JULIETTAappears above at a balcony.

ROMÈO! Hist! Madonna, saints, and all!
How the man sleeps, stretched out beneath yon wall,
Deaf as the wall itself! I shall be missed
Before I make him hear. Romèo, hist!
Ah, well! Thank Heaven, I've waked him up at last!
Quick, Mèo, catch this bottle I’ve made fast
To this long cord! ’T is English wine, as strong
As aqua vita. Quick! don’t be so long!
I found it in the pantry set away
For the great dinner that we give to-day.
And catch this package: there are candied pears
For your sweet tooth, and sugar cut in squares,
And other bomboms. Now, be off at once!
There, round the corner, — not that way, you dunce,
Or they will see you ! — and come back at ten.
Who knows what I may find to give you then?
A rivederci caro, ah! va ben!
That dear old Mèo mine, — what luck it was
That through the pantry I should chance to pass
Just when old Frangsaw had slipped out a minute,
And no one near to see! The saints were in it!
Ah, well, he ’s gone! I ’ll draw the water now.
All ’s silent yet; but won’t there be a row
When Frangsaw comes and finds, instead of ten,
There are nine bottles only ! Well, what then?
He can’t accuse me. Let him, if he dares!
I ’ll settle him, for all his mighty airs!
Perhaps ’t was not quite right to take the wine;
But then the fault was his as well as mine.
Why should he leave it there exposed to sight,
To tempt whoever saw it ? 'T was not right!
Does not the Lord’s own catechism say
No one should lead us in temptation’s way?
And they who do so are in part to blame;
As we forgive them, let them do the same.
Besides, next Sunday I ’ll confess the whole
To Padre Giacomo, — the good old soul,
Old omnia sœcula, amen, — no doubt
He '11 set all right, and smooth the matter out.
And then, again, I say enough’s enough!
Why should these rich signori swill and stuff, While we, who toil and slave our life away,
Must live upon their leavings? Grazie!
It is not fair! It is not fair, I say!
There are five grand signori come to dine,
And want ten bottles, and they ’ll get but nine!
Dreadful to think of! How will they survive?
And how, then, on one bottle can we live?
I ’m sure we only take what they can spare;
No one could call that stealing!
Hark! Who ’s there?
That Mèo ’s not come back again, I hope!
No; ’t was the old goat tugging at his rope.
All ’s safe, thank Heaven!
Madonna, what a row!
That ’s Frangsaw — who has missed the bottle now —
Screaming for me, and swearing at them all.
Vengo! I am not deaf, — I heard yon call.
What is the matter? Blessed saints! I say
I hear you, — any one could, miles away.
I am coming. Bottle? A black bottle? Oh!
How in the name of mercy should I know?
I ’ve just come up to draw some water here.
Wine? I know nothing of your wine, mounseer!
It ’s water that I’m drawing. Wine of cost?
Ten bottles were there, and one bottle lost?
How should I know, indeed? How can I tell
Where it has gone to? I 'm here at the well
Drawing up water. Ten? Was it the wine
In those black bottles? Ten? There were but nine
When I last saw them. Oh, yes, that ’s your way:
There ’s not a thing you stupidly mislay
But some one stole it; 't is thief here, thief there,
When you’ve missed anything. Why don’t you swear
There were twelve bottles, —twenty! What is ten
In your outlandish lingo? Search me, then!
I steal your wine? I’ve other work to do.
Thief, if there’s any one here thief, ’t is you.
Who was it I was talking to below?
When? Nobody! I say there was n’t. No!
Go look yourself, and see. You heard me say
Something to somebody? What was it, pray?
“ Pst! via! quick, be off at once!” Oh, that ?
That ’s what you heard? You idiot! you flat!
Why, what I called to was the cat, — the cat!
W. W. Story.