CYRANO DE BERGERAC
A Play in Five Acts
Translated from the French by Gladys Thomas and Mary F. Guillemard
The Characters CYRANO DE BERGERAC CHRISTIAN DE NEUVILLETTE COUNT DE GUICHE RAGUENEAU LE BRET CARBON DE CASTEL-JALOUX THE CADETS LIGNIERE DE VALVERT A MARQUIS SECOND MARQUIS THIRD MARQUIS MONTFLEURY BELLEROSE JODELET CUIGY BRISSAILLE THE DOORKEEPER A LACKEY A SECOND LACKEY A BORE A MUSKETEER ANOTHER A SPANISH OFFICER A PORTER A BURGHER HIS SON A PICKPOCKET A SPECTATOR A GUARDSMAN BERTRAND THE FIFER A MONK TWO MUSICIANS THE POETS THE PASTRY COOKS ROXANE SISTER MARTHA LISE THE BUFFET-GIRL MOTHER MARGUERITE THE DUENNA SISTER CLAIRE AN ACTRESS THE PAGES THE SHOP-GIRL
The crowd, troopers, burghers (male and female), marquises, musketeers, pickpockets, pastry-cooks, poets, Gascons cadets, actors (male and female), violinists, pages, children, soldiers, Spaniards, spectators (male and female), precieuses, nuns, etc.
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 theater; 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 lusters, vases, glasses, plates of tarts, cakes, bottles, etc.
The entrance to the theater is in the center 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 lusters are lowered in the middle of the pit ready to be lighted.
The public, arriving by degrees. Troopers, burghers, lackeys, pages, a pickpocket, the doorkeeper, etc., followed by the marquises. Cuigy, Brissaille, the buffet-girl, the violinists, etc.
(A confusion of loud voices is heard outside the door. A trooper enters hastily.)
THE DOORKEEPER (following him): Hollo! You there! Your money!
THE TROOPER: I enter gratis.
THE DOORKEEPER: Why?
THE TROOPER: Why? I am of the King's Household Cavalry, 'faith!
THE DOORKEEPER (to another trooper who enters): And you?
SECOND TROOPER: I pay nothing.
THE DOORKEEPER: How so?
SECOND TROOPER: I am a musketeer.
FIRST TROOPER (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.)
A LACKEY (entering): Pst. . .Flanquin. . .!
ANOTHER (already there): Champagne?. . .
THE FIRST (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.
THE SECOND (doing the same): Good; I am with you, villain!
FIRST LACKEY (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!
A GUARDSMAN (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): A hit!
ONE OF THE CARD-PLAYERS: Clubs!
THE GUARDSMAN (following the girl): A kiss!
THE SHOP-GIRL (struggling to free herself): They're looking!
THE GUARDSMAN (drawing her to a dark corner): No fear! No one can see!
A MAN (sitting on the ground with others, who have brought their provisions): By coming early, one can eat in comfort.
A BURGHER (conducting his son): Let us sit here, son.
A CARD-PLAYER: Triple ace!
A MAN (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!
THE BURGHER (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!
THE GUARDSMAN (behind him, still teasing the shop-girl): Come, one kiss!
THE BURGHER (hurriedly pulling his son away): By all the holies! And this, my boy, is the theater 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, lere. . .
THE DOORKEEPER (sternly, to the pages): You pages there, none of your tricks!. . .
FIRST PAGE (with an air of wounded dignity): Oh, sir!—such a suspicion!. . . (Briskly, to the second page, the moment the doorkeeper's back is turned): Have you string?
THE SECOND: Ay, and a fish-hook with it.
FIRST PAGE: We can angle for wigs, then, up there i' th' gallery.
A PICKPOCKET (gathering about him some evil-looking youths): Hark ye, young cut-purses, lend an ear, while I give you your first lesson in thieving.
SECOND PAGE (calling up to others in the top galleries): You there! Have you peashooters?
THIRD PAGE (from above): 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 BURGHER: 'Clorise.'
THE YOUNG MAN: Who may the author be?
THE BURGHER: Master Balthazar Baro. It is a play!. . .
(He goes arm-in-arm with his son.)
THE PICKPOCKET (to his pupils): Have a care, above all, of the lace knee-ruffles—cut them off!
A SPECTATOR (to another, showing him a corner in the gallery): I was up there, the first night of the 'Cid.'
THE PICKPOCKET (making with his fingers the gesture of filching): Thus for watches—
THE BURGHER (coming down again with his son): Ah! You shall presently see some renowned actors. . .
THE PICKPOCKET (making the gestures of one who pulls something stealthily, with little jerks): Thus for handkerchiefs—
THE BURGHER: Montfleury. . .
SOME ONE (shouting from the upper gallery): Light up, below there!
THE BURGHER: . . .Bellerose, L'Epy, La Beaupre, Jodelet!
A PAGE (in the pit): Here comes the buffet-girl!
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: Make place, brutes!
A LACKEY (astonished): The Marquises!—in the pit?. . .
ANOTHER LACKEY: Oh! only for a minute or two!
(Enter a band of young marquises.)
A MARQUIS (seeing that the hall is half empty): What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woolen-drapers! Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!—Oh, fie! Fie! (Recognizing some other gentlemen who have entered a little before him): Cuigy! Brissaille!
(Greetings and embraces.)
CUIGY: True to our word!. . .Troth, we are here before the candles are lit.
THE MARQUIS: Ay, indeed! Enough! I am of an ill humor.
ANOTHER: Nay, nay, Marquis! see, for your consolation, they are coming to light up!
ALL THE AUDIENCE (welcoming the entrance of the lighter): Ah!. . .
(They form in groups round the lusters as they are lit. Some people have taken their seats in the galleries. Ligniere, a distinguished-looking roue, with disordered shirt-front arm-in-arm with christian de Neuvillette. Christian, who is dressed elegantly, but rather behind the fashion, seems preoccupied, and keeps looking at the boxes.)
The same. Christian, Ligniere, then Ragueneau and Le Bret.
BRISSAILLE (laughing): Not drunk as yet?
LIGNIERE (aside to Christian): I may introduce you? (Christian nods in assent): Baron de Neuvillette.
THE AUDIENCE (applauding as the first luster is lighted and drawn up): Ah!
CUIGY (to Brissaille, looking at Christian): 'Tis a pretty fellow!
FIRST MARQUIS (who has overheard): Pooh!
LIGNIERE (introducing them to Christian): My lords De Cuigy. De Brissaille. . .
CHRISTIAN (bowing): Delighted!. . .
FIRST MARQUIS (to second): He is not ill to look at, but certes, he is not costumed in the latest mode.
LIGNIERE (to Cuigy): This gentleman comes from Touraine.
CHRISTIAN: Yes, I have scarce been twenty days in Paris; tomorrow I join the Guards, in the Cadets.
FIRST MARQUIS (watching the people who are coming into the boxes): There is the wife of the Chief-Justice.
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Oranges, milk. . .
THE VIOLINISTS (tuning up): La—la—
CUIGY (to Christian, pointing to the hall, which is filling fast): 'Tis crowded.
CHRISTIAN: Yes, indeed.
FIRST MARQUIS: All the great world!
(They recognize and name the different elegantly dressed ladies who enter the boxes, bowing low to them. The ladies send smiles in answer.)
SECOND MARQUIS: Madame de Guemenee.
CUIGY: Madame de Bois-Dauphin.
FIRST MARQUIS: Adored by us all!
BRISSAILLE: Madame de Chavigny. . .
SECOND MARQUIS: Who sports with our poor hearts!. . .
LIGNIERE: Ha! so Monsieur de Corneille has come back from Rouen!
THE YOUNG MAN (to his father): Is the Academy here?
THE BURGHER: Oh, ay, I see several of them. There is Boudu, Boissat, and Cureau de la Chambre, Porcheres, Colomby, Bourzeys, Bourdon, Arbaud. . .all names that will live! 'Tis fine!
FIRST MARQUIS: Attention! Here come our precieuses; Barthenoide, Urimedonte, Cassandace, Felixerie. . .
SECOND MARQUIS: Ah! How exquisite their fancy names are! Do you know them all, Marquis?
FIRST MARQUIS: Ay, Marquis, I do, every one!
LIGNIERE (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.
CHRISTIAN (persuasively): No, no! You, who are ballad-maker to Court and City alike, can tell me better than any who the lady is for whom I die of love. Stay yet awhile.
THE FIRST VIOLIN (striking his bow on the desk): Gentlemen violinists!
(He raises his bow.)
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Macaroons, lemon-drink. . .
(The violins begin to play.)
CHRISTIAN: 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!
LIGNIERE (making as if to go): I must go.
CHRISTIAN (detaining him): Nay, stay.
LIGNIERE: I cannot. D'Assoucy waits me at the tavern, and here one dies of thirst.
THE BUFFET-GIRL (passing before him with a tray): Orange drink?
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Milk?
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Rivesalte?
LIGNIERE: Stay. (To Christian): I will remain awhile.—Let me taste this rivesalte.
(He sits by the buffet; the girl pours some out for him.)
CRIES (from all the audience, at the entrance of a plump little man, joyously excited): Ah! Ragueneau!
LIGNIERE (to Christian): 'Tis the famous tavern-keeper Ragueneau.
RAGUENEAU (dressed in the Sunday clothes of a pastry-cook, going up quickly to Ligniere): Sir, have you seen Monsieur de Cyrano?
LIGNIERE (introducing him to Christian): The pastry-cook of the actors and the poets!
RAGUENEAU (overcome): You do me too great honor. . .
LIGNIERE: Nay, hold your peace, Maecenas that you are!
RAGUENEAU: True, these gentlemen employ me. . .
LIGNIERE: On credit! He is himself a poet of a pretty talent. . .
RAGUENEAU: So they tell me.
LIGNIERE: —Mad after poetry!
RAGUENEAU: 'Tis true that, for a little ode. . .
LIGNIERE: You give a tart. . .
RAGUENEAU: Oh!—a tartlet!
LIGNIERE: Brave fellow! He would fain fain excuse himself! —And for a triolet, now, did you not give in exchange. . .
RAGUENEAU: Some little rolls!
LIGNIERE (severely): They were milk-rolls! And as for the theater, which you love?
RAGUENEAU: Oh! to distraction!
LIGNIERE: How pay you your tickets, ha?—with cakes. Your place, to-night, come tell me in my ear, what did it cost you?
RAGUENEAU: Four custards, and fifteen cream-puffs. (He looks around on all sides): Monsieur de Cyrano is not here? 'Tis strange.
LIGNIERE: Why so?
RAGUENEAU: Montfleury plays!
LIGNIERE: Ay, 'tis true that that old wine-barrel is to take Phedon's part to-night; but what matter is that to Cyrano?
RAGUENEAU: 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.
LIGNIERE (drinking his fourth glass): Well?
RAGUENEAU: Montfleury will play!
CUIGY: He can not hinder that.
RAGUENEAU: Oh! oh! that I have come to see!
FIRST MARQUIS: Who is this Cyrano?
CUIGY: A fellow well skilled in all tricks of fence.
SECOND MARQUIS: Is he of noble birth?
CUIGY: 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 towards them): Seek you for De Bergerac?
LE BRET: Ay, I am uneasy. . .
CUIGY: Is it not true that he is the strangest of men?
LE BRET (tenderly): True, that he is the choicest of earthly beings!
LE BRET: Musician!
LIGNIERE: And of how fantastic a presence!
RAGENEAU: 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.
LE BRET (throwing back his head): He keeps it on—and cleaves in two any man who dares remark on it!
RAGUENEAU (proudly): His sword—'tis one half of the Fates' shears!
FIRST MARQUIS (shrugging his shoulders): He will not come!
RAGUENEAU: I say he will! and I wager a fowl—a la Ragueneau.
THE MARQUIS (laughing): Good!
(Murmurs of admiration in hall. Roxane has just appeared in her box. She seats herself in front, the duenna at the back. Christian, who is paying the buffet-girl, does not see her entrance.)
SECOND MARQUIS (with little cries of joy): Ah, gentlemen! she is fearfully—terribly—ravishing!
FIRST MARQUIS: When one looks at her one thinks of a peach smiling at a strawberry!
SECOND MARQUIS: And what freshness! A man approaching her too near might chance to get a bad chill at the heart!
CHRISTIAN (raising his head, sees Roxane, and catches Ligniere by the arm): 'Tis she!
LIGNIERE: Ah! is it she?
CHRISTIAN: Ay, tell me quick—I am afraid.
LIGNIERE (tasting his rivesalte in sips): Magdaleine Robin—Roxane, so called! A subtle wit—a precieuse.
CHRISTIAN: Woe is me!
LIGNIERE: Free. An orphan. The cousin of Cyrano, of whom we were now speaking.
(At this moment an elegant nobleman, with blue ribbon across his breast, enters the box, and talks with Roxane, standing.)
CHRISTIAN (starting): Who is yonder man?
LIGNIERE (who is becoming tipsy, winking at him): Ha! ha! Count de Guiche. Enamored 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.)
CHRISTIAN: No. Good-night.
LIGNIERE: Where go you?
CHRISTIAN: To Monsieur de Valvert!
LIGNIERE: 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.
CHRISTIAN: It is true!
(He stands looking at her. The group of pickpockets seeing him thus, head in air and open-mouthed, draw near to him.)
LIGNIERE: 'Tis I who am going. I am athirst! And they expect me—in the taverns!
(He goes out, reeling.)
LE BRET (who has been all round the hall, coming back to Ragueneau reassured): No sign of Cyrano.
RAGUENEAU (incredulously): All the same. . .
LE BRET: A hope is left to me—that he has not seen the playbill!
THE AUDIENCE: Begin, begin!
The same, all but Ligniere. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury.
A marquis (watching De Guiche, who comes down from Roxane's box, and crosses the pit surrounded by obsequious noblemen, among them the Viscount de Valvert): He pays a fine court, your De Guiche!
ANOTHER: Faugh!. . .Another Gascon!
THE FIRST: Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon—that is the stuff success is made of! Believe me, we had best make our bow to him.
(They go toward De Guiche.)
SECOND MARQUIS: What fine ribbons! How call you the color, Count de Guiche? 'Kiss me, my darling,' or 'Timid Fawn?'
DE GUICHE: 'Tis the color called 'Sick Spaniard.'
FIRST MARQUIS: 'Faith! The color speaks truth, for, thanks to your valor, things will soon go ill for Spain in Flanders.
DE GUICHE: I go on the stage! Will you come? (He goes toward the stage, followed by the marquises and gentlemen. Turning, he calls): Come you Valvert!
CHRISTIAN (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name): The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my. . . (He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him. He turns round): Hey?
THE PICKPOCKET: Oh!
CHRISTIAN (holding him tightly): I was looking for a glove.
THE PICKPOCKET (smiling piteously): And you find a hand. (Changing his tone, quickly and in a whisper): Let me but go, and I will deliver you a secret.
CHRISTIAN (still holding him): What is it?
THE PICKPOCKET: Ligniere. . .he who has just left you. . .
CHRISTIAN (same play): Well?
THE PICKPOCKET: His life is in peril. A song writ by him has given offense in high places— and a hundred men—I am of them—are posted to-night. . .
CHRISTIAN: A hundred men! By whom posted?
THE PICKPOCKET: I may not say—a secret. . .
CHRISTIAN (shrugging his shoulders): Oh!
THE PICKPOCKET (with great dignity): . . .Of the profession.
CHRISTIAN: Where are they posted?
THE PICKPOCKET: At the Porte de Nesle. On his way homeward. Warn him.
CHRISTIAN (letting go of his wrists): But where can I find him?
THE PICKPOCKET: Run round to all the taverns—The Golden Wine Press, the Pine Cone, The Belt that Bursts, The Two Torches, The Three Funnels, and at each leave a word that shall put him on his guard.
CHRISTIAN: 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 Ligniere I must!
(He hurries out. De Guiche, the viscount, the marquises, have all disappeared behind the curtain to take their places on the benches placed on the stage. The pit is quite full; the galleries and boxes are also crowded.)
THE AUDIENCE: Begin!
A BURGHER (whose wig is drawn up on the end of a string by a page in the upper gallery): My wig!
CRIES OF DELIGHT: He is bald! Bravo, pages—ha! ha! ha!. . .
THE BURGHER (furious, shaking his fist): Young villain!
LAUGHTER AND CRIES (beginning very loud, and dying gradually away): Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
LE BRET (astonished): What means this sudden silence?. . . (A spectator says something to him in a low voice): Is't true?
THE SPECTATOR: I have just heard it on good authority.
MURMURS (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!
A PAGE: 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!
ANOTHER MARQUIS (putting his head through the opening in the curtain): A chair!
(A chair is passed from hand to hand, over the heads of the spectators. The marquis takes it and disappears, after blowing some kisses to the boxes.)
A SPECTATOR: Silence!
(Three knocks are heard on the stage. The curtain opens in the centre Tableau. The marquises in insolent attitudes seated on each side of the stage. The scene represents a pastoral landscape. Four little lusters light the stage; the violins play softly.)
LE BRET (in a low voice to Ragueneau): Montfleury comes on the scene?
RAGUENEAU (also in a low voice): Ay, 'tis he who begins.
LE BRET: Cyrano is not here.
RAGUENEAU: I have lost my wager.
LE BRET: 'Tis all the better!
(An air on the drone-pipes is heard, and Montfleury enters, enormously stout, in an Arcadian shepherd's dress, a hat wreathed with roses drooping over one ear, blowing into a ribboned drone pipe.)
THE PIT (applauding): Bravo, Montfleury! Montfleury!
MONTFLEURY (after bowing low, begins the part of Phedon): 'Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu solitaire, Se prescrit a soi-meme un exil volontaire, Et qui, lorsque Zephire a souffle sur les bois. . .'
A VOICE (from the middle of the pit): Villain! Did I not forbid you to show your face here for month?
(General stupor. Every one turns round. Murmurs.)
DIFFERENT VOICES: Hey?—What?—What is't?. . .
(The people stand up in the boxes to look.)
CUIGY: 'Tis he!
LE BRET (terrified): Cyrano!
THE VOICE: King of clowns! Leave the stage this instant!
ALL THE AUDIENCE (indignantly): Oh!
MONTFLEURY: But. . .
THE VOICE: Do you dare defy me?
DIFFERENT VOICES (from the pit and the boxes): Peace! Enough!—Play on, Montfleury—fear nothing!
MONTFLEURY (in a trembling voice): 'Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu sol—'
THE VOICE (more fiercely): 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.)
MONTFLEURY (in a voice that trembles more and more): 'Heureux qui. . .'
(The cane is shaken.)
THE VOICE: Off the stage!
THE PIT: Oh!
MONTFLEURY (choking): 'Heureux qui loin des cours. . .'
CYRANO (appearing suddenly in the pit, standing on a chair, his arms crossed, his beaver cocked fiercely, his mustache bristling, his nose terrible to see): Ah! I shall be angry in a minute!. . .
The same. Cyrano, then Bellerose, Jodelet.
MONTFLEURY (to the marquises): Come to my help, my lords!
A MARQUIS (carelessly): Go on! Go on!
CYRANO: Fat man, take warning! If you go on, I Shall feel myself constrained to cuff your face!
THE MARQUIS: Have done!
CYRANO: And if these lords hold not their tongue Shall feel constrained to make them taste my cane!
ALL THE MARQUISES (rising): Enough!. . .Montfleury. . .
CYRANO: If he goes not quick I will cut off his ears and slit him up!
A VOICE: But. . .
CYRANO: Out he goes!
ANOTHER VOICE: Yet. . .
CYRANO: 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!
MONTFLEURY (trying to be dignified): You outrage Thalia in insulting me!
CYRANO (very politely): 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!
THE PIT: Montfleury! Montfleury! Come—Baro's play!
CYRANO (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.)
THE CROWD (drawing back): Take care!
CYRANO (to Montfleury): Leave the stage!
THE CROWD (coming near and grumbling): Oh!—
CYRANO: Did some one speak?
(They draw back again.)
A VOICE (singing at the back): Monsieur de Cyrano Displays his tyrannies: A fig for tyrants! What, ho! Come! Play us 'La Clorise!'
ALL THE PIT (singing): 'La Clorise!' 'La Clorise!'. . .
CYRANO: Let me but hear once more that foolish rhyme, I slaughter every man of you.
A BURGHER: Oh! Samson?
CYRANO: Yes Samson! Will you lend your jawbone, Sir?
A LADY (in the boxes): Outrageous!
A LORD: Scandalous!
A BURGHER: 'Tis most annoying!
A PAGE: Fair good sport!
THE PIT: Kss!—Montfleury. . .Cyrano!
THE PIT (wildly excited): Ho-o-o-o-h! Quack! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
CYRANO: I order—
A PAGE: Miow!
CYRANO: 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 dispatched by me with honors due! Let all who long for death hold up their hands! (A silence): Modest? You fear to see my naked blade? Not one name?—Not one hand?—Good, I proceed! (Turning toward the stage, where Montfleury waits in an agony): The theater's too full, congested,—I Would clear it out. . .If not. . . (Puts his hand on his sword): The knife must act!
MONTFLEURY: I. . .
CYRANO (leaves his chair, and settles himself in the middle of the circle which has formed): I will clap my hands thrice, thus—full moon! At the third clap, eclipse yourself!
THE PIT (amused): Ah!
CYRANO (clapping his hands): One!
MONTFLEURY: I. . .
A VOICE (in the boxes): Stay!
THE PIT: He stays. . .he goes. . .he stays. . .
MONTFLEURY: I think. . .Gentlemen,. . .
MONTFLEURY: I think 'twere wisest. . .
(Montfleury disappears as through a trap. Tempest of laughs, whistling cries, etc.)
THE WHOLE HOUSE: Coward. . .come back!
CYRANO (delighted, sits back in his chair, arms crossed): Come back an if you dare!
A BURGHER: Call for the orator!
(Bellerose comes forward and bows.)
THE BOXES: Ah! here's Bellerose!
BELLEROSE (elegantly): My noble lords. . .
THE PIT: No! no! Jodelet!
JODELET (advancing, speaking through his nose): Calves!
THE PIT: Ah! bravo! good! go on!
JODELET: No bravos, Sirs! The fat tragedian whom you all love Felt. . .
THE PIT: Coward!
JODELET: . . .was obliged to go.
THE PIT: Come back!
A YOUNG MAN (to Cyrano): But pray, Sir, for what reason, say, Hate you Montfleury?
CYRANO (graciously, still seated): 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 BURGHER (behind him): Shameful! You deprive us Of the 'Clorise!' I must insist. . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the burgher, respectfully): Old mule! The verses of old Baro are not worth A doit! I'm glad to interrupt. . .
THE PRECIEUSES (in the boxes): Our Baro!— My dear! How dares he venture!. . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the boxes gallantly): 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!
BELLEROSE: We must give back the entrance fees!
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the stage): 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!
THE HOUSE (dazzled): Ah! Oh!
JODELET (catching the purse dexterously and weighing it): At this price, you've authority To come each night, and stop 'Clorise,' Sir!
THE PIT: Ho!. . .Ho! Ho!. . .
JODELET: E'en if you chase us in a pack!. . .
BELLEROSE: Clear out the hall!. . .
JODELET: Get you all gone at once!
(The people begin to go out, while Cyrano looks on with satisfaction. But the crowd soon stop on hearing the following scene, and remain where they are. The women, who, with their mantles on, are already standing up in the boxes, stop to listen, and finally reseat themselves.)
LE BRET (to Cyrano): 'Tis mad!. . .
A BORE (coming up to Cyrano): The actor Montfleury! 'Tis shameful! Why, he's protected by the Duke of Candal! Have you a patron?
THE BORE: No patron?. . .
THE BORE: What! no great lord to shield you with his name?
CYRANO (irritated): No, I have told you twice! Must I repeat? No! no protector. . . (His hand on his sword): A protectress. . .here!
THE BORE: But you must leave the town?
CYRANO: Well, that depends!
THE BORE: The Duke has a long arm!
CYRANO: But not so long As mine, when it is lengthened out. . . (Shows his sword): As thus!
THE BORE: You think not to contend?
CYRANO: 'Tis my idea!
THE BORE: But. . .
CYRANO: Show your heels! now!
THE BORE: But I. . .
CYRANO: Or tell me why you stare so at my nose!
THE BORE (staggered): I. . .
CYRANO (walking straight up to him): Well, what is there strange?
THE BORE (drawing back): Your Grace mistakes!
CYRANO: How now? Is't soft and dangling, like a trunk?. . .
THE BORE (same play): I never. . .
CYRANO: Is it crook'd, like an owl's beak?
THE BORE: I. . .
CYRANO: Do you see a wart upon the tip?
THE BORE: Nay. . .
CYRANO: Or a fly, that takes the air there? What Is there to stare at?
THE BORE: Oh. . .
CYRANO: What do you see?
THE BORE: But I was careful not to look—knew better.
CYRANO: And why not look at it, an if you please?
THE BORE: I was. . .
CYRANO: Oh! it disgusts you!
THE BORE: Sir!
CYRANO: Its hue Unwholesome seems to you?
THE BORE: Sir!
CYRANO: Or its shape?
THE BORE: No, on the contrary!. . .
CYRANO: Why then that air Disparaging?—perchance you think it large?
THE BORE (stammering): No, small, quite small—minute!
CYRANO: Minute! What now? Accuse me of a thing ridiculous! Small—my nose?
THE BORE: Heaven help me!
CYRANO: '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 As empty. . .
(He cuffs him.)
THE BORE: Aie!
CYRANO: —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): As. . .what my boot will shortly come and kick!
THE BORE (running away): Help! Call the Guard!
CYRANO: Take notice, boobies all, Who find my visage's center 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!
DE GUICHE (who, with the marquises, has come down from the stage): But he becomes a nuisance!
THE VISCOUNT DE VALVERT (shrugging his shoulders): Swaggerer!
DE GUICHE: Will no one put him down?. . .
THE VISCOUNT: 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. . .hmm. . .it is. . .very big!
CYRANO (gravely): Very!
THE VISCOUNT (laughing): Ha!
CYRANO (imperturbably): Is that all?. . .
THE VISCOUNT: What do you mean?
CYRANO: 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 neighbors, 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 color in the sun should fade!' Pedantic: 'That beast Aristophanes Names Hippocamelelephantoles 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, O 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 turnip!' 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, O 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, But not from any other man that breathes!
DE GUICHE (trying to draw away the dismayed viscount): Come away, Viscount!
THE VISCOUNT (choking with rage): Hear his arrogance! A country lout who. . .who. . .has got no gloves! Who goes out without sleeve-knots, ribbons, lace!
CYRANO: 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 honor,. . .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 mustaches, I, traversing the crowds and chattering groups Make Truth ring bravely out like clash of spurs!
THE VISCOUNT: But, Sir. . .
CYRANO: 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, I threw it in the face of. . .some young fool.
THE VISCOUNT: Base scoundrel! Rascally flat-footed lout!
CYRANO (taking off his hat, and bowing as if the viscount had introduced himself): Ah?. . .and I, Cyrano Savinien Hercule de Bergerac
THE VISCOUNT (angrily): Buffoon!
CYRANO (calling out as if he had been seized with the cramp): Aie! Aie!
THE VISCOUNT (who was going away, turns back): What on earth is the fellow saying now?
CYRANO (with grimaces of pain): It must be moved—it's getting stiff, I vow, —This comes of leaving it in idleness! Aie!. . .
THE VISCOUNT: What ails you?
CYRANO: The cramp! cramp in my sword!
THE VISCOUNT (drawing his sword): Good!
CYRANO: You shall feel a charming little stroke!
THE VISCOUNT (contemptuously): Poet!. . .
CYRANO: Ay, poet, Sir! In proof of which, While we fence, presto! all extempore I will compose a ballade.
THE VISCOUNT: A ballade?
CYRANO: Belike you know not what a ballade is.
THE VISCOUNT: But. . .
CYRANO (reciting, as if repeating a lesson): Know then that the ballade should contain Three eight-versed couplets. . .
THE VISCOUNT (stamping): Oh!
CYRANO (still reciting): And an envoi Of four lines. . .
THE VISCOUNT: You. . .
CYRANO: I'll make one while we fight; And touch you at the final line.
THE VISCOUNT: No!
CYRANO: No? (declaiming): The duel in Hotel of Burgundy—fought By De Bergerac and a good-for-naught!
THE VISCOUNT: What may that be, an if you please?
CYRANO: The title.
THE HOUSE (in great excitement): Give room!—Good sport!—Make place!—Fair play!—No noise!
(Tableau. A circle of curious spectators in the pit; the marquises and officers mingled with the common people; the pages climbing on each other's shoulders to see better. All the women standing up in the boxes. To the right, De Guiche and his retinue. Left, Le Bret, Ragueneau, Cyrano, etc.)
CYRANO (shutting his eyes for a second): Wait while I choose my rhymes. . .I have them now! (He suits the action to each word): I gayly doff my beaver low, And, freeing hand and heel, My heavy mantle off I throw, And I draw my polished steel; Graceful as Phoebus, round I wheel, Alert as Scaramouch, A word in your ear, Sir Spark, I steal— At the envoi's end, I touch! (They engage): 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 clashing 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 Your spit, Sir Scullion—slow your zeal! At the envoi's end, I touch. (He declaims solemnly): Envoi. Prince, pray Heaven for your soul's weal! I move a pace—lo, such! and such! Cut over—feint! (Thrusting): What ho! You reel? (The viscount staggers. Cyrano salutes): At the envoi's end, I touch!
(Acclamations. Applause in the boxes. Flowers and handkerchiefs are thrown down. The officers surround Cyrano, congratulating him. Ragueneau dances for joy. Le Bret is happy, but anxious. The viscount's friends hold him up and bear him away.)
THE CROWD (with one long shout): Ah!
A TROOPER: 'Tis superb!
A WOMAN: A pretty stroke!
RAGUENEAU: A marvel!
A MARQUIS: A novelty!
LE BRET: O madman!
THE CROWD (presses round Cyrano. Chorus of): Compliments! Bravo! Let me congratulate!. . .Quite unsurpassed!. . .
A WOMAN'S VOICE: There is a hero for you!. . .
A MUSKETEER (advancing to Cyrano with outstretched hand): Sir, permit; Naught could be finer—I'm a judge I think; I stamped, i' faith!—to show my admiration!
(He goes away.)
CYRANO (to Cuigy): Who is that gentleman?
LE BRET (to Cyrano, taking his arm): A word with you!. . .
CYRANO: Wait; let the rabble go!. . . (To Bellerose): May I stay?
BELLEROSE (respectfully): Without doubt!
(Cries are heard outside.)
JODELET (who has looked out): They hoot Montfleury!
BELLEROSE (solemnly): Sic transit!. . . (To the porters): 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.)
THE PORTER (to Cyrano): You do not dine, Sir?
(The porter goes out.)
LE BRET: Because?
CYRANO (proudly): Because. . . (Changing his tone as the porter goes away): I have no money!. . .
LE BRET (with the action of throwing a bag): How! The bag of crowns?. . .
CYRANO: Paternal bounty, in a day, thou'rt sped!
LE BRET: How live the next month?. . .
CYRANO: I have nothing left.
LE BRET: Folly!
CYRANO: But what a graceful action! Think!
THE BUFFET-GIRL (coughing, behind her counter): Hum! (Cyrano and Le Bret turn. She comes timidly forward): Sir, my heart mislikes to know you fast. (Showing the buffet): See, all you need. Serve yourself!
CYRANO (taking off his hat): 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): 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): A glass of water fair!. . . And half a macaroon!
(He gives back the other half.)
LE BRET: What foolery!
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Take something else!
CYRANO: I take your hand to kiss.
(He kisses her hand as though she were a princess.)
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Thank you, kind Sir! (She courtesies): Good-night.
(She goes out.)
Cyrano, Le Bret.
CYRANO (to Le Bret): Now talk—I listen. (He stands at the buffet, and placing before him first the macaroon): Dinner!. . . (then the grapes): Dessert!. . . (then the glass of water): Wine!. . . (he seats himself): So! And now to table! Ah! I was hungry, friend, nay, ravenous! (eating): You said—?
LE BRET: 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—
CYRANO (finishing his macaroon): Enormous!
LE BRET: The Cardinal. . .
CYRANO (radiant): The Cardinal—was there?
LE BRET: Must have thought it. . .
CYRANO: Original, i' faith!
LE BRET: But. . .
CYRANO: He's an author. 'Twill not fail to please him That I should mar a brother-author's play.
LE BRET: You make too many enemies by far!
CYRANO (eating his grapes): How many think you I have made to-night?
LE BRET: Forty, no less, not counting ladies.
LE BRET: Montfleury first, the bourgeois, then De Guiche, The Viscount, Baro, the Academy. . .
CYRANO: Enough! I am o'erjoyed!
LE BRET: But these strange ways, Where will they lead you, at the end? Explain Your system—come!
CYRANO: I in a labyrinth Was lost—too many different paths to choose; I took. . .
LE BRET: Which?
CYRANO: Oh! by far the simplest path. . . Decided to be admirable in all!
LE BRET (shrugging his shoulders): So be it! But the motive of your hate To Montfleury—come, tell me!
CYRANO (rising): 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 hers. . .Meseemed I saw A slug crawl slavering o'er a flower's petals!
LE BRET (stupefied): How now? What? Can it be. . .?
CYRANO (laughing bitterly): That I should love?. . . (Changing his tone, gravely): I love.
LE BRET: And may I know?. . .You never said. . .
CYRANO: Come now, bethink you!. . .The fond hope to be Beloved, 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 who? 'Tis Fate's decree I love the fairest—how were't otherwise?
LE BRET: The fairest?. . .
CYRANO: Ay, the fairest of the world, Most brilliant—most refined—most golden-haired!
LE BRET: Who is this lady?
CYRANO: 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 sea-ward, As she can step into her chaise a porteurs, Nor Dian fleet across the woods spring-flowered, Light as my Lady o'er the stones of Paris!. . .
LE BRET: Sapristi! all is clear!
CYRANO: As spiderwebs!
LE BRET: Your cousin, Madeleine Robin?
LE BRET: Well, but so much the better! Tell her so! She saw your triumph here this very night!
CYRANO: 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 pleasance, 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!
LE BRET (tenderly): My friend!. . .
CYRANO: My friend, at times 'tis hard, 'tis bitter, To feel my loneliness—my own ill-favor. . .
LE BRET (taking his hand): You weep?
CYRANO: 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 The grave emotion that a tear engenders!
LE BRET: Never be sad! What's love?—a chance of Fortune!
CYRANO (shaking his head): Look I a Caesar to woo Cleopatra? A Tito to aspire to Berenice?
LE BRET: Your courage and your wit!—The little maid Who offered you refreshment even now, Her eyes did not abhor you—you saw well!
CYRANO (impressed): True!
LE BRET: Well, how then?. . .I saw Roxane herself Was death-pale as she watched the duel.
LE BRET: Her heart, her fancy, are already caught! Put it to th' touch!
CYRANO: That she may mock my face? That is the one thing on this earth I fear!
THE PORTER (introducing some one to Cyrano): Sir, some one asks for you. . .
CYRANO (seeing the duenna): God! her duenna!
Cyrano, Le Bret, the duenna.
THE DUENNA (with a low bow): I was bid ask you where a certain lady Could see her valiant cousin—but in secret.
CYRANO (overwhelmed): See me?
THE DUENNA (courtesying): Ay, Sir! She has somewhat to tell.
CYRANO: Somewhat?. . .
THE DUENNA (still courtesying): Ay, private matters!
CYRANO (staggering): Ah, my God!
THE DUENNA: To-morrow, at the early blush of dawn, We go to hear mass at St. Roch.
CYRANO (leaning against Le Bret): My God!
THE DUENNA: After—what place for a few minutes' speech?
CYRANO (confused): Where? Ah!. . .but. . .Ah, my God!. . .
THE DUENNA: Say!
CYRANO: I reflect!. . .
THE DUENNA: Where?
CYRANO: At—the pastry-house of Ragueneau.
THE DUENNA: Where lodges he?
CYRANO: The Rue—God!—St. Honore!
THE DUENNA (going): Good. Be you there. At seven.
CYRANO: Without fail.
(The duenna goes out.)
Cyrano, Le Bret. Then actors, actresses, Cuigy, Brissaille, Ligniere, the porter, the violinists.
CYRANO (falling into Le Bret's arms): A rendezvous. . .from her!. . .
LE BRET: You're sad no more!
CYRANO: Ah! Let the world go burn! She knows I live!
LE BRET: Now you'll be calm, I hope?
CYRANO (beside himself for joy): 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!. . . (Wildly): No! Giants now!
(For a few moments the shadows of the actors have been moving on the stage, whispers are heard—the rehearsal is beginning. The violinists are in their places.)
A VOICE FROM THE STAGE: Hollo there! Silence! We rehearse!
CYRANO (laughing): We go!
(He moves away. By the big door enter Cuigy, Brissaille, and some officers, holding up Ligniere, who is drunk.)
CYRANO: Well, what now?
CUIGY: A lusty thrush They're bringing you!
CYRANO (recognizing him): Ligniere!. . .What has chanced?
CUIGY: He seeks you!
BRISSAILLE: He dare not go home!
CYRANO: Why not?
LIGNIERE (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 To sleep to-night beneath your roof! Allow. . .
CYRANO: A hundred men? You'll sleep in your own bed!
LIGNIERE (frightened): But—
CYRANO (in a terrible voice, showing him the lighted lantern held by the porter, who is listening curiously): Take the lantern. (Ligniere seizes it): Let us start! I swear That I will make your bed to-night myself! (To the officers): Follow; some stay behind, as witnesses!
CUIGY: A hundred!. . .
CYRANO: Less, to-night—would be too few!
(The actors and actresses, in their costumes, have come down from the stage, and are listening.)
LE BRET: But why embroil yourself?
CYRANO: Le Bret who scolds!
LE BRET: That worthless drunkard!—
CYRANO (slapping Ligniere on the shoulder): 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!. . .
AN ACTRESS: Indeed, that was a graceful thing!
CYRANO: Ay, was it not?
THE ACTRESS (to the others): But why a hundred men 'gainst one poor rhymer?
CYRANO: March! (To the officers): Gentlemen, when you shall see me charge, Bear me no succor, none, whate'er the odds!
ANOTHER ACTRESS (jumping from the stage): Oh! I shall come and see!
CYRANO: Come, then!
ANOTHER (jumping down—to an old actor): And you?. . .
CYRANO: 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!
JODELET: Come on!
CYRANO: Play us a march, gentlemen of the band! (The violinists join the procession, which is forming. They take the footlights, and divide them for torches): Brave officers! next, women in costume, And, twenty paces on— (He takes his place): I all alone, Beneath the plume that Glory lends, herself, To deck my beaver—proud as Scipio!. . . —You hear me?—I forbid you succor 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 vapor's floating scarves, the Seine Trembles, mysterious, like a magic mirror, And, shortly, you shall see what you shall see!
ALL: To the Porte de Nesle!
CYRANO (standing on the threshold): Ay, to the Porte 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!
(He goes out. Ligniere staggers first after him, then the actresses on the officers' arms—the actors. The procession starts to the sound of the violins and in the faint light of the candles.)
The Poet's Eating-House.
Ragueneau's cook and pastry-shop. A large kitchen at the corner of the Rue St. Honore and the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, which are seen in the background through the glass door, in the gray dawn.
On the left, in the foreground, a counter, surmounted by a stand in forged iron, on which are hung geese, ducks, and water peacocks. In great china vases are tall bouquets of simple flowers, principally yellow sunflowers.
On the same side, farther back, an immense open fireplace, in front of which, between monster firedogs, on each of which hangs a little saucepan; the roasts are dripping into the pans.
On the right, foreground with door.
Farther back, staircase leading to a little room under the roof, the entrance of which is visible through the open shutter. In this room a table is laid. A small Flemish luster is alight. It is a place for eating and drinking. A wooden gallery, continuing the staircase, apparently leads to other similar little rooms.
In the middle of the shop an iron hoop is suspended from the ceiling by a string with which it can be drawn up and down, and big game is hung around it.
The ovens in the darkness under the stairs give forth a red glow. The copper pans shine. The spits are turning. Heaps of food formed into pyramids. Hams suspended. It is the busy hour of the morning. Bustle and hurry of scullions, fat cooks, and diminutive apprentices, their caps profusely decorated with cock's feathers and wings of guinea-fowl.
On metal and wicker plates they are bringing in piles of cakes and tarts.
Tables laden with rolls and dishes of food. Other tables surrounded with chairs are ready for the consumers.
A small table in a corner covered with papers, at which Ragueneau is seated writing on the rising of the curtain.
Ragueneau, pastry-cooks, then Lise. Ragueneau is writing, with an inspired air, at a small table, and counting on his fingers.
FIRST PASTRY-COOK (bringing in an elaborate fancy dish): Fruits in nougat!
SECOND PASTRY-COOK (bringing another dish): Custard!
THIRD PASTRY-COOK (bringing a roast, decorated with feathers): Peacock!
FOURTH PASTRY-COOK (bringing a batch of cakes on a slab): Rissoles!
FIFTH PASTRY-COOK (bringing a sort of pie-dish): Beef jelly!
RAGUENEAU (ceasing to write, and raising his head): Aurora's silver rays begin to glint e'en now on the copper pans, and thou, O Ragueneau! must perforce stifle in thy breast the God of Song! Anon shall come the hour of the lute!—now 'tis the hour of the oven! (He rises. To a cook): You, make that sauce longer, 'tis too short!
THE COOK: How much too short?
RAGUENEAU: Three feet.
(He passes on farther.)
THE COOK: What means he?
FIRST PASTRY-COOK (showing a dish to Ragueneau): The tart!
SECOND PASTRY-COOK: The pie!
RAGUENEAU (before the fire): My muse, retire, lest thy bright eyes be reddened by the fagot's blaze! (To a cook, showing him some loaves): You have put the cleft o' th' loaves in the wrong place; know you not that the coesura should be between the hemistiches? (To another, showing him an unfinished pasty): To this palace of paste you must add the roof. . . (To a young apprentice, who, seated on the ground, is spitting the fowls): And you, as you put on your lengthy spit the modest fowl and the superb turkey, my son, alternate them, as the old Malherbe loved well to alternate his long lines of verse with the short ones; thus shall your roasts, in strophes, turn before the flame!
ANOTHER APPRENTICE (also coming up with a tray covered by a napkin): Master, I bethought me erewhile of your tastes, and made this, which will please you, I hope.
(He uncovers the tray, and shows a large lyre made of pastry.)
RAGUENEAU (enchanted): A lyre!
THE APPRENTICE: 'Tis of brioche pastry.
RAGUENEAU (touched): With conserved fruits.
THE APPRENTICE: The strings, see, are of sugar.
RAGUENEAU (giving him a coin): Go, drink my health! (Seeing Lise enter): Hush! My wife. Bustle, pass on, and hide that money! (To Lise, showing her the lyre, with a conscious look): Is it not beautiful?
LISE: 'Tis passing silly!
(She puts a pile of papers on the counter.)
RAGUENEAU: Bags? Good. I thank you. (He looks at them): Heavens! my cherished leaves! The poems of my friends! Torn, dismembered, to make bags for holding biscuits and cakes!. . .Ah, 'tis the old tale again. . .Orpheus and the Bacchantes!
LISE (dryly): And am I not free to turn at last to some use the sole thing that your wretched scribblers of halting lines leave behind them by way of payment?
RAGUENEAU: Groveling ant!. . .Insult not the divine grasshoppers, the sweet singers!
LISE: Before you were the sworn comrade of all that crew, my friend, you did not call your wife ant and Bacchante!
RAGUENEAU: To turn fair verse to such a use!
LISE: 'Faith, 'tis all it's good for.
RAGUENEAU: Pray then, madam, to what use would you degrade prose?
The same. Two children, who have just trotted into the shop.
RAGUENEAU: What would you, little ones?
FIRST CHILD: Three pies.
RAGUENEAU (serving them): See, hot and well browned.
SECOND CHILD: If it please you, Sir, will you wrap them up for us?
RAGUENEAU (aside, distressed): Alas! one of my bags! (To the children): What? Must I wrap them up? (He takes a bag, and just as he is about to put in the pies, he reads): 'Ulysses thus, on leaving fair Penelope. . .' Not that one! (He puts it aside, and takes another, and as he is about to put in the pies, he reads): 'The gold-locked Phoebus. . .' Nay, nor that one!. . .
LISE (impatiently): What are you dallying for?
RAGUENEAU: Here! here! here (He chooses a third, resignedly): The sonnet to Phillis!. . .but 'tis hard to part with it!
LISE: By good luck he has made up his mind at last! (Shrugging her shoulders): Nicodemus!
(She mounts on a chair, and begins to range plates on a dresser.)
RAGUENEAU (taking advantage of the moment she turns her back, calls back the children, who are already at the door): Hist! children!. . .render me back the sonnet to Phillis, and you shall have six pies instead of three.
(The children give him back the bag, seize the cakes quickly, and go out.)
RAGUENEAU (smoothing out the paper, begins to declaim): 'Phillis!. . .' On that sweet name a smear of butter! 'Phillis!. . .'
(Cyrano enters hurriedly.)
Ragueneau, Lise, Cyrano, then the musketeer.
CYRANO: What's o'clock?
RAGUENEAU (bowing low): Six o'clock.
CYRANO (with emotion): In one hour's time!
(He paces up and down the shop.)
RAGUENEAU (following him): Bravo! I saw. . .
CYRANO: Well, what saw you, then?
RAGUENEAU: Your combat!. . .
RAGUENEAU: That in the Burgundy Hotel, 'faith!
CYRANO (contemptuously): Ah!. . .the duel!
RAGUENEAU (admiringly): Ay! the duel in verse!. . .
LISE: He can talk of naught else!
CYRANO: Well! Good! let be!
RAGUENEAU (making passes with a spit that he catches up): 'At the envoi's end, I touch!. . .At the envoi's end, I touch!'. . .'Tis fine, fine! (With increasing enthusiasm): 'At the envoi's end—'
CYRANO: What hour is it now, Ragueneau?
RAGUENEAU (stopping short in the act of thrusting to look at the clock): Five minutes after six!. . .'I touch!' (He straightens himself): . . .Oh! to write a ballade!
LISE (to Cyrano, who, as he passes by the counter, has absently shaken hands with her): What's wrong with your hand?
CYRANO: Naught; a slight cut.
RAGUENEAU: Have you been in some danger?
CYRANO: None in the world.
LISE (shaking her finger at him): Methinks you speak not the truth in saying that!
CYRANO: Did you see my nose quiver when I spoke? 'Faith, it must have been a monstrous lie that should move it! (Changing his tone): I wait some one here. Leave us alone, and disturb us for naught an it were not for crack of doom!
RAGUENEAU: But 'tis impossible; my poets are coming. . .
LISE (ironically): Oh, ay, for their first meal o' the day!
CYRANO: Prythee, take them aside when I shall make you sign to do so. . .What's o'clock?
RAGUENEAU: Ten minutes after six.
CYRANO (nervously seating himself at Ragueneau's table, and drawing some paper toward him): A pen!. . .
RAGUENEAU (giving him the one from behind his ear): Here—a swan's quill.
A MUSKETEER (with fierce mustache, enters, and in a stentorian voice): Good-day!
(Lise goes up to him quickly.)
CYRANO (turning round): Who's that?
RAGUENEAU: 'Tis a friend of my wife—a terrible warrior—at least so says he himself.
CYRANO (taking up the pen, and motioning Ragueneau away): Hush! (To himself): I will write, fold it, give it her, and fly! (Throws down the pen): Coward!. . .But strike me dead if I dare to speak to her,. . .ay, even one single word! (To Ragueneau): What time is it?
RAGUENEAU: A quarter after six!. . .
CYRANO (striking his breast): Ay—a single word of all those here! here! But writing, 'tis easier done. . . (He takes up the pen): Go to, I will write it, that love-letter! Oh! I have writ it and rewrit it in my own mind so oft that it lies there ready for pen and ink; and if I lay but my soul by my letter-sheet, 'tis naught to do but to copy from it.
(He writes. Through the glass of the door the silhouettes of their figures move uncertainly and hesitatingly.)
Ragueneau, Lise, the musketeer. Cyrano at the little table writing. The poets, dressed in black, their stockings ungartered, and covered with mud.
LISE (entering, to Ragueneau): Here they come, your mud-bespattered friends!
FIRST POET (entering, to Ragueneau): Brother in art!. . .
SECOND POET (to Ragueneau, shaking his hands): Dear brother!
THIRD POET: High soaring eagle among pastry-cooks! (He sniffs): Marry! it smells good here in your eyrie!
FOURTH POET: 'Tis at Phoebus' own rays that thy roasts turn!
FIFTH POET: Apollo among master-cooks—
RAGUENEAU (whom they surround and embrace): Ah! how quick a man feels at his ease with them!. . .
FIRST POET: We were stayed by the mob; they are crowded all round the Porte de Nesle!. . .
SECOND POET: Eight bleeding brigand carcasses strew the pavements there—all slit open with sword-gashes!
CYRANO (raising his head a minute): Eight?. . .hold, methought seven.
(He goes on writing.)
RAGUENEAU (to Cyrano): Know you who might be the hero of the fray?
CYRANO (carelessly): Not I.
LISE (to the musketeer): And you? Know you?
THE MUSKETEER (twirling his mustache): Maybe!
CYRANO (writing a little way off:—he is heard murmuring a word from time to time): 'I love thee!'
FIRST POET: 'Twas one man, say they all, ay, swear to it, one man who, single-handed, put the whole band to the rout!
SECOND POET: 'Twas a strange sight!—pikes and cudgels strewed thick upon the ground.
CYRANO (writing): . . .'Thine eyes'. . .
THIRD POET: And they were picking up hats all the way to the Quai d'Orfevres!
FIRST POET: Sapristi! but he must have been a ferocious. . .
CYRANO (same play): . . .'Thy lips'. . .
FIRST POET: 'Twas a parlous fearsome giant that was the author of such exploits!
CYRANO (same play): . . .'And when I see thee come, I faint for fear.'
SECOND POET (filching a cake): What hast rhymed of late, Ragueneau?
CYRANO (same play): . . .'Who worships thee'. . . (He stops, just as he is about to sign, and gets up, slipping the letter into his doublet): No need I sign, since I give it her myself.
RAGUENEAU (to second poet): I have put a recipe into verse.
THIRD POET (seating himself by a plate of cream-puffs): Go to! Let us hear these verses!
FOURTH POET (looking at a cake which he has taken): Its cap is all a' one side!
(He makes one bite of the top.)
FIRST POET: See how this gingerbread woos the famished rhymer with its almond eyes, and its eyebrows of angelica!
(He takes it.)
SECOND POET: We listen.
THIRD POET (squeezing a cream-puff gently): How it laughs! Till its very cream runs over!
SECOND POET (biting a bit off the great lyre of pastry): This is the first time in my life that ever I drew any means of nourishing me from the lyre!
RAGUENEAU (who has put himself ready for reciting, cleared his throat, settled his cap, struck an attitude): A recipe in verse!. . .
SECOND POET (to first, nudging him): You are breakfasting?
FIRST POET (to second): And you dining, methinks.
RAGUENEAU: How almond tartlets are made.
Beat your eggs up, light and quick; Froth them thick; Mingle with them while you beat Juice of lemon, essence fine; Then combine The burst milk of almonds sweet.
Circle with a custard paste The slim waist Of your tartlet-molds; the top With a skillful finger print, Nick and dint, Round their edge, then, drop by drop, In its little dainty bed Your cream shed: In the oven place each mold: Reappearing, softly browned, The renowned Almond tartlets you behold!
THE POETS (with mouths crammed full): Exquisite! Delicious!
A POET (choking): Homph!
(They go up, eating.)
CYRANO (who has been watching, goes toward Ragueneau): Lulled by your voice, did you see how they were stuffing themselves?
RAGUENEAU (in a low voice, smiling): Oh, ay! I see well enough, but I never will seem to look, fearing to distress them; thus I gain a double pleasure when I recite to them my poems; for I leave those poor fellows who have not breakfasted free to eat, even while I gratify my own dearest foible, see you?
CYRANO (clapping him on the shoulder): Friend, I like you right well!. . . (Ragueneau goes after his friends. Cyrano follows him with his eyes, then, rather sharply): Ho there! Lise! (Lise, who is talking tenderly to the musketeer, starts, and comes down toward Cyrano): So this fine captain is laying siege to you?
LISE (offended): One haughty glance of my eye can conquer any man that should dare venture aught 'gainst my virtue.
CYRANO: Pooh! Conquering eyes, methinks, are oft conquered eyes.
LISE (choking with anger): But—
CYRANO (incisively): I like Ragueneau well, and so—mark me, Dame Lise—I permit not that he be rendered a laughing-stock by any. . .
LISE: But. . .
CYRANO (who has raised his voice so as to be heard by the gallant): A word to the wise. . .
(He bows to the musketeer, and goes to the doorway to watch, after looking at the clock.)
LISE (to the musketeer, who has merely bowed in answer to Cyrano's bow): How now? Is this your courage?. . .Why turn you not a jest on his nose?
THE MUSKETEER: On his nose?. . .ay, ay. . .his nose.
(He goes quickly farther away; Lise follows him.)
CYRANO (from the doorway, signing to Ragueneau to draw the poets away): Hist!. . .
RAGUENEAU (showing them the door on the right): We shall be more private there. . .
CYRANO (impatiently): Hist! Hist!. . .
RAGUENEAU (drawing them farther): To read poetry, 'tis better here. . .
FIRST POET (despairingly, with his mouth full): What! leave the cakes?. . .
SECOND POET: Never! Let's take them with us!
(They all follow Ragueneau in procession, after sweeping all the cakes off the trays.)
Cyrano, Roxane, the duenna.
CYRANO: Ah! if I see but the faint glimmer of hope, then I draw out my letter! (Roxane, masked, followed by the duenna, appears at the glass pane of the door. He opens quickly): Enter!. . . (Walking up to the duenna): Two words with you, Duenna.
THE DUENNA: Four, Sir, an it like you.
CYRANO: Are you fond of sweet things?
THE DUENNA: Ay, I could eat myself sick on them!
CYRANO (catching up some of the paper bags from the counter): Good. See you these two sonnets of Monsieur Beuserade. . .
THE DUENNA: Hey?
CYRANO: . . .Which I fill for you with cream cakes!
THE DUENNA (changing her expression): Ha.
CYRANO: What say you to the cake they call a little puff?
THE DUENNA: If made with cream, Sir, I love them passing well.
CYRANO: Here I plunge six for your eating into the bosom of a poem by Saint Amant! And in these verses of Chapelain I glide a lighter morsel. Stay, love you hot cakes?
THE DUENNA: Ay, to the core of my heart!
CYRANO (filling her arms with the bags): Pleasure me then; go eat them all in the street.
THE DUENNA: But. . .
CYRANO (pushing her out): And come not back till the very last crumb be eaten!
(He shuts the door, comes down toward Roxane, and, uncovering, stands at a respectful distance from her.)
CYRANO: Blessed be the moment when you condescend— Remembering that humbly I exist— To come to meet me, and to say. . .to tell?. . .
ROXANE (who has unmasked): To thank you first of all. That dandy count, Whom you checkmated in brave sword-play Last night,. . .he is the man whom a great lord, Desirous of my favor. . .
CYRANO: Ha, De Guiche?
ROXANE (casting down her eyes): Sought to impose on me. . .for husband. . .
CYRANO: Ay! Husband!—dupe-husband!. . .Husband a la mode! (Bowing): Then I fought, happy chance! sweet lady, not For my ill favor—but your favors fair!
ROXANE: Confession next!. . .But, ere I make my shrift, You must be once again that brother-friend With whom I used to play by the lake-side!. . .
CYRANO: Ay, you would come each spring to Bergerac!
ROXANE: Mind you the reeds you cut to make your swords?. . .
CYRANO: While you wove corn-straw plaits for your dolls' hair!
ROXANE: Those were the days of games!. . .
CYRANO: And blackberries!. . .
ROXANE: In those days you did everything I bid!. . .
CYRANO: Roxane, in her short frock, was Madeleine. . .
ROXANE: Was I fair then?
CYRANO: You were not ill to see!
ROXANE: Ofttimes, with hands all bloody from a fall, You'd run to me! Then—aping mother-ways— I, in a voice would-be severe, would chide,— (She takes his hand): 'What is this scratch, again, that I see here?' (She starts, surprised): Oh! 'Tis too much! What's this? (Cyrano tries to draw away his hand): No, let me see! At your age, fie! Where did you get that scratch?
CYRANO: I got it—playing at the Porte de Nesle.
ROXANE (seating herself by the table, and dipping her handkerchief in a glass of water): Give here!
CYRANO (sitting by her): So soft! so gay maternal-sweet!
ROXANE: And tell me, while I wipe away the blood, How many 'gainst you?
CYRANO: Oh! A hundred—near.
ROXANE: Come, tell me!
CYRANO: No, let be. But you, come tell The thing, just now, you dared not. . .
ROXANE (keeping his hand): Now, I dare! The scent of those old days emboldens me! Yes, now I dare. Listen. I am in love.
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: But with one who knows not.
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: Not yet.
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: But who, if he knows not, soon shall learn.
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: A poor youth who all this time has loved Timidly, from afar, and dares not speak. . .
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: Leave your hand; why, it is fever-hot!— But I have seen love trembling on his lips.
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE (bandaging his hand with her handkerchief): And to think of it! that he by chance— Yes, cousin, he is of your regiment!
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE (laughing): —Is cadet in your own company!
CYRANO: Ah!. . .
ROXANE: On his brow he bears the genius-stamp; He is proud, noble, young, intrepid, fair. . .
CYRANO (rising suddenly, very pale): Fair!
ROXANE: Why, what ails you?
CYRANO: Nothing; 'tis. . . (He shows his hand, smiling): This scratch!
ROXANE: I love him; all is said. But you must know I have only seen him at the Comedy. . .
CYRANO: How? You have never spoken?
ROXANE: Eyes can speak.
CYRANO: How know you then that he. . .?
ROXANE: Oh! people talk 'Neath the limes in the Place Royale. . . Gossip's chat Has let me know. . .
CYRANO: He is cadet?
ROXANE: In the Guards.
CYRANO: His name?
ROXANE: Baron Christian de Neuvillette.
CYRANO: How now?. . .He is not of the Guards!
ROXANE: To-day He is not join your ranks, under Captain Carbon de Castel-Jaloux.
CYRANO: Ah, how quick, How quick the heart has flown!. . .But, my poor child. . .
THE DUENNA (opening the door): The cakes are eaten, Monsieur Bergerac!
CYRANO: Then read the verses printed on the bags! (She goes out): . . .My poor child, you who love but flowing words, Bright wit,—what if he be a lout unskilled?
ROXANE: No, his bright locks, like D'Urfe's heroes. . .
CYRANO: Ah! A well-curled pate, and witless tongue, perchance!
ROXANE: Ah no! I guess—I feel—his words are fair!
CYRANO: All words are fair that lurk 'neath fair mustache! —Suppose he were a fool!. . .
ROXANE (stamping her foot): Then bury me!
CYRANO (after a pause): Was it to tell me this you brought me here? I fail to see what use this serves, Madame.
ROXANE: Nay, but I felt a terror, here, in the heart, On learning yesterday you were Gascons All of your company. . .
CYRANO: And we provoke All beardless sprigs that favor dares admit 'Midst us pure Gascons—(pure! Heaven save the mark! They told you that as well?
ROXANE: Ah! Think how I Trembled for him!
CYRANO (between his teeth): Not causelessly!
ROXANE: But when Last night I saw you,—brave, invincible,— Punish that dandy, fearless hold your own Against those brutes, I thought—I thought, if he Whom all fear, all—if he would only. . .
CYRANO: Good. I will befriend your little Baron.
ROXANE: Ah! You'll promise me you will do this for me? I've always held you as a tender friend.
CYRANO: Ay, ay.
ROXANE: Then you will be his friend?
CYRANO: I swear!
ROXANE: And he shall fight no duels, promise!
ROXANE: You are kind, cousin! Now I must be gone. (She puts on her mask and veil quickly; then, absently): You have not told me of your last night's fray. Ah, but it must have been a hero-fight!. . . —Bid him to write. (She sends him a kiss with her fingers): How good you are!
CYRANO: Ay! Ay!
ROXANE: A hundred men against you? Now, farewell.— We are great friends?
CYRANO: Ay, ay!
ROXANE: Oh, bid him write! You'll tell me all one day—A hundred men!— Ah, brave!. . .How brave!
CYRANO (bowing to her): I have fought better since.
(She goes out. Cyrano stands motionless, with eyes on the ground. A silence. The door (right) opens. Ragueneau looks in.)
Cyrano, Ragueneau, poets, Carbon de Castel-Jaloux, the cadets, a crowd, then De Guiche.
RAGUENEAU: Can we come in?
CYRANO (without stirring): Yes. . .
(Ragueneau signs to his friends, and they come in. At the same time, by door at back, enters Carbon de Castel-Jaloux, in Captain's uniform. He makes gestures of surprise on seeing Cyrano.)
CARBON: Here he is!
CYRANO (raising his head): Captain!. . .
CARBON (delightedly): Our hero! We heard all! Thirty or more Of my cadets are there!. . .
CYRANO (shrinking back): But. . .
CARBON (trying to draw him away): Come with me! They will not rest until they see you!
CARBON: They're drinking opposite, at The Bear's Head.
CYRANO: I. . .
CARBON (going to the door and calling across the street in a voice of thunder): He won't come! The hero's in the sulks!
A VOICE (outside): Ah! Sandious!
(Tumult outside. Noise of boots and swords is heard approaching.)
CARBON (rubbing his hands): They are running 'cross the street!
CADETS (entering): Mille dious! Capdedious! Pocapdedious!
RAGUENEAU (drawing back startled): Gentlemen, are you all from Gascony?
THE CADETS: All!
A CADET (to Cyrano): Bravo!
ANOTHER (shaking his hands): Vivat!
THIRD CADET: Come! I must embrace you!
SEVERAL GASCONS: We'll embrace Him, all in turn!
CYRANO (not knowing whom to reply to): Baron!. . .Baron!. . .I beg. . .
RAGUENEAU: Are you all Barons, Sirs?
THE CADETS: Ay, every one!
RAGUENEAU: Is it true?. . .
FIRST CADET: Ay—why, you could build a tower With nothing but our coronets, my friend!
LE BRET (entering, and running up to Cyrano): They're looking for you! Here's a crazy mob Led by the men who followed you last night. . .
CYRANO (alarmed): What! Have you told them where to find me?
LE BRET (rubbing his hands): Yes!
A BURGHER (entering, followed by a group of men): Sir, all the Marais is a-coming here!
(Outside the street has filled with people. Chaises a porteurs and carriages have drawn up.)
LE BRET (in a low voice, smiling, to Cyrano): And Roxane?
CYRANO (quickly): Hush!
THE CROWD (calling outside): Cyrano!. . .
(A crowd rush into the shop, pushing one another. Acclamations.)
RAGUENEAU (standing on a table): Lo! my shop Invaded! They break all! Magnificent!
PEOPLE (crowding round Cyrano): My friend!. . .my friend. . .
Cyrano: Meseems that yesterday I had not all these friends!
LE BRET (delighted): Success!
A YOUNG MARQUIS (hurrying up with his hands held out): My friend, Didst thou but know. . .
CYRANO: Thou!. . .Marry!. . .thou!. . .Pray when Did we herd swine together, you and I!
ANOTHER: I would present you, Sir, to some fair dames Who in my carriage yonder. . .
CYRANO (coldly): Ah! and who Will first present you, Sir, to me?
LE BRET (astonished): What's wrong?
A MAN OF LETTERS (with writing-board): A few details?. . .
LE BRET (nudging his elbow): 'Tis Theophrast, Renaudet,. . .of the 'Court Gazette'!
CYRANO: Who cares?
LE BRET: This paper—but it is of great importance!. . . They say it will be an immense success!
A POET (advancing): Sir. . .
CYRANO: What, another!
THE POET: . . .Pray permit I make A pentacrostic on your name. . .
SOME ONE (also advancing): Pray, Sir. . .
CYRANO: Enough! Enough!
(A movement in the crowd. De Guiche appears, escorted by officers. Cuigy, Brissaille, the officers who went with Cyrano the night before. Cuigy comes rapidly up to Cyrano.)
CUIGY (to Cyrano): Here is Monsieur de Guiche? (A murmur—every one makes way): He comes from the Marshal of Gassion!
DE GUICHE (bowing to Cyrano): . . .Who would express his admiration, Sir, For your new exploit noised so loud abroad.
THE CROWD: Bravo!
CYRANO (bowing): The Marshal is a judge of valor.
DE GUICHE: He could not have believed the thing, unless These gentlemen had sworn they witnessed it.
CUIGY: With our own eyes!
LE BRET (aside to Cyrano, who has an absent air): But. . .you. . .
LE BRET: But. . .You suffer?
CYRANO (starting): Before this rabble?—I?. . . (He draws himself up, twirls his mustache, and throws back his shoulders): Wait!. . .You shall see!
DE GUICHE (to whom Cuigy has spoken in a low voice): In feats of arms, already your career Abounded.—You serve with those crazy pates Of Gascons?
CYRANO: Ay, with the Cadets.
A CADET (in a terrible voice): With us!
DE GUICHE (looking at the cadets, ranged behind Cyrano): Ah!. . .All these gentlemen of haughty mien, Are they the famous?. . .
CYRANO: Ay, Captain!
CARBON: Since all my company's assembled here, Pray favor me,—present them to my lord!
CYRANO (making two steps toward De Guiche): My Lord de Guiche, permit that I present— (pointing to the cadets): The bold Cadets of Gascony, Of Carbon of Castel-Jaloux! Brawling and swaggering boastfully, The bold Cadets of Gascony! Spouting of Armory, Heraldry, Their veins a-brimming with blood so blue, The bold Cadets of Gascony, Of Carbon of Castel-Jaloux:
Eagle-eye, and spindle-shanks, Fierce mustache, and wolfish tooth! Slash-the-rabble and scatter-their-ranks; Eagle-eye and spindle-shanks, With a flaming feather that gayly pranks, Hiding the holes in their hats, forsooth! Eagle-eye and spindle-shanks, Fierce mustache, and wolfish tooth!
'Pink-your-Doublet' and 'Slit-your-Trunk' Are their gentlest sobriquets; With Fame and Glory their soul is drunk! 'Pink-your-Doublet' and 'Slit-your-Trunk,' In brawl and skirmish they show their spunk, Give rendezvous in broil and fray; 'Pink-your-Doublet' and 'Slit-your-Trunk' Are their gentlest sobriquets!
What, ho! Cadets of Gascony! All jealous lovers are sport for you! O Woman! dear divinity! What, ho! Cadets of Gascony! Whom scowling husbands quake to see. Blow, 'taratara,' and cry 'Cuckoo.' What, ho! Cadets of Gascony! Husbands and lovers are game for you!
DE GUICHE (seated with haughty carelessness in an armchair brought quickly by Ragueneau): A poet! 'Tis the fashion of the hour! —Will you be mine?
CYRANO: No, Sir,—no man's!
DE GUICHE: Last night Your fancy pleased my uncle Richelieu. I'll gladly say a word to him for you.
LE BRET (overjoyed): Great Heavens!
DE GUICHE: I imagine you have rhymed Five acts, or so?
LE BRET (in Cyrano's ear): Your play!—your 'Agrippine!' You'll see it staged at last!
DE GUICHE: Take them to him.
CYRANO (beginning to be tempted and attracted): In sooth,—I would. . .
DE GUICHE: He is a critic skilled: He may correct a line or two, at most.
CYRANO (whose face stiffens at once): Impossible! My blood congeals to think That other hand should change a comma's dot.
DE GUICHE: But when a verse approves itself to him He pays it dear, good friend.
CYRANO: He pays less dear Than I myself; when a verse pleases me I pay myself, and sing it to myself!
DE GUICHE: You are proud.
CYRANO: Really? You have noticed that?
A CADET (entering, with a string of old battered plumed beaver hats, full of holes, slung on his sword): See, Cyrano,—this morning, on the quay What strange bright-feathered game we caught! The hats O' the fugitives. . .
CARBON: 'Spolia opima!'
ALL (laughing): Ah! ah! ah!
CUIGY: He who laid that ambush, 'faith! Must curse and swear!
BRISSAILLE: Who was it?
DE GUICHE: I myself. (The laughter stops): I charged them—work too dirty for my sword, To punish and chastise a rhymster sot.
The CADET (in a low voice, to Cyrano, showing him the beavers): What do with them? They're full of grease!—a stew?
CYRANO (taking the sword and, with a salute, dropping the hats at De Guiche's feet): Sir, pray be good enough to render them Back to your friends.
DE GUICHE (rising, sharply): My chair there—quick!—I go! (To Cyrano passionately): As to you, sirrah!. . .
VOICE (in the street): Porters for my lord De Guiche!
DE GUICHE (who has controlled himself—smiling): Have you read 'Don Quixote'?
CYRANO: I have! And doff my hat at th' mad knight-errant's name.
DE GUICHE: I counsel you to study. . .
A PORTER (appearing at back): My lord's chair!
DE GUICHE: . . .The windmill chapter!
CYRANO (bowing): Chapter the Thirteenth.
DE GUICHE: For when one tilts 'gainst windmills—it may chance. . .
CYRANO: Tilt I 'gainst those who change with every breeze?
DE GUICHE: . . .That windmill sails may sweep you with their arm Down—in the mire!. . .
CYRANO: Or upward—to the stars!
(De Guiche goes out, and mounts into his chair. The other lords go away whispering together. Le Bret goes to the door with them. The crowd disperses.)
Cyrano, Le Bret, the cadets, who are eating and drinking at the tables right and left.
CYRANO (bowing mockingly to those who go out without daring to salute him): Gentlemen. . .Gentlemen. . .
LE BRET (coming back, despairingly): Here's a fine coil!
CYRANO: Oh! scold away!
LE BRET: At least, you will agree That to annihilate each chance of Fate Exaggerates. . .
CYRANO: Yes!—I exaggerate!
LE BRET (triumphantly): Ah!
CYRANO: But for principle—example too,— I think 'tis well thus to exaggerate.
LE BRET: Oh! lay aside that pride of musketeer, Fortune and glory wait you!. . .
CYRANO: Ay, and then?. . . Seek a protector, choose a patron out, And like the crawling ivy round a tree That licks the bark to gain the trunk's support, Climb high by creeping ruse instead of force? No, grammercy! What! I, like all the rest Dedicate verse to bankers?—play buffoon In cringing hope to see, at last, a smile Not disapproving, on a patron's lips? Grammercy, no! What! learn to swallow toads? —With frame aweary climbing stairs?—a skin Grown grimed and horny,—here, about the knees? And, acrobat-like, teach my back to bend?— No, grammercy! Or,—double-faced and sly— Run with the hare, while hunting with the hounds; And, oily-tongued, to win the oil of praise, Flatter the great man to his very nose? No, grammercy! Steal soft from lap to lap, —A little great man in a circle small, Or navigate, with madrigals for sails, Blown gently windward by old ladies' sighs? No, grammercy! Bribe kindly editors To spread abroad my verses? Grammercy! Or try to be elected as the pope Of tavern-councils held by imbeciles? No, grammercy! Toil to gain reputation By one small sonnet, 'stead of making many? No, grammercy! Or flatter sorry bunglers? Be terrorized by every prating paper? Say ceaselessly, 'Oh, had I but the chance Of a fair notice in the "Mercury"!' Grammercy, no! Grow pale, fear, calculate? Prefer to make a visit to a rhyme? Seek introductions, draw petitions up? No, grammercy! and no! and no again! But—sing? Dream, laugh, go lightly, solitary, free, With eyes that look straight forward—fearless voice! To cock your beaver just the way you choose,— For 'yes' or 'no' show fight, or turn a rhyme! —To work without one thought of gain or fame, To realize that journey to the moon! Never to pen a line that has not sprung Straight from the heart within. Embracing then Modesty, say to oneself, 'Good my friend, Be thou content with flowers,—fruit,—nay, leaves, But pluck them from no garden but thine own!' And then, if glory come by chance your way, To pay no tribute unto Caesar, none, But keep the merit all your own! In short, Disdaining tendrils of the parasite, To be content, if neither oak nor elm— Not to mount high, perchance, but mount alone!