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The girls all around me have lovers in plenty,
But I not a sweetheart can get for my life!
For lasses as poor I've known dozens to win;
(Retires up the stage, sobbing, R.
don't propose that I should tow the passage-boat.
Amer. I shouldn't wonder if you proposed something equally extravagant. For myself, I have done—I shall suggest nothing
else. Please yourself, if possible, and you will please me.
Ern. Now he's out of humour.
Amer. No, not out of humour, but you are the most capricious creature!
Ern. Well, well, sir, if you are tired of your allegiance, renounce it at once. I have plenty of slaves at my footstool, who will serve me with oriental obedience!
Amer. (R.) If they really loved you, they would not encourage you in your follies. Ern. (c.) My follies! How dare you
talk to me of
my follies, sir ? Hold your tongue! Hold your tongue, directly! There's Gertrude, and I want to speak to her. Gertrude!
(Calling. Ger. (L.) Yes, mamzelle.
[Drying her eyes. Ern. What's the matter, Gertrude ? you've been crying. Ger. (...) Yes, mamzelle. Ern. And what for ? Has any one vexed you
? some faithless swain, perhaps?
Ger. Oh, dear, no, mamzelle. I wish it was- -but that's not possible!
[Bursts out a fresh. Ern. How d’ye mean—not possible, child ? Ger. Because I haven't got a swain of any sort.
Ern. Bless the girl! What, no sweetheart, at your age?
Ger, No, mamzelle.
Ern. Silly wench! you ought to rejoice at it rather; the men are nothing but plagues, Gertrude. Lovers, indeed ! there's not one worth having.
Ger. I-I wish I had one, though, just to try. I was just saying to myself, it was a shame that some young women should have a score, and others none at all.
Amer. The girl is right enough there. It's a shame that some young women should have a score, and hold out equal hopes to all.
Ern. The sooner you lessen the number of mine, the better, then. I could manage to spare even the gallant Captain Amersfort-and-a capital thought! as you seem so concerned at the unequal division, I'll transfer you to Gertrude.
Ger. Law, mamzelle, you don't say so?
admirer, Gertrude, and I have so many, I'll give you one of mine.
Ger. Oh, but I don't want you to give me one, mamzelle. If you'll only lend me a beau-just to encourage the others.
Ern. Ha! ha! ha! delightful! That's better still!you hear, sir, I am not to give you up altogether, though you deserve it; I shall only try your obedience! We command you, therefore, on pain of our sovereign displeasure, to
all proper attentions to our handmaid, Gertrude; you are her beau till further notice.
Amer. Ernestine, are you mad ?
Ern. Mad or not, you will obey me, or take the consequences. I won't be charged with folly and extravagance for nothing.– [Aside. Remember, I have promised my father to decide this day in favour of somebody. If you hesitate only, you are excluded from all chance.-[Aloud.] Gertrude, 1 lend you a beau, on your personal security, mind.
Ger. Oh, you needn't be afraid, mamzelle—I'll take the greatest care of him—and, besides
I'm content to borrow;
To pay it from, to-morrow.
The job is to get any !
Oh, yes, one fool makes many. Ern. [Tv Amersfort.] One step, and you lose me forever.
[Exit. Amer. [To himself.] This passes everything. I am a fool, indeed, and love her like a fool, or I would never bear
Ger. Only think! I've got a beau at last-and such a beau--an officer ! a fine, young, handsome officer ! What’ll Peter say to that ?
Amer. And while I thus humour her caprices, she returns to the house to flirt with that puppy, Amstell, or that booby, Blankenburg.
Ger. But he takes no more notice of me than Peter, himself.
Amer. I will not endure it. I will follow her, and
Ger. Stop! Stop! you mustn't run away-you're only lent to me, you know-and if I should lose you, there'll be a pretty
business! Amer. [Laughing in despite of himself.] Upon my word, this is is too ridiculous. So you really look upon me as a loan, do you?
Ger. Yes, and I don't choose to be left alone. My stars! Peter could do that.
Amer. Peter! who's Peter ? I thought you said you hadn't a sweetheart in the world ?
Ger. Nor have I.
Amer. Come, come, no fibs! You've betrayed yourse.f. This said Peter, isn't he a sweetheart?
G:r. No, I don't think he is—at least, I don't know. What do you call a sweetheart-one whom you love, or one who loves you ?
Amer. One who loves you, of course.
Ger. Well, then, I'm right, he is not my sweetheart; but I am his, for I love him dearly.
Amer. What a candid little soul! And so you really love Peter dearly, though Peter doesn't love you ? But are you sure he doesn't love you ?
Ger. I don't believe he ever thought about it.
Amer. Is it possible! Why, you are very pretty. (Aside. Upon my soul, she is uncommonly pretty. I wonder I never noticed her before. (Aloud.] And so Peter has never thought about you?
SONG.-(" Faut l'oblier.")
I own it to my sorrow!
To marry him to-morrow!
Wit from you folk's borrow !
I'd marry him to-morrow! Amer. There's love !-there's devotion! What charming frankness !- what innocent enthusiasm! By Jove ! if she wasn't so fond of another, I should be almost tempted -if it were only to punish Ernestine! 1-1-Aloud. Confound that Peter! Almost a fool-he must be a downright idiot not to fall head over ears in love with such a sweet, dear, bewitching- (Catches her round the waist;
he is about to kiss her as PETER SPYK enters with
[Both stop short-Peter staring at Gertrude. Ger. (Aside.] Oh, lud, there is Peter! Amer. What the devil do you want ?
Swy. Only to introduce Peter Spyk-an honest young farmer-who desires to be your honour's tenant.
Amer. Peter Spyk! What, is this the Peter ?
farm of Appledoorn ; and I am sure you can't do better than to let him have it, for he's as good a farmer, and as honest a young man
Amer. If you interest yourself for him, my dear Gertrude, that is sufficient.- (Aside to Swyzel. Swyzel, come here-I am much interested about this girl!-l've taken a great fancy to her!
Swy. What, to our Gertrude ?-to that poor, simple thing? Well, I thought just now you seemed rathereh? You're a terrible man, captain! What will mamzelle say?
Amer. Oh, it's all in pure friendship, I assure you; but come this
way, and tell me all you know about her. (Aloud to Peter.] I'll speak to you presently, young man.
[Amersfort and Swyzel enter the summer-house, R. S. E. Ger. Peter, you'll have the farm !
Pet. No, shall I, - though? Well, I thought he said something like it; and because you asked him, too! I say, you and he seem great friends -he'd got his arm around
waist! Ger. Had he ?-oh, yes, I believe he had.
Pet. Well, now, I've known you ever since you were that high, and I'm sure I never put my arm round your waist !
Ger. No, that you never did! But then, he's my sweetheart!
Pet. Your sweetheart ?-yours? What, the captain ? Pshaw! you're joking!
Ger. Joking !--indeed I'm not joking! What is there so strange in it, pray?
Pet. Why, in the first place, - he's mamzelle's sweetheart!
Ger. Not now.
Pet. What, has he left her for you? Why, what can a rich officer like that see in a poor servant girl ?
Ger. Don't be a brute, Peter! If you can't see anything to like in me, it's no reason that others should not. Pet. Me!-oh, that's a different affair; because you
and I, you know, there's not so much difference between us, and-oh, by the bye, talking of that I've been thinking of what you said to me, and I wont wait any longer-not even till to-morrow I've fixed on Anne Stein.