Shows P

more delighted when he looks on the grumbler and sees that she is a beautiful woman. Within the space of a few words, the Viceroy has fallen head-over-heels for the pretty street singer and, before long, he is promising to make her lady-in-waiting to his wife. The fact that his wife has been dead for some years has never prevented him from keeping a corps of ladies-in-waiting at the palace in her memory. Périchole is an old hand with flirts and she is distinctly dubious of a man who dresses like a doctor and yet claims to be the Viceroy of Peru. Even when he insists that she compare his profile with the head on a piastre, she is still doubtful. Finally Andrès can think of only one way to prove his identity. He makes Périchole join with him to cry out, 'Down with the Viceroy'. When they do so, Pedro and Panatellas come running, only to end up genuflecting before their master and the amazed Périchole. La Périchole agrees to come to court but, while she starts to scribble out a note of explanation to Piquillo, Pedro and Panatellas learn with dismay that the Viceroy does not intend to set the street singer up safely and distantly in his naughty little house around the corner but proposes, quite openly, to take her to court and install her in the apartment once known to be that of the royal mistress. It is too frightful, and they object with all the force of men who know their statute book. Once upon a time, in order to prevent the Viceroy from getting himself into unfortunate tangles with young ladies, it was legally enacted that the apartment in question should be inhabited only by a married lady. Périchole is nothing of the sort and therefore the Viceroy's suggestion is illegal. Don Andrès is not deterred. He orders his gentleman to produce a husband on the spot, and his governor to come up with a notary. Périchole shall be married to some insignificant fellow and the law thus placated. In the meanwhile, Périchole has been penning her farewells to her dear Piquillo. Her love for him is no less than it has always been, but she can no longer endure the hardships and privations of their life. She will be faithful to him and to their love but, for now, it is au revoir. She accepts from Don Andrès a bag of coins, which she assures him is destined for an aged relative, and gives both the note and the money into the care of the three cousins to be delivered to Piquillo. Then she heads for the Viceroy's little house and the long-awaited dinner. When Piquillo returns, he finds Périchole gone. The cousins decide it is better to keep the money for themselves, but they give him the note, and the exhausted singer is broken-hearted to read his beloved's farewell. He has nothing left to live for. A nail, the shoulder strap of Périchole's guitar and a stool are all he needs to string himself up but, having done so, he finds the last little leap from the stool rather difficult. He gets unlooked-for help when Panatellas, coming out of the bar, kicks the stool away and Piquillo would be well and truly hanged if he hadn't forgotten that the guitar strap was made of rubber. It stretches and he lands on top of Panatellas who is delighted to see him. Here is a man who has nothing to live for. He is just the man he needs for the subterfuge marriage. Business is brisk at the 'Trois Cousines'. Don Andrès comes flying across the street to order a glass of malaga for Périchole. It will help her get over her aversion to a marriage of convenience. A few seconds later, Don Pedro needs port for the notary whom he must lure away from a little card-game with some colleagues and Panatellas wants madeira wine with which to restore Piquillo to confidence. Don Andrès himself, exhausted by watching all the strings of his plot coming together, needs a drop of sherry and then some alicante for his lady friend who is clearly loosening up nicely under the effects of malaga. The liquor flows and finally has its effect. Périchole agrees to wed a convenient husband sight unseen, Piquillo consents to play the same game, and the notaries are alcoholically pried away from their game. The wedding can take place. The notaries weave a rather crooked path up the street and Périchole's exit from the Viceroy's house is little more steady. It is, however, much more controversial for, having put away a brave dinner and plenty of wine, the young lady is in a very much less amenable frame of mind than when she was starving, and she suddenly and stoutly refuses to be wed. Then she sees who her unknown bridegroom is to be — a very wobbly, very tipsy Piquillo who is so under the influence that he doesn't recognise her — and she changes her tune. Piquillo informs her drunkenly that he will never love his wife as his heart is given and the marriage goes ahead. The ceremony over, the two are carried off in separate palanquins, as the curtain falls. ACT 2 At the Viceroy's palace, his courtier Tarapote has fainted. He has heard the news of the Viceroy's frightful