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No. 9: Quartette (Alfredo, Utrice, Teresa and Elvino)

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ALFREDO (to Teresa). Fair maid, take pity on my state!
Look down with eyes compassionate
    On my condition lonely;
  Nor think me too impertinent,
If I implore you to relent,
And my sweet Duchess represent
    On this occasion only!
THERESA. I thank you, sir, but it would be
Presumptuous, indeed, in me
    To personate a Duchess.
  But I know one who’d have a face
To jump at mimicking her Grace;
No compliment seems out of place
    Her vanity that touches.
ULTRICE. D’you mean me, miss?
THERESA.   I mean you, miss,
      All above.
ULTRICE. You’re too free, miss.
THERESA.   Try it, do, miss —
      There’s a love!
ULTRICE. I agree, miss!
THERESA.   That’s explicit:
      Take your ground!
ULTRICE. You shall see, miss.
THERESA.   Wouldn’t miss it
      For a pound.
ULTRICE. Though your spite all bounds surpasses,
    Pay attention, I beseech you.
  Manners of the upper classes
    I shall be most pleased to teach you.
THERESA. Thank you, dear — pray, take your station—
    Malice soon will spread the rumour.
  It will be a personation
    Teeming with unconscious humour!

ENSEMBLE.

ULTRICE. OTHERS.
  Watch me as I take my station,   Watch her as she takes her station,
  Spread about the welcome rumour.   Malice soon will spread the rumour.
  No attempt at provocation   It will be a personation
  Touches my extreme good humour.   Teeming with unconscious humour!

ULTRICE.   Now, look at me,
And you will see
How ladies grand
Present their hand;
  It’s copied from the highest ladies in the land.
THERESA.   I always thought
A lady ought
To walk with grace
And not grimace;
  But that, it’s very evident, is not the case.
ULTRICE.   Then as they walk,
They blandly talk,
And look at us
With eye-glass — thus —
  And what they’ll have for dinner they, perhaps, discuss.
THERESA.   It would appear
They flout and fleer,
Stick up their nose,
Turn in their toes —
  You’re teaching me gratuitously, I suppose?
     
ULTRICE. Then as she takes her place upon the throne that is prepared,
The people bow them to the ground, and every head is bared,
They keep their proper places as she looks them through and through —
THERESA. And I suppose they try to keep their countenances too?
If that is what is called Court etiquette, it’s very plain
The ways of high society I never shall attain;
It seems you must be ill-bred, and as awkward as can be,
Which is ABC to you, my love, but difficult for me.

ULTRICE. OTHERS.
  As that is what is called Court etiquette, it's   If that is what is called Court etiquette, it's
    very plain     very plain
  The ways of high society you never will   The ways of high society I never shall
    attain;     attain;
  It seems you are as ill bred, and as   It seems you must be ill-bred, and as
    awkward as can be,     awkward as can be,
  So it's difficult to you, my love,   Which is A, B, C for you, my love,
    but A, B, C for me.     but difficult for me

Exeunt ELVINO, bowing before ALFREDO and ULTRICE, TERESA following and mimicking ULTRICEs walk and gestures.


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