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Dialogue following No. 16.

MINESTRA. Why, take heart, little one! What ails thee? Come, tell me thy sorrow. I'm an old body now, but time was when I was as young as thou art — and not so long since, either!

TERESA. Oh, mother, mother, I think I am bewitched!

MINESTRA (aside). Here's another!

TERESA. I am as though in a dream! Shall I tell thee? Yes, for thou hast a kindly old face. To serve an unworthy end I must needs feign to be going mad for the love of Alfredo, and so feigning, I fell at his feet. He, thinking I had swooned, in good sooth, placed a wine-cup to my lips, and I drank, and oh, mother, it must have been some love-philtre, for, behold, a wondrous change came over me, and he who was naught to me before became as the very breath of my life!

MINESTRA. Well, the potion has done thee a good service, for he's a good lad, and will make thee a strapping husband.

TERESA. Nay, herein is the mischief of it — it was too late, for he had already given his heart to another, and would none of me, and I, whose very soul is possessed by my love of him, have retained the village fiddler to compose crazy love-songs for me to sing when the occasion ariseth, for I am going mad — mad — mad — and be a girl never so crazy, her songs should be in accordance with the rules of thorough-bass.

MINESTRA. Ha! Now, mark me — that mountebanking fellow is at the bottom of this. Why, he hath also bewitched me!

TERESA. Thou? Thou lovest not Alfredo?

MINESTRA. A fig for Alfredo! Why, look at me, child; I am Minestra!

TERESA (looking at her). Thou Minestra, who was married this morning? Nay, I am mad; but not so mad as that! Minestra is young and rather pretty — not so pretty as I, but still pretty — whereas thou art — oh! I ask pardon — my brain wanders — wanders — wanders!

MINESTRA. I am Minestra, I tell thee. For a purpose — also an unworthy one — I feigned to be an old dame, and so feigning, I drank — and, hang the knave, I am seventy!

TERESA. Thou Minestra? Why, let me look! As I live, it is true! Oh, poor, poor Risotto!

MINESTRA. Even so; thy pity is for him — not for me. No matter. But if I can find this jack- pudding, trust me, I'll make him set matters straight again. Oh, I have as much to regain as thou!

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