damn! Why not me?

SCATIZZA:
Didn't tell you he'd kiss her?

CRIVELLO:
I'll tell you right out, I would rather have seen that kiss than earn a hundred scudi.

SCATIZZA:
I saw it, but I would rather have had it!

CRIVELLO:
My God! What will my master do when he hears about this?

SCATIZZA:
In the devil's name, who would want to tell him?

ISABELLA:
Forgive me. You're so good looking and my love for you is so strong that I couldn't resist doing what you may well consider immodest for a young girl. But God knows, I couldn't stop myself.

LELIA:
You don't need to ask me for forgiveness, madam, for I know only too well my own feelings and the things that I've done because I loved too much.

ISABELLA:
What things?

LELIA:
Oh, what things? ... Deceiving my master, that's hardly good.

ISABELLA:
Oh, to hell with him!

CRIVELLO:
That's what faith in such trash will get you! It serves him right. No wonder the little fraud has been encouraging my master to forget this love!

SCATIZZA:
Everyone looks after good old number one. And in the end, all women are the same.

LELIA:
It's late, and I must find my master. Goodbye.

ISABELLA:
Wait a second.

[She kisses LELIA again]

CRIVELLO:
Wow! And now it's two! May he dry up and go limp!

SCATIZZA:
My God, I've got a leg so hard it seems ready to explode!

LELIA:
Close the door, now. Goodbye.

ISABELLA:
I'm totally yours.

LELIA:
And I'm yours. [ISABELLA goes in, and LELIA walks slowly away soliloquizing, unheard by CRIVELLO and SCATIZZA] On the one hand I'm having the best time ever playing with woman who believes I'm a man. On the other, I want to get out of this muddle and am not sure how. It's clear that she's already at the kissing stage, and who knows what will happen the next time we're together? And if she discovers my disguise, I'll lose everything. I need to find Clemenzia and see what she suggests. [Looking offstage] But here comes Flamminio.

CRIVELLO:
Scatizza, my master told me that he would meet me at the Porrini bank. I want to give him the good news. But if he doesn't believe me, you must support me.

SCATIZZA:
You can count on me. Still, if it were up to me, I'd keep quiet and hold this knife to Fabio throat so he'd be forced to do whatever you wish.

CRIVELLO:
No, I want to get him. He has ruined me.

SCATIZZA:
It's up to you.

[He and CRIVELLO leave in the opposite direction from where FLAMMINIO enters; inside the house, ISABELLA slams the shutters closed as FLAMMINIO passes by the window]

SCENE VII

FLAMMINIO and LELIA (dressed as a boy)

FLAMMINIO:
[Aside] Can I be so madly in love and think so little of myself that I want to love and serve a woman who despises me, who tortures me, who doesn't give a damn about me, who doesn't even want to give me the pleasure of a glance? Am I so worthless, so wile that I don't know how to end this shame and torture? But here's Fabio. [To LELIA] Well, what have you accomplished?

LELIA:
Nothing.

FLAMMINIO:
Why did it take you so long to return? Are you becoming gallows-bait?

LELIA:
It took longer because I wanted to talk with Isabella.

FLAMMINIO:
Why didn't you talk with her?

LELIA:
She didn't even want to listen to me. If you want my advice, I'd suggest you find another game and take care of yourself, because from everything I've seen to this point, you're wasting your time. She seems absolutely determined never to do anything that would please you.

FLAMMINIO:
Well, even if God said it, He would be wrong. Yet do you know that just now, when I was walking by her house, the minute she saw me she ran from the window with such distaste and anger - almost as if she had seen something horrible or frightening?

LELIA:
Forget her, I say. It is possible that in his entire city there isn't some other woman who merits your love as much as she does? Haven't you ever been attracted to another woman?

FLAMMINIO:
I wish it weren't true! But I'm afraid that that might be the root of all my problems, because I loved with all my heart that Lelia, daughter of Virginio Bellenzini, whom I told you about. And I'm afraid that Isabella may think I'm still in love with her, and that's why she doesn't want to see me. But I'll convince her that I don't love Lelia anymore - in fact, that I hate her and can't stand even to hear her name. And I'll promise her absolutely never to ho near Lelia again. I want you to tell her this clearly.

LELIA:
Oh dear!

FLAMMINIO:
What's wrong? You seem about to faint. How do you feel?

LELIA:
Oh dear!

FLAMMINIO:
Where does it hurt?

LELIA:
Oh dear! My heart.

FLAMMINIO:
How long have you had this? Lean on me a moment. Does your body ache?

LELIA:
No, sir.

FLAMMINIO:
Is your stomach upset?

LELIA:
It's my heart that hurts.

FLAMMINIO:
Mine too, and perhaps even more than yours. But you've lost your color. Go on home and put some hot towels on your chest and have your back rubbed; maybe that will do the trick. I'll be back soon, and if you need it, I'll send for the doctor to take your pulse and see what's wrong with you. Give me your arm for a moment. You're freezing! ... That's better. Go on, now, slowly. [Aside] Life is so strange! I wouldn't trade this Fabio for all my wealth, for I don't believe there's anyone more able or willing to serve me in all the world or better mannered than this young man. Moreover, he shows me so much love that if he were a woman, I would think that he's ill because he loves me. [To LELIA] Fabio, go on home now and warm your feet. I'll be there shortly. Tell the others to set the table.

[He leaves]

LELIA:
[Walking off] O poor wretch! Now you have heard with your own ears from the mouth of this ungrateful Flamminio just how much he loves you! Poor, sad Lelia! Why waste any more time serving this cruel man? Your patience, your prayers, your favors have done no good. Now event your deceptions have failed. Poor me! Rejected! Cast aside! Fled! Hated! What am I doing serving the man who rejects me? Why am I staying with the man who cast me aside? Why do I follow the man who flees me? Why do I love the man who hates me? Ah, Flamminio! You have eyes only for Isabella. He wants no one but Isabella! He can have her. Take her! For I'll either leave him or die. I've decided no longer to serve him in these clothes and never to cross his path again so that he won't ever have to see the woman he finds so hateful. I'll go find Clemenzia. She's waiting for me at home. Together we'll plan what to do with my life.

[She runs off]

SCENE VIII

CRIVELLO and FLAMMINIO

CRIVELLO:
And if it's true, you can have me hung by the neck if cutting my tongue out isn't enough. That's what happened.

FLAMMINIO:
When did it happen?

CRIVELLO:
When you sent me to look for him.

FLAMMINIO:
How? Tell me again, because he told me he didn't get to talk with her today.

CRIVELLO:
It would be better if he confessed. But I'll tell you that while I was waiting to see if he would show up at her house, I saw him come out. And as he was about to leave, Isabella called him back inside the doorway and then, after looking around to see if there was anyone to see them, not seeing anyone, they kissed each other.

FLAMMINIO:
How come they didn't see you, then?

CRIVELLO:
Because I was hidden in that portico across the way, and they couldn't see me.

FLAMMINIO:
How did you see them, then?

CRIVELLO:
With my eyes. Do you think that I saw them with my elbows?

FLAMMINIO:
And he kisses her?

CRIVELLO:
I don't know if she kissed him or he her, but I believe they kissed each other.

FLAMMINIO:
Did they each put their faces so close together that they could kiss?

CRIVELLO:
Their faces no, but their lips yes.

FLAMMINIO:
Aha! Can two people bring their lips close without doing the same with their faces?

CRIVELLO:
All right, I suppose if people had their mouths in their ears or in the back of their necks it would be possible, maybe, but given where they are now, you're right.

FLAMMINIO:
Look, you'd better have seen things, because later you can't say, "Well, it seemed to me." This is a very serious thing that you're saying.

CRIVELLO:
As great as the giant Mangia, who rings the clock on the tower of Siena.

FLAMMINIO:
How did you see it?

CRIVELLO:
Looking, with my eyes wide open, and as I was there to look, I really didn't have anything else to do but see.

FLAMMINIO:
If this is true, you've killed me!

CRIVELLO:
It's true. She called him. They came together. She embraced him. She kissed him. So now if you want to die, go ahead.

FLAMMINIO:
I'm not surprised that the traitor denied being there! Now I understand why the rogue encouraged me to leave her - so that he could have her for himself! I won't deserve to be called a man if I don't launch a vendetta against him that will stand for all time as an example to servants who betray their masters. But in the end, if I don't have better proof, I don't want to believe you. I know that you're not trustworthy and that you must hate his guts, so you're saying this to get me to get rid of him. But in the name of God who I hold dear, I'll make you tell me the truth or kill you! Tell me! Did you really see it?

CRIVELLO:
Yes, sir.

FLAMMINIO:
He kissed her?

CRIVELLO:
They kissed.

FLAMMINIO:
How many times?

CRIVELLO:
Two times.

FLAMMINIO:
Where?

CRIVELLO:
In the entrance hall.

FLAMMINIO:
You're a rotten liar! A little while ago you said they were in the doorway.

CRIVELLO:
I meant to say near the doorway.

FLAMMINIO:
Tell the truth!

[Beating him]

CRIVELLO:
Ouch, ouch! I'm beginning to be sorry I told you.

FLAMMINIO:
Did it really happen?

CRIVELLO:
Yes, sir. But I forgot:I have a witness.

FLAMMINIO:
Who is it?

CRIVELLO:
Scatizza, Virginio's servant.

FLAMMINIO:
He saw them too?

CRIVELLO:
Just like me.

FLAMMINIO:
And if he doesn't confirm what you said?

CRIVELLO:
Kill me.

FLAMMINIO:
I will.

CRIVELLO:
And if he confirms it?

FLAMMINIO:
I'll have to kill two people?

CRIVELLO:
Oh, my God, why?

FLAMMINIO:
Not you two; Isabella and Fabio.

CRIVELLO:
And then you should burn down that house with Pasquella and everyone in it.

FLAMMINIO:
Let's find Scatizza. If I don't pay them as they deserve... if I don't make people talk... if the whole city doesn't see... I'll have such a great revenge! ... That traitor! That's what trust gets you.


Act III

SCENE I

The PEDANT, FABRIZIO and STRAGUALCIA

PEDANT:
This city seems completely changed since I was last here. Actually I was here only briefly with the delegation from Ancona, and we stayed at the Guicciardino. Still, we were here about six days. [To FABRIZIO] Do you recognize anything?

FABRIZIO:
It's like I've never seen it before.

PEDANT:
That makes sense. After all, you left when you were so young that it's no wonder. Wait, I recognize this street. That's the palace of the Rangoni, over there's the Grand Canal, and that church you see there at the head of the street is the cathedral. Have you ever heard the saying "Were you ever the pussy of Modena" or "You think you're the pussy of Modena"?

FABRIZIO:
A thousand times. Show it to me, please.

PEDANT:
See that statue above the door of the cathedral?

FABRIZIO:
That one?

PEDANT:
That's it.

FABRIZIO:
Wow! That's a scream!

PEDANT:
Now you understand.

FABRIZIO:
I've also heard the saying "You're trying to lead the bear of Modena." What does that mean, and where's this bear?

PEDANT:
There are sayings of the antiqui de quibus nescitur oigo.

FABRIZIO:
I really have the feeling, Professor, that this place is going to bring me good things.

STRAGUALCIA:
And it's going to bring me even better things, because I smell the sweet pefume that comes from a roast, and it's making me die of hunger.

PEDANT:
Oh! Don't you know what Cantalicius said? "Dulcis amor patriae". And Cato: "Pugna pro patria" Hoc, in summa, there is not a sweeter thing than one's fatherland.

STRAGUALCIA:
I believe that Trebbiano wine is much sweeter, Tutor. Boy, could I use a cup of that now! My back's broken from carrying this baggage.

PEDANT:
These streets seem newly paved. When I was here before they were all dirty and muddy.

STRAGUALCIA:
Are we going to stand around and count the cobblestones? Let's get going! Let's hurry up and find a place where we can eat, that's what I want.

PEDANT:
Landundun animus est in patinis.

FABRIZIO:
Whose coat of arms is that over there with the auger on it?

PEDANT:
That's the coat of arms this community, and it's called the Trivella. And just as in Florence they cry "Marzocco, Marzocco!" and in Venice "San Marco, San Marco!" and in Siena "Lupa, Lupa!" here they cry "Trivella, Trivella!"

STRAGUALCIA:
I would rather we yell "Frying pan, frying pan!"

FABRIZIO:
That one I recognize: it's the arms of the duke.

STRAGUALCIA:
Tutor, why don't you carry this baggage yourself for a bit? My lips are so parched with thirst that I can barely talk.

PEDANT:
Buck up. You can quench your first later!

STRAGUALCIA:
When I'm dead, then you'll make me a heavenly broth to drink.

FABRIZIO:
I'm glad that I really like this place, event at first sight. What about you, Stragualcia?

STRAGUALCIA:
It seems like heaven to me: here too one doesn't eat or drink. Let's get going and not waste any more time looking at the place. We can look at it at our leisure after we eat.

PEDANT:
There you see the most egregious bell tower that exists in the whole structure of the universe.

STRAGUALCIA:
Is that the one the people of Modena wanted to put a sheath over and whose shadow they claim makes a man go crazy?

PEDANT:
Yes, that's it.

STRAGUALCIA:
I know that as far as I'm concerned I'm not going to leave the kitchen. Whoever wants to wander around can do so. Now let's find a place to stay.

PEDANT:
You're in a great rush.

STRAGUALCIA:
A pox on you! Here I am dying of hunger, and I haven't had a thing to eat this morning besides that half a hen that you left me on the boat.

FABRIZIO:
Whom can we find to show us to my father's house?

PEDANT:
Actually, it seems to me that first we should find a place to stay at an inn and rest a bit there. Then we can look for him at our leisure,

FABRIZIO:
I like that idea. These seem to be inns.

SCENE II

AGIATO, FRULLA, the PEDANT, FABRIZIO, and STRAGUALCIA

AGIATO:
Oh, kind sirs! This is the inn for you, if you want lodging. Come to the Mirror, to the Mirror!

FRULLA:
Oh, you're most welcome here! I've been your host other times. Don't remember your Frulla? Come in here, where all people of your quality put up.

AGIATO:
Come stay with me. You'll have good rooms, a good fire, excellent beds, freshly washed sheets, and you'll not lack for anything that's yours.

STRAGUALCIA:
I should certainly hope so!

AGIATO:
I meant to say you won't lack for anything that's your desire.

FRULLA:
I'll give you the best wine in Lombardy, big fat birds, sausages like this, pigeons, large chickens, and whatever you ask for. And you'll really enjoy everything.

STRAGUALCIA:
This is what I want most of all.

PEDANT:
And you, what do you say?

AGIATO:
I'll give you sweetbreads, mortadella, wine from the mountains, and above all you'll enjoy fine, delicate things.

FRULLA:
I'll give you lots of food, and you can forget delicate things. If you stay with me I'll treat you like lords, and you can pay me as you wish. At the Mirror, however, you'll pay for everything, even the candles. You decide.

STRAGUALCIA:
Master, let's stay here, it's clearly better.

AGIATO:
If you want to lodge well, it would be better for you to stay with me. Do you want people saying that you're staying at the Joker?

FRULLA:
My Joker is a hundred times better than your Mirror.

PEDANT:
Speculum prudentia significat iuxia illud Catonis, "Nosce teipsum. " Do you understand, Fabrizio?

FABRIZIO:
I understand.

FRULLA:
See for yourself who has more guests, [tauntingly to AGIATO] you or me.

AGIATO:
See for yourself where the important people stay.

FRULLA:
See where they are better treated.

AGIATO:
See who has more fine things.

STRAGUALCIA:
Enough of these fine things, fine things, fine things. I want just one thing, to fill my whole body, and you can keep your fine things, as far as I'm concerned. Too many fine things are fine for the Florentines.

AGIATO:
They all stay with me.

FRULLA:
They used to stay with you, but over the last three years they've all come over to my sign.

AGIATO:
Young man, pit that baggage down here, for I see that it's tiring you out.

STRAGUALCIA:
Don't worry about that, I've no desire to lighten the load on my shoulders until I'm sure I'm going to load up my belly.

FRULLA:
Would a couple of fat capons do the trick? Bring the bag over here, and these are all yours.

STRAGUALCIA:
Well, why not! But they'll only be an appetizer!

AGIATO:
Look at this prosciutto! Doesn't it look like crimson silk?

PEDANT:
That's not bad.

FRULLA:
Who knows about wine?

STRAGUALCIA:
Me, me! Why, I know more than the French.

FRULLA:
See if you like this, then. If not, I can give you at least ten others.

STRAGUALCIA:
Frulla, for my money you are a much better innkeeper than he is. He's not it backwards: he shows you something that will make you want to drink before he lets you see whether the wine is any good. [Tasting the wine] Oh, Master, this is good. Go ahead, take the bag.

PEDANT:
Wait a moment. You, what do you have to say?

AGIATO:
I say that gentlemen don't worry about stuffing their stomachs with a lot of food but rather eat small helpings of food that is fine and delicate.

STRAGUALCIA:
He must be running a hospital or an inn for the ill.

PEDANT:
[To AGIATO] You're making sense. What will you give us?

AGIATO:
Ask for what you wish.

FRULLA:
I'm amazed at you gentlemen. When there is plenty of food, a man may eat as much or as little as he likes, which is not the case when there is little. Moreover, when a man begins to eat, his appetite grows and he needs to fill up with bread.

STRAGUALCIA:
"You are wiser than the law," as they say. I've never met a man who understands my needs better than you. Let's go, because I think I love you.

FRULLA:
Go on into the kitchen, brother, and take a look around.

PEDANT:
Omnis repletio mala, panis autem pessima.

STRAGUALCIA:
Learned fool! One of these days I'll rearrange your teeth, if I live long enough.

[He enters the JOKER]

AGIATO:
Come with me, gentlemen, for it's not a prudent thing to stand around outside in the cold.

FABRIZIO:
Oh, come now, we're not that fine and delicate!

FRULLA:
Listen, my lords, than inn in Lombardy. But ever since I opened the Joker, he's lucky if ten people stay there in a year. And my inn is better known than any other in the whole world. Lots of Frenchmen come here, and all the Germans who come through town.

AGIATO:
You're lying. The Germans go to the Pig.

FRULLA:
Visitors from Milan, Parma, and Piacenza stay with me.

AGIATO:
The Venetians, Genoese, and Florentines stay with me.

PEDANT:
Where do the Neapolitans stay?

FRULLA:
With me.

AGIATO:
Are you kidding? Most of them stay at the Love.

FRULLA:
And how many of them stay with me?

FABRIZIO:
The duke of Malfi, where does he stay?

AGIATO:
Sometimes with me, sometimes with him, sometimes at the Sword, sometimes at the Love, depending on what he wants.

PEDANT:
Where do the Romans stay? Because we have come from Rome.

AGIATO:
With me.

FRULLA:
That's a lie. You won't find one who has stayed there all year. It's true that some old cardinals out of habit have stayed there, but all the new ones belong at the Joker.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Coming out of the JOKER] I won't leave this place unless I'm dragged out. The others can go where they like. Master, there are so many big pots around the fire, so many soups, so many savories, so many sauces, such great spits of roasted pigeon, partridge, thrush, and goat, capons, boiled meats, roasts, and wonderful macaroni, lasagna, pies - if he were getting ready for carnival or the entire court of Rome, he would still have enough to satisfy everyone.

FRULLA:
Did you try the wine?

STRAGUALCIA:
And that wine!

PEDANT:
Variorum ciborum commistio pessima generat digestionem.

STRAGUALCIA:
Bus asinorum, buorum castronorum, tatte, battate, pecoronibus! What the devil are you up to? May you catch the pox, you and all the other pedants in the world! You're a scoundrel, as far as I'm concerned. Let's stay here, Master.

FABRIZIO:
Where do the Spanish stay?

FRULLA:
I avoid having any dealings with them. They stay at the Bandit. But what else could you want? There isn't anyone who comes through here who doesn't stay with me, except for the Sienese, who are so friendly with the Modenese that when they visit they have a hundred friends who put them up in their homes. Lords and great professors, poor and rich, soldiers and good men, they all run to the Joker.

AGIATO:
All the doctors, judges, friars, and learned men come to my inn.

FRULLA:
And I'll tell that there hardly passes a day that someone doesn't leave the Mirror to come and stay with me.

FABRIZIO:
Tutor, what should we do?

PEDANT:
Etiam atque etiam cogitandum.

STRAGUALCIA:
Body of mine, it's time to fatten up. For once I'm going to eat my fill and rally pig out.

PEDANT:
I am thinking, Fabrizio, that we are rather low on funds.

STRAGUALCIA:
Tutor, inside there I saw the innkeeper's young son, handsome as an angel.

PEDANT:
Come on, then! Let's stay at the Joker. In any case, your father, if we find him, will pay the innkeeper.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Aside] I thought that bit about the boy would be just the bait to catch that old bird! I've already had three glasses of wine, although I'm claiming only one. And I'm not going to leave the kitchen until I've tasted everything. Then I'll have a nap by that good fire. And to heel with anyone who wants to hold back!

AGIATO:
Watch out, Frulla. You've cheated me once too often, and one of these days we're going to have it out once and for all.

FRULLA:
Whenever you like. I'm ready and waiting.

SCENE III

VIRGINIO and CLEMENZIA

VIRGINIO:
Is this the way you've taught her to behave? Is this the honor she pays me? Oh, how unlucky I am! I've worked so hard to overcome my evil fortune, and for this? To see my patrimony without heirs; to see my house ruined; to see my daughter a whore; to become the subject of common gossip; to be unable to show my face in public; to be pointed out by children in the streets; to be help up as a warning by the old; to be put in a comedy by the Intronati; to be made an example of in tales; and to be made the subject of the gossip of every woman in this city? Maybe these women aren't gossips, eh? Maybe they don't like to malign others, eh? But I imagine it doesn't really matter, because everyone knows everything already. Actually, I'm certain, for if even one woman knows it, in three hours the whole town knows it. I'm a disgraced father, a miserable and sad old man who has lived too long! What can I do? What should I think?

CLEMENZIA:
You'd be better off making less noise so you can concentrate on making sure she returns home before the whole town finds out. But I think Sister Blabbermouth is as full of hot air as is the idea that Lelia is really running around town dressed as a man! Be sure that the nuns aren't just saying this because they hope you'll make her a nun and leave everything to the convent.

VIRGINIO:
How could she be lying? She even told me that Lelia is a servant of a Modenese gentleman and that he hasn't realized she's a woman.

CLEMENZIA:
Anything is possible, but me, I can't believe it.

VIRGINIO:
And I certainly can't believe he hasn't figured out that she's a woman.

CLEMENZIA:
I didn't mean that.

VIRGINIO:
I have to say it, because my honor's on the line. Actually, I created the problem myself by giving the girl on to you to bring up even though I knew what you were.

CLEMENZIA:
Virginio, enough of such talk. If I've been a sinner, it's because you made me one. You know very well that before you, there was no one but my husband. And young girls need to be treated differently than you have treated Lelia. Aren't you ashamed to be trying to marry her off to a croaking old fool who could be her grandfather?

VIRGINIO:
What do you have against old men, you slut? They're a thousand times better than young ones.

CLEMENZIA:
You've lost your senses, and that's why everyone is deceiving you and telling you such foolish gossip.

VIRGINIO:
If I find her, I'll drag her home by the hair.

CLEMENZIA:
That way you'll belike those men who flaunt the horns on their own heads instead of sensibility hiding them.

VIRGINIO:
I don't care. People will fins out anyway. The best that I can do is chop them off.

CLEMENZIA:
Do what think best, just be sure you don't chop off your head along with the horns.

VIRGINIO:
I've been told how she's dressed, so I'm going to find her, and when I do there'll be hell to pay.

CLEMENZIA:
Do as you please. For myself, I'm off; no sense preaching to the deaf. These men!

SCENE IV

FABRIZIO and FRULLA

FABRIZIO:
While my two servants are sleeping, I'm going to visit the town. When they wake up, tell them to head towards the main square.

FRULLA:
You know, my lord, if I hadn't seen you dressed in those clothes, I'd swear that you were the young servant of a local gentleman who dressed like you, in white, and is the spitting image of you.

FABRIZIO:
Might he be some brother of mine?

FRULLA:
He could.

FABRIZIO:
Tell the Professor to find the person we've come to see me.

FRULLA:
I'll take care of it.

SCENE V

PASQUELLA and FABRIZIO

PASQUELLA:
My goodness, here he is. I was afraid I was going to have to search the whole city for him. Fabio, how good to see you! I was looking for you, so you've saved me the time and effort of finding you. My dear, my mistress wants you to come to see her right now about something of importance to you and her - I don't know what.

FABRIZIO:
Who is your mistress?

PASQUELLA:
You know very well who she is, you. My goodness, you two make a fine couple!

FABRIZIO:
Actually, we're not a couple! But if she wants to couple, I'm ready.

PASQUELLA:
I mean that you two aren't very quick. I'd like to be still young like you and able to enjoy such a feast! And I know that if I were you, I'd have already put aside my suspicions and scruples. But you'll get down to it soon enough, right?

FABRIZIO:
Please, madam! You don't know me. You've mistaken me for someone else, so leave me alone.

PASQUELLA:
Oh, don't get me wrong, dear Fabio, I'm saying this to help you out.

FABRIZIO:
I haven't gotten anything wrong. But my name isn't Fabio, and I'm not who you think.

PASQUELLA:
Well, you two will have to work things out to your own satisfaction. But you know, there are very few young women her equal in wealth or beauty in this city. And I'd rather see you get down to it instead of running back and forth all the time, giving others reason to talk without gaining anything for yourself and with little honor for her.

FABRIZIO:
[Aside] What's all this about? I don't understand. Either she's mad or she has mistaken me for someone else. But I want to see where she's leading me. [To PASQUELLA] Let's go.

PASQUELLA:
Oh! I think I hear people in the house. Wait here a bit until I see if Isabella is alone. I'll call you if no one's there.

[She enters the house]

FABRIZIO:
I want to see how this story ends. Maybe this woman is the servant of some courtesan and she thinks she'll get some money out of me. If that's the case, she's mistaken. I'm virtually a studen of the Spanish, and in the end I'll be more likely to have a scudo of hers before she has a carlin of mine. One of us will be deceived, and it won't be me. I'm going to move away a bit from this house so that I can see the type of people who go in and out and judge what type of person this woman is.

SCENE VI

GHERARDO, VIRGINIO, and PASQUELLA

GHERARDO:
Please forgive me, but if that's what's happened, I'm going to turn her down. I'm afraid that your daughter did this because she didn't want me, and worse yet I'm convinced that she did it because she has had other lovers.

VIRGINIO:
Don't think that, Gherardo. Do you think I would have told you any of this if that were the case? Please don't ruin our arrangements.

GHERARDO:
Please don't talk to me about it anymore.

VIRGINIO:
Oh! Are you going to betray your word?

GHERARDO:
Yes, if someone's deeds betray me, I see no reason to keep my word. In the end you don't even know if you can get her back. You're trying to sell me the proverbial bird in the bush. Look, I heard everything you said to Clemenzia.

VIRGINIO:
As long as I don't have her, I won't try to give her to you, but if I get her back, wouldn't you be willing to marry her immediately?

GHERARDO:
Virginio, I had the most honorable wife who ever lived in this city, and I have a young daughter who's a pure dove. How can you ask me to take into my home a woman who has fled from her father and goes from house to house like a whore dressed as a man? Don't you understand that if I do that I won't be able to marry my daughter off?

VIRGINIO:
After a few days no one will be talking about it anymore. What does it really matter? And no one else besides us knows about it.

GHERARDO:
Soon everyone in town will be talking.

VIRGINIO:
That's no true.

GHERARDO:
How long has she been gone?

VIRGINIO:
Since yesterday or this morning.

GHERARDO:
I wish to God it were true. But are you sure she's in Modena?

VIRGINIO:
Absolutely.

GHERARDO:
All right. Find her, and then we can speak again.

VIRGINIO:
Promise that you'll take her?

GHERARDO:
I'll think about it.

VIRGINIO:
Go ahead, say yes.

GHERARDO:
I can't say that, but...

VIRGINIO:
Go ahead, speak up.

[PASQUELLA enters]

GHERARDO:
[Aside to VIRGINIO] Quiet! [To PASQUELLA] What are you doing here, Pasquella? What is Isabella doing?

PASQUELLA:
What do you think? She's busy praying before her little altar.

GHERARDO:
May she be blessed! I have a daughter who's always praying. Who could ask for more?

PASQUELLA:
Oh, you've described her perfectly. She goes without meat every day that God requires it, and she says her prayers like a little saint.

GHERARDO:
She's just like her blessed mother.

PASQUELLA:
Exactly. Oh, the good that wretched woman did! She punished herself more and wore more hair-shirts than anyone else in recent history, and she made charity her life; and if it weren't for her love of you there wouldn't have been a friar, priest, or poor man who came to her door who wouldn't have received everything she had to offer.

VIRGINIO:
Now those were good deeds!

PASQUELLA:
Why, many times she'd get up an hour or two before dawn to go to the first mass of the Friars of Saint Francis, for she didn't want to be seen or thought to be a paud like certain saint sniffers I know.

GHERARDO:
What? "Badw"? What do you mean?

PASQUELLA:
That's right, "bawd." How do you say it?

VIRGINIO:
That's an insult!

PASQUELLA:
I know I've heard her say it.

GHERARDO:
You meant to say "fraud".

PASQUELLA:
Maybe. But what I really wanted to say is that her daughter is even more like that than she was.

GHERARDO:
Good willing.

VIRGINIO:
[Seeing GHERARDO] Oh, Gherardo, Gherardo! Here's the person we were talking about! Oh, unhappy father that I am. She may hide or run, now that she's seen me. Grab her!

GHERARDO:
Be sure you're not making a mistake. Maybe it's not her.

VIRGINIO:
Who wouldn't know her? Don't I see all the signs that Sister Blabbermouth told me to look for?

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] Things are looking bad. I'm afraid I'm in trouble.

SCENE VII

VIRGINIO, GHERARDO, and FABRIZIO

VIRGINIO:
[To FABRIZIO] Good day, young lady. Is this any way for a young lady to dress? Is this the way you honor your family? Is this the happiness you give to this poor old man? If only I'd been dead when I fathered you! It seems that the only reason you were born was to dishonor me and bury me alive! Oh, Gherardo! What do you think of your bride? Do you think she is bringing honor to us?

GHERARDO:
I wouldn't say so. My bride, hardly!

VIRGINIO:
Tramp! Disgrace! It would serve you right if this man didn't want you as his wife any longer and no one else would take you! But he won't hold your foolishness against you; he wants to have you.

GHERARDO:
Not so fast!

VIRGINIO:
[Pointing to GHERARDO’s house] Get in that house over there, you disgrace! It's clear that the milk your mother gave you the day that I sired you was damned.

FABRIZIO:
Old man, don't you have sons, relatives, or friends in this city who can take care of you?

VIRGINIO:
What a reply! What are you talking about?

FABRIZIO:
Well, in view of your need of a doctor, I'm amazed that they've let you out of the house. In any other city they'd keep someone like you tied down.

VIRGINIO:
I ought to have kept you tied up! Why, I'd like to cut your throat! Bring me a knife.

FABRIZIO:
Old man, you don't know mw very well. And perhaps you're insulting me like this because you think I'm a foreigner. But I'm as much from Modena as you and the son of a good a father and family as you yourself.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] She really is pretty. If there's no other problem than what one can see, I'll take her.

VIRGINIO:
Well, then, why did you run off from your father and the place where I sent you?

FABRIZIO:
You never sent me anywhere that I know, but I was forced to leave.

VIRGINIO:
Forced, eh? Who forced you?

FABRIZIO:
The Spaniards.

VIRGINIO:
And now where have you come from?

FABRIZIO:
From the military camp.

VIRGINIO:
From the military camp?

FABRIZIO:
Yes, from the military camp.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] If that's how it is, the marriage is off!

VIRGINIO:
You're ruined!

FABRIZIO:
And you too, old man!

VIRGINIO:
Gherardo, please put her in your house so that she won't be seen in this state.

GHERARDO:
I will not. Send her to your own house!

VIRGINIO:
In the name of our friendship, let her in!

GHERARDO:
I said no.

VIRGINIO:
Listen a second. [He and GHERARDO move off to talk privately] This way you'll be sure she won't run off.

FABRIZIO:
[Alone] I've known many crazies from Modena, whom I'll not name, but I've never seen any like this old man who weren't tied down or locked up. What a strange humor he's in! He's out of his mind, at least from what I can tell, because he seems to think that young men are young women. Oh, this is even more intriguingly strange than the story Molza told about a Sienese woman who thought she had become a Cretan vase, especially since women are usually held to be more foolish than old men, who for a host of reasons ought to be very wise. And not for a hundred scudi would I want to miss the chance to tell the tale of this madness during the carnival! But they're coming back. Let's see what they have to say.

GHERARDO:
I'll tell you the truth, on the one hand I think I will, on the other I think I won't. Perhaps you could question her a little more closely.

VIRGINIO:
[To FABRIZIO] Come here.

FABRIZIO:
What do you want, old man?

VIRGINIO:
You are a real sad case, you.

FABRIZIO:
Don't insult me. I won't accept such treatment.

VIRGINIO:
You disgrace!

FABRIZIO:
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!

GHERARDO:
Let him speak. Can't you see that he0s all worked up? Do as he says.

FABRIZIO:
What does he want from me? What do I have to do with you or him?

VIRGINIO:
You still have the nerve to speak? Tell me, who is your father, eh?

FABRIZIO:
I'll tell you: Virginio Bellenzini.

VIRGINIO:
I wish to God it weren't true! You're going to make me die before my time.

FABRIZIO:
An old man of sixty dying before his time? Everyone should live so long! Why, you can go ahead and die anytime you like; you seem to have lived too long already.

VIRGINIO:
It’s all your fault, you tramp.

GHERARDO:
[To FABRIZIO] Enough of such talk, my little daughter, my dear sister. You shouldn't talk that way to your father.

FABRIZIO:
That's it - the madmen are joining ranks. Both of them seem to be suffering from the same delusion. [Laughing] What a strange case!

VIRGINIO:
How can you still laugh?

GHERARDO:
It's a bad sign that you make fun of your own father.

FABRIZIO:
What father, what mother? I've never had another father than Virginio or another mother than Giovanna. You seem to be off your ricker. WHat do you think, that I have no father?

GHERARDO:
[Going off again to talk privately with VIRGINIO] Virginio, you know what? I'm afraid that melancholy has caused this poor young woman to lose her mind.

VIRGINIO:
Alas! I suspected it right away when she began treating me so aggressively.

GHERARDO:
Actually, that could be another reason.

VIRGINIO:
What?

GHERARDO:
When a woman has lost her honor, she thinks the whole world is hers and becomes aggressive.

VIRGINIO:
She seems merely crazy to me.

GHERARDO:
Still, it's strange that she remembers her father and mother yet doesn't seem to recognize you.

VIRGINIO:
Let's make her go into your house; it's right here. We can't get her to mine without alerting the whole city.

FABRIZIO:
[Aside] What are these two senile brothers of ancient Melchizedek plotting now?

VIRGINIO:
Let’s try to lure her into the house with kindness and then lock her up with your daughter in her room.

GHERARDO:
All right, let’s try.

VIRGINIO:
[Coming back with GHERARDO to speak with FABRIZIO] Look here, my daughter, I don’t want to stay angry with you. I’ll forgive everything if you’ll try to be good.

FABRIZIO:
Thank you, sir.

GHERARDO:
Now that’s the way good daughters behave.

FABRIZIO:
[Aside] Now the other one’s cooked.

GHERARDO:
Look here, it’s not honorable to be seen talking out here dressed up like that. Come into the house. Pasquella, open the door!

VIRGINIO:
Go in, my daughter.

FABRIZIO:
I’m certainly not going to do that.

GHERARDO:
Why not?

FABRIZIO:
Because I don’t like entering the houses of strangers.

GHERARDO:
I'm blessed! She'll be a perfect wife, like Penelope!

VIRGINIO:
Didn't I tell you that my daughter was beautiful and good?

GHERARDO:
Her manners show through.

VIRGINIO:
[To FABRIZIO] I only want to have a word with you.

FABRIZIO:
You can have it out here.

GHERARDO:
No, out here is not the place! This house is yours because you’re going to be my wife.

FABRIZIO:
What wife? Why, you old bugg— ... you humbugger!

GHERARDO:
Your father has betrothed you to me.

FABRIZIO:
What are you thinking? Do you think I’m one of those pansy boys that you can ... eh?

VIRGINIO:
[To GHERARDO] Come on! Don’t get her all upset. [To FABRIZIO] Listen, my child. I don’t want to do anything that you don’t want.

FABRIZIO:
Look, old man, you’re mistaken about me.

VIRGINIO:
Just a few words inside.

FABRIZIO:
[Going in the house] As many as you like. Do you think I'm afraid of you?

VIRGINIO:
Gherardo, now that you have her inside let's have her locked up with your daughter in her room until we can send for her clothes.

GHERARDO:
As you wish, Virginio. Pasquella, bring the key to Isabella's room and call Isabella.


Act IV

SCENE I

The PEDANT and STRAGUALCIA

PEDANT:
It would serve you right if he gave you a good beating to teach you that when he goes out, you should go with him instead of getting drunk and then sleeping it off.

STRAGUALCIA:
And he ought to load you up with kindling, sulfur, pitch, and gunpowder and then set you alight to teach you not to be what you are.

PEDANT:
Drunkard! Drunkard!

STRAGUALCIA:
Pedant! Pedant!

PEDANT:
Wait till I find our master!

STRAGUALCIA:
Wait till I find his father!

PEDANT:
Oh! What do you want to tell his father about me?

STRAGUALCIA:
And you, what can you say about me?

PEDANT:
That you're a fool, a crook, a fraud, a thug, a madman, a drunkard!

STRAGUALCIA:
And I can say that you're a thief, a gambler, a gossip, a cheat, a swindler, an impostor, a braggart, a fathead, a disgrace, an ignoramus, a traitor, a sodomite, and an evil person!

PEDANT:
It seems we've met.

STRAGUALCIA:
Right.

PEDANT:
Enough. I don't want to get mixed up with your sort; there's no honor in it for me.

STRAGUALCIA:
Yes, by God! One finds in you all the nobility of the Maremma. Will you ever be anything but the son of a mule driver? Aren't I from a better family than you? Is it right that this fool should lord it over everybody just because he knows how to say cuius masculini.

PEDANT:
Alas! "Poor and nude, philosophy journeys through this world." Latin has come on hard times when it comes form the mouth of an ass.

STRAGUALCIA:
The ass will be you, and I'll give you a good beating if you don't change your tune.

PEDANT:
You should remember the proverb "Furor sit laesa saepius sapientia." You're about to make me lose my temper, Stragualcia. Back off, you big ugly manure shoveler, you villain, you archvillain!

STRAGUALCIA:
Hey! Pedant, archpedant, pedant, greatest pedant! Is there any insult worse than "pedant"? Is there a worse type? Is there a greater fraud? Is there a worse profession? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't go around all puffed up because others call them "Messer So and So" or "Professor Such and Such," or if they deigned to respond to someone who doffs his hat to them before they're a mile past. "Good day to you, Sir Crap, Sir Turd. Professor Diarrhea, Sir Shit!"

PEDANT:
Tratant fabrilia fabri. You're talking about exactly what you are.

STRAGUALCIA:
I'm talking about what you like.

PEDANT:
Could you get your ass out of my way?

STRAGUALCIA:
I would never let my ass be in your way, although I imagine you would like to have had it in your way.

PEDANT:
By the body of- ...

STRAGUALCIA:
By the body of- ... You'd better watch out if you're going you to start swearing at me [Aside, but said so that the PEDANT can overhear] He ought to realize that I know about all his evil deeds and that if I wanted to, I could have him burned. Yet he still insists on busting my ass.

PEDANT:
You're lying! I'm not that kind of man.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Aside] He would be one of the first pedant who wasn't.

PEDANT:
I've decided, Stragualcia, that this house is not big enough for both of us.

STRAGUALCIA:
Hoy original! Is this the first time I've heard you say this? Look, you aren't about to leave unless someone chases you out the door with you, to give you a place to sleep, if not this young man who's as good as they come?

PEDANT:
For God's sake, as if I couldn't find another post if I wanted to. Why, there's even someone who made me an excellent offer.

STRAGUALCIA:
Come on, come on, do you expect me to believe that crap?

PEDANT:
Enough, and you would be wise to keep quiet. Now go back to the inn and look after our master's things. We can settle this later.

STRAGUALCIA:
I'll return to the inn willingly, and I'll take care of things on my own, but you'll pay in the end. [Aside as he leaves] If I didn't threaten this bugger every now and then, I couldn't live with him. He's lower than a rabbit. When I threaten him, he keeps quiet, but if I let him get on top of me he'd do his worst, given his tastes! It's a good thing I know his character.

PEDANT:
[Alone] Frulla told me that Fabrizio will be someplace around the central square. I'd better get going.

SCENE II

GHERARDO, VIRGINIO, and the PEDANT

GHERARDO:
As far as the dowry is concerned, what we agreed to is agreed to. I'll give her the dowry you asked for, and you'll add a thousand florins if you don't find your son.

VIRGINIO:
That's fine.

PEDANT:
[Aside as he approaches GHERARDO and VIRGINIO] If I'm not mistaken, I've seen this gentleman before. But I don't remember where.

VIRGINIO:
[To the PEDANT] What are you staring at, my good man?

PEDANT:
[Aside] Clearly this is my master.

GHERARDO:
Let him stare at whatever he wishes. He seems to be a stranger here, and as you know, in other places they don't even think twice about staring at anyone they want to.

PEDANT:
If I stare, it's not sine causa. Tell me, do you know a Messer Virginio Bellenzini who lives in this city?

VIRGINIO:
Yes, I know him. Actully, I have no closer friend. But what do you want with him? If you're thinking of staying with him, I should tell you that he's busy with other things and he can't put you up. You'd wise to find other lodgings.

PEDANT:
You are clearly he. Salvete, patronorum optime!

VIRGINIO:
Could you possibly be Messer Pietro de'Pagliaricci, my son's tutor?

PEDANT:
Yes, it is I.

VIRGINIO:
[Beginning to weep] Oh, my son! Alas! What news do you have of him? Where did you leave him? Where did he die? Why did you wait so long to contact me? Did those traitors, those Jews, those dogs kill him? My poor son! He was the only good I had in the world. O my dear Professor, tell me immediately, please!

PEDANT:
Don't cry, sir, please.

VIRGINIO:
O Gherardo, my son-in-law, here's the man who taught my poor son while he was alive. O Professor! O my son! Where are you buried? Don't you know? Why don't you tell me? I'm dying to know, and I'm dying of fear that I'll learn what I don't want to.

PEDANT:
Oh, don't cry, Master. Why are you crying?

VIRGINIO:
Shouldn't I cry for such a sweet son? So wise, so learned, so well brought up! And those traitors, they've taken him away from me, killed him.

PEDANT:
May God keep you both well, you and him. Your son is alive and well.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] I'm the loser, if this is true. I'm out a thousand florins.

VIRGINIO:
Alive and well? If that were true, he would be with you now.

GHERARDO:
Virginio, do you know this fellow well? Could this be some kind of trick?

PEDANT:
Parcius ista viris, tamen obiicienda memento.

VIRGINIO:
Explain, Professor.

PEDANT:
Your son was taken prisoner by a certain Captain Orteca during the sack of Rome.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] Oh boy, now the story begins.

PEDANT:
And because the captain captured him along with two others, he decided to trick them by secretly sending your son and me to Siena. But a few days later he began to worry that those gentlemen of Siena -who are great lovers of law and fair play and friends of our city and above all else good men- would free your son. So he moved him from Siena to a castle of the lord of Piombino. In the meantime he made us write per usque millies asking for the ransom he had set of one thousand ducats.

VIRGINIO:
My poor son! Did they torture him as well?

PEDANT:
No, in fact they treated him like a gentleman.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] I'm afraid I can see what's coming.

PEDANT:
We never had any reply to the letters we sent.

GHERARDO:
[Aside to VIRGINIO] You understand that this is the way he intends to get his hands on your money.

VIRGINIO:
[To the PEDANT] Go on.

PEDANT:
Then the Spaniard took us with him on campaign in Correggio, where he was killed. After that the court took control of his property, and we were freed.

VIRGINIO:
Where is my son, then?

PEDANT:
Closer that you think.

VIRGINIO:
In Modena?

PEDANT:
If you promise me some refreshment, quia omnis labor optat praemium, I'll tell you.

GHERARDO:
This is what he's after, the fraud!

PEDANT:
[To GHERARDO] You're mistaken. I, a fraud? Absit!

VIRGINIO:
I'll promise you anything you want. Where is he?

PEDANT:
At the inn of the Joker.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] It's done: the thousand ducats are played and lost. But what does it matter to me? As long as I have Lelia, I'm fine. I'm rich enough as it is.

VIRGINIO:
Let's go, Professor. I can't wait to see him and embrace him and kiss him and hold him in my arms!

PEDANT:
Master, oh, quanto mutatus ab illo! He's no longer a child to hold in your arms. You wouldn't recognize him. He's grown up, and I'm sure he won't recognize you either, what with how much you've changed. Praeterrea, you have the beard now which you didn't have before, and if I hadn't heard your voice I wouldn't have recognized you. And Lelia, how is she?

VIRGINIO:
Well. She's all grown up and rounded out.

GHERARDO:
Rounded out? You mean she's pregnant? If that's the case, you can keep her! I don't want her.

VIRGINIO:
Oh no! Oh no! I mean she's become grown, shapely woman. Oh, Tutor, I haven't embraced you yet.

[He takes the PEDANT in his arms and kissed him on both cheeks]

PEDANT:
Master, not that I want to brag, but the things I have done for your son -I could tell you! And in turn there was never a thing I asked of him that he didn't do immediately.

VIRGINIO:
How did his studies go?

PEDANT:
He didn't lose any time, ut licuit per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum.

VIRGINIO:
Call him out here, but don't tell him anything. I want to see if he recognizes me.

PEDANT:
He left the inn a little while ago. Let's see if he has returned.

SCENE III

The PEDANT, STRAGUALCIA, VIRGINIO, and GHERARDO

PEDANT:
Stragualcia! Oh, Stragualcia! Has Fabrizio returned?

STRAGUALCIA:
Not yet.

PEDANT:
Come here. Say something to my oId master. This is Messer Virginio.

STRAGUALCIA:
[To the PEDANT] Are you still angry?

PEDANT:
Don't you know that I never stay angry with you?

STRAGUALCIA:
Good.

PEDANT:
Now give your hand to Fabrizio's father.

STRAGUALCIA:
[To the PEDANT] You should give me your hand.

PEDANT:
Not to me, to this gentleman.

STRAGUALCIA:
Is this our master's father?

PEDANT:
Yes.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Giving VIRGINIO his hand] O magnificent Master, you are just in time to pay the innkeeper. Welcome!

PEDANT:
This man was a good servant to your son.

STRAGUALCIA:
Are you suggesting that I won't be in the future?

PEDANT:
No.

VIRGINIO:
You are most welcome, my son! I think I ought to reward all those who have given my son such support.

STRAGUALCIA:
You can reward me with a very little thing.

VIRGINIO:
Tell me what.

STRAGUALCIA:
Get me a job as a servant with this innkeeper, who's the greatest guy in the world and the best supplied and the wisest and the one who best understands a traveler's needs of any innkeeper I've ever met. As far as I'm concerned, this is paradise.

GHERARDO:
He has an excellent reputation as a host.

VIRGINIO:
Have you eaten?

STRAGUALCIA:
A little.

VIRGINIO:
What have you had?

STRAGUALCIA:
A couple of partridges, six thrushes, a capon, a bit of veal, and only two tankards of wine.

VIRGINIO:
Frulla, give him what he wants and leave the bill to me.

PEDANT:
Now are you happy?

STRAGUALCIA:
[With a Spanish accent] Let me kiss your hands. This is the way masters should be! Tutor, you're too cheap and want everything for yourself. How many people have told you that? Frulla, bring these gentlemen something to drink.

PEDANT:
That's not necessary.

STRAGUALCIA:
I know you'll drink. I'll pay. It's no big deal. Some sweet-breads, a slice of salami ... won't you have some? Tutor, come on, have something to drink.

PEDANT:
All right, to make peace with you.

STRAGUALCIA:
Oh, he's good, Master. You should love the Tutor, for he loves your son more than his own eyes.

VIRGINIO:
May God reward him!

STRAGUALCIA:
First it's your turn, then God's. [To GHERARDO] And you, sir, have some wine.

GHERARDO:
I really shouldn't.

[Accepts a glass of wine and takes a sip]

STRAGUALCIA:
Please, come on in until Fabrizio returns, and then, since dinner is all ready, let's eat here this evening.

PEDANT:
That's not a bad idea.

GHERARDO:
I'll leave you, as I have a little matter to take care of at home.

VIRGINIO:
Be careful that she doesn't get away.

GHERARDO:
That's exactly why I'm going home.

VIRGINIO:
She's all yours, now. Take care of things as you see fit. As far as I'm concerned, you can do as you please.

[He and the others go into the inn as GHERARDO heads towards his house]

GHERARDO:
[Alone] In the end one can't have everything. Patience! [Looking offstage] But if I'm seeing clearly, that's Lelia, who has somehow escaped! That silly servant girl has let her get away!

SCENE IV

LELIA (dressed as a boy), CLEMENZIA, and GHERARDO

LELIA:
[As GHERARDO approaches, unseen] Don't you think, Clemenzia, that Fortune enjoys toying with me?

CLEMENZIA:
Relax and leave it to me. I'll find some way to make it all work out for you. But go and change those clothes before you're seen like that.

GHERARDO:
[Aside] I want both to greet her and to find out how she escaped. [To CLEMENZIA and LELIA] May God make you happy, Clemenzia, and you too, Lelia, my sweet bride. Who let you out? The maid, was it? I'm glad you went to your balia's house, but to be seen in these clothes isn't very honorable for me or for you.

LELIA:
[To GHERARDO] Who are you speaking to? What Lelia? I'm not Lelia.

GHERARDO:
Oh! Didn't your father and I lock you up with my daughter Isabella a few minutes ago, and didn’t you admit that you were Lelia? And do you think I wouldn't recognize my own wife? Go and change those clothes.

LELIA:
[As she enters CLEMENZIA'S house] You're crazy if you think I'd want a husband!

CLEMENZIA:
You go home too, my dear Gherardo. All women are a bit strange, some in one way, some in another. And you should know that there are very few, in fact probably none, who don't do something a little offbeat now and then. Such things, however, are best kept secret.

GHERARDO:
As far as I'm concerned, it will remain a secret. But how did she get out of my house? I had locked her up with Isabella.

CLEMENZIA:
Who? Her?

GHERARDO:
Her.

CLEMENZIA:
You're deceiving yourself! She's been with me the whole day. And in a playful moment she decided to put on these clothes and asked me if they suited her, as young girls sometimes do.

GHERARDO:
Are you trying to kid me? I'm telling you, we put her in my house with Isabella!

CLEMENZIA:
Where are you coming from now, then?

GHERARDO:
From the inn of the Joker, where I went with Virginio.

CLEMENZIA:
Did you drink anything?

GHERARDO:
Just a sip.

CLEMENZIA:
Well, go and sleep it off. You clearly need to.

GHERARDO:
Let me speak with Lelia a bit before I leave. I have some good news for her.

CLEMENZIA:
What?

GHERARDO:
Her brother has returned safe and sound, and her father is waiting for him at the inn.

CLEMENZIA:
Who, Fabrizio?

GHERARDO:
Fabrizio.

CLEMENZIA:
If it's true, I'll give you a kiss.

GHERARDO:
How beautiful happiness is! But as far as the kiss is concerned, I would prefer to give it to Lelia.

CLEMENZIA:
I'm going to run and tell her.

GHERARDO:
And I'm going to give hell to that imbecile who let her escape!

SCENE V

PASQUELLA, alone

PASQUELLA:
Oh dear! I had such a scare that I've run out of the house. [To the audience] Ladies, you won't believe what's happened if I don't tell you. So I will tell you, but not those dirty-minded men, who would just laugh. Those two old muttonheaded dolts were absolutely convinced that that young man was a woman, and they locked him up with my mistress, Isabella, in her bedroom and gave me the key. After a while I decided to go in to see what was up, and I found them hugging and kissing! So I decided to find out whether it was a man or a woman. My mistress had the person down on the bed, and she called me to help her while she held his hands. And he was letting her win, so I opened the front of his clothes, and all of a sudden I felt something slap my hand, and I wasn't sure whether it was a large pestle or a big stick or that other thing. But whatever it was, it was in great shape. And when I saw how big it was, I took off, sisters, and locked the door behind me! And I can tell you that as far as I'm concerned, I have no intention of going back in there alone. And if one of you ladies doesn't believe me and wants to see for herself, I'll lend her the key. But here comes Giglio. I want to see if I can get that rosary and make a fool of him; these Spaniards think so much of themselves that they don't believe there's anyone else in the world as clever as they are.

SCENE VI

GIGLIO and PASQUELLA

GIGLIO:
[Aside] There's Pasquella. I bet she's been getting herself pretty worked up, waiting so long for me. She already know, the slut, how good we Spaniards are with women. Oh, these Italian whores really get off on us!

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] I've already figured out how to deceive this guy. Leave it to me.

GIGLIO:
[Aside] This low-life washerwoman, she thinks I'll give her the rosary. The emperor be damned if I don't get her to love me so much that she buys me dozens of socks and shirts and jackets. I'll use her as I please, and afterwards I'll take off with my rosary without a word. Maybe she's already forgotten it.

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] If he lets me get my hands on that rosary just once, he'll never see it again or you can cut out my eyes. And if he complains, I'll have my Spela give him a beating like he's never had before.

GIGLIO:
[To PASQUELLA] Oh, blessed is the mother who gave birth to such a beautiful woman, so well formed, so true! I think that you have been longing for me.

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] What beautiful bull they dish out! [To GIGLIO] I've been waiting here in the doorway for more than half an hour to see if you'd come by, because my master was out and we could have had some time alone together.

GIGLIO:
My God, I am devastated that I was held up but other business. But let's go in now.

PASQUELLA:
I'm afraid my master will return; he's been gone for a while. But you've forgotten the rosary, eh?

GIGLIO:
No, madam. I have it here with me.

PASQUELLA:
Show me. Oh! You were going to fix it. Why haven't you?

GIGLIO:
I'll get it fixed later. To tell you the truth, it slipped my mind.

PASQUELLA:
Well! I see how much I mean to you, womanizer that you are! I'd like to-

GIGLIO:
[Interrumping] Don't get angry, madam, with your son. You know I don't have any women friends other than you.

PASQUELLA:
It' hasn't taken me long to catch you in lie. A little while ago you said you had two gentlewomen for friends.

GIGLIO:
I gave them up for you. I don't want anyone else besides you. Don't you understand me?

PASQUELLA:
All right. But is that string of beads really a rosary? It seems pretty long to me.

GIGLIO:
I don't know how many beads there are.

PASQUELLA:
That's a sign that you don't say it very often. I'm beginning to wonder if you even know your Our Father. Oh well, give it to me for a second, and I'll count the beads.

GIGLIO:
Take it. [He hands it to her] But let's go into the house.

PASQUELLA:
Should we? Take a look around to see if anyone would see you come in.

GIGLIO:
[Looking around] There's no one around.

PASQUELLA:
Let's go in. [Opening the door a crack] Oops, oh dear, my hens are all here at the door! Wait a second, Giglio. Move over there. If they get away it'll take all day to round them up.

GIGLIO:
Hurry up!

PASQUELLA:
Back, back, my pretty ones, my pretty ones, shoo, shoo! May you break your necks! Some of them are getting away. Watch out, watch out, Giglio!

GIGLIO:
Where are these hens? From here I don't see any hens, or cocks for that matter.

PASQUELLA:
You don't? They're over here. Move back a little and let me close the door for a bit so that I can put them back where they belong.

[She enters the house, closing and locking the door]

GIGLIO:
Hey, you're locking the door! Why are you doing that?

PASQUELLA:
Because I don't want any cocks opening it.

GIGLIO:
Hurry up before someone comes along and disturbs us.

PASQUELLA:
It doesn't matter who comes along, as no one is opening anything.

GIGLIO:
[Aside] Damn her, the old hag. [To PASQUELLA] Tell me why you aren't opening up.

PASQUELLA:
My dear Giglio, don't you realize that first I must say this whole rosary? You can forget about this evening. And I forgot, I also have a prayer to say that I mustn't overlook.

GIGLIO:
Who foolishness is this? What rosary, what prayer?

PASQUELLA:
What prayer? Do you want me to teach it to you? It's a good one: "Ghost, ghost, the wanders day and night, if you have come all hard to me, all hard you'll have to leave. Evil with evil, you've come to me at the wrong time thinking to have me, and you will remain deceived. Amen."

GIGLIO:
I don't understand your prayer. If you don't want to open the door, give me back my rosary and I'll go my way. [Aside] In the name of all the holy martyrs, if this ugly old babbling untrustworthy bat has tricked me ... [To PASQUELLA] Lady Pasquella, open up at once, if you value your life!

PASQUELLA:
[Singing] "What is my lover doing that he doesn't come? The love of another girl keeps him away from me." Alas!

GIGLIO:
What? Don't say that, my lady Pasquella! He's right here, waiting for you to let him in.

PASQUELLA:
[Singing] "I cannot serve you, my dear lord." Oh dear!

GIGLIO:
[Aside] More songs, that damn woman. She doesn't realize that I'm out there. I'll knock on the door, I swear to God.

[Knocking]

PASQUELLA:
Who's there?

GIGLIO:
Your little boy.

PASQUELLA:
What do you want? My master's not at home. Do you want to leave a message?

GIGLIO:
A word.

PASQUELLA:
Wait a bit, he should be here shortly.

GIGLIO:
Open up so that I can wait inside. Come on. [Aside] May the whole world be damned if I don't burn down this house if she doesn't give me my rosary!

PASQUELLA:
[Pounding on the door] Hello! Who's there? Could you be a little more discreet? Forgive me, but who are you? Oh my! Are you trying to break down the door?

GIGLIO:
I swear by God and event Saint Litany that I'll burn down this door if you don't give me back my rosary!

PASQUELLA:
Maybe you should look elsewhere. We usually don't grow roses in our garden.

GIGLIO:
You misunderstand, I'm saying my rosary beads, my Our Fathers.

PASQUELLA:
What business is it of mine if you say your Our Fathers? Are you suggesting that I should become a false convert like you Spanish Jews, and that I'd need to learn them over again like you?

GIGLIO:
Damn you, you whore, you old hag! Now you're calling me a false convert?

PASQUELLA:
You know that? If you don't get away from that door, I'm going to throw water on you.

GIGLIO:
Go ahead, throw your water. I'm going yo burn down your door. [PASQUELLA dumps a bucket of water on him] Damn you! She has drowned me, this woman, hag, old whore, tramp! To hell with all that's holy!

PASQUELLA:
Did you get all wet? I didn't notice you. [GHERARDO enters] But here comes my master. If you want something, ask him and don't brother me anymore.

GIGLIO:
If that old man finds me here, I'll be in big trouble. I'd better get out of here.

SCENE VII

GHERARDO and PASQUELLA

GHERARDO:
What were you up to with that Spaniard here by the door? What do you have to do with him?

PASQUELLA:
He was asking about some rose garden. But I didn't pay any attention to him.

GHERARDO:
Well, you sure did exactly as I told you! I'd like to break your neck.

PASQUELLA:
Why?

GHERARDO:
Why did you let Lelia escape? Didn't I tell you not to let her out?

PASQUELLA:
What do you mean, escape? Isn't she in the room?

GHERARDO:
God damn you!

PASQUELLA:
I know she's there, I'm sure of it!

GHERARDO:
And I know she isn't there, because I just left her in the house of her balia, Clemenzia.

PASQUELLA:
Why, I just left her in the bedroom on her knees running through her Our Fathers with Isabella.

GHERARDO:
Maybe she got back before me.

PASQUELLA:
I tell you, she never left. The room has been locked the whole time.

GHERARDO:
Where's the key?

PASQUELLA:
Right here.

GHERARDO:
Give it to me. And if she's not there, I'll break your neck!

PASQUELLA:
And if she is there, will you give me a blouse?

GHERARDO:
All right.

PASQUELLA:
Let me open the door.

GHERARDO:
[Leaving with the key] No, I want to open it myself. You'd find some excuse.

PASQUELLA:
Oh my! I hope he doesn't find them still going at it. But it's been a while since I left them.

SCENE VIII

FLAMMINIO, PASQUELLA, and GHERARDO

FLAMMINIO:
[Entering] Pasquella, how long ago did my Fabio leave?

PASQUELLA:
Why?

FLAMMINIO:
Because he's a traitor, and I'm going to punish him. And because Isabella has left me for him, she'll get what she deserves, too. Oh, what a fine thing - for a noblewoman to fall in love with a mere serving boy!

PASQUELLA:
Oh, don't get all worked up! The caresses she gave him, she gave as a sign of her love for you.

FLAMMINIO:
You can tell her that one day she'll be sorry. And you can tell him that when I find him (I have this knife in my hand for this), I plan to cut off his lips and ears and cut out one of his eyes and give them all to her on a plate. That way she can kiss them as much as she likes!

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] That's how it goes! "While the dog barks, the wolf eats his fill."

FLAMMINIO:
You just wait and see.

[He leaves in a rage]

GHERARDO:
[Entering in a rage] Oh, my God! Is this what things have come to? This is it, then? I'm ruined! That traitor Virginio! That dirty traitor! He's made an ass of me. Oh, God! What can I do?

PASQUELLA:
What's wrong, Master?

GHERARDO:
What's wrong? Who is that man with my daughter?

PASQUELLA:
Oh, don't you know? Isn't it Virginio's baby girl?

GHERARDO:
Baby girl, eh? A baby girl that will make my daughter have babies of her own! Oh, how I'm suffering!

PASQUELLA:
My, don't say such things! What's wrong? Isn't it Lelia?

GHERARDO:
I'm telling you, that's a man in there.

PASQUELLA:
What? That can't be true. You can't be right!

GHERARDO:
I saw him with my own eyes.

PASQUELLA:
How?

GHERARDO:
On top of my daughter, alas!

PASQUELLA:
Oh, these kids today are great pranksters.

GHERARDO:
I wish it were a prank!

PASQUELLA:
Are you sure it was a man?

GHERARDO:
Yes. I tell you, I opened the door suddenly and there he was with only his doublet on, and he didn't have time to cover himself.

PASQUELLA:
You're sure you saw everything? Look, maybe it was a woman!

GHERARDO:
I tell you, it was a man, and he was well enough endowed to make two men.

PASQUELLA:
What did Isabella say?

GHERARDO:
What do you think she said? That I should be ashamed, maybe?

PASQUELLA:
Why don't you let that young man go? What do you want to do with him?

GHERARDO:
What can I do? Haul him before the courts and have him punished.

PASQUELLA:
But maybe he'll escape.

GHERARDO:
Impossible. I locked him back in. But there's Virginio. Just the man I'm looking for.

[He leaves]

SCENE IX

PEDANT, VIRGINIO, and GHERARDO

PEDANT:
I'm really surprised that he still hasn't returned to the inn. I don't know what to say.

VIRGINIO:
Was he armed?

PEDANT:
I think so.

VIRGINIO:
Then I'm afraid he may have been arrested for carrying arms. We have a Podesta who's a tough as nails.

PEDANT:
I don't think they would treat a foreigner so badly.

GHERARDO:
[Entering] Good day to you, Virginio. Is this the way a gentleman acts? Is this the way to treat a friend? Is this the way you wanted to become my relative? Who did you think you were fooling with? Did you think I would accept this? I'd like to –

VIRGINIO:
[Interrupting] Why are you upset with me, Gherardo? What have I done to you? I wasn't the one who wanted to become your relative; you've been nagging me about this for a year. Well, if you've changed your mind now, we can forget about it.

GHERARDO:
Why, you have some nerve acting as if I was the one in the wrong! Dirty traitor, fraud, crook, swindler! But the courts will learn everything.

VIRGINIO:
Gherardo, such language is not fitting for one of your station and even less so to use with me.

GHERARDO:
He doesn't even want me to complain, this swine! You've become all haughty because your son has returned, eh?

VIRGINIO:
You're the swine.

GHERARDO:
Oh, God! If I were young again, I'd cut you to pieces.

VIRGINIO:
Would it be possible to find out what you're talking about?

GHERARDO:
You housewrecker!

VIRGINIO:
I'm too patient with this man.

GHERARDO:
Thief!

VIRGINIO:
Forger!

GHERARDO:
You're lying. Just wait ...

VIRGINIO:
I'm waiting.

PEDANT:
[Restraining GHERARDO, who takes off his vest and approaches VIRGINIO threateningly] Ah, my good man, why this madness?

GHERARDO:
Let me go!

PEDANT:
Sir, put your vest back on.

VIRGINIO:
Who do you think you're dealing with? Give me back my daughter.

GHERARDO:
I'll cut both your throats!

[He runs into his house]

PEDANT:
Why is this gentleman so upset with you?

VIRGINIO:
I've no idea. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that a little while ago we put my daughter Lelia in his house because he wanted to take her as his wife. Now you see how is. I'm afraid he might harm her.

PEDANT:
[Seeing GHERARDO coming out of his house with a pike] Ah, ah, good sir! Let's not get started with weapons! No weapons!

GHERARDO:
Get out of my way!

PEDANT:
What is the problem?

GHERARDO:
This traitor has ruined me.

PEDANT:
How?

GHERARDO:
If I don't cut him to pieces, if I don't slice him into quarters with this pike ...

[VIRGINIO flees]

PEDANT:
In God's name, please tell me what's wrong.

GHERARDO:
Let's go into my house and I'll explain, since that traitor has fled. Aren't you his son's tutor? Weren't you at the inn with us?

PEDANT:
Yes.

GHERARDO:
Come in.

PEDANT:
With faith in your word.

GHERARDO:
Oh, you can count on that!


Act V

SCENE I

VIRGINIO [with a large shield and a mail shirt], STRAGUALCIA, SCATIZZA [with a small round shield], several of VIRGINIO's servants [with various makeshift weapons], GHERARDO, the PEDANT, and FABRIZIO

VIRGINIO:
All of you, come with me. Stragualcia, you too.

STRAGUALCIA:
With weapons or without? I don't have any weapons.

VIRGINIO:
Get some from the inn.

[STRAGUALCIA goes into the inn]

SCATIZZA:
You know, Master, with a large shield like that you should have a lance.

VIRGINIO:
I don't need a lance. This is enough for me.

SCATIZZA:
This small round shield would be more noble, since you're wearing a mail shirt.

VIRGINIO:
No, this covers me better. Oh! This muttonhead seems to think he's caught me trying to swindle him somehow. And I'm afraid he may have killed my poor daughter.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Coming out of the inn with a roast on a spit and a bottle of wine] This is a fine weapon, Master. I'm going to run this spit through him like a woodcock!

SCATIZZA:
Oh! But what are you going to do with the roast?

STRAGUALCIA:
I have military experience, and I know that the first thing you need to do is be sure you have field rations.

SCATIZZA:
And the wine, what's that for?

STRAGUALCIA:
To refresh the troops, if the first attrack is rebuffed.

SCATIZZA:
Sounds good to me, and it's likely.

STRAGUALCIA:
Do you want me to run them all through - the old man, the daughter, the servants, the whole household and all of them, like chicken livers to be roasted? Why, I'll run this spit through side by side like thrushes.

VIRGINIO:
The door is open. They may have set some kind of ambush.

STRAGUALCIA:
Bushes? That's bad. I'm more afraid of being with switches than swords. But the Tutor is coming out.

PEDANT:
[Coming out of the house and speaking to GHERARDO, who remains inside] Leave this to me, and I'll make peace for you, Messer Gherardo.

STRAGUALCIA:
Look at that, Master. It's the Tutor, and it seems that he has mutinied and gone over to the enemy. You can't count on his type to stay loyal! Do you want me to start with him, running him through so that I can say "one down"?

PEDANT:
Messer Virginio, my master, why are you armed?

STRAGUALCIA:
Aha! Didn't I tell you!

VIRGINIO:
What has happened to my daughter? Hand her over. I want to take her home. And have you found Fabrizio?

PEDANT:
Yes.

VIRGINIO:
Where is he?

PEDANT:
He's here inside. And he has taken a very beautiful bride, with your permission.

VIRGINIO:
A wife, eh? And who would that be?

STRAGUALCIA:
[Aside] That was quick. This is rich, rich!

PEDANT:
The beautiful and well-mannered daughter of Gherardo.

VIRGINIO:
Oh! The same Gherardo who just now wanted to kill me?

PEDANT:
Rem omnem a principia audies. Come on into the house, and you'll hear the whole story. Come on out, Messer Gherardo.

GHERARDO:
[Coming out of the house] Oh, Virginio, this is the strangest case ever! Come in.

STRAGUALCIA:
[Aside] Should I run him through? But his meat is hardly worth roasting.

GHERARDO:
Have your men put down their weapons. This is a matter for laughter.

VIRGINIO:
Can I trust you?

PEDANT:
Yes, certainly, on my word.

VIRGINIO:
All right, go on home everyone! And put down your weapons and bring me my vest.

PEDANT:
Fabrizio, come out and meet your father.

[FABRIZIO comes out]

VIRGINIO:
Oh! Isn't this Lelia?

PEDANT:
No, this is Fabrizio.

VIRGINIO:
O my dear son!

FABRIZIO:
O my father, I've searched so long for you!

VIRGINIO:
O my dear son, I've cried so long for you!

GHERARDO:
Come in, come in, and you'll hear the whole story. And I should tell you also that your daughter is safe in the house of Clemenzia, her balia.

VIRGINIO:
O dear God, how grateful I am to You!

SCENE II

CRIVELLO, FLAMMINIO, and CLEMENZIA

CRIVELLO:
I saw him with these eyes and I heard him with these ears in the house of Clemenzia.

FLAMMINIO:
Are you sure it was Fabio?

CRIVELLO:
Do you think that I don't know him?

FLAMMINIO:
Let's go. If I find him ...

CRIVELLO:
You'll ruin everything. Be patient, and wait until he comes out.

FLAMMINIO:
Not even God could give me enough patience.

CRIVELLO:
You're going to ruin the cake.

FLAMMINIO:
I am going to ruin myself.

[Knocks fiercely at the door]

CLEMENZIA:
Who's there?

FLAMMINIO:
A friend of yours. Come down to the door.

CLEMENZIA:
Oh! What do you want, Messer Flamminio?

FLAMMINIO:
Open the door and I'll tell you.

CLEMENZIA:
Wait a second until I come down.

FLAMMINIO:
[To CRIVELLO] As soon as she opens the door, go in and see if he's there, then call me.

CRIVELLO:
Leave it to me.

CLEMENZIA:
[Opening the door] What do you want, Signor Flamminio?

FLAMMINIO:
What's my boy doing in your house?

CLEMENZIA:
What boy? [Blocking CRIVELLO as he tries to push past her into the house] And you, Crivello, where are you going, you rascal? Do you think you can enter my house by force?

FLAMMINIO:
Clemenzia, by the holy, inviolate, sacred body, if you don't hand over that ...

CLEMENZIA:
What do you want me to hand over?

FLAMMINIO:
My boy, who's hiding in your house.

CLEMENZIA:
There's no serving-boy of yours in my house, even if there is a serving-girl

FLAMMINIO:
Clemenzia, thi is not the time to fool around.You've always been a friend of mine. You've helped me out, and Iove helped you. But this is too important.

CLEMENZIA:
This must be some madness induced by love. Calm down, Flamminio, cool down a bit.

FLAMMINIO:
I said, hand over Fabio.

CLEMENZIA:
I'll hand him over.

FLAMMINIO:
Enough! Make him come down here now.

CLEMENZIA:
Oh, calm down, for God's sake! You know, if I were young and you liked me, I wouldn't give you the time of day. By the way, how's Isabella?

FLAMMINIO:
I wish she were cut into pieces!

CLEMENZIA:
Hah! I don't believe you.

FLAMMINIO:
You don't believe me? I can tell you that she's cleared things up for me just fine.

CLEMENZIA:
Really! Well, you young colts deserve every setback, because you are the most ungrateful people in the whole world.

FLAMMINIO:
You can't say that about me. Every other accusation might fit, but to be called ungrateful, no. There's not a man alive who dislikes such behavior more.

CLEMENZIA:
I'm not talking about you. But there was once here in this city a young girl who, realizing that she was admired by a knight – one of your peers here in Modena – fell so in love with him that she lost sight of everything else.

FLAMMINIO:
Lucky man! Happy man! I certainly couldn't say as much for myself.

CLEMENZIA:
It so happened that her father sent this poor girl, so in love, away from Modena. Fearing that her lover would forget her, she cried so much that it was a wonder to see. And in fact he immediately found another girl, as if she had never existed.

FLAMMINIO:
I'd say that such a man should be called a traitor, not a knight.

CLEMENZIA:
Listen, it gets worse. When the young girl returned after several months, she found that her lover loved another who didn't love him. Abandoning her house and her father and putting her honor at risk, she decided to serve him. So she dressed herself as a young manservant and took a job with her lover as his servant.

FLAMMINIO:
This is happened in Modena?

CLEMENZIA:
And you know then both.

FLAMMINIO:
I would rather be this lucky lover than the lord of Milan.

CLEMENZIA:
Do you want to hear the rest? This lover of hers, not recognizing her, used her as his go-between with his new love. And to make him happy, this poor girl did everything he asked.

FLAMMINIO:
Oh, what a virtuous woman! What constant love! This love could serve as a lesson for future centuries. Why can't I be so lucky?

CLEMENZIA:
Well, you wouldn't give up Isabella for such a love anyway.

FLAMMINIO:
Why, I'd almost be willing to say I'd give up Christ for someone like that. Please, Clemenzia, tell me who this woman is.

CLEMENZIA:
I'd be glad to. But first I want you to tell me, on your oath as a gentleman, what you would do with such a poor girl if such a thing happened to you. Would you kick her out when you learned what she'd done? Would you kill her, or would you judge her worthy of some reward?

FLAMMINIO:
I swear in the name of the power of the sun that you see in the sky, and with the proviso that I be banned forever from the company of my peers, gentlemen and knights, that I would take her as my wife – even if she were ugly; even if she were poor; even if she were of low birth; even over the daughter of the duke of Ferrara.

CLEMENZIA:
That's a big oath. Are you ready to stand by it?

FLAMMINIO:
Yes, I'm saying it, and yes, I would do it.

CLEMENZIA:
[Turning to CRIVELLO] You're a witness.

CRIVELLO:
I heard him, and I know he would do it.

CLEMENZIA:
Now I want to introduce you to this woman and to this knight. Fabio, oh, Fabio! Come down here. Your master is looking for you.

FLAMMINIO:
What do you make of this, Crivello? Do you think I should kill this traitor? He's at least a good servant.

CRIVELLO:
Oh well! I'm hardly surprised! I thought something strange like this would happen. Go ahead, pardon him. What else is there to do? That tart Isabella never really loved you anyway.

FLAMMINIO:
You're right.

SCENE III

PASQUELLA, CLEMENZIA, FLAMMINIO, LELIA[dressed as a woman], and CRIVELLO

PASQUELLA:
[Comming out of GHERARDO's house and speaking with someone inside] I'll take care of it. I'll tell him what you told me and what I've learned.

[LELIA comes to the door of CLEMENZIA's house where the others are standing]

CLEMENZIA:
This, Messer Flamminio, is your Fabio. Take a good look. Do you recognize him? Are you surprised? And this same girl is that young woman I told you about, so loyal and so true to her love. Take a good look, and see if you recognize her. Have you lost your voicie, Flamminio? Well, what do you have to say now? And you, you are that young man who thought so little of the love of his mistress. Don't think that you're the one of the deceived here! You can see for yourself that I'm telling the truth. Now keep your word, or I'll take you before the courts as someone who has broken his pledge.

FLAMMINIO:
I don't believe there's ever been a more perfect deception than this one. How could I have been so blind that I never recognized her?

CRIVELLO:
I was more blind than anyone. I looked at her closely a thousand times and never realized. I'll be damned! Oh, whay a fool I've been!

PASQUELLA:
[Interrupting] Clemenzia, Virginio told me to tell you to come to our house right now because he has married off Fabrizio, his son who returned today. And he needs you to put the house in order, because, as you know, he has no other woman.

CLEMENZIA:
What wife? Whom did he marry him to?

PASQUELLA:
Isabella, the daughter of Gherardo, my master.

FLAMMINIO:
Who? Isabella, the daughter of Gherardo Foiani, your master, or another Isabella?

PASQUELLA:
Another? No, it's her. Flamminio, it's like they say: "Some people have all the luck.”

FLAMMINIO:
You're sure it's true?

PASQUELLA:
Absolutely. I was there for the whole thing. I saw him give her the ring, and then they embraced, they kissed, and they rejoiced. And even before he gave her the ring she gave him ... well, let's just say, I'm sure.

FLAMMINIO:
How long ago did this happen?

PASQUELLA:
Now, just now. Then they sent me running here to tell Clemenzia and to bring her back.

CLEMENZIA:
Tell them I'll be there shortly. Go on, now.

LELIA:
[Aside] O God, You've made things come together so well! I'm dying of happiness.

PASQUELLA:
Don't take too long, I've so much to do that I'm all in a dither! I need to go now to buy some makeup. Oh! I forgot to ask if Lelia's here, because Gherardo has agreed to marry her.

CLEMENZIA:
You know very well that she's here. Do you really want to see her married to that poor old excuse for a man, your master? He ought to be ashamed of himself!

PASQUELLA:
You don't really know my master. Why, if you knew how manly he can be, you wouldn't talk about him like that.

CLEMENZIA:
Sure, sure, I believe you. I bet you've tested his manliness.

PASQUELLA:
Just like you with your master. Anyway, I'm off.

FLAMMINIO:
She's to be married to Gherardo?

CLEMENZIA:
Yes, woe is me! Isn't this poor girl unlucky?

FLAMMINIO:
But he has already lived his life. Look, Clemenzia, I believe that it's clearly the will of God that she not be wasted like this, for He has taken pity on her virtue and on my poor soul. And so, lady Lelia, if you're willing, I don't want any other wife but you, and I swear to you as a knight that if you won't marry me, I'll never marry another.

LELIA:
Flamminio, you are my lord. You know exactly what I did and why, and so you know that I've never had any other desire but this.

FLAMMINIO:
You've proven it perfectly. Please forgive me if I've made you unhappy; not recognizing you. I'm very, very sorry, and I recognize my error.

LELIA:
You could never do anything, Signor Flamminio, that would make me unhappy.

FLAMMINIO:
Clemenzia, I don't want to wait any longer and take the chance that something unforeseen might ruin this good fortune. I want to marry her now if she's willing.

LELIA:
I'm most willing.

CRIVELLO:
Oh, thank God! And you, my master, Lord Flamminio, are you willing? By the way, you should know that I'm a notary. And if you don't believe me, here's my diploma.

FLAMMINIO:
I'm very willing and as happy as I've ever been in my life.

CRIVELLO:
Give each other your hands in marriage, and then you can go to bed. Oh! But I forgot to tell you that you should kiss her!

[They kiss]

CLEMENZIA:
Here's what I think we should do now. You two stay here in my house while I go tell Virginio everything and break the bad news to Gherardo.

FLAMMINIO:
Fine, and you can tell Isabella as well.

SCENE IV

[GIGLIO and PASQUELLA.]

GIGLIO:
[Aside] By the king's life, it's that old bag Pasquella who's trying to trick me out of my goods. How glad I am to have run into her.

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] Damn this pain in the ass! Just my luck to have him underfoot! He can break his neck along with all the others who have come from Spain, as far as I'm concerned! What excuse can I find now?

GIGLIO:
Lady Pasquella!

PASQUELLA:
[Aside] Things are going well, I've already become a lady.

GIGLIO:
You've tricked me and taken my rosary, and you haven't done what you promised.

PASQUELLA:
Shush, shush, shush! Be quiet, be quiet!

GIGLIO:
Why? Is there someone around to hear us?

PASQUELLA:
Shush, shush, shush!

GIGLIO:
I don't see anyone here. You're not going to deceive me again! What are you up to?

PASQUELLA:
You're trying to ruin me.

GIGLIO:
You're trying to tick me.

PASQUELLA:
Go away. Leave me alone now, and I'll talk with you later.

GIGLIO:
Give me back my rosary, and we can talk whenever you like. I don't want you to be able to say that you've deceived me.

PASQUELLA:
I'll give it to you. But do you think I have it here? Do you think it's that important to me? Why, I can have all the rosaries I want!

GIGLIO:
Why did you lock me out and then start singing and say such strange things like "Ghost, ghost" and I don't know what prayers and other stuff?

PASQUELLA:
Be quiet. You're going to ruin me. I'll explain everything.

GIGLIO:
What? Why don't you tell me?

PASQUELLA:
Move a little over this way, in this corner, so that my mistress won't see you.

GIGLIO:
Are you trying to trick me again?

PASQUELLA:
You're so sure that I'm tricking you! Am I really the type of deceive someone? Is that what you think, eh?

GIGLIO:
All right, but tell me right now what's going on.

PASQUELLA:
Listen. When we were talking before, Isabella, my mistress, came down very quietly and was hidden near me and heard everything. When I was rounding up my chickens, she went into the room there and from a hole in the wall watched everything we did. I, realizing this, pretended that I hadn't seen her. And I pretended that I wanted to deceive you. In the end, when I showed her the rosary, she, believing that I had tricked you, took it away and, laughing, wrapped it around her arm. But I'll get it back tonight and give it to you if you don't want to me to have it.

GIGLIO:
Is all this true? You'd better not be trying to deceive me!

PASQUELLA:
Dear Giglio, may I never see you again if it isn't true. Do you think I don't cherish your relationship? But you Spaniards don't believe in Christ or anything else!

GIGLIO:
Well, why don't we do now what we agreed to earlier?

PASQUELLA:
I can't stay here with you because my mistress has just gotten married, and tonight we'll have the celebration. I have so many things to do. Wait a little longer. [Aside] Oh, what a nuisance these Spaniards are!

GIGLIO:
Tomorrow! Tomorrow morning, all right?

PASQUELLA:
Leave it to me. I'll remember you when the time is right. Don't worry. [Aside as she hurries off] Ugh, ugh, ugh! How disgusting!

GIGLIO:
I swear to God, I'll slash your face if you're deceiving me again!

SCENE V

CITINA [Coming out of CLEMENZIA's house]

CITINA:
I wonder what that strange noise is in the downstairs room. I hear the bed making a thumping, a drumming sound, as if it were possessed by some spirit. Oh my! I'm really scared. Oh! I hear someone, "My life, my happiness, my hope, my sweet dear wife!" Oh! I can't make out the rest. I tempted to knock. And oh! Now one of them says, "Wait for me." They must be getting ready to leave. And the other one is saying, "Come quickly too." It sounds like they're going to break that bed. Oh, oh, oh! That bed is bouncing so fast, so fast! By all that's ho ... hole ... holeym I'd better go tell Mama.

SCENE VI

ISABELLA, FABRIZIO, and CLEMENZIA

ISABELLA:
I was certain that you were the servant of a local knight. You look so much like him that you must be his brother.

FABRIZIO:
Others today have mistaken me for someone else. Even the innkeeper seemed confused.

ISABELLA:
Here comes Clemenzia, your balia. She'll want to speak with you.

CLEMENZIA:
[Aside] This must be him, for he looks exactly like Lelia. [To FABRIZIO] O Fabrizio, my dear child, welcome home! How are you?

FABRIZIO:
Excellent, my dear balia. How's Lelia?

CLEMENZIA:
Good, good. But let's go into the house, there's a lot I need to explain to you.

SCENE VII

VIRGINIO, CLEMENZIA, and STRAGUALCIA

VIRGINIO:
I'm so happy to have found my son that I'm satisfied with everything.

CLEMENZIA:
It was all the will of God. It certainly has turned out better than if you had married your daughter off to that broken-down Gherardo. But let me go into the house to see how things are going. I left the newlyweds all alone and very, very close. [She goes in and after a moment calls] Come in, come in. Everything's fine.

[VIRGINIO follows her; STRAGUALCIA stops in the doorway]

STRAGUALCIA:
Spectators, don't wait for them to come back out of the house, because that will make a long story even longer. If you want to come to dinner with us, I'll be waiting for you at the Joker. And bring along some money, because no one's treating. But if you don't want to come – and it looks to me like that's the case - be happy and enjoy yourselves. And you members of the Intronati, how about some applause?

[He enters the JOKER]