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Figaro. Elle vient de s'émanciper.1

Bartholo. Qui te parle à toi, maître fripon?

Le Comte. Mademoiselle est noble et belle; je suis homme de qualité, jeune et riche; elle est ma femme: à 5 ce titre qui nous honore également, prétend-on me la disputer?

Bartholo. Jamais on ne l'ôtera de mes mains.

Le Comte. Elle n'est plus en votre pouvoir. Je la

mets sous l'autorité des lois; et monsieur, que vous avez

10 amené vous-même, la protégera contre la violence que vous

voulez lui faire. Les vrais magistrats sont les soutiens de

tous ceux qu'on opprime.2

L'alcade. Certainement. Et cette inutile résistance au plus honorable mariage indique assez sa frayeur sur la 15 mauvaise administration des biens de sa pupille, dont il faudra qu'il rende compte.

Le Comte. Ah! qu'il consente à tout, et je ne lui demande rien.

Figaro. Que la quittance de mes cent écus; ne per20 dons pas la tête.

Bartholo, irrité. Ils étaient tous contre moi. . . je me suis fourré la tête dans un guêpier!

Bazile. Quel guêpier? Ne pouvant avoir la femme, calculez, docteur, que l'argent vous reste, eh oui, vous reste. 25 Bartholo. Eh! laissez-moi donc en repos, Bazile! Vous ne songez qu'à l'argent. Je me soucie bien de l'argent, moi! A la bonne heure, je le garde,3 mais croyezvous que ce soit le motif qui me détermine? (Ilsigne!)

Figaro, riant. Ah! ah! ah! monseigneur, ils sont de 30 la même famille.

Le Notaire. Mais messieurs, je n'y comprends plus rien. Est-ce qu'elles ne sont pas deux demoiselles qui portent le même nom?

Figaro. Non, monsieui, elles ne sont qu'une.

Bartholo, se désolant. Et moi qui leur ai enlevé l'é- S chelle pour que le mariage fût plus sûr! Ah! je me suis perdu faute de soins.

Figaro. Faute de sens. Mais soyons vrais, docteur: quand la jeunesse et l'amour sont d'accord pour tromper un vieillard, tout ce qu'il fait pour l'empêcher peut bien 10 s'appeler à bon droit La Précaution Inutile.

NOTES

TITLE-PAGE.

Note 1. tombée. Beaumarchais insisted that this mention of the fate of the play on its first night (for which see Introduction, § in) should be made on the title-page of its printed form, published in the same year, 1775, but n°t before the Barbier. somewhat modified it is true, had recovered from the failure of the first performance, and had been applauded to the skies. The same vein of mingled pride and satire is discernible in the quotation which Beaumarchais used as an epigraph.

PERSONNAGES.

The detailed instructions which Beaumarchais thought fit to append to his list of dramatis persona, with regard to the costumes to be worn by each of the actors, are here purposely omitted as purely technical, and adding nothing to the general understanding or interest of the play.

Note 1. vieux. Note the humorous antithesis between the names of the servants and their physical characteristics.

ACT I.

Page 3. 1 croisées, still used of windows, because of the cross formed by the horizontal and vertical divisions which usually make four or more lights of the total aperture.

2 jalousie, used for a screen or blind, by a not-infrequent transference of meaning from the purpose for which a thing is made to the thing itself. Cf. comjort, i. e. a warm bed-covering designed for comfort, and also such familiar words as a tidy, a cosy, etc. — Many

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houses in Spain have second-story balconies completely surrounded by substantial metal screens that can be either thrown open like gates, or slanted like Venetian blinds. These screens serve the two-fold purpose of protecting those behind them from the sun, and of preventing access to the balconies from outside. Against possible Romeos, the latter use would well serve the cause of jealousy.

3 Isabella of Castile having been bom in 1451 and died in 1504, the reference to her has the force of: in the old days of romance and chivalry.

4 Seville. The Parisian's complacent contempt for la province appears in the Count's apology for the desertion of the capital, Madrid, for this provincial town.

5 convenance, often mistranslated convenience, really fitness. Un mariage de convenance is one that makes no pretence to be a lovematch, but in which the pecuniary or social position of the two families is such that their members may with "fitness" be united in marriage.

Page 4. 1 en bandoulière, lit. like a shoulder-strap, i. e., slung over one shoulder and under the opposite arm. Cf. en sautoir, P. 9, 1. II, lit. like a neck-strap, used of anything carried round the neck, either like a long watch-chain, or like a knapsack, even though the straps of the latter, instead of going round the neck, are turned down over the shoulders and under both arms.

2 hein ! hein ! always has an implied interrogation, something like our "eh?" It should be variously translated. Here the force is :... pretty good, isn't it! P. 5,1 17: What do you say to that! Cf. Vous viendrez, hein? You'll be there. won't you? The exclamation is purely colloquial.

3 se disputer, to fight for, is a noteworthy expression, the construction of which should be remembered. It takes the dat. of the epponent, and the ace. of the prize. E. g., Je lui ai disputé la victoire.

4 Dit-on, is it good French to say ..? On dit and ... se dit, are the two forms by which this meaning is expressed in French. The last words attributed to the celebrated French grammarian Vaugelas (1585-1650) axe Je m'en vais ou je m'en vas, car Pun et Vautre se dit ou te disent.

5 opéras comiques. Beaumarchais set but little store by the

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