The thermometer reads 33 Celsius degrees in the shadow ... Under the burning sun, a carriage pulls over, at no. 11 bis, Pacience St., maybe at three in the afternoon. A gentleman steps out of the cab and with tired steps draws to the marquee door, where he puts his finger on the doorbell button. Ringing once ... nothing; twice ... nothing; thrice ... again nothing; he leans into the button with his finger, which he never lifts again ... Finally, a lad comes to open.

In the following, all characters keep an imperturbable calm, equal and full of dignity.

The gentleman: Is the master home?

The servant: Yes, but he ordered me to say, in case anyone looks for him, that he has left for the countryside.

G: You tell him I have come.

S: I can't, sir.

G: Why?

S: The room is locked.

G: Knock so that he opens.

S: But then, the master took the key with him when he left.

G: You mean to say he has left?

S: No, sir, he hasn't left.

G: Pal, you're ... an idiot!

S: No, sir.

G: You are telling me he isn't home.

S: No, he's at home, sir.

G: But haven't you said he had left?

S: No, sir, he hasn't left.

G: Then he's at home.

S: No he isn't, but he hasn't gone to the countryside, he just went out.

G: Where?

S: In the city!

G: Where?!

S: Bucuresti (1).

G: Then tell him I came.

S: What is your name, sir?

G: Why do you care?

S: To tell him.

G: Tell him what? how do you know what to tell him, since I haven't told you what to tell him? Wait, let me tell you first; don't be hasty ... Tell him when he comes back that he was sought by ...

S: Who?

G: Me.

S: Your name, sir? ...

G: Enough, that's all ! he knows me ... we are friends ...

S: Very well, sir.

G: Did you understand?

S: I understand.

G: Ah! ... tell him we have to meet.

S: Where?

G: He knows ... But he absolutely must come.

S: When?

G: When he can.

S: All too well.

G: Understand?

S: Understand.

G: Ah! ... and if he sees our friend ...

S: Which friend?

G: He knows! ... tell him that nothing could work in that known affair, because I talked to the person ... Don't forget!

S: Could I ever forget?

G: ... and he says now it's too late, since he didn't come in time; for if he came only a few days earlier, that's another story! .... maybe it could have been ... Keep in mind!

S: I'll keep, sir ...

G: ... because the person's aunt hadn't left yet the one who went to give the down payment to the minor's guardian, and he hadn't found out yet, because the nephew of the lady hadn't told him, with whom the deal was almost done, if he still had patience until Monday evening, when the lawyer is to come back, since he went out with a land dispute; but now, regretfully, it is impossible from several points of view, which the gentleman knows ... This is how you should tell him.

S: Very well, sir.

The gentleman is leaving ... The lad is closing ... The gentleman comes back.

G: Ah! ... you know what? don't tell him anything, since you may not remember the persons exactly. I'll better come down tonight to tell him ... At what time is Mr. Johnny coming to eat tonight?

S: Which Mr. Johnny?

G: Your master.

S: Which master, sir?

G: Yours ... Mr. Johnny.

S: My master is not called Mr. Johnny, he's a landlord ...

G: Eh! what if he's a landlord?

S: His name is Mr. Smith.

G: And what else?

S: What, what else?

G: Of course ... Smith, landlord ... good .. and what else?

S: I cannot know.

G: Isn't his name Johnny Smith?

S: No.

G: Can't be.

S: Yes it can, sir.

G: Now you see?

S: See what?

G: He's called Johnny?

S: No, Jake.

G: Jake? ... above belief! ... What is the street here?

S: No. 11 bis ...

G: It's not about 11 bis ...

S: The master said he doesn't want to put 13 up, 'cause it's fatal.

G: 13 has nothing to so with it ... I am asking you about the street. What street is this?

S: Patience Street ...

G: Patience Street? ... impossible!

S: No, sir, this is Patience Street.

G: Then this is not it.

S: This is it.

G: No.

S: Yes.

G: I am looking on the contrary for Sapience Street, no. 11 bis, Sapience Street, Mr. Johnny Smith.

S: Like that?

G: Like that.

S: Then, it's not here.

G: Very well.

The gentleman departs and walks to the carriage. The driver is sleeping on the perch. The horses are sleeping under the yoke.

The gentleman: Let's go, driver!

The driver: Not free ... is customer, pliz ...

G: Which customer?

D: Don't know at me, pliz ...

G: From where did you take him?

D: Frum there, pliz ...

G: Then, aren't I?

D: Ie! at sir is, pliz ...

The gentleman gets in ... The driver lashes ... The horses wake up and start. The gentleman lifts to his feet, behind the coachman's nape.

G: Listen to me; do you sir know where is Patience St.?

D: Those not know, pliz ...

A crone passes by. The gentleman stops the carriage.

The gentleman: If you please, madam, do you know where is Patience St.?

The crone: This is it, sonny.

G: Eh no! ... She is terribly decrepit ... Drive forward, coachman!

The carriage starts, the Gentleman makes a sign to stop at a small grocery store in the corner, where on the doorstep a boy with a green apron naps in the shadow.

The gentleman: Young man, what street is this?

The boy: Patience Street ...

G: You are stupid! ... Forward, driver!

The carriage goes forth a good way ... A street sergeant sits on a bench at the gate of a big courtyard. He has unfastened his boots, to cool down his feet. The gentleman makes a sign; the carriage stops.

The gentleman: Sergeant!

The sergeant: Orders!

G: Please, would you sir happen to know where is Patience St.?

S: This is the one.

G: Impossible.

S: Yes sir, this is it.

G: Mr. Popescu's place, no. 11 bis ...

S: Well, yes, up the street, on the left hand, yellow houses in the courtyard, with a marquee.

G: Ah! Then the lad is an imbecile! ... Thanks! ... Turn around, driver!


(1) The capital of Romania, were this is taking place.

License: Creative Commons 3.0, cc-by-sa