The Saint-Germain Fair
COMEDY IN THREE ACTS
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
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
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)
THE SAINT GERMAIN FAIR
I, 1 The Theatre represents the St.
MEZETIN as an apprentice pastry maker, ARLEQUIN, THE MERCHANTS
of the Fair, at their stands
La Foire St. Germain, frontispice from Le
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.
Tea, chocolat, coffee.
Do you wish any of our wares?
The sale is on, come quickly.
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
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
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
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.
A MAN MERCHANT.
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
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.
I, 2. COLOMBINE, ANGELIQUE.
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
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
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.
I, 3. OCTAVE, COLOMBINE, ANGELIQUE, a drunken
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
DOCTOR. - How cruel it is to lose a poor child who loves me so
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.)
I, 5. COLOMBINE. DOCTOR.
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
I, 6. ARLEQUIN, COLOMBINE.
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
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
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!
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:
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]
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 DOCTOR. - What do you mean?
ARLEQUIN. - takes the bonnet which is on the head of the Mouth of
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:
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.
|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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.