THE “ONLIE BEGETTER”
A DRAMA IN ONE ACT
CARL’ANTONIO, Duke of Adria
TONINO, his young son
LUCIO; Count of Vallescura, brother to the Duchess
CESARIO, Captain of the Guard
GAMBA, a Fool
OTTILIA, Duchess and Regent of Adria
LUCETTA, a Lady-in-Waiting
FULVIA, a Lady of the Court
Courtiers, Priests, Choristers, Soldiers, Mariners, Townsfolk, etc.
The Scene is the Ducal Palace of Adria, in the N. Adriatic
The Date, 1571
SCENE.—A terraced courtyard before the Ducal Palace. Porch and entrance of Chapel, R. A semicircular balcony, L., with balustrade and marble seats, and an opening whence a flight of steps leads down to the city. The city lies out of sight below the terrace; from which, between its cypresses and statuary, is seen a straight stretch of a canal; beyond the canal are sand-hills and the line of the open sea. Mountains, L., dip down to the sea and form a curve of the coast.
As the curtain rises, a crowd of town and country folk is being herded to the back of the terrace by the Ducal Guard, under Cesario. Within the Chapel, to the sound of an organ, boys’ voices are chanting the service of the Mass.
Cesario, Gamba the Fool, Guards, Populace.
Cesario. Way there! Give room! The Regent comes from Mass. Guards, butt them on the toes—way there! give room! Prick me that laggard’s leg-importunate fools!
Guards. Room for the Regent! Room!
[The sacring bell rings within the Chapel.
Cesario. Hark there, the bell!
[A pause. Men of the crowd take off their caps.
Could ye not leave, this day of all the year,
Your silly suits, petitions, quarrels, pleas?
Could ye not leave, this once in seven years,
Our Lady to come holy-quiet from Mass.
Lean on the wall, and loose her cage-bird heart,
To lift and breast and dance upon the breeze.
Draws home her lord the Duke?
Crowd. Long live the Duke!
Cesario. The devil, then! Why darken his approach?
Gamba (from the bench where he has been mending his viol). Because, Captain, ’tis a property knaves and fools have in common—to stand in their own light, as ’tis of soldiers to talk bad logic. That knave, now—he with the red nose and the black eye—the Duke’s colours, loyal man!—you clap an iron on his leg, and ask him why he is not down in the city, hanging them out of window! Go to: you are a soldier!
Cesario. And you a Fool, and on your own showing stand in your own light.