Page images

and who allow to be taken from us, by their guilty negligence, every honest means of subsistence. Is there only one state for unfortunate girls? They should have a natural right to all the finery of women; a thousand laborers of the other sex are allowed to make it.

Figaro [indignantly] — They make embroidery, even as far as soldiers!

Marceline [excitedly] — In the most elevated ranks, the women obtain only a derisory consideration; lured by apparent respect into a real servitude, treated as under age regarding our property, punished as of age regarding our faults. Ah! under all aspects, your conduct with us excites horror or pity!1 Figaro-She is right!

Count [aside] - Far too near right!

Brid'oison-She is - b-by George- right.

man do to us?

Marceline-But what, my son, can the refusals of an unjust Don't regard where you come from, but where you are going that is the only thing which concerns any one. In some months your fiancée will depend only on herself she will accept you, I answer for it. You will live with a wife and a tender mother, who will emulate each other in cherishing you. Be indulgent for them, happy for yourself, my son; gay, free, and good for the world-your mother will fail you in nothing.

Figaro - Your words are golden, mamma, and I take your counsel. What a fool one is, to be sure! The world has rolled on a thousand thousand years; and in that ocean of time where I have by chance captured thirty wretched years which will come back no more, I must torment myself to know whom I owe them to! So much the worse for whoever disturbs himself about it. To pass life in squabbling thus is to bear on the collar without relaxing, like the luckless remount horses at the rivers, who do not rest even when they stop, and who always draw though they cease to march. Let us wait.

Count This fool occurrence has thrown me all out! Brid'oison [to FIGARO] - And that n-nobility, that castle? You impo-po-pose on justice.

[ocr errors]

Figaro It was going to make me do a fine piece of silliness, that justice. After I have failed, for that cursed hundred crowns, to knock this gentleman on the head twenty times

1 It strikingly illustrates the time, that these pathetic pleadings of Marceline, with much dialogue before and after, were cut out on its representation in Paris. VOL. XIX.-15

over, that he should find himself to-day my father! But since Heaven has saved my virtue from these dangers, father, accept my excuses. And you, mother, embrace me- the most maternally you can. [MARCELINE falls on his neck.

Enter SUZANNE, running, a purse in her hand. Suzanne My lord, stop! don't let them be married: I have come to pay Madame with the dower my mistress gives


Count [aside]-To the devil with her mistress! Everybody seems to conspire — [Goes out. Antonio [to SUZANNE, who starts to leave on seeing FIGARO embracing his mother] - Ah, yes, to pay! Hold on, hold on. Suzanne I see enough: let us go, uncle. Figaro [stopping her]-No, if you please. Suzanne- My folly and your cowardice. Figaro- No more of one than the other.

What do you see?

Suzanne [indignantly] — And that you marry her willingly, since you caress her.

Figaro [gayly]-I caress her, but I don't marry her.

[Holds SUZANNE back as she starts to go out. Suzanne [cuffing him] - You are very insolent to dare to hold me.

Figaro [to the company] - Come now, is this Love? [To SUZANNE] Before quitting us, I beg you to look in the face of that dear woman there.

Suzanne-I am looking at her.

Figaro And you find her-
Suzanne-A fright.

Figaro Hurrah for jealousy. It doesn't spare you.

Marceline [with open arms]-Embrace your mother, my pretty Suzannette. The rogue who tormented me is my son. Suzanne [running to her] - You his mother?

[They remain in each other's arms.

Antonio-Did it happen just now?

Figaro That I knew it.

Marceline [enthusiastically] -No, my heart, drawn toward him, deceived itself only as to the motive: it was the blood which spoke to me.

Figaro And good sense to me, mother, which served for instinct when I refused you; for I was far from hating you; witness the money –

Marceline [giving him back the paper] — It is for you: take back the note, it is your dowry.

Suzanne [throwing him the purse] - Take this too.
Figaro-Many thanks!

Marceline [enthusiastically]-An unfortunate girl enough, I was about to become the most wretched of women, and I am the luckiest of mothers! Embrace me, my two children: I unite all my caresses in you. Happy as I can possibly be, ah! my children, how I shall love you.

Figaro [much affected, speaking with vivacity]-Stop now, dear mother! Stop now! Would you see my eyes melt into water, drowned in the first tears I have known? They are of joy, at least! But what stupidity! I cannot be ashamed of them; I feel them slip between my fingers : look [shows his separated fingers], and I retain them foolishly! Go and take a walk, shame! I want to laugh and cry at the same time. One does not feel twice what I am experiencing.

[Embraces his mother on one side and SUZANNE on the other. Marceline-O my friend!

[merged small][ocr errors]

Brid'oison [wiping his eyes on his handkerchief] - Ah, well! as for me I am a f-fool too!

Figaro [enthusiastically]— Chagrin, now I can defy you: assail me if you dare, between these two dear women!

Antonio [to FIGARO] — Not so many blandishments, if you please. In the matter of marriage between families, that of the parents goes first, you know. Do yours give their hands to each other.

wither up and fall off, if

Bartholo-My hand! May it ever I give it to the mother of such a scamp!

Antonio [to BARTHOLO] - You are only a stepmother father, then? [To FIGARO] In that case, my spark, no more


Suzanne-Ah, uncle!

[ocr errors]

Antonio Am I to give the child of my sister to a thing that is the child of nobody?

Brid'oison-C-could that be possible, imbecile? One is always the child of s-somebody.


Antonio-Fiddlesticks! He shall not marry her.

Bartholo [to FIGARO] - Now hunt for somebody to adopt

[Goes out.

[Starts to leave.

Marceline-[running after and leading him back by the arm]-Hold on, Doctor, don't leave us.

Figaro [aside]-No-I believe all the fools in Andalusia are let loose against my poor marriage!

Suzanne [to BARTHOLO] - Good little papa, it is your son. Marceline [to BARTHOLO] - Wit, talents, looks.

Figaro [to BARTHOLO] - And who has not cost you a copper.

Bartholo And the hundred crowns he took from me?

Marceline [caressing him] — We shall have so much need of you, papa!

Bartholo [affected]-Papa! good papa! little papa! there, I am a greater fool even than his Honor [pointing to BRID'OISON], indeed I am. I let myself be led like a child. [MARCELINE and SUZANNE embrace.] Oh, no, I haven't said yes. [Turns around.] What has become of my Lord?

Figaro Let us make haste and join him: let us extort his definite word. If he engineers another intrigue, everything will have to be begun anew.

All together-Run, run. [They draw BARTHOLO along out. Brid'oison [solus] — A g-greater fool even than his Honor? One can s-say that sort of things to himself, but — - they are not p-polite at all in this place.

[Goes out.



[THOMAS DAY, idealist, humanitarian, and "crank," was born 1748 at London, son of the collector of customs there, and orphaned at a year old. He graduated from Corpus Christi, Oxford, was called to the bar, but never practiced, having a moderate independence. His life is a record of warfare against social conventionalities, inspired by impulses always honorable and often noble, but too little regulated by judgment to be very effective. He gave lavishly to the poor, ardently opposed slavery, was quixotically tender of animals; he would not comb his hair (being a Rousseauite, aiming at a return to the simplicity of nature), would not have servants, carriage, or musical instruments because he had no right to them while the poor wanted bread," and lived without society, devoting himself to the care and instruction of his laborers, and cheerfully losing money on his farm, till his estate was nearly consumed, because it gave them employment. He was killed in 1789 by being thrown from an unbroken colt, which he rode from a theory that kindness was sufficient.

"Sandford and Merton " was written in three parts in 1783, 1787, and 1789. He wrote other things now forgotten.]

IN ONE of the western counties of England lived a gentleman of good fortune, named Merton. Having a large estate in the Island of Jamaica, he had passed the greater part of his life there, and was master of many servants, who cultivated sugar and other valuable things for his advantage. He had only one son, of whom he was exceedingly fond; and to educate this child properly was the reason of his determining to stay some years in England. Tommy Merton, who, at the time he came from Jamaica, was only six years old, was naturally a well-disposed, good-natured boy, but unfortunately had been spoiled by too much indulgence. While he lived in Jamaica he had several black servants to wait upon him, who were forbidden to contradict him upon any account. If he walked, he was always accompanied by two negroes; one of whom carried a large umbrella to keep the sun from him, and the other was to carry him in his arms whenever he was tired. Besides this, he was always dressed in silk or laced clothes, and had a fine gilded carriage borne upon men's shoulders, in which he made visits to his playfellows. His mother was so excessively fond of him that she gave him everything he cried for, and would never let him learn to read because he complained that it made his head ache.

The consequence of this was, that though Master Merton had everything he wanted, he became fretful and unhappy. Sometimes he ate sweetmeats till he made himself sick, and then he suffered much pain, because he would not take bitter physic to make him well. Sometimes he cried for things that it was impossible to give him, and then, as he had never been used to be contradicted, it was many hours before he could be pacified. When company came to dine at the house he was always to be helped first and to have the most delicate parts of the meat, otherwise he would make such a noise as disturbed everybody. When his father and mother were sitting at the tea table with their friends, instead of waiting till they were at leisure to attend him, he would scramble upon the table, seize the cake and bread and butter, and frequently overset the cups and saucers. By these pranks he not only made himself disagreeable to every one, but often met with very dangerous accidents. Frequently did he cut himself with knives;

« PreviousContinue »