A Representation at the Hotel de Bourgogne.
The hall of the Hotel de Bourgogne, in 1640. A sort of tennis-court arranged and decorated for a theatrical performance.
The hall is oblong and seen obliquely, so that one of its sides forms the back of the right foreground, and meeting the left background makes an angle with the stage, which is partly visible.
On both sides of the stage are benches. The curtain is composed of two tapestries which can be drawn aside. Above a harlequin's mantle are the royal arms. There are broad steps from the stage to the hall; on either side of these steps are the places for the violinists. Footlights.
Two rows, one over the other, of side galleries: the highest divided into boxes. No seats in the pit of the hall, which is the real stage of the theatre; at the back of the pit, i.e. on the right foreground, some benches forming steps, and underneath, a staircase which leads to the upper seats. An improvised buffet ornamented with little lustres, vases, glasses, plates of tarts, cakes, bottles, etc.
The entrance to the theatre is in the centre of the background, under the gallery of the boxes. A large door, half open to let in the spectators. On the panels of this door, in different corners, and over the buffet, red placards bearing the words, 'La Clorise.'
At the rising of the curtain the hall is in semi-darkness, and still empty. The lustres are lowered in the middle of the pit ready to be lighted.
[A confusion of loud voices is heard outside the door. A Trooper enters hastily.]
Hollo! You there! Your money!
I enter gratis.
Why? I am of the King's Household Cavalry, faith!
[to another Trooper who enters].
I pay nothing!
I am a musketeer.
[to the second].
The play will not begin till two. The pit is empty. Come, a bout with the foils to pass the time!
[They fence with the foils they have brought.]
[showing him cards and dice which he takes from his doublet].
See, here be cards and dice. [He seats himself on the floor.] Let's play.
[doing the same].
[taking from his pocket a candle-end, which he lights, and sticks on the floor].
I made free to provide myself with light at my master's expense!
[to a Shop-Girl who advances].
'Twas prettily done to come before the lights were lit!
[He takes her round the waist.]
One of the Fencers
[receiving a thrust].
One of the Card-Players
[following the girl].
[struggling to free herself].
[drawing her to a dark corner].
[sitting on the ground with others who have brought their provisions].
By coming early, one can eat in comfort.
[conducting his son].
Let us sit here, son.
[taking a bottle from under his cloak, and also seating himself on the floor].
A tippler may well quaff his Burgundy [he drinks] in the Burgundy Hotel!
[to his son].
'Faith! A man might think he had fallen in a bad house here! [He points with his cane to the drunkard.] What with topers! [one of the fencers, in breaking off, jostles him] brawlers! [he stumbles into the midst of the card-players] gamblers!
[behind him, still teasing the Flower-Girl].
[hurriedly pulling his son away].
By all the holies! And this, my boy, is the theatre where they played Rotrou erewhile.
The Young Man.
Ay, and Corneille!
A Troop of Pages
[hand in hand, enter dancing the farandole, and singing].
Tra' a la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lère…
[sternly, to the Pages].
You pages there, none of your tricks!…
[with an air of wounded dignity].
O sir!—such a suspicion!… [Briskly, to the Second Page, the moment the Doorkeeper's back is turned.] Have you string?
Ay, and a fish-hook with it.
We can angle for wigs, then, up there i' th' gallery.
[gathering about him some evil-looking youths].
[calling up to others in the top galleries].
You there! Have you peashooters?
Ay have we, and peas withal!
[He blows, and peppers them with peas.]
The Young Man
[to his father].
What piece do they give us?
The Young Man.
Who may the author be?
Master Balthazar Baro. It is a play!…
[He goes up arm-in-arm with his son.]
[to his Pupils].
Have a care above all of the lace knee-ruffles—cut them off!
[to another, showing him a corner in the gallery].
I was up there, the first night of the Cid.
[making with his fingers the gesture of filching].
[coming down again with his son.]
Ah! You shall presently see some renowned actors…
[making the gestures of one who pulls something stealthily, with little jerks].
Thus for handkerchiefs—
[shouting from the upper gallery]
Light up, below there!
Montfleury… …Bellerose, l'Epy, La Beaupré, Jodelet!
[in the pit].
Here comes the buffet-girl!
[taking her place behind the buffet].
Oranges, milk, raspberry-water, cedar bitters!…
[A hubbub outside the door is heard.]
A Falsetto Voice.
The Marquises!—in the pit?…
Oh! only for a minute or two!
[Enter a hand of young Marquises.]
[seeing that the hall is half-empty].
What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woollen-drapers! Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!—Oh fie! fie!
[Recognising some other gentlemen who have entered a little before him.]
[Greetings and embraces.]
True to our word!… Troth, we are here before the candles are lit.
Ay, indeed! Enough! I am of an ill humour…
Nay, nay, Marquis! see, for your consolation, they are coming to light up!
All The Audience
[welcoming the entrance of the lighter].
The Same. Christian, Lignière, then Ragueneau and Le Bret.
Not drunk as yet?
[aside, to Christian].
I may introduce you? [Christian nods in assent.] Baron de Neuvillette. [Bows.]
[applauding as the first lustre is lighted and drawn up].
[to Brissaille, looking at Christian].
[who has overheard].
[introducing them to Christian].
My lords De Cuigy… De Brissaille…
He is not ill to look at, but certes, he is not costumed in the latest mode.
This gentleman comes from Touraine.
Yes, I have scarce been twenty days in Paris; to-morrow I join the Guards, in the Cadets.
[watching the people who are coming into the boxes].
There is the wife of the Chief-Justice.
[to Christian, pointing to the hall, which is filling fast].
All the great world!
Madame de Guéménée.
Madame de Bois-Dauphin.
Adored by us all!
Madame de Chavigny.
Who sports with our poor hearts!…
The Young Man
[to his father].
Is the Academy here?
Oh ay—I see several of them. There is Boudu, Boissat, and Cureau de la Chambre, Porchères, Colomby, Bourzeys, Bourdon, Arbaud… all names that will live! 'Tis fine!
Attention! Here come our précieuses; Barthénoide, Urimédonte, Cassandace, Félixerie….
Ah! How exquisite their fancy names are! Do you know them all, Marquis?
Ay, Marquis, I do, every one!
[drawing Christian aside.]
Friend, I but came here to give you pleasure. The lady comes not. I will betake me again to my pet vice.
The First Violin
[striking his bow on the desk].
[He raises his bow.]
[The violins begin to play.]
Ah! I fear me she is coquettish, and over nice and fastidious! I, who am so poor of wit, how dare I speak to her—how address her? This language that they speak to-day—ay, and write—confounds me; I am but an honest soldier, and timid withal. She has ever her place, there, on the right—the empty box, see you!
[making as if to go].
I must go.
I cannot. D'Assoucy waits me at the tavern, and here one dies of thirst.
[passing before him with a tray].
Stay. [To Christian.] I will remain a while.—Let me taste this rivesalte.
[He sits by the buffet; the girl pours some out for him.]
[from all the audience, at the entrance of a plump little man, joyously excited].
'Tis the famous tavern-keeper Ragueneau.
[dressed in the Sunday clothes of a pastry-cook, going up quickly to Lignière].
Sir, have you seen Monsieur de Cyrano?
[introducing him to Christian].
You do me too great honour…
Nay, hold your peace, Mæcenas that you are!
True, these gentlemen employ me…
True, these gentlemen employ me… On credit
He is himself a poet of a pretty talent…
So they tell me.
—Mad after poetry!
'Tis true that, for a little ode…
You give a tart…
Brave fellow! he would fain excuse himself!
Some little rolls!
They were milk-rolls!—And as for the theatre, which you love?
Oh! to distraction!
How pay you your tickets, ha?—with cakes. Your place, to-night, come tell me in my ear, what did it cost you?
Four custards, and fifteen cream-puffs.
[He looks round on all sides.]
Monsieur de Cyrano is not here! 'Tis strange.
Ay, 'tis true that that old wine-barrel is to take Phœdon's part to-night, but what matter is that to Cyrano?
How? Know you not? He has got a hot hate for Montfleury, and so!—has forbid him strictly to show his face on the stage for one whole month.
[drinking his fourth glass].
Montfleury will play!
He cannot hinder that.
Oh! oh! that I have come to see!
Who is this Cyrano?
A fellow well skilled in all tricks of fence.
Is he of noble birth?
Ay, noble enough. He is a cadet in the Guards.
[Pointing to a gentleman who is going up and down the hall as if searching for some one.]
But 'tis his friend Le Bret, yonder, who can best tell you. [He calls him.] Le Bret!
[Le Bret comes toward them.]
Ay; I am uneasy…
Is it not true that he is the strangest of men?
True, that he is the choicest of earthly beings!
And of how fantastic a presence!
Marry, 'twould puzzle even our grim painter Philippe de Champaigne to portray him! Methinks, whimsical, wild, comical as he is, only Jacques Callot, now dead and gone, had succeeded better, and had made of him the maddest fighter of all his visored crew,—with his triple-plumed beaver and six-pointed doublet,—the sword-point sticking up 'neath his mantle like an insolent cocktail! He's prouder than all the fierce Artabans of whom Gascony has ever been and will ever be the prolific Alma Mater! Above his Toby ruff he carries a nose!—ah, good my lords, what a nose is his! When one sees it one is fain to cry aloud, 'Nay! 'tis too much! He plays a joke on us!' Then one laughs, says, 'He will anon take it off.' But no!—Monsieur de Bergerac always keeps it on.
[throwing back his head.]
He keeps it on,—and cleaves in two any man who dares remark on it!
His sword—'tis one half of the Fates' shears!
[shrugging his shoulders].
He will not come!
I say he will! and I wager a fowl—à la Ragueneau.
[with little cries of joy].
Ah, gentlemen! she is fearfully—terribly—ravishing!
When one looks at her one thinks of a peach smiling at a strawberry!
And what freshness! A man approaching her too near might chance to get a bad chill at the heart?
[raising his head, sees Roxane, and catches Lignière by the arm].
Ah! is it she?
Ay, tell me quick,—I am afraid.
[tasting his rivesalte in sips].
Magdaleine Robin—Roxane, so called! A subtle wit—a précieuse.
Free. An orphan. The cousin of Cyrano, of whom we were now speaking.
Who is yonder man?
[who is becoming tipsy, winking at him].
Ha! ha! Count de Guiche. Enamoured of her. But wedded to the niece of Armand de Richelieu. Would fain marry Roxane to a certain sorry fellow, one Monsieur de Valvert, a viscount—and—accommodating! She will none of that bargain; but De Guiche is powerful, and can persecute the daughter of a plain untitled gentleman. More by token, I myself have exposed this cunning plan of his to the world, in a song which… Ho! he must rage at me! The end hit home…. Listen!
[He gets up staggering, and raises his glass, ready to sing.]
No. Good night.
Where go you?
Have a care! It is he who will kill you [showing him Roxane by a look]. Stay where you are—she is looking at you.
It is true!
'Tis I who am going. I am athirst! And they expect me—in the taverns!
[He goes out, reeling.]
[who has been all round the hall, coming back to Ragueneau reassured].
No sign of Cyrano.
All the same…
A hope is left to me—that he has not seen the playbill!
The Same, all but Lignière. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury.
He pays a fine court, your De Guiche!
Faugh!… Another Gascon!
Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon—that is the stuff success is made of! Believe me, we were best make our bow to him.
[They go towards De Guiche.]
What fine ribbons! How call you the colour, Count de Guiche? Kiss me, my darling, or Timid Fawn?
'Tis the colour called Sick Spaniard.
I go on the stage! Will you come?
[He goes towards the stage, followed by the Marquises and gentlemen. Turning, he calls].
Come you, Valvert!
[who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name].
The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my…
[holding him tightly].
I was looking for a glove.
And you find a hand. [Changing his tone, quickly, and in a whisper.] Let me but go, and I will deliver you a secret.
[still holding him].
What is it?
Lignière… he who has just left you…
His life is in peril. A song writ by him has given offence in high places—and a hundred men—I am of them—are posted to-night…
A hundred men! By whom posted?
I may not say—a secret…
[shrugging his shoulders].
[with great dignity].
…Of the profession.
Where are they posted?
At the Porte de Nesle. On his way homeward. Warn him.
[letting go his wrists].
But where can I find him?
Good—I fly! Ah, the scoundrels! A hundred men 'gainst one! [Looking lovingly at Roxane.] Ah, to leave her!… [looking with rage at Valvert] and him!… But save Lignière I must!
[whose wig is drawn up on the end of a string by a Page in the upper gallery].
Cries of delight.
He is bald! Bravo, pages—ha! ha! ha!…
[furious, shaking his fist].
Laughter and Cries
[beginning very loud, and dying gradually away].
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
I have just heard it on good authority.
[spreading through the hall].
Hush! Is it he? No! Ay, I say! In the box with the bars in front! The Cardinal! The Cardinal! The Cardinal!
The devil! We shall have to behave ourselves!…
[A knock is heard upon the stage. Every one is motionless. A pause.]
The Voice of a Marquis
[in the silence, behind the curtain.]
Snuff that candle!
[putting his head through the opening in the curtain].
[in a low voice to Ragueneau.]
[also in a low voice].
Ay, 'tis he who begins.
Cyrano is not here.
I have lost my wager.
'Tis all the better!
Bravo, Montfleury! Montfleury!
[after bowing low, begins the part of Phœdon].
Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu solitaire,
Se prescrit à soi-même un exil volontaire,
Et qui, lorsque Zéphire a soufflé sur les bois…!
[from the middle of the pit].
Villain! Did I not forbid you to show your face here for a month?
[General stupor. Every one turns round. Murmurs.]
[The people stand up in the boxes to look.]
King of clowns! Leave the stage this instant!
All The Audience
Do you dare defy me?
[from the pit and the boxes].
Peace! Enough!—Play on, Montfleury—fear nothing!
[In a trembling voice].
'Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu sol——
Well! Chief of all the blackguards, must I come and give you a taste of my cane?
[A hand holding a cane starts up over the heads of the spectators.]
[in a voice that trembles more and more].
[The cane is shaken.]
Off the stage!
'Heureux qui loin des cours…'
Ah! I shall be angry in a moment!…
The Same. Cyrano, then Bellerose, Jodelot.
[to the Marquises].
Come to my help, my lords!
Come to my help, my lords! Go on! Go on!
Fat man, take warning! If you go on, I
Have done! And if these lords hold not their tongue
Shall feel constrained to make them taste my cane!
All the Marquises
Enough!… Montfleury… If he goes not quick
I will cut off his ears and slit him up!
But… Out he goes!
But… Out he goes! Yet…
But… Out he goes! Yet… Is he not gone yet?
[He makes the gesture of turning up his cuffs.]
Good! I shall mount the stage now, buffet-wise,
To carve this fine Italian sausage—thus!
[trying to be dignified].
If that Muse, Sir, who knows you not at all,
Could claim acquaintance with you,—oh, believe
(Seeing how urn-like, fat, and slow you are)
That she would make you taste her buskin's sole!
Montfleury! Montfleury! Come—Baro's play!
[to those who are calling out].
I pray you have a care! If you go on
My scabbard soon will render up its blade!
[The circle round him widens.]
Take care! Leave the stage!
[coming near and grumbling].
Take care! Leave the stage! Oh!—
Take care! Leave the stage! Oh!— Did some one speak?
[They draw back again.]
[singing at the back].
Monsieur de Cyrano
Displays his tyrannies:
A fig for tyrants! What, ho!
Come! Play us la Clorise!
All the Pit
La Clorise! la Clorise!
Let me but hear once more that foolish rhyme,
I slaughter every man of you.
I slaughter every man of you. Oh! Samson?
Yes, Samson! Will you lend your jawbone, Sir?
[in the boxes].
Outrageous! Scandalous! 'Tis most annoying!
Fair good sport!
Silence! Hooooh! Quack! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
I order—— Miow!
I order—— Miow! I order silence, all!
And challenge the whole pit collectively!—
I write your names!—Approach, young heroes, here!
Each in his turn! I cry the numbers out!—
Now which of you will come to ope the lists?
You, Sir? No! You? No! The first duellist
Shall be despatched by me with honours due!
Let all who long for death hold up their hands!
Modest? You fear to see my naked blade?
Not one name?—Not one hand?—Good, I proceed!
[Turning towards the stage, where Montfleury waits in an agony.]
The theatre's too full, congested,—I
Would clear it out… If not…
[Puts his hand on his sword.]
Would clear it out… If not… The knife must act!
[leaves his chair, and settles himself in the middle of the circle which has formed].
I… I will clap my hands thrice, thus—full moon!
At the third clap, eclipse yourself!
At the third clap, eclipse yourself! Ah!
[clapping his hands].
At the third clap, eclipse yourself! Ah! One!
[in the boxes].
I… Stay! He stays… he goes… he stays…
I… Stay! He stays… he goes… he stays… I think…
Gentlemen,… Two! I think 'twere wisest…
Gentlemen,… Two! I think ’twere wisest… Three!
[Montfleury disappears as through a trap. Tempest of laughs, whistling cries, etc.]
The Whole House.
Coward… come back!
[delighted, sits back in his chair, arms crossed].
Coward… come back! Come back an if you dare!
Call for the orator!
[Bellerose comes forward and bows.]
Call for the orator! Ah! here's Bellerose!
My noble lords…
My noble lords… No! no! Jodelet!
[advancing, speaking through his nose].
My noble lords… No! no! Jodelet! Calves!
Ah! bravo! good! go on!
Ah! bravo! good! go on! No bravos, Sirs!
The fat tragedian whom you all love
Felt… Coward! …was obliged to go. Come back!
A Young Man
No! Yes! But pray, Sir, for what reason, say,
Hate you Montfleury?
[graciously, still seated].
Hate you Montfleury? Youthful gander, know
I have two reasons,—either will suffice.
Primo. An actor villainous! who mouths,
And heaves up like a bucket from a well
The verses that should, bird-like, fly! Secundo—
That is my secret…
The Old Bourgeois
That is my secret… Shameful! You deprive us
Of the Clorise! I must insist…
[turning his chair towards the Bourgeois, respectfully].
Of the Clorise! I must insist… Old mule!
The verses of old Baro are not worth
[in the boxes].
A doit! I’m glad to interrupt… Our Baro!—
My dear! How dares he venture!…
[turning his chair towards the boxes, gallantly].
My dear! How dares he venture!… Fairest ones,
Radiate, bloom, hold to our lips the cup
Of dreams intoxicating, Hebe-like!
Or, when death strikes, charm death with your sweet smiles;
Inspire our verse, but—criticise it not!
We must give back the entrance fees!
[turning his chair towards the stage.]
We must give back the entrance fees! Bellerose,
You make the first intelligent remark!
Would I rend Thespis' sacred mantle? Nay!
[He rises, and throws a bag on the stage.]
Catch then the purse I throw, and hold your peace!
[catching the purse dexterously and weighing it].
Ah! Oh! At this price, you've authority
To come each night, and stop Clorise, Sir! Ho!…
Ho! ho!… E'en if you chase us in a pack!…
Clear out the hall!…
Clear out the hall!… Get you all gone at once!
[coming up to Cyrano].
’Tis mad!… The actor Montfleury! 'Tis shameful!
Why, he's protected by the Duke of Candal!
Have you a patron?
Have you a patron? No!
Have you a patron? No! No patron?…
What! no great lord to shield you with his name?
No, I have told you twice! Must I repeat?
No! no protector…
[His hand on his sword.]
No! no protector… A protectress… here!
But you must leave the town?
But you must leave the town? Well, that depends.
The Duke has a long arm!
The Duke has a long arm! But not so long
As mine, when it is lengthened out…
[Shows his sword.]
As mine, when it is lengthened out… As thus!
You think not to contend?
You think not to contend? 'Tis my idea!
But… Show your heels, now! But I…
But… Show your heels, now! But I… Show your heels!
Or tell me why you stare so at my nose!
[walking straight up to him].
I… Well, what is there strange?
I… Well, what is there strange? Your Grace mistakes!
How now? Is't soft and dangling, like a trunk?…
I never… Is it crook'd, like an owl's beak?
I… Do you see a wart upon the tip?
Nay… Or a fly, that takes the air there? What
Is there to stare at? Oh…
Is there to stare at? Oh… What do you see?
But I was careful not to look—knew better.
And why not look at it, an if you please?
I was… Oh! it disgusts you!
I was… Oh! it disgusts you! Sir!
I was… Oh! it disgusts you! Sir! Its hue
Unwholesome seems to you?
Unwholesome seems to you? Sir!
Unwholesome seems to you? Sir! Or its shape!
No, on the contrary!…
No, on the contrary!… Why then that air
No; small, quite small—minute!
No; small, quite small—minute! Minute! What now!
Accuse me of a thing ridiculous!
Small—my nose? Heaven help me!
Small—my nose? Heaven help me! 'Tis enormous!
Old Flathead, empty-headed meddler, know
That I am proud, possessing such appendice.
'Tis well known, a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself,
Rascal contemptible! For that witless face
That my hand soon will come to cuff,—is all
[He cuffs him.]
As empty… Aie!
As empty… Aie! —of pride, of aspiration,
Of feeling, poetry,—of godlike spark
Of all that appertains to my big nose,
[He turns him, by the shoulders, suiting the action to the word.]
Help! Call the Guard!
Help! Call the Guard! Take notice, boobies all,
Who find my visage's centre ornament
A thing to jest at,—that it is my wont—
An if the jester's noble—ere we part
To let him taste my steel, and not my boot!
[who, with the Marquises, has come down from the stage].
But he becomes a nuisance!
The Viscount de Valvert
[shrugging his shoulders].
But he becomes a nuisance! Swaggerer!
Will no one put him down?…
Will no one put him down?… No one? But wait!
I'll treat him to… one of my quips!… See here!…
[He goes up to Cyrano, who is watching him, and with a conceited air.]
Sir, your nose is… hm… it is… very big!
Very! Ha! Is that all?…
Very! Ha! Is that all?… What do you mean?
Ah no! young blade! That was a trifle short!
You might have said at least a hundred things
By varying the tone,… like this, suppose,…
Aggressive: 'Sir, if I had such a nose
I'd amputate it!' Friendly: 'When you sup
It must annoy you, dipping in your cup;
You need a drinking-bowl of special shape!'
Descriptive: ''Tis a rock!… a peak!… a cape!
—A cape, forsooth! 'Tis a peninsular!'
Curious: 'How serves that oblong capsular?
For scissor-sheath? or pot to hold your ink?'
Gracious: 'You love the little birds, I think?
I see you've managed with a fond research
To find their tiny claws a roomy perch!'
Truculent: 'When you smoke your pipe… suppose
That the tobacco-smoke spouts from your nose,
Do not the neighbours, as the fumes rise higher,
Cry terror-struck: "The chimney is afire"?'
Considerate: 'Take care,… your head bowed low
By such a weight… lest head o'er heels you go!'
Tender: 'Pray get a small umbrella made,
Lest its bright colour in the sun should fade!'
Pedantic: 'That beast Aristophanes
Must have possessed just such a solid lump
Of flesh and bone, beneath his forehead's bump!'
Cavalier: 'The last fashion, friend, that hook?
To hang your hat on? 'Tis a useful crook!'
Emphatic: 'No wind, majestic nose,
Can give thee cold! save when the mistral blows!'
Dramatic: 'When it bleeds, what a Red Sea!'
Admiring: 'Sign for a perfumery!'
Lyric: 'Is this a conch?… a Triton you?'
Simple: 'When is the monument on view?'
Rustic: 'That thing a nose? Marry-come-up!
'Tis a dwarf pumpkin, or a prize turnup!'
Military: 'Point against cavalry!'
Practical: 'Put it in a lottery!
Assuredly 'twould be the biggest prize!'
Or… parodying Pyramus' sighs…
'Behold the nose that mars the harmony
Of its master's phiz! blushing its treachery!'
—Such, my dear sir, is what you might have said,
Had you of wit or letters the least jot:
But, most lamentable man!—of wit
You never had an atom, and of letters
You have three letters only!—they spell Ass!
And,—had you had the necessary wit,
To serve me all the pleasantries I quote
Before this noble audience,… e'en so,
You would not have been let to utter one,—
Nay, not the half or quarter of such jest!
I take them from myself all in good part,
[trying to draw away the dismayed Viscount].
Come away, Viscount!
[choking with rage].
Come away, Viscount! Hear his arrogance!
A country lout who… who… has got no gloves!
Who goes out without sleeve-knots, ribbons, lace!
True; all my elegances are within.
I do not prank myself out, puppy-like;
My toilet is more thorough, if less gay;
I would not sally forth,—a half-washed-out
Affront upon my cheek,—a conscience
Yellow-eyed, bilious, from its sodden sleep,
A ruffled honour,… scruples grimed and dull!
I show no bravery of shining gems.
Truth, Independence, are my fluttering plumes.
'Tis not my form I lace to make me slim,
But brace my soul with efforts as with stays,
Covered with exploits, not with ribbon-knots,
My spirit bristling high like your moustaches,
I, traversing the crowds and chattering groups
Make Truth ring bravely out like clash of spurs!
But, Sir… I wear no gloves? and what of that?
I had one,… remnant of an old worn pair,
And, knowing not what else to do with it,
Base scoundrel! Rascally flat-footed lout!
[taking off his hat, and bowing as if the Viscount had introduced himself].
Ah?… and I, Cyrano Savinien
Hercule de Bergerac.
Hercule de Bergerac. Buffoon!
[calling out at if he had been seized with the cramp].
Hercule de Bergerac. Buffoon! Aie! aie!
[who was going away, turns back].
What on earth is the fellow saying now?
[with grimaces of pain].
It must be moved, it's getting stiff, I vow,
—This comes of leaving it in idleness!
Aie!… What ails you?
Aie!… What ails you? The cramp! cramp in my sword!
[drawing his sword].
Poet!… Ay, poet, Sir! In proof of which,
While we fence, presto! all extempore
I will compose a ballade.
I will compose a ballade. A ballade?
Belike you know not what a ballade is.
[reciting as if repeating a lesson].
But… Know then that the ballade should contain
Three eight-versed couplets…
Three eight-versed couplets… Oh!
Three eight-versed couplets… Oh! And an envoi
Of four lines…
Of four lines… You…
Of four lines… You… I'll make one while we fight,
And touch you at the final line. No!
And touch you at the final line. No! No?
The duel in Hotel of Burgundy,—fought
By De Bergerac and a good-for-nought!
What may that be, an if you please?
What may that be, an if you please? The title.
[in great excitement].
Give room!—Good sport!—Make place.—Fair play!—No noise!
[shutting his eyes for a second].
Wait while I choose my rhymes…. I have them now!
[He suits the action to each word.]
I gaily doff my beaver low,
And, freeing hand and heel,
My heavy mantle off I throw,
And I draw my polished steel;
Graceful as Phœbus, round I wheel,
Alert at Scaramouch,
A word in your ear, Sir Spark, I steal,—
At the envoi's end, I touch!
Better for you had you lain low;
Where skewer my cock? In the heel?—
In the heart, your ribbon blue below?—
In the hip, and make you kneel?
Ho for the music of clothing steel!
—What now?—A hit? Not much!
'Twill be in the paunch the stroke I steal,
When, at the envoi, I touch.
Oh for a rhyme, a rhyme in o?
You wriggle, starch-white, my eel?
A rhyme! a rhyme! the white feather you show!
Tac! I parry the point of your steel;
—The point you hoped to make me feel;
I open the line, now clutch
Tour spit, Sir Scullion,—show your zeal!
At the envoi's end, I touch!
[He declaims solemnly.]
Prince, pray Heaven for your soul's weal!
I move a pace—lo, such! and such!
[The Viscount staggers. Cyrano salutes.]
At the envoi's end, I touch!
[with one long shout].
Ah! 'Tis superb!
Ah! ’Tis superb! A pretty stroke!
Ah! ’Tis superb! A pretty stroke! A marvel!
A novelty! O madman!
[The crowd presses round Cyrano. Chorus of]
A novelty! O madman! Compliments!
Let me congratulate!… Quite unsurpassed!…
A Woman's Voice.
[advancing to Cyrano with outstretched hand].
There is a hero for you!… Sir, permit;
Nought could be finer;—I'm a judge, I think;
I stamped, i' faith!—to show my admiration!
[He goes away.]
Who is that gentleman?
Who is that gentleman? Why—D'Artagnan!
[to Cyrano, taking his arm].
A word with you!…
A word with you!… Wait, let the rabble go!…
May I stay?
May I stay? Without doubt?
[Cries are heard outside].
[who hat looked out].
[To the Porters.]
Sic transit!… Sweep—close all, but leave the lights.
We sup, but later on we must return,
For a rehearsal of to-morrow's farce.
[Jodelet and Bellerose go out, bowing low to Cyrano.]
You do not dine, Sir?
You do not dine, Sir? No.
[The Porter goes out.]
You do not dine, Sir? No. Because?
You do not dine, Sir? No. Because? Because…
[Changing his tone as the Porter goes away.]
I have no money!…
[with the action of throwing a bag].
I have no money!… How! The bag of crowns?…
Paternal bounty, in a day, thou 'rt sped!
How live the next month? I have nothing left.
Folly! But what a graceful action! Think!
[coughing, behind her counter].
[Cyrano and Le Bret turn. She comes timidly forward.]
Hum! Sir, my heart mislikes to know you fast.
[Showing the buffet.]
See, all you need. Serve yourself!
[taking off his hat].
See, all you need. Serve yourself! Gentle child,
Although my Gascon pride would else forbid
To take the least bestowal from your hands,
My fear of wounding you outweighs that pride,
And bids accept…
[He goes to the buffet.]
And bids accept… A trifle!… These few grapes.
[She offers him the whole bunch. He takes a few.]
Nay, but this bunch!…
[She tries to give him wine, but he stops her.]
Nay, but this bunch!… A glass of water fair!…
And half a macaroon!
[He gives back the other half.]
Take something else!
Take something else! I take your hand to kiss.
[He kisses her hand as though she were a princess.]
Thank you, kind Sir!
Thank you, kind Sir! Good-night.
[She goes out.]
Cyrano, Le Bret.
[to Le Bret].
Thank you, kind Sir! Good-night. Now talk—I listen.
[He stands at the buffet, and placing before him first the macaroon,]
[then the grapes,]
[then the glass of water,]
Dinner!… Dessert!… Wine!…
[he seats himself.]
Dinner!… Dessert!… Wine!… So! And now to table!
Ah! I was hungry, friend, nay, ravenous!
You said——? These fops, would-be belligerent,
Will, if you heed them only, turn your head!…
Ask people of good sense if you would know
The effect of your fine insolence——
[finishing his macaroon].
The effect of your fine insolence—— Enormous!
The Cardinal… The Cardinal—was there?
Must have thought it…
Must have thought it… Original, i' faith!
But… He's an author. 'Twill not fail to please him
That I should mar a brother-author's play.
You make too many enemies by far!
[eating his grapes].
Forty, no less, not counting ladies.
Forty, no less, not counting ladies. Count!
Montfleury first, the bourgeois, then De Guiche,
The Viscount, Baro, the Academy…
Enough! I am o'erjoyed!
Enough! I am o’erjoyed! But these strange ways,
Where will they lead you, at the end? Explain
Your system—come! I in a labyrinth
Was lost—too many different paths to choose;
I took… Which?
I took… Which? Oh! by far the simplest path…
Decided to be admirable in all!
[shrugging his shoulders].
So be it! But the motive of your hate
To Montfleury—come, tell me! This Silenus,
Big-bellied, coarse, still deems himself a peril—
A danger to the love of lovely ladies,
And, while he sputters out his actor's part,
Makes sheep's eyes at their boxes—goggling frog!
I hate him since the evening he presumed
To raise his eyes to here… Meseemed I saw
A slug crawl slavering o'er a flower's petals!
How now? What? Can it be…?
How now? What? Can it be…? That I should love?…
[Changing his tone,—gravely.]
I love. And may I know?… You never said…
Come now, bethink you!… The fond hope to be
Belovèd, e'en by some poor graceless lady,
Is, by this nose of mine for aye bereft me;
—This lengthy nose which, go where'er I will,
Pokes yet a quarter-mile ahead of me;
But I may love,—and whom? 'Tis Fate's decree
I love the fairest—how were 't otherwise?
The fairest?… Ay, the fairest of the world,
Most brilliant—most refined—most golden-haired?
Who is this lady?
Who is this lady? She's a danger mortal,
All unsuspicious,—full of charms unconscious,
Like a sweet perfumed rose,—a snare of nature,
Within whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush!
He who has seen her smile has known perfection,
—Instilling into trifles grace's essence,
Divinity in every careless gesture;
Not Venus' self can mount her conch blown seaward,
As she can step into her chaise à porteurs,
Nor Dian fleet across the woods spring-flowered,
Light as my Lady o'er the stones of Paris!…
Sapristi! all is clear!
Sapristi! all is clear! As spider-webs!
Your cousin, Madeleine Robin?
Your cousin, Madeleine Robin? Roxane!
Well, but so much the better! Tell her so!
Look well at me,—then tell me, with what hope
This vile protuberance can inspire my heart!
I do not lull me with illusions,—yet
At times I'm weak: in evening hours dim
I enter some fair pleasaunce, perfumed sweet;
With my poor ugly devil of a nose
I scent spring's essence,—in the silver rays
I see some knight,—a lady on his arm,
And think, 'To saunter thus 'neath the moonshine,
I were fain to have my lady, too, beside!'
Thought soars to ecstasy,… O sudden fall!
The shadow of my profile on the wall!
My friend!… My friend, at times 'tis hard, 'tis bitter,
To feel my loneliness,—my own ill-favour…
[taking his hand].
You weep? No, never! Think, how vilely suited
Adown this nose a tear its passage tracing!
I never will, while of myself I'm master,
Let the divinity of tears—their beauty
Be wedded to such common ugly grossness!
Nothing more solemn than a tear,—sublimer;
And I would not by weeping turn to laughter
Never be sad! What's love?—a chance of Fortune!
[shaking his head].
Look I a Cæsar to woo Cleopatra?
A Tito to aspire to Berenice?
Your courage and your wit!—The little maid
Who offered you refreshment even now,
Her eyes did not abhor you—you saw well!
True! Well, how then?… I saw Roxane herself
Was death-pale as she watched the duel.
Was death-pale as she watched the duel. Pale!
Her heart, her fancy, are already caught!
Put it to th' touch!
Put it to th’ touch! That she may mock my face!
That is the one thing on this earth I fear!
[introducing some one to Cyrano].
[seeing the Duenna].
Sir, some one asks for you… God! her duenna!
Cyrano, Le Bret, the Duenna.
[with a low bow].
I was bid ask you where a certain lady
Could see her valiant cousin, but in secret.
See me? Ay, Sir! She has somewhat to tell.
Somewhat?… Ay, private matters!
Somewhat?… Ay, private matters! Ah! my God!
To-morrow, at the early blush of dawn
[leaning against Le Bret].
We go to hear mass at St. Roch. My God!
After,—what place for a few minutes' speech?
Where? Ah!… but… Ah my God!…
Where? Ah!… but… Ah my God!… Say!
Where? Ah!… but… Ah my God!… Say! I reflect!…
Where? At the pastry-house of Ragueneau.
Where lodges he?
Where lodges he? The Rue—God!—St. Honoré!
Good. Be you there. At seven.
Good. Be you there. At seven. Without fail.
[The Duenna goes out.]
[falling into Le Bret's arms].
A rendezvous… from her!…
A rendezvous… from her!… You're sad no more!
Ah! let the world go burn! She knows I live!
Now you'll be calm, I hope?
[beside himself for joy].
Now you’ll be calm, I hope? Calm? I now calm?
I'll be frenetic, frantic,—raving mad!
Oh for an army to attack!—a host!
I've ten hearts in my breast; a score of arms;
No dwarfs to cleave in twain!…
No dwarfs to cleave in twain!… No! Giants now!
A Voice from the Stage.
Hollo there! Silence! We rehearse! We go!
Cyrano! Well, what now?
Cyrano! Well, what now? A lusty thrush
They're bringing you!
They’re bringing you! Lignière!… What has chanced!
He seeks you!
He seeks you! He dare not go home!
He seeks you! He dare not go home! Why not?
[in a husky voice, showing him a crumpled letter].
This letter warns me… that a hundred men…
Revenge that threatens me,… that song, you know—
At the Porte de Nesle. To get to my own house
I must pass there…. I dare not!… Give me leave
A hundred men? You'll sleep in your own bed!
[in a terrible voice, showing him the lighted lantern held by the Porter, who is listening curiously].
But—— Take the lantern.
[Lignière seizes it.]
But—— Take the lantern. Let us start! I swear
That I will make your bed to-night myself!
[To the Officers.]
Follow, some stay behind, as witnesses!
A hundred!… Less, to-night—would be too few!
Actors and Actresses, in their costumes, have come down from the stage, and are listening.]
But why embroil yourself?
But why embroil yourself? Le Bret who scolds!
[slapping Lignière on the shoulder].
That worthless drunkard!—— Wherefore? For this cause;—
This wine-barrel, this cask of Burgundy,
Did, on a day, an action full of grace;
As he was leaving church, he saw his love
Take holy water;—he, who is affeared
At water's taste, ran quickly to the stoup,
And drank it all, to the last drop!…
And drank it all, to the last drop!… Indeed,
That was a graceful thing!
That was a graceful thing! Ay, was it not?
[to the others].
But why a hundred men 'gainst one poor rhymer!
[To the Officers.]
March! Gentlemen, when you shall see me charge,
Bear me no succour, none, whate'er the odds!
[jumping down from the stage].
Oh! I shall come and see!
Oh! I shall come and see! Come, then!
[jumping down—to an old Actor].
Come all—the Doctor, Isabel, Leander,
Come, for you shall add, in a motley swarm
The farce Italian to this Spanish drama!
All the Women
[dancing for joy].
Bravo!—a mantle, quick!—my hood!
Bravo!—a mantle, quick!—my hood! Come on!
Play us a march, gentlemen of the band!
Brave officers! next, women in costume,
And, twenty paces on—
[He takes his place.]
And, twenty paces on— I, all alone,
Beneath the plume that Glory lends, herself,
To deck my beaver,—proud as Scipio!…
—You hear me?—I forbid you succour me!—
One, two, three! Porter, open wide the doors!
[The Porter opens the doors; a view of old Paris in the moonlight is seen.]
Ah!… Paris wrapped in night! half nebulous:
The moonlight streams o'er the blue-shadowed roofs;
A lovely frame for this wild battle-scene;
Beneath the vapour's floating scarves, the Seine
Trembles, mysterious, like a magic mirror,
To the Porte de Nesle!
[standing on the threshold].
To the Porte de Nesle! Ay, to the Port de Nesle!
[Turning to the Actress.]
Did you not ask, young lady, for what cause
Against this rhymer fivescore men were sent?
[He draws his sword; then, calmly].
'Twas that they knew him for a friend of mine!