Candide

The 1956 Libretto

Original Broadway Production (1956)
Published in 1957 by Random House

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A Comic Operetta based on Voltaire's satire
Book by Lillian Hellman
Score by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Other lyrics by John Latouche and Dorothy Parker

Act Two
Scene 2
Scene 2.

SCENE: Venice. A gambling house.

AT RISE: People are already at the gaming tables. The tables are presided over by Ferone, the owner of the gambling house. The guests are masked. From time to time the masks will be removed. Among the people at the table is Signora Sofronia, who is the Old Lady. She is very dressed up.

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux, messieurs, dames.

(The guests sing the words, "Money, money, money." The wheel turns and all heads turn with it. The wheel stops and there are cries from the losers. Signora Sofronia steps out, her arms loaded with chips.)

FERONE (to all, as he moves forward to Sofronia). Sixteen. And only one lady bet on the number. Allow me to congratulate you, Signora Sofronia.

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux—messieurs, dames.

(The guests return to gambling.)

FERONE (taking the chips from Sofronia). I told you not to play sixteen. Have a little sense. You can't win every time. They are already suspicious of you. (A chip drops. Sofronia scram­bles on her hands and knees for it. Ferone puts his foot on the chip) Get up. You're not in Rovno Gubernya. (He hurries to greet a new group) Signor Duca. (To an Elderly Lady, who has entered with four very Tall Girls) Madame La Duchesse. You were not with us last night.

LA DUCHESSE. No. I was with my astrologer. And tonight, with his advice, I shall win back the fortune I've lost to you. (Prefect of Police enters and crosses between them. She points to him) Isn't that the Prefect of Police?

FERONE. Yes, madame.

LA DUCHESSE. Strange. Last week he lost his fortune and killed himself. I went to the funeral. Very puzzling isn't it? Ah, well. (Introducing the very Tall Girls) My English cousins.

FOUR TALL GIRLS (all together). Hudda da.

LA DUCHESSE. They're so shy. Their father owns Africa. They're too young to play. Give them a little sugar water. I will play on number fifteen.

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux, messieurs, dames.

FERONE (to Tall Girls, as La Duchesse moves away). Dull for you to stand around.

A TALL GIRL. Nowt tat tall.

FERONE. May I lend you a few chips?

FOUR TALL GIRLS (all together). How madly divine. What are chips?

FERONE. Chips are money.

FOUR TALL GIRLS. Aww.

FERONE. I wish you great luck.

FOUR TALL GIRLS (all together). Chips are money. How divinely mad. (They hurry to the table.)

FERONE (to Sofronia). Put your foot under the table and press the pedal to the left. Left. (She moves to the table.)

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux­—

(The wheel turns. This time most of the guests scream in de­light. Ferone leaves the table angrily. Sofronia joins him.)

SOFRONIA. I did just as you told me. I put my foot on the pedal and pressed to the right. What happened?

PERONE. What happened is that you're a fool.

SOFRONIA. Who, me?

FERONE. I told you to press to the left. One more mistake and you'll be out of here.
    SOFRONIA (sings).
    I have always been wily and clever
    At deceiving and swindling and such,
    And I feel just as clever as ever,
    But I seem to be losing my touch.
    Yes, I'm clever, but where does it get me?
    (Indicates Ferone)
    My employer gets all of my take;
    All I get is my daily spaghetti,
    While he gorges on truffles and steak.
    What's the use?
    What's the use?
    There's no profit in cheating.
    It's all so defeating
    And wrong,
    Oh, so wrong!
    If you just have to pass it along.

    FERONE (sings).
    That old hag is no use in this gyp-joint;
    Not a sou have I made on her yet,
    And the one thing that pays in this clip-joint
    Is my fraudulent game of roulette.
    But I have to pay so much protection
    (Indicates Prefect of Police)
    To the chief of police and his men
    That each day when he makes his collection
    I'm a poor man all. over again.

    SOFRONIA and FERONE (sing together).
    What's the use?
    What's the use
    Of dishonest endeavor
    And being so clever?
    It's wrong,
    Oh, so wrong!
    If you just have to pass it along.

    PREFECT OF POLICE (sings).
    It's a very fine thing to be prefect,
    Shaking down all the gamblers in town.
    My position has only one defect:
    That there's somebody shaking me down.
    (Indicates a Fat Man)
    For this fellow unhappily knows me,
    And he's on to the game that I play,
    And he threatens to shame and expose me
    If I do not incessantly pay.

    SOFRONIA, FERONE, and PREFECT OF POLICE (sing together).
    What's the use?
    What's the use.
    Of this sneaky conniving
    And slimy contriving?
    It's wrong,
    Oh, so wrong,
    If you just have to pass it along.

    FAT MAN (sings).
    I could live very well by extortion,
    But I simply can't keep what I earn,
    For I haven't a sense of proportion,
    And roulette is my only concern.
    I've a system that's fiendishly clever,
    Which I learnt from a croupier friend,
    And I should go on winning forever­
    But I do seem to lose in the end.

    SOFRONIA, FERONE, PREFECT OF POLICE and FAT MAN (sing to­gether).
    What's the use?
    What's the use­

    SOFRONIA (sings).
    Of this cheating and plotting?
    You end up with notting!

    SOFRONIA, FERONE, PREFECT OF POLICE and FAT MAN (sing to­gether).
    It's wrong,
    Oh, so wrong,
    If you just have to pass it along.

    What's the use?
    What's the use?
    There's no profit in cheating.
    It's all so defeating
    And wrong,
    Oh, so wrong!
    If you just have to pass it along.
(They continue singing, repeating the refrains. At the end of the song, Sofronia moves off to small bedroom, rings a bell, and collapses. In a second, Cunegonde appears, carrying a foot bath. She is dressed as a scrub woman. She kneels, and takes off Sofronia's shoes.)

SOFRONIA. When you've been born a princess your feet always hurt.

CUNEGONDE (weary, without interest). So you've told me before. I don't believe you were born a princess.

SOFRONIA (as she puts her feet in bath). What difference does it make?

CUNEGONDE (takes off her shoes, puts her feet into foot bath. Points out to the gambling room). How did you do tonight?

SOFRONIA. Fine. Fine. In a few weeks we'll have a nice little nest egg, and we'll leave.

CUNEGONDE. Where'll we go?

SOFRONIA (cheerful, but without conviction). What do you mean, where'll we go? We'll buy a refined wardrobe, a carriage with a crest, put a footman on the box— What do you mean, where'll we go? The world is open, waiting for us.

CUNEGONDE. It hasn't acted that way.

SOFRONIA. We'll drive to Rome. I have relatives there, most highly placed. (Cunegonde laughs. Sofronia bristles, then laughs with her) Listen, my girl, we're lucky. We slept on mattresses this week.

CUNEGONDE. There was a time when I didn't think that so lucky.

SOFRONIA. Now none of that talk. What do you think most peo­ple get in this world—what they want? You do the best you can.

CUNEGONDE. Yes, you've told me that before.

SOFRONIA. Tomorrow will come. And it will be better.

(The lights dim in the bedroom and, come up in the ballroom as Candide and Pangloss enter the room. They are in fine clothes, and Candide carries his gold in jeweled bags. They are given masks by an attendant. Ferone comes forward.)

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux, messieurs, dames.

PANGLOSS. Our apologies for intruding.

FERONE. Yes, sir?

PANGLOSS. We are searching for a lady, and our private informants tell us that she may be in Venice, and that here, where the highest of society gathers­—

FERONE. What is the name of the lady?

CANDIDE. The Baroness Cunegonde.

(Ferone shakes his head.)

FERONE. I'm afraid the name means nothing to me.

PANGLOSS. Ah, well. We'll continue on. We've posted large re­wards in Brussels, in Paris, in Bordeaux, in Milan, all over Venice— (To Ferone, indicating Candide) His great fortune will bring him no pleasure until he finds the lady.

FERONE. His great fortune brings him no pleasure? (Quickly) Wait. Perhaps the lady is here. Names do not stay with me. Do be at home. What does the Baroness look like?

PANGLOSS. It has been a long time since my friend has seen her.

CANDIDE (smiles). She will not have changed. She is blonde, delicate, charming­—

FERONE. Then certainly she is here. She must be here. Ah, ladies—a distinguished stranger— (He pushes forward the four Tall Girls) The Ladies Mary Cutley, Mary Toothly, Mary Soothly, and Mary Richmond. Is it possible­—

(Candide shakes his head. The Marquis and the Sultan, of the Paris episode, pass by. Candide stares at them, starts to follow them, then turns back, very puzzled. Ferone has moved into the bedroom. Pangloss moves toward the roulette table.)

CROUPIER. Faites vos jeux—messieurs, dames.

LA DUCHESSE. Ten thousand on number fifteen.

FAT MAN. Twenty thousand on six.

DUKE OF NAPLES. Twenty-five thousand on eleven.

A LADY. Twenty-five thousand on twelve.

PANGLOSS. My! A lifetime in a minute. I bet five lire on number five.

DUKE OF NAPLES. No bets under a thousand are allowed here.

PANGLOSS. Oh, goodness. Oh, my.

CANDIDE. Here's a hundred thousand. Play if it gives you pleasure.

FERONE (in bedroom, stares at Sofronia and Cunegonde, who are still bathing their feet). Is this what I pay you for?

SOFRONIA. You ain't paid us.

FERONE. Now listen, there's a country boy out there, all dressed up and loaded with gold. Give him a sad story about your life. Tell him all about your mother and father—any nonsense. If you can't take him, you'll be out of here tonight. Both of you. Get to work. Be smart. (He leaves.)

SOFRONIA. Smart. He has to tell us to be smart.

CUNEGONDE. Ah. I'm sick of being smart. It ends up being hungry.

SOFRONIA. You stop that talk. Just do your part. We'll be in Rome in the morning.

(Lights dim in bedroom, come up again in ballroom.)

CANDIDE (speaks to Pangloss and points to the Sultan and the Marquis). I have seen ghosts or the sons of ghosts. I killed those men in Paris in a duel.

PANGLOSS. Is that so? (Holds out chips) Look. I am winning. But I don't feel it's proper to chance your money—

CANDIDE. Be happy, my friend. You deserve it.

(Pangloss hurries back to the table, delighted.)

DUKE OF NAPLES (at table). I place the Duchy of Naples on number four.

FERONE. Your pardon, my Duke. But Naples belongs to your mother.

DUKE OF NAPLES. My mother died at dinner. Or if she didn't, she will die at breakfast.

PANGLOSS. My goodness! What a way to speak of your mother.

DUKE OF NAPLES (to Pangloss). Lend me five thousand. You must come and. spend Easter with us.

PANGLOSS (gives him money). How kind of you.

FERONE. The Duchy of Naples to be covered.

SULTAN (to the Marquis, as they bump into Candide). I have seen that man before.

MARQUIS. And I. But I can't remember where. In any case, it is a pleasant picture that comes down memory's lane.

(Candide stands staring at them, but they move away.)

CROUPIER. Number five wins again.

DUKE OF NAPLES (to Pangloss). My dear friend, lend me another ten thousand.

PANGLOSS. With pleasure. What a charming game this is! I now have thousands of lire and wish to place it all on number five. Then I'll buy cakes for everybody.

FERONE (to Sofronia). This gentleman is in search of a lady. Will you help him, Madame Sofronia?

SOFRONIA (who is masked, to Candide who is masked). I certainly will. (She pushes Candide into bedroom) You got troubles? You should know about me. You got a mother and a father? (Before he can answer) You got uncles? No? So you got no troubles.
    SOFRONIA (sings).
    I've got troubles, as I said.
    Mother's dying, Father's dead.
    All my uncles are in jail.

    CANDIDE (sings).
    It's a very moving tale.
    (Cunegonde, wearing mask, enters with liquor tray.)

    SOFRONIA (continues singing).
    Though our name, I say again, is
    Quite the proudest name in Venice,
    Our afflictions are so many,
    And we haven't got a penny.

    CANDIDE.
    Madam, I am desolate
    At your family's tragic state
    Any help that I can give. . .
    Please do tell me where they live.

    I shall look them up tomorrow
    And alleviate their sorrow
    With a check made out to bearer.
    In the meantime, buona sera.

    S0FRONIA.
    I've got troubles, as I said.
    Mother's dying, Father's dead.
    All my uncles are in jail.

    CANDIDE.
    It's a very moving tale.

    SOFRONIA.
    Although our name, I say again, is
    Quite the proudest name in Venice,
    All my uncles are in jail.

    SOFRONIA and CANDIDE (sing).
    It's a very moving tale.
    Ah, what a moving tale!
    (Outside, in the gambling room, Pangloss is being generous to the pretty ladies.)

    PANGLOSS (sings).
    Millions of rubles and lire and francs!
    Broke the bank, broke the bank.
    Broke the best of all possible banks.
    Pieces of gold to the ladies I throw.
    Easy come, easy go.
    Shining gold to the ladies I throw.

    See them on their knees before me.
    If they love me, can you blame them?
    Little wonder they adore me.
    Watch them woo me as I name them:

    (As he names each lady he gives her gold coins.)
    Lady Frilly, Lady Silly,
    Pretty Lady Willy-Nilly,
    Lady Lightly, Lady Brightly,
    Charming Lady Fly-by-Nightly.

    My Lady Fortune found me.
    What a joy to have around me
    Lovely ladies, six or seven.
    This is my idea of Heaven.

    Fortune, keep the wheel a-spinning, spinning,
    They adore me while I'm winning!

    Lady Frilly, Lady Silly,
    Pretty Lady Willy-Nilly,
    Lady Lightly, Lady Brightly,
    Charming Lady Fly-by-Nightly.

    Fools love only one or two,
    Ladies, I love all of you.

    SOFRONIA and CUNEGONDE
    ( in bedroom).
    I've got troubles, as I said.
    Mother is dying, Father's dead
    All my uncles are in jail


    CANDIDE (in bedroom).
    It's a very moving tale.

    SOFRONIA and CUNEGONDE.
    Although our name I say again, is
    Quite the proudest name in Venice,
    All my uncles are in jail.

    SOFRONIA, CUNEGONDE and
    CAN­DIDE.
    It's a very moving tale,
    Ah, what a tale,
    A moving tale.

    PANGLOSS.
    Lady Frilly, Lady Silly,
    Pretty Lady Willy-Nilly,
    Lady Lightly, Lady Brightly,
    Charming Lady Fly-by­ Nightly.
    My Lady Fortune found me

    What a joy to have around me
    Lovely ladies, six or seven.
    This is my idea of Heaven.
    Fortune, keep the wheel a-spinning, spinning,
    They adore me while I'm winning!

    Lady Frilly, Lady Silly,
    Pretty Lady Willy-Nilly,
    Lady Lightly, Lady Brightly,
    Charming Lady Fly-by­ Nightly.
    Fools love only one or two,
    Ladies, I love all of you.
(In the bedroom, Candide, his back to the wall, is pinned down by Cunegonde and Sofronia. He tries to move, but he is a prisoner. Sofronia turns Candide about and Cunegonde tries to snip off his bags of gold. The try is not successful. But Cunegonde and Sofronia are determined, and caution is thrown to the winds. Candide moves to the now empty gambling room and is pursued by Cunegonde and Sofronia. In the scuffle, the masks are knocked off. Candide, Cunegonde and Sofronia stand staring at each other.)

CANDIDE (very softly). Cunegonde. (He turns to stare at Sofronia, then turns back to stare at Cunegonde) My pretty, my sweet, my pure Cunegonde. I loved you and sought you and I've found you. (Takes off the bags of gold and throws them down) This is what you want. I give it to you.

(He crosses room, and exits. Ferone enters, picks up bags, looks at Cunegonde. She is crying.)

FERONE. You are fools, both of you. The game is to get what you want without the man knowing you got it. He will go to the police.

CUNEGONDE (sadly). No. This man won't go to the police.

FERONE (to Sofronia). Get out. You're not worth your supper. Get out.

PANGLOSS (comes into the empty gambling room). Now where has everybody gone? Hello, Cunegonde. Oh, dear child, how you have changed. (Peers at Cunegonde. She exits. He speaks to Sofronia) Oh, madame. A most disturbing series of events has come my way. I was standing with my arms full of money. I was robbed.. And now the gaming table has strangely dis­appeared­—

SOPRONIA (wearily). Yes. It's all moved to another room. And you will not be admitted. (Bitterly) Be smart. Come back tomorrow night and try again. (She exits.)

PANGLOSS. But I loaned a lot of money to a nice gentleman and a lady. . . . Oh, I am sure they are looking for me now. (Calling out) Gentlemen. This is Dr. Pangloss. I'm in here. Could you return the money now? (Long pause. Sadly) I'll wait. I'm sure they are looking for me.

(The lights dim as Venice moves off and Westphalia comes into place.)

Continue to Act Two, Scene 3

Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins