You treat me like some sort of maid.
The Servant Wife


Uberto heeft de hele ochtend op zijn warme chocolademelk gewacht, maar die wordt door dienstmaagd Serpina voor zijn ogen opgedronken.

(INSTEAD OF RECITATIVE: "In somma delle somme")

Serpina pushes the tray into the hands of the dumbfounded Vespone, who puts the tray on the ladder that stands behind the curtain.

SERPINA

So.

(without looking at Umberto)

And now you owe me an apology.

UBERTO

(gasping for breath)

I owe YOU an apology?

SERPINA

(unruffled)

Hm hm. For all the nasty things you've said to me.

She brushes off some imaginary crumbs from her apron.

UBERTO

Without me you’d be lying in the gutters of Napoli. You’d be eating fish heads instead of drinking hot chocolate. I am the last person, who should apologize.

SERPINA

You treat me like some sort of maid.

UBERTO

That's what you are: a maid! And what's more, the worst I know!

SERPINA

See.

UBERTO

The only apology I should make, is for never treating you like one. I have always been too forgiving, too soft. That was my mistake.

SERPINA

That doesn't sound like an apology.

UBERTO

Alright, fine. I sincerely apologize for not punishing you enough. For not shouting at you and not beating you around like you deserve. But I’m all too happy to change that right now. So...

(raises his voice at Serpina)

You! Get my coat, my sword and my hat!

Serpina dazedly recoils to the tailor's model behind the curtain and returns with the coat and a scabbard with sword.

UBERTO

(haughtily)

From now on there won’t be any more mingling between your kind of people and mine. I will spend the evening in proper company.

Serpina submissively hands him his coat and helps him buckle on the scabbard, but suddenly she pulls out the sword.

SERPINA

No, you won't.

The music starts. Uberto and Vespone stare at the sword.

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