THE BOHEMIAN GIRL

Act Two

SCENE THREE

[A grand fair in the public platz (square) of Presburg. On one side a large hotel, over which is inscribed "The Hall of Justice." Various groups of gentry, soldiers, citizens, and peasantry cover the stage. Foreign shops are seen in various parts, curious rope-dancers, showmen, waxwork, a quack doctor, exhibitions, etc., etc., are dispersed here and there. Flags hung out of the windows, and ringing of bells, enliven the scene.]

Chorus
Life itself is, at the best,
One scene in mask of folly drest;
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here,
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here!

(basses alone)
To these symbols of life your voices swell,
Vive la masque, et vive la bagatelle!
Vive la masque, vive la masque,
vive la masque, et vive la bagatelle!

(tutti)
Life itself is, at the best,
One scene in mask of folly drest,
Life itself is, at the best,
One scene in mask of folly drest;
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here,
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here,
you'll find it here, you'll find it here,
you'll find it here!

(Quack doctor's horn; numbers rush toward him.)

(At the end of the chorus, and during the symphony, a movement is perceived at the further end of the platz, which is followed by the entrance of a double party of men gypsies, headed by Devilshoof and Thaddeus, who force a passage down the center of the stage, which they occupy; they then open their ranks, when another file of female gypsies, headed by their Queen and Arline, pass between them. Florestein and a party are seen watching them with great curiosity.)

Arline, Queen, Thaddeus and Devilshoof
From the valleys and hills
Where the sweetest buds grow,
And are water'd by rills
Which are purest that flow,
Come we, come we, come we, come we! yes!
From the valleys and hills
Where the sweetest buds grow,
And are water'd by rills
Which are purest that flow,
Come we, come we, come we, come we,
come we, come we, come we, come, come!

Chorus of Gypsies
In the Gipsy's life you read
The life that all would like to lead,
In the Gipsy's life you read
The life that all would like to lead.

(During this, some of the gypsies have been enacting characteristic dances, when Arline, carrying a flowering basket in her hand, glides round to the assembled company and sits down.)

Arline
Sir Knight and lady, listen!
(to a lady)
That bright eye seems to glisten
As if his trusted tale
Did o'er they sense prevail!
(to another, pointing to her heart)
Pretty maiden, pray, take care, take care
Love is making havoc there,
love is making havoc there!
(to a third, pointing to a ring on her finger)
This token, which from love you borrow,
The prelude is of many a sorrow!
There are those have liv'd to know,
there are those have liv'd to know,
The Gipsy's words are true,
The Gipsy's words are true.

Gypsies
(as the dance of the gypsies continues)
Life itself is, at the best,
One scene in mask of folly drest,
Life itself is, at the best,
One scene in mask of folly drest;
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here,
And there is no part of its wild career,
But you will meet with here,
you'll find it here, you'll find it here,
you'll find it here!

(At the end of the dance and chorus, Count Arnheim and some officers of state enter; his hair has become grey, his step is slow, and his appearance is that of sorrow. He is accosted by Florestein.)

Florestein: My dear uncle, it delights me to see you amongst us, and here is a little Gipsy girl that would delight you still more, (aside) if you had my blood in your veins; she's positively a charming creature.

Count: I have lost the taste of joy, and the sight of youth and beauty recalls to my memory that treasure of both, my loved and lost Arline. (He gazes attentively at Arline, sighs heavily, then exits with his retinue into the Hall of Justice.)

Florestein: (to a party of his friends) It's no use restraining me.... I'm positively smitten. (He breaks from them and goes up to Arline.) Fair creature, your manner has enchanted me, and I would take a lesson from you.

Arline: In politeness, sir? By all means! To begin, then, whenever you address a lady, take your hat off.

Florestein: Very smart, (with a titter) 'pon my word, very smart. Your naivete only increases the feelings of admiration and devotion which a too susceptible heart....

Arline: (bursting out laughing) Ha ha ha!

Florestein: Your indifference will drive me to despair.

Arline: Will is really?

Florestein: Do not mock me, but pity my too suspectible nature, and let me print one kiss upon....

(Here Arline gives him a violent slap on the face; the Queen, who has gone up the stage with Thaddeus, now brings him on one side and points out the situation of Arline and Florestein. He is about to rush upon Florestein just as Arline has slapped his face; so that as Florestein turns around, he finds himself between the two, and both are laughing in his face.)

Queen: (eyeing Florestein) It is the very person from whom they stole the trinkets I made them give back again. (Taking the medallion from her bosom) This, too, is his, and now my project thrives. (Florestein turns up teh stage to join his party, and the Queen crosses to Arline.) You have acted well your part, and thus your Queen rewards you. (Places the medallion around her neck.) Forget not the hand that gave it.

Arline: (kneeling, and kissing the Queen's hand) Let this bespeak my gratitude.

Queen: And now let our tribe depart.

(The gypsies are all about to march off. Thaddeus and Arline bring up the rear of their body; as they are going off, Florenstein, who, with his friends, has been watching their departure, perceives his medallion on the neck of Arline. He breaks through the crowd and stopes her. She and Thaddeus come forward.)

Florestein: Though you treated me so lightly some moments past, you will not do so now. That medallion is mine; my friends here recognize it.

Florestein's Friends: We do! we do!

(Devilshoof is seen to steal off.)

Florestein: And I accuse you of having stolen it.

Arline: Stolen! It was this instant given me by our Queen, and she is here to verify my words.

(Arline runs about looking everywhere for the Queen.)

Florestein: That's an everyday sort of subterfuge. (To the crowd) Worthy people and friends, that medallion on her neck belongs to me, and I accuse her or her accomplices of having robbed me.

Chorus of Populace
(all surrounding Arline)
Shame! shame! let us know the right,
And shame on the guilty one alight!

Thaddeus
(rushing before Arline to shield her)
He who a hand on her would lay,
Through my heard must force his way!

Populace
Tear them asunder, but still protect
Until they can prove what they suspect!

(Florestein, who has, during this movement, entered teh Hall of Justice, is now seen returning, followed by a strong guard, who file off on each side of the steps.)

Arline
To all who their belief have lent,
Heav'n can attest, I'm innocent.

[start cut, Kreuz edition]

Florestein
(to Captain of Guard, pointing at Arline)
There stands the culprit, on you I call;
Conduct her away to the Hall!

Captain of the Guard
To the Hall!

Populace
To the Hall!

(Arline looks at him with great contempt; the gypsies, perceiving her danger, range themselves around her. Thaddeus breaks from those who are holding him, and rushes up to her. Florestein has got behind the Captain of the Guard, who gives orders for his men to seize Arline, upon which the gypsies draw their daggers. A conflict ensues, in which the Guard maintains possession of Arline. A body of the popular reseize Thaddeus, and the gypsies are routed.)

/ Florestein, Captain, and Guards
| They who would brave the law,
| Against themselves but draw!
|
| Gypsies
| Why should we fear the law,
| Or all the arms you draw?
|
| Thaddeus
| Free me, or else the law
| Upon your heads you draw!
|
| Arline
\ I'm innocent!

[end cut, Kreuz edition]

Florestein, Captain, Guards, and Gypsies
To the Hall, to the Hall, to the Hall, to the Hall!
Yes, away, away, to the Hall, away, away,
to the Hall, away, away,
to the Hall, away, away, away, away!

(Arline is conducted by a file of the Guard, led by the Captain, and preceded by Florestein and his party, into the Hall of Justice; the people follow in a mass, while Thaddeus is detained by those who first seized him; and as Arline is going up the steps, the figure of the Queen is seen, in an attitude of triumph over her rival's fall.)

SCENE FOUR

[Interior of Count Arnheim's apartment in the Hall of Justice, a view of the last scene visible through one of the windows at the back. A full-length portrait of Arline, as she was in Act I, hangs on the wall; state chairs, etc. An elevation or dais on the O.P. side.]

(Count Arnheim enters, thoughtful and dejected; he contemplates Arline's portrait, and wipes a tear from his eye.)

Count
Whate'er the scenes the present hour
calls forth before the sight,
They lose their splendor when compar'd
with scenes of past delight!

The heart bow'd down by weight of woe,
To weakest hope will cling,
To thought and impulse while they flow,
That can no comfort bring,
that can, that can no comfort bring,
With those exciting scenes will blend,
O'er pleasure's pathway thrown;
But mem'ry is the only friend
That grief can call its own,
that grief can call its own,
that grief can call its own.

The mind will, in its worst despair,
Still ponder o'er the past,
On moments of delight that were
Too beautiful to last,
that were too beautiful, too beautiful to last,
To long departed years extend
Its visions with them flown;
For mem'ry is the only friend
That grief can call its own,
that grief can call its own,
that grief can call its own.

(At the end of the song, a confused noise is heard outside, when the Captain of the Guard enters.)

Captain: A robbery has been committed, and the accused is now in the Hall awaiting the pleasure of your lordship, as chief magistrate of the city, for examination.

Count: Bring the parties before me. (The Captain arranges the magisterial chair O.P., bows and exits) Anything to arouse me from these distracting thoughts, though the sole happiness I now enjoy is in the recollection of my long-lost child. (He seats himself, when the doors are violently opened, and a mob of citizens, guards and gentry enter. Florestein, who is in the midst of them, instantly rushes up to the Count.)

Florestein: It is your lordship's nephew, I, who have been been robbed!

Count: Some folly of yours is forever compromising my name and that of your family.

Florestein: But I am in this instance the victim. I have been robbed, and there stands the culprit (pointing to Arline, standing in the center, pale and with disheveled hair, but still haughty in her demeanor).

Count: (aside) 'Tis she I saw but now in the public square. That girl, so young, so beautiful, commit a robbery? Impossible!

Florestein: She stole this medallion belonging to me. We found it upon her.

Count: (addressing Arline) Can this be true?

Arline: (looking contemptuously at Florestein, and turning with dignity to the Count) Heaven knows I am innocent, and if your lordship knew my heart, you would not deem me guilty.

Count: (aside) Her words sink deep into my breast. Childless myself, I fain would spare the child of another. (To Florestein) What proofs have you of this?

Florestein: (pointing to his friends) My witnesses are here, who all can swear they saw it on her neck.

Florestein's Friends: We can.

Count: Still does my mind misgive me. (To Arline, in a kind tone) My wish is to establish your innocence. Explain this matter to me and without fear.

Arline: That medallion was given to me by the Queen of the tribe to which I belong. How it came into her possession, I know not. But a light breaks in upon me ... I see it all ... I chanced to incur her displeasure; and to revenge herself upon me, she has laid for me this shameless snare, into which I have innocently fallen, and of which I have become the victim. (She hides her face in her hands, weeping.)

Count: (with a struggle) I believe your tale, and from my heart I pity the inexperience which has led to the ruin of one, who seems above the grade of those she herds with; but in the fulfillment of duty I must compromise the feelings of nature, and I am forced to deliver you into the hands of Justice.

Arline: (to the Count) To you, my earthly, to Him, my heavenly Judge, I reassert my innocence. I may be accused, but will not be degraded, and from the infamy with which I am unjustly threatened, thus I free myself.

(She draws a dagger from beneath her scard, and is about to stab herself, when Count Arnheim rushes forward, seizes her arm, and wrests the dagger from her.)

Count
Hold! hold!
We cannot give the life we take,
Nor reunite the heart we break,
nor reunite the heart we break!
(He takes Arline's hand, and suddenly perceives the scar on her arm.)
What visions, what visions round me rise,
And cloud with the mists of the past mine eyes?
That mark! Those features! and thy youth!
(dragging Arline forward, and in great agitation)
My very life hangs on thy truth.
How came that mark? how came that mark?

Arline
(recollecting Thaddeus's words)
Ere on my head
My sixth sun had its radiance shed,
A wild deer, who had lain at bay,
Pursued by hunters, cross'd my way,
(almost forgetting)
a wild deer cross'd my way,
(recollects again, and smiles)
My tender form, by his antler gored,
An humble youth to my home,
to my home restor'd.
The tale he but this day confess'd
And is near at hand to relate the rest,
to relate the rest.

(Here a tumult is heard, and Thaddeus, having escaped from those who confined him, breaks into the room, and rushes into the arms of Arline. The Count, on seeing him, reels back. General excitement prevails.)

Count
With the force of fear and hope
My feelings have to cope!

Arline
(approaching the Count and pointing to Thaddeus, who starts on beholding him.)
'Tis he the danger brav'd
'Tis he my life who saved, my life who saved!

Count
(seizing Arline in his arms in a transport of joy)
Mine own, my long-lost child!
Oh, seek not to control
This frantic joy, this wild
Delirium of my soul!
Bound in a father's arms,
And pillow'd on his breast,
Bid all those wild alarms
That assail'd thy feelings, rest!
Mine own, my long-lost child!
Oh, seek not to control
This frantic joy, this wild
Delirium of my soul.
this wild delirium of my soul,
this wild delirium of my soul, of my soul!

(The Count clasps Arline to his heart; kisses her head, hands and hair, shedding tears of joy. Arline, bewildered, starts from the Count and runs to Thaddeus.)

Arline
Speak, speak! this shaken frame,
This doubt, this torture, see!
My hopes, my very life, my fame
Depend on thee!

Thaddeus
(aside, pointing to Count Arnheim, with deep emotion)
Dear as thou long hast been,
Dear as thou long wilt be,
Mourn'd as this passing scene
Will be thro'life to me,
Tho' this heart, and none other
like mine can adore thee.
(aloud)
Yet thou art not deceiv'd,
'tis thy father, 'tis thy father,
/ 'tis thy father, before thee!
|
| Arline
| (staggers, and then rushes into the Count's arms)
| Oh, Heav'n!
|
| Florestein and Chorus
| Oh, Heav'n!
|
| Devilshoof
| (suddenly emerging from the crowd, trying to drag Thaddeus away)
\ All's o'er!

/ Arline and Florestein
| Praised be the will of Heaven,
| Whose light o'er me/them smiled,
| And whose bounty has given
| A father his child!
| Praised be the will of Heaven,
| Whose light o'er me/them smiled,
| And whose bounty has given
| A father, a father his child,
| a father his child, a father his child!
|
| Thaddeus
| Though from this bosom riven,
| That heart is beguiled,
| The bereavement hath given
| The father his child!
| Though from this bosom riven,
| That heart is beguiled,
| The bereavement hath given
| The father, the father his child,
| the father his child, a father his child!
|
| Count and Chorus
| Praised be the will of Heaven,
| Whose pure light upon me/them smiled,
| And whose bounty thus hath given
| To a father fond his child!
| Yes, praised be the will of Heaven,
| praised be the will of Heaven,
| And whose bounty thus hath given
| To a father fond his child!
| Yes, praised be the will of Heaven,
| who hath given to a father fond his child!
|
| Devilshoof
| Better to go now ere driven,
| Than forever be reviled,
| For Heav'n's bounty thus hath given
| To a father fond his child!
| Yes, better to go now ere driven,
| Than forever be reviled,
| For Heav'n's bounty thus hath given
| To a father fond his child!
| Yes, better to go now ere driven,
\ Than forever, than forever be revil'd!

[start cut, Kreuz edition]

/ Devilshoof
| Better be off at once,
| than remain to be revil'd, revil'd,
| better go at once than here remain,
| than here remain to be revil'd!
|
| All Others
| Praised be Heav'n, praised be Heav'n,
| who hath given to a father fond his child,
\ a father fond his child!

[end cut, Kreuz edition]

/ Devilshoof
| Better to go at once, to go at once,
| better to go at once, than be revil'd,
| come, come, come, come,
| come, come, come, come!
|
| All Others
| Praised be Heav'n, praised be Heav'n, be Heav'n,
| praised be Heav'n, praised be Heav'n, be Heav'n,
\ praised be Heav'n, praised be Heav'n!

[End of Act II.]


The Bohemian Girl: Index | Characters | Act I | Act II, scene 1 2 3 4 | Act III | Notes

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February 19, 1999