Stella, act 1, at an inn.
trans. Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen (Philadelphia 1885),
vol. 3, 189–90; illustration 190.
Landlady. The young lady has got back. She will be down to dinner right away.
Fernando. Who is she?
Landlady. I am not acquainted with her. She seems to be of good birth but without means: she is going to be lady’s companion to the baroness.
Fernando. She is young?
Landlady. Very young and pert. Her mother is here too — up stairs.
Lucy. Your humble servant, sir.
Fernando. I am fortunate to have such a charming companion at dinner.
[Lucy makes a curtsy]
Landlady. Sit here, mademoiselle! And will you take this place, sir?
Fernando. Shall we not have the honor of your company, good mistress?
Landlady. Ah, no; if I rest, everything rests. [Exit.]
Fernando. So we shall have a tête-à-tête!
Lucy. With the table between us, I can endure it.
Fernando. So you have determined to be companion to the baroness?
Lucy. I’ve got to be.
Fernando. It seems to me that you ought to be able to be a companion to someone who would be more entertaining than the baroness.
Lucy. I have no way of finding such.
Fernando. But your charming face?
Lucy. I see that you are like all other men!
Fernando. That means?
Lucy. Why just this, you are all very assuming. You think that you are indispensable; but I don’t think so, I grew up without men.
Fernando. Then your father is dead?
Lucy. I can scarcely remember that I ever had one. I was young when he left us to undertake a journey to America and the news came that his ship was wrecked.
Fernando. And you seem to care so little about him.
Lucy. Why should I care? He never did much to win my love; and even if I forgave him for deserting us, what does a man care for except his freedom? Yet I would not be in my mother’s place, who is dying with grief.
Fernando. And you are without resources, without protectors?
Lucy. What is the difference? Our property has grown smaller day after day, and all the time I have been growing larger; and I am not sorry to support my mother.
Fernando. Your courage astonishes me!
Lucy. Ah, sir, it comes with trial. When you have several times been threatened with ruin and every time been saved, it inspires confidence.
Fernando. And can’t you communicate some of it to your dear mother?
Lucy. Alas! it is she who has met the loss, and not I. I thank my father that I was born into the world, for I am happy and contented; but she! — who hoped for nothing in life except from him, and who offered up to him the flower of her youth and was deserted — suddenly deserted! — Oh, it must be something dreadful to feel yourself deserted! — I have never lost anything; I cannot speak about it. — You seem to be pondering.
Fernando. Yes, my dear, he who lives may lose [standing up]; but he may also win. And so may God preserve to you your courage! [He takes her hand.] You have astonished me! Oh, my child, how fortunate you are! — In my experience with the world oftentimes my hopes, my joys have — yet there is — and —
Lucy. What do you mean?
Fernando. Everything that is good! the best, the warmest wishes for your happiness!