Madam Butterfly

Act II.

Inside Butterfly's House.

First Part.

The curtain rises: - The curtains are drawn, leaving the room in semi-darkness. Suzuki, coiled up before the images of Buddha, is praying. From time to time she rings the prayer-bell. Butterfly is standing rigid and motionless near a screen.

Suzuki [praying]
And Izaghi and Izanami
Sarundasico and Kami
[stopping short]
My head is throbbing!
[she rings the bell to invoke the attention of the Gods]
and thou,
[in tearful tones, looking at Butterfly]
Grant me that Butterfly
shall weep no more, no more, no more!...

Butterfly [without moving]
Lazy and idle
are the Gods of Japan!
The God my husband prays to
Will give an answer far more quickly
To those who bow before him.
But I am afraid he knows not
That here we are dwelling.
[remains pensive]

[Suzuki rises, draws back the curtains and slides back the partition at the back, towards the garden].

Butterfly [turns to Suzuki]
Suzuki, How soon shall we be starving?

[Suzuki goes to a small cabinet and opens a casket to look for some money]

Suzuki [goes to Butterfly and shows her a very few coins]
This is all that is left us.

No more? Oh, we have been spendthrifts!

[Suzuki puts back the money into the cabinet which she closes]

Suzuki [sighing]
Unless he comes, and quickly,
Our plight is a bad one.

Butterfly [with decision]
He'll come, though.

Suzuki [shaking her head]
Will he come?

Butterfly [vexed, approaches Suzuki]
Why did he order the Consul
To provide this dwelling for us?
Now answer that!
[Suzuki is silent]
[still persists]
And why was he so careful
To have the house provided with safe locks,
If he did not intend to come again?

I know not.

Butterfly [rather annoyed and surprised at such ignorance]
Know you not?
[calming down again and with proud confidence]
Then I will tell you. 'Twas to keep outside
Those spiteful plagues, my relations, who might annoy me;
And inside, 'twas to give to me, his wife, protection,
His beloved little wife Butterfly.

Suzuki [still far from convinced]
I never heard as yet
of foreign husband
Who did return to his nest.

Butterfly [furious, seizing hold of Suzuki]
Ah! Silence, or I'll kill you.
[still trying to convince Suzuki]
Why, just before he went,
I asked of him, You'll come back again to me?
And with his heart so heavy,
To conceal his trouble,
With a smile he made answer:
``O Butterfly
My tiny little child-wife,
I'll return with the roses,
The warm and sunny season
When the red-breasted robins
Are busy nesting.''
[calm and convinced]
He'll return.

Suzuki [incredulously]
We'll hope so.

Butterfly [insisting]
Say it with me:
He'll return.

Suzuki [to please her, she repeats, but mournfully]
He'll return.
[bursts into tears]

Butterfly [surprised]
Weeping? and why? and why?
Ah, 'tis faith you are lacking!
[full of faith and smiling]
Hear me.
[acts the scene as though it were actually taking place]

One fine day we'll notice
A thread of smoke arising on the sea In
the far horizon,
And then the ship appearing;
Then the trim white vessel
Glides into the harbour, thunders forth her cannon.
See you? Now he is coming!
I do not go to meet him. Not I! I stay
upon the brow of the hillock, And wait there... and wait
for a long time, But never weary
of the long waiting.
From out the crowded city
There is coming a man,
a little speck in the distance, Climbing the hillock.
Can you guess who it is?
And when he's reached the summit,
Can you guess what he'll say?
He will call: ``Butterfly'' from the distance.
I, without answ'ring,
Hold myself quietly conceal'd,
A bit to tease him and a bit so as not to die
At our first meeting; and then, a little troubled
He will call, he will call:
``Dear baby wife of mine, Dear little orange blossom!''
The names he used to call me when he came here.
[to Suzuki]
This will all come to pass as I tell you.
Banish your idle fears, For he will return I know it.
[Butterfly and Suzuki embrace with emotion]

[Butterfly dismisses Suzuki, who goes out of the door on the left. Butterfly looks after her sadly]

[Goro and Sharpless appear in the garden: Goro looks into the room, sees Butterfly through a window and says to Sharpless who is following him:]
Come. She's here.
[Goro and Sharpless cross the garden]

Sharpless [approaches and cautiously knocks at the door on the Right]
I am seeking...
[Sharpless sees Butterfly, who hearing someone come in, has risen.]
Madam Butterfly...

Butterfly [corrects him without turning round]
Nay, Madam Pinkerton,
excuse me.
[turns and recognises the Consul, claps her hands for joy.]
[Suzuki enters eagerly and prepares a small table with smoking materials, some cushions and a stool.]
Why, here is the Consul; yes, the Consul!

Sharpless [surprised]
What, you remember?

Butterfly [doing the honours of the house]
You are welcome, Be seated
You're most hon'rably welcome!

Thank you.

[Butterfly invites the Consul to sit near the table: Sharpless drops awkwardly onto a cushion: Butterfly sits down on the other side and smiles slyly behind her fan, on seeing the Consul's discomfort: then with great charm she asks him:]
And your hon'rable ancestors,
Is their health good?

Sharpless [thanks with a smile]
I hope so.

Butterfly [signs to Suzuki to prepare the pipe]
You smoke?

Thank you.
[anxious to explain the object of his visit, produces a letter from his pocket.]
I've here...

Butterfly [interrupting him, without noticing the letter]
Augustness, The sky
is quite unclouded.
[after having taken a draw at the pipe which Suzuki has prepared she offers it to the Consul]

Sharpless [refusing]
Thank you...
[again trying to resume the thread of his talk]
I've here...

Butterfly [places the pipe on the table, and says very pressingly]
You prefer, most likely
to smoke American cigarettes?..
[offers him one]

Sharpless [rather annoyed, takes one]
Well, thank you.
[tries to resume his talk]
I have to show you...

Butterfly [hands Sharpless a lighted taper]
A light?

Sharpless [lights the cigarette, but then puts it down at once and showing her the letter, sits on the stool]
I've a letter from Mister Pinkerton...

Butterfly [with intense eagerness]
What? really?
How's his hon'rable health?

He's quite well.

Butterfly [jumping up very joyfully]
Then I am the happiest
woman in Japan. Would you
[Suzuki is busy getting tea ready]
answer me a question?


Butterfly [sits down again]
At what time of the year
in America, Do robins nest?

Sharpless [amazed]
Are you serious?

Sooner or later than here?

Tell me, why?...

[Goro, who is sauntering round the garden, comes up on to the terrace and listens, unseen, to Butterfly]

My husband gave his promise
He would return in the joyous season,
When robin red-breasts rebuild their nests.
Here they have built them thrice already, But
I thought that over there,
They might do so more rarely.
[Goro appears and bursts out laughing]
[turning round]
Who's laughing?
[seeing Goro]
Oh, the nakodo.
[softly, to Sharpless]
A wicked fellow.

Goro [coming forward and bowing obsequiously]
I was...

Butterfly [to Goro, who bows again and goes to help Suzuki]
[to Sharpless]
Why, he dared...
[changing her mind]
No, first I'd like
your answer; Answer me what I asked you.

Sharpless [confused]
I am sorry, but I don't...
I never studied ornithology.



Ah, then
you cannot tell me?

[tries again to return to his point]
We were saying...

Butterfly [interrupts him, following her thoughts]
Ah, yes,
Scarcely was B. F. Pinkerton away,
Than Goro came hither
and besought me,
With arguments and presents, to remarry;
He'd half-a-dozen suitors.
Now he offers me riches
If I will wed an idiot...

Goro [Intervenes, trying to justify himself and turning to Sharpless.]
The wealthy Yamadori.
She is poor as she can be. And all her relatives
have cast her off entirely.

[Beyond the terrace the Prince Yamadori is seen, followed by two servants carrying flowers.]

Butterfly [sees Yamadori and points him out to Sharpless with a smile]
Here he is. Now listen.

Yamadori enters with great pomp from the door on the Right, followed by his two servants: Goro and Suzuki run up to him eagerly and go on their knees and hands before him. Then Suzuki takes the flowers and places them in various vases.
Yamadori greets the Consul, then bows most graciously to Butterfly. The two japanese servants having deposited the flowers, retire to the back, bowing deeply. Goro, servile and officious, places a stool for Yamadori between Sharpless and Butterfly, and is very much in evidence during the conversation. Butterfly, Sharpless and Yamadori sit down.

Yamadori and have the throes Of
unrequited love not yet released you?
Do you still intend to die
If I withhold my kisses?

Yamadori [to Sharpless]
There is naught on earth more cruel
Than the pangs of hopeless love.

Butterfly [with graceful raillery]
You have had so many consorts,
Surely you must be inured!

Ev'ry one of them I married,
And divorce has set me free.

Thank you kindly!

But yet to you,
/ I would swear eternal faith.
| Sharpless [sighing, replaces the letter in his pocket]
\ (I am very much afraid
my message will not be delivered!)

Goro [pointing out Yamadori to Sharpless, with emphasis]
Houses, servants, treasures,
At Omara a truly regal palace.

Butterfly [seriously]
But my hand's bestowed already...

Goro and Yamadori [to Sharpless]
She believes she still is married.

Butterfly [rising from the cushion]
I don't think it, for I know it...

But the law says:

I know it not.

For the wife desertion
gives the right of divorce,

That may be Japanese law,...
But not in my country.

Which one?

The United States.

Sharpless [to himself]
(Poor little creature!)

Butterfly [strenuously, and growing excited]
I know of course, to open the door
And to turn out your wife at any moment,
Here, constitutes divorce.
But in America, that cannot be done
[to Sharpless]
Say so?

Sharpless [embarrassed].
Yes, yes... But yet...

Butterfly [interrupts him, turning to Yamadori and Goro in triumph]
There a true, honest
And unbiass'd judge
Says to the husband:
``You wish to free yourself?
Let us hear why?''
``I'm sick and tir'd
of conjugal fetters!''
Then the good judge says:
``Ah, wicked scoundrel,
Clap him in prison!''
[to put an end to the subject, she orders Suzuki:]
Suzuki, tea.

[Butterfly goes up to Suzuki who has already made the tea, and pours it into the cups.]

Yamadori [whispers to Sharpless].
You hear her?

Sharpless [whispers]
I am grieved at such hopeless blindness.

Goro [whispers to Sharpless and Yamadori].
Pinkerton's ship is already

Yamadori [in despair].
And when they meet again...

Sharpless [whispers to both]
He does not want to see her. It is for that I came
to try and prepare her...
[seeing that Butterfly followed by Suzuki, is approaching him to offer him tea, cuts short his sentence].

Butterfly [offering Sharpless tea]
Will your Honour allow me...
[opens her fan, and behind it points to the two others, laughing]
What troublesome persons!
[then offers tea to Yamadori who refuses and rises to go].

Yamadori [sighing].
Farewell, then. I go, my heart heavy with sorrow,
but still I hope...

So be it.

Yamadori [Is going out, but returns into the room near Butterfly].
Ah, if you would but...

The pity is: I will not...

Yamadori, after having bowed to Sharpless, goes off sighing; he turns again with his hands on his heart, cutting a grotesque figure in the throes of love. The two servants follow him. Butterfly laughs again behind her fan and signs to Suzuki to remove the tea. Suzuki obeys, then retires to the back of the room.
Goro eagerly follows Yamadori.
Sharpless assumes a grave and serious aspect; with great respect, however, and some emotion, he invites Butterfly to be seated, and once more draws the letter from his pocket

Now at last! Now if you please, be seated here,
[showing the letter]
And read this letter through with me.

Butterfly [taking the letter]
Show me.
[kissing it] On my lips,
[placing it on her heart] on my heart...
[to Sharpless, prettily]
You're the best man
that ever existed!
[gives back the letter and settles herself to listen with the greatest attention]
Begin, I beg you.

Sharpless [reading]
``Dear Friend, I beg you seek out
that child, that pretty flower,''

Butterfly [can no longer contain herself and exclaims joyfully]
Does he truly say that?

Sharpless [gravely]
Yes, he truly says so;
But if you interrupt so...

Butterfly [calming down again to listen]
I'll be quiet, and listen.

``Those were happy days together;
Three years are now gone by since''—

Butterfly [interrupting the reading]
Then he too has counted!...

Sharpless [resumes]
``Perhaps dear Butterfly
remembers me no more.''

Butterfly [very surprised, turning to Suzuki]
I not remember?
Suzuki, tell him quickly.
[repeats as though scandalized at the words of the letter]
``Remembers me no more!''
[Suzuki goes out through the door on the left]

Sharpless [to himself]
O Patience!
[continues reading]
``If she still
cares for me, and expects me''—

Butterfly [taking the letter from Sharpless' hands exclaims very tenderly:]
Oh, what glorious tidings!
[kissing the letter]
You blessèd letter!

Sharpless [takes the letter back and boldly resumes reading though his voice is trembling with emotion]
``On you I am relying
to act discreetly, And with tact
and caution to prepare her...

Butterfly [anxious, but joyful]
He's coming

the blow to...''

Butterfly [rises, jumping for joy and clapping her hands]
Tell me? quickly! quickly!

Sharpless [taking a deep breath]
(Well really!)
[puts the letter away again]
[to himself] (How shall I undeceive her?
[angrily] That devil of a Pinkerton!)
[rises, then looks straight into Butterfly's eyes, very gravely]
Now say,
what would you do, tell me, Madam Butterfly...
If he were never to return again?

[Butterfly, motionless as tho' she had received a death-blow, bows her head and replies with childlike submissiveness, almost stammering]
Two things I might do:
Go back... and entertain
the people with my songs...
Or else, ...better... to die.

[Sharpless is deeply moved and walks up and down excitedly; then he turns to Butterfly, takes her hands in his and says to her with fatherly tenderness]
I am loth indeed to tear you
From illusions so beguiling;
But I urge you to accept the hand
of wealthy Yamadori.

Butterfly [in a voice broken by weeping, and withdrawing her hands]
You, you, Augustness! You tell me this?... You?

Sharpless [embarrassed]
Holy Powers, what can I do?

Butterfly [claps her hands and Suzuki hastens in]
Here, Suzuki, come quickly, please,
Show his Honour to the door.

Sharpless [is on the point of going out]
You dismiss me?

[Butterfly, repenting, runs to Sharpless sobbing and holds him back]
I beseech you,
let my words be quite forgotten.
[dismisses Suzuki who goes into the garden]

Sharpless [making excuses]
I was brutal, I admit it.

Butterfly [mournfully, laying her hand on her heart]
Oh, you've wounded me so deeply,
Wounded me so very deeply!
[Butterfly totters, Sharpless is about to support her, but she rallies quickly]

'Tis nothing, Thank you!
I felt ready to die... But see, it passes,
Swift as shadows that flit across the ocean.
[making up her mind]
Ah, am I forgotten?
[Butterfly runs into the room on the left]

[Butterfly returns triumphantly carrying her baby on her left shoulder, and shows him to Sharpless full of pride]

Look here, then! Look here, then! Look here then!
Can such as he well be forgotten?..
[puts the child down on the ground and holds him close to her]

Sharpless [with emotion]
Is it his?

Butterfly [pointing to each feature]
What japanese
baby e'er was born with azure eyes, I wonder?
Such lips too? and such a head
of golden ringlets?

Sharpless [more and more moved]
'Tis his image.
Has Pinkerton been told?

No. No.
I bore him when he
was far off, In his big native country.
But you will write and tell him,
[caressing the child]
There awaits him a son who has no equal!
And would you tell me then, that he won't hasten
Over land, and over sea!
[putting the baby down on the cushion]
[kisses the child tenderly]
Do you know, my dear, what that bad man
had heart to fancy?
[pointing to Sharpless]
That your mother should take you on her shoulder,
And forth should wander in rain and tempest
Through the town, seeking to earn enough
For food and clothing.
And then before the kindly people
To dance in measure her song and cry out:
``Oh listen, good people
Listen to my sad song all
the eight hundred thousand gods and goddesses of Japan!''
Can it be that Butterfly
again returns to dancing
as I've done once before
[holding up the child and fondling it]
and become a Geisha again
the happy song which is demanded
of me I fear sadly it would end.
[crouches down by the child and continues in caressing and tearful tones]
But no that cannot be
not this profession after such great joy
death! death! but never dance
I'd ten times rather go to my death
[laying her cheek next to the baby's cheek]
[She strains the child to her heart, then crouching down on the ground hugs him passionately.]

Sharpless [cannot restrain his tears]
(Poor faithful soul!)
[conquering his emotion]
I must be going.
You will excuse me?

[Butterfly rises to her feet and with a charming gesture gives Sharpless her hand; he shakes it cordially with both of his]

Butterfly [turning to the child]
Now you give him your hand, love.

Sharpless [taking the child in his arms]
What pretty golden ringlets!
[kisses it]
Darling, what do they call you?

Butterfly [to the baby, with childlike grace]
Give answer:
Sir, my name now is Trouble, But yet,
Write and tell my father: on the day
Of his returning,
Joy... Joy shall be my name.

Your father shall be told, that I will promise,...
[puts down the child, bows to Butterfly and goes out quickly by door on the right]

Suzuki [from outside, shouting]
Scoundrel! Rascal! wretched coward!

[Suzuki enters dragging in Goro roughly, who tries to escape]
[loud cries from Goro]

Butterfly [to Suzuki]
Who's that?

He prowls around here
Evil reptile! from morn to evening,
And tells this scandal
All thro' the town:
That no one knows
Who is this baby's father!
[releases Goro]

Goro [protesting in frightened tones]
I only... told her...
That out in America
[approaching the child and pointing to him]
Whene'er a baby
is born in such conditions,
[Butterfly instinctively stands in front of the child as though to protect him.]
He will be shunned throughout his life
And treated as an outcast!

Butterfly [wild cry]
[runs to the shrine and takes down the dagger which is hanging up]

Butterfly [in wild tones]
Ah! you're lying, lying! lying!
Ah! liar!
[Butterfly seizes Goro, who falls down, and threatens to kill him. Goro utters loud, desperate and prolonged howls.]
Say't again and I'll kill you!

Suzuki [thrusts herself between them; then horrified at such a scene, she takes the child and carries him into the room on the left]

Butterfly [seized with disgust she pushes him away with her foot]
[Goro makes his escape.]

[Butterfly remains motionless as though petrified.]
[By degrees she rouses herself and goes to put away the dagger.]

Butterfly [letting her thoughts fly to her child].
You'll see, love of my heart
My grief, and yet my comfort,
my own little love,
Ah! you will see
That your avenger soon, soon will be here,
And take you and me to his own country,
take you and me afar.

[a cannon shot]

Suzuki [coming in breathlessly]
The harbour cannon!
Look, 'tis a man of war!
[Butterfly and Suzuki run towards the terrace.]

White, white,... the American
stars and stripes!... 'Tis putting
into port to anchor!
[takes a telescope from the table and runs on to the terrace to look out]
[all trembling with excitement, directs the telescope towards the harbour, and says to Suzuki]
Keep my hand steady
that I may read the name,
The name, Where is it? Here it is: ABRAHAM LINCOLN!
[gives the telescope to Suzuki, and goes down from the terrace in the greatest state of excitement]
They all were liars!
liars! liars! But I
knew it always Just I who love him!
[to Suzuki]
Now do you see the folly of doubting?
He's coming! He's coming! He's coming!
Just at the moment you all were saying:
Weep and forget him. My love wins the day!
See, my love and my faith have won completely.
He's here, he loves me!
[rejoicing, runs on to the terrace]
[to Suzuki who has followed her unto the terrace]
Shake that cherry tree till ev'ry flower
White as snow, flutters down,
His noble brow, in a sweet-scented shower
[sobbing with tenderness]
I would smother.

Suzuki [soothing her]
Sweet Chochosan
be calm, I pray, this weeping—

Butterfly [returns to the room with Suzuki]
Nay, laughing, laughing! When
may we expect him up here?
What think you? In an hour?

Too soon.

Two hours more likely
[walking up and down the room]
Flowers, flowers be ev'rywhere,
As close as stars are in the heavens.
[signs to Suzuki to go into the garden]
[to Suzuki]
Fetch the flow'rs!

Suzuki [from the terrace]
Ev'ry flow'r?...

Butterfly [gaily to Suzuki]
Ev'ry flow'r, Spare not
any. Peaches, violets, jessamine.
Ev'ry spray you find of gorse or grass or flow'ring tree.

Suzuki [still on the terrace]
Desolate as in winter the garden will appear.
[goes down into the garden]

Ah, but the balmy breath of spring shall shed her sweetness in here.

Suzuki [from the garden]
Desolate as in winter the garden will appear.
[appears on the terrace with a bunch of flowers which she holds out to Butterfly]
Here's more, dear mistress.

Butterfly [taking the flowers from Suzuki's hands]
'Tis not enough yet.

[Butterfly distributes the flowers about the room, while Suzuki goes down into the garden again]

Suzuki [from the garden]
How often at this window you've stood and wept and waited,
Gazing and gazing, into the wide, wide world beyond.

No more need I pray for, since the kind sea has brought him.
Tears to the earth I have given and it returns me flow'rs!

Suzuki [reappears on the terrace, laden with flowers]
Not a flow'r left.

Not a flow'r left?
Come and help me.

Roses shall adorn
the threshold.
[They scatter flowers everywhere]
Balmy breath of spring shall
Balmy breath of springtime,
shed her sweetness here.
sheds her sweetness here.

Let us sow fair April here,
Sow April here.
sow April here.

/ Butterfly [scattering flowers]
| Ah, let the scented balm of spring
| shed her sweetness here...
| Suzuki
\ Ah, let the scented balm of spring be shed here.
Lilies?.. violets?..
Come scatter, scatter flow'rs all over.

Let us sow fair April here.

Let us sow fair April here.
/ Now round his seat make a garland,
| this convolvulus entwining;
| Lilies and roses let us scatter,
| Let us sow fair April here!
| Suzuki
| Lilies, roses scatter,
| all his seat entwining;
| Roses let us scatter,
\ let us sow fair April here!

Butterfly, Suzuki [scattering flowers while they sway their bodies lightly to and fro to the rhythm in a dance measure]
In handfuls let us scatter
violets and white roses,
And sprays of sweet verbena,
Petals of ev'ry flow'r!
And sprays of sweet verbena,
Petals of ev'ry flow'r!

[Butterfly and Suzuki bring toilet requirements]

Butterfly [to Suzuki]
Now come and make me fine.
[The sun begins to set] No, first bring me the baby.
[Suzuki goes into the room on the left, and fetches out the baby whom she seats next to Butterfly; while the latter looks at herself in a small hand-mirror and says sadly]
How changed he'll find me!...
Drawn weary mouth from over-much sighing,
And poor tired eyes from over-much crying!
[to Suzuki]
Put on each cheek
a little touch of carmine...
[takes a paint brush and puts a dab of rouge on the baby's cheeks]
And also for my darling,
So that the watching may not make his face
Heavy with shadows and pallid.

Suzuki [urging her to keep quiet]
Nay, but keep still, till I've finished arranging your hair.

Butterfly [following up an idea she has had]
This will surprise them!
And the Bonze!
[with a touch of fury]
All of them sure and glad
of my downfall!
And Yamadori
with his airs and graces!
My scorn and derision,
My jeers and contempt
for the wretches!

Suzuki [has finished her toilet]
I've finished.

Butterfly [to Suzuki]
Bring me now my wedding garment.
Bring it hither quickly.
[while Butterfly dons her garment, Suzuki dresses the baby in the other one, wrapping him up almost entirely in the ample and light draperies]
I would have him see me in it
As on my wedding day.
[to Suzuki, who has finished dressing the baby]
In my hair we will put
a scarlet poppy...
[Suzuki places the flower in Butterfly's hair. The latter is pleased with the effect]
Like this.
[with childlike grace she signs to Suzuki to close the shosi]
In the shosi we'll make three little holes,
That we can look out
And still as little mice we will stay here
To watch and wait.
[Suzuki closes the shosi at the back]

[the night grows darker]
[Butterfly leads the baby to the

Butterfly makes three holes in the shosi: one high up for herself, one lower down for Suzuki and a third lower still for the child whom she seats on a cushion, signing to him to look through his hole. Suzuki crouches down and also gazes out. Butterfly stands in front of the highest hole and gazes through it, remaining rigid and motionless as a statue: the baby, who is between his mother and Suzuki, peeps out curiously.

[It is night, the rays of the moon light up the shosi from without]

Chorus (ST) [within, from far off] [humming]

[The baby falls asleep, sinking down on his cushion; Suzuki still in her crouching position, falls asleep too: Butterfly alone remains rigid and motionless].

[The curtain falls slowly]

End of Act II First Part.

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30 Mar 2009