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But I don't want this! I can attend to my own
needs, at my convenience.

FiFI.

You keep still! You can't imagine how extraor-
dinarily striking you'll look with your arm in a
sling. . . . Everybody asking you: "What's this?
What's this?" and you, curling your mustache:
"Oh, nothing, nothing. A present from that rascally
Fifi!" . . . And you won't be telling a lie! . . .
[She laughs, and for a moment Gastone himself cannot
help laughing.] What wouldn't I give to be there
when you say that! . . .

Nenne.

[Laughing as she prepares the various articles
for the operation^ arraying them upon three
chairs ranged in a row.]

Ah! How beautiful!

Gastone.

[Looking impatiently at his watch, raises his
eyes desparingly to the ceiling. Aside.]

If good Saint Anthony would only do me the
favor of sending their mother after them!

Fifi.

What's that?



I02 Gastone the Animal Tamer

Gastone.
After all, you ought to remember that your
mother must be anxious. . . .

Nenne.
That will make a fine opportunity to talk French!

Gastone.

FiFi AND Nenne.
Surely! When mamma is greatly excited she
always talks French! . . . [They laugh.] She was
educated at Geneva.

Gastone.

Yes, yes. But if I were in your shoes, I'd give
a serious — a really serious — thought to my
affairs. [Looks again at his watch, then puts it up
to his ear.]

FiFi AND Nenne.

[Still busy with their medical preparations.]

Why?

Gastone.

It doesn't seem to occur to you that some one
may have seen you come this way.

FiFi and Nenne.
Impossible! Utterly impossible!

Gastone.
That's what you say!



Gastone the Animal Tamer 103

FiFI.

Never you mind. There's no use in your trying to
scare us. I refuse to surrender the pleasure of send-
ing you about with this marvellous bandage that
I'm making for you. Stop looking at that watch!
Come here! You'll see what a wonderful bandage
we have for you inside of five minutes!

Nenne.
Right away. Well, we're waiting for you.

FiFI.

Give your arm here.

Gastone.

[Resigned.]

Very well. Here you are.

FiFI.

[Rolling up Ms sleeves to the elbow and holding
his arm over the hasin.]

The sublimate.

Nenne.

[On the point of getting it, when she stops in
admiration.]
How beautiful! It looks exactly like that arm
the monks had us copy this year. Isn't that so, Fifi?

FiFI,

[Following with her thumh^ the outlines of the
muscles and examining the arm from all
sides.]
In every detail!



I04 Gastone the Animal Tamer

Gastone.
Ah! This is really charming!

FiFI.

Never you mind. You may well be proud. It was
a copy of the statue of David!

Gastone.
Ah! The famous David of Raphael!

FiFi AND Nenne. •
No! Of Michelangelo! !

Gastone.
Right you are! I'm always confusing those
fellows. They were both of them such fine chaps!
. . . But what are you doing? I don't want any of
that vile smelling stuff!

FiFi AND Nenne.
Iodoform! You've got to! The devil! Leave these
matters to persons who know! If it doesn't smell a
little nobody '11 believe it's a dangerous wound!

Gastone.
That doesn't make a particle of difference to me!

FiFI.

You're wrong.

Nenne.

Just a little, little bit. There! So! [Gastone looks
helplessly at the ceiling and then at his watch.]



Gastone the Animal Tamer 105

FiFI.

Now the cotton. [Nenne fetches a great quantity
of cotton.]

Gastone.

Eh? Why you've got a mattress there!

FiFI.

It's necessary! You'll see what a bandage that'll
be!

Nenne.

[Winds a long roll of gauze around his arm.]
Just take a look at that !

FiFI.

That isn't good at all! [Takes the roll of gauze.]
Here! This is the way.

Gastone.
My hand, too?

FiFI.

Of course! It'll look better.

Nenne.
It'll be more interesting.

FiFI.

You'll see what a demonstration you'll receive
tomorrow evening !

Nenne.

[Snatching the roll of gauze
No not like that! I tell you that's not the way!



io6 Ga stone the Animal Tamer

FlFI.

And I say it is!

Nenne.
It isn't!

FiFI.

It is!

Nenne.

It isn't! [Alternately they snatch the roll of gauze
Old of each other^s grasp.]

Gastone.

[Listening.]
Hush!

FiFi AND Nenne.

Eh? What is it? Good Lord! [The roll falls to the
ground.]

Gastone.

Sh! [In a low voice.] The dog's growling. Some
stranger is approaching. . . .

FiFi and Nenne.

[Clasping each other.]
Oh, Lord!

Gastone.

Your mother, perhaps. . . . The footsteps are
coming from this direction [He indicates the left]
so that I'd advise you to escape at once that way.
[Points to the door at the right.]

FiFI.

Escape? Impossible, signor Trainer! Our legs
wouldn't stir. . . . Hide us!



Gastone the Animal Tamer 107

Nenne.
Yes, yes!

Gastone.
This is maddening!

[Suddenly Fiji runs to the switch and turns off
the electric light.]

Nenne.
What are you doing?

Gastone.
What are you up to, confound it all!

Nenne.
You're making matters worse, I tell you.

FlFI.

No! If they see it's dark, they won't know.
Because they'll be sure that we're not here.

Nenne.
But suppose they saw the light before. . . •

FiFI.

Then this gentleman will certainly find a way to
hide us. . . .

Gastone.

So! You think so, do you? Well, instead, I'll
throw the door wide open to your mother! And
I'll shout my innocence, and be well believed!
You'll see. ...



io8 Gastone the Animal Tamer

A Woman's Voice.

Gastone! [After an instant of surprise, the sides,
psychologically speaking, are reversed. Gastone is
astounded, while the two young ladies are seized with
a mad desire to dance.]

FiFI.

[To Gastone.]
You have a caller! [Laughs.]

Gastone.

[Rolling his eyes, threatening with his finger^
and speaking with a stifled voice.]

That watch was tampered with! It's half -past
eleven !

FiFI.

[Quickly.]
Then it's the butcher! [Nenne bursts into laughter.]

Gastone.

[With wild gestures demanding silence.]
Sh!

The Voice.

[Somewhat louder.]
Gastone!

FiFi AND Nenne.

And now? Where are you going to put us?

Gastone.

[Beyond himself.]

I'm going to send you off! All the worse for you.
. • . It's your fault if you're found here. I did my



Gastone the Animal Tamer 109

best to get you out in time. . . . Now I'm going
out to see this lady. In the meantime, make your
escape by gliding along the side of the wagon.
The dog is held in a short leash, so there's no fear
on that score.

The Voice.

[Louder and impatient.]
Gastone!

Gastone.

[Trying to impart sweet accents to a voice
quivering with excitement.]

Oh! I am here. . . dear. . . .

The Voice.
Were you asleep? And this dog? . . •

Gastone.
He's tied. Come nearer. . . .

The Voice.

[Drawing near.]

Ah! Beneath your window . , . by the light of
the moon. . . . Do you want me to sing you a
serenade? . . .

Gastone.

You look so beautiful, all black in the white
shimmer of the moon! [He makes signs to the two
girls to escape.]

The Voice.

Have you become a poet?



no Gastone the Animal Tamer

Gastone.

[At his wits^ end.]

Indeed! [Makes new signs, as above, hut in vain.
Fiji and Nenne clasp each other by the hand and com-
municate (heir impressions by means of repeated
pressures and stifled shrieks.]

FiFI.

Is it she?

Nenne.

Can't you hear? It's she!

FiFI.

[Scornfully.]

Always she.

Nenne,
Disgusting.

FiFI.

She, all the time.

The Voice.
But what are you doing with your hand behind
there?

Gastone.

[Taking advantage of the moment to glare at
Fifi and Nenne.]
Nothing, nothing. I was bandaging a hand. . . .
[Cuts the gauze, holds his head stiff then makes a vain
effort to pull back his coat sleeve,]

The Voice.
Did you hurt yourself? I must see.



Gastone the Animal Tamer iii

Gastone.

No, no! Stay there yet a moment. You are so
beautiful! [Renews his desperate signalling to Fiji
and Nenne.]

FiFI.

"So beautiful!" Yes, we know her! So well done
up, he means!

Nenne.

She weighs as much as both of us put together.
What can a man do with all that tonnage?

FiFI.

You think she's really a baroness!

Nenne.
She was a nursemaid!

FiFI.

She married her employer.

Nenne.
And then she made him die of a broken heart!

FiFI.

That's the kind of woman you love!

Nenne.
And if you ever heard the stories they tell of her!

FiFI.

She makes a specialty of aviators! [Gastone,
during this episode, has been making the most
desperate gestures.]



112 Gastone the Animal Tamer

FiFI AND NeNNE.

Yes, yes. We're going. Our best regards. Our
compliments! [They leave.]

[Gastotie cannot restrain a deep sigh of relief.]

The Voice.
What's the matter?

Gastone.
I gaze upon you . . . and I sigh !

The Voice.
But have you really become a poet?

Gastone.

My treasure! My fairest! Do you know, that
was really a queer idea of yours. . . .

The Voice.
To wish to come here?

Gastone.

Yes, in this circus wagon. I'm a bit upset. . . .
I swear to you. ... I couldn't believe that letter!

The Voice.
Silly boy! Open the door!

Gastone.

[Running to the door at the right]
It's open. Come in. [He presses her hands in his.]
Angelica! [He leads her in.]



Gastone the Animal Tamer 113

Angelica.

What mystery! [Looking about the moonlit room.]
How happy I am that I came here! I never had
such a rare experience!

Gastone.

[Offended.]
So that I owe my good fortune to the whim of a
baroness who wishes to experience. . . .

Angelica.
No, no! You big baby! [Gives him a playful slap.]

Gastone.
If I were one of those men who lives in a brick

house. . . .

Angelica.

No, no, no! There! You would be just as hand-
some. . . . [About to kiss him.]

Gastone.

You mean it? [Ready to kiss her.]

[Through the doorway may he caught a glimpse
of Fifij who, at the propitious moment,
quickly reaches in and turns on the electric
light. The kiss comes to nothing.]

Angelica.

\With a little cry, turns around.]

Gastone.
[His eyes wide open, so as to discover the reason.]
The light went on of its own accord.



114 Gastone the Animal Tamer

Angelica.
No, no! I heard the switch turn very plainly.

Gastone.

[Goes to the door and investigates.]
It must have been some mischievous urchin. , . ,.

Angelica.
Close the door.

Gastone.

[As he closes the door.]
They're regular devils!

Angelica.

It was so sweet and romantic in that mysterious
light!

Gastone.

That's easily managed ! [Turns off the light and then
conies to her with open arms.]

Angelica.

They gave me such a fright. . . . [She sits down
upon the cot.]

Gastone.

Fright? [Caressing her, he takes out her hatpin,
removes her hat, and sits down beside her, placing his
arm about her waist.]

Angelica.
Terrible !

Gastone.

With Gastone the tamer at your side?



Gastone the Animal Tamer 115

Angelica.

[Holding his arm.]
What a clumsy bandage! I didn't notice it before!
. . . And what an odor of chemicals! You've hurt
yourself very badly. . . .

Gastone.

[Uncertainly.]
Oh! Nothing much. ... A mere trifle. . . .

Angelica.

But how did it happen? ... It couldn't have
been a wild beast ... for instance?

Gastone.
Er . . . that's it exactly, — a wild beast! . . .

Angelica.

A wild beast! ... A tiger? Fifi? That terrible
Fifi? And to think I wasn't there? Ah! Why
didn't I come to this evening's performance?
[Stroking his shoulders.] And these are sc atches. . . .
She inflicted them! . . . Ah! . . .Tell me. . . .
What a fine sight it must have been! What a won-
derful success you must have scored! Tell me. . . .
Tell me all about it. . .

Gastone.

Er . . . well. . . . She sprang for my neck. . .
with the most wicked intentions!

Angelica.
And then? [Eagerly.]



ii6 Gastone the Animal Tamer

Gastone.

And then, I side-stepped her and struck with the
whip across the eyes. . .

Angelica.
Dear me! And then? [With growing excitement.]

Gastone.
I left the cage!

Angelica.

[Disappointed.]
Is that all?

Gastone.

What else was I to do?

Angelica.
How clumsy you fellows are at telling a story!

Gastone.
Who?

Angelica.

Yes! You're all alike! The same as the aviators.
You'd imagine they were telling you what they
had for breakfast!

Gastone.

Ah! That's so, is it?

Angelica.

Yes, it is so! And the ones who do tell a story
well . . . are the fellows who've never made a
flight.

Gastone.

Do you know many of them? . . . They say. . . .



Gastone the Animal Tamer 117

Angelica.

Oh, dear! Are you jealous? Don't worry, for in
this moment, battered and torn as you are, con-
queror of Fifi, I wouldn't swap you for the entire
French aerial fleet ! [She throws her arms around his
neck.]

[A handful of pebbles comes rattling in through
the window and falls with a loud racket into
the basin. This kiss, too, fails.]

Angelica.

[Shrieks again.]
Gastone.

[Gets up, furious.]

By the living God ! This is too much !

Angelica.
I can't understand it!

Gastone.

[Going to the door.]

Those confounded ragamuflBus! They're as
treacherous as cats!

Angelica.

But those ragamuffins of yours are experts at
choosing the right moment!

Gastone.

Just let me step out for a second with my whip !
Wait! [Turns on the light and leaves by the right door,
whip in hand.]



ii8 Gastone the Animal Tamer

[The snapping of the whip is heard together
with the trainer^ s heavy footsteps upon the
sand path. Angelica peers through the
window when all of a sudden Fifi and Nenne
come running in through the door at the
right.]

Fifi and Nenne.

[In confusion.]

Baroness! Baroness del Branco! We saw you
come in ! We've come to ask you for help !

i

Angelica.

[Turning around, at first frightened and then
overwhelmed with confusion.]

Eh? Ah! Help?

Fifi and Nenne.
Yes, help. You can save us! You must save us!

Angelica.
But. . . . Yes, but how. . . .

Fifi.

Mother's looking for us . . . over land and
sea. • • •

Nenne.

We took a long walk all by ourselves along the
beach.

Fifi.

You know we're a tiny bit wild.



Gastone the Animal Tamer 119

Angelica.
Oh! . . . You're such darUng Rttle things!

FiFI.

Yes, but mother doesn't think so. And we're
afraid to go back home alone!

Nenne.
You accompany us back! Be a good dear!

Angelica.

[Composing herself with an effort]
Oh! If it's only that. . . .

FiFI.

You'll tell her that we were all out walking
together. . . .

Nenne.

And then mother'll have nothing to scold us for!
Be a good dear!

Angelica.

[Anything hut delighted.]

Certainly! With pleasure! . . . Especially as my
duty here is accomplished. . . .

FiFI.

Excuse me for asking, but. . . . What duty?

Angelica.

[Now complete mistress of herself, with the
most tender air, pointing to the seats upon



I20 Gas tone the Animal Tamer

which the articles from the medicine chest
have been left standing.]

Can't you see? Nurse duty!

Fltl AND NeNNE.

Oh!

Angelica.
Didn't you hear the news?

FiFI.

No!

Angelica.

Then you weren't to the circus this evening?

FiFI.

No!

Nenne.
No!

Angelica.

The animal-tamer Gastone had a very narrow
escape !

FiFi and Nenne.
Really?

Angelica.

That terrible Fifi leaped at his neck to tear him
to pieces. A cold wave of terror passed over the
multitude. I had to shut my eyes. Suddenly we
beheld him, bleeding but smiling. . . .

Fifi and Nenne.
[Unable to restrain their laughter.]
Oh, dear! Really?



Gastone the Animal Tamer 121

Angelica.

And safe, yes, safe! Oh, what a moment was
that! [Growing excited.] I'll never forget it if I live
to be a hundred ! They carried him here in triumph !
He was a real hero! Oh!

FiFI.

And the wound?

Angelica.
His wrist. The blood spurted. . . . Ugh! How
that blood spurted . . . yet he absolutely refused
to have it treated. ... At last, however, we per-
suaded him. ...

Gastone.
[Outside, snapping his whip and grumbling.]
Where could those wretches have hidden. . . .
[Enters and stands as if transfixed.] What !

FiFI.

This gentleman, if I am not mistaken, is the
animal-trainer Gastone !

Nenne.
Yes, yes!

Angelica.

Indeed it is. The triumphant tamer who gave a
lesson to his rebellious beast. I believe. . . .

FiFI.

Permit me to clasp your hand!



122 Gastone the Animal Tamer

Nenne.
Me, too! [Angelica puts on her hat before the
mirror.]

FiFI.

We have just learned from the Baroness del Branco
what a narrow escape you had, and of the wound
you sustained in your arm. . . . Allow us to offer
you our heartiest congratulations!

Nenne.
Our sincerest felicitations!

FiFI.

No one could have treated you better than the
Baroness!

Angelica..

Oh! I am happy to have done what httle I
could. . . .

FiFI.

[Insinuatingly.]
You would have liked to do far more!

Gastone.

[Amazed.]
What, what? Are you leaving? . . .

FiFI.

We must be getting home directly. And the
Baroness, in her usual gracious manner, is accom-
panying us.

Gastone.

Ah! . . .



Gastone the Animal Tamer 123

FiFI.

[Standing aside.]
Lead the way, Baroness!

Nenne.

[At the other side of the Baroness.]
Lead the way!

[Angelica, as she leaves, hows to Gastone, who
looks daggers at her.]

FiFI.



You first.

Nenne.



[To Nenne.]



[To Gastone.]



Till we meet again!

FiFI.

Till we meet again!

[Gastone, bursting with rage, allows them to
leave without returning their greetings. As
the women's voices die away, he strides in
from the threshold. Red in the face, his
fists tightly clenched, he begins to pace to and
fro in his room, with long steps, like a caged
Hon.]

FiFI.

[Reappearing.]
Will you ever tell me again that I'm not a woman?
[With the roar of a wild beast Gastone dashes to the door,
— Fifi escapes.]

Curtain.



SABATINO LOPEZ

(1867- )

Sabatino Lopez belongs to the intellectual group
of modern Italian dramatists; born at Leghorn in
the same year as Pirandello he is, Hke the noted
Sicihan, a scholarly spirit who has been engaged as
teacher, critic and writer of hvely fiction; for a time
he succeeded the widely known dramatist Marco
Praga as president of the Authors' Society of Milan
and for ten years served as dramatic critic upon the
Genoese monthly, II Secolo XIX.

Unhke so many of his confreres he is of a dis-
tinctly cosmopolitan outlook in his numerous plays;
his work has been hkened, for its various qualities,
to the dramas of Dumas, of Hervieu, and of his
countrymen Butti and Giacosa, yet comparison with
the last-named playwright (which has gained cur-
rency through the few inadequate lines accorded
Lopez in Tonelli's '' L'Evoluzione del teatro con-
temporaneo in Italia") tends to obscure Lopez's
personal traits. A fuller and more accurate view is
that presented by Guido Ruberti in his ''II teatro
contemporaneo in Europa" — a voluminous work
which is more trustworthy for its long chapters upon
the French and the Italian drama of recent days
than for its uneven considerations of the play in
other nations of Europe.



126 Sabatino Lopez



Lopez '' represents among us," writes Ruberti,
"that theatre which no longer is serious and which
is not yet comic. . . . The most conspicuous char-
acteristic of his work is, indeed, that frank wit of the
Tuscan spirit which in every age has given to art its
most exquisite and bizarre minds — that inde-
finable humor which was upon the Hps of the Floren-
tine rogue and the Pisan mercer, as sharp as a rapier-
thrust and as pungent as truth." Like so much
modern laughter in all the tongues, that of Lopez has
a source of tears; he is not intent upon morahzing,
preaching or philosopliizing, although his conception
of Hfe recognizes the "dramatic contrast between
the frailty of the flesh — a prey to passion that knows
neither check nor law — and the supreme effort of
the spirit, conscious of its lofty moral duties."
Particularly applicable to the play by which he is
here represented is the latter citation; Maria's
punishment does not arise so much from any arbi-
trary imposition of a social prejudice as from her own
momentary violation of a moral law in which she
herself implicitly believes.

At bottom Lopez is a skeptic and an ironist;
though he began as an avowed follower of the bitter
truth — the theory of impassability connected with
the "theatre cruel" of which he was early a disciple
— he became in the course of his writing a lover of
the paradox which reveals that truth. His courte-
sans are often women fundamentally superior to
their more "moral" sisters (Ninetta); true love is
often forced to forego wedlock {II terzo marito);



Sabatino Lopez 127

unselfish devotion is victimized by its own goodness
{La nostra pelle); masculine ugliness finds it possible,
by making a virtue of necessity and boldly creating
an advantage out of a defect, to win more attention
from the women than do the handsome fops (II
hrutto e le helle). The play just named, it is interesting
to note, has recently been adapted for performance
in English, with Leo Dietrichstein in the role of the
ugly banker who has in him a touch of the Cyrano.
There is much, then, of the Gallic in Lopez; in
La morale die corre Ruberti discovers 'Hhe Italian
type of the comedie rosse, of the audacious paradoxes
dear to Ancey and to Wolff, filtered through an
Italian mind that is all Hght and sentiment." If
Lopez is not a dramatist of the first order he is easily
one of the secondary personages who must be
studied for a complete knowledge of the Italian
theatre of today.



PERSONS
Maria Lodoli Cecchino

SiGNORA AlBINI LiSA

Lieutenant Graziani Anna

A Little Boy of Two Years



THE SPARROW

Scene : A room on the ground floor of a villetta in
Varesotto. It is four o'clock of an afternoon in autumn.
Signora Alhini is knitting for the soldiers. Anna is
reading. Lisa is running her fingers lightly over the
keyboard of the piano, now and then striking a heavier
chord.

Signora Albini.

[Laying her work aside.]
Well, that's enough for the present. [To Anna,
who has shut her hook.] Have you finished your book
already?

Anna.

No, not finished. But I don't feel like reading any
more.

Signora Albini.
Do you hke it, though?

Anna.
I really couldn't say. I read and read, and don't
understand a word of what Fm reading. My mind's
elsewhere. And your knitting?

Signora Albini.

I'll get back to it this evening. Have you got
everything ready in there?

129



I30 The Sparrow

Anna.
All ready.

SiGNORA AlBINI.

I mean, shall we receive him there or here? Lisa,
please. Stop that playing for a moment. I can't
hear. . . . Very well, we'll manage things. It all
depends on how much haste we'll have to make.

[Silence.]
Anna.
What's the time?

Lisa.

Time enough. Time enough. Don't you fear.
He'll come. With military punctuality.

Anna.

What's that got to do with it? Punctuality! He
didn't specify. He simply wrote that he'd be here in
the afternoon. The miUtary punctuahty is your own
contribution. I was simply asking what time it was.

Lisa.

[With a faint smile.]

You either don't remember or aren't at all aware of
it, but it's the third time you've asked that question
within twenty minutes. And you've also wanted to
read the letter over again, to make sure that it
really meant today, and that you hadn't mistaken
the date. Yes, indeed. It's today. Won't you tell
me why you're so impatient, and nervous?

SiGNORA AlBINI.

First explain why you are.



The Sparrow 131

Lisa.
Why I am?

SiGNORA AlBINI.

Yes. You want to appear calm, but you're not.

Anna.
Good for mother!

Lisa.

I, impatient and nervous? When, indeed?

SiGNORA AlBJNI.

Ordinarily, no. Today, yes. You're in suspense.
Just as much on edge as we. You're waiting, and
whoever waits is never absolutely calm. The best
you can manage is to resign yourself to a delay; but
if he were not to show up, you'd suffer a terrible
disappointment.

Lisa.

Because he's sent word that he's coming.

SiGNORA AlBINI.

Naturally. If you didn't know that he was sup-
posed to come . . . ! Every arrival of a new person
is a proper reason for curiosity. This time it's a
person that's almost unknown to us, yet dear to us
just the same.

Anna.

And add that he's young.

SiGNORA AlBINI.

Yes, but something more. Add rather that we
have trembled for him. Ours isn't a vain, gossiping



132 The Sparrow

curiosity. It's a quivering curiosity. We have seen
him only in his bandages; we know his face but little,
and we have never heard him speak, so that all we
have to remember him by is a timid smile.

Lisa.

That's the very reason why I can't understand the
fuss you're maldng. I admit I'd be glad to have a
look at him. But I'm not a-tremble like you.

SiGNORA AlBINI.

Now don't play the brave, strong woman, for you


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