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SECOND ACT.


SCENE I.

(A Fountain in the Park. Enter Pelléas and Melisande.)


Pelléas.

You do not know where I have brought you—I come often to sit here, toward noon, when it is too hot in the gardens. It is suffocating to-day, even in the shade of the trees.


Melisande.

Oh! the water is clear…


Pelléas.

It is as fresh as in winter. It is an old abandoned fountain. It seems that it was a miraculous fountain.—it made the blind to see.—It is still called the "Fountain of the Blind."


Melisande.

It no longer opens the eves of the blind?


Pelléas.

Since the King is nearly blind himself, no one comes to it any more…


Melisande.

How lonely it is here… one hears nothing.

 

Pelléas.

There is always an extraordinary silence. One might hear the water sleep. Will you sit on the edge of the marble basin? There is an elm which the sun never penetrates…


Melisande.

I will lie on the marble.—I should like to see the depth of the water…


Pelléas.

No one has ever seen it—It is, perhaps, as deep as the sea.


Melisande.

If something sparkled at the bottom, perhaps one could see it.


Pelléas.

Do not lean over so…


Melisande.

I would like to touch the water…


Pelléas.

Take care of slipping. I will hold your hand…


Melisande.

No. no, I should like to plunge in my two hands…it seems as if my hands were sickly to-day…


Pelléas.

Oh, oh, take care, take care. Melisande! Melisande?—Oh, your hair…


Melisande (drawing herself back).

I cannot, I cannot reach it.


Pelléas.

Your hair is soaked with water.


Melisande.

Yes, it is longer than my arms… It is longer than myself.

(A silence.)


Pelléas.

It is on the brink of a fountain, also, that he found you.


Melisande.

Yes…


Pelléas.

What did he say to you?


Melisande.

Nothing;—I no longer remember…


Pelléas.

Was he quite close to you?


Melisande.

Yes; he wanted to embrace me…


Pelléas.

And you did not wish to?


Melisande.

No.


Pelléas.

Why did you not wish to?


Melisande.

Oh, oh! I saw something pass at the bottom of the water…


Pelléas.

Take care, take care!—You will fall! What are you playing with?


Melisande.

With the ring he gave me…


Pelléas.

Do not play thus, above water so deep.


Melisande.

My hands do not tremble.

 

Pelléas.

How it shines in the sun!—Do not throw it so high toward the sky…


Melisande.

Oh!


Pelléas.

It has fallen?


Melisande.

It has fallen in the water!…


Pelléas.

Where is it, where is it?


Melisande.

I do not see it sinking…


Pelléas.

I think that I see it sparkle…


Melisande.

My ring?


Pelléas.

Yes, yes,…over there…


Melisande.

Oh, oh, it is so far from us…no, no, that is not it…that is no longer it… It is lost…lost… There is no longer anything but a great circle on the water… What shall we do now?


Pelléas.

There is no need to be anxious over a ring. It is nothing, we will find it again, perhaps. Or else we will find another.


Melisande.

No, no; we shall never find it again, nor shall we find others either. Still I thought I had it in my hands. I had already closed my hands, and it fell in spite of all… I threw it too high, on the sunny side…


Pelléas.

Come, we will return another day…come, it is time. They would come out to meet us. Noon sounded at the moment the ring was lost.


Melisande.

What shall we say to Golaud if he asks where it is?


Pelléas.

The truth, the truth, the truth…

(They go out.)


SCENE II.

(An apartment in the Castle. Golaud is discovered extended on his bed. Melisande is at the head).


Golaud.

Ah, ah! All goes well. It will be nothing. But I cannot explain to myself how it took place. I was hunting quietly in the forest. My horse suddenly ran away, without reason. Did he see something extraordinary?…I had just heard ring the twelve strokes of noon. At the twelfth stroke, he is suddenly frightened, and runs like a blind fool, against a tree. I know no longer what happened. I fell and he must have fallen on me. I thought I had the whole forest on my chest; I thought that my heart was torn apart. But my heart is solid. It appears that it is nothing…


Melisande.

Would you like to drink a little water?


Golaud.

Thanks; I am not thirsty.


Melisande.

Will you have another pillow?… There is a little stain of blood on this one.


Golaud.

No, no; it is not worth the trouble.

 

Melisande.

Are you sure?… You do not suffer too much?


Golaud.

No, no, I have seen much worse. I am inured to iron and blood.


Melisande.

Shut your eyes and try to sleep. I will remain here all night…


Golaud.

No, no; I will not let you tire yourself thus. I am in want of nothing: I will sleep like a child… What is it, Melisande? Why do you weep all of a sudden?


Melisande (breaking into tears).

I am… I am sick here.


Golaud.

You are sick? What ails you, what ails you, Melisande?…


Melisande.

I do not know… I am sick here… I prefer to tell you to-day; lord, I am not happy here.


Golaud.

What has happened? Someone has done you harm… Has some one offended you?


Melisande.

No, no; no one has done me the least harm… It is not that…


Golaud.

But you must be hiding something from me? Tell me the whole truth. Melisande… Is it the King? Is it my mother? Is it Pelléas?…


Melisande.

No, no; it is not Pelléas. It is nobody… You cannot understand me… it is something that is stronger than myself…


Golaud.

Come; be reasonable, Melisande.—What would you have me do?—You are no longer a child.—Is it me that you would leave?


Melisande.

Oh no! it is not that… I would like to go away with you… It is here that I cannot longer live… I feel that I should not live long.


Golaud.

But there still needs a reason. They will think you mad. They will think you have childish dreams. Come, is it Pelléas, perhaps? I think he does not speak to you often…


Melisande.

Yes, yes; he speaks to me at times. He does not like me, I think; I have seen it in his eyes… But he speaks to me when he meets me…


Golaud.

You must not mind him. He has always been that way. He is a little singular. He will change, you will see; he is young…


Melisande.

But it is not that… it is not that.


Golaud.

What is it then? Can you not fit yourself to the life we lead here? Is it too sad here? It is true that this castle is very old and very sombre. It is very cold and very deep. And all those who live in it are already old. And the country side may seem very sad also, with all its forests, all its old forests without light. But we can make all that gayer if we want to. And after that joy, joy. One does not taste it every day; one must take things as they are. But tell me something: no matter what, I will do all that you wish.

 

Melisande.

Yes, it is true…one never sees the clear sky… I saw it for the first time this morning…


Golaud.

So it is that which makes you weep, my poor Melisande?—Then it is only that.—You weep to have not seen the sky.—Come, you are no longer at the age when one weeps for these things… And then, is not summer here? You will see the sky every day. And then next year… Come, give me your hand: give me your two little hands. (He takes her hands.) Oh, these little hands that I could crush like flowers…—Eh, where is the ring that I gave to you?


Melisande.

The ring?


Golaud.

Yes; our nuptial ring, where is it?


Melisande.

I think… I think it fell…


Golaud.

Fell!—Where did it fall?—You have not lost it?


Melisande.

No, it fell…it must have fallen…but I do not know where it is.


Golaud.

Where is it?


Melisande.

You know very well…you know…the grotto on the seashore?


Golaud.

Yes.


Melisande.

Very well, it is there…it must be there…yes, yes; I remember… I went there this morning, to gather shells for little Yniold…there are some beautiful ones…it slipped from my finger…and then the sea came in: and I had to go before having found it.


Golaud.

Are you sure that it was there?


Melisande.

Yes, yes; entirely sure… I felt it slip…


Golaud.

You must go and look for it at once.


Melisande.

Now!—at once—in the dark?


Golaud.

Now, at once, in the dark. I would sooner have lost all I have than to have lost this ring. You do not know what it is. You do not know whence it comes. The sea will be very high to-night. The sea will come to take it before you… You must hurry.


Melisande.

I dare not… I dare not go alone…


Golaud.

Go there, go there, it matters not with whom. But you must go at once, do you hear? Hurry; ask Pelléas to go with you.


Melisande.

Pelléas!— With Pelléas?— But Pelléas would not like…


Golaud.

Pelléas will do whatever you ask him. I know Pelléas better than you. Go, hasten. I will not sleep until I have the ring.


Melisande.

Oh, oh! I am far from happy… I am not happy!

(She goes out weeping.)

 

SCENE III.

(Before a Grotto. Enter Pelléas and Melisande.)


Pelléas (speaking with great excitement).

Yes, it is here, we have arrived. It is so black that the entrance to the grotto cannot be distinguished from the rest of the night… There are no stars on this side… Let us await until the moon has torn apart this great cloud; it will light up the whole grotto and then we can enter without danger. There are dangerous places and the path is very narrow, between two lakes of which they have not found the bottom. I had not thought of bringing a torch or a lantern, but I think that the light of heaven will suffice us.—You have penetrated into this grotto?


Melisande.

No…


Pelléas.

Let us enter… You must be able to describe the place where you lost the ring, if he questions you. It is very large and very beautiful. It is full of blue darkness. When one lights a little lamp, it is as if the vault were covered with stars, like the heavens. Give me your hand, do not tremble, do not tremble so. There is no danger: we will stop at the moment when we longer see the light of the sea… Is it the noise of the grotto that frightens you? Do you hear the sea behind us?—It does not seem happy to-night… Ah! here comes the light.


The moon clearly illuminates the entrance and a part of the darkness of the grotto: and one perceives, at a certain depth, three old, poor, men with white hair, seated side by side, supporting each other and asleep against a boulder.


Melisande.

Ah!


Pelléas.

What is it?


Melisande.

It is… it is…

(She points at the three poor men.)


Pelléas.

Yes, yes; I saw them also…


Melisande.

Let us go!… Let us go!…


Pelléas.

It is three old poor men who have fallen asleep… Why have they come to sleep here?… There will be a famine in the country.


Melisande.

Let us go… Come… Let us go!…


Pelléas.

Take care, do not speak so loud… Let us not awaken them… They still sleep profoundly… Come.


Melisande.

Let me be: I prefer to walk alone…


Pelléas.

We will return another day…

(They go out.)