Signor Formica, by E. T. A. Hoffmann

IV.

Of the new attack made by Salvator Rosa and Antonio Scacciati upon Signer Pasquale Capuzzi and upon his company, and of what further happens in consequence.

Next morning Antonio came to Salvator, melancholy and dejected.

“Well, what’s the matter?” cried Salvator when he saw him coming, “what are you hanging your head about? What’s happened to you now, you happy dog? can you not see your mistress every day, and kiss her and press her to your heart?”

“Oh! Salvator, it’s all over with my happiness, it’s gone for ever,” cried Antonio. “The devil is making sport of me. Our stratagem has failed, and we now stand on a footing of open enmity with that cursed Capuzzi.”

“So much the better,” said Salvator; “so much the better. But come, Antonio, tell me what’s happened.”

“Just imagine, Salvator,” began Antonio, “yesterday when I went back to the Via Ripetta after an absence of at the most two hours, with all sorts of medicines, whom should I see but the old gentleman standing in his own doorway fully dressed. Behind him was the Pyramid Doctor and the deuced exgendarme, whilst a confused something was bobbing about round their legs. It was, I believe, that little monster Pitichinaccio. No sooner did the old man get sight of me than he shook his fist at me, and began to heap the most fearful curses and imprecations upon me, swearing that if I did but approach his door he would have all my bones broken. ‘Be off to the devil, you infamous barber-fellow,’ he shrieked; ‘you think to outwit me with your lying and knavery. Like the very devil himself, you lie in wait for my poor innocent Marianna, and fancy you are going to get her into your toils — but stop a moment! I will spend my last ducat to have the vital spark stamped out of you, ere you’re aware of it. And your fine patron, Signor Salvator, the murderer — bandit — who’s escaped the halter — he shall be sent to join his captain Masaniello in hell — I’ll have him out of Rome; that won’t cost me much trouble.’

“Thus the old fellow raged, and as the damned exgendarme, incited by the Pyramid Doctor, was making preparations to bear down upon me, and a crowd of curious onlookers began to assemble, what could I do but quit the field with all speed? I didn’t like to come to you in my great trouble, for I know you would only have laughed at me and my inconsolable complaints. Why, you can hardly keep back your laughter now.”

As Antonio ceased speaking, Salvator did indeed burst out laughing heartily.

“Now,” he cried, “now the thing is beginning to be rather interesting. And now, my worthy Antonio, I will tell you in detail all that took place at Capuzzi’s after you had gone. You had hardly left the house when Signor Splendiano Accoramboni, who had learned — God knows in what way — that his bosom-friend, Capuzzi, had broken his right leg in the night, drew near in all solemnity, with a surgeon. Your bandage and the entire method of treatment you have adopted with Signor Pasquale could not fail to excite suspicion. The surgeon removed the splints and bandages, and they discovered, what we both very well know, that there was not even so much as an ossicle of the worthy Capuzzi’s right foot dislocated, still less broken. It didn’t require any uncommon sagacity to understand all the rest.”

“But,” said Antonio, utterly astonished, “but my dear, good sir, do tell me how you have learned all that; tell me how you get into Capuzzi’s house and know everything that takes place there.”

“I have already told you,” replied Salvator, “that an acquaintance of Dame Caterina lives in the same house, and moreover, on the same floor as Capuzzi. This acquaintance, the widow of a wine-dealer, has a daughter whom my little Margaret often goes to see. Now girls have a special instinct for finding out their fellows, and so it came about that Rose — that’s the name of the wine-dealer’s daughter — and Margaret soon discovered in the living-room a small vent-hole, leading into a dark closet that adjoins Marianna’s apartment. Marianna had been by no means inattentive to the whispering and murmuring of the two girls, nor had she failed to notice the vent-hole, and so the way to a mutual exchange of communications was soon opened and made use of. Whenever old Capuzzi takes his afternoon nap the girls gossip away to their heart’s content. You will have observed that little Margaret, Dame Caterina’s and my favourite, is not so serious and reserved as her elder sister, Anna, but is an arch, frolicsome, droll little thing. Without expressly making mention of your love-affair I have instructed her to get Marianna to tell her everything that takes place in Capuzzi’s house. She has proved a very apt pupil in the matter; and if I laughed at your pain and despondency just now it was because I knew what would comfort you, knew I could prove to you that the affair has now taken a most favourable turn. I have quite a big budget full of excellent news for you.”

“Salvator!” cried Antonio, his eyes sparkling with joy, “how you cause my hopes to rise! Heaven be praised for the vent-hole. I will write to Marianna; Margaret shall take the letter with her”——

“Nay, nay, we can have none of that, Antonio,” replied Salvator. “Margaret can be useful to us without being your love-messenger exactly. Besides, accident, which often plays many fine tricks, might carry your amorous confessions into old Capuzzi’s hands, and so bring an endless amount of fresh trouble upon Marianna, just at the very moment when she is on the point of getting the lovesick old fool under her thumb. For listen to what then happened. The way in which Marianna received the old fellow when we took him home has quite reformed him. He is fully convinced that she no longer loves you, but that she has given him at least one half of her heart, and that all he has to do is to win the other half. And Marianna, since she imbibed the poison of your kisses, has advanced three years in shrewdness, artfulness, and experience. She has convinced the old man, not only that she had no share in our trick, but that she hates our goings-on, and will meet with scorn every device on your part to approach her. In his excessive delight the old man was too hasty, and swore that if he could do anything to please his adored Marianna he would do it immediately, she had only to give utterance to her wish. Whereupon Marianna modestly asked for nothing except that her zio carissimo (dearest uncle) would take her to see Signor Formica in the theatre outside the Porta del Popolo. This rather posed Capuzzi; there were consultations with the Pyramid Doctor and with Pitichinaccio; at last Signor Pasquale and Signor Splendiano came to the resolution that they really would take Marianna to this theatre tomorrow. Pitichinaccio, it was resolved, should accompany them in the disguise of a handmaiden, to which he only gave his consent on condition that Signor Pasquale would make him a present, not only of the plush waistcoat, but also of a wig, and at night would, alternately with the Pyramid Doctor, carry him home. That bargain they finally made; and so the curious leash will certainly go along with pretty Marianna to see Signor Formica tomorrow, in the theatre outside the Porta del Popolo.”

It is now necessary to say who Signor Formica was, and what he had to do with the theatre outside the Porta del Popolo.

At the time of the Carnival in Rome, nothing is more sad than when the theatre-managers have been unlucky in their choice of a musical composer, or when the first tenor at the Argentina theatre has lost his voice on the way, or when the male prima donna1 of the Valle theatre is laid up with a cold — in brief, when the chief source of recreation which the Romans were hoping to find proves abortive, and then comes Holy Thursday and all at once cuts off all the hopes which might perhaps have been realized It was just after one of these unlucky Carnivals — almost before the strict fast-days were past, when a certain Nicolo Musso opened a theatre outside the Porta del Popolo, where he stated his intention of putting nothing but light impromptu comic sketches on the boards. The advertisement was drawn up in an ingenious and witty style, and consequently the Romans formed a favourable preconception of Musso’s enterprise; but independently of this they would in their longing to still their dramatic hunger have greedily snatched at any the poorest pabulum of this description. The interior arrangements of the theatre, or rather of the small booth, did not say much for the pecuniary resources of the enterprising manager. There was no orchestra, nor were there boxes. Instead, a gallery was put up at the back, where the arms of the house of Colonna were conspicuous — a sign that Count Colonna had taken Musso and his theatre under his especial protection. A platform of slight elevation, covered with carpets and hung round with curtains, which, according to the requirements of the piece, had to represent a wood or a room or a street — this was the stage. Add to this that the spectators had to content themselves with hard uncomfortable wooden benches, and it was no wonder that Signor Musso’s patrons on first entering were pretty loud in their grumblings at him for calling a paltry wooden booth a theatre. But no sooner had the first two actors who appeared exchanged a few words together than the attention of the audience was arrested; as the piece proceeded their interest took the form of applause, their applause grew to admiration, their admiration to the wildest pitch of enthusiastic excitement, which found vent in loud and continuous laughter, clapping of hands, and screams of “Bravo! Bravo!”

And indeed it would not have been very easy to find anything more perfect than these extemporised representations of Nicolo Musso; they overflowed with wit, humour, and genius, and lashed the follies of the day with an unsparing scourge. The audience were quite carried away by the incomparable characterisation which distinguished all the actors, but particularly by the inimitable mimicry of Pasquarello,2 by his marvellously natural imitations of the voice, gait, and postures of well-known personages. By his inexhaustible humour, and the point and appositeness of his impromptus, he quite carried his audience away. The man who played the rôle of Pasquarello, and who called himself Signor Formica, seemed to be animated by a spirit of singular originality; often there was something so strange in either tone or gesture, that the audience, even in the midst of the most unrestrained burst of laughter, felt a cold shiver run through them. He was excellently supported by Dr. Gratiano,3 who in pantomimic action, in voice, and in his talent for saying the most delightful things mixed up with apparently the most extravagant nonsense, had perhaps no equal in the world. This rôle was played by an old Bolognese named Maria Agli. Thus in a short time all educated Rome was seen hastening in a continuous stream to Nicolo Musso’s little theatre outside the Porta del Popolo, whilst Formica’s name was on everybody’s lips, and people shouted with wild enthusiasm, “Oh! Formica! Formica benedetto! Oh! Formicissimo! ”— not only in the theatre but also in the streets. They regarded him as a supernatural visitant, and many an old lady who had split her sides with laughing in the theatre, would suddenly look grave and say solemnly, “Scherza coi fanti e lascia star santi ” (Jest with children but let the saints alone), if anybody ventured to say the least thing in disparagement of Formica’s acting. This arose from the fact that outside the theatre Signor Formica was an inscrutable mystery. Never was he seen anywhere, and all efforts to discover traces of him were vain, whilst Nicolo Musso on his part maintained an inexorable silence respecting his retreat.

And this was the theatre that Marianna was anxious to go to.

“Let us make a decisive onslaught upon our foes,” said Salvator; “we couldn’t have a finer opportunity than when they’re returning home from the theatre.” Then he imparted to Antonio the details of a plan, which, though appearing adventurous and daring, Antonio nevertheless embraced with joy, since it held out to him a prospect that he should be able to carry off his Marianna from the hated old Capuzzi. He also heard with approbation that Salvator was especially concerned to chastise the Pyramid Doctor.

When night came, Salvator and Antonio each took a guitar and went to the Via Ripetta, where, with the express view of causing old Capuzzi annoyance, they complimented lovely Marianna with the finest serenade that ever was heard. For Salvator played and sang in masterly style, whilst Antonio, as far as the capabilities of his fine tenor would allow him, almost rivalled Odoardo Ceccarelli. Although Signor Pasquale appeared on the balcony and tried to silence the singers with abuse, his neighbours, attracted to their windows by the good singing, shouted to him that he and his companions howled and screamed like so many cats and dogs, and yet he wouldn’t listen to good music when it did come into the street; he might just go inside and stop up his ears if he didn’t want to listen to good singing. And so Signor Pasquale had to bear nearly all night long the torture of hearing Salvator and Antonio sing songs which at one time were the sweetest of love-songs and at another mocked at the folly of amorous old fools. They plainly saw Marianna standing at the window, notwithstanding that Signor Pasquale besought her in the sweetest phrases and protestations not to expose herself to the noxious night air.

Next evening the most remarkable company that ever was seen proceeded down the Via Ripetta towards the Porta del Popolo. All eyes were turned upon them, and people asked each other if these were maskers left from the Carnival. Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, spruce and smug, all elegance and politeness, wearing his gay Spanish suit well brushed, parading a new yellow feather in his conical hat, and stepping along in shoes too little for him, as if he were walking amongst eggs, was leading pretty Marianna on his arm; her slender figure could not be seen, still less her face, since she was smothered up to an unusual extent in her veil and wraps. On the other side marched Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni in his great wig, which covered the whole of his back, so that to look at him from behind there appeared to be a huge head walking along on two little legs. Close behind Marianna, and almost clinging to her, waddled the little monster Pitichinaccio, dressed in fiery red petticoats, and having his head covered all over in hideous fashion with bright-coloured flowers.

This evening Signor Formica outdid himself even, and, what he had never done before, introduced short songs into his performance, burlesquing the style of certain well-known singers. Old Capuzzi’s passion for the stage, which in his youth had almost amounted to infatuation, was now stirred up in him anew. In a rapture of delight he kissed Marianna’s hand time after time, and protested that he would not miss an evening visiting Nicolo Musso’s theatre with her. Signor Formica he extolled to the very skies, and joined hand and foot in the boisterous applause of the rest of the spectators. Signor Splendiano was less satisfied, and kept continually admonishing Signor Capuzzi and lovely Marianna not to laugh so immoderately. In a single breath he ran over the names of twenty or more diseases which might arise from splitting the sides with laughing. But neither Marianna nor Capuzzi heeded him in the least. As for Pitichinaccio, he felt very uncomfortable. He had been obliged to sit behind the Pyramid Doctor, whose great wig completely overshadowed him. Not a single thing could he see on the stage, nor any of the actors, and was, moreover, repeatedly bothered and annoyed by two forward women who had placed themselves near him. They called him a dear, comely little lady, and asked him if he was married, though to be sure, he was very young, and whether he had any children, who they dare be bound were sweet little creatures, and so forth. The cold sweat stood in beads on poor Pitichinaccio’s brow; he whined and whimpered, and cursed the day he was born.

After the conclusion of the performance, Signor Pasquale waited until the spectators had withdrawn from the theatre. The last light was extinguished just as Signor Splendiano had lit a small piece of a wax torch at it; and then Capuzzi, with his worthy friends and Marianna, slowly and circumspectly set out on their return journey.

Pitichinaccio wept and screamed; Capuzzi, greatly to his vexation, had to take him on his left arm, whilst with the right he led Marianna. Doctor Splendiano showed the way with his miserable little bit of torch, which only burned with difficulty, and even then in a feeble sort of a way, so that the wretched light it cast merely served to reveal to them the thick darkness of the night.

Whilst they were still a good distance from the Porta del Popolo they all at once saw themselves surrounded by several tall figures closely enveloped in mantles. At this moment the torch was knocked out of the Doctor’s hand, and went out on the ground. Capuzzi, as well as the Doctor, stood still without uttering a sound. Then, without their knowing where it came from, a pale reddish light fell upon the muffled figures, and four grisly skulls riveted their hollow ghastly eyes upon the Pyramid Doctor. “Woe — woe — woe betide thee, Splendiano Accoramboni!” thus the terrible spectres shrieked in deep, sepulchral tones. Then one of them wailed, “Do you know me? do you know me, Splendiano? I am Cordier, the French painter, who was buried last week, and whom your medicaments brought to his grave.” Then the second, “Do you know me, Splendiano? I am Küfner, the German painter, whom you poisoned with your infernal electuary.” Then the third, “Do you know me, Splendiano? I am Liers, the Fleming, whom you killed with your pills, and whose brother you defrauded of a picture.” Then the fourth, “Do you know me, Splendiano? I am Ghigi, the Neapolitan painter, whom you despatched with your powders.” And lastly all four together, “Woe — woe — woe upon thee, Splendiano Accoramboni, cursed Pyramid Doctor! We bid you come — come down to us beneath the earth. Away — away — away with you! Hallo! hallo!” and so saying they threw themselves upon the unfortunate Doctor, and, raising him in their arms, whisked him away like a whirlwind.

Now, although Signor Pasquale was a good deal overcome by terror, yet it is surprising with what remarkable promptitude he recovered courage so soon as he saw that it was only his friend Accoramboni with whom the spectres were concerned. Pitichinaccio had stuck his head, with the flower-bed that was on it, under Capuzzi’s mantle, and clung so fast round his neck that all efforts to shake him off proved futile.

“Pluck up your spirits,” Capuzzi exhorted Marianna, when nothing more was to be seen of the spectres or of the Pyramid Doctor; “pluck up your spirits, and come to me, my sweet little ducky bird! As for my worthy friend Splendiano, it’s all over with him. May St. Bernard, who also was an able physician and gave many a man a lift on the road to happiness, may he help him, if the revengeful painters whom he hastened to get to his Pyramid break his neck! But who’ll sing the bass of my canzonas now? And this booby, Pitichinaccio, is squeezing my throat so, that, adding in the fright caused by Splendiano’s abduction, I fear I shall not be able to produce a pure note for perhaps six weeks to come. Don’t be alarmed, my Marianna, my darling! It’s all over now.”

She assured him that she had quite recovered from her alarm, and begged him to let her walk alone without support, so that he could free himself from his troublesome pet. But Signor Pasquale only took faster hold of her, saying that he wouldn’t suffer her to leave his side a yard in that pitch darkness for anything in the world.

In the very same moment as Signor Pasquale, now at his ease again, was about to proceed on his road, four frightful fiend-like figures rose up just in front of him as if out of the earth; they wore short flaring red mantles and fixed their keen glittering eyes upon him, at the same time making horrible noises — yelling and whistling. “Ugh! ugh! Pasquale Capuzzi! You cursed fool! You amorous old devil! We belong to your fraternity; we are the evil spirits of love, and have come to carry you off to hell — to hell-fire — you and your crony Pitichinaccio.” Thus screaming, the Satanic figures fell upon the old man. Capuzzi fell heavily to the ground and Pitichinaccio along with him, both raising a shrill piercing cry of distress and fear, like that of a whole troop of cudgelled asses.

Marianna had meanwhile torn herself away from the old man and leapt aside. Then one of the devils clasped her softly in his arms, whispering the sweet glad words, “O Marianna! my Marianna! At last we’ve managed it! My friends will carry the old man a long, long way from here, whilst we seek a better place of safety.”

“O my Antonio!” whispered Marianna softly.

But suddenly the scene was illuminated by the light of several torches, and Antonio felt a stab in his shoulder. Quick as lightning he turned round, drew his sword, and attacked the fellow, who with his stiletto upraised was just preparing to aim a second blow. He perceived that his three companions were defending themselves against a superior number of gendarmes. He managed to beat off the fellow who had attacked him, and joined his friends. Although they were maintaining their ground bravely, the contest was yet too unequal; the gendarmes would infallibly have proved victorious had not two others suddenly ranged themselves with a shout on the side of the young men, one of them immediately cutting down the fellow who was pressing Antonio the hardest.

In a few minutes more the contest was decided against the police. Several lay stretched on the ground seriously wounded; the rest fled with loud shouts towards the Porta del Popolo.

Salvator Rosa (for he it was who had hastened to Antonio’s assistance and cut down his opponent) wanted to take Antonio and the young painters who were disguised in the devils’ masks and there and then pursue the gendarmes into the city.

Maria Agli, however, who had come along with him, and, notwithstanding his advanced age, had tackled the police as stoutly as any of the rest, urged that this would be imprudent, for the guard at the Porta del Popolo would be certain to have intelligence of the affair and would arrest them. So they all betook themselves to Nicolo Musso, who gladly received them into his narrow little house not far from the theatre. The artists took off their devils’ masks and laid aside their mantles, which had been rubbed over with phosphorus, whilst Antonio, who, beyond the insignificant scratch on his shoulder, was not wounded at all, exercised his surgical skill in binding up the wounds of the rest — Salvator, Agli, and his young comrades — for they had none of them got off without being wounded, though none of them in the least degree dangerously.

The adventure, notwithstanding its wildness and audacity, would undoubtedly have been successful, had not Salvator and Antonio overlooked one person, who upset everything. The ci-devant bravo and gendarme Michele, who dwelt below in Capuzzi’s house, and was in a certain sort his general servant, had, in accordance with Capuzzi’s directions, followed them to the theatre, but at some distance off, for the old gentleman was ashamed of the tattered reprobate. In the same way Michele was following them homewards. And when the spectres appeared, Michele who, be it remarked, feared neither death nor devil, suspecting that something was wrong, hurried back as fast as he could run in the darkness to the Porta del Popolo, raised an alarm, and returned with all the gendarmes he could find, just at the moment when, as we know, the devils fell upon Signor Pasquale, and were about to carry him off as the dead men had the Pyramid Doctor.

In the very hottest moment of the fight, one of the young painters observed distinctly how one of the fellows, taking Marianna in his arms (for she had fainted), made off to the gate, whilst Signor Pasquale ran after him with incredible swiftness, as if he had got quicksilver in his legs. At the same time, by the light of the torches, he caught a glimpse of something gleaming, clinging to his mantle and whimpering; no doubt it was Pitichinaccio.

Next morning Doctor Splendiano was found near the Pyramid of Cestius, fast asleep, doubled up like a ball and squeezed into his wig, as if into a warm soft nest. When he was awakened, he rambled in his talk, and there was some difficulty in convincing him that he was still on the surface of the earth, and in Rome to boot. And when at length he reached his own house, he returned thanks to the Virgin and all the saints for his rescue, threw all his tinctures, essences, electuaries, and powders out of the window, burnt his prescriptions, and vowed to heal his patients in the future by no other means than by anointing and laying on of hands, as some celebrated physician of former ages, who was at the same time a saint (his name I cannot recall just at this moment), had with great success done before him. For his patients died as well as the patients of other people, and then they already saw the gates of heaven open before them ere they died, and in fact everything else that the saint wanted them to see.

“I can’t tell you,” said Antonio next day to Salvator, “how my heart boils with rage since my blood has been spilled. Death and destruction overtake that villain Capuzzi! I tell you, Salvator, that I am determined to force my way into his house. I will cut him down if he opposes me and carry off Marianna.”

“An excellent plan!” replied Salvator, laughing. “An excellent plan! Splendidly contrived! Of course I presume you have also found some means for transporting Marianna through the air to the Spanish Square, so that they shall not seize you and hang you before you can reach that place of refuge. No, my dear Antonio, violence can do nothing for you this time. You may lay your life on it too that Signor Pasquale will now take steps to guard against any open attack. Moreover, our adventure has made a good deal of noise, and the irrepressible laughter of the people at the absurd way in which we have read a lesson to Splendiano and Capuzzi has roused the police out of their light slumber, and they, you may be sure, will now exert all their feeble efforts to entrap us. No, Antonio, let us have recourse to craft. Con arte e con inganno si vive mezzo l’anno, con inganno e con arte si vive l’altra parte (If cunning and scheming will help us six months through, scheming and cunning will help us the other six too), says Dame Caterina, nor is she far wrong. Besides, I can’t help laughing to see how we’ve gone and acted for all the world like thoughtless boys, and I shall have to bear most of the blame, for I am a good bit older than you. Tell me now, Antonio, supposing our scheme had been successful, and you had actually carried off Marianna from the old man, where would you have fled to, where would you have hidden her, and how would you have managed to get united to her by the priest before the old man could interfere to prevent it? You shall, however, in a few days, really and truly run away with your Marianna. I have let Nicolo Musso as well as Signor Formica into all the secret, and in common with them devised a plan which can scarcely fail. So cheer up, Antonio; Signor Formica will help you.”

“Signor Formica?” replied Antonio in a tone of indifference which almost amounted to contempt. “Signor Formica! In what way can that buffoon help me?”

“Ho! ho!” laughed Salvator. “Please to bear in mind, I beg you, that Signor Formica is worthy of your respect. Don’t you know that he is a sort of magician who in secret is master of the most mysterious arts? I tell you, Signor Formica will help you. Old Maria Agli, the clever Bolognese Doctor Gratiano, is also a sharer in the plot, and will, moreover, have an important part to play in it. You shall abduct your Marianna, Antonio, from Musso’s theatre.”

“You are flattering me with false hopes, Salvator,” said Antonio. “You have just now said yourself that Signor Pasquale will take care to avoid all open attacks. How can you suppose then, after his recent unpleasant experience, that he can possibly make up his mind to visit Musso’s theatre again?”

“It will not be such a difficult thing as you imagine to entice the old man there,” replied Salvator. “What will be more difficult to effect, will be, to get him in the theatre without his satellites. But, be that as it may, what you have now got to do, Antonio, is to have everything prepared and arranged with Marianna, so as to flee from Rome the moment the favourable opportunity comes. You must go to Florence; your skill as a painter will, after your arrival, in itself recommend you there; and you shall have no lack of acquaintances, nor of honourable patronage and assistance — that you may leave to me to provide for. After we have had a few days’ rest, we will then see what is to be done further. Once more, Antonio — live in hope; Formica will help you.”

1 Female parts continued to be played by boys in England down to the Restoration (1660). The practice of women playing in female parts was introduced somewhat earlier in Italy, but only in certain kinds of performances.

2 This word is undoubtedly connected with Pasquillo (a satire), or with Pasquino, a Roman cobbler of the fifteenth century, whose shop stood near the Braschi Palace, near the Piazza Navona. He lashed the follies of his day, particularly the vices of the clergy, with caustic satire, scathing wit, and bitter stinging irony. After his death his name was transferred to a mutilated statue, upon which such satiric effusions continued to be fastened.

Pasquarello would thus combine the characteristics of the English clown with those of the Roman Pasquino.

3 Doctor Gratiano, a character in the popular Italian theatre called Commedia dell’ Arte, was represented as a Bolognese doctor, and wore a mask with black nose and forehead and red cheeks. His rôle was that of a “pedantic and tedious poser.”

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Last updated Friday, February 28, 2014 at 22:37