Short summary - The Servant of Two Masters - Carlo Goldoni

Italy literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - The Servant of Two Masters
Carlo Goldoni

The happy engagement of Silvio, the son of Dr. Lombardi, with the young Clarice could take place only thanks to a circumstance, in itself very unfortunate - the death in a duel of Signor Federigo Rasponi, to whom Clarice had long been promised in marriage by her father, Pantalone dei Bisognosi.

As soon as the fathers solemnly handed the young people to each other in the presence of the maid Pantalone Smeraldina and Brighella, the owner of the hotel, when out of nowhere a nimble fellow appeared, to everyone's amazement, who called himself Trufaldino from Bergamo, a servant of Federigo Rasponi from Turin. At first they did not believe him - such reliable sources reported the death of Federigo, and friendly assurances that his owner had died even forced Trufaldino to run outside to make sure he was alive. But when Federigo himself appeared and showed Pantalona letters addressed to him by mutual acquaintances, doubts were dispelled. The engagement of Sidvio and Clarice broke off, the lovers were in despair.

Only Brigella, who had lived in Turin for several years before moving to Venice, immediately recognized the stranger as Federigo's sister, Beatrice Rasponi, dressed in a man's dress. But she begged him not to reveal her secrets for the time being, in support of the request, promising Brighella ten doubloons for silence. A little later, seizing the moment, Beatrice told him that her brother really died in a duel at the hands of Florindo Aretusi; Beatrice and Florindo had loved each other for a long time, but for some reason Federigo was strongly against their marriage. After the fight, Florindo was forced to flee Turin, while Beatrice followed him in the hope of finding and helping with money - Pantalone just owed her late brother a round sum.

Trufaldino was thinking about how to have a quick and hearty dinner when he suddenly had the opportunity to serve Florindo Aretusi, who had just arrived in Venice. Tom liked the quick fellow, and he asked if Trufaldino wanted to become his servant. Judging that two salaries are better than one, Trufaldino agreed. He brought the master's things to Brighella's hotel, and then went to the post office to see if there were any letters for Florindo.

Beatrice stayed at the same hotel and also first of all sent Trufaldino for letters addressed to Federigo or Beatrice Rasponi. Before he had time to move away from the hotel, Silvio, tormented by jealousy, stopped him and demanded to call the owner. Trufaldino, of course, did not specify which one, and called the first one he came across - Florindo. He and Silvio did not know each other, but from the ensuing conversation, Florindo discovered the news that embarrassed him: Federigo Rasponi was alive and in Venice.

Three letters were handed to Trufaldino at the post office, and not all of them were intended for Florindo. Therefore, not knowing how to read, he invented a story about a friend named Pasquale, also a servant, who asked to pick up letters for his master, whose name he, Trufaldino, forgot. One of the letters was sent to Beatrice from Turin by her old faithful servant - having printed it, Florindo learned that his beloved, disguised as a man, went to Venice for him. Excited to the extreme, he gave Trufaldino a letter and ordered him to find this Pasquale at all costs.

Beatrice was very dissatisfied, having received an important letter opened, but Trufaldino managed to speak her teeth, again referring to the notorious Pasquale. Pantalone, meanwhile, burned with a desire to quickly marry her, that is, federigo, Clarice, although her daughter begged him not to be so cruel. Beatrice took pity on the girl: staying with her face to face, she revealed to Clarice that she was no Federigo, but at the same time she took an oath to remain silent. Delighted by the fact that after a meeting in private his daughter looked exceptionally pleased, Pantalone decided to schedule the wedding for the very next day.

Dr. Lombardi tried to convince Pantalone of the reality of the engagement of Silvio and Clarice by strict logical arguments, citing the fundamental principles of law in Latin, but all in vain. Silvio, in a conversation with a failed father-in-law, was more decisive, even harsh, and in the end grabbed his sword. It would have been bad for Pantaloon here if Beatrice had not happened nearby, who stood up for him with a sword in her hand. After a brief struggle, she had Silvio knocked to the ground and was already holding her blade to his chest when Clarice threw herself between her and Silvio.

Silvio, however, immediately declared to his beloved that he did not want to see her after she had been alone with another for so long. No matter how hard Clarice tried to convince him that she was still faithful to him, her lips were bound by an oath of silence. In desperation, she grabbed a sword, wanting to stab herself, but Silvio considered her impulse an empty comedy, and only the intervention of Smeraldina saved the girl's life.

Beatrice, meanwhile, ordered Trufaldino to order a large dinner for her and Pantalone, and before that, hide a bill for four thousand skudos in a chest. Trufaldino had been waiting for instructions about dinner from both of his hosts for a long time, and finally he waited for at least one of them: he vividly discussed the menu with Brighella, but the serving issue turned out to be more complicated and subtle, so it was necessary to visually depict the arrangement of dishes on the table - a bill of exchange, which was torn into pieces depicting one or another dish.

Fortunately, the bill was from Pantalone - he immediately agreed to rewrite it. Trufaldino was not beaten, but was instead ordered to wait more sluggishly at dinner. Then Florindo appeared on his head and ordered him to cover himself in the room next to the one where Beatrice and Pantalone dined. Trufaldino had to sweat, serving at two tables at once, but he did not lose heart, consoling himself with the thought that, having worked for two, he would eat for four.

With the gentlemen, everything went smoothly, and Trufaldino sat down for a well-deserved plentiful meal, from which he was torn off by Smeraldina, who brought a note for Beatrice from Clarice. Trufadino had long had his eye on the pretty maid, but before that he had not had the opportunity to play nice with her to his heart's content. Then they talked heartily and somehow in between times opened a note to Clarice, which they still could not read.

Having already received the second letter open, Beatrice was seriously angry and gave Trufaldino a good beating with a stick. seeing this execution from the window, Florindo wanted to find out who dared to beat his servant. When he went out into the street, Beatrice had already left, and Trufaldino came up with such an unfortunate explanation for what had happened that Florindo nailed him with the same stick - for cowardice.

Comforting himself with the thought that a double meal still fully atones for a double thrashing, Trufaldino dragged out both the master's chests onto the balcony in order to air and clean the dress - the chests were like two drops of water, so he immediately forgot where whose. When Florindo ordered the black camisole to be brought in, Trufaldino pulled it out of Beatrice's chest. Imagine the amazement of the young man who found in his pocket his own portrait, which he had once presented to his beloved. In response to bewildered questions, Florindo Trufaldino lied that he got the portrait from its former owner, who died a week ago. Florindo was in despair - after all, this owner could only be Beatrice disguised as a man.

Then, accompanied by Pantalone, Beatrice came and, wanting to check some accounts, asked Trufaldino for her memorial book; he dragged a book from Florindo's chest. He explained the origin of this book in a proven way: they say, he had an owner named Florindo Aretusi, who died last week ... Beatrice was struck on the spot by his words: she wailed bitterly, no longer caring about keeping the secret.

Her woeful monologue convinced Pantalone that Federigo Rasponi was actually dead, and in front of him was his sister in disguise, and he immediately ran to tell this good news to the inconsolable Silvio. As soon as Pantalone left, Florindo and Beatrice each went out of their room into the hall with daggers in their hands and with the obvious intention of depriving themselves of a hateful life. This intention would have been fulfilled if they had not suddenly noticed each other - immediately they had only to throw daggers and rush into the desired embrace.

When the first enthusiasm had passed, the lovers wanted to properly punish the swindler servants, who almost drove them to suicide with their chatter. Trufaldino got away this time too, telling Florindo about his unlucky friend Pasquale, who is in the service of Signora Beatrice, and Beatrice about the stupid Pasquale, Signor Florindo's servant; he begged both of them to treat Pasquale's offense with indulgence.

Meanwhile, Pantalona, Dr. Lombardi and Smeraldina had to work hard to reconcile Silvio and Clarice, who were offended by each other, but in the end their labors were crowned with success - the young people hugged and kissed.

Everything seemed to be settled, things were going to two weddings, but then, through the fault of the servants, another, last, misunderstanding formed: Smeraldina asked Clarice to marry her to Signora Beatrice's servant; Trufaldino did not know about this and, for his part, persuaded Florindo to ask Pantalone Smeraldina for his wife. It was like two different contenders for the hand of one maid. The desire to unite fate with Smeraldina nevertheless forced Trufaldino to confess that he served two masters at once, that no such Pasquale existed and he alone, thus, was to blame for everything. But contrary to Trufadino's fears, they forgave him for joy and did not punish him with sticks.