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Title: The Betrothal - A Sequel to the Blue Bird
Author: Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1862-1949
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Betrothal - A Sequel to the Blue Bird" ***

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THE BETROTHAL

A SEQUEL TO THE BLUE BIRD

_A Fairy Play in Five Acts and Eleven Scenes_

BY

MAURICE MAETERLINCK

_Translated by_

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS

NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1918



     CHARACTERS

     (_arranged in the order of their entrance on the stage_)

     TYLTYL
     THE FAIRY BÉRYLUNE
     MILETTE (the Wood-cutter's Daughter)
     BELLINE (the Butcher's Daughter)
     ROSELLE (the Inn-keeper's Daughter)
     AIMETTE (the Miller's Daughter)
     JALLINE (the Beggar's Daughter)
     ROSARELLE (the Mayor's Daughter)
     JOY (the Veiled Girl, or the White Phantom)
     DESTINY
     THE MISER
     LIGHT
     SOME USUAL THOUGHTS
     GRANNY TYL
     GAFFER TYL
     THE GREAT MENDICANT
     THE GREAT PEASANT
     THE RICH ANCESTOR
     THE SICK ANCESTOR
     THE DRUNKEN ANCESTOR
     THE MURDERER ANCESTOR
     THE GREAT ANCESTOR
     OTHER ANCESTORS
     SOME OF TYLTYL'S "ME'S"
     VARIOUS CHILDREN IN THE ABODE OF THE CHILDREN
     THE FIVE LITTLE ONES
     THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL
     MUMMY TYL
     MYTYL
     DADDY TYL
     THE NEIGHBOUR



             ACT I

_Scene_ 1 _The Wood-cutter's Cottage_.

             ACT II

             2 _Outside the Door_.

             3 _The Miser's Cave_.

             4 _A Closet in the Fairy's Palace_.

             5 _A Ballroom in the Fairy's Palace_.

             ACT III

             6 _Before the Curtain representing Rocks_.

             7 _The Abode of the Ancestors_.

             ACT IV

             8 _Before the Curtain representing the Milky Way_.

             9 _The Abode of the Children_.

             ACT V

            10 _Before the Curtain representing the Edge of a Forest_.

            11 _The Awakening_.



THE BETROTHAL; OR THE BLUE BIRD CHOOSES



ACT I


SCENE I


     _The Wood-cutter's Cottage_

     _The cottage-scene in The Blue Bird: the interior of a
     wood-cutter's cabin, simple and rustic in appearance, but in no way
     poverty-stricken. A recessed fireplace containing the dying embers
     of a wood-fire. Kitchen-utensils, a cupboard, a bread-pan, a
     grandfather's clock, a spinning-wheel, a water-tap, etc. A dog and
     a cat asleep. A large blue-and-white sugar-loaf. On the wall hangs
     a round cage containing a blue bird. At the back, two windows with
     closed shutters. On the left is the front-door, with a big latch to
     it. A ladder leads up to a loft. But there is only one bed_,
     TYLTYL'S; _he is now sixteen years of age. It is dark; the scene is
     lit only by a few moonbeams which filter through the shutters_.
     TYLTYL _is sound asleep_.

     (_A knock at the door_.)

TYLTYL

(_Waking with a start_.) Who's there? (_Another knock_.) Wait till I put
on my breeches. The door's bolted. I'll come and open it.

THE FAIRY

(_Behind the door._) Don't trouble, don't trouble!... It's only me!...
How do you do? (_The door has opened of its own accord and_ THE FAIRY
BÉRYLUNE _enters under the guise of an old woman, as in the first scene
of the Blue Bird. At the same time the room is filled with a strange
brightness, which remains after the door is closed again_.)

TYLTYL

(_In surprise_.) Who are you?

THE FAIRY

Don't you know me? Why, Tyltyl, it's hardly seven years since we said
good-bye to each other!

TYLTYL

(_Bewildered and vainly searching his memory_.) Yes, yes, I remember ...
and I know what you mean....

THE FAIRY

Yes, but you don't quite grasp who I am and you don't remember anything
at all. You haven't changed, I see: just the same careless, ungrateful,
wool-gathering little fellow that you always were!... But you have grown
taller and stronger, my lad, and quite handsome! If I were not a fairy,
I should never have known you! Yes, really quite handsome!... But are
you aware of it? It doesn't seem to have occurred to you!

TYLTYL

We only had one tiny looking-glass in the house, about as big as your
hand. Mytyl took it and keeps it in her room.

THE FAIRY

So Mytyl has a room of her own now?

TYLTYL

Yes, she sleeps next door, under the stairs, and I here, in the kitchen.
Shall I wake her?

THE FAIRY

(_Growing suddenly and unreasonably angry, as on her former visit_.)
There's no need to do anything of the sort!... I have nothing to do with
her; her hour has not struck; and, when it does I shall be quite capable
of finding her, without being shown the way as though I were blind!...
In the meantime, I want nobody's advice....

TYLTYL

(_In dismay_.) But ma'am, I didn't know....

THE FAIRY

That will do.... (_Recovering her temper as suddenly as she lost it_.)
By the way, how old are you?

TYLTYL

I shall be sixteen a fortnight after Epiphany.

THE FAIRY

(_Growing angry again_.) A fortnight after Epiphany!... What a way of
reckoning!... And here am I without my almanack, having left it with
Destiny last time I called on him, fifty years ago!... I don't know
where I stand.... However, never mind: I'll make the calculation when we
see him, for we shall have to get it exactly right.... And what have you
been doing these seven years since we met?

TYLTYL

I have been working in the forest with daddy.

THE FAIRY

That means you've been helping him cut down trees. I don't like that
very much. You call that working, do you? Ah, well, men evidently can't
live without destroying the last things of beauty that remain on the
earth!... So let's talk of something else.... (_Mysteriously_.) Can any
one hear us?

TYLTYL

I don't think so.

THE FAIRY

(_Growing angry once more_.) It doesn't matter what you think, but
whether you're sure. What I have to say is tremendously important ...
and strictly private. Come here, quite close, so that I can whisper
it.... Whom are you in love with?

TYLTYL

(_In amazement_.) Whom am I in love with?

THE FAIRY

(_Still cross and quite forgetting the importance of speaking in a low
voice_.) Yes, yes! I'm not talking Greek, am I? I want to know if you're
in love with any one.

TYLTYL

Yes, certainly; I love everybody: my parents, my friends, my sister, my
neighbours, all the people I know.

THE FAIRY

Now oblige me and don't play the fool.... You know perfectly well what I
mean.... I'm asking whether there's any one girl among those you meet
whom you love more than the rest.

TYLTYL

(_Blushing and considering_.) I don't know....

THE FAIRY

(_Angrier than ever_.) What do you mean; you don't know? Who does know,
if you don't? At your age a boy ought to think of nothing else: if he
doesn't, he's a booby, a nincompoop and not worth bothering about!...
There's nothing to blush at: it's when one's not in love that one should
feel ashamed.... You and I are miles away just now from the falsehood of
words: we are with the truth of our thoughts, which is a very different
thing.... Come, among all the girls you've met....

TYLTYL

(_Timidly_.) I don't meet very many....

THE FAIRY

That's no reason; it's not necessary to meet them by the dozen. Very
often it's enough if you come across just one: when you've nobody else,
you love that one and are not to be pitied.... But come, among those
close by....

TYLTYL

There aren't any close by....

THE FAIRY

There are at the neighbours'.

TYLTYL

There are hardly any neighbours....

THE FAIRY

There are girls in the village, in the town, way back in the forest and
in every house. You find them everywhere when your heart's awake....
Which is the prettiest?

TYLTYL

Well, they're all very pretty.

THE FAIRY

How many do you know?

TYLTYL

Four in the village, one in the forest and one by the bridge.

THE FAIRY

Oho! That's not bad, for a beginning!

TYLTYL

We don't see many people here, you know.

THE FAIRY

You're not the baby one would think.... But tell me, between ourselves,
do they love you too?

TYLTYL

They haven't told me so; they don't know that I love them.

THE FAIRY

But these are things which it isn't necessary to know or to tell!... You
see that at once when you're living in the truth. A look is enough;
there's no mistaking it; and the words which people say merely hide the
real ones which the heart has spoken.... But I'm in a hurry: would you
like me to make them come here?

TYLTYL

(_Terrified_.) Make them come here? They wouldn't want to! They hardly
know me. They know I'm poor. They don't know where I live, especially
those in the village: they never come this way.... It's an hour's walk
from the church to the house; the roads are bad; it's dark....

THE FAIRY

Dear, dear, anything more? Don't let us talk about that. Remember, we've
done with untruths. I've only to lift my finger and they'll come....

TYLTYL

But I'm not even sure that they've noticed me at all.

THE FAIRY

Have you looked at them?

TYLTYL

Yes, sometimes....

THE FAIRY

And have they looked back at you?

TYLTYL

Yes, sometimes....

THE FAIRY

Well, that's enough; that's the truth; and one doesn't need anything
more. You'll find that's the way people tell each other in the world
where I'm going to take you, the world of real things. The rest doesn't
matter.... They make no mistake. You'll see, once we are there, how well
they know all that has to be known; for what we see is nothing: it is
what we do not see that makes the world go round.... And now, watch
me!... I'm taking the little green hat out of my bag again!... Do you
remember it?

TYLTYL

Yes, but it's bigger....

THE FAIRY

(_Angrily_.) Of course it's bigger! So's your head: they grew up
together.... Always making those unnecessary remarks!...

TYLTYL

And the diamond has changed colour. I should call it blue....

THE FAIRY

But, you see, it isn't the diamond! This time we're not concerned with
the souls of Bread, Sugar and other simple and unimportant things. We
have to choose the great and only love of your life; for each man has
only one. If he misses it, he wanders miserably over the face of the
earth. The search goes on till he dies, with the great duty unfulfilled
which he owes to all those who are within him. But he seldom has an idea
of this. He walks along, his eyes shut; seizes some woman whom he
chances to meet in the dark; and shows her to his friends as proudly as
though the gates of Paradise were opening. He fancies himself alone in
the world and imagines that in his own heart all things begin and
end.... Which is absurd.... But no more of that! Is everything ready?
Put on your hat and turn the sapphire; then they'll come in....

TYLTYL

(_Scared_.) But I'm not dressed!... Wait, wait!... What shall I put
on?... Oh, what luck!... There are my Sunday clothes on the chair: my
breeches--they're almost new--and my clean shirt!... (_He dresses
hurriedly_.)

THE FAIRY

Come, come, have done! All this doesn't matter; they won't mind your
clothes.... You're not going to meet a lot of silly children. You won't
find them the same as they were in the other life, because this is the
real one; and it's the truth in them that you'll see here.

TYLTYL

(_Very uneasy_.) Will they all come in together? There are six of them,
at least: I can't remember.... Suppose they started quarrelling and
pulling one another's hair?

THE FAIRY

Just the least bit conceited, aren't you?

TYLTYL

No, but I'm afraid of their making a noise, because of daddy.

THE FAIRY

Haven't I told you again and again, we're no longer in the world
below!... Can't you feel that the air is much purer and the light quite
different?... We are now in a sphere in which men and women don't
quarrel or wish one another harm. All of that was merely make-believe
and doesn't exist deep down.... If some of them are unhappy because you
hesitate in your choice, they will none the less hope on until the end;
and they know very well that where there is love there must also be
sorrow....

TYLTYL

How will they come in?

THE FAIRY

Upon my word, I don't know. Each of them will do what occurs to her: one
will choose the window, another the roof, the wall, the cellar or the
chimney ... one or two even will come in by the door; but those are the
least interesting: they lack imagination.... However, we shall see when
the time comes. We've talked enough; time presses; come, turn the
sapphire....

TYLTYL

(_Trying to gain time, in order to conceal his terror_.) Which way round
am I to turn it?

THE FAIRY

The same as with the diamond, from right to left.... (_Looking at_
TYLTYL.) Goodness me, how pale you are!... What has come over you?
Surely you're not afraid?...

TYLTYL

Not at all, on the contrary.... I always look like this....

THE FAIRY

You needn't be ashamed to admit it: this is a very serious moment; and,
if men knew what happened, in this life and all the others, when they
made a bad choice, they'd never dare to get married at all.... But what
you're trying to do is to put off the dreadful moment; and I'm a goose
to be listening to you.... Come, turn the sapphire!

     (TYLTYL _turns the sapphire. No sooner has he done so than the
     cottage is filled with a supernatural light, which invests all
     things with beauty, purity and a transcendent joy. A window opens
     noiselessly and a young girl, dressed like a wood-cutter and
     carrying a hatchet in her hand, steps into the room and runs up and
     kisses_ TYLTYL.)

THE GIRL

Good evening, Tyltyl!... You called me: here I am!...

TYLTYL

Hullo, it's Milette!... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Milette, my cousin,
the daughter of Feltree, the wood-cutter.... We see each other sometimes
in the forest.... (_To_ MILETTE.) So you loved me?... You never said
so!...

MILETTE

Do people say such things in a life where everything is forbidden? Need
they say them?... But I knew at once and from the first that you loved
me; and so did I love you.... It was one evening when you went past with
your father. You were carrying a bundle of laurel-twigs. You didn't know
my name then and said, "Good evening," and looked into my eyes. I
answered, "Good night," and cast my eyes down; but I had that look of
yours in my heart; and, since then, without leaving home, I've been here
very often; but you didn't seem to know....

TYLTYL

No, no, it's I who every evening after sunset used to go to you. I was
never at home. Mummy would ask, "What are you thinking of, Tyltyl?" And
daddy answered, "He's up in the moon again!" I wasn't in the moon at
all, I was with you; but you paid no attention: you were seeing to the
fire, or the soup, or the rabbits; you were cutting chips or tying up
bundles, as if no one had entered your cottage....

MILETTE

No, I was here and kissing you all the time; but you didn't kiss me....

TYLTYL

I tell you it was I who was always kissing you; I tell you it was you
who were never there....

MILETTE

It's funny that we can never see things till we've learnt how to look
for them.... But, now that we do know, now that we see, we can really
kiss each other....

TYLTYL

(_Eagerly kissing_ MILETTE.) Yes, yes, let's kiss each other again and
again till we have no kisses left!... Oh, how wonderful it is!... I
never kissed anybody till now; and I'd no idea what it was like!... Oh,
how wonderful, how wonderful!... I could kiss you for ever! I could
spend my life kissing you!...

MILETTE

And I, I too!... I'd never kissed anybody either: I mean, I'd only
kissed daddy and mummy; it's not the same thing at all.... But tell me,
Tyltyl, is it true that you love me and only me?... Who is that coming
in?

     (_Opening the wall, which closes again behind her, enter a second
     young girl, dressed in a blood-red skirt and bodice. A butcher's
     knife hangs from her belt_.)

THE SECOND GIRL

(_Rushing up to_ TYLTYL _and kissing him_.) Here I am, Tyltyl darling,
here I am!

TYLTYL

(_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Belline, my cousin, the butcher's daughter....
(_To_ BELLINE.) What's the matter with you, Belline dear? You're wet
through and quite out of breath!...

BELLINE

I should think I was!... It's a long way from the village to your
place!... I didn't even wait to wash my hands.... I was helping daddy to
cut up a calf; the moment your thoughts came, I dropped my knife and
left everything so as to get here quicker.... I even believe that, while
I was there, I cut my finger rather badly; but here it doesn't show....
Daddy hasn't the least idea what has happened; he must be furious.
(_Catching sight of_ MILETTE.) How do you do, Milette?

MILETTE

How do you do, Belline?... Do you love him too?

BELLINE

Why, yes, of course!... You're not angry with me?

MILETTE

Not at all, I'm glad.... We'll both of us love him....

BELLINE

How pretty you look this evening, Milette dearest....

MILETTE

No, it's you, Belline: you've never been more beautiful....

TYLTYL

(_To_ THE FAIRY.) They're taking it very well!...

THE FAIRY

Of course they are; they know it's not your fault....

     (_At this point, the chimney-recess lights up, opens at the hack
     and admits a third young girl, dressed like the maid at an inn and
     carrying a pewter tray under one arm and a bottle under the
     other_.)

THE THIRD GIRL

(_Enthusiastically, darting at_ TYLTYL.) Here I am, here I am! It's
me!... Good evening, everybody; but first a kiss for Tyltyl!...

TYLTYL

Hullo, you too, Roselle?... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Roselle, the
daughter of the landlord of the Golden Sun.... (_To_ ROSELLE.) Was there
no one at the inn this evening, that you were able to come?

ROSELLE

On the contrary, heaps of people! You can imagine, on Christmas Eve!
There were men sitting and drinking on the counter and on all the
window-sills. I dropped a tray with twelve glasses on it when you called
me. Why, I've still got the tray under this arm and a bottle of the best
brandy under the other. It gets in my way when I'm kissing you.... I
left them shouting after me, down there, as though I had set the house
on fire.... They must be wondering if I'm mad. But I don't care, I was
so delighted that you were thinking of me. A sudden happiness came over
me.... How are you, Tyltyl dear?... Kiss me again!... You're even
handsomer than when I saw you last....

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her_.) And you, dear Roselle, you are prettier than ever; and
your cheeks are so soft and cool.... I never dared kiss you before....
When any one else did, I always said to myself, "How happy he must be!"

ROSELLE

The others didn't matter.... But I knew well enough that you didn't
dare.... I didn't dare either, though I was dying to kiss you.... Do you
remember the first time you came to the inn, six weeks ago? It was on a
Sunday morning, after High Mass; you didn't look at anybody; but
suddenly, when I came near, your eyes grew so bright and opened so
wide....

TYLTYL

And so did yours open wide: they looked like two lakes.

ROSELLE

What were they doing, our eyes? What happened?... I know that, since
that day, I think of nothing but you, I do no work, I'm always here; but
you came very seldom....

     (_Coming down the ladder from the attic, enter a fourth young girl,
     in rustic clothes, all white with flour_.)

TYLTYL

(_Turning round_.) Who's there? You, Aimette?... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This
is Aimette, another cousin, the miller's daughter....

THE FAIRY

Go on, go on, you're doing very nicely!

AIMETTE

(_A little shyly_.) I came as I was, from the mill. I've not had time to
brush myself.

TYLTYL

That doesn't matter. Kiss me all the same. How fresh and rosy you are,
underneath all that flour!...

AIMETTE

I shall never dare.... You'd be covered with it....

     (_She has hardly finished speaking when, through the other window,
     enter a fifth young girl, bare-foot, bare-headed, clad in rags and
     carrying in her hand a wooden bowl with a few halfpence clinking in
     it. She does not dare come forward_.)

TYLTYL

One more!... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Jalline, the little beggar-girl
from the bridge by the Hermitage.

THE FAIRY

Excellent, excellent!... I'd better wake your father and tell him the
house won't be big enough; then he can start building at once....

TYLTYL

But it's not my fault. I didn't do it on purpose. One can't help loving
them!... How are you, Jalline?... What have you done with your poor old
father?

JALLINE

I left him at the bridge.

TYLTYL

What, all alone in the dark! And he blind and a cripple! Isn't that very
dangerous?...

JALLINE (_On the verge of tears_.) Yes, I know it's wrong. It was very
wrong of me, very. I won't do it again. But I couldn't help it, Tyltyl,
really. When you called me, I couldn't stay where I was.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her_.) There, there, don't cry. I'll help you to bring him
home.... Do you remember, I did that once before, one evening when I was
crossing the bridge and gave you a halfpenny: it was all I had!

JALLINE

I've kept it ever since, Tyltyl. I put it in a box. I shall never lose
it.

TYLTYL (_Kissing her again_.) Oh, the sweet smell of lavender and
thyme!...

     (_This time the door opens slowly. Enter a sixth young girl. She is
     in evening-dress, with a fur cloak over her shoulders, and carries
     a fan in her hand_.)

TYLTYL

Who is this?

THE FAIRY

But where do they all come from? At your age too! I should never have
believed it!...

TYLTYL

But I didn't know.... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) Why, it's Rosarelle!... The
mayor's daughter!... You know, from the great big farm-house, with the
three round turrets, at the other end of the village!... What shall I
do? She's so proud!...

THE FAIRY

Not a bit; she won't be any prouder than the others. Speak to her and
you'll see.

TYLTYL

I'll never dare.... What could I say?

ROSARELLE

(_Coming forward_.) Well, Tyltyl, don't you know me?

TYLTYL

Yes, miss, but I wasn't sure....

ROSARELLE

Miss? What do you mean? That's not my name. My name's Rosarelle; and you
know it.... There was a big dinner at my father's, for Christmas. Your
thoughts came to fetch me while we were at dessert. I jumped up at once
and upset a glass of champagne. They were alarmed and thought I was ill
and began to fuss: it was as much as I could do to get away. Still, here
I am and I'm going to kiss you.... Do you remember how we used to look
at each other when you came to the yard with your bundles of wood?...

TYLTYL

Oh, yes! You were so lovely, I couldn't take my eyes off you.... But you
are lovelier than ever to-day.

ROSARELLE

That was the beginning; but I didn't quite realize it till the day you
gave me the three little bullfinches which you found in the forest.

TYLTYL

Yes, yes, I remember.... I knew too.... Are they still alive?

ROSARELLE

Two of the little things are dead; but the third is splendid.... I keep
him in a gilt cage, by the window; and each time he sings....

THE FAIRY

Come, come, these little confidences are most interesting, but we've no
time to lose. Everything must be settled to-night, for an opportunity
like this comes only once to a man; and woe to him who lets it slip: he
will never have another chance! But what we have to do now is to put our
heads together and prepare for the great choice, which is to decide the
happiness of two human beings first and of many others after that.

TYLTYL

(_Greatly perturbed_.) Must I make my choice at once and can I only
choose one?...

THE FAIRY

Don't distress yourself; it's not your affair; it's not you who'll
choose....

TYLTYL

(_Utterly bewildered_.) Not I who'll choose?...

THE FAIRY

Why, no, it doesn't concern you.

TYLTYL

(_Completely stupefied_.) It doesn't concern me?...

THE FAIRY

No, no, I told you so: of course it doesn't.

TYLTYL

(_Failing to understand a word_.) Then I can't love whom I want to?

THE FAIRY

Why, no.... Nobody loves whom he wants to or does what he wants to in
this world. You must first of all learn what is wanted by those on whom
you depend.

TYLTYL

By those on whom I depend?...

THE FAIRY

Why, yes: your ancestors, to begin with.

TYLTYL

My ancestors?

THE FAIRY

All those who have died before you.

TYLTYL

What business is it of theirs, since they're dead? I don't know them.

THE FAIRY

I dare say not, but they know you.... And then there are all your
children.

TYLTYL

My children? What children? I've never had any!

THE FAIRY

Yes, yes, yes, you've had thousands who aren't born yet and who're
waiting for the mother whom you're going to give them.

TYLTYL

Then it's they who will choose my bride?

THE FAIRY

Why, of course; that's how things always happen.... But let's have no
more talk: we have to make a few preparations for the great journey;
it's going to be rather long and tiring.... And first we must get some
money: I've none left at home; and my magic wand that brings it me is
being repaired a few thousand miles down in the centre of the earth ...
don't quite see where we're to get what we want: the expenses will be
quite heavy.... (_To_ THE GIRLS.) Has any one of you a few thousand
francs on her?

JALLINE

I've only sixpence halfpenny in my bowl, besides Tyltyl's halfpenny,
which I can't part with.

ROSELLE

I've seven francs fifty, to-night's takings.

MILETTE

I've nothing at all.

ROSARELLE

I've nothing on me, but grandfather's very rich.

THE FAIRY

That's all right, it's all we need: he can lend us some money.

ROSARELLE

Yes, but he's a miser!

THE FAIRY

No, that's a mistake; there are no misers. Thanks to the sapphire which
reveals the heart and essence of things, you will see that he is no more
of a miser than you or I and that he will give us whatever we ask.
That's the first visit we shall have to pay.... Well, are you all ready?
Which way shall we go out?

     (_At this point, a trap-door opens, in the middle of the stage, and
     from it there rises slowly, like a tower, a gigantic shape, twice a
     man's height. It is square, enormous, imposing and overwhelming; it
     gives the impression of a mass of granite and of immense, blind,
     inflexible force. Its face is not seen. It is draped in grey folds
     that are rigid as rock_.)

THE SHAPE

It's I. You have forgotten me, as usual!...

TYLTYL

(_Not a little frightened_.) Who is this gentleman?

THE FAIRY

He's right, I had forgotten him. It's nobody, it's Destiny. I didn't
foresee that the sapphire would make him visible also. He will have to
come with us; we can't prevent him; he's entitled to. Give him your
hand.

TYLTYL

Will he lead us?

THE FAIRY

That remains to be seen. We must hear what Light says: it's a matter for
her.

TYLTYL

Why, of course. Light!... Where is she?... Isn't she going with us?

THE FAIRY

Yes, yes, but she has a great deal to do at the moment.... She wasn't
free this evening.... We shall find her at my place, where we shall go
straight from your visit to the miser.

TYLTYL

How glad I shall be to see her again!... She was so nice, so sweet, so
beautiful, so affectionate and kind!...

THE FAIRY

Come, give Destiny your hand; it's time to start.

     (TYLTYL _stretches out his arm to the monster, who grips the boy's
     little hand and wrist in his huge bronze-coloured hand_.)

TYLTYL

Here you are, sir.... (_Giving a cry_.) Hi!... It's not a hand. It's a
steel vice!...

THE FAIRY

It's nothing, you'll get used to it.... Come, is everything ready at
last? Nothing more that we've forgotten? Then one, two, three and off we
go!...

     (_A knock at the door_.)

THE FAIRY

(_Crossly_.) Who's come to disturb us now? Shall we never get out of
this hovel?

     (_Another knock_.)

TYLTYL

Come in!...

     (_A third knock_.)

TYLTYL

Who's there?... Come in, can't you?...

     (_The door opens slowly and reveals a female form shrouded in long
     white veils, like an antique statue. The face, hands, mouth, eyes,
     hair and eyebrows are lifeless and white as marble. It stands
     motionless on the threshold_.)

TYLTYL

What is it?

THE FAIRY

Really, I don't know.... It must be one of those whom you've
forgotten....

TYLTYL

(_Vainly ransacking his memory_.) I?... I've forgotten nobody.... I've
never seen her before.... I can't remember.... (_Going up to_ THE VEILED
FORM.) Who are you? (THE VEILED FORM _does not reply_.)

THE FAIRY

It's no use asking her. She can't tell you, she can't come to life till
you remember her.

TYLTYL

But I don't. I'm thinking and trying as hard as I can, but I can find
nothing.

THE FAIRY

Very well, very well, we shall see later, when everything is cleared
up.... As she blocks the path, we must go out by the window.... Come,
this way! We have taken our fate in our hands; and things have begun!...

DESTINY

Excuse me, excuse me! It's I who am Fate and it's I who begin and it's I
who give orders.... I go first, for it is I who direct everything and I
am the only master!...

     (_The windows open down to the ground and all go out into the
     starry night, preceded by_ DESTINY _dragging_ TYLTYL _by the hand_.
     THE VEILED FORM _follows them slowly, at a distance_.)

CURTAIN



ACT II



SCENE II


     _Outside the Door_

     _The curtain represents a huge double door surmounted with a
     flattened arch. The door is old, thick and massive, unyielding,
     bound and studded with iron bars and nails. In the middle of the
     door is a formidable lock_.

     (_Enter_ THE FAIRY _and_ TYLTYL, _who carries an empty wallet over
     his shoulder_.)

THE FAIRY

This is the Miser's door.

TYLTYL

Where are my sweethearts?

THE FAIRY

At home, in my palace; they'll wait there for you and will be quite
safe.... Be quick and come back soon.

TYLTYL

What about Destiny? I thought he would never leave me again?

THE FAIRY

That's true; it's curious. But it's not our business to run after him;
it's his own affair; he's by no means indispensable.

TYLTYL

Are you coming with me to the Miser?

THE FAIRY

No, it's better that you should see him alone.... You're not frightened,
are you?

TYLTYL

Not a bit; but I don't quite know what I am to do.

THE FAIRY

It's very simple: when you're in there, you turn the sapphire; and he'll
give you anything you want.

TYLTYL

He won't attack me? I've no weapons, you know.

THE FAIRY

On the contrary, he will be delighted to be of service.

TYLTYL

How shall I get in? There's no bell and no knocker. Am I to tap at the
door?

THE FAIRY

Do nothing of the sort! That would be giving him a hint; and he would
become unmanageable.... But this also is quite simple. I will touch the
big lock with my wand; the doors will slide back to right and left; and
you will suddenly be on the other side, that is to say, right inside the
cave, before he even suspects it. Once there, you can keep quiet in your
corner for a moment and watch him playing with his gold, if that amuses
you; and it will amuse you, for it's rather curious. Then, when you've
had enough, turn the sapphire. Get over there, on the left, against the
wall of the arch, so that you can slip into his den at once, without
making a noise.... Look out! The door will disappear! And I'll take
myself off this way!... (_She touches the great lock with her wand_.)



SCENE III


     _The Miser's Cave_

     (_The heavy doors open in the middle, slide right and left and
     disappear in the slips, revealing the whole of_ THE MISER'S _den,
     an immense cave with low arches in which are piled large sacks
     bursting with gold, silver and copper coins. The only light comes
     from a wretched smoking candle_. TYLTYL _hides himself as well as
     he can in a dark corner_. THE MISER, _an old, hook-nosed man, with
     a dirty white beard and long, scanty hair, is dressed in a sort of
     squalid, patched dressing-gown. On the floor is an old carpet, with
     three sacks bulging with gold at one corner_.)

THE MISER

To-day I shall count the contents of these three sacks all over again. I
must have made a mistake in my last reckoning. There are three louis
missing. Three louis are sixty francs, which make a considerable
difference in a total of six hundred thousand francs. It's quite
impossible to sleep with that anxiety on one's mind. Each of these three
sacks ought to hold two hundred thousand francs, the first and second in
louis of twenty francs and the third in ten-franc pieces. I shall empty
them on the carpet first to see what a lovely heap they make.... (_He
empties the contents of the first sack on the carpet_.) How they
sparkle, how they sparkle!... What a lot of them there are!... When you
see the gold spreading itself out, it's impossible to believe that it
all could go into one sack!... Let's have another.... This is the sack
with the little ten-franc pieces.... (_He empties a second sack_.) They
are as lovely as the big ones.... They are younger, that's all, and
there are more of them.... Now let's see what the third holds.... (_He
empties the third sack. A few gold coins roll of the carpet. He throws
himself flat on the floor to catch them_.) Oh, no, oh, no, children!...
This won't do!... You mustn't run away like that!... Nothing is allowed
to leave this cave!... Trying to hide yourselves, are you? To go where,
pray? Don't you know that there's no place like home?... Fancy running
away like that from daddy! I should never have thought it of you! This
way, children, this way, darlings. This way, my pretty ones! Back to the
heap, back to the cradle, then you'll be happy!... (_He picks up a coin
which has rolled farther than the rest_.) Don't do it again, you: you're
always making off; you're a little torment and you set a bad example.
Beg my pardon, or I'll punish you. You shall be the first to be spent;
I'll give you to a beggar, do you hear?... (_Kissing it_.) No, no, I'm
only pretending.... There, there, don't cry!... I was merely frightening
you.... I love you all the same, but don't do it again!... Here, here,
here, they're here, in front of me and all around me.... It will take me
quite a fortnight to count them all and to weigh them in my scales....
What a lot of them, what a lot of them! And how pretty they are!... I
know them every one, I could call them by their names.... They would
need a hundred and twenty thousand different names; and each of those
names stands for a treasure!... (_He rolls on the carpet amidst the
gold_.) I love to see them close!... Oh, what a cosy bed! And what a joy
it is to be among one's daughters!... For they are my daughters: I
brought them into the world; I have nurtured them, protected them from
harm, fondled and pampered them; I know their history, the trouble
they've given me, but all is forgotten: they love me, I love them and we
shall never part again!... Oh, what a fine thing happiness is!... (_He
fills his two hands with the gold, makes it trickle over his heart, on
his forehead and in his heard and utters little sighs of pleasure which
gradually swell into roars of delight. Suddenly, he shudders, starts and
springs up, thinking that he has heard a sound_.) What is it?... Who's
there?... (_Reassuring himself_.) No, no, it's nothing ... no one would
dare.... (_He sees_ TYLTYL _and gives a shout_.) A thief!... A thief!...
A thief!... You here!... You here!... (_With his hands clutching like
claws, terrified and terrifying, he rushes upon_ TYLTYL, _who jumps back
and quickly turns the sapphire_. THE MISER _stops short. After an inward
struggle which seems violent and lasts for some seconds, his hands drop
to his sides, his face brightens and loses its hardness. He seems to
wake from a bad dream and tries to wipe the memory of it from his
forehead. He gazes with astonishment at the gold spread over the carpet,
feels and pushes it with his foot, seems not to know what it is and then
addresses_ TYLTYL _in a very calm and gentle voice_.)

THE MISER

You must have awakened me.... How did you get here?... What have you
come for?...

TYLTYL

I've come to ask you to lend me a little money.... I understand that I
want some in order to discover my bride....

THE MISER

Have you anything to put it in?

TYLTYL

I've brought this wallet.

THE MISER

I shall be delighted to fill it for you; but I warn you that gold is
very heavy and that you won't be able to carry it away.

TYLTYL

You must put in just what you think fit.

THE MISER

(_Pouring the gold by handfuls into the wallet_.) Help me, will you?...
We'll fill it to the brim and see how that does.... We can easily
lighten it afterwards, if it's too heavy....

TYLTYL

Oh, you're giving me too much, I don't want all that!... So you're not a
miser, as they told me?

THE MISER

I? Not at all. Why should I be?... I have only a few weeks to live and
am not in need of anything.... I hardly eat at all; and I drink nothing
but water.

TYLTYL

Why were you lying on your gold when I came in, kissing it and calling
it by pet names? You seemed to worship it.

THE MISER

Oh, I don't know! It amuses me. When a man grows old, he has to amuse
himself as best he can.... But it isn't I who do it. All that is only a
sort of dream. I am thinking of something very different.... All men are
like that at my age. They are not often where you see them; they are not
often doing what they appear to do; and every one lives in one of those
dreams which have nothing to do with the truth.... But this is not the
moment to explain things to you.... There, your wallet it full. Can you
lift it?

TYLTYL

(_Making an effort_.) No, really, it is a bit too heavy.... Let's take
some of it out....

THE MISER

(_Emptying part of the wallet_.) I daresay that's better.

TYLTYL

Oh, look here, you're taking it all!... There won't be enough left.... I
must put a little of it back....

THE MISER

I say, are you becoming a miser now?

TYLTYL

No, but I don't know that I shall have a chance of coming back again....
Just help me lift the wallet on my shoulder....

THE MISER

(_Helping him with the wallet_.) There you are!

TYLTYL

(_Staggering under the load_.) I say, what a weight gold is!

THE MISER

Don't I know it?... Have you far to go?

TYLTYL

I really can't tell.

THE MISER

What's the weather like outside?

TYLTYL

It was bright sunshine.

THE MISER

One wouldn't think it in here.... Fancy, it's years since I've looked at
the sky or the green trees!... But you can't breathe under the weight of
your bag, you poor little man!... Come, kiss me good-bye: there's no
knowing when we shall meet again.... Thanks for the pleasant time you
have given me and especially for waking me up.... I shall make the most
of my remaining days....

TYLTYL

Which is the way out?

THE MISER

That way, I suppose.

     (TYLTYL _steps forward through the arch. The doors at once slide
     and close behind him and he is left standing alone, in the dark, in
     front of the great shut door_.)

TYLTYL

It's dark.... I'm all alone.... Where am I?... Where am I to go?

DESTINY

(_Looming up out of the shadow_.) This way!

TYLTYL

Hullo! You're there, are you? I thought you had deserted me....

DESTINY

(_Grasping his hand_.) I was here all the time.... I never lose sight of
you....

TYLTYL

Yes, but, I say, don't walk so fast!... My bag's frightfully heavy....
It would be much kinder of you if you helped me to carry it a little,
instead of making me rush along like this....

DESTINY

I am not man's servant.... Forward, forward, forward!...

     (_They go out_.)



SCENE IV


     _A Closet in the Fairy's Palace_

     _A sort of waiting-room or lumber-room containing the principal
     accessories of the Tales of Mother Goose: Cinderella's pumpkin and
     glass slipper; Red Ridinghood's cake and bowl; Hop-o'-my-Thumb's
     pebbles; the Ogre's daughters' golden crowns; the Sleeping Beauty's
     distaff and snake-tub; the Giant's seven-leagued hoots; Blue
     Beard's key; the Blue Bird in his silver cage; and, hanging from
     the wall, Catskin's weather-coloured, moon-coloured and
     sun-coloured dresses. All these things look rather tawdry in the
     grey and unbecoming light_. TYLTYL'S _seven little friends are
     locked up in this room. In the same unsympathetic light they look
     much less pretty than when they entered the cottage and they seem
     rather tired, discontented and glum, except_ THE VEILED GIRL, _who
     stands on one side, motionless, impassive and unrevealing_.

BELLINE

Where have they brought us?

ROSARELLE

I don't know; but I must say that it's not a nice place in which to keep
young ladies waiting.

BELLINE

Yes, it looks like a lumber-room where they've stored all the odds and
ends and litter of the house.

ROSARELLE

(_Touching the various objects in disgust_.) What's this? A distaff?
Bless me, what for?... A pumpkin, a cake, an old bowl and goodness knows
what else!... A tub full of dead eels! Gracious, how they smell!... It's
all disgracefully kept.... And that lot of old fly-blown, spun-glass
dresses!... My dear, how horrible!... What sort of place can this be? A
potting-shed, a rag-and-bone shop, a pawn-broker's, or a thieves'
kitchen? Whom can it belong to? A receiver of stolen goods? (_Touching
the more bizarre dresses_.) Or a Hottentot dressmaker?

BELLINE

There's something of everything ... except a broom and a duster.

ROSARELLE

One wouldn't be enough.

BELLINE

And nothing to sit on but an old wooden bench....

ROSARELLE

But it's carved, my love!...

BELLINE

Yes, carved in dust.

ROSARELLE

Reach me one of those hideous rags and let me wipe it....

BELLINE

(_Eagerly and obsequiously_.) Wait, miss, I'll do that.... (_She takes
the moon-coloured dress and dusts the seat with it_.) There, that's a
little better; that's at least one corner nearly clean enough to sit on.

ROSARELLE

(_Sitting down_.) I'm tired out!

BELLINE

(_Sitting down beside her_.) So am I; my feet are dreadfully sore.

ROSARELLE

(_Looking around through her lorgnette_.) But what I want to know is
where have we got to? My dear, have we fallen into a trap?

BELLINE

The company certainly is a little mixed. There's the miller's daughter,
the girl from the inn, the wood-cutter....

ROSARELLE

Or rather, to be accurate, the wood-stealer.... There's even the little
beggar-girl from the bridge by the Hermitage, to whom I refused a penny
last Sunday.... My dear, you should have heard the insolent way in which
she asked for it!...

BELLINE

And what's that white image standing in the corner, the one that never
stirs, never speaks and follows us wherever we go?

ROSARELLE

That great lump of clay, that ugly wax-work? That washed-out plaster
saint?

BELLINE

She looks very ill.

ROSARELLE

She may have Jewish leprosy or Zanzibar plague or Bombay cholera.... I
tell you, we must be careful: that's all very catching....

AIMETTE

(_Coming up to the bench timidly_.) I should like to sit down too, I'm
very tired....

ROSARELLE

Mind what you're about, miss!... There's dust enough as it is; I don't
want flour into the bargain.

ROSELLE

What's all this, what's all this? Are we turning up our nose at flour
now?

ROSARELLE

I wasn't addressing my remarks to you, madam.

ROSELLE

No, but I'm speaking to you. What bread would you eat if you had no
flour?

ROSARELLE

You would do better to tell your father to pay the three quarters' rent
that's in arrear.

ROSELLE

He'll pay his rent when your horrid old miser of a grandfather has seen
to those repairs. We've been asking to have them done these last three
years.

BELLINE

Is it the repairs that prevent your father from paying his butcher's
bills?

ROSELLE

Does he owe anything at your shop?

BELLINE

It's six months since we saw the colour of his money.

ROSELLE

He's waiting to see the colour of yours at the inn.

BELLINE

Of mine indeed? You can wait a long time before I set foot in your dirty
dram-shop.

ROSELLE

Yes, but that father of yours isn't so squeamish when he comes on
Sundays and tipples till we have to put him out dead-drunk.

ROSARELLE

Don't answer her, my dear; we are not accustomed to these pot-house
brawls.

ROSELLE

As for you, miss, who pretend to be so particular, you just go and ask
your father, the mayor, who it was that nibbled the holes, which were
not made by rats, in the town's cash-box.

ROSARELLE

(_Springing to her feet, furiously_.) Holes which were not made by rats!
What do you mean?

ROSELLE

I mean what every one in the village means!...

ROSARELLE

Mind what you're saying; and say it again if you dare.

ROSELLE

Well, what would you do if I did say it again? You don't frighten me
with your airs and graces.

ROSARELLE

Never mind my airs and graces; I'll soon show you what I'll do.

ROSELLE

Well, then, I do say it again.

ROSARELLE

(_Boxing her ears_.) And take that for your answer!...

     (_Piercing screams and a general turmoil_. ROSELLE and AIMETTE
     _make a rush at_ BELLINE _and_ ROSARELLE, _while_ MILETTE _and_
     JALLINE _vainly try to separate the combatants_. THE VEILED GIRL
     _alone remains motionless in her corner, as though she were not
     present. The others claw one another's faces, tear one another's
     hair and end by uttering such piercing yells and shrieks that_
     TYLTYL, _returning from the_ MISER'S, _hears them from the far end
     of the palace and comes running up, scared and dismayed. He is
     bare-headed and only half-dressed and does not understand what is
     going on_.)

TYLTYL

What is it? What's the matter? What has happened? An accident? Are you
hurt? What have you been doing?

THE GIRLS

(_All speaking together_.) It's she!... No, no, it was Rosarelle who
began!... I tell you, it was she!... She insulted me!... She boxed my
ears!... She dared to talk against my father!... She spoke ill of my
mother!... She's lying, she's lying!... She nearly pulled my ear off!...
She's driven a hairpin into my cheek!...

     (_Enter_ THE FAIRY.)

THE FAIRY

Why, what's the matter?

TYLTYL

(_In bewilderment_.) I don't know, ma'am. I think they must have gone
mad. They were so sweet when I left them. I should never have known
them!... Look, look, they are quite different!... Rosarelle and
Belline's eyes are blazing like furies', Aimette looks so spiteful and
Roselle so brazen, Jalline hasn't washed herself and Milette's cheeks
are as red as a turkey-cock's.... (_Bursting into tears and hiding his
eyes with his arm, like a child crying_.) I can't bear it! Oh, I can't
bear it!

THE FAIRY

But, you little silly, it's your own fault!

TYLTYL

My fault?

THE FAIRY

Yes, of course, it's your fault.... And, first, where have you come
from? What have you done with your jacket and your green hat?

TYLTYL

Why, ma'am, I was busy dressing; I was putting on the little pair of
silk breeches and the jacket embroidered with pearls which you told me I
was to wear when I went to see the Ancestors.... Then I heard screams,
dropped everything, ran up and found them fighting, tearing out one
another's hair and scratching one another's faces....

THE FAIRY

A pretty business!... That will teach you to run after them without your
talisman, which reveals the truth.... I call it most incorrect and
improper.... Don't you see that you are not seeing them now as they
are?...

TYLTYL

I'm not seeing them as they are?... Then how do I see them?...

THE FAIRY

Why, as they are not, that is to say, as you ought never to see them....
It's all so wonderfully simple: anything that's ugly isn't true, never
has been true and never will be.

TYLTYL

That's easily said; but you see what you do see.

THE FAIRY

When you see what you do see, you see nothing at all.... I've told you
before, it's what you do not see that makes the world go round.... All
this doesn't count; it's only a little foam on the surface of the
ocean.... But run quickly and fetch the sapphire and we shall once more
see deep down into their souls, the truth of their hearts and the
well-spring of their life.... Wait, you needn't trouble: I see Light
coming; she has brought you your hat.

     (_Enter_ LIGHT.)

LIGHT

Good-evening, Tyltyl.

TYLTYL

(_Throwing himself passionately into her arms_.) Oh, Light, Light!...
It's my dear Light!... Where were you?... What have you been doing ever
since I saw you last?... I have missed you so much and looked for you so
often!...

LIGHT

My dear little Tyltyl!... I have never lost sight of you.... I have
guided you and counselled you and kissed you very often, without your
knowing it.... But we will talk about all this later; to-day we have no
time; I have only one night to give you and there is a great deal to be
done.

     (_Enter_ DESTINY.)

DESTINY

Where is Tyltyl?

TYLTYL

Here. I'm not trying to hide.

DESTINY

And quite right too, for it would be no use; there's no escaping me....

TYLTYL

     (_Contemplating him in astonishment_.)

But what's the matter with you?... What has happened to you? You look so
much smaller!... You seem to be less tall and less broad.... You're not
ill, are you?...

DESTINY

     (_Who has indeed shrunk appreciably_.)

I? I never change, I am always the same; I am insuperable, insensible,
invulnerable, immutable, inexorable, irresistible, invisible, inflexible
and irrevocable!...

TYLTYL

All right, all right, what I said was merely....

THE FAIRY

(_Aside, to_ TYLTYL.) Be quiet, you will only vex him and he will get
out of hand.... It is probably being so close to Light that has upset
him; they never did agree.... (_Aloud_.) Come, children, it's time....
Put on your hat, Tyltyl, and turn the sapphire; we shall see what
happens: sometimes it works upon people's hearts, sometimes on their
minds, sometimes on the objects around them and often on all three; one
cannot tell before-hand....

     (_He turns the sapphire. The closet brightens with a blue and
     supernatural light which gives beauty and life to everything in the
     room; the accessories of Mother Goose seem to wake up: the spindle
     revolves madly and unreels threads of gold and crystal; the pumpkin
     swells, sways from side to side and lights up; the Blue Bird bursts
     into song; the snake-tub bubbles and pours forth fruits and
     flowers; the moon-coloured and sun-coloured dresses wave and
     glitter; the columns and aisles gleam with precious stones. But the
     group of_ GIRLS _especially undergoes a radical and wonderful
     transformation: their features relax, their eyes open wider, smiles
     blossom on their lips, their frocks become gay and splendid,
     innocence, gladness, kindness and beauty bloom once more; and_
     TYLTYL, _in an ecstasy, clapping his hands, intoxicated with
     delight, rushes into the midst of them, giving and receiving kisses
     and not knowing which of them to listen to_.)

TYLTYL

They're themselves again, they're themselves again!... How lovely they
are, how lovely they are!... Jalline, Milette my darling, Aimette,
Belline darling, Rosarelle, Roselle!... They are all as they were before
and I love every one of them!... Let us kiss again, again, again!... Oh,
let us kiss for ever!...

     (_At this moment_, THE VEILED GIRL, _who has played no part in the
     transfiguration or in the general ecstasy, staggers in her corner
     and, without uttering a sound, falls suddenly and unresistingly,
     like a statue, and lies motionless, stretched on the floor.
     Silence, terror and consternation, followed by cries and bustle_;
     THE GIRLS _rush to her assistance and gather eagerly round her_.)

ROSELLE

(_Lifting her up_.) Help me, somebody!

ROSARELLE

She isn't hurt, is she?

ROSELLE

(_Examining her anxiously_.) No, no, I can't see anything.

AIMETTE

(_Stroking her forehead_.) She's breathing, she's sighing.

ROSARELLE

(_Kissing her_.) She has only fainted.... Tell us what you feel....
You're not in pain, dear, are you?

MILETTE

She doesn't answer.

JALLINE

(_Taking one of her hands and stroking it_.) Perhaps she's hungry.

MILETTE

(_Stroking the other hand_.) No, can't you feel? She's cold.

JALLINE

Will you have my cloak?

ROSELLE

No, no, it's not that.... What she wants is a drop of brandy.... I
haven't my bottle.... And don't all crowd round her, she's suffocating.
She wants air!...

ROSARELLE

(_Supporting her head_.) Have you some water there?... We ought to send
for a doctor....

BELLINE

She's as white as marble.... She might be dead....

ROSARELLE

No, no, she's coming to.... I can hear her heart beating....

THE FAIRY

(_Intervening_.) Come, come, it's nothing.... I have practised medicine
longer than men have and know a little more about it. Do not be uneasy;
there is nothing to fear; I will undertake to cure her.... But we are
wasting precious time, the night is passing and we shall get nothing
done.... (_To_ THE GIRLS.) Come, dears, go and dress yourselves; your
cloaks are waiting for you and everything is ready. Just follow Light;
she will advise you.... We will meet in the great ballroom of the
palace.... (THE GIRLS _go out, preceded by_ LIGHT. _To_ DESTINY.) You
too, Destiny, follow Light; you want another costume. You can't go as
you are. One must not be conspicuous, especially at this moment....
(DESTINY _obeys, grudgingly_.) I don't quite know how to dress the
fellow. However, Light will think of something: she has more imagination
than I.... Let's see to the little patient. She's better.... (_Helping
her to rise_.) There, there.... Sit down on this bench.... No?... You
prefer to stand up?... As you please: in that case, lean against the
column, for the walls will soon disappear.... Now that we are alone,
Tyltyl, will you tell me at last, between ourselves, who that girl
is?...

TYLTYL

But, ma'am, I don't know at all....

THE FAIRY

You must make an effort.... She can't live unless you remember who she
is.... It's a great responsibility.

TYLTYL

But it's not my fault.... I've done what I could; I can't make it out.

THE FAIRY

So much the worse for you. I can't understand it either.... Come, get
dressed. Here's the little jacket which Light brought you.... And now,
with one stroke of the wand, we will enter the ballroom and see what
your little friends have made of themselves. (_She touches the panels of
the closet, which disappear_.)



SCENE V


     _A Ballroom in the Fairy's Palace_

     (_All that remains standing is the columns and aisles forming the
     portico of an immense, luminous room, which might have been hewn
     and carved out of a mountain of amber. Under the dazzling arches_
     THE SIX GIRLS _move about, arrayed in resplendent, trailing gowns,
     with their feet encased in gilt sandals, their hair hanging loose
     and their hands filled with flowers. They joyously beckon to_
     TYLTYL, _who, at first dumbfounded, rushes towards them and joins
     in their games and dances_. THE VEILED GIRL _alone stands on one
     side, leaning against the column_.)

THE FAIRY

(_Observing_ DESTINY, _draped in a long black cape, with a broad-brimmed
Spanish sombrero on his head_.) I say, there's Destiny!... She has
dressed him like the villain in a play!... (_Clapping her hands_.) Come,
children, it is time to be starting.... All this doesn't count: the real
work is about to begin....

CURTAIN



ACT III



SCENE VI

     _Before the Curtain representing Rocks_

     (_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

TYLTYL

(_Out of breath, dropping on to a boulder_.) They live a long way up,
the Ancestors!... Aren't you tired?

LIGHT

No, I was born in the mountains.

TYLTYL

(_Bending over a crevice_.) You're not like Destiny, who has almost
given out.... He's still at the bottom of the last precipice, with my
little friends.... He stumbles at every step and is limping badly....
They won't be here yet awhile; and I am very glad to have a moment alone
with you, before they come, for I have a lot of things to ask you....

LIGHT

Ask me anything you like, dear; I will do my best to answer.

TYLTYL

What do you think of these little friends of mine?... If you had to
choose, which would you take?...

LIGHT

I like them all, but it is not for me to choose; no one but yourself can
tell which one you love best.

TYLTYL

Ah, that's not so easy!... You see, I love them all!... For instance, I
love little Jalline, the beggar's daughter: she is so gentle and sweet,
such a darling!...

LIGHT

Yes, she is very attractive: a pretty little creature, with a pure and
simple mind....

TYLTYL

But I also love the Mayor's daughter, Rosarelle.... She is really very
beautiful, not a bit conceited and much better-educated than the
others.... And then think of what she has done: she has left everything
to go with me....

LIGHT

Yes, that is the proof of a real love....

TYLTYL

But I also love Roselle, the inn-keeper's daughter, who is a very pretty
girl, so healthy and strong and frank and brave and cheerful and
amusing: you can't think how kind and affectionate she is....

LIGHT

Yes, she has qualities; and I too find her very sympathetic....

TYLTYL

But I also love the wood-cutter's daughter, Milette.... She has such
beautiful eyes and hair!... At first she seems a little awkward, a
little shy; but it's quite different when you know her: she is really
very playful and full of fun.... And then, have you noticed her mouth
and her teeth?

LIGHT

Yes, I've noticed them....

TYLTYL

But I also love Belline, the butcher's daughter.... To begin with, she's
my cousin; and one always loves one's cousins. And then there's
something about her dark beautiful eyes that frightens me rather. I
adore that.... But she's not unkind, not at all.... Have you noticed her
smile? One can never tell exactly what it means....

LIGHT

Yes, she has a strange smile....

TYLTYL

But I also love the miller's daughter, Aimette.... To begin with, she's
also my cousin.... She keeps her eyes lowered under her long, curling
eyelashes; she blushes when you look at her and weeps when you speak to
her.... She looks a little silly; well, she's not that at all. She's
quite different when you know her a bit.... She's very bright and very
jolly and whispers such nice, sweet things to you that you at once want
to kiss her....

LIGHT

I can see that the choice will not be easy.

TYLTYL

Which do you think the best?

LIGHT

There are neither better nor worse; each one is as good as the other;
and all are good when they suffer or when they love.

TYLTYL

The nuisance is that it seems you mustn't love more than one.... Tell
me, though, is that true, or is it only one of the things people say to
children just to keep them quiet?

LIGHT

No, it's true. When you love many, that merely shows that you haven't
yet found the one whom you were to love.

TYLTYL

But, after all, you, who know everything and see everything, must know
better than I and can tell me what I ought to do.

LIGHT

No, dear, that is beyond me, beyond the range of my sight. It is for
this very reason that we are going to consult those who do know; and
they are near at hand, because it is in you that they live. We seem to
be taking a great journey: that is an illusion; we are not going outside
yourself and all our adventures are happening within you.... But I hear
your little friends. Where is your green hat?

TYLTYL

Here. I took it off because I felt hot.

LIGHT

Put it on again quickly, so that there may be no more misunderstandings,
and turn the sapphire.

     (_He does so. Forthwith, on every side, all sorts of monsters
     emerge from the ground and from between the rocks: monsters with
     more or less human or animal shapes and grotesque, brutish or
     repulsive faces. They hustle_ TYLTYL, _gather together and dance
     round him_.)

TYLTYL

(_Terrified_.) Hullo, hullo, what's all this?...

LIGHT

Nothing. You must have turned the sapphire from left to right.

TYLTYL

So I did, I believe; I forgot.... But what do they want with me? They
are pushing up against me and snapping at my feet.

LIGHT

They won't hurt you; they are merely your own thoughts, which you
sometimes secretly think; now you have set them free and they are
showing themselves for an instant as they are.

TYLTYL

What!... Are my thoughts as ugly as that?... I should never have
believed it!...

LIGHT

Don't take it so much to heart!... They are not as ugly as some, because
you are still innocent and very young.... If you were to see those of
other men!... Besides, you have beautiful ones; but they are more
reluctant to show themselves.... However, I see the girls coming....
Turn the sapphire from right to left, so that we may get rid of these
monsters, whom they must not see....

     (_He does so; and the creatures go back into the ground. Enter_ THE
     SIX GIRLS, _preceded by_ DESTINY _and followed, at a distance, by_
     THE WHITE PHANTOM, _who keeps on one side. They surround_ TYLTYL,
     _overwhelming him with caresses and all speaking at the same
     time_.)

THE GIRLS

Good-evening, Tyltyl!... We've found you again!... We were so anxious
about you!... We couldn't keep up with you.... Aren't you tired?... May
we kiss you?... Destiny held us back.... I wanted to run.... He stood in
the way.... Aren't you too hot?... Mind you don't catch cold.... Kiss me
too!... And me too!... And me too!...

TYLTYL

(_Distributing kisses all round_.) My sweethearts!... What darlings you
are, and how happy I feel!... I hope I have not made you walk too
fast?... You must forgive me; I am rather in a hurry.... Jalline dear,
you haven't hurt your foot, have you?... And you, Rosarelle? You are not
used to climbing rocks.... Aimette's hands are cold and Roselle has made
herself much too hot....

LIGHT

Come, we will talk about all this later. We must now hasten to the
Ancestors, who are waiting for us and would be very much annoyed if we
arrived late....

DESTINY

(_Who has grown smaller still and is now hardly taller than a man of
average height. He seems very tired and sits huddled on a boulder_.) Not
a step farther!...

TYLTYL

Hullo! You've grown a bit smaller again!...

DESTINY

I? I've not changed. I am always the same, I am....

TYLTYL

I know, I know.... It's Light being so near, perhaps....

DESTINY

Light and I have nothing in common.... In any event, I alone am master
and I order a halt....

LIGHT

By all means; there is no need to go any farther. We have arrived; we
are here without taking another step, at the abode of the Ancestors....

     (_The curtain parts and opens upon the next scene_.)



SCENE VII


     _The Abode of the Ancestors_

     _A large open space, under an Elysian light, which imparts to all
     things an aspect of ethereal and lasting felicity and unchanging
     gladness. The back and the two sides of the square are formed of
     dwelling-places of different periods, some stately, some lowly, but
     all radiant and a little unreal. In the foreground, on the right,
     for instance, is the entrance to the cottage of_ TYLTYL'S
     _grandparents; next comes the gable of a farm-house of older date;
     then the front of a little eighteenth-century shop; and thus in
     succession, running from right to left and across the back, a
     seventeenth-century town-house, a sixteenth-century prison, tavern
     and hospital, a fifteenth-century mansion; some thirteenth-century
     hovels, a twelfth-century church, a Gallo-Roman farm and villa, and
     so on. Intersecting the background at the middle is a street in
     endless perspective, bordered with the very oldest houses and
     leading to the huts and caves of primitive mankind. In the
     foreground are a few stone benches standing under fine trees,
     laurels, plane-trees or cypresses_.

     (TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX GIRLS _come forward, followed
     at a distance by_ THE WHITE PHANTOM, _who keeps to one side as
     usual. They have taken but a few steps when_ GAFFER _and_ GRANNY
     TYL _come hurrying out of their cottage and, with exclamations of
     delight, throw themselves into_ TYLTYL'S _arms_.)

GRANNY TYL

Tyltyl! Tyltyl!... Gracious, you again!... But this time it's not a
surprise. We were expecting you; we were told three days ago.... All the
same, though, we're so glad to see you that it's difficult to believe at
first.... But how big and strong you've grown, dear! And so
good-looking: I should never have known you!... Oh, dear, how nice it is
to get a kiss like this now and again!...

GAFFER TYL

Haven't you brought Mytyl this time?...

GRANNY TYL

Of course he hasn't; you know it's not her turn yet.... We know what
you're here for, Tyltyl: it's not to see us! You needn't blush!... You
young rascal, you scamp!... There, there, you're quite right; and the
sooner you set about it the better.... So it's one of these girls they
have to choose?

TYLTYL

Yes, Granny, it seems so.

GAFFER TYL

(_Eyeing them like an expert_.) Ho, ho!... And, my word, a very nice lot
too! My compliments! I admire your taste.... (_Pointing to_ ROSELLE.) If
I were you, I'd choose that one: she's the prettiest and the plumpest.

GRANNY TYL

Hold your tongue; no one's asking your advice: you know you've no say in
the matter. We're still too young; we've hardly begun to get cold and
haven't had time yet to pick up things.... It takes so long; there's so
much to learn!... But the others, especially the oldest, who now are the
youngest: it's they who know everything....

TYLTYL

What? The oldest are the youngest in this country?...

GRANNY TYL

Yes, it seems one gets younger as one grows older.... I'm beginning to
notice it myself.

TYLTYL

That's odd.... But where on earth are they?... I see nobody....

GAFFER TYL

They'll come very soon.... I wonder they're not here yet.

TYLTYL

Are there many of them?

GRANNY TYL

What do you think! All your ancestors since the world began! There'd be
so many that we shouldn't know where to put them!... But we shall only
see a few of them. A good many are travelling in other worlds; and, as a
fact, some of the oldest are always away. But those who are on the spot
choose in the name of all. They always agree; and it seems they very
seldom make a mistake.... But here's one coming out of his house. You
see the little man shutting up his shop?

     (_A spruce_ LITTLE MAN _is seen leaving the eighteenth-century
     shop_.)

TYLTYL

Who's he?

GRANNY TYL

It's your grandfather's grandfather; he was a grocer at Versailles in
the reign of Louis the Fifteenth.

TYLTYL

What funny clothes!

GRANNY TYL

He has put on the things which he wore in his shop.... Here, as a rule,
the weather is so mild, the air so warm and balmy, that we've no need to
dress ourselves; but you wouldn't be able to see us if we had no
clothes; and so, in your honour, we've put on those we used to wear on
earth.... It'll be quite amusing: some of them date back ever so far....
Look, there they come, out of the houses they once lived in....

     (_Enter from the town-house a_ CITIZEN _of the time of Louis XIV;
     from the sixteenth-century prison a_ PRISONER _still wearing chains
     and irons on his feet and hands. His shackles now seem to be light
     and cause him no inconvenience. He attracts_ TYLTYL'S _attention_.)

TYLTYL

Who is that one? Was he chained up?

GRANNY TYL

Yes, he is one of your ancestors who spent nearly all his life in
prison.

TYLTYL

It's not a thing to boast of; he'd have done better to stay at home.

GRANNY TYL

He did nothing wrong. He used to steal bread or other little things
which one could eat, to keep his children from starving. He suffered a
great deal; we think a lot of him....

     (THE ANCESTORS _continue to leave their houses. An imposing and
     richly-dressed_ MAN _appears on the threshold of the
     fifteenth-century mansion_.)

TYLTYL

(_Pointing to him_.) And that one?

GAFFER TYL

That one is the richest.... It appears we were very rich at one time,
but that didn't last.... However, it doesn't matter here: the only thing
that counts, it seems, is what a man has done or thought.... For
instance, you see those beggars over there, coming out of the church?

     (_Enter from the twelfth-century church some four or five_ BEGGARS,
     _clad in rags that are pitiful to look at, but idealized by the
     fairy atmosphere_.)

TYLTYL

Yes, any number of them.

GAFFER TYL

Well, it seems that several generations of us were beggars.... We
succeeded one another, father and son, at the same church and in the
same doorway. It was very good for us, they say. It taught us patience,
resignation, endurance, temperance and the habit of never catching
cold.... But do you see the oldest, the one who looks poorest of all?

TYLTYL

The one with the beautiful white beard?

GAFFER TYL

Precisely.... Well, he's the Great Mendicant, the one whom we respect
most, first because he has an iron constitution and next because he
appears to have thought a very great deal in his corner under the
porch.... They say it's he who did most to develop our brains.

TYLTYL

But I don't see any women among them. Where are their wives? Weren't
they married?

GRANNY TYL

Of course they were; but there's nothing for us women to do to-day. The
men choose the women and the women the men.... When Mytyl comes, it will
be our turn.

TYLTYL

Look, there are three more.

     (_A diseased_ MAN _comes out of the hospital; another, carrying a
     bottle and looking rather tipsy, out of the tavern; and, lastly,
     out of the prison, a third figure, hairy and savage of aspect,
     brandishing a blood-stained knife_.)

GAFFER TYL

(_Dismayed_.) I don't like this.... It's very tiresome that they should
have been told....

TYLTYL

Why, who are they?

GAFFER TYL

An ugly lot, those three: the sick man, the drunkard and the
murderer.... They've done us a deal of harm.

TYLTYL

Then there was a murderer in the family?

GAFFER TYL

Of course, as in every family. Fortunately, none of the three has much
influence over us. As you see, they are small and sickly; they shrink
from century to century and are nothing like as healthy as the
others.... But it won't do for them to meddle in your choice.... If the
Great Peasant, the Great Mendicant and the Great Ancestor are there, all
will go well: the others won't dare to breathe a word; if not, they will
try to force their choice upon you and that will be a bad thing for you
and for the future of the entire family.

     (_Enter from the old farm-house a tall_ PEASANT, _dressed in the
     mediaeval style. He closes the door carefully and steps forward
     whittling a switch_.)

GAFFER TYL

Here comes the Great Peasant! That's good, that's good!

TYLTYL

That long, thin fellow?

GAFFER TYL

He certainly isn't fat; but he has great influence. He is one of the
mainstays of the family.

     (_Next enter from the villa one or two_ GALLO-ROMANS _and then,
     from the hack of the street, among other_ MEN _of the Stone Age, an
     exceedingly tall old_ MAN, _dressed in skins and leaning on a heavy
     club_.)

TYLTYL

Why, we've got right back to savages now!

GAFFER TYL

That's the one!

TYLTYL

Who?

GAFFER TYL

The Great Ancestor!

TYLTYL

What? The one like an ape, with the big stick?

GAFFER TYL

You _must_ be quiet!... Don't treat him with disrespect!... It's a great
favour that he's showing you; he doesn't often go out.... Of all our
race he's the most important, the greatest, the most respected....
Everything's shaping well: it'll probably be he, the Great Peasant and
the Great Mendicant who will put their heads together and choose your
bride for you.

TYLTYL

(_Indignantly_.) But I won't have that!... It doesn't concern them!...
What do they know about it?... A peasant, a savage and a beggar: what
next?

GAFFER TYL

Hold your tongue, I say!... I tell you, they represent all that is best
in you and in the whole family. If you obey them, if you submit to their
influence, you will be happy and safe.... Mind now! They're coming....

     (THE ANCESTORS _have been gradually collecting at the back of the
     stage. They bow, accost one another, shake hands, exchange
     compliments. All show affectionate respect to_ THE GREAT PEASANT,
     THE GREAT MENDICANT _and especially_ THE GREAT ANCESTOR, _gathering
     around them and listening deferentially to what they say. On the
     other hand_, THE SICK MAN, THE DRUNKARD _and_ THE MURDERER _are
     left standing apart, forming a pitiful rear-guard. The group now
     moves towards the benches in the foreground, where_ TYLTYL _and his
     companions are gathered_.)

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_Coming forward_.) Good-evening, Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

Good-evening ... sir!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Kiss me first. Don't be afraid. I look rather savage, but it is only a
shape which I had to put on in order to make myself visible to you. I
had no other handy.... But I am really quite clean and I don't smell
bad.

TYLTYL

I never said you did!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

No, but to judge by the grimace you made you weren't quite sure!...
(_Sitting down on the middle bench_.) I will sit down here; the Great
Mendicant will take his seat on my right and the Great Peasant on my
left. They don't smell either.... (THE GREAT MENDICANT _and_ THE GREAT
PEASANT _take their seats; the other_ ANCESTORS _stand behind him_.) And
I will take you on my knees.... I am glad to hold you in my arms for a
moment.... We have known each other so long!

TYLTYL

I don't remember ever seeing you before.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

And yet we have always lived in each other; for you were already living
in me when I was on earth; and now I live in you while you are still on
that same earth, which we seem to have quitted.... But what do you think
of this place of ours?... Let me have the pleasure of showing you over
your home.

TYLTYL

My home?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Certainly.... You are at home here.... And a very nice home it is....
Everything you see--this square, that prison, the church, those houses,
we who live in them--all this is really only inside yourself.... People
rarely see it, they don't even suspect it; but it's true.

TYLTYL

I should never have thought there was so much room inside myself and
that it was so large....

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's much larger really; there's a great deal that you don't see.... But
that is not what interests us to-day; let us come straight to the point,
to the great question that brings you here.... We are going to choose
the woman whom you are to love....

TYLTYL

Since you are so kind, there's one thing I should like to ask you....

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Ask me any questions you please.

TYLTYL

How is it that I have not, like other men, the right to choose the woman
I love?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

But you have the right to choose and are here for the sole purpose of
making that choice.

TYLTYL

No, they tell me that it's you and the others who will make it.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

But I and the others are all you.... You are we, we are you; and it's
all the same thing.

TYLTYL

Not for me.... They keep on telling me to hold my tongue, that it's not
my business, that it's no concern of mine.... Everybody's allowed to get
a word in, except me.... I've had enough, I'm sick and tired of it!...
Where do I come in? That's what I want to know!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

You're simply acting as all men act when they think they are doing what
they want to do.

TYLTYL

But, after all, dash it, what business is it of yours? I can understand,
in a way, that the children I may one day have should claim some right
to select their mother; but the rest of you, over here, what difference
can it make to you?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Don't you see that it's all the same? Those who have lived in you live
in you just as much as those who are going to. There is no difference,
it all connects and it's still the same family.

TYLTYL

As you please, but I can't make it out.... And, if I refuse to obey, if
I love just for myself, if I take a different girl from the one they
want to force on me, what will they do then? What will happen?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Merely this, that the choice you will have made for yourself, without
our approval, will not be a real choice; in other words, you will not
love the woman whom you thought you loved. You will have made a mistake,
you will be unhappy and, at the same time, you will make all of us
unhappy, those who came before you as well as those who come after.

TYLTYL

Does that often happen?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Very often, far too often: that is why you see so many unhappy people on
earth.

TYLTYL

Well, what am I to do?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Where are your little friends?... Would you mind coming a little nearer,
dear ladies?... (_Gazing with attention at_ THE SIX GIRLS, _who come
forward and stand in front of him_.) Well, well, you have set us our
task, but you have made it very difficult: how is one to select when all
are equally beautiful?

THE GREAT MENDICANT

They are really very handsome.

THE GREAT PEASANT

And they appear to be very healthy, very quiet and very hard-working.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Do you recognize the one among them for whom we are waiting?

THE GREAT MENDICANT

Not yet.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's strange, neither do I.... (_To_ THE GREAT PEASANT.) And you?

THE GREAT PEASANT

I can't say that I don't and I can't say that I do.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's strange, very strange. And yet we know that the one who will make
us happy has arrived and is here among us. We generally recognize her at
the first glance.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

I can't understand it.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

(_Standing behind the bench, pointing to_ ROSARELLE.) Isn't it that
one?... What's your name, my dear?

ROSARELLE

Rosarelle.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

Who are you?

ROSARELLE

The daughter of the Mayor.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

Are you rich?

ROSARELLE

My father has money, I believe.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

You see? There is no doubt about it.

THE SICK ANCESTOR

(_Pointing to_ AIMETTE.) I say it's that one.

THE DRUNKEN ANCESTOR

(_Taking hold of_ ROSELLE.) This is the one I want.

THE MURDERER ANCESTOR

(_Leaping over the bench and taking hold of_ BELLINE.) And I take this
one!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_Rising, in an authoritative tone_.) Be silent ... and withdraw!...
_(With an imperious gesture_.) Begone!... You know that you have lost
the right to raise your voice in my presence!...

     (_The four dissentient_ ANCESTORS, _addressed in these terms, move
     away crestfallen_.)

THE OTHER ANCESTORS

(_Grouped behind the bench, clapping their hands_.) Hear! Hear!... Well
done!... It's what they deserve!... They have been wrong too often!...
They have done too much harm!... They would be the ruin of the
family!...

JALLINE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT MENDICANT _and clasping his knees_.) Perhaps I'm
the one.... I love him so!

MILETTE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT PEASANT _and clasping his knees_.) If you want to
know how much I love him, look at me and see.

AIMETTE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT ANCESTOR _and clasping his knees_.) Can't you see
that I have loved him longer than the others? I have loved him since I
first set eyes on him. I never dared say so; but I feel that I shall die
if you choose another.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

My poor children, it is very sad, but my hands are tied. You will
perhaps cry for a few hours; but, if we chose one of you, she would
spend her whole life crying, for I do not see among you the one for whom
we are waiting.... Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

Yes?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Have you brought us no one else, besides those we see here?

TYLTYL

No, no one else.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

I see a tall white figure over there, against a tree; who is it?

TYLTYL

I really don't know. She follows us all the time, squeezes in wherever
we go, nobody knows her; and we can't get rid of her.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Go and fetch her.

     (TYLTYL _fetches_ THE WHITE PHANTOM _and brings her back, holding
     her by the hand_.)

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Who are you?

TYLTYL

It's no use asking her. She never answers; she can't talk.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_To_ THE PHANTOM.) Come nearer, child, and let me lift the veil that
covers your face.... (_He removes the veil. The statue's face appears,
absolutely white, featureless and devoid of human expression_.) She has
no face.... (_To the other_ ANCESTORS _standing around them_.) Do you
know her?

THE GREAT PEASANT

She has no expression.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

She has no features.... She is like an unfinished statue.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

What are we to do? It must be she. But who is she? She is not dead, or
we should know it.... Come, Tyltyl, make an effort, for everything
depends on you. You must remember....

TYLTYL

I have tried my utmost.... Do what I will, I can't remember at all.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Listen, it is a serious matter. If we do not succeed in recognizing her,
all your life, all your happiness on earth will be nothing more than a
phantom like herself.... There is one last resource, one last hope,
which is that the children who are to be born of you may discover who
she is and that she is to be their mother. They see much farther and
deeper than we. But there is no time to lose; for this waiting and this
living in suspense are very dangerous for her. We must be quick
therefore; we must not waste a moment ... go, my little Tyltyl. You have
been very good and patient, very obedient and faithful to your race
throughout this ordeal. Take this kiss and farewell.... You too, my
dears, let me give you the parting kiss. Do not be too sad; another
happiness awaits you. There is more than one kind on that poor misguided
earth of yours. You have deserved every happiness that it can give....
Good-bye, my dear daughters; good-bye, good-bye, my son. And we will
meet again whenever you wish: you know where to find us and we shall be
waiting for you....

     (_The Scene grows dark and disappears from view; the Curtain of
     Rocks closes; and_ TYLTYL, THE GIRLS, LIGHT _and_ DESTINY _are once
     more alone among the boulders_.)

DESTINY

(_Seizing_ TYLTYL'S _hand_.) This way, this way!... Thanks to me, it
went off very well!... I said nothing about it; but it was I who foresaw
everything and planned everything; and all that has been done was
ordained by me....

     (_They all go out_.)

CURTAIN



ACT IV



SCENE VIII


     _Before the Curtain representing the Milky Way_

     (_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

TYLTYL

Where are we?

LIGHT

Near to the stars and yet within yourself. Before you is the great veil
of the Milky Way. Beyond it stretches the region in which your unborn
children are waiting to show you the mother whom they have chosen.

TYLTYL

It's a little like the Kingdom of the Future in "The Blue Bird."

LIGHT

Perhaps; and yet not quite the same thing. There it was the whole
kingdom, with everybody's children; here it is only a province, in which
are no children but yours.

TYLTYL

Have I many?

LIGHT

As many children as you have ancestors, as innumerable and no less
infinite. But, as with the Ancestors, we shall see only those who are
nearest to you, especially the youngest and smallest.

TYLTYL

Why the smallest?

LIGHT

Because they are nearest to their birth. As this approaches, they grow
smaller and younger; so that the youngest, who are the first to be born,
can hardly walk or stand.

TYLTYL

And the others? Are there any big ones?

LIGHT

There are children of all sizes, but I do not know that we shall see the
biggest, that is to say, those who will be born hundreds or thousands of
years hence.... There will not have been time to tell them; they do not
keep close to the doors, like the very little ones, but wander far away
waiting for their time to come.

TYLTYL

They must find it very tiresome to be kept waiting like that!

LIGHT

Nothing is ever tiresome in infinity. Besides they have to learn here
all that they will forget on earth.

TYLTYL

It seems hardly worth while then, to take so much trouble!

LIGHT

Oh, but it is! Something always remains and helps to build up the deep
happiness of life.

TYLTYL

Well, so much the better for them! As for me, I shall soon know what I
am to do. I hope we shall get through to-day, because, you see, I'd like
to have things settled.... But where on earth can they be, those girls
of mine and Destiny? (_Looking below him, on the right_.) The poor
little dears are up to their knees in the snow. This place is even
higher and more difficult to get at than where the Ancestors lived.

LIGHT

(_Looking down_.) They are not very far away.... But you have taken off
your hat again; that's a bad habit of yours. Put it on quickly, before
they come, and be careful to make no mistake this time, for, if you do,
the result may be very unpleasant.

     (TYLTYL _puts on his hat and turns the sapphire. Forthwith from the
     earth and from every side little creatures of different sizes
     appear, dressed like him and resembling him in nearly every
     respect. They surround him, rush against him, hustle him and try to
     drag him, some to the right, others to the left, while he struggles
     in the midst of them without knowing to which he should give his
     attention_.)

TYLTYL

(_Distraught_.) Hullo, hullo, what's all this? What does it mean? That
sapphire really is becoming impossible!

LIGHT

Don't worry: you'll have turned it the wrong way again. What did you do?

TYLTYL

How can I tell?... This is getting too much for me! Too mixed up,
really.... I must have pressed it instead of turning it.

LIGHT

That's what I thought. You have simply released some of your other
"You's."

TYLTYL

(_Dumbfounded_.) Some of my other "Me's"?

LIGHT

Yes, what I mean is that you are not alone inside yourself and that....

TYLTYL

(_More and more dumbfounded_.) I am not alone inside myself?...

LIGHT

Why, no, there are a number of other personalities there, more or less
like you and all the time trying to get the upper hand.

TYLTYL

No, but really, what else is there inside me? I must be a sort of
menagerie or Noah's ark! There's no end to it!

LIGHT

That's true: there would be no end if we had the time to go into it
all.... But press the sapphire down now and all will be well.

     (TYLTYL _presses the sapphire and all his_ DOUBLES _disappear_.)

TYLTYL

My word! A good riddance!... Well, as you say, they may be the least bit
like me, but some of them are very ugly. Particularly a big dark one,
who kept on tripping me up and very nearly made me fall.

LIGHT

Of course, there are some of all kinds, as in every man. One must learn
to choose the best and avoid the worst.... But here come your little
friends.

     (_Enter first_ THE WHITE PHANTOM.)

TYLTYL

(_Amazed_.) Hullo!... What's the matter with her?... She seems quite in
a hurry to-day and moves like an angel.

     (_Enter next_ MILETTE, BELLINE, ROSELLE _and_ ROSARELLE, _followed
     by_ AIMETTE _and_ Jalline, _who are supporting_ DESTINY _between
     them. He is now a head shorter than_ TYLTYL, _wears the same tragic
     costume as before, seems very weary and sinks down on a heap of
     snow_.)

TYLTYL

(_Going to him, with a certain solicitude_.) Are you ill?

DESTINY

I? Not at all: I am always the same, I am unchangeable.... But when you
alone are responsible for everything, when you have to manage
everything, direct everything and foresee everything and when nobody
helps you (_casting an aggressive eye on_ LIGHT), you are entitled to a
moment's rest.... I therefore order a halt. It is decided irrevocably:
to-day we go no farther.

LIGHT Admirable! And so it shall be, for we have arrived; and with
Destiny's permission, we shall find ourselves, without taking another
step, among the children who are awaiting us....

     (_The curtain parts and opens upon the next scene_.)



SCENE IX


     _The Abode of the Children_

     _The immense halls, the lofty vaults, the infinite perspectives of
     arches and columns of the Kingdom of the Future in "The Blue Bird";
     but this time, it being the nuptial hour, everything is of a soft,
     milky white, gleaming and transparent. The radiant shapes of
     amber-coloured light bathe in unspeakable gladness all the things
     that they touch; and everywhere are signs of a deep and unfaltering
     joy. The boundless horizon stretches towards the veiled white of
     the Milky Way, the ether quivering with myriads of unknown stars_.

     (_When the curtain opens_, TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX
     GIRLS _are in the foreground, on the right, at the foot of one of
     the alabaster columns supporting the entrance-arch. They take a few
     steps into the immense deserted hall, while_ THE WHITE PHANTOM
     _hides timidly behind the column_.)

TYLTYL

(_A little disappointed_.) There's nobody here!...

LIGHT

I know why it is. There are several doors; as you were all very tired, I
chose the one that was nearest. They are probably waiting for us at the
principal entrance.

TYLTYL

How shall we let them know?

LIGHT

The atmosphere will do that: here everything is known immediately and
every event happens everywhere at the same moment.

TYLTYL

It's a very fine place, this: splendid large rooms and a very high
ceiling; lots of light and air....

LIGHT

And it's still always inside yourself.

TYLTYL

What, this is inside me too?

LIGHT

Why, yes; of course it is.

TYLTYL

Very well, then; that's all right. Please step in: you're very welcome.
Won't you sit down while you wait?

LIGHT

We shall not have long to wait, for I believe they have seen us.

     (A CHILD'S _head appears for an instant between two columns and is
     then briskly withdrawn, exclaiming_, "This way! This way! They're
     here!" _Soon after, seven or eight_ CHILDREN _of about twelve years
     of age, in short white tunics, with bare arms, legs and feet, run
     up from the back of the hall and stop in front of the visitors. The
     largest holds out his hand to_ TYLTYL.)

THE CHILD

Good-evening, grandpapa!

TYLTYL

Grandpapa?... Who's that?... Where is he?...

THE CHILD

(_Bursting into laughter_.) Why, it's you!

TYLTYL

(_Dumbfounded_.) I? Am I a grandpapa already?

THE CHILD

Of course you are, eighty times over!... We are the first to arrive. The
others are on their way.... (_To the other_ CHILDREN.) He doesn't seem
to believe it!

ANOTHER CHILD

You might give us a kiss.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing them all_.) I will! I will!... But how do I come to be a
grandpapa?

THE CHILD

Surely it's quite simple: you will be our grandpapa when we are your
grandchildren.

TYLTYL

Obviously, that's clear.... So you exist already?

THE CHILD

Naturally, since you yourself exist.... I say, are those the grandmammas
you're bringing us?

TYLTYL

Yes; it seems you're to pick out the best one.

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Clapping his hands and dancing for joy_.) Oh, how pretty they are!...
(_Throwing himself into_ JALLINE'S _arms_.) I take this one, because she
is so soft!...

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Throwing his arms round_ AIMETTE'S _neck_.) And I this one, because
she is so sad!...

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Kissing_ ROSELLE.) I choose this one, because's she's always
laughing!...

THREE OTHER CHILDREN

(_Each taking one of_ THE GIRLS, _kissing and fondling her and laughing
and skipping with delight_.) And I choose this one, because she smells
so nice!... I choose this one!... I choose this one!...

THE FIRST CHILD

(_Intervening_.) One moment, one moment, if you please.... This has
nothing to do with us; our turn will come. You know that only the
smallest have the right to choose who is to be their mother. All we have
to do is to help them with our advice and to stop them if they make
mistakes; but that's a thing which has never happened yet. They were
quite some distance away, at the principal gate, but they won't be long
now.

TYLTYL

Here come some bigger ones!

     (_Enter a new group of_ CHILDREN, _apparently about fifteen years
     of age. The oldest goes to_ TYLTYL _and shakes hands with him_.)

THE OLDEST CHILD

Good-evening, great-grandfather!...

TYLTYL

Who's that? I? I'm a great-grandfather now!...

THE OLDEST CHILD

Of course you are!... I am very glad to see you for a minute, for we
shall most nicely not have the pleasure of meeting on earth.... Well, I
understand that your visit to the Ancestors was not much of a success.

TYLTYL

Let's rather put it that they hadn't quite made up their minds. But how
is it that you already know what happened there?

THE OLDEST CHILD

Why, of course we know everything that happens inside you; we're there
ourselves. Besides, there's very little that separates us from the
Ancestors: our interests are the same and our paths often meet.

THE FIRST CHILD

Look out! Here are the little ones!... I see five coming.... There's
only one missing, the littlest....

     (_From the back of the halls come five_ LITTLE CHILDREN _holding
     one another's hands_.)

TYLTYL

Who are those five little ones? They are very sweet.

THE FIRST CHILD

Why, they are your children: two boys and three girls!

TYLTYL

Mine? Shall I have five children?

THE FIRST CHILD

Six, you will have six, for the last little one isn't here yet.... I
promise you, the world can do with them, after what people have been up
to, down there!...

TYLTYL

But I shall never be able to feed them all!...

     (THE FIVE LITTLE ONES, _still holding hands, have stopped in front
     of_ THE SIX GIRLS _and stand looking at them solemnly, without
     speaking. By degrees, the halls have become filled with a host of
     other_ CHILDREN _who gather round_ THE FIVE LITTLE ONES _and watch
     them. The silence at last becomes irksome and_ TYLTYL _breaks it_.)

TYLTYL

Well, children, aren't you going to kiss your papa?

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_Ordering him with a serious gesture to be silent_.) Mamma first....
Where is she?

TYLTYL

Why, she must be here; she's one of those. You have only to choose.

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_To the one beside him_.) Do you see her?

THE OTHER

(_Shaking his head sadly_.) No.

THE THREE OTHERS

(_In succession_.) No more do I.... No more do I.... No more do I....

JALLINE

(_Rushing forward, catching hold of one of the_ CHILDREN _and kissing
him_.) But that's impossible!... Here, look at me?... Don't you see how
much I'll love you?...

THE CHILD

Yes, but you're not the one.

ROSELLE

(_Taking another_ CHILD _on her knees_.) And me? Won't you have me for
your mamma?

THE CHILD

No, no, it's not you.

ROSARELLE

(_Catching hold of another_ CHILD.) And me? Don't you love me? You'll
see how happy we shall be!... We shall have a lovely house full of toys
and I shall give you everything you want....

THE CHILD

(_Vainly trying to contain its tears_.) No, no!...

BELLINE

(_Taking_ THE YOUNGEST.) Look here, you seem to know more than the
others.... Don't you recognize me?... Are you fond of sweets?...

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_Struggling until she lets him go and crying without disguise_.) Let me
go! Let me go!

TYLTYL

Here's a pretty business! He's crying!... And the other one as well!...
But what do they want?... They're very hard to please....

     (THE YOUNGEST CHILD _wipes his eyes and takes the hand of the next,
     who does the same by his neighbour, until they all hold hands
     again_.)

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

Come!...

     (THE FIVE LITTLE CHILDREN _move away, with staid dignity, and go
     out on the left_.)

TYLTYL

What's the matter with them? Where are they going?

ONE OF THE BIG CHILDREN

They are going to the other door.

ANOTHER

They are going to fetch the smallest of them all.

ANOTHER

The smaller they are, the more they know.

THE FIRST CHILD

But where is he, the smallest one? Haven't you seen him?

ANOTHER

No, no one has seen him since this morning.... It's strange, for he is
always with his little sisters.

TYLTYL

(_Looking at the throng of_ CHILDREN _filling the halls_.) How many
there are!

ONE OF THE BIG CHILDREN

It's only one part of the family.

A CHILD

(_Which has been following the progress of_ THE FIVE CHILDREN _with his
eyes_.) They are stopping at the third door.

TYLTYL

Who?

THE CHILD

The five little ones.

ANOTHER CHILD

They seem to be looking for something.

THE FIRST CHILD

Let us go and see what they're doing. They know what they know.

OTHER CHILDREN

Yes, yes, let us all go.... They know, they know!

     (_A great stir in the crowd of_ CHILDREN. _They all run in the same
     direction and go out on the left. In a moment the hall is emptied
     of all except_ TYLTYL, LIGHT, THE SIX GIRLS _and_ DESTINY.)

TYLTYL

Let us go after them too!

     (_He goes out, followed by LIGHT and_ THE SIX GIRLS, _with_ DESTINY
     _bringing up the rear. The only occupant of the stage is_ THE WHITE
     PHANTOM, _whom everybody has overlooked and who has never left the
     column on the right against which she has been leaning. The stage
     remains empty for a moment and then, from the back of the halls,
     comes a_ CHILD _even smaller than the youngest of the_ FIVE LITTLE
     ONES. _He walks with resolute step; on reaching the columns in the
     foreground, he appears to take his bearings, turns his head to
     right and left and then, suddenly, goes straight to_ THE WHITE
     PHANTOM, _in front of whom he stops and takes up his stand,
     contemplating her at length, gravely and silently, with his finger
     in his mouth. At last he puts out one hand and takes_ THE PHANTOM
     _by the hem of her dress_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Is it ... really you?

THE PHANTOM

(_Speaking for the first time and struggling to find her voice, which
seems to come from far away and to stick in her throat_.) Yes.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

I knew it. Come....

THE PHANTOM

Where to?

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Over here.... I'm going to tell the others....

THE PHANTOM

Not yet.... I can't yet....

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Still dragging her by her dress towards a marble bench which stands
between the columns in the foreground_.) Come.... (_He makes her sit
down, settles her on the bench, caresses her and kisses her_.) Come ...
it's you.... I knew it.... I'm kissing you.... Don't you know how to
kiss yet? (THE PHANTOM _shakes her head_.) No?... Like this.... I'll
teach you.... (_He kisses and caresses her slowly and deliberately_.)
You're no longer cold?

THE PHANTOM

(_Smiling at last_.) No.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Still kissing her_.) You see, that's better already.

     (_Under_ THE CHILD'S _kisses and caresses_, THE STATUE _has
     gradually taken life: the eyes open, the lips flutter, the face
     begins to colour, the body loses its terrible stiffness, the arms
     become supple and circle round the_ THE CHILD'S _neck_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Nestling against her_.) You're better, aren't you?... Not sleepy any
more?... How good it is, being together!... They're still looking for
you, you know.... And it's I who found you!... I knew, I knew....

THE PHANTOM

So did I, so did I.... I was waiting....

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

It's splendid, isn't it?... (_Nestling more closely_.) Oh, such fun!...
Do you like it too?

THE PHANTOM

Yes.... Yes, I am happy.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Why aren't you laughing?

THE PHANTOM

Because I am too happy.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

So am I, so am I!... Don't look: I'm going to cry a little, but it
doesn't mean anything....

THE PHANTOM

(_Beginning to return his kisses and caresses_.) I'm going to cry too.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Intoxicated with rapture_.) You're kissing me!... Mummy!... Then it's
true, then it's true, it is you!... Again, again!... No, not any more: I
can't bear it!... Will they understand, will they be able to understand?

THE PHANTOM

Call them, it is time.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Don't cover your face: they wouldn't see it and they wouldn't believe
me.... (_Drawing aside the veils_.) Oh, mummy, how lovely you are!...
(_Her hair spreads all over her shoulders_.) Oh, mummy, your hair!...
What lots of it!... There, that's much better, I can kiss you better
so.... (_Listening_.) Listen, they're coming back! They're here!

     (THE FIVE LITTLE ONES _come rushing headlong into the hall_.)

THE FIVE LITTLE ONES

Where is she?... Where is she?... Where is she?...

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Standing up on the bench, beside his_ MOTHER, _showing her to the
others and dancing with delight_.) Here! Here!... She's here, she's
here!... I found her!...

     (THE MOTHER _tries to rise and take them in her arms, but they do
     not give her time. They fling themselves upon her, load her with
     kisses and caresses, make her sit down again and clamber on her
     knees, swarming and scrambling over her and all speaking
     together_.)

THE FIVE LITTLE ONES

It's she!... It's she!... It's mummy!... Where was she?... Did you know
her?... I should think so! I should think so!... You too? Yes, I too, I
too!... You're taking up all the room!... You're kissing her all the
time!... It's not fair, it's my turn!... She's my mummy too!... We
looked for you so hard!... We waited for you so long!... She is lovely,
isn't she?... She's the loveliest of them all!... There's no one like
her!... Tell us, tell us!... What?... I love you! Do you love me?...
Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!... What sweet things mummies are!... How
delicious it is to kiss!... To think one didn't know!... All for us, all
for us!... The only happiness!... You're everything in the world to us,
we're everything in the world to you!... I dote on you!... I say, do you
know me? I shall be the second.... And I the third.... And I the
last!... Kiss me first, I shall have the longest to wait!... She's
laughing!... She's happy too!... Answer us, speak to us!... Your arm, I
want to feel your arm round my neck!... Mine too, mine too!... Don't go
away, whatever you do!... We don't know where we are, we're mad with
delight!... We can't wait any longer!...

     (_While they are thus kissing and talking, the other_, BIGGER
     CHILDREN, _those of the future generations, gradually return and
     fill the halls again. The first arrivals stop behind the group
     formed by_ THE MOTHER _and_ THE SIX LITTLE ONES; _and whispers are
     heard and rise from the growing crowd_: "They've found her!...
     They've found her!.... It's she!... How happy they are!... How
     beautiful she is!... How kind she looks!... Can we kiss her?...
     Wait, wait, it's their turn now!... Ours will come!..." TYLTYL,
     _followed by_ LIGHT, THE SIX GIRLS _and_ DESTINY, _now enters the
     hall_. THE CHILDREN _fall back to let him pass_. THE SMALLEST OF
     THEM ALL _sees him first, goes to him and, taking him by the hand,
     leads him to_ THE MOTHER.)

     THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

     (_Gravely_.) It is she.... I found her....

     (THE MOTHER _rises and stands in front of_ TYLTYL.)

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Do you recognize her?

     (TYLTYL _hesitates, passes his hand over his forehead, vainly
     searches his memory_.)

TYLTYL

Not yet.... She's beautiful!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Kiss her; it's she.

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

There is no other.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

We want no other.

TYLTYL

(_Taking_ THE MOTHER'S _hand_.) Where do you come from?... Who are
you?... Where have I seen you before?... I can't remember....

     (THE MOTHER _does not reply. Her colour comes and goes, her eyes
     open and shut, her life fluctuates with the ebb and flow of the
     memory which she strives to awaken_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Take care! You're hurting her!

     (THE OTHER LITTLE ONES _form a line in front of her as though to
     defend her_.)

A LITTLE ONE

Go away!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! You sha'n't have her until you know her!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

You sha'n't have any other!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! She shall stay with us till you know!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! We'll wait for you; we shall all be down there!

THE FIRST LITTLE ONE

Go away, go away!... You're hurting her dreadfully!

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Embracing his_ MOTHER.) Come, mummy, come!... He doesn't know yet!...

     (_They all gather and press closely round their_ MOTHER, _hurrying
     and dragging her along and waving good-bye to_ TYLTYL: "See you
     soon! See you soon again!... Down there, down there!... See you
     soon!" ...THE MOTHER _turns and gazes fixedly at_ TYLTYL; _then the
     outlines of the hall darken, lose their colour and distinctness,
     dissolve and disappear. Only_ TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX
     GIRLS _remain in front of the Curtain representing the Milky Way_.)

TYLTYL

Well, I'm in a nice mess!... What am I to do?... Is it my fault if I
can't remember?...

LIGHT

Don't be afraid. They know what they are saying. You will find her
again.... Let us go, quickly!... I am sure that she is waiting for you
where you least expect her.

TYLTYL

(_Dreamily_.) She really is beautiful!... I believe they are right.... I
believe it's really she....

     (_They all go out_.)

CURTAIN



ACT V



SCENE X


     _Before the Curtain representing the Edge of a Forest_

     (_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

LIGHT

Here we are at last.

TYLTYL

Where?

LIGHT

Why, near your home!... Don't you recognize your forest?

TYLTYL

My forest, my forest?... (_Looking around him_.) Why, so it is!... I've
seen those beeches before, somewhere.

LIGHT

That's more than likely, as they're close to the house in which you were
born.

TYLTYL

Well, it's about time I did get home. I am tired out.

LIGHT

It has been a fatiguing journey, but not without results.

TYLTYL

Results?... Where?... When we started I was in love with six girls; now
we've returned, I love only one; and she's just the one who hasn't come
back with me.... But where are those six others and what are they doing?
And Destiny too? He was looking very ill....

LIGHT

Here they are.

     (_Enter_ THE SIX GIRLS. _The last_, JALLINE, _carries_ DESTINY,
     _who still wears his cloak and sombrero, but who has shrunk to the
     dimensions of quite a small child and appears very tired_.)

JALLINE

(_Passing_ DESTINY _to_ MILETTE.) Will you take him for a moment? He's
not very big, but dreadfully heavy.

MILETTE

(_Taking him from_ JALLINE'S _arms_.) Come to me, my little Tiny, come;
there, don't cry....

DESTINY

(_In a whining baby voice_.) Me? I never cwy!... I'm alwayth the
thame!... I'm unthakable, immovable, indefatigable, implacable and
inegthowable!...

MILETTE

Yes, yes, Tiny, we know, you're a very good little boy.... (DESTINY
_falls asleep in her arms_.) He's gone to sleep!

JALLINE

(_Wrapping him in his cape, with a motherly gesture_.) He's a dear,
sweet, obedient little thing, but seems very tired.

LIGHT

Poor little Destiny!... He has no luck!... But we will see to him
later.... What we have to do now, my children, is to bid one another
good-bye ... and for the last time....

TYLTYL

For the last time!...

LIGHT

Why, yes; we can't spend our whole life travelling! Besides, you are
near your homes, since you all of you dwell round the forest. We have
learned what we sought and we know what we wanted to know, that man is
granted only one love, while the others are merely unfortunate errors
that bring sorrow to innumerable lives.... You were all of you about to
choose wrongly; and you may rejoice, therefore, even now, when we have
to part, that the mistake was discovered before it was too late.... And,
more than this, the Fairy has charged me with glad tidings for you all:
the one love you have each of you sought is waiting for you by your own
fire-side, in your own home, or at least will be there very soon.... So
do not linger, but hasten to meet it.... The hour grows late; soon the
cocks will be crowing; the birds are beginning to wake. Let us bid one
another good-bye, quickly, without regret, without sad thoughts or
tears....

MILETTE

(_Handing_ DESTINY _to_ AIMETTE.) Just take him for a minute, while I
kiss TYLTYL.... (_Kissing_ TYLTYL.) Good-bye, Tyltyl dear. I must go
first. Dad gets up early and there would be awful trouble if he didn't
find me in the house. Good-bye. Let me kiss you again.... Be nice to me
when we meet: we're neighbours and shall have to spend all our lives in
this forest.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her affectionately_.) Be nice to you, Milette? Of course I
will! It's not your fault or mine: we both know that.

MILETTE

Good-bye, good-bye!... I must fly!...

     (_She runs out_.)

AIMETTE

(_Handing_ DESTINY _to_ JALLINE.) Take hold of the little man for a
second, will you? (_Kissing_ TYLTYL.) Good-bye, Tyltyl.... Don't let us
forget each other.... I shall perhaps love somebody else; but I shall
never love him as I loved you.

LIGHT

Come, come, you are wasting time.... We shall never have done if we go
on like this.... If the cock crows before you return, your parents will
know everything; and then they'll be angry.... Just give him a sisterly
kiss: that's all that's necessary.... You're not going far; and you'll
meet again many a time, in real life, and will like each other the
better because of your truer knowledge....

     (ROSARELLE _and_ BELLINE _kiss_ TYLTYL _without speaking and go
     out_. ROSELLE _blows her nose vigorously, dabs at her eyes and
     stammers_, "My dear Tyltyl! my dear Tyltyl!... He was so nice!... I
     shall see you again, sha'n't I, I shall see you again?... You shall
     have the best of everything at the inn!" _Then she rushes out_.
     JALLINE _alone lingers behind, holding_ DESTINY _in her arms_.)

LIGHT

Well, Jalline, what are you doing here?

JALLINE

I can't go away at once, just like the others!...

LIGHT

But you must, dear Jalline. Not because it is fate, as men say, but
because it is the will of those who know everything and who never
die.... Good-bye, my little Jalline. You have been very sweet, very
loving, very exquisite; and I thought that you would be chosen.... Don't
cry, dear. Hand over poor little Destiny to me, I will take care of him;
and give Tyltyl a long, long kiss....

JALLINE

(_Hands_ DESTINY _to_ LIGHT _and gives_ TYLTYL _a long kiss_.) Good-bye,
Tyltyl.

TYLTYL

Good-bye, Jalline!

     (JALLINE _moves away with slow reluctant steps_.)

LIGHT

And, now that we are alone, let me kiss you too.... We shall meet once
again to take another and a longer journey....

TYLTYL

Another journey? And a longer one?

LIGHT

The last, the happiest and the most beautiful. But I am not allowed to
speak of it yet.... Good-bye, Tyltyl. Remember, dear, that you are not
alone in this world and that all that you see in it has neither
beginning nor end. With this thought in your heart, letting it grow with
your growth, you will always know, whatever may happen, the right thing
to say, the right thing to hope for.... And you, Tiny, don't cry like
that! Some day we shall begin to understand each other.

DESTINY

(_Half-asleep, tearfully, lisping_.) Me? I never cwy!... I order a
thtop!... Forward! Forward! Forward!

     (LIGHT _goes out on the left, carrying_ DESTINY _in her arms_.
     TYLTYL _follows her a little way, waving his hand in farewell; and
     the Curtain opens on the last scene_.)



SCENE XI


     _The Awakening_

     _The same scene as in Act I_. TYLTYL _is sound asleep. The light
     trickles gaily through all the crannies of the closed shutters. The
     Blue Bird is singing madly in his cage_.

     (_A knock at the door_.)

TYLTYL

(_Waking with a start_.) Who's there?

MUMMY TYL

(_Behind the door_.) It's me!... Open the door quickly!... We're
expecting a visitor....

TYLTYL

Wait, wait, till I slip on my breeches.... (_Rising and seeing with
amazement that he is dressed_.) Hullo, I've gone to bed with my clothes
on! How did I come to do that?...

     (_He opens the door. Enter_ MUMMY TYL _fussily, carrying a bundle
     of sticks_.)

MUMMY TYL

Quick, quick!... Help me light the fire and tidy the room.... Go and
wake up Mytyl.... They'll be here in a minute.

TYLTYL

(_Doing his best to help her_.) Who's "they"?

MUMMY TYL

Of course, you don't know. Daddy Tyl met them yesterday, but you had
gone to bed.... Do open the shutters, I can't see what I'm doing....
(TYLTYL _opens the shutters and the daylight floods the room_.) And call
Mytyl, so that she can help me to get things straight.... What a
mess!... And the dust! I can't let them see my house like this. (_Enter_
MYTYL.)

TYLTYL

Hullo, there Mytyl is!... But you haven't told me....

MUMMY TYL

(_To_ MYTYL.) The fire's beginning to burn up.... You make the coffee,
while I start cleaning.... What's this? More cabbage leaves under the
tap!

MYTYL

It's not my fault. Tyltyl promised me....

MUMMY TYL

Well, I never! A nice thing!... It's a blessing that I came to look for
myself!... Take the broom, Tyltyl, while I give a rub to the plates and
put them away.

TYLTYL

But look here: who's coming? Is it the Shah of Persia or the Emperor of
China?

MUMMY TYL

Much better than that. You'll never guess.... Do you remember our
neighbour?

MYTYL

What neighbour?

MUMMY TYL

There aren't so many of 'em.... The one with the pretty little pink
house, by the road-side, and a garden full of sunflowers and hollyhocks.

TYLTYL

Of course!... And they had a little girl to whom I gave my dove?

MUMMY TYL

That's right.

TYLTYL

They've been gone a long time.

MUMMY TYL

Five or six years, that's all. They went to the town to live with the
girl's uncle. He was a widower, with no children of his own, and has
died and left them all his money. They told Daddy Tyl they're coming
back here for good, going into their nice little house again. It
belonged to little Joy's uncle.

TYLTYL

Little Joy?

MUMMY TYL

Yes, yes, you know: that's the little girl's name. They used to call her
Jojo when she was small; but her name is Joy. Daddy Tyl met her last
night, says that he could hardly believe his eyes, that she's taller
than you and beautiful ... well, there! With hair like gold, real gold!
That's worth thinking about.... So I want the house tidy and all of us
to look decent and respectable.... You can never tell what may happen.
We're of good stock too. Your grandfather's father was a pork-butcher.

TYLTYL

It's curious, I didn't meet him.

MUMMY TYL

Whom?

TYLTYL

My grandfather's father.

MUMMY TYL

That's not to be wondered at: he's been dead these fifty-seven years.

TYLTYL

(_Sweeping the floor lustily_.) Perhaps I had better put on my Sunday
clothes?

MUMMY TYL

No, you needn't; you're all right as you are. We'll just lay the white
tablecloth.... Besides, there's no time now; here they come; I can hear
them walking up the path.

     (_A knock at the door_. MUMMY TYL _opens it. Enter_ THE NEIGHBOUR
     _and_ JOY, _followed by_ DADDY TYL, _with his axe on his
     shoulder_.)

DADDY TYL

(_Calling out from the threshold_.) Here they are! Here they are!

THE NEIGHBOUR

Yes, it's Joy and I, Madame Tyl.... Good-morning, a Merry Christmas and
good luck to everybody, as my poor husband used to say when he was
alive. I'm glad to see you looking so well.... And these are the
children? Don't tell me that this great, big, pretty girl is Mytyl? And
can that be Tyltyl, that strapping young fellow who looks so smart?

MUMMY TYL

Yes, yes, Madame Berlingot, they're the sort that keep on shooting up
till you don't know where you are. Tyltyl hasn't grown as much as his
sister; but he's stronger. There's not a sturdier lad in all the
country-side.... But it's your young lady who's beautiful!... She looks
the very picture of the blessed saints!... (_Observing_ TYLTYL, _who
stands wide-eyed and entranced_.) Now then, Tyltyl, where are your
manners? Don't you, know your little playmate? Be civil, say
how-do-you-do, shake hands and give her a chair.

DADDY TYL

Before you sit down, would you like to see the cows?

THE NEIGHBOUR

What, do you keep cows now?

DADDY TYL

Why, yes; we've not done so badly either.... Two little cows and a
calf.... Little cows are better than big ones; and they only eat half as
much.... One of them, the red one, gives us twenty quarts of milk every
day.

THE NEIGHBOUR

Then you've put up a cow-house? You hadn't one before.

DADDY TYL

Yes, I ran it up myself, with Tyltyl to help.... (_Leading her towards
the door on the left_.) It's this way: we made a good job of it and it's
quite worth seeing.

THE NEIGHBOUR

Dear me, yes; I'd like to see it at once.

     (_They all go out, except_ TYLTYL _and_ JOY, _who remain standing
     face to face. As soon as they are gone_, TYLTYL _goes up to_ JOY
     _and takes her hand_.)

TYLTYL

Is it ... really you?

JOY

Yes, it's I.

TYLTYL

I knew you at once.

JOY

And I you.

TYLTYL

You are even more beautiful than up there.

JOY

You too.

TYLTYL

I say, it's funny that I couldn't remember....

JOY

I hadn't forgotten.

TYLTYL

Oh, how lovely you are!... Let me kiss you.

JOY

You may if you like.

     (_They kiss each other awkwardly, but affectionately_.)

TYLTYL

They haven't a suspicion.

JOY

You think that?

TYLTYL

I'm sure of it. They don't know what we know. But the little ones knew.

JOY

What little ones?

TYLTYL

The little ones up there.... They were very clever. They knew you at
once.... Were you so very unhappy?

JOY

Why?

TYLTYL

Because I couldn't remember.

JOY

It wasn't your fault.

TYLTYL

I know, but I hated it.... And you were so pale, so dreadfully pale; and
you never spoke.... How long had you loved me?

JOY

Ever since I first saw you, when you gave me the Blue Bird.

TYLTYL

So have I, so have I, but I had forgotten.... Never mind: we're going to
be tremendously happy, for they've settled it, you see; they want it.

JOY

Do you think they've done it on purpose?

TYLTYL

I'm quite sure; there isn't a doubt.... Everybody wanted it, but
especially the little ones, all six of them.

JOY

Oh!

TYLTYL

Yes!... We're going to have six!... I say, do you believe it?

JOY

Six what?

TYLTYL

Why, six children, of course!

JOY

Oh, Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

I know it's a great many; but we'll manage somehow. There's nothing to
be afraid of.... What a dream, eh?

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

The loveliest I ever had; and you?

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

I saw you as you are now, just like that. But here, all the same, you
are more real and more beautiful.... Oh, I must kiss you again!

     (_They kiss each other lingeringly. At that moment_ DADDY TYL
     _opens the door, with the others behind him_.)

DADDY TYL

(_Catching them in the act_.) Well, I never!... You're getting on, you
two!... You're losing no time!

THE NEIGHBOUR

(_Entering with_ MUMMY TYL _and_ MYTYL.) What's the matter?

DADDY TYL

What did I say, when we were looking at the rabbits? These two are made
for each other.... They were kissing away like anything!

THE NEIGHBOUR

Joy! Aren't you ashamed?

JOY

But, mummy....

DADDY TYL

Come, come, there's no great harm in it. We did as much, Mummy Tyl and
I, when we were young, didn't we, old lady?

MUMMY TYL

We did indeed!... They make such a pretty pair!...

THE NEIGHBOUR

That they do; but Joy is still very young and I'd like to think it over.

DADDY TYL

That's right enough.... He's very young too; but you won't find a better
boy in the whole country-side.... He's a strong, healthy lad, with a
civil tongue in his head, and he works like a nigger.... Think it over
by all means, only, as this is a holiday, there's no harm in their
kissing each other; and let's see them do it: it's good for one!...
(_Seeing that_ TYLTYL _and_ JOY _do not move, he pushes them close
together_.) Well?... Look at them: they don't want to now!

TYLTYL

(_In a whisper, to_ JOY, _as he kisses her_.) It was better when we were
by ourselves, wasn't it?

JOY

(_Also whispering_.) Yes, it was!

TYLTYL

They were right, weren't they?

JOY

Who?

TYLTYL

The others.

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

Don't say a word to any one: it is our secret, yours and mine....


CURTAIN





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