Essay topics



Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama

DRA 3011S

Commedia dell'Arte in France from 1660 to 1760

The Saint-Germain Fair
Dufresny and Regnard

working translation & summaries
David Trott


Dufresny (private collection)
closeup of engraving from Exhibition, "La Foire Saint Germain vue du paradis", held in Paris, 5-30 June 1997, under the auspices of the Mairie du 6e, 
Regnard (BNF)

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I,1 - I,2 - I,3 - I,4 - I,5 - I,6 - I,7
Summary of Act II
Summary of Act III
Carriage scene

    The Saint-Germain Fair

    Written for the theatre by
    messers Regnard & du F*** 
    [Dufresny], & performed for
    the first time by the King's
    Italian Players in their
    Hôtel de Bourgogne, December
    26, 1695.


THE DOCTOR  Angelique's guardian.
ANGELIQUE  Doctor's niece: then, as the wife of a hydropic.
OCTAVE  Angelique's suitor: then as a Marquess & as a savage.
PIERROT  Doctor's valet; then [dressed] as a soldier, Nigaudinet's valet.
COLOMBINE  lemonade vendor, then [dressed] as a little girl, [in the role of] Lucretia, & as a "serain?" from Canary.
ARLEQUIN  Schemer; then as master of the mouth of truth, thief, Tarquin, master of the Zodiac
 table, & Emperor of "Cap-verd".
MEZZETIN  Apprentice pastry maker, mouth of truth, Nigaudinet, Tarquin's squire, Time, fop,  & Spaniard.
SCARAMOUCHE  as a sufferer of dropsy, a merchant, a thief, an officer, & as a sleeper.
LEANDRE  as a knight ("Chevalier") & as an Armenian.

 Several men and women merchants of the Fair

The scene is in Paris in the enclosure of the Saint Germain Fair

"The Iollain view", La Foire St. Germain, mid 17th century, presents a stylized representation, "seen from the heavans", in which the roof of the Fair has been removed. (Exhibition, Paris, Mairie du 6e, 5-30 June 1997)



I, 1  The Theatre represents the St. Germain Fair
  MEZETIN as an apprentice pastry maker, ARLEQUIN, THE MERCHANTS of the Fair, at their stands

La Foire St. Germain, frontispice from Le Théâtre italien,
vol. VI, 1700 (private collection)

  THE MERCHANTS, shouting out.  -  Dressing gowns from Marseilles.  Come see our beautiful cloth shirts from Holland.  Stylish dressing gowns.  Siamese-style bonnets.  Cheese from Milan, sirs, step right up, all kinds of wines from Italy, from "la verdée", greek, from "malvoisie".

 MEZZETIN carrying a container filled with pastries on his head. -  Get your red hot pastries; pastries, folks, only two pennies.  What a racket these merchants make!  I'm going to make fun of them by imitating them in a song.  He sings & changes voices for each different sales pitch.

  Oranges from China, oranges.
  Ribbons, bows.
  Inexpensive pottery.
  Tea, chocolat, coffee.
  Do you wish any of our wares?
  The sale is on, come quickly.
  Combs, knives,
  Cases, scissors:
  Don't buy from others,
  I have all you need here.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Oh, the insatiable desires of Man!  I hear pitches at the Fair for all that's good and beautiful in Paris: I would love to buy all I hear being peddled & I only have small change for my Fair shopping.

 MEZZETIN.  -  Red hot pastries, only two pennies, only two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Let's begin with the most necessary.  Life's greatest necessity is eating: hey there, the pastries?

 A LINGERIE VENDOR, in her shop.  -  Shirts from Holland.

 MEZZETIN, upstage.  -  Only two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Shirts from Holland for only two pennies!  I don't have a shirt, that's what I need.  Hey there, shirts from Holland?  The vendor puts a shirt on him.

 A VENDOR, in his shop.  -  Stylish gowns from the Indies, beautiful dressing gowns.

 MEZZETIN, still upstage.  -  Only two pennies, only two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Dressing gowns for two pennies!  He must have stolen them. Hey there, dressing gown vendor?  The vendor comes up & puts a dressing gown on him.

 A WOMAN MERCHANT.  -  Blankets from Marseilles, step right up.

 MEZZETIN,  -  Two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Again?  They must have priced all clothing at the Fair at two pennies because of the shortage of silver.  Hey there, you with the Marseilles blankets?  She brings him a blanket which he puts over his arm. 


 Olives from Verona, cheese from Milan, sirs.


 For two pennies, for two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN, in a cheerful voice.

 Milan cheese for two pennies! O che fortuna!  Hey there, cheese man? He takes a whole Milan cheese.

 MEZZETIN, passing in front of Arlequin.

 Red hot pastries, still steaming, fresh out of the oven, only two pennies, only two pennies.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Hey there, Mr pastry man!  Let's see what you're selling.

 MEZZETIN.  -  Here, sir, you can see that they're still hot.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Thirteen to the dozen?

 MEZZETIN.  -  Yes, sir.

 ARLEQUIN, helping himself to a pastry.  -  Alright, I'll take the thirteenth now, tomorrow I'll buy the dozen.  He tries to eat the pastry.

 MEZZETIN, taking it back.  -  Hold on, if you please.  You have to pay before eating.

 ARLEQUIN.  -  Wait a minute. Let's see if I have enough to buy all that.  He calculates.  Two pennies worth of shirts, two pennies of dressing gowns, two pennies worth of Marseilles blankets,  two pennies of cheese.  That adds up to eight, which is two "sols".  In addition to that, I'll need two pennies worth of girls; that will make six "blancs".  Dammit, how money goes quickly!  No matter, I really needed this little sustenance.  To Mezzetin.  Here, my friend, here's a coin which I offer you in return for these three pastries which I am taking: use the change to pay these merchants.  So long.  He goes off, pursued by the merchants.


 COLOMBINE. -  Good day, Mademoiselle!  What brings you to the Fair?  And how pleased I am to meet up with you.

 ANGELIQUE.  -  Ah, Colombine, there you are!  What are you doing in this neck of the woods?

 COLOMBINE.  -  Upon my word, Madame, for a girl to be able to live honestly, she has to know more than a single trade.  I arrange to have money loaned to children whose families give them none; for those who do have money, I help them spend it; I patch up broken marriages; I break others apart; & I do any number of other such little jobs.  And you, Mademoiselle, what are you up to these days?

 ANGELIQUE.  -  The same thing I always do, Colombine, I fall in love.

 COLOMBINE.  -  Too bad!  Love is a thankless activity for honest girls who are too scrupulous to put it to profitable use.

 ANGELIQUE.  -  You see before you, Colombine, a truly troubled girl who has seriously thought of losing herself at the Fair.

 COLOMBINE.  -  How honest of you to lose yourself all alone in a public place!

 ANGELIQUE.  -  A virtuous girl always finds herself.

 COLOMBINE.  -  The virtuous girl finds herself; but sometimes her virtue is no longer found with her.

 ANGELIQUE.  -  You know I'm well-behaved, Colombine.

 COLOMBINE.  -  There was a time when I knew you were: but things change, & innocence such as yours is hard to find at the Fair these days, even though there are those who continue to sell it here.

 ANGELIQUE.  -  I'm seeking refuge from the mistreatment of my guardian.  You know his whims.

 COLOMBINE. - He and I lived together long enough for the two of us to know each other well.

 ANGELIQUE. - But you don't know that he has set his sights on me now.

 COLOMBINE. - Since I left? The little traitor!

 ANGELIQUE. - He wants to marry me.

 COLOMBINE. - A guardian marrying his ward? It's a speedy way to balance his financial accounts, but when the guardian is old, the ward is sure to discover an incorrect balance in the account.

 ANGELIQUE. - There's also a simple-minded Norman from Pont-l'Evêque whose name is Nigaudinet, and who came all the way to Paris to find a wife. He's set his sights on me.

 COLOMBINE. - Between a doctor and a lower-Norman, you certainly are well endowed.

 ANGELIQUE. - I don't love either of them, and I have run away from my guardian with the intention of not going back until I have married Octave.

 COLOMBINE. - We'll play a few tricks on the suitor from Pont-l'Evêque, to rid you of him. As for the Doctor, however strong his desire may be for you, I know a sure way to cool him off. The licentious old man is only marrying you because he believes you are the only pure girl left in town. Leave it to me; within the next hour, I'll have him believing that no one's virtue in this Fairground is more compromised than yours.

 ANGELIQUE. - He fantasizes so much about me, & he is so convinced of my innocence, that it will be difficult to dissuade him.

 COLOMBINE. - Sure! sure! I've been able to do far worse than that; every day I pass off women as virtuous when they've never been so a day in their lives.


 OCATVE to the Porter. - Off with you, my fellow; leave me alone, you're in no state to transport me.

 PORTER. - But, Sir, a Porter... he has to transport; that's the rule.

 OCTAVE to Angélique. - Ah, Madame! I've been searching for you for the past hour; now that I've found you, my efforts have truly paid off.

 PORTER believing Octave is speaking to him. - "Paid off"? For God's sake, I haven't received anything yet.

 ANGELIQUE. - See, Octave, what I'm doing for the sake of you. Colombine here will help us out to block the marriage plans that threaten [our happiness].

 OCTAVE. - Ah, dear Colombine, how grateful I shall be! Help yourself to my purse, spare no expense, how much do you ask?

 COLOMBINE. - Oh, Sir...

 PORTER  to Octave. - I insist, Sir, on no less than one écu for the ride, & and four francs for the tip.

 OCTAVE to Angélique. - You swear then, charming Angélique, to maintain the same feelings, & never to change?

 PORTER. - "Change? change?" If you want change, I'll have to find it: these officers never have the right change. And I know why.

 COLOMBINE. - Watch out, Mademoiselle! There's your guardian; come into my shop, & we'll work out together the details of my plan. (They leave; the Porter remains on stage)

I, 4.  PIERROT with posters & a ladder, THE DOCTOR, THE PORTER.

 PIERROT. - I tell you, Sir, leave it to me, and I'll find Angélique for you.

 PORTER to the Doctor, taking him for Octave. - Come on, Sir, hurry up, I don't have all day. I'm hot and I could catch a cold.

 DOCTOR. - What's that you say, my fellow?

 PORTER looking at him closely. - How stupid of me! I thought I was talking to an officer, & here he's only a bourgeois; I'll use my bourgeois tone of voice (in an insistent and resolute voice). Come on, pay up.

 DOCTOR. - "Pay up?" Pay up for what?

 PORTER. - Now there's a silly question. For having transported you in my sedan chair.

 PIERROT. - The Doctor never takes a sedan chair.

 PORTER. - Dammit, I've heard enough excuses. I'll teach you a lesson with my rod.

 PIERROT. - What's that you say, scoundrel? raise a hand against the Doctor?

 PORTER. - Why should I care if he's a doctor? I want my money. (He tries to beat them with his rod. The Doctor and Pierrot chase him away.)

 PIERROT after having gotten rid of the Porter. - To conclude what I was saying earlier, I assure you once again, Sir, that I'll find Angélique for you, even if she's hiding in the Indies, or in the Ponotapa region.

 DOCTOR. - How cruel it is to lose a poor child who loves me so tenderly.

 PIERROT. - What was her age this morning when you lost her?

 DOCTOR. - Twenty two.

 PIERROT. - Then it's your fault.

 DOCTOR. - How so?

 PIERROT. - It's your fault, I tell you. These days, you have to restrain young girls until they're thirty; even then it's hard to prevent them from going astray.

 DOCTOR. - Ah, Pierrot! To lose a maiden I was about to marry! What a hard blow.

 PIERROT. - Don't get so upset. Perhaps I'll get her back doubly.

 DOCTOR. - What do you mean, "doubly"?

 PIERROT. - Yes, Sir, & maybe even triply. Once I had a dog that I lost. Six weeks later when I found her, she returned carrying three little pups in her belly.

 DOCTOR. - That's three dogs too many; I hope to find Angélique in the same state as when I lost her.

 PIERROT. - I was simply trying to convince you how good I am at finding missing persons. Take a look, Sir, here are four thousand posters ready to be used.

 DOCTOR. - Be sure to post them everywhere.

 PIERROT. - Leave it to me, I'll put them up where circumstances require: in cafés, in  cabarets, in furnished rooms, in other words, in all the places where "lost women" are to be found. Do you want me to read what the posters say? I wrote this clever text between the fruit and the cheese plates. (reading aloud.)


  Lost girl. 30 "pistolles" reward.
 Between sunset and evening, between Boulogne and Vincennes, a girl was lost between  adolescence and adulthood, who was between two heights, with hair between brown  and blond, and eyes between soft and tired. Whoever finds her should secure her  between two doors, & then notify the Doctor who lives between a blacksmith and a  surgeon. Written here in Paris, between two planks on a bar counter, between two  glasses of wine.»

 DOCTOR. - That makes a lot of in-betweens!

 PIERROT. - Sir, while I'm putting up the posters, don't you want me also to post [a  reward for] your wits?

 DOCTOR. - What do you mean, post [a reward for] my wits?

 PIERROT. - Truly, Sir, you must have lost them, planning as you do at your age to  marry a young girl who gets away like an eel.

 DOCTOR slapping him. - Here's something else that got away from me, & you have  found it.

 PIERROT. - I don't really want what belongs to others; since I found it, here it is back.  (he tries to  return the slap, misses his mark, & leaves.)


 COLOMBINE. - Ah, Sir Doctor, there you are; what a pleasure to meet you again in this place.

 DOCTOR. - You see a man before you who is despairing, & who was on the verge of marrying Angélique.

 COLOMBINE. - That's a delicate moment; I know of a thousand unscrupulous lovers take advantage of their secret by demanding payment to cover up their past "services".

 DOCTOR. - What are you implying, Colombine? I would need proof of her infidelity to be cured of the love I have for the ungrateful woman.

 COLOMBINE. - Wait for me by the first corner, & I'll be with you in a moment.

 DOCTOR. leaving. - Ah, the traitress, the traitress!

 COLOMBINE alone. - The old fool took the bait quite easily; now I'll take Angélique through all the most disreputable places of the Fair; that's what we agreed upon earlier. But who is that man coming over?


 ARLEQUIN. - "For two pennies, for two pennies". How dishonest one can be in the world of commerce. They tried to take back the clothes they sold me for two pennies. What a fool!... (noticing Colombine). Is she not also a two penny item? (coming up to her and examining her). Apparently she's a Fairground adventurer. Mademoiselle, you wouldn't by chance be one of those domesticated vampires who charm middle-class men, & offer them a meal?

 COLOMBINE. - In truth, Sir, you give me more credit than I deserve. And you, you wouldn't by chance be one of those gentlemen whom fortune has disinherited, and who recover their patrimony in the purses of passers-by?

 ARLEQUIN. - What you say, Mademoiselle, taxes my modesty to the limits; I am a gentleman who has recently left [a career of] service to seek employment at the Fairground.

 COLOMBINE. - If it is not being overly curious, may I ask how long you spent in "service"?

 ARLEQUIN. - Ten years.

 COLOMBINE. - In Flanders or in Germany?.

 ARLEQUIN. - In Paris; I spent three years as armour-maker for the police, after having served as a volunteer in the Rainbow Regiment.

 COLOMBINE. - I've never heard of that regiment.

 ARLEQUIN. - Nevertheless, it's one of the largest in the kingdom; its members are sometimes foot soldiers, & sometimes carriage attendants, & are dressed in green, red, yellow, depending on the whims of Captains.

 COLOMBINE. - I am beginning to glimpse the hues of your regiment.

 ARLEQUIN. - Don't look down on it; no militia is more necessary to the country; it is a body in which advancement comes rapidly; from its ranks come officials who now occupy some of the most lucrative positions, & I know of managers who received all their training in that body.

 COLOMBINE. - I am delighted, Sir, to find in you a gentlemen who has studied in such a flourishing school. I assume you know how to do the torch trick?

 ARLEQUIN. - I had the honour of lighting the way for a noble woman, for a watchwoman (?) and for the housekeeper of an abbot.

 COLOMBINE. - An abbot's houskeeper! There's a funny job. What were her duties?

 ARLEQUIN. - She looked after his furniture, prepared jelly for him, warmed his bed with embers and curled his hair every evening. 

 COLOMBINE. - It can't be too difficult to curl hair as short as an abbot's.

 ARLEQUIN. - More difficult than you think. I would rather curl the heads of ten women that put an abbot's head in curlers.

 COLOMBINE. - You're right, looking after those people involves more work than serving women employers.

ARLEQUIN. - I have managed nevertheless to find some, & basically they are good persons : there are those who say the worst things about them, but for me, I don't find them as shameless as men.

COLOMBINE. - Definitely, it can be said in their defence that they run greater risks than men. If a woman displays the slightest good humour, a suitor will persue her agressively; she can avoid for a while the hidden reef of gifts; she weathers the storm: but eventually a flurry of tears and sighs ensues, a lover hoists all  his sails, enters the waters around the Cape of Good Hope; a woman reaches out to save him, she crashes into a rock, her boat is overturned, and in these dire straits, honour has great difficulty in swiming away to safety.

ARLEQUIN. - And yet, honour these days is so thin and light that it should float on water as easily as cork.

COLOMBINE. - That lawyer's wife whose way you lighted, did her honour know how to swim?

ARLEQUIN. - Sometimes it took a few dives; nevertheless, she was a good lady, she copied out excerpts from the trials for which "Monsieur" [her husband] was the Prosecutor. She had never studied, but she knew more latin than her husband.

COLOMBINE. - And did the lady ever stray from the path of the ministry?

ARLEQUIN. - Ah! One should never say bad things of the people whose bread one eats; but if anyone had taken minutes in the study of what took place in the bedroom it would have taken more than 20 clerks to send  out the records. To tell the truth, I believe that fewer Acts were inscribed in the presence of "Monsieur" than in the presence of "Madame". 

COLOMBINE. -  In other words, there was always someone in the house to sign as witness.

ARLEQUIN. - Precisely.

COLOMBINE. - As for me, in all the jobs I've held, I saw so many things that made me burn with anger me that I opened my own business as a Lemonade seller, to cool my conscience.

ARLEQUIN. - You mean that your conscience has now turned to ice. For my part, to satisfy mine, I lift the money of passers-by; I'm the owner of the Mouth of Truth, the three theatres of the Face of the Zodiac, of the Harem of "Cap Verd", & other such lucrative Fairground attractions.

COLOMBINE. - What, do you mean it's you who...

ARLEQUIN. - Yes, in person.

COLOMBINE. - Here are fifty pistoles that will throw themselves at  you if you team up with us to trick an old Doctor by making sure he sees his fiancée in every Fairground shop, & if you send a provincial suitor back to Pont-l'Eveque.

ARLEQUIN. - You're kidding!  I'm not overly concerned with money which has never obsessed me, but I never turned down fifty pistoles.

COLOMBINE. - I'm going to direct theDoctor to the Mouth of Truth, & then I'll tell you what you must do.

ARLEQUIN. - Hurry, & for my part, I'll open my stand. Hey there! Open up!

I, 7.   They open the stand, & and the theatre represents the Mouth of Truth. Three busts are placed on three separate tables in the middle of the stage, while upstage several "thermes" [literally: baths] complete the stage decoration.

ARLEQUIN. -[NOTE This speech pitch is in verse] This is the place you have all been looking for. You'll see it all if you open your eyes, you'll hear everything if you use your ears (including the sound of money, naturally). Oh incomparable heads, you the products of my art, the creations of my hand, you shall never cease being my breadwinners, as long as this city remains rich in curious strollers, gapers and gawkers. Admittedly you are made of wood and cardboard, stripped of reason, mind and spirit. Nevertheless, you are about to pronounce oracles. Every day we witness such miracles: how many mechanical minds do we find in the greatest bodies which form the solemn assemblies at which  our destinies are decided? In other words, how many of these heads of wise counsel  do we see that contain no more wit than your heads?

A SINGER. - who is one of the heads, sings:

Step forward,
Come to us,
Nothing is sweeter
Than to learn one's destiny:
But in marriage
Ignorance is a great consolation
Husbands, cherish your ignorance.

THE DOCTOR. - enters and says:
A certain Colombine told me, Sir,  that I would receive news of a missing girl whose poster I have sent around.

ARLEQUIN, looking the Doctor up and down.
This is the Doctor I was told to expect; I must deceive him. Why are you so worked up about finding a girl, and what will you do with her once she is found?

THE DOCTOR. - What I'll do? I'll marry her.

ARLEQUIN, laughing and looking under the Doctor's nose.
You?  Marry her?  And what is your profession, Mister wooer?

THE DOCTOR. - A doctor, Sir, at your service.

ARLEQUIN. - Bene, there is a good quality for a wife to have as a resource. And your age?

THE DOCTOR. - I'm going on for seventy.

ARLEQUIN. - Optimè. that's a shaky age, & you run the risk of falling down. And is the girl in question old?

THE DOCTOR. - 20 years old approximately.

ARLEQUIN. - Now that's just wonderful. When one no longer has one's teeth, one can't choose more tender meat than that.

THE DOCTOR. - I wish to know, Sir, by means of your Mouth of Truth, what my fate will be in marriage.

ARLEQUIN. - That is to say, you wish to find out whether your future wife will enroll you in the Catalogue over which Vulcan [God of cuckolds] presides?

THE DOCTOR. - Exactly, & I'm itching with curiosity to find out what fate has in store for me in this matter.

ARLEQUIN. - You act wisely. Better to find out before marriage, than to conduct the enquiry after. Step up to the Mouth of Truth and try on the bonnet.

THE DOCTOR. - What do you mean?

ARLEQUIN. - takes the bonnet which is on the head of the Mouth of Truth.
This is a bonnet that has never been wrong; if it changes shape on your head, that means you will join the modern society of horn growers. 

THE DOCTOR. - Put in on, put in on. I have no fears.

ARLEQUIN. - putting the bonnet on the Doctor's head; the bonnet changes into a crescent shape, upon which the Mouth of Truth sings:

Console yourself at finding on your turban
The arms revered in the Ottoman empire;
The whole world wears them,
And I see those
Who, in spite of their blond wigs,
Have the same hairdo as you.
THE DOCTOR. - picks up a mirror on the table of the the Mouth of Truth, looks at himself, then angrily throws down the bonnet, & leaves.

COLOMBINE, as a young girl.
My curiosity would have brought me here long ago, Sir, if fear had not stalled me.

ARLEQUIN. - Curiostiy would lead young girls far if fear did not restrain them; but fear is not a strong enough bridle. 

COLOMBINE. - I do not believe there is a more fearful girl than I. I cannot bear being alone , and at night I'm so aftraid of spirits that I sleep with my mother for reassurance.

ARLEQUIN. - If you  had met certain more "palpable" spirits, you would be less fearful of them than of your mother, since you are so shy. So, I must guess the reason why you have come here. Do you seek to know if your beauty will last a long time?

COLOMBINE. - Why, Sir, I believe it will last as long as my youth.

ARLEQUIN. - Women today push youth to great lengths, & everyday I see women who consider themselves to be even younger than their daughters.

COLOMBINE. - True, & I have an old aunt who still tries to pass herself off as my sister, and who recently smashed her mirror, saying that it had wrinkles and that they don't make mirrors like they used to.



Summary of Act II

II, 1. - COLOMBINE, DOCTOR. - Alarmed at  the perspective of being cuckolded, the Doctor hesitates, saying that if he decides not to marry Angélique, he could give her to a friend from Normandy. Colombine offers to show Angélique in her true state (“dans son naturel”).

II, 2. - LEANDRE, as a marquis, OCTAVE, as a chevalier, ARLEQUIN, as a stylish lady, SCARAMOUCHE, as a cloth merchant, A LACKEY, they all come out of a gambler’s shop.

Two parasitic courtiers, both suitors of the stylish lady, argue over who will pay the cloth merchant. This is merely a ploy to put off paying. Both courtiers disappear, giving the excuse that they left their money at home. The lady is obliged to remove several articles of clothing, and leave them with the merchant, in partial payment of his cloth.

II, 3. - COLOMBINE, MEZZETIN, as Nigaudinet, PIERROT, as a page boy, A THIEF, who steals Nigaudinet’s sword and leaves.

Nigaudinet asks to see Angélique, but refuses to enter Colombine’s shop to meet her. During this conversation, a thief steals his sword which the naive page boy observes.

II, 4. - ARLEQUIN, MEZZETIN. - Nigaudinet (played by Mezzetin) introduces himself to Arlequin, saying that he is seeking to purchase a regiment cheaply. Arlequin proposes the inhabitants of the Tuileries Gardens (a noted location for anonymous sexual encounters). Arlequin also promises to introduce him th Angélique.

II, 5. - SCARAMOUCHE (playing Mister Trickster, a card sharp), MEZZETIN (playing Nigaudinet). - Scaramouche, wearing a red coat, and counting money. Scaramouche boasts of his skill at winning with loaded dice. Arlequin (playing the role of  Mister Thief), wearing a red coat and hiding his face,  claims to have lost money earlier to Mr. Trickster, and is returning with more money to play again. Mezzetin (Nigaudinet) intervenes as the two quarrel. In an attempt to reconcile them, and hoping to benefit from Mr. Trickster”s ability to win with loaded dice, he encourages the two to play another round. They agree, but end up using Mezzetin’s (Nigaudinet) money. When Mezzetin has been relieved of all his cash, his watch, and even some items of clothing, the two “gamblers” disappear. Mezzetin (Nigaudinet) has been set up and fleeced.

The scene shifts to a theatre. PIERROT asks ARLEQUIN for permission to begin. (The curtain?) opens, revealing a stage representing a pleasant wood. The Doctor and several others enter in a group, and take seats to watch the show. The Doctor asks Pierrot what they are about to see, and is told that the performance will be made up of an Italian opera, a parody of the opera Acis et Galatée (by Lully), and then a tragedy, Lucrèce. A soprano sings a song in Italian. When she finishes, she leaves, the theatre changes, and represents a sea bordered by rocky shores. ARLEQUIN, playing Poliphemus, MEZZETIN, as Galatea, SCARAMOUCHE, as Acis. They perform a compressed,  one-scene parody of the opera.

The theatre changes into a magnificent palace. LUCRECE (played by Colombine), MEZZETIN, playing Tarquin’s squire, ARLEQUIN, playing Tarquin, recite six pages of classical alexandrines (12-syllable verse), ending Act II.

Summary Act III

III, 1. - OCTAVE, ARLEQUIN, PIERROT. - Pierrot gives silly advice to Octave about how to obtain Angélique from the Doctor. Arlequin mimics him, and then suggests that Octave disguise himself as a savage, and that he meet Arlequin and the Doctor in the harem of the Emperor of “Cap-verd”.

III, 2. - ARLEQUIN, DOCTOR, Arlequin  portraying a midway barker. - Natural monsters. Half doctor from the belt up, and half mule from the belt down. Another animal, half lawyer, and half fop. A cannibal who eats men raw, and who loses his appetite as soon as he sees a woman. You’ll see it all right away, (ladies and ) gentlemen, without the slightest wait...

The Doctor consults Arlequin, asking him to read his horoscope. The theatre shows the signs of the Zodiac, portrayed by living actors, Octave and Angélique, in the guise of the Twins (gemini). Although angry, the Doctor is obliged to listen to a closing song by Father Time, for fear of being struck by his scythe if he attempts to go away.

II, 3. -  LEANDRE, as an Armenian (ie, in this instance, a tavern keeper), SCARAMOUCHE, as a Swiss officer,  MEZZETIN, as a fop. - Scaramouche and Mezzetin engage in a quarrel after Scaramouche has downed several bottles of a “ratafia” (a champagne-based aperitif). They leave (without paying).

III, 4. - PIERROT, DOCTOR. - Pierrot makes his report on possible sightings of Angélique, but the Doctor no longer wishes to marry her. Pierrot proposes they consider other women who are on display in the harem of the Emperor of “Cap-verd”.

The backdrop opens, and represents the harem of the Emperor of “Cap-verd”. Several flower-covered cradles appear, guarded by eunuchs dressed in exotic costumes and carrying spears. Arlequin, as the Emperor of “Cap-verd”, is surrounded by parrots, canaries, jays, peacocks and other birds. The violins play a march to the beat of which the eunuchs file past Arlequin who then performs a dance...

The cradles change into large armchairs “à commodité“ (ie. toilets) upon which a woman is royally seated.

A sleeping customer (Scaramouche) wishes to buy a wife. One of the women comes forward and sings a song.

A Spaniard who laughs and cries (Mezzetin?) tells the long tale of how he lost his wife (he pushed her in the water and she drowned). Arlequin proposes a bird from the Canary islands (Colombine). Colombine sings of her life as a bird. Mezzetin will take her.

The Doctor arrives, terrorized. Arlequin asks him what is the matter, and he tells him that a wild, man-eating savage (Octave) has escaped from his booth. The savage siezes the Doctor who shouts the he should be given a woman to appease him. Arlequin immediately offers Angélique.

The Doctor objects, but is finally convinced to sacrifice Angélique to the savage.

The Doctor then asks Arlequin for another woman in place of Angélique; he still wishes to re-marry. Arlequin says his must first be rejuvenated, and calls upon his apothecary (Mezzetin) to perform the rejuvenation. After the apothecary leaves, Arlequin shows the Doctor the woman earmarked for him. Four Indians carry a cage onstage... which holds a little girl; before leaving her cage, the girl sings to the audience...

  “You who mock me with your laughter,
  Who make fun of my emprisonment,
  I wager that beyond your mirth
  Some of you would like to be my age again.”

 After her song, she comes out of the cage, and to the tune she has just sung, she dances a solo piece.

Part of the closing song includes a reference to the fact that the only way an old man should consider re-marrying is if he chooses a young girl and keeps her locked in a cage as a means of protecting his own honour.

Added scene. “The carriage scene”, in which two women in hand-drawn carriages meet head-on in a narrow street, and are both obliged by an officer to back up an equal distance. ARLEQUIN and MEZZETIN play the two women.

 "Carriage scene:"

ARLEQUIN & MEZZETIN, dressed as women, each in their own hand-drawn carriage. An OFFICER, who happens along.

FIRST PORTER, drawing his carriage. - Back up, Vivant.

SECOND PORTER, drawing the other carriage. - Hey! Back up yourself.

FIRST PORTER. - Whoa, my friend, out of my way.

SECOND PORTER. - You're the one who should get out of my way.

MEZZETIN, to his porter. - What's wrong, porter, are your horses worn out?

ARLEQUIN, to his porter. - Use your whip, dolt, use your whip. Have you  forgotten I'm in a hurry?

FIRST PORTER. - Madame, there's a carriage blocking our way.

ARLEQUIN. - A carriage? Then drive over him, fellow.

MEZZETIN. - sticking his head out of the window. - Who is the impertinent fellow preventing my carriage from getting through?

ARLEQUIN, his head out of the window. - It is I, Madame.  How foolish of you to to take up space with your taxi ("fiacre") in the streets through which I intend to pass.

MEZZETIN. - Taxi yourself. Our family has never been without its own personal carriage, nor without horses to pull it.

ARLEQUIN. - Nor without donkeys, Madame.

MEZZETIN. - Do you realize who I am, my little Miss?

ARLEQUIN. - Don't you recognize me, dearie?

MEZZETIN. - Just in case you don't already know, I am the first cousin of the first clerk of the first bailiff at the Paris police station ("Chatelet de Paris", where detainees were interrogated).

ARLEQUIN. - And  I'll have you know that I am the wife of the first Churchwarden of the first district of La Villette.

MEZZETIN. -  Were you the Devil incarnate, I'll have you back up.

ARLEQUIN. - Me? Back up? Back up yourself; our family has never backed up.

MEZZETIN. - Alright, Madame, I wish to inform you that I shall not back up, & that I shall remain here for the rest of the day.

ARLEQUIN. - And I shall stay here until night.

MEZZETIN. - I have no urgent business, as long as I get to the Tuileries by sunrise.

ARLEQUIN. - Neither do I, as long as I get to the rising ceremony ("lever") of  the Marquess of Virgouleuse.

MEZZETIN. - Lackey, fetch me some lunch from the tavern; & order some hay for my horses.

ARLEQUIN. - As for me, I have no need to order food, since I always carry it with me, & because I never travel anywhere without a three-day supply of provisions. Bring out my [portable] kitchen. A lackey helps him take out a steel kitchen resembling a hamper from which Arlequin draws plates, a salad, a chicken, containers of oil and vinager, forks, knives, serviettes, & other utensils needed to set a table. He places everything at the opening of his carriage, & begins eating, occasionally waving to the lady opposite him, and occasionally waving to the audience. After several lazzis, an Officer arrives. 

[...] etc.





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