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Translated from the French by Clair Vincent Chesley

CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY

FADINARD, a pensioner.
NONANCOURT, a nurseryman
BEAUPERTHUIS, husband of Anais.
VÉZINET, a deaf man.
TARDIVEAU, a bookkeeper.
BOBIN, the nephew of Nonancourt.
EMILE TAVERNIER, a lieutenant.
Félix, valet to Fadinard.
ACHILLE DE ROSALBA, a social favorite.
HÉLÈNE, the daughter of Nonancourt.
Anais, the wife of Beauperthius.
THE BARONESS DE CHAMPIGNEY.
CLARA, a dressmaker.
VIRGINIE, a maid in service with Beauperthius.
A tirewoman of the Baroness, a Corporal, a footman, wedding

guests, guardsmen, etc.
Time—the early “fifties.”
Place-Paris.

ACT I House of Fadinard; an octagonal parlour; in the background, folding doors opening outward. Door at each corner; two doors at the right and left foreground. On the left against the scenery, a table with a cover, on which is a tray bearing carafe, glass, sugar bowl; chairs, etc. Note.-For reasons of dramatic efficiency, I have omitted the couplets and choruses.

C. V, C,
Copyright 1917 by The Poet Lore Company. All rights reseroed.

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Virginie (To Félix, who is trying to kiss her).—No! Let me alone, Félix. I've no time to fool!

Félix.—Just one kiss!
Virginie.—No, I won't!
Félix.-But I'm from your town! I'm from Rambouillet!

Virginie.—What of it? As if it were necessary to kiss everybody from there

!
Félix.—There are only four thousand people

! Virginie.—That's not the question; Mr. Fadinard, your employer, is getting married today—you asked me in to see the presents. Now, let's see them!

Félix.—Oh, no hurry! He went out last evening to see about signing some papers with his father-in-law

He won't be back until eleven o'clock, with his bridal party; and then he's going to the Registry.

Virginie.—Is the bride pretty?

Félix.-Ugh! I think she's awkward; but she comes of a good family

You know, she's the daughter of a nurseryman from Charentonneau-way-old man Nonancourt.

Virginie.—Oh, Félix! if you hear anybody wants a lady's maid, put in a good word for me Félix.—You wish to leave your place

Mr. Beauperthuis? Virginie.-Don't speak of him! He's a prune

of the first water

a grouche, a sulker, a sneak, a jealous booby, and his wife! Oh, his wife!—but, then, dear me, I don't like to run people down

! Félix.—Oh, no!

Virginie.—She's a mincing prude, a strait-laced ninny-not a whit better than anybody else.

Félix.-Do tell!

Virginie.—The second he's gone out; bing! She's gone, too! And where does she go? She never tells me, never!

Félix.—Oh, you can't stay in that house!

Virginie (Looking down).-Besides, I'd like to work with somebody from Rambouillet

Félix (Kissing her).-In Seine and Oise!
(Enter Vézinet at the back; he is carrying a hat box.)

Vézinet.-Don't trouble yourselves! It's only 1, Uncle Vézinet

Has the party come?
Félix (Familiarly).- Not yet, Bald Pate.
Virginie (Whispers).—What are you doing?

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Félix.—He's as deaf as a post, watch me! (T. VEZINET.) You're going to the wedding, young man? You're going to dance a hornpipe? What a pity! (Offering him a chair.) Go to bed! !

Vézinet.— Thanks, Friend, thanks; first I thought they were to gather at the Registry; but I found out it was here; so I came.

Félix.-Ah, yes, Mr. Palisse died; died of an epidemic

Vézinet.-No; not afoot; I came in a cab! (Handing the hat box to VIRGINIE). Here, take this into the bridal chamber. It's my wedding present. Take care, it's fragile!

Virginie.- Now, we'll have a look at the presents! (Bowing to VÉZINET) Au revoir, Deafie!

(She enters at the left, second door, with the box.)
Vézinet. She's all right, that girl

Well, it's fun to meet a pretty minx

Félix (Offering a chair).—The idea! and at your age! Enough of that, Rascal, enough of that!

Vézinet.—Thanks (Aside). He's the right sort, this fellow! (Enter FADINARD, from the rear, talking to the wings.)

Fadinard.—Dismiss the cab! (Faces scene.) Well, here is a scrape! Cost me twenty francs

well, I don't
Félix!
Félix.—Yes, Sir!
Fadinard.—Imagine
Félix.—You're alone and the party?

Fadinard.—It's on the way from Charentonneau in eight cabs

I came on ahead to see that nothing was wrong in my little nest. Have the upholsterers gone? Did the presents arrive?

Félix (Pointing to the room, second at the left).—Yes, Sir, they are all in there

Fadinard.—All right! Imagine that I left Charentonneau, at eight, this morning

Vézinet (To himself).—My nephew is behind time.

Fadinard (Catching sight of VÉZINET, to Félix).—Get out! I've somebody better to talk to! (Félix withdraws up stage; FADINARD begins again).—Imagine, thatVézinet.-Nephew, let me congratulate you

(Tries to kiss him.)

Fadinard.—Eh? What's this? Oh, yes! (Kissing aside.) They do a deal of kissing in my wife's family

! (Aloud, in declamatory tone.) I left Charentonneau at eight, this morning

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Vézinet.-And the bride?

Fadinard.—Yes, yes. She's coming-in eight cabs (Going on.) I left Charentonneau at eight, this morning

Vézinet.—I've just brought my wedding present

Fadinard.—Very kind of you— (Going on.) I was in my cab

I was passing through the Bois ... all at once I found I had dropped my whip

Vézinet.-Nephew, these sentiments do you honor.

Fadinard.—What sentiments? Rats! I keep forgetting he is deaf! Well, no matter! (Going on.) As the butt is of silver, I stopped my horse, and got out

about a hundred yards back I saw it in a clump of nettles

I pricked my fingers.
Vézinet.- I'm glad to hear it!
Fadinard.Thanks; I turned around

no cab in sight! Gone!

Félix (Coming down stage).—You lost your cab?

Fadinard (to Félix).–Félix, I'm talking to my uncle, who is deaf. Don't interfere with my family affairs!

Vézinet.—I would say, in addition to that; that good husbands make good wives Fadinard.—I daresay—suffering cats!

My cab was gone I inquired I investigated

I found out one had been stopped at the edge of the wood. I ran thither, and what did I find-my horse munching upon a sort of bundle, trimmed with red poppies! I walked up

then a woman's voice from a bypath, shrieked out: “Heavens! my hat!” The bale of straw was a hat! She'd hung it to a tree, while she gossiped with a soldier!

Félix (Aside).-Well, I'll—that's funny!

Fadinard (to VÉZINET).—Between you and me, I think she's a highflier Vézinet.-No! I'm from Chaillot

I live in Chaillot.

Fadinard.-Oh, fiddlesticks!
Vézinet.-Right near the water works

Fadinard.Ah, that's handy! Just as I was going to apologize to the lady, and was about to offer to settle, a soldier interposed

a sort of African romper. He began by talking down to me. By crimes! I got hot under the collar, and called him Beni-zug-zug. He jumped at me—I jumped off, landed in my cab, whipped up my horse and–here I am. I had just time to throw him twenty francs-or twenty sous—for I'm

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not sure—I'll count up tonight, when I balance my cash account. (Draws a fragment of a hat from his pocket.) Where's my change?

Vézinet (Takes the fragment, and examines it).-It's good straw

Fadinard.—You bet! but rather expensive by the bale.

Vézinet.—You'd have to hunt a long time to find a hat like it. I know what I'm talking about!

Félix (Who has come forward, and has taken the hat from VEZINET).—Let's see

Fadinard.-Felix, don't interfere with my family affairs!
Félix.-But, Sir!
Fadinard.--Silence! Saucebox

as in the old chronicle! (Félix goes up stage.)

Vézinet.-What time are you going to the Registry?

Fadinard.At eleven o'clock; eleven o'clock. (Illustrates with his fingers.)

Vézinet.-We'll be rather late for dinner. I've time for rice and milk

may I? (Rises.)
Fadinard.—Certainly!
Vézinet (Comes up to kiss him).—Goodbye, nephew!

Fadinard.—So long, Uncle! (T. Vézinet, who is trying to kiss him.) There! (Aside.) When I'm married, you won't catch me doing that! Oh, no!

Vézinet.-And on the other side

Fadinard. --That's what I said! "And the other side?" (VÉZinet kisses him upon the other cheek.) There!

(VÉZINET goes out; Félix goes off left, carrying the fragment of a hat.)

Fadinard (Alone).-Well, in an hour I'll be married! And I won't have my father-in-law keeping on bawling, every moment; “Son-in-law, it's all off!” Did you ever have anything to do with a porcupine? He's one! I met him in a 'bus.

I His first greeting was a kick. I was going to answer him with a punch, when a look from his daughter made me think better of it, and I handed the conductor six sous. After that, he wasn't long in saying that he was a nursery man from Charentonneau. See how Love is the mother of ingenuity! I said to him: “Sir, sir do you sell carrot seed?” He answered: “No, but I have some fine geraniums.”

That settled it. “How much the pot?” “Four francs.” “Let's look at them.” When we got there, I took four pots,- It was my collector's birthday. And I asked for

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