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Alone in robe and slippers in a corner of his Attic sits the Vagabond. But for the single ray that falls from the shaded lamp over his left shoulder, to the book in the Vagabond's lap, the Attic is in darkness. Across the quadrangle a silly radio bleats out a strain of jazz. The Vagabond reads for a moment, then gets up and shuts the window toward the quadrangle. The radio's voice is still. The Vagabond smiles. He knows a trick or two that'll baffle modern science. He reads on . . .
"Two households, both alike in dignity . . . ."
As though seen from a distant hilltop. It is a walled city of the fifteenth century, shining in the sunlight among poplar, plane and cypress. The river Adige like a thread of silver. We hear faintly the sound of many bells which grows louder as we--
VERONA--THE CATHEDRAL SQUARE
Enter Lord and Lady Capulet, their nephew Benvolio, and a scowling, well-armed retinue. The Vagabond watches with bated breath as the Lord and Lady Montague, their nephew Tybalt, and their equally ferocious band of followers come into the square from a different entrance. Voices sink suddenly into whispers and the citizens' nerves are tensed awaiting the result of the meeting. It will not be pleasant.
Montague bodyguards take affront at the gestures of Capulet bodyguards--
"Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?"
"I do bite my thumb, sir."
"Do you quarrel, sir?"
The swords of the Montagues and the Capulets are out and there are slashes and recoveries, thrusts and parries, blows--when Benvolio leaps into the midst to stop the fray. Tybalt is upon him. The Vagabond shudders and runs from the scene.
Later he slips past mailed henchmen at a garden gate. A light appears at a balcony window. He hides behind a tree. . .
"O Romeo, Romeo! . . . 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy. What's in a name? That which we call a rose be any other name would small as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for thy name, which is no part of thee, take all myself!"
The Vagabond sighs and puts down his book. "A Motion Picture Version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." He turns to his bed and tumbles sleepily in. All night he stands beneath her balcony and sighs--and sighs.
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