The Gondoliers

   

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Dialogue following No. 9


At the end of the song, Don Alhambra enters at back. The Gondoliers and Contadine shrink from him, and gradually go off, much alarmed.

Giuseppe. And now our lives are going to begin in real earnest! What's a bachelor? A mere nothing — he's a chrysalis. He can't be said to live — he exists.

Marco. What a delightful institution marriage is! Why have we wasted all this time? Why didn't we marry ten years ago?

Tessa. Because you couldn't find anybody nice enough.

Gianetta. Because you were waiting for us.

1926 Production
Click on picture to enlarge

Marco. I suppose that was the reason. We were waiting for you without knowing it. (Don Alhambra comes forward.) Hallo!

Don Alhambra. Good morning.

Giuseppe. If this gentleman is an undertaker it's a bad omen.

Don Alhambra. Ceremony of some sort going on?

Giuseppe. (aside) He is an undertaker! (aloud) No — a little unimportant family gathering. Nothing in your line.

Don Alhambra. Somebody's birthday, I suppose?

Gianetta. Yes, mine!

Tessa. And mine!

Marco. And mine!

Giuseppe. And mine!

Don Alhambra. Curious coincidence! And how old may you all be?

Tessa. It's a rude question —but about ten minutes.

 

1919 Production
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Don Alhambra. Remarkably fine children! But surely you are jesting?

Tessa. In other words, we were married about ten minutes since.

Don Alhambra. Married! You don't mean to say you are married?

Marco. Oh yes, we are married.

Don Alhambra. What, both of you?

All. All four of us.

Don Alhambra. (aside) Bless my heart, how extremely awkward!

Gianetta. You don't mind, I suppose?

Tessa. You were not thinking of either of us for yourself, I presume? Oh, Giuseppe, look at him — he was. He's heart-broken!

Don Alhambra. No, no, I wasn't! I wasn't!

Giuseppe. Now, my man (slapping him on the back), we don't want anything in your line to-day, and if your curiosity's satisfied — you can go!

Don Alhambra. You mustn't call me your man. It's a liberty. I don't think you know who I am.

Giuseppe. Not we, indeed! We are jolly gondoliers, the sons of Baptisto Palmieri, who led the last revolution. Republicans, heart and soul, we hold all men to be equal. As we abhor oppression, we abhor kings: as we detest vain-glory, we detest rank: as we despise effeminacy, we despise wealth. We are Venetian gondoliers — your equals in everything except our calling, and in that at once your masters and your servants.

Don Alhambra. Bless my heart, how unfortunate! One of you may be Baptisto's son, for anything I know to the contrary; but the other is no less a personage than the only son of the late King of Barataria.

All. What!

Don Alhambra. And I trust — I trust it was that one who slapped me on the shoulder and called me his man!

Giuseppe. One of us a king!
Marco. Not brothers!
Tessa. The King of Barataria!
Gianetta. Well, who'd have thought it!
(Together)

Marco. But which is it?

Don Alhambra. What does it matter? As you are both Republicans, and hold kings in detestation, of course you'll abdicate at once. Good morning! (Going.)

Gianetta & Tessa. Oh, don't do that! (Marco and Giuseppe stop him.)

Giuseppe. Well, as to that, of course there are kings and kings. When I say that I detest kings, I mean I detest bad kings.

Don Alhambra. I see. It's a delicate distinction.

Giuseppe. Quite so. Now I can conceive a kind of king — an ideal king — the creature of my fancy, you know — who would be absolutely unobjectionable. A king, for instance, who would abolish taxes and make everything cheap, except gondolas —

Marco. And give a great many free entertainments to the gondoliers —

Giuseppe. And let off fireworks on the Grand Canal, and engage all the gondolas for the occasion —

Marco. And scramble money on the Rialto among the gondoliers.

Giuseppe. Such a king would be a blessing to his people, and if I were a king, that is the sort of king I would be.

Marco. And so would I!

Don Alhambra. Come, I'm glad to find your objections are not insuperable.

Marco & Giuseppe. Oh, they're not insuperable.

Gianetta & Tessa. No, they're not insuperable.

Giuseppe. Besides, we are open to conviction.

Gianetta. Yes; they are open to conviction.

Tessa. Oh! they've often been convicted.

Giuseppe. Our views may have been hastily formed on insufficient grounds. They may be crude, ill-digested, erroneous. I've a very poor opinion of the politician who is not open to conviction.

Tessa. (to Gianetta.) Oh, he's a fine fellow!

Gianetta. Yes, that's the sort of politician for my money!

 

Don Alhambra. Then we'll consider it settled. Now, as the country is in a state of insurrection, it is absolutely necessary that you should assume the reins of Government at once; and, until it is ascertained which of you is to be king, I have arranged that you will reign jointly, so that no question can arise hereafter as to the validity of any of your acts.

1932 Production
Click opn picture to enlarge

Marco. As one individual?

Don Alhambra. As one individual.

Giuseppe. (linking himself with Marco) Like this?

Don Alhambra. Something like that.

Marco. And we may take our friends with us, and give them places about the Court?

Don Alhambra. Undoubtedly. That's always done!

Marco. I'm convinced!

Giuseppe. So am I!

Tessa. Then the sooner we're off the better.

Gianetta. We'll just run home and pack up a few things — (going)

Don Alhambra. Stop, stop — that won't do at all — ladies are not admitted.

All. What!

Don Alhambra. Not admitted. Not at present. Afterwards, perhaps. We'll see.

Giuseppe. Why, you don't mean to say you are going to separate us from our wives!

Don Alhambra. (aside) This is very awkward! (aloud) Only for a time — a few months. Alter all, what is a few months?

Tessa. But we've only been married half an hour! (Weeps.)

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