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Title: Cyrano de Bergerac - An Heroic Comedy in Five Acts
Author: Rostand, Edmond, 1868-1918
Language: English
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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 "Cyrano de Bergerac - An Heroic Comedy in Five Acts" ***

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  [Illustration: PHOTO. BY PACH
  _MANSFIELD AS CYRANO DE BERGERAC._]



                           CYRANO DE BERGERAC

                     An Heroic Comedy in Five Acts

                    _Translated from the French of_

                             EDMOND ROSTAND

                                   BY

                            CHARLES RENAULD

                       _With an introduction by_
                              ADOLPHE COHN
    _Professor of the Romance languages and literatures in Columbia
                              University._

                   [Illustration: Publisher's Device]

                                NEW YORK
                      FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
                               PUBLISHERS



                            COPYRIGHT, 1898
                           BY CHARLES RENAULD

                            COPYRIGHT, 1899
                     BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

                         _All rights reserved._



                            _INTRODUCTION._


The phenomenal success of "Cyrano de Bergerac" is undoubtedly one of the
most important literary events of the last quarter of a century. It at
once placed Edmond Rostand, a young man of twenty-eight, at the head of
the small band of French dramatic writers, all men of marked ability,
Maurice Donnay, Georges de Porto-Riche, François de Curel, Paul Hervieu,
Henri Lavedan, etc., who had been struggling for supremacy since the
disappearance of the two great masters of modern French comedy, Émile
Augier and Alexandre Dumas, fils. There was no hesitation on the part of
the public. It was at once recognised that what had just been produced
upon the stage was not simply better than what had been seen for a long
time, but was also, to a certain extent, of a different nature. And the
verdict rendered by the French public in December, 1897, has since then
been approved by readers and theatre-goers in nearly every one of the
countries belonging to Western civilisation.

Can it be said, however, that to an American, or an Englishman, "Cyrano"
is all that it is to a Frenchman, that its production would have been
possible outside of as well as in France, and its success as significant
in London as in Paris? If "Cyrano" is really a great work these
questions must be answered negatively, for it is in the nature of great
literary works that they consist of a combination of what is purely
human with what belongs to the time and place where they have had their
birth. They must have enough of what is purely human to make it possible
for them to be universally accepted, understood and admired. But they
must be also strongly national, so that their universal acceptance may
help in spreading all over the world part of the national ideal which
prevails in their birthplace. And to these elements may be joined a
third one, which is sure to add greatly to their success, and which
"Cyrano" possesses in a very high degree, viz: timeliness.

As soon as "Cyrano" appeared it seemed to the French that this was just
what they had been waiting for. Two things especially appealed to them,
one of a purely literary nature, the other one a part of the basis of
moral feelings and ideas upon which the play is built.

First of all, it was a clear play, full of light and sunshine. Edmond
Rostand hails from the South of France, and the atmosphere of his play
is as translucid as the atmosphere of his native Provence. It is as far
removed from symbolism and mysticism as the shores of the Mediterranean
are from the fogs of Scandinavia. Every incident in the play rests upon
some trait of character or combination of circumstances which has been
explained at some previous moment. Every one of the leading characters,
and "Cyrano" most of all, stands out in bold relief, and there is no
mistaking what they stand for.

But this clearness is mainly for the countrymen of the author. It
depends partly upon the previous possession by the audience of a number
of notions which are part of the intellectual inheritance of the race.
The play, although quite modern in its style and construction, is in
some respects for the French a resurrection of a portion of their
glorious past. For them the _Hôtel de Bourgogne, les Précieuses_,
Cardinal de Richelieu, etc., are more than mere names. The earlier part
of the Seventeenth Century was for France a period of wonderful national
energy. It is then, and not later, that France acquired that supremacy
over the European Continent which is usually associated with the name of
Louis XIV, but which was already established when that monarch assumed
the reins of government.

The timeliness of Rostand's great play was shown exactly in this, that
it called the attention of the French back to a time when the nation was
full of youthful and vigourous ambition, when a Frenchman would hardly
believe that there was anything that he could not do if he set his mind
to it, when it became the fashion to say that "Impossible was not a
French word."

Ever since the war of 1870 the pall of defeat had hung over the French.
The stage showed this in a striking manner. The plays that were produced
presented on the whole a stern or a pessimistic conception of life. The
great periods of history, especially, in which French valour carried
everything before it, remained neglected, for fear of the painful
contrast which they would present with the humiliated condition of a
vanquished country.

The men who wrote these plays belonged to a generation in which, using
the words of a French academician, "the mainspring of joy had been
broken."

But the young men who now come to the front, and who have no more
brilliant representative than Edmond Rostand, belong to another
generation. They have not known the pangs of defeat; the mutilation of
the beloved Fatherland was an accomplished fact when they began to feel
and to think. They viewed French history not as concentrated in its last
and heart-rending episode, but as spreading through centuries of heroic
deeds, oftener illuminated by the dazzling sunshine of victory than
darkened by the gloom of defeat. They were growing tired of hearing it
repeated on all tones that life was not worth living, and they longed
for some one who would shout in a voice loud enough to be heard by the
whole world, "Let the dead past bury its dead."

In the acclaim that greeted "Cyrano de Bergerac" on December 28th, 1897,
therefore, there was something more than applause for a great dramatic
work: there was gratitude for the poet who had dispelled at last the
atmosphere of sadness which had come to be stifling for the young
Frenchmen of our time. The period of deep mourning was proclaimed to be
over. Glances towards the past were again declared to be indulged in
only as inspirations for the future. The glory, the joyfulness of action
again appeared as living realities, not as the deceptive dreams of
unsuspecting ignorance. Thus "Cyrano" presented to the French a play
such as they had not seen for a long time. There had been plenty of
problem plays, or _pieces à thése_, as the French say; "Cyrano" was a
_piece à panache_.

Seldom has, indeed, the purpose of a dramatist been more clearly pointed
out than in "Cyrano." When the hero of the play breathes his last, after
an imaginary fight with all the unworthy traits of human nature and
society which he had antagonized during his checkered life, the one
thing which he informs his friends cannot be taken from him, which he
will proudly carry to the very presence of God, is his _panache_, and
this is the last word, and, as it were, the affabulation of the drama.

Now, what is this _panache_ upon which "Cyrano" sets such a high value?
To understand it is to appreciate, to miss it is to miss the meaning of
the play. An explanation of it is, therefore, not out of place in this
introduction.

The _panache_ is an external quality which adds colour and brilliancy to
internal things already worth having for their own intrinsic value. Its
main justification is personal bravery. To take an example, the generals
of the French Revolution, the marshals of Napoleon's army, all possessed
personal bravery to a high degree. They were not all distinguished by
the _panache_. Some of them, indeed, Marshal Davout, for instance, were
strikingly devoid of it. The representative of the _panache_ among them
was essentially Murat. The _panache_ is literally a high plume, or bunch
of plumes, that waves high above a commander's head-gear. Murat was
bravery itself. But he had to be as conspicuous as possible. He dressed
as gorgeously as he could. He rode a superb charger, and rode it
superbly. His fur cap was always surmounted by a high and richly
coloured plume, which was always discerned just where the battle most
fiercely raged. Not his the deeply laid and skilfully carried out plans,
but the brilliant and heroic cavalry charge. His eyes, his very voice,
irrespective of what he said, were an inspiration to his men, and
dispelled all fear of death. There is magnetism in the _panache_, and
readers may remember that a few years ago an American statesman whom his
friends proclaimed to be magnetic if nothing else, was known throughout
the land as the Plumed Knight. "Rally round my white panache," Henry the
Fourth said to his soldiers; "you will find it always on the path of
honour and duty." The _panache_, too, is essentially joyful. "Cyrano" is
joyful, in spite of a life that would breed discouragement and
bitterness in almost any heart but his. If reality denies him his share
of happiness, then he will find it in the domain the ideal. He will not
have to go without it.

And here we strike another cause of "Cyrano's" success. It is not simply
a play, it is a poem, and poetry always leads us towards the ideal. This
is undoubtedly one of the reasons underlying the love of the French for
a verse play. The very swing of its verbal development lifts us above
the trivialities of daily life.

One might almost say that the verse play is as characteristic of the
French as the Wagnerian lyric drama is of the Germans.

Corneille, Racine, Hugo, Molière himself in such a play as _le
Misanthrope_, are idealists, and their message to the world at large, to
which must now be added that of the brilliant author of "Cyrano," tells
of things better than those we see around us, of things of beauty which
it lies in every one of us to bring somewhat nearer to our touch, if we
will only have the courage to live up to them.

A few words now about the new rendering of the play which is here
presented to the English-reading public. A number of translations of
"Cyrano" have appeared before this one. If the facts were known,
however, it would perhaps appear that Mr. Charles Renauld's is the
earliest of all. It was undertaken by its author under the spell cast
upon the French mind by the sudden revelation of Rostand's genius, the
nature and causes of which it has been the purpose of this production to
elucidate.

The Shakespearian character of the play, displayed in the freedom with
which the author brings in everything that seems to him likely to
complete the portrait of his hero, has been recognised by the
translator, as is shown by his use of a combination of prose and verse
passages.

A real translator must be equally at home in the language of the work
translated and in the language into which he translates it. He must be
in thorough sympathy with the mental attitudes of the two nations whose
speeches he is transmuting one into the other. He must be able to be a
component atom of that collective being, the public, on one side as well
as on the other of the national frontiers that divide them. Thus only
will he be able to discover the means that will produce upon the reader
of the translation the impression first received by contact with the
original.

The readers of Mr. Renauld's translation will, it is thought,
acknowledge that he possesses in a high degree the above-described
qualifications, and that he has been peculiarly felicitous, when the
text did not lend itself to translation proper, in devising what may be
termed adequate equivalents.

Of the faithfulness of his rendering those acquainted with the French
language will easily judge, as they can have under the same cover the
English of the translator and the French of the dramatist, and they will
thus, it is hoped, acquire a clear and adequate conception of the
beautiful picture, which, thanks to Edmond Rostand, has restored life
and brilliancy to the somewhat faded features of that eccentric
philosopher, poet, hero and gentleman, Savinien Hercule de Cyrano
Bergerac.

                                                           ADOLPHE COHN.



                               _PREFACE._


The author of this translation trusts that he is not presuming too much
if, despite his aversion for anything akin to offensive thought and
mention of self, he claims the privilege of prefacing the result here
presented of his labours with a few remarks, not as a plea _pro domo
sua_, but as an explanation relating to the motives and to the methods
by which he was guided in his work.

First of all, he desires to state that this, his version of Edmond
Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" was written in the early part of 1898,
and copyrighted in Washington long before any other rendering in English
of the beautiful and now celebrated play was either published or
performed. Why did he withhold it until now? Simply because Mr. Edmond
Rostand, with whom he was not in touch, had innocently, or under
insufficient advice, neglected to copyright in the United States, and
had meanwhile made arrangements for the performance of the play in
America. Was the writer, who has long been, and is still, battling for a
better protection of literary property, to interfere with, or even seem
in any way to invade these arrangements? He thought not, despite
solicitations to the contrary. True that, armed with the valid copyright
of his own work, and with many technicalities at his disposal, he could
have brought about considerable litigation in his own behalf, that would
possibly have resulted in an indirect defence of Mr. Rostand's moral
rights still subsisting. But in the face of a very doubtful issue in the
courts, with a possible charge of officiousness out of them, he thought
it wiser to abstain, allowing time meanwhile to accomplish its work of
adjustment.

Others, however, apparently satisfied with safety for a justification,
have not treated with the same respect Mr. Rostand's moral rights and
the arrangements made by him for the American production of his "Cyrano
de Bergerac." The play has been mutilated, adapted, or "improved" to
suit. There are just now, it is said, some twenty so-called stock
companies presenting it in different cities throughout the United
States. The original in French has been openly reprinted here, likewise
its British translation, and other translations (so-called) have been
offered to the public. Mr. Rostand did not copyright. Hence the result
of his labours, of his genius, belongs, it would seem, to whoever
chooses to pick it up!

In these circumstances and now, there certainly can be no impropriety in
the publication of this work, the more so as Mr. Rostand is to receive
in this instance the royalties to which he is morally entitled.

Further even. Who knows but that this royalty-paying version in book
form, or produced on the stage (the right to perform it having been
expressly reserved by the writer), may not assist in setting aside the
different versions that now interfere with Mr. Rostand's moral rights,
as well as with the arrangements he chose to make for stage production
in America? Diffidence would prevent the translator, were it not for the
valuable encouragement he has received, from adding that the present
version of "Cyrano de Bergerac" may, perchance, better than any of the
renderings in English now extant, lead to an adequate conception of the
beauties of the work in French.

At all events, those who were consulted, including the eminent
publishers, and the distinguished writer of the Introduction to this
book, freely agreed with the author in his opinion that publication
under the foregoing conditions could do no harm, while it might effect
considerable good, were it only as an example in many respects, proving,
among other things, that there are those, even in America, for whom
impunity does not constitute right.

But enough "talk of shop," perhaps too much, for the _genus irritabile
vatum_.

At this point, the author feels that, if he expatiated on his methods of
translation, he might with some justice be accused of tiresome
insistence, or, to put it more gently, of obduracy in esoterism. He
will, therefore, confine himself to a few statements, and make them as
short as possible.

This version of "Cyrano de Bergerac" was written originally for the
stage, where, according to opinion behind as well as before the curtain,
in America at least, verse may be acceptable for the expression of
occasional flights of thought, but not through the whole of a play, and
especially not for such portions of a play as are necessarily
colloquial. To explain this alleged distaste for verse on the stage
would lead us far beyond the limits of a preface. Suffice it, then, to
say, reserving developments for some future occasion, that, for poetic
emotion, English verse is more than the French dependent on form, on
expression. In other words, English verse is less than the French free
to consider only thought, or substance, irrespective of words, or
construction. As a rule, then, it would seem in English that dress comes
first and figure next; while in French the order appears to be reversed.
In consequence (and setting aside the fact that there exists a "magic of
words," that has been an all-time and frequent deceiver of men), the
average reader or listener instinctively expects from English verse a
somewhat conventional language, diversified with unusual words and
exceptional contractions, inversions, etc. It follows that, when this
special phraseology and peculiar construction are applied to everyday
thoughts, facts, occurrences and sentiments, the effect produced is not
an agreeable one, by reason of a sort of clash, the appearance of a
thing of prose, straight-laced and overdressed in verse, in a word,
unnaturalness. Further, the majority of English-speaking actors,
unavoidably imbued with the same spirit, so soon as they deal with
verse, unconsciously resort to a stilted diction that is distressingly
far-removed from the art that consists, through tedious and patient
work, in being natural.

Natural, unconstrained verse can, with proper care, it is thought, be
written in English, and can certainly, with appropriate training, be
delivered with naturalness. This done, our audiences would no doubt take
kindly to the rhythm of plays in verse. But, as this does not yet seem
to have been fully accomplished, the undersigned translator of "Cyrano
de Bergerac" reluctantly decided to use both verse and prose. For this
liberty, though justified as above, he feels that he owes the French
poet an apology, adding, however, that the deed brought its own
punishment, since, strange as it may appear to some, it would have been
much easier to render the play all in verse.

As to verse and metrics, on which, in this instance, a book could (and
later, may) be written, the author of this translation must now rest
satisfied with the following brief remarks.

Enlightened by considerable experience, the result of many experiments
and after much thought, he adopted blank pentameter as the true
equivalent in English of French riming Alexandrine verse. First, because
in English, frequent elisions making many syllables heavy, and "run on"
lines practically adding to the number of syllables, the ten-syllable
line of English verse is in reality the counterpart of the
twelve-syllable verse in French. And second, because the object of rime
being, not to repeat a given sound, but to _beat time_, the strongly
accentuated syllables of English, as compared with the very much more
even enunciation of French, are quite sufficient, without rime or
assonance, to _mark rhythm_. Thus he avoided at least one criticism, to
wit: rime is monotonous!

Touching metrics, the writer will here go only one step in the ways of
heresy, by stating that, in his opinion, such words as "our," "hour,"
"fire," etc., should be, as in French, "duel," "hier," etc., counted for
one syllable, or for two syllables, according to rhythm as influenced
by the stronger or weaker emphasis called for by the _sense_ of the
word. This could be elucidated by examples, the place of which, however,
is not here.

More generally as to methods, the writer makes free to state that,
exerting himself to avoid _literal_ translation (too often productive of
laughable nonsense), and _free_ translation (frequently a substitution
of the translator's for the author's thoughts), he endeavoured, as in
previous works of the same nature, to give what he has termed an
_equivalent_ translation. In other words, he strove to remain really
true to the original by creating in detail, as well as in a general way,
in English words on English minds the _impression_ caused by French
words on French minds. Some examples of the _equivalence_ at least
sought for will be found in the foot-notes on several pages of this
book.

As to "le panache" that surmounts this masterpiece, "Cyrano de
Bergerac," of which it is the main feature, sending through it a breath
of joyful daring "quand même," the writer sought, as will be seen, to
describe it in triolets. These, too, might need to be explained, were it
not for the able commentary to be found in the Introduction so kindly
written for this book by one of the most learned and esteemed professors
of our Columbia University.

The writer trusts that he may be pardoned for going at such length into
some of the minutiæ of his task, and he certainly should be acquitted if
he thereby succeeded in showing how much labour must be expended to
produce even a tolerable translation, and consequently, how little
justice is very often done to translators in general. He commends these
details to his friends as an inducement to think a while before they
leap, or rather jump at conclusions. Were he less charitably disposed,
or more eager for a practical demonstration, he could say to them
simply: "Try the task!"

                                                        CHARLES RENAULD.

NEW YORK, February, 1899.



                            "_LE PANACHE._"

                               TRIOLETS.

   (_After the fashion of Rostand's in ACT II: "Ce sont les Cadets de
                              Gascogne."_)


          O'er truth and daring floats a plume
          That is no flaunting feather vain!
          In knightly grace and flower's bloom,
          O'er truth and daring floats a plume!
          In festive hall, by silent tomb,
          It waves aloft without a stain.
          O'er truth and daring floats a plume
          That is no flaunting feather vain!

          We'll call it, if you will, a broom;
          But how it sweeps with proud disdain!
          It sweeps the skies, and not a room!
          We'll call it, if you will, a broom.
          It is a symbol, not of gloom,
          But of a dash that scorns to gain.
          We'll call it, if you will, a broom;
          But how it sweeps with proud disdain!

          O'er truth and daring floats a plume
          That is no flaunting feather vain!
          It marks for ay the hero's doom!
          O'er truth and daring floats a plume.
          It nods o'er chisel, brush and loom,
          And consecrates the poet's strain.
          O'er truth and daring floats a plume
          That is no flaunting feather vain!

                                        CHARLES RENAULD.

     NEW YORK, 12th July, 1898.



                         _CAST OF CHARACTERS._

                                  THÉÂTRE DE LA PORTE ST. MARTIN, PARIS,
                                        28th Dec., 1897 (_First night_).


     CYRANO DE BERGERAC                  MR. COQUELIN.
     CHRISTIAN DE NEUVILLETTE            MR. VOLNY.
     COUNT DE GUICHE                     MR. DESJARDINS.
     RAGUENEAU                           MR. JEAN COQUELIN.
     LE BRET                             MR. CASTILLAN.
     CAPTAIN CARBON OF HAUGHTY-HALL[1]       MR. GRAVIER.
                                       { MR. PERICAUD.
                                       { MR. DEMEY.
                                       { MR. NOIZEUX.
     CADETS OF GASCONY                 { MR. TERVAL.
                                       { MR. KIRTAL.
                                       { MR. ARMAND.
                                       { MR. HOSSARD.
     LIGNIÈRE                            MR. REBEL.
     DE VALVERT                          MR. NICOLINI.
     A MARQUIS                           MR. WALTER.
     SECOND MARQUIS                      MR. LAUMONIER.
     THIRD MARQUIS                       MR. HEMERY.
     MONTFLEURY                          MR. PERICAUD.
     BELLEROSE                           MR. DAVRIL.
     JODELET                             MR. CARTEREAU.
     CUIGY                               MR. GODEAU.
     BRISSAILLE                          MR. BORGES.
     AN INTRUDER                         MR. PERSON.
     A MUSKETEER                         MR. CARLIT.
     SECOND MUSKETEER                    MR. DURAND.
     A SPANISH OFFICER                   MR. ALBERT.
     A CAVALRYMAN                        MR. DOUBLEAU.
     THE JANITOR                         MR. JOURDAN.
     A TRADESMAN                         MR. LOISEAU.
     TRADESMAN'S SON                     MR. BOURGEOIS.
     A SPECTATOR                         MR. SAMSON.
     A GUARD                             MR. DANNEQUIN.
     BERTRANDOU, THE FIFE-PLAYER         MR. G. MONPEURT.
     A CAPUCHIN MONK                     MR. RAVART.
     TWO MUSICIANS                     { MR. GASTON HENRY.
                                       { MR. DAMON.
                                       { MR. WILLIAMS.
     THE POETS                         { MR. LEROY.
                                       { ETC.
                                       { MR. MALLET.
     THE PASTRY-COOKS                  { MR. BERCHA.
                                       { ETC.

     ROXANE                              MME. MARIE LEGAULT.
     SISTER MARTHA                       MME. ESQUILAR.
     LISE                                MME. BLANCHE MIROIR.
     WAITING-GIRL                        MME. KERWICH.
     MOTHER MARGARET OF JESUS            MME. BOUCHETAL.
     THE DUENNA                          MME. BOURGEOIS.
     SISTER CLAIRE                       MME. PANNETIER.
     A COMEDIENNE                        MME. LUCINNE.
     A LADY'S MAID                       MME. VARENNES.
                                       { MME. MARTHE MARTY.
     THE PAGES                         { MME. LOISIER.
                                       { MME. BERTHA.
                                       { ETC.
     THE FLOWER-GIRL

The people, tradesmen, musketeers, thieves and pickpockets,
pastry-cooks, poets, Gascon cadets, comedians, violin-players, pages,
children, Spanish soldiers, spectators of both sexes, euphuistic ladies
("précieuses,") comediennes, tradeswomen, nuns, etc.

          (_The first four acts in 1640; the fifth in 1655._)

  [1] Note. As to translation of the name Carbon de Castel-Jaloux
      (such _was_ the name of Cyrano's captain) see note page 77.

  [Illustration: _COQUELIN AS CYRANO DE BERGERAC._]



                          CYRANO DE BERGERAC.



                                _ACT I._

            A PERFORMANCE AT THE HOTEL DE BOURGOGNE THEATRE.


_The interior of the Hotel de Bourgogne Theatre, in 1640. A sort of
Racket-Court arranged and decorated in view of performances. The
auditorium is a long square. It runs diagonally, and forms the
background, one of its sides beginning at first entrance, right, and
ending at last entrance, left, where it forms a right angle with the
stage, that is thus seen canted. On each side of this stage, benches
along the wings. The curtain is in two pieces of tapestry, that can be
drawn apart. Above the proscenium, the royal arms. Wide steps lead from
the stage to the auditorium. On either side of these steps, seats for
the violin-players. Foot-lights composed of candles._

_Two galleries, one above the other, running along the side of the
auditorium (that forms the diagonal background). The upper gallery is
divided into boxes. No seats in the pit. In the rear of this pit, really
front first entrance right, a few benches in tiers. Under a staircase
leading to the galleries, and only the lower part of which can be seen,
a refreshment side-board bearing lights, flowers, glasses, plates of
cakes, decanters, etc._

_In the rear, centre, under the galleries, the entrance to the house. A
wide door, half opened now and then to admit the audience. Near this
door, as well as near the side-board and in other places, red posters
giving the name of the play about to be performed: "La Clorise."_

_As the curtain rises, the house is empty and rather dark._

_The chandeliers have been lowered into the pit, but are not yet
lighted._


                               _SCENE I._

_The audience enters gradually. Gentlemen, tradesmen, lackeys, pages,
pickpockets, the janitor, etc._ THE MARQUISES, CUIGY, BRISSAILLE, _the
waiting girl, the violins, etc._

_Noise outside the door, then a gentleman bursts in._

                     THE JANITOR (_pursuing him_).

Here! Your fifteen sols!

                             THE GENTLEMAN.

I pay nothing for admission.

                              THE JANITOR.

Why so?

                             THE GENTLEMAN.

King's guard!

           THE JANITOR (_to another gentleman just come in_).

You, Sir?

                           SECOND GENTLEMAN.

Free admission.

                              THE JANITOR.

But ....

                           SECOND GENTLEMAN.

Musketeer!

                FIRST GENTLEMAN (_to second gentleman_).

It's not two o'clock yet, and the pit is empty. Suppose we fence a bit?

     (_They begin fencing with foils they have brought along._)

                         A LACKEY (_entering_).

Pst----Flanquin!

                      ANOTHER LACKEY (_just in_).

Hallo, Champagne!

      FIRST LACKEY (_taking cards and dice from out his doublet_).

Cards? Dice? Let's play.

     (_Seats himself on the floor._)

                             SECOND LACKEY.

Certainly, you rascal.

     (_Takes a candle out of his pocket, lights it, and after seating
     himself near first lackey, plants it on the floor._)

               GUARD (_taking flower-girl by the waist_).

How sweet in you to come before the lights do!

                          ONE OF THE FENCERS.

Touched!

                        ONE OF THE CARD-PLAYERS.

Clubs!

               GUARD (_to flower-girl trying to escape_).

A kiss!

      A MAN (_sitting on the floor, with a basket of provisions_).

I come early, so as to eat in peace. A knowing fellow, when he is at the
Hôtel de Bourgogne, should drink his Burgundy. (_Drinks._)

                       TRADESMAN (_to his son_).

  It's as bad as a low tavern.--(_Showing the man drinking_):
  Drunkards!--(_One of the fencers backs up against him_):
  Cut throats!--(_He is pushed on to the card-players_):
  Gamblers!

               GUARD (_still pursuing the flower-girl_).

A kiss!

                       TRADESMAN (_hearing him_).

And worse!--For shame! To think that walls like these, my son, have seen
the plays of Rotrou!

                                THE SON.

And Corneille's!

           A TROOP OF PAGES (_coming in, dancing and singing,
                  holding each other by the hand, so as to
                  form a string_).

Tra la la la la la la la la la la lère!....

                     JANITOR (_to Pages severely_).

No practical jokes, mind!

                   FIRST PAGE (_with great dignity_).

Sir, your suspicion is an offense!....

                     SECOND PAGE (_to first Page_).

I have some string. Haven't you a fish-hook?

                              FIRST PAGE.

Of course I have! We can do some fine angling from up stairs.

     (_To the other Pages who are already in the gallery_).

We're coming!

                       THIRD PAGE (_in gallery_).

We're ready! (_Blows dried peas at him through hollow stick._)

                 A PICKPOCKET (_drawing around him some
                        suspicious-looking characters_).

Now, youngsters, try to learn something. You see, the first time you
steal....

     (_Driven away by dried peas blown in showers by the Pages above._)

                       TRADESMAN (_to his son_).

The play we are going to see: "La Clorise" ....

                                  SON.

The author, please?

                               TRADESMAN.

Balthazar Baro.

              PICKPOCKET (_continuing his instructions_).

Mind the lace around the knees![2] How you cut it!

                       TRADESMAN (_to his son_).

I was at the first performance of "Le Cid,"--(_pointing up_)--There!

                              PICKPOCKET.

As to watches.... and kerchiefs....

                               TRADESMAN.

You are going, my son, to see illustrious actors. (_Enumerating_)
Montfleury!

                               THE PAGES.

Light the chandeliers!

              WAITING-GIRL (_offering her refreshments_).

Oranges! Milk! Raspberry water! Cedar water!

                        A MARQUIS (_entering_).

Make way there, fellows!

                               A LACKEY.

What! a Marquis in the pit!

        MARQUIS (_to other Marquises who have followed him in_).

The house is empty! Why, we enter like tradesmen, disturbing nobody,
treading on nobody's toes! Disgraceful!

     (_Meeting other noblemen just come in_).

Cuigy! Brissaille!

     (_They salute and embrace each other with great affectation._)

                                 CUIGY.

Patrons of art so faithful, yes, that we get here even before the
candles are lighted!

                                MARQUIS.

Do not mention it! I'm terribly out of humour!

                  CUIGY (_seeing lamplighter enter_).

Be consoled! Here is the lamplighter.

                      ALL THE HOUSE (_satisfied_).

Ah....

     (_Groups around the chandeliers while they are being lighted.
     Lignière enters the pit, leaning on the arm of Christian de
     Neuvillette. Lignière, somewhat untidy, has the appearance of a
     gentlemanly drunkard. Christian, dressed with care, but somewhat
     out of fashion, seems thoughtful, and examines the boxes._)

  [2] NOTE. "La dentelle des canons."--"Canons" were ornamental
      lace, embroidery or ribbons around the lower edge of
      knee-breeches.--Not, as one translation has it: "the canonical
      gentlemen's lace."


                              _SCENE II._

    _The same_, CHRISTIAN, LIGNIÈRE, _then_ RAGUENEAU _and_ LE BRET.

                                 CUIGY.

Why, here's Lignière!

                        BRISSAILLE (_laughing_).

And not yet drunk?....

                    LIGNIÈRE (_aside to Christian_).

Shall I present you?

          (_Christian nods assent. Lignière presents._)

                    Baron de Neuvillette.

                              (_General salutations._)

           THE AUDIENCE (_as the first chandelier goes up_).

Ah!....

             CUIGY (_to Brissaille, looking at Christian_).

A beautiful head!

                  FIRST MARQUIS (_who has overheard_).

Oh! so, so!....

                 LIGNIÈRE (_presenting to Christian_).

Mr. de Cuigy, Mr. de Brissaille.

                         CHRISTIAN (_bowing_).

Delighted!

                      FIRST MARQUIS (_to second_).

He is good looking, but not dressed according to the latest fashion.

                         LIGNIÈRE (_to Cuigy_).

Baron de Neuvillette has just arrived from Touraine.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, I've been in Paris only a few days. To-morrow I join the guards,
the Cadets.

               FIRST MARQUIS (_looking up to the boxes_).

There is the wife of President Aubry.

                           THE WAITING-GIRL.

Oranges, milk ....

                        THE VIOLINS (_tuning_).

La, la, la, la, la.

                CUIGY (_to Christian, looking around_).

Quite an assemblage!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, indeed!

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

The cream of fashion.

     (_He seems to give the names of the different ladies who occupy the
     boxes, in full dress. Bows, nods, answers, smiles._)

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

Mesdames de Guéménée....

                                 CUIGY.

De Bois-Dauphin....

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

Whom we loved ....

                              BRISSAILLE.

De Chavigny ....

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

For whom our hearts are toys!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

There is Monsieur de Corneille, just from Rouen.

                   TRADESMAN'S SON (_to his father_).

The Academy is here?....

                               TRADESMAN.

I see several of its members. Here are Boudu, Boissat, Cureau de la
Chambre, Porchères, Colomby, Bourzeys, Bourdon, Arbaud .... So many
names that can never die! How grand!

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

Attention! here are our lovely "précieuses,"[3] they of wondrous names:
Barthénoïde, Urimédonte, Cassandace, Félixérie ....

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

Delightful names! Marquis, you know them all?

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

I know them all, Marquis.

                    LIGNIÈRE (_aside to Christian_).

I came in to do you service. The lady comes not. So I return to my
tavern.

                       CHRISTIAN (_imploringly_).

Do not. You, who in your songs depict both town and court, can tell me
the name of one for whom I am dying of love. Remain!

                     (_The violins begin to play._)

I fear she may be something of a coquette and too subtle in her
refinement. I dare not speak to her, for my wit is dull and the language
of to-day confuses me. I am but a good soldier. She generally occupies
that box to the right--that empty one.

                      LIGNIÈRE (_as if to leave_).

I must go.

                       CHRISTIAN (_holding him_).

Remain, please.

                               LIGNIÈRE.

I cannot. D'Assoucy expects me at the tavern. One might die of thirst
here.

                       WAITING-GIRL (_passing_).

Lemonade!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Fie!

                             WAITING-GIRL.

Milk!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Ugh!

                             WAITING-GIRL.

Wine!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

(_to Christian_).                 (_to waiting-girl_).

I'll stay a while.                Let me taste your wine.

     (_Takes a seat near the buffet. Waiting-girl serves wine to him._)

             SHOUTS IN THE AUDIENCE (_on the entrance of a
                  short, plump and jovial looking man_).

Here's Ragueneau!

                       LIGNIÈRE (_to Christian_).

The celebrated poulterer and pastry-cook!

           RAGUENEAU (_in his best pastry-cook clothes, going
                  up to Lignière_).

Sir, have you seen Monsieur de Cyrano?

            LIGNIÈRE (_presenting Ragueneau to Christian_).

The caterer of comedians and poets!

                       RAGUENEAU (_bowing low_).

Flattered, indeed!....

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Come, come, you Mæcenas!

                               RAGUENEAU.

They honour me with their custom ....

                               LIGNIÈRE.

But seldom pay. A good poet himself ....

                               RAGUENEAU.

They say so.

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Enthusiastic for verse!

                               RAGUENEAU.

The fact is that for a short poem ....

                               LIGNIÈRE.

You willingly give a pie.

                               RAGUENEAU.

A small tart only!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Good fellow, he excuses himself!.... And for a triolet did you not give
....

                               RAGUENEAU.

Only a few rolls!

                         LIGNIÈRE (_sternly_).

Milk-rolls!.... And the stage? You like it?

                               RAGUENEAU.

I love it.

                               LIGNIÈRE.

And you buy your way in with your cakes.

                               RAGUENEAU.

Oh, so few! (_Looking around._) But I am surprised not to see Monsieur
de Cyrano!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Why so?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Because Montfleury plays!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

That talking hogshead? True. To-night he plays Phédon. But what cares
Cyrano?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Don't you know? Monsieur de Cyrano has taken an aversion for him, and,
gentlemen, has forbidden him to appear on the stage for a whole month.

                LIGNIÈRE (_emptying his fourth glass_).

Well, then?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Oh! I only came to see what is going to happen.

        FIRST MARQUIS (_who has come up meanwhile with Cuigy_).

Who is this Cyrano?

                                 CUIGY.

A capital swordsman.

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

Of noble birth?

                                 CUIGY.

Sufficiently so. He is a cadet in the guards.

     (_Indicating a gentleman who appears to be seeking somebody._)

But here's his friend Le Bret....

     (_Calling_) Le Bret! (_Le Bret comes down._)

You are looking for Bergerac?

                                LE BRET.

Yes, and with some anxiety....

                                 CUIGY.

Am I not right in stating that he is no ordinary man?

                           LE BRET (_moved_).

He is the most exquisite of creatures sublunary.

                               RAGUENEAU.

A rimester!

                                 CUIGY.

A swordsman!

                              BRISSAILLE.

A scientist!

                                LE BRET.

A musician!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

But how strange is his appearance!

                               RAGUENEAU.

No solemn painter, like Philip de Champaigne, probably, will ever give
us a portrait of him. But he is so odd, extravagant, wild and strange,
that he could well have served Jacques Callot as a model for the most
erratic of his fighting heroes. Three-plumed hat, astounding doublet,
cloak whose folds a sword draws up behind, in stateliness, like the
saucy tail of a cock.[4] Prouder than the proudest of Gascony's
numberless haughty sons, he wears, above his Pulcinella ruff, a
nose!.... Ah! mylords, what a nose is that nose! It is impossible, in
presence of such a nose-bearer[5] not to think: "This, really, is
exaggeration!" Then you will smile, and think: "Of course, he'll take it
off." But Monsieur de Bergerac never takes it off.

                                LE BRET.

Never--but whoever notices that nose he wears is sure to get a
swordthrust for the attention.

                               RAGUENEAU.

His sword is one of the two blades of the fatal sisters' scissors!

               FIRST MARQUIS (_shrugging his shoulders_).

He will not come.

                               RAGUENEAU.

Oh! yes, he will. I'll bet.... a chicken....à la Ragueneau.

     (_Murmurs of admiration as Roxane appears in her box, where she
     takes a seat in front, while her duenna sits behind her. Christian,
     busy paying the waiter-girl, does not notice her entrance._)

                     SECOND MARQUIS (_affectedly_).

Oh! gentlemen, she is frightfully lovely!

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

A peach divine, smiling in a nest of strawberries.[6]

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

So refreshing that she might give one a cold in the heart!

              CHRISTIAN (_perceiving Roxane, and clutching
                  Lignière's arm_).

It's she!

                        LIGNIÈRE (_looking up_).

So this is your deity!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, speak quickly. I tremble.

                 LIGNIÈRE (_slowly sipping his wine_).

Magdeleine Robin, otherwise Roxane. Refined and quick. A "précieuse."

                               CHRISTIAN.

Alas!

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Independent. An orphan. Cousin of Cyrano, whom you heard mentioned just
now.

     (_A gentleman, very finely dressed, wearing a blue ribbon crosswise
     from shoulder to waist, enters the box, and remains engaged in
     conversation with Roxane._)

                        CHRISTIAN (_starting_).

That man?....

              LIGNIÈRE (_slightly intoxicated, winking_).

Ha, ha! The Count de Guiche. Very much in love with her. But he is the
husband of Richelieu's niece. And he is urging Roxane to marry rather a
sorry fellow, Monsieur de Valvert, who is both of noble birth and....
accommodating. She resists, but Guiche has influence. I wrote a song on
the subject. No doubt he bears me a grudge for it. The end is cutting.
Just listen:

     (_He rises, holding up his glass, ready to sing._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

No, stop.--I must leave.

                               LIGNIÈRE.

And you are going?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

To seek this Valvert.

                               LIGNIÈRE.

Take care. Perhaps it's he that might kill you. (_Indicating Roxane._)
See! she is looking at you.

                               CHRISTIAN.

True. (_He remains, looking up as if transfixed. The pickpockets get
close around him._)

                               LIGNIÈRE.

'Tis I who leave. I'm thirsty and I must be expected--in some tavern!

     (_Exit unsteadily._)

            LE BRET (_who has been walking, to Ragueneau_).

I feel relieved. Cyrano has not come.

                       RAGUENEAU (_incredulous_).

I'd be astonished....

                             THE AUDIENCE.

The play! The play! The play!

  [3] Query.--Might it not be argued that the "précieuses" were perhaps
      spiritual daughters of the _euphuists_, disciples of John Lyly,
      who flourished in England under Queen Elizabeth, about half a
      century before the time of action here?

  [4] Note.--Not "an insolent cocktail," as one translation has it.

  [5] Note.--Literal translation of "nasigère," a word invented by
      Ragueneau, would be euphuist.

  [6] Note.--The play on the word "fraise" (both "strawberry" and
      "ruff") could not be reproduced.


                              _SCENE III._

    _The same, except_ LIGNIÈRE; GUICHE, VALVERT, _then_ MONTFLEURY.

              SECOND MARQUIS (_seeing Guiche, as he comes
                   from Roxane's box, crossing the pit,
                   surrounded with fawning friends, among
                   whom Valvert_).

Guiche! Ff! Another Gascon!

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

Yes, of the cool and supple breed, the one that thrives. We had better
greet him, believe me.

     (_Both go up to meet Guiche. General salutations._)

                            SECOND MARQUIS.

Beautiful ribbons! What colour, Count? "Kiss-me-darling," or
"roe's-breast?"

                                GUICHE.

Colour? "Sickly-Spaniard."

                             FIRST MARQUIS.

The colour is fast and true; for soon, thanks to your valor, the
Spaniard will be worse than uneasy in Flanders!

                                GUICHE.

I am going to my seat on the stage. Are you coming?

     (_He and his followers walk up on to the stage. Guiche turns and
     calls._)

Come along, Valvert!

                 CHRISTIAN (_who has heard, starting_).

That viscount! Now I'll fling at him!....

     (_Puts his hand to his pocket and finds there the hand of a
     thief._)

     (_holding on to the pickpocket_).

I was looking for a glove!

                        PICKPOCKET (_smiling_).

And you find a hand. (_Aside and rapidly._) Let me go and I'll tell you
a secret.

                    CHRISTIAN (_still holding him_).

What secret?

                              PICKPOCKET.

Lignière, who has just left you, is going to his death. A song of his
gave offence to.... some great man, and one hundred men, I know it, will
lie in wait for him to-night....

                    CHRISTIAN (_still holding on_).

One hundred! Paid by whom?

                              PICKPOCKET.

Discretion....

                 CHRISTIAN (_shrugging his shoulders_).

Oh!

                   PICKPOCKET (_with great dignity_).

Professional discretion....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Where?

                              PICKPOCKET.

At the Porte de Nesle, his way home. Warn him in time.

                 CHRISTIAN (_freeing the pickpocket_).

Where can I find Lignière?

                              PICKPOCKET.

In one of the taverns near here: "The Golden Wine-Press," "The
Fir-Cone," "The Bursting-Belt," "The Two Torches," "The Three Funnels."
Go the rounds and leave a note in each.

                               CHRISTIAN.

I'll do it! The wretches! A hundred men against one! (_Looking up toward
Roxane._) But to leave her! (_With a look of fury toward Valvert._) And
him! But I must save Lignière!

     (_He rushes out. Guiche and his followers have gone on to the stage
     behind the curtain, to take their seats. The pit is full; so are
     the galleries and boxes._)

                             THE AUDIENCE.

The play! The play! Curtain!

              TRADESMAN (_whose wig flies up hooked by one
                   of the pages above_).

My wig! (_Shaking his fist at the pages._) Scoundrels!

     (_All the audience laughs. Sudden silence._)

                        LE BRET (_astonished_).

What is it?

                      TRADESMAN (_near Le Bret_).

The Cardinal.... there.... in a screened box.

                                A PAGE.

Good-bye, fun! (_Raps on the stage. Order in the audience. Wait._)

           A MARQUIS (_behind the curtain, during silence_).

Snuff that candle!

            OTHER MARQUIS (_passing through the split in the
                  curtain_).

A chair, please!

     (_A chair is passed, from hand to hand, over the heads of the
     audience. The marquis takes it and disappears behind the curtain,
     after sending a few kisses up into the boxes._)

     (_Three raps on the stage. Curtain is drawn aside. Tableau.
     Marquises seated on either side of the stage, in impertinent
     attitudes. Drop represents a bluish pastoral scene. Low music by
     the violins._)

                    LE BRET (_aside to Ragueneau_).

Montfleury comes in at once, does he not?

                    RAGUENEAU (_aside to Le Bret_).

Yes. Monsieur de Cyrano is not here, and I have lost my bet.

                                LE BRET.

I am glad of it.

     (_A bag-pipe air, and Montfleury appears, a very powerful man in a
     poetic shepherd's dress: his hat ornamented with roses and his
     bag-pipe with ribbons._)

                        THE PIT (_applauding_).

Bravo, Montfleury! Montfleury!

        MONTFLEURY (_after bowing, begins his part of Phédon_).

  "Oh! happy he who far from courts, in solitude,[7]
  Self-banished, has cast off the chains of servitude,
  And who, when zephyr sighs and rustles through the leaves...."

                          A VOICE IN THE PIT.

You rascal, did I not suspend you for a month?

     (_Astonishment. Everybody eager to see who spoke. Murmurs._)

                        SEVERAL OF THE AUDIENCE.

What? What is it? Who? Why?

     (_People in the boxes rise, to see better._)

                                 CUIGY.

It's he!

                        LE BRET (_frightened_).

Cyrano!

                         THE VOICE IN THE PIT.

King of clowns, get off the stage!

                               THE HOUSE.

Oh!

                              MONTFLEURY.

But....

                         THE VOICE IN THE PIT.

You recalcitrate?[8]

                VOICES IN THE PIT (_and in the boxes_).

Silence! Enough! Go on, Montfleury! Montfleury, have no fear!....

                    MONTFLEURY (_in shaking tone_).

"Oh! happy he who far from courts, in sol...."

               THE VOICE IN THE PIT (_more threatening_).

Well, you king of knaves, shall I be forced to plant a grove of these
upon your shoulders?

     (_A stick is seen to rise in the pit._)

                 MONTFLEURY (_in still weaker tones_).

"Oh! happy he...."

     (_The stick is shaken threateningly._)

                         THE VOICE IN THE PIT.

Get off, I say!

                                THE PIT.

Oh!

                   MONTFLEURY (_almost breathless_).

"Oh! happy he who far ...."

            CYRANO (_in the pit, standing on his chair, arms
                folded, hat cocked on the side of his head,
                his mustache bristling and his nose terrible_).

I am going to let my temper loose!

     (_Excitement in the audience._)

  [7] Note.--Alexandrine verse adopted here and further on (beginning
      of Act II) as being more pompous.

  [8] Note.--The words "you kick," in the place of "tu récalcitres,"
      were suggested by a friend, as a better translation. But the good
      critic failed to realise that Cyrano does not use slang, and is
      almost always, on the contrary, somewhat hyperbolic, addicted to
      willful oddity of speech.--"Récalcitrant," adj.-part. (doggedly
      resisting), is frequently used in French. But the infinitive
      "récalcitrer," though it exists, and the other forms of the verb
      are seldom, if ever, heard.--Cyrano, therefore, calls up a smile,
      if not a laugh, by resorting to the verb in the second person,
      singular, present, indicative.--_To recalcitrate_ is a good
      English word (see Longfellow), but it is so seldom used that it
      creates on the English ear the same impression of amused surprise
      that is induced by the original.


                              _SCENE IV._

             _The same_, CYRANO, _then_ BELLEROSE, JODELET.

                    MONTFLEURY (_to the Marquises_).

Protect me, gentlemen!

                        A MARQUIS (_languidly_).

Play on! Play on!

                                CYRANO.

Now mind me, corpulence! If you play, I'll have to spank your cheeks.

                              THE MARQUIS.

Enough! Enough!

                                CYRANO.

Let the gentlemen remain silent on their benches. Otherwise their
ribbons will have a taste of my stick.

                     ALL THE MARQUISES (_rising_).

This is too much, indeed! Montfleury!

                                CYRANO.

Montfleury must go, or I shall crop his ears and disembowel him!

                                A VOICE.

But ....

                                CYRANO.

He must go!

                             ANOTHER VOICE.

We cannot ....

                                CYRANO.

What! Not gone yet!

     (_As if he were going to turn up his sleeves_). Then must I go upon
     the stage to cut up this overgrown sausage into slices?

               MONTFLEURY (_with an attempt at dignity_).

By insulting me, Sir, you insult the Muse Thalia!

                    CYRANO (_with great courtesy_).

If the Muse Thalia, with whom you are not related, Sir, had the honour
of your acquaintance and saw you so fat and so silly, she would
certainly give you a lift with her buskin.

                                THE PIT.

Montfleury! Montfleury! The play.

                CYRANO (_to the noisy ones around him_).

Have pity on my scabbard! If you continue thus, it will lose control of
its blade.

     (_The circle around him widens._)

                                                      (_to Montfleury_).

Get off the stage!

     (_The crowd closes in on him, muttering._)

                                                   (_Turning suddenly_).

Any objection made?

     (_Crowd falls back again._)

                        A VOICE (_in the rear_).

Monsieur de Cyrano is a tyrant. "La Clorise" shall be played.

                             THE AUDIENCE.

"La Clorise!" "La Clorise!"

                                CYRANO.

If I hear that again, I'll slaughter you all.

                               TRADESMAN.

You are not Samson!

                                CYRANO.

I will be, my dear Sir, if you'll lend me your jaw.

                    A LADY (_in one of the boxes_).

Disgraceful disturbance!

                              A GENTLEMAN.

Scandalous!

                                A PAGE.

Oh! What fun!

                                THE PIT.

Kss! Kss! Montfleury! Cyrano!

                                CYRANO.

Silence! Such is my order. I challenge the whole pit! Now for the names!
Come up here, young heroes. Take the line, please; I'll distribute
numbers. Well, who'll be number one? You, Sir? No! You, then? No! I'll
favour number one by prompt attendance. Let any one who desires to die
hold up a hand.

     (_Silence around him._)

Oh! I see. You are prudish and would not like to see a blade naked. Not
a name? Not a hand?--Very well, then, I continue.

     (_Turning again to the stage, on which Montfleury is waiting in
     agony_).

I desire to see the stage cured of a monstrous tumor. And, if necessary,
I'll use ... (_putting his hand to his sword_) a lancet!

                              MONTFLEURY.

But I ....

            CYRANO (_gets off his chair and sits down on it,
                comfortably, with a wide circle around him_).

Attention, full moon! I'll clap my hands thrice. The third time, there
must be an eclipse.

                          THE PIT (_amused_).

Ah! Good!

                CYRANO (_striking his hands together_).

One!

                              MONTFLEURY.

But I ....

                      A VOICE (_from the boxes_).

Stay, Montfleury!

                                THE PIT.

Will stay, will not! Will stay, will not!

                              MONTFLEURY.

I believe, gentlemen ....

                                CYRANO.

Two!

                              MONTFLEURY.

It would be far better ....

                                CYRANO.

Three!

     (_Montfleury disappears as if by magic. General laughter,
     whistling, etc._)

            CYRANO (_leaning back in his chair, and crossing
                his legs_).

Let him return if he dares!

                             THE AUDIENCE.

The company's orator!

     (_Bellerose advances and bows._)

                               THE BOXES.

Ah! here is Bellerose!

                   BELLEROSE (_with great elegance_).

Noble lords ....

                                THE PIT.

No! No! Jodelet!

                    JODELET (_with a nasal twang_).

Disturbers of the peace! The heavy tragedian whose bulk suits your
fancy, felt....

                                THE PIT.

He is a coward!

                                JODELET.

Suddenly unwell ... and was compelled to retire.

                                THE PIT.

Let him return!--No!--Yes!--

                       A YOUNG MAN (_to Cyrano_).

But, after all, Sir, what reason is there for your hating Montfleury?

                CYRANO (_very courteous, still seated_).

Young gosling, there are two, either one of which is sufficient in
itself. First: he is a bad actor; he rants, and seems to lift with a
derrick lines that have wings of their own. Second: but that is _my_
secret.

                      TRADESMAN (_behind Cyrano_).

But, Sir, you deprive us of the pleasure of hearing "La Clorise." I
insist....

                CYRANO (_turning in his chair toward the
                    tradesman respectfully_).

Venerable mule, Baro's verse is worthless. I interrupt without the
slightest remorse.

                   THE "PRÉCIEUSES" (_in the boxes_).

Baro! Our Baro! Heavens! Is it possible?

             CYRANO (_turning his chair to the boxes, with
                  great courtesy_).

    Fair beings ....
  Irradiate and bloom, be Hebes, all,
  Dispensing dream; with smile make death a feast
  To us----inspire verse.... but judge it not!

                               BELLEROSE.

How about the money we'll have to return?

             CYRANO (_turning his chair toward the stage_).

Bellerose, you have said the only intelligent thing yet heard to-day. I
would not for the world make holes in the cloak of Thespis.

     (_He rises and throws a small bag upon the stage_).

Catch this purse and hold your tongue!

                      THE AUDIENCE (_bewildered_).

Ah!.... Oh!....

           JODELET (_picking up the purse and weighing it_).

For the same price, Sir, you may daily prevent the performance of "La
Clorise"!....

                             THE AUDIENCE.

Hu!.... Hu!....

                                JODELET.

Even if we are to be hooted .... Clear the house!

     (_The audience begins to leave. Cyrano looks on with great
     satisfaction. The crowd, however, soon stops as the following
     discussion begins. The ladies in the boxes, who had already risen
     to go, and put on their wraps, resume their seats_).

                         LE BRET (_to Cyrano_).

You are insane!

               AN INTRUDER (_who has come up to Cyrano_).

A comedian like Montfleury! Scandalous! Why! He is a favourite of the
Duke de Candale's! What powerful patron have you?

                                CYRANO.

None!

                             THE INTRUDER.

No patron?

                                CYRANO.

No!

                             THE INTRUDER.

What! no high-born gentleman whose name can shield you?

                         CYRANO (_impatient_).

I've said No twice already. A third time: No! I've no protector....
(_his hand on his sword_) but this!

                             THE INTRUDER.

You are going to leave town, then?

                                CYRANO.

Hardly probable.

                             THE INTRUDER.

But the Duke has a long reach!

                                CYRANO.

Not so long as mine .... (_showing his sword_) with this extension! Now,
go about your business.

                             THE INTRUDER.

But allow me....

                                CYRANO.

Go! Or, rather, tell me why you look so sharply at my nose.

                       THE INTRUDER (_abashed_).

What! I....

                                CYRANO.

Is there anything extraordinary about it?

                             THE INTRUDER.

Your lordship mistakes....

                                CYRANO.

Is it soft and swinging like an elephant's trunk?

                             THE INTRUDER.

I did not say....

                                CYRANO.

Or crooked like the beak of an owl?

                             THE INTRUDER.

No; I....

                                CYRANO.

Is there a wart on the end of it? Or a fly? What's amiss with it? Or is
it a phenomenon?

                             THE INTRUDER.

Why, I didn't even look at it!

                                CYRANO.

Why shouldn't you look at it? Is it repulsive?

                             THE INTRUDER.

My dear Sir....

                                CYRANO.

In colour unhealthy? In shape indecent?

                             THE INTRUDER.

Not at all!

                                CYRANO.

Why, then, seem to revile it? Perhaps the gentleman finds it rather
large?

                      THE INTRUDER (_stammering_).

I find it small, very, very small.

                                CYRANO.

How small? Ridiculously then? My nose small! Why, my nose is enormous!
Remember, vile flat-nose and flat-head, that I am proud of such an
appendix! For a large nose properly indicates a man that is affable,
kind, courteous, witty, liberal and brave, such as I am, and such as
you, miserable knave! can never be; for the inglorious face that my hand
is about to seek above your collar is as destitute ..... (_he slaps
intruder's face_).

                             THE INTRUDER.

Oh!

                                CYRANO.

Of pride, of flight, of poesy, of picturesqueness, of fire, of
magnificence, of Nose, in fact, as the one.... (_Cyrano seizes the
Intruder by the shoulders and kicks him in the seat_) that my boot now
reaches at the base of your back.

                       THE INTRUDER (_escaping_).

Help! Guards!

                                CYRANO.

  Fair warning, then, to idle lookers on
  Who criticise the centre of my face!
  The critic, if a gentleman, will get,--
  Before he flies,--in front and higher too,
  My custom's such, some steel instead of leather!

             GUICHE (_who with the marquises, has come down
                from the stage_).

The gentleman is getting very tiresome!

            VICOMTE DE VALVERT (_shrugging his shoulders_).

He is a braggart!

                                GUICHE.

And no one answers him?....

                              THE VICOMTE.

No one? Just wait. Such a retort as I'm going to send him!

     (_He advances toward Cyrano, who has been looking at him, and draws
     himself up with an air of foppish vanity._)

You.... you have a nose.... hum! a nose, Sir, that is.... very large.

                 CYRANO (_very quietly and seriously_).

Very large, indeed!

                         VICOMTE (_laughing_).

Ha! Ha!

                 CYRANO (_with great self-possession_).

Is that all?

                                VICOMTE.

Well, I....

                                CYRANO.

No, no, that's a little too short, young man! You might have said....
Well.... many things.... in different keys. For instance, listen:
_Aggressive_: "I, Sir, had I such a nose, would at once have it
amputated."--_Friendly_: "It must dip into your glass. To drink with
comfort, you should have a hanap constructed!"--_Descriptive_: "It is a
rock!... a peak!!.... a headland!!! More than a headland, a whole
peninsula!"--_Inquisitive_: "What may this oblong thing be used for? A
writing-desk or a tool-chest?"--_Pleasant_: "Do you love birds so much
that you feel bound to offer them so comfortable a resting
place?"--_Fierce_: "When you use tobacco, Sir, can you emit smoke from
that nose without your neighbours' crying that there is a chimney on
fire?"--_Thoughtful_: "Be careful; so much top-hamper might cause you to
fall!"--_Affectionate_: "Have a parasol made for it; the sun might fade
its colour!"--_Pedantic_: "For so much flesh on so much bone beneath the
forehead, we must go back, Sir, to the animal Aristophanes calls
Hippocampelephantocamelos!"--_Flippant_: "Why! man, is that the fashion
for hooks? Certainly convenient for hanging up a hat!"--_Emphatic_:
"Masterly nose, no wind can make you catch aught but a fractional cold!
None but a northern hurricane!"--_Dramatic_: "When it bleeds, we have
the Red Sea!"--_Admiringly_: "For a perfumer, what a sign!"--_Lyric_:
"Is it a shell trumpet, and are you a triton?"--_Innocent_: "When is
this monument open to visitors?"--_Respectful_: "This is really owning a
mansion with a gable on it!"--_Countrylike_: "That be not a nose, but a
big turnip, or a young melon!"--_Military_: "Point against
cavalry!"--_Practical_: "Will you put it up in a lottery? It will surely
be the largest prize!"--Finally, to parody the grief of Pyramus:

  So here we have the nose that on its master came
  To ruin harmony! The traitor's red for shame!

That is about what you might have said, dear boy, if you had a
sprinkling of letters and a bit of humour. Of humour, though, lamentable
being, you never had an atom; and, as to letters, you never had but the
four that spell the word Fool!--Some invention is requisite for
extravagant jests before such an audience, but, even if you had it, you
could not have uttered a quarter of the half of the beginning of what I
said; for I may be willing to serve such sport myself, but I allow
nobody to serve it to _me_.

           GUICHE (_endeavouring to lead away the Vicomte_).

Vicomte, pay no attention to him!

                        VICOMTE (_overwhelmed_).

Such arrogance! An insignificant little squire .... who .... who ....
doesn't even wear gloves!....and who sallies forth without ribbons, bows
or trimmings!

                                CYRANO.

  'Tis morally I have my elegance,
  I do not dress as does a fop, but I
  Am better groomed than some more richly clad.
  I'd not set forth with traces of neglect
  About me, say: an insult left unwashed,
  A conscience still confused and half asleep,
  My honour soiled, or scruples out of shape.
  When I proceed, I do so clean and bright,
  With truthful independence for a plume.
  'Tis not my form I lace to hold it up,
  It is my soul I try to elevate!
  The ribbons that I wear are only deeds;
  I twist perhaps my wit like a mustache;
  But then I cause, as I go through your groups,
  Above the clash of spurs, the truth to ring!

                                VICOMTE.

But, Sir ....

                                CYRANO.

I have no gloves on?.... What matters it? I did have one left from a
very old pair! One day I found it somewhat in the way .... and I left it
on somebody's face.

                                VICOMTE.

Knave, puppy, flat-footed ridiculous bully!

           CYRANO (_taking off his hat and bowing, as if the
                Vicomte had just presented himself_).

Ah! delighted!.... and I: Cyrano, Savinian, Hercules de Bergerac.

                                              (_Laughter around._)

                        VICOMTE (_exasperated_).

Buffoon!

            CYRANO (_uttering a cry as if he had a cramp_).

Ay!....

                VICOMTE (_who was leaving, returning_).

What is it now?

                   CYRANO (_grinning as if in pain_).

I must move it, for it is asleep.... What a mistake to let it remain
inactive.... Ay!....

                                VICOMTE.

What ails you?

                                CYRANO.

It's my sword that's tingling!

                     VICOMTE (_drawing his sword_).

Be it so!

                                CYRANO.

I'll show you a neat little thrust.

                       VICOMTE (_disdainfully_).

Poet!

                                CYRANO.

Yes, Sir, a poet! So much so that, while we play swords here, I
mean--hop!--on the spur of the moment, to improvise for you a ballade.

                                VICOMTE.

A ballade?

                                CYRANO.

Yes. I'll wager you do not know what is a ballade.

                                VICOMTE.

But....

                  CYRANO (_as if reciting a lesson_).

Well, then, a ballade is composed of three stanzas of eight lines
each....

                   VICOMTE (_stamping impatiently_).

Oh!

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

Plus an Envoy of four lines. Twenty-eight lines in all, with only three
rimes....

                                VICOMTE.

You....

                                CYRANO.

I am going to compose one while fighting, and when I come to the last
line, Sir, I'll touch you!

                                VICOMTE.

You'll not!

                                CYRANO.

Be sure, I shall!

                                              (_Declaiming._)

Ballade of the Duel Between Monsieur de Bergerac and a Coxcomb.

                                VICOMTE.

What is that, if you please?

                                CYRANO.

That is the title.

                   THE AUDIENCE (_greatly excited_).

Make room there!.... Capital!.... Stand back!.... Be silent!....

     (_Tableau.--Circle of lookers-on in the pit,--marquises and
     officers, with the tradesmen and common people. Pages on each
     others' shoulders for a better view. All the women standing in the
     boxes. To the right, Guiche and his followers. To the left, Le
     Bret, Ragueneau, Cuigy, etc._).

               CYRANO (_closing his eyes for a moment_).

Wait....I'm selecting my rimes....There now, I'm ready!

     (_He does as he says while speaking the verses._)

  My hat with grace I cast aside;
  Next, watch me, please, I slowly free
  The cloak in which I'm wont to stride;
  And then I draw my sword, you see.
  A Celadon[9] you have in me,
  A Scaramuccia very much;
  But, pygmy, moderate your glee,
  For, when I close th' Envoy, I'll touch!

  'Twere better you had slept or died.
  O goose, where shall I puncture thee?
  Beneath the ribs? Above? Decide!
  Or through the breast, where ribbons be?
  The hilts are ringing. One, two, three!
  My sword, beware! is not a crutch.
  I'll strike according to decree,
  For, when I close th' Envoy, I'll touch!

  I seek in vain a rime in _ide_.
  You back--and whiten--let's agree
  Upon a word, say: trembling hide,
  So, tac! I parry, just a wee,
  Your vicious thrust. Now finish we!
  I open--quart--or something such----
  Hold well that spit, you dog, or flee,[10]
  For, when I close th' Envoy, I'll touch!

     (_He announces with solemnity_).

                               ENVOY.[11]

  Now, Prince, may heaven hear your plea!
  I follow, though you break and clutch.
  I cut--I feint--Be ready--Hee! (_He lunges._)

                                      (_Vicomte staggers; Cyrano bows._)

For now I close th' Envoy.... (_pointing to Vicomte_)

                              I touch!

     (_Applause in boxes. Flowers and handkerchiefs are thrown. Officers
     surround and congratulate Cyrano. Ragueneau dances for joy. Le Bret
     seems both overjoyed and dejected. The Vicomte's friends support
     him and bear him off._)

         A MUSKETEER (_most cordially shaking Cyrano's hand_).

Allow an expert to congratulate you, Sir, most heartily.

                                                          (_He leaves._)

                          CYRANO (_to Cuigy_).

Who is this gentleman?

                                 CUIGY.

D'Artagnan!

             LE BRET (_passing his arm through Cyrano's_).

Now let us talk!....

                                CYRANO.

Wait till the crowd has left.
                                                       (_to Bellerose_).
May we stay a while?

                        BELLEROSE (_to Cyrano_).

Certainly, Sir.

                                           (_giving orders to Janitor_).

Close the house, but do not put out the lights. We'll return after
dinner for a rehearsal.

                   (_Jodelet and Bellerose bow to Cyrano, then exeunt._)

                         JANITOR (_to Cyrano_).

You are not going to dinner, Sir?

                                CYRANO.

I?.... No.

                                            (_Exit Janitor._)

                         LE BRET (_to Cyrano_).

Why not?

                          CYRANO (_proudly_).

Because....

     (_changing his tone, when he sees that the Janitor has gone_).

Because I have no money!....

                  LE BRET (_as if throwing a purse_).

How about that bag of coin?

                                CYRANO.

Monthly allowance, thou wert short lived! One day!

                                LE BRET.

For a whole month, then....

                                CYRANO.

I have nothing left.

                                LE BRET.

To throw away thus your purse, what folly!

                                CYRANO.

Yes, but what a gesture!

                THE WAITING-GIRL (_behind the counter_).

Hum!

     (_Cyrano and Le Bret turn around. She advances timidly._)

Sir .... I cannot bear.... to see you fast.... (_Showing the buffet_). I
have here several things.... Take some!

                     CYRANO (_taking off his hat_).

My dear child, Gascon pride forbids my accepting from you the smallest
of your delicacies. But, on the other hand, I would not for the whole
world offend you, as my refusal might do. So I will with pleasure
accept....

     (_Goes up to the buffet and chooses._)

Oh! the smallest thing!.... ah! one grape from this bunch.

     (_She tries to make him take the bunch, but he picks out a single
     grape._)

Only one.... a glass of water....

     (_She tries to pour some wine, but he prevents her._)

Pure water!.... and half a maccaroon.

     (_He breaks a maccaroon in two, and returns one of the pieces._)

                                LE BRET.

What nonsense!

                             WAITING-GIRL.

Do have something more!

                                CYRANO.

Yes, your hand to kiss.

     (_He kisses her hand as if she were a princess._)

                             WAITING-GIRL.

Thank you, Sir!

     (_Curtsies._)

A very good evening!

                         (_Exit waiting-girl._)

  [9] Note.--One of the translations that have appeared in the New York
      daily press renders "Céladon" by reference to Lord Chesterfield!
      The time of action (first four acts) of "Cyrano de Bergerac" is
      1640, and Lord Chesterfield was _born_ only 54 years _later_.

  [10] Note.--In the original, Cyrano calls his opponent "Laridon." This
       is the name of a degenerate _dog_. See fables of La Fontaine
       ("L'Education").

  [11] Note.--"L'Envoi," as often written, supposedly in French, is
       incorrect. It is, in French, when heading the last four lines of
       a ballade, "Envoi," without the article, l' (le).


                               _SCENE V._

                   CYRANO, LE BRET, _later_ JANITOR.

                         CYRANO (_to Le Bret_).

Now, I'll listen to you.

     (_He goes to the buffet, on which he places the half maccaroon._)

Dinner!

     (_Then the glass of water._)

Drink!

     (_And the one grape from the bunch._)

Dessert!

     (_Takes a seat by the buffet._)

Now for the feast! My dear friend, I feel very hungry.... (_Eating_)
Well? You were saying?....

                                LE BRET.

That all these bellicose doings and the admiration they elicit will warp
your judgment. Go ask people of sense what they think of this last prank
of yours, of its effect.

                CYRANO (_finishing his half maccaroon_).

Enormous!....

                                LE BRET.

The Cardinal!....

                    CYRANO (_beaming with delight_).

He was there? The Cardinal?

                                LE BRET.

Yes, and he must have found you....

                                CYRANO.

Anything but commonplace.

                                LE BRET.

Nevertheless....

                                CYRANO.

He's an author. And he must have enjoyed seeing another's play crushed.

                                LE BRET.

You are, really, making too many enemies!

                   CYRANO (_munching his one grape_).

How many do you estimate I have made to-day?

                                LE BRET.

Forty-eight, without counting the women.

                                CYRANO.

Enumerate them.

                                LE BRET.

Montfleury, the tradesman, Guiche, the Vicomte, Baro, the Academy....

                                CYRANO.

You give me infinite joy!

                                LE BRET.

What will all this lead you to? What system is yours?

                                CYRANO.

I was really meandering, and I found so many conclusions to adopt,
through so many complications, that I came to this decision....

                                LE BRET.

Which is?....

                                CYRANO.

Oh! the simplest of all, by far. I decided to show myself admirable in
all, and for all!

                  LE BRET (_shrugging his shoulders_).

So be it!.... But come now, tell me, tell _me_, the true reason of your
hatred for Montfleury.

                           CYRANO (_rising_).

This Silenus, with a stomach like a hogshead, still believes himself a
danger to womankind. See him, while he stammers on the stage, ogling
like a carp, with his frog's eyes! I hate him since he dared, once, to
set those eyes of his upon her.... Oh! I felt as if I saw a long slug
crawling over a flower!

                         LE BRET (_astounded_).

What, is it possible?....

                    CYRANO (_with a bitter laugh_).

That I love?

     (_changing to a solemn tone_).

I do love.

                                LE BRET.

Whom? May I enquire? You never told me.

                                CYRANO.

Whom I love? Come now, reflect. The dream of being loved, even by a
homely girl, is one forbidden me. Forbidden by this nose of mine that
precedes me everywhere by fifteen minutes. So, then, I love .... Whom?
Why! it is most natural! I love .... it could not be otherwise, the
loveliest of the lovely!

                                LE BRET.

The loveliest?....

                                CYRANO.

Exactly .... in the world! The most brilliant, the most exquisite,
(_crushed_) the blondest!

                                LE BRET.

  This woman is?....

                                CYRANO.

                    A deadly danger, though
  She knows it not; a snare that Nature made
  Unconscious, like a sweetly budding rose
  Whose leaves conceal,--in ambush lurking, love.
  Who sees her smile knows what perfection is:
  Her slightest touch engenders loveliness;
  She moves as if all heaven's grace were hers,
  And Venus ne'er embarked in any shell,
  Nor did Diana tread the sylvan paths
  As my adored can step into a chair!

                                LE BRET.

I understand! Quite clear.

                                CYRANO.

Transparent, say.

                                LE BRET.

It's Magdeleine, your cousin?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, Roxane.

                                LE BRET.

  Well, where's the harm? You love her? Tell her so!
  She witnessed here just now your valiant deed!

                                CYRANO.

  Why! Look at me, good friend, and say what hope
  There can be with .... such a protuberance!
  I clearly see the truth. But, then, of course,
  My heart will beat, perchance, at eventide,
  If, with this nose, I scent the breath of spring.
  Or else, I see, along some moonlit path,
  A whisp'ring pair of lovers slowly move;
  And then I think what rapture would be mine
  If on my arm a gentle creature leaned.
  I dream: but suddenly, I'm brought to sense.
  By what? Alas! My profile on the wall!

                                LE BRET.

  Dear friend!....

                                CYRANO.

                  Yes, friend, it's hard indeed to feel
  So homely and forlorn at times....

                      LE BRET (_taking his hand_).

                                        You weep!

                                CYRANO.

  Weep? Never! Oh! a sorry sight, indeed,
  If down this nose a tear should take its course!
  I will not have, so long as I command,
  The saintliness of tears polluted by
  This homeliness of mine. Remember, friend,
  That nothing's more sublime than flowing tears.
  So would I not allow a single one
  To cause a laugh, or seem ridiculous!

                                LE BRET.

Come, come, do not be sad. In love there is hazard, remember.

                      CYRANO (_shaking his hand_).

No! I love Cleopatra: do I resemble a Cæsar? I adore Berenice: do I look
like a Titus?

                                LE BRET.

But, friend, your bravery, intelligence and wit!.... Take that girl
there who just now offered you your dinner. Did her eyes seem to detest
you?

                           CYRANO (_struck_).

It's a fact.

                                LE BRET.

Well, then, hope!.... Why! Roxane was pale and trembling, ghastly pale,
while she followed your duel here!....

                                CYRANO.

Ghastly pale?

                                LE BRET.

Her heart and mind were certainly struck. Pick up courage and speak to
her, so that....

                                CYRANO.

So that she bursts out laughing into my face .... under my very nose?
No, no!.... That is the only thing in the world that I fear!

           THE JANITOR (_bringing in the duenna, to Cyrano_).

Somebody for you, Sir.

                     CYRANO (_seeing the duenna_).

Great heavens! Her duenna!


                              _SCENE VI._

                      CYRANO, LE BRET, THE DUENNA.

                   THE DUENNA (_with a long curtsy_).

A fair cousin would like to know where a valiant cousin can be seen, in
private.

                     CYRANO (_greatly disturbed_).

I be seen, in private?

                    DUENNA (_with another curtsy_).

Yes, be seen. There are things to be said.

                                CYRANO.

There are things....

                       DUENNA (_another curtsy_).

To be said.

                         CYRANO (_staggering_).

Heavens!

                                DUENNA.

We'll hear to-morrow early mass, at the church of Saint-Roch.

                     CYRANO (_leaning on Le Bret_).

Heavens!

                                DUENNA.

As we go out, we can chat a bit, I fancy.

                         CYRANO (_bewildered_).

Where?.... I .... But .... Heavens!

                                DUENNA.

Decide.

                                CYRANO.

I'm thinking....

                                DUENNA.

Where?....

                                CYRANO.

At.... at.... Ragueneau's.... the pastry-cook's....

                                DUENNA.

Where's that?....

                                CYRANO.

Rue.... Rue.... Heavens! Rue St.-Honoré!

                          DUENNA (_leaving_).

We'll be there by seven sharp. Be punctual.

                                CYRANO.

I shall!

                            (_Exit Duenna._)


                              _SCENE VII._

  CYRANO, LE BRET, THE COMEDIANS _and_ COMEDIENNES, CUIGY, BRISSAILLE,
                  LIGNIÈRE, THE JANITOR, THE VIOLINS.

              CYRANO (_falling into the arms of Le Bret_).

I!.... She.... An appointment!....

                                LE BRET.

So, now your sadness is no more?

                                CYRANO.

No! for, whatever the reason, she knows that I exist!

                                LE BRET.

And now you will be cool?

                       CYRANO (_beside himself_).

No, I'll be frantic and invincible! I would I had an army to defeat! I
have ten hearts and twenty arms. What are dwarfs to me?.... (_He
shouts._) I must have giants to vanquish!

     (_For the last few minutes, on the stage, in the rear, actors and
     actresses have been going and coming: a rehearsal is on. The
     violins have taken their seats._)

                      A VOICE (_from the stage_).

Silence there, please! We're rehearsing.

                          CYRANO (_laughing_).

Very well. We're leaving.

     (_As Cyrano is about going, enter, by the wide door in the rear,
     Cuigy, Brissaille, and several officers, supporting Lignière, who
     is completely intoxicated._)

                                 CUIGY.

Cyrano!

                                CYRANO.

What is it?

                                 CUIGY.

A friend of yours.

                    CYRANO (_recognising Lignière_).

Lignière!.... Why! what is the matter?

                                 CUIGY.

He was looking for you.

                              BRISSAILLE.

He cannot get home.

                                CYRANO.

Why not?

            LIGNIÈRE (_thick-tongued, showing a note soiled
                  and torn_).

This note warns me .... a hundred men are posted .... on account of a
song .... I'll be murdered .... at the Porte de Nesle .... there I must
pass .... to get home .... Offer me shelter .... under your roof!

                                CYRANO.

One hundred men, you say? You'll sleep under your own roof.

                        LIGNIÈRE (_terrified_).

But how can I?....

           CYRANO (_in fierce tones, showing him the lighted
              lantern held by the Janitor, who has been listening_).

Take that lantern!

     (_Lignière seizes the lantern._)

And walk on boldly. I swear to you that I to-night will make your bed
for you. (_To the officers._) You, gentlemen, be good enough to follow
.... at a distance. You'll be witnesses.

                                 CUIGY.

Yes, but one hundred men!....

                                CYRANO.

To-night I would not have them fewer by a single man!

     (_The comedians and comediennes, who have, in their costumes, come
     down from the stage into the pit, crowd around Cyrano._)

                                LE BRET.

But why protect this....

                                CYRANO.

There's Le Bret grumbling again!

                                LE BRET.

This commonplace drunkard?....

              CYRANO (_playfully striking Lignière on the
                  shoulder_).

Because this drunkard, this cask of Muscatel, this barrel of Rossoli,
once did something exceedingly handsome: his lady-love, as she was
leaving church, after mass, having properly dipped her dainty finger
into the holy water near the door, he, though he has a horror for water,
ran up to the stoup, leaned over it and drank it dry!

                  COMEDIENNE (_in soubrette's dress_).

A pretty deed, I think.

                                CYRANO.

Was it not, soubrette?

                     COMEDIENNE (_to the others_).

But why a hundred men against a poor poet?

                                CYRANO.

Let us on!.... (_to the officers_) .... and you, gentlemen, when you see
me charge, please do not follow; simply look on, whatever danger I may
be in!

                              COMEDIENNE.

But we wish to see too!

                                CYRANO.

Come along, then!

                      COMEDIENNE (_to the troop_).

Let us all go?

                                CYRANO.

Come, all of you, the Doctor, Isabella, Leander, all! Come as a bevy
pleasant and frolicsome! Come, and let the fantasy of Italian farce
tinkle through the rumble of to-night's Spanish drama, surrounding it
with jingles like a tambourine!

                     THE WOMEN (_jumping for joy_).

Bravo! Quick, a wrap! a hood!....

                                JODELET.

Let us proceed!

                       CYRANO (_to the violins_).

Will the violins supply the music?

     (_The violins join the formation. Candles are taken from the
     footlights and distributed; and thus a torch-light procession is
     prepared._)

                                CYRANO.

Bravo! Officers, gentlemen and women in fancy dress! Now, ten steps
ahead .... (_he places himself as he speaks_) I, alone, beneath the
plume that glory itself stuck into this hat .... proud as a Scipion
thrice Nasica!.... Understood?.... All assistance to me is forbidden!
Ready?.... Open the door!

     (_Janitor opens the door, through which can be seen a bit of old
     Paris, picturesque in the moonlight._)

  Ah! Paris in the dimness of the night,
  With moonlight trickling down the bluish roofs.
  For coming deed how exquisite the frame!
  'Neath mist as light as gauze, behold! the Seine,
  As if it were a magic mirror there,
  Is trembling .... and you'll see what you shall see!

                                  ALL.

To the Porte de Nesle!

                      CYRANO (_on the threshold_).

To the Porte de Nesle!

     (_Turning, before going out, to the soubrette_).

Did you not ask, Madamoiselle, why against this one rimester a hundred
men were sent?

     (_He draws his sword and continues very quietly._)

Because he is known to be a friend of mine!

     (_Exit Cyrano. The procession--Lignière with unsteady head--the
     comediennes hanging upon the arms of the officers, then the
     comedians dancing and capering--moves out into the night, with the
     violins for music, and with candles for light._)

                               _CURTAIN._

  [Illustration: _FIRST ACT._]



                               _ACT II._

                         THE POET'S COOK-SHOP.


_The shop of Ragueneau, poulterer and pastry-cook, a large establishment
in Paris, on the corner of the Rue St.-Honoré and the Rue de
l'Arbre-Sec. In the rear, through the wide glazed door, the streets are
plainly seen, grey in the light of dawn._

_To the left, first entrance, a counter, above which is an iron frame,
from hooks on which are suspended geese, ducks and white peacocks. Large
crockery vases containing ordinary plants, principally sunflowers. On
the same side, second entrance, a wide fireplace, before which, between
two monumental andirons, on each of which a pot is hung, several roasts,
the fat of which is dripping into pans._

_To the right, first entrance, a door. Second entrance, a staircase
leading up to a small inside room, the interior of which is visible
through its open blinds; a table is there, with cover set, lighted by a
Flemish chandelier. A wooden gallery at the top of the staircase leads
seemingly to other rooms of the same sort._

_In the centre of the shop, an iron ring is hung: it can be lowered by
means of a pulley, and on it are large pieces of game, meat, hams, etc.
It forms a peculiar sort of chandelier._

_Under the staircase, the glow of several ovens. Copper saucepans shine.
Spits are turning. Morning activity. Cook-boys run in and out. Fat chefs
are seen now and then. Loads of cakes and meat-pies are brought in on
willow trays._

_Tables are garnished with cakes and eatables. Other tables, with chairs
around, are prepared for customers. A small table in a corner is covered
with papers. Before it is seated Ragueneau, who is writing, as the
curtain rises._


                               _SCENE I._

          RAGUENEAU, PASTRY-COOKS, _then_ LISE. RAGUENEAU _is
                  writing and counts on his fingers_.

                 FIRST PASTRY-COOK (_bearing a dish_).

Candied fruits!

               SECOND PASTRY-COOK (_with another dish_).

Pie!

                  THIRD PASTRY-COOK (_with a roast_).

Peacock!

                  FOURTH PASTRY-COOK (_with a tray_).

Cakes!

              FIFTH PASTRY-COOK (_with an earthen bowl_).

Stewed beef!

               RAGUENEAU (_stops writing and looks up_).

  The copper's yellow sheen is silvered by the dawn[12]
  Now smother, Ragueneau, the godly notes you love!
  Sweet poesy must wait--just now is cooking time!

                                  (_He rises. To one of the cooks_).

Look here! Your sauce is thick, and you must lengthen it.

                                 COOK.

How much?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Three feet.

                                          (_Passes on._)

  O Muse, keep thou aloof, or else your pleading eyes
  Will suffer from the glare of vulgar fires here!

                          (_to one of the pastry-cooks_).

  These loaves are badly set, the split should not be thus,
  Cesuras should be placed between the hemstitches.

     (_to another, pointing to an unfinished meat-pie_).

  This palace made of crust is fine, but needs a roof.

     (_to an apprentice boy who, seated on the floor, is running a fowl
     on a spit_).

  The spit is long enough for chickens, turkeys, all,
  But alternate, my boy, and imitate Malherbe:
  His lines the longest were relieved by shorter ones.
  Do you the same, prepare real stanzas on the spit!

               ANOTHER APPRENTICE (_carrying a tray over
                    which is a large napkin_).

  Dear Master, this for you was in the oven cooked.
  We wish to please you, Sir!

                               RAGUENEAU.

                                 A lyre!

                            THE APPRENTICE.

                                           Made of paste!

                          RAGUENEAU (_moved_).

Of candied fruits besides! And strings of sugar, too!

                            THE APPRENTICE.

To give a sweeter tone!

                 RAGUENEAU (_handing him some money_).

                            It's fine; go drink my health

     (_seeing Lise, as she enters_).

My wife! Be silent--skip!

     (_to Lise, showing her the lyre_).

                              Fine work!

                                 LISE.

                                          Ridiculous!

     (_She lays on the counter a bundle of paper bags._)

                               RAGUENEAU.

Some bags; I thank you, dear.

                           (_Looks at the bags._)

                               The manuscripts I love!
  The verses of my friends! All mutilated! Torn!
  To serve as wrappers for .... such prosy things as cakes!
  It's Orpheus once again pursued by the Bacchantes!

                           LISE (_harshly_).

  I use the only thing your friends in payment give;
  Your sorry scribblers bent on not completing lines!

                               RAGUENEAU.

  The ant should not insult the magic cricket's song!

                                 LISE.

  Before these crickets thus possessed you wholly, dear,
  You never said to me: bacchante, or even: ant!

                               RAGUENEAU.

  Treat verses thus!

                                 LISE.

                       Why not?

                               RAGUENEAU.

                                   What would you do with prose?

  [12] Note.--Alexandrines were adopted, instead of pentameter, here and
       further on, with the poets, for the reason that they seem more
       pompous and better in keeping with the affectation shown by the
       personages.


                              _SCENE II._

            _The same_, TWO CHILDREN _come in to buy cakes_.

                               RAGUENEAU.

What is it, little ones?

                              FIRST CHILD.

We want three patties, please.

                      RAGUENEAU (_serving them_).

Here they are, well-browned, just out of the oven.

                             SECOND CHILD.

Please wrap them up for us.

                          RAGUENEAU (_aside_).

Alas! my bags!

     (_to the children_). Oh! wrap them up, hey?....

     (_takes one of the bags to use it, but first reads from it_).

"As was Ulysses when he left Penelope...."
Not this one!....

     (_puts the bag aside, and takes up another, from which also he
     reads_).

"Blond Phoebus...."               Not this one!

                                  (_Sets the bag aside._)

                       LISE (_out of patience_).

Well, what are you waiting for?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Coming! Coming!

     (_takes up a third bag and then with resignation_).

The sonnet to Philis!.... pretty hard too!

                                 LISE.

You were long enough about it!

     (_shrugging her shoulders_).

Goose!

     (_She climbs upon a chair to arrange dishes and plates on a
     shelf._)

             RAGUENEAU (_taking advantage of the fact that
                her back is turned, calls back the children
                who were just passing out_).

Pst!.... Little ones!.... Return me the bag and instead of three patties
I'll give you six.

     (_The children give him the bag, take the cakes and leave.
     Ragueneau smoothes the paper and reads_).

"Philis!" .... On this sweet name, a grease spot!.... "Philis!"

     (_Cyrano enters abruptly._)


                              _SCENE III._

              RAGUENEAU, LISE, CYRANO, _then_ A MUSKETEER.

                                CYRANO.

What time is it?

                    RAGUENEAU (_bowing low to him_).

Six o'clock.

                          CYRANO (_excited_).

In one hour!

     (_Walks to and fro through the shop._)

                      RAGUENEAU (_following him_).

Bravo! I witnessed....

                                CYRANO.

What?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Your fight.

                                CYRANO.

Which one?

                               RAGUENEAU.

The one at the Hôtel de Bourgogne.

                        CYRANO (_disdainfully_).

Oh!.... that duel!....

                       RAGUENEAU (_admiringly_).

Yes, your duel in verse.

                            LISE (_aside_).

In verse!.... His mouth seems to him too small for the words!

                        CYRANO (_to Ragueneau_).

Ah!.... So much the better!

           RAGUENEAU (_lunging with the spit he has seized_).

  "For, when I close th' Envoy, I'll touch!...."
  "For, when I close th' Envoy, I'll touch!...."
  How beautiful!.... (_with growing enthusiasm_).
  "For, when I close th' Envoy,...."

                                CYRANO.

Ragueneau, what time is it?

          RAGUENEAU (_remaining with arm and leg outstretched,
              simply turning his head to look at the clock_).

Five minutes after six!....
                                  "I touch!"

                                        (_He rises._)

Oh! to write a ballade!

            LISE (_to Cyrano, who, on passing near her, has
                absent-mindedly shaken hands with her_).

Why! what is the matter with your hand?

                                CYRANO.

Oh! nothing! A scratch.

                               RAGUENEAU.

Were you exposed to any peril?

                                CYRANO.

No peril!

               LISE (_threatening him with her finger_).

I fear you are not telling the truth!

                                CYRANO.

What! Did my nose move? What an enormous lie that would indicate!
(_becoming serious_). I expect somebody here. If that somebody
comes--you never can tell,--please leave us here alone.

                               RAGUENEAU.

That is hardly possible; my rimesters[13] are coming....

                           LISE (_ironical_).

For their first meal.

                                CYRANO.

You will have to take them away when I make a sign to you.... What time
is it?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Ten minutes after six.

             CYRANO (_sitting down nervously at Ragueneau's
                  table, and taking some paper_).

A pen, please!....

              RAGUENEAU (_offering him the one that he has
                  behind his ear_).

A swan quill.

              A MUSKETEER (_with an enormous mustache and
                      stentorian voice_) _enters_.

Good morning!

     (_Lise goes rapidly up to him._)

                       CYRANO (_turning around_).

Who is this?

                               RAGUENEAU.

A friend of my wife's. A terrible warrior,--at least so he says!....

                CYRANO (_taking up the pen and motioning
                    away Ragueneau_).

Silence!.... write--fold,--(_to himself_) hand it to her,--and run
away....

     (_throwing away the pen_). Coward!....But may I die if I dare speak
  to her, even a single word....

              (_to Ragueneau_). What time is it?

                               RAGUENEAU.

A quarter past six!....

                    CYRANO (_striking his breast_).

But I have plenty of words here, and by writing....

     (_Takes up the pen._)

  So be it then! I'll write.--This letter fraught
  With love, I've thought it out a hundred times;
  It's ready, and, to close it, I have but
  To read my soul, and copy what I read.

     (_He writes. Behind the glazed door, a movement of lean and
     hesitating forms._)

  [13] Note.--The spelling _rime_ seems preferable to _rhyme_, since
       rime and rhythm are two very distinct things.


                              _SCENE IV._

         RAGUENEAU, LISE, THE MUSKETEER, CYRANO, _by the table,
           writing_, THE POETS, _clad in black, bedraggled_.

                    LISE (_entering, to Ragueneau_).

Here are your bedraggled friends!

                 FIRST POET (_entering, to Ragueneau_).

Brother-poet!....

             SECOND POET (_shaking Ragueneau by the hand_).

Dear brother-poet!

                              THIRD POET.

Eagle of pastry-cooks!

      (_sniffing_) It smells good in your nest.

                              FOURTH POET.

O Phoebus-Caterer! Apollo master-cook!....

                   RAGUENEAU (_somewhat bewildered_).

How soon one feels at ease with them!

                              FIRST POET.

  We were delayed a bit by something of a crowd,
  Close by the Porte de Nesle!....

                              SECOND POET.

                    By sword both slashed and pierced,
   Eight cut-throats bleeding fast illustrated the street.

                         CYRANO (_looking up_).

Eight?.... I thought seven.

                                (_continues writing._)

                        RAGUENEAU (_to Cyrano_).

Who fought so bravely? Do you know?

                CYRANO (_treating the matter lightly_).

I?.... No!

                       LISE (_to the Musketeer_).

Do you?

                  MUSKETEER (_curling his mustache_).

Perhaps.

        CYRANO (_writing--mutters a word now and then, aside_).

I love you....

                              FIRST POET.

A single man, they say, put all the band to flight!....

                          CYRANO (_writing_).

Your eyes!....

                              SECOND POET.

Why! Spears and hats were found a hundred yards away!

                          CYRANO (_writing_).

Your lips!....

                              FIRST POET.

Quite fearless must be he who fought so many thus.

                          CYRANO (_writing_).

And I am like to faint, outdone, when you appear.

               SECOND POET (_helping himself to a cake_).

What new rimes can you give us, Ragueneau?

                          CYRANO (_writing_).

Who loves you!....

     (_He stops just as he was going to sign, rises, folds the letter
     and puts it into his doublet._)

Signature unnecessary. I'll hand her the letter myself.

                     RAGUENEAU (_to Second Poet_).

I have put a recipe into verse.

             THIRD POET (_settling near a tray of tarts_).

Oh! let us hear the lines.

                              FOURTH POET.

This cake is crooked. Make it straight.

                                        (_Eats it._)

                              SECOND POET.

We are listening.

                              THIRD POET.

This tart will lose its cream. We'll save it.

                                  (_Eats the tart._)

            SECOND POET (_breaking off and eating a piece of
                the candied lyre_).

The only time perhaps a lyre's fed its man.

             RAGUENEAU (_who has been preparing to recite,
                coughing, settling his cap and striking an
                attitude_).

A recipe in verse....

                     SECOND POET (_to First Poet_).

Why! you are breakfasting!

                     FIRST POET (_to Second Poet_).

                                    And you are dining, friend!

                               RAGUENEAU.

                       HOW TO MAKE ALMOND TARTS.

  Beat up to foam, discarding dregs,
        Your choice of eggs.
  Add carefully into the foam
  Some citron juice that's new and stout;
        Then lengthen out
  With milk of almonds made at home.

  Next, coat with dough, both fresh and sound,
        Below, around,
  Such moulds as pastry-cooks prepare.
  Add sweetening to suit your taste
        Into the paste.
  Then pour quite slowly and with care

  Your foam into each well[14], so well
        That ev'ry well,
  When it is baked to blondness, starts
  To seek the walks that pleasure sings.
        These seemly things
  Are rightly christened: almond tarts.

                       THE POETS (_mouths full_).

Most exquisite! Divine!

                     ONE OF THE POETS (_choking_).

Humph!

     (_They go to the rear, still eating. Cyrano, who has been watching
     them, goes up to Ragueneau._)

                                CYRANO.

  They seem to drink your verse, my friend; but see you not
  How they assimilate your stock of eatables?

                  RAGUENEAU (_in low tone, smiling_).

  I see, but notice not, for fear I'd trouble them;
  And reading so my lines affords me double joy,
  Since thus I satisfy a weakness that I own,
  And feed the while poor souls whose pressing need is food!

                CYRANO (_striking him on the shoulder_).

I like you, Ragueneau!....

     (_Ragueneau joins his friends, the poets. Cyrano looks at him for a
     while, then suddenly says:_)

Tell me there, Lise!

     (_Lise, who seems to be engaged in a very animated flirtation with
     the Musketeer, starts and comes down to Cyrano._)

This captain.... seems to be besieging you?

                           LISE (_offended_).

Oh! my eyes have a look haughty enough to vanquish all who attack my
virtue.

                        CYRANO (_very firmly_).

I like Ragueneau very much. For this reason, Mistress Lise, I forbid
that anybody should make him ridiculous.[15]

                                 LISE.

But you mistake....

              CYRANO (_speaking loud, so as to be heard by
                  the Musketeer_).

A word to the wise....

     (_He bows to the Musketeer, and, after looking at the clock, goes
     to the door, where he stands looking out._)

              LISE (_to the Musketeer, who simply returned
                  Cyrano's bow_).

Really, you surprise me!.... Why do you not answer?.... Speak of his
nose....

                             THE MUSKETEER.

His nose.... his nose.... that is easily said....

     (_Retires rapidly, Lise following._)

            CYRANO (_from the door, signals to Ragueneau to
                draw away the poets_).

Pst!....

             RAGUENEAU (_pointing out to the Poets the door
                to the right_).

We shall be much more comfortable in there....

                  CYRANO (_getting out of patience_).

Pst!.... Pst!....

                 RAGUENEAU (_pushing the Poets along_).

We'll read some more verses.

            FIRST POET (_in despair, with his mouth full_).

But the cakes!....

                              SECOND POET.

Let us take them along.

     (_They all go out, following Ragueneau, in a sort of procession,
     after having loaded themselves with cakes._)

  [14] Note.--The miserable pun on "puits" (well) was found possible to
       reproduce. Needless to add that this is ambitious confectioner's
       verse, intentionally nonsensical.

  [15] Note.--_Ridicuckoldulous_ would be an exact translation.


                               _SCENE V._

                      CYRANO, ROXANE, THE DUENNA.

                                CYRANO.

I shall hand her my letter if I feel that there is any hope, however
slight!....

     (_Roxane, masked, and followed by the Duenna, appears behind the
     glazed door, that Cyrano opens eagerly._)

Be pleased to enter!....

     (_Walking up to the Duenna_). As to you, Duenna, one word!

                                DUENNA.

Four words, if you will, Sir.

                                CYRANO.

Are you fond of cake and such?

                                DUENNA.

To and beyond excess.[16]

             CYRANO (_taking paper bags from the counter_).

Good! Here are two sonnets....

                                DUENNA.

Ugh!

                                CYRANO.

....That I fill with tartlets.

                      DUENNA (_looking pleasant_).

Ah!

                                CYRANO.

Are you fond of cream cakes?

                                DUENNA.

More than fond when they contain too much cream!

                                CYRANO.

Here are six for you, wrapped in a poem. Do you like all cakes?

                                DUENNA.

All, all, all.

         CYRANO (_loading her with paper bags full of cakes_).

Here are a few. Go now and eat them.... outside.

                                DUENNA.

But I....

                      CYRANO (_pushing her out_).

And do not return until you have eaten them all.

     (_He closes the door, comes down toward Roxane, takes off his hat,
     and stops, respectfully, at a distance._)

  [16] Note.--The Duenna, like Roxane, is a "précieuse," an euphuist.


                              _SCENE VI._

              CYRANO, ROXANE, _and, a moment_, THE DUENNA.

                                CYRANO.

  Among all moments be the present blessed,
  Since, ceasing to forget that I exist,--
  However humbly--you have come to say....
  To say....

                      ROXANE (_who has unmasked_).

             To say: I thank you heartily.
  For, know you now, the fop, the brainless wretch
  You vanquished yesterday in noble strife,
  Was being forced upon me....

                              (_bashfully_)

                                ....As a mate
  For life, by one who says he loves me....

                                CYRANO.

                                                 Guiche!....
  Who's good at scheming thus....

                                (_saluting_)

                                  So then I fought,
  Not for my nose, but for your smiling eyes.

                                ROXANE.

  And then I wished.... but the admission needs
  That I should find in you.... the brother that
  You were of yore....when we were children both.

                                CYRANO.

  When Bergerac was our summer ground....

                                ROXANE.

  And reeds made up your goodly stock of swords....

                                CYRANO.

  While waving corn gave flowing hair for dolls.

                                ROXANE.

  What happy days! For you my will was law....

                                CYRANO.

  You're now Roxane; you then were Madeleine.

                                ROXANE.

  And pretty?

                                CYRANO.

                            You were not a sorry sight.

                                ROXANE.

  How often, romping, you would get a hurt!
  Then, motherly, I'd say, in sternest voice:
  "Another frolic and another scratch!"....

     (_She stops astonished._)

The same to-day! What's this?

     (_Cyrano tries to withdraw his hand._)

                                              No, let me see!
  You're still a boy, it seems.--Say when and how!

                                CYRANO.

At play just now, around the Porte de Nesle.

            ROXANE (_taking a seat at one of the tables, and
               wetting her handkerchief in a glass of water_).

Your hand!

                   CYRANO (_taking a seat near her_).

                   How gently thoughtful you've remained!

                                ROXANE.

How many foes?

                                CYRANO.

                             Not quite a hundred.

                                ROXANE.

                                                          Oh!
Do tell me all!

                                CYRANO.

                  What for? It's better far
  You tell me what you did not dare to say....

                                ROXANE.

  But now I dare. The memories of yore
  Assist me. I'm....in love with somebody.

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

                Who knows it not....

                                CYRANO.

                                            Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

                                                           .... Not yet.

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

                But he shall know it soon.

                                CYRANO.

                                                 Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

  Poor fellow, he has loved me timidly,
  And from afar, and never dared to speak!

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

Your hand is feverish.... Oh! I easily could see the truth beneath his
bashfulness!

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!....

             ROXANE (_as she finished bandaging his hand_).

And see what a coincidence, dear cousin! He belongs to your regiment!

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!....

                          ROXANE (_laughing_).

Why, of course, he is a cadet in your Company!....

                                CYRANO.

Indeed!

                                ROXANE.

He bears on his brow the mark of intelligence, of genius!
He is haughty, noble, young, intrepid, handsome,....

                     CYRANO (_rising, very pale_).

Handsome!

                                ROXANE.

Why! what is the matter?

                                CYRANO.

The matter? Nothing .... It is .... It is ....

     (_Showing his hand and smiling_). This little scratch.

                                ROXANE.

Oh! Well, I really love him. I must say, however, that I have seen him
only at the Theatre ....

                                CYRANO.

Then you have not spoken to each other?

                                ROXANE.

Our eyes alone have done the talking.

                                CYRANO.

Well, then, how do you know?

                                ROXANE.

Beneath the linden trees of the Place Royal there is some gossipping
.... and information has reached me ....

                                CYRANO.

He is a cadet, you say?

                                ROXANE.

Yes, a cadet in the Guards.

                                CYRANO.

His name?

                                ROXANE.

Baron Christian de Neuvillette.

                                CYRANO.

How?.... There is nobody of that name among the cadets.

                                ROXANE.

Oh! yes, there is, since this morning. His Captain is Carbon of
Haughty-Hall.

                                CYRANO.

And so, quick, quick, we throw away our little heart?.... But my poor
child....

                 THE DUENNA (_looking in at the door_).

Monsieur de Bergerac, I have finished the cakes!

                                CYRANO.

Well, then, read the verses that you will find on the bags!

     (_Duenna disappears._)

.... My poor child, for you who are accustomed to refined language, to
subtle thoughts,--suppose he were thoroughly uninitiated, in fact, a
savage!

                                ROXANE.

Oh! no, he has the hair of a hero!

                                CYRANO.

Suppose he were as poor in speech as rich in hair.

                                ROXANE.

No, all his words are choice; I can tell by seeing him.

                                CYRANO.

Of course, all words are choice when they come through a mustache that
is well curled.--But suppose he were a dunce!....

       ROXANE (_striking the floor with her foot, impatiently_).

Well, it would kill me! There!

                       CYRANO (_after a pause_).

And it is to tell me this that you asked me to meet you here? I fail to
see the necessity of the appointment, Madam.

                                ROXANE.

The fact is that somebody frightened me yesterday by telling me that you
are all Gascons in your Company....

                                CYRANO.

And that we challenge any beardless hero who, through influence, and not
being really a Gascon, manages to get assigned to our Gascon Company?
That is what you were told.

                                ROXANE.

And you imagine how I tremble for him?

                     CYRANO (_between his teeth_).

Not without good reason!

                                ROXANE.

But then I was reminded of you, and of your skill and courage, your
great achievements; and I thought: if he, Cyrano, whom everyone
respects, would....

                                CYRANO.

'Tis well. I'll answer for your little baron.

                                ROXANE.

Yes, defend him always, please. And many thanks! You know how fond of
you I've always been?

                                CYRANO.

Oh! yes, I know.

                                ROXANE.

You'll be his friend?

                                CYRANO.

I will.

                                ROXANE.

And he shall have no duels to fight.

                                CYRANO.

None; you have my promise.

                                ROXANE.

Ah! you are my dearest friend.--But I must go.

     (_She puts on her mask again, throws a lace scarf over her head,
     and then, in an unconcerned way says:_)

But you did not relate to me your battle of last night. You must have
been grand!.... Tell him to write me.

     (_Sends him a kiss with her hand._)

Dear, dear friend!

                                CYRANO.

All is understood.

                                ROXANE.

One hundred men against one: you!--So, good bye!--We are the best of
friends, are we not?

                                CYRANO.

Assuredly, we are!

                                ROXANE.

Tell him to write!.... One hundred men!.... You'll tell me all about it
later. To-day I cannot listen. One hundred men! How brave!

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

Oh! I have done better since.

     (_Exit Roxane. Cyrano remains motionless, his eyes on the floor.
     Silence. The door to the right opens, and Ragueneau passes in his
     head._)


                              _SCENE VII._

         CYRANO, RAGUENEAU, THE POETS, CARBON OF HAUGHTY-HALL,
            THE CADETS, THE CROWD, _etc._, _later_ LE BRET,
                           _and then_ GUICHE.

                               RAGUENEAU.

The coast is clear?

                         CYRANO (_motionless_).

Yes.

     (_Ragueneau makes a sign, and his friends come in. At the same
     moment appears in the doorway Carbon of Haughty-Hall, in full
     uniform of Captain of the Guards; he lifts his arms on discovering
     Cyrano._)

                                CARBON.

Here he is at last!

                      CYRANO (_raising his eyes_).

Captain!....

                          CARBON (_rejoiced_).

Our hero! We heard it all. Thirty at least of the Cadets are here!....

                        CYRANO (_falling back_).

But, Captain....

                  CARBON (_trying to take him along_).

Come! They wish to see you!

                                CYRANO.

No, I cannot!

                                CARBON.

They are over the way, at the Inn of the Cross.

                                CYRANO.

I cannot.

           CARBON (_going to the door and shouting outside_).

Our hero refuses. He is out of sorts!

                          A VOICE (_outside_).

Sandious![17]

     (_Noise outside. Sound of swords and boots drawing near._)

                     CARBON (_rubbing his hands_).

They are crossing the street!....

                   THE CADETS (_invading the shop_).

Milledious!--Capededious!--Mordious!--Pocapdedious!

                  RAGUENEAU (_retreating in terror_).

Why, gentlemen, are you all from Gascony?

                              THE CADETS.

Everyone of us!

                         A CADET (_to Cyrano_).

Bravo!

                                CYRANO.

Baron, yours!....

                ANOTHER CADET (_shaking Cyrano's hand_).

Bravo!

                                CYRANO.

Yours, baron!

                              THIRD CADET.

Allow me to embrace you!

                                CYRANO.

Baron, baron!

                            SEVERAL CADETS.

Let us all embrace him!

                                CYRANO.

Baron.... baron.... spare me!....

                               RAGUENEAU.

But, gentlemen, are you all barons?

                              THE CADETS.

All of us!

                              FIRST CADET.

With our coronets alone you could build a tower.

               LE BRET (_enters and runs up to Cyrano_).

An enthusiastic crowd is looking for you!

                         CYRANO (_frightened_).

You didn't tell them where I am?

                     LE BRET (_rubbing his hands_).

Of course I did!

     (_The street is crowded with pedestrians, chaises and coaches, all
     stopping before the door._)

You saw Roxane?

                          CYRANO (_rapidly_).

Be silent!

                         THE CROWD (_outside_).

Cyrano! Cyrano!

     (_They invade the shop, pushing each other, and shower Cyrano with
     congratulations._)

                   RAGUENEAU (_standing on a table_).

My shop is taken by storm! and almost wrecked! Beautiful! Beautiful!

                         PEOPLE AROUND CYRANO.

Dear friend!.... Brave friend.... Heroic friend!....

                                CYRANO.

Yesterday I had nothing like as many friends!....

                         LE BRET (_delighted_).

Success, you see! Success!

             A MARQUIS (_running up with extended hands_).

If you only knew, dear boy....

                                CYRANO.

Dear boy? Dear boy? On what field did we ever camp together?

                                MARQUIS.

I should be pleased to present you, Sir, to some ladies who are outside
in my coach.

                                CYRANO.

But, first, you--who will present you to me?

                        LE BRET (_dumbfounded_).

Why! friend, what ails you?

                                CYRANO.

Be silent, please!

               A MAN OF LETTERS (_with pen and tablets_).

May I not gather some details....

                                CYRANO.

You may not!

                      LE BRET (_aside to Cyrano_).

But this is Theophraste Renaudot, who invented the gazette!

                                CYRANO.

I care not!

                                LE BRET.

.... That sheet in which are found so many things of interest. The idea,
it is said, has before it a great future.

                                A POET.

Dear Sir, I desire to build upon your name a pentacrostic.

                             ANOTHER POET.

I desire, dear Sir,....

                                CYRANO.

Enough! Enough!

     (_Movement. The crowd becomes more orderly and opens. Guiche
     appears, with an escort of officers: Cuigy, Brissaille, the
     officers who accompanied Cyrano at the close of Act I._)

                    CUIGY (_running up to Cyrano_).

Here is Monsieur de Guiche! He is sent by Marshal de Gassion!

                      GUICHE (_bowing to Cyrano_).

.... Who desires to express to you, Sir, his admiration for the
wonderful prowess that we have just heard of.

                               THE CROWD.

Bravo! Bravo!

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

The Marshal is a connoisseur in deeds of valour.

                                GUICHE.

He never would have believed the feat possible, if these gentlemen had
not sworn that they witnessed it.

                                 CUIGY.

With our own good eyes!

        LE BRET (_aside, to Cyrano, who seems lost in thought_).

My good friend....

                         CYRANO (_to Le Bret_).

Be silent!

                      LE BRET (_aside to Cyrano_).

You seem to suffer!

              CYRANO (_awakening and drawing himself up_).

Before all these people!.... I .... Suffer!.... Watch, and you shall
see.

          GUICHE (_to whom Cuigy has whispered a few words_).

All know that you have accomplished wonders before this. You are serving
the King with these hare-brained Gascons, are you not?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, with the cadets.

                    A CADET (_in stentorian tones_).

With us!

               GUICHE (_looking at the Gascons, who have
                  aligned behind Cyrano_).

Ah! ah!.... So these haughty-looking gentlemen are the famous....

                                CARBON.

Cyrano!

                                CYRANO.

Captain?

                                CARBON.

Since my Company is all here, I believe, present it to the Count, if you
please.

              CYRANO (_taking two steps toward Guiche, and
                  pointing to the Cadets_).

  Fair Gascony's cadets are they,
  With Carbon--He of Haughty-Hall;[18]
  They fight and lie without dismay,
  Fair Gascony's cadets are they!
  In heraldry they've all to say,
  And pedigrees like theirs appall.
  Fair Gascony's cadets are they,
  With Carbon--He of Haughty-Hall!

  With eagle eye, in crane's array,
  With cat's mustache, and tooth for all,
  Through rabble growling as they may,
  With eagle eye, in crane's array,
  They strut with hats in sad decay
  Beneath their plumes so bright and tall!
  With eagle eye, in crane's array,
  With cat's mustache, and tooth for all!

  Abdomen-Blade and Slash-Away
  Are names to them of pleasant fall.
  They thirst for glory night and day
  Abdomen-Blade and Slash-Away!
  In every battle brawl, or fray....
  They congregate as for a ball....
  Abdomen-Blade and Slash-Away
  Are names to them of pleasant fall!

  Fair Gascony's cadets are they
  To husbands....writing on the wall!
  O woman, wench of godly clay,
  Fair Gascony's cadets are they!
  Though jealous masters fume and bray,
  Let trumpet sound! Let cuckoo call!
  Fair Gascony's cadets are they,
  To husbands, writing on the wall!

            GUICHE (_comfortably seated in an armchair that
                Ragueneau promptly brought in_).

A poet is one of our choice luxuries to-day. Will you be mine?

                                CYRANO.

No, Sir, nobody's!

                                GUICHE.

Your ready wit, yesterday, caused much amusement to my uncle Richelieu.
I shall take pleasure in recommending you to him.

                          LE BRET (_dazzled_).

What a good fortune!

                                GUICHE.

You certainly must have rimed some five-act tragedy?

                   LE BRET (_whispering to Cyrano_).

Your "Agrippine!" You'll have it played!

                                GUICHE.

Yes, take your work to the Cardinal.

                   CYRANO (_delighted and tempted_).

But, really....

                                GUICHE.

He is quite an expert, but will not make too many corrections!

              CYRANO (_whose face has immediately resumed
                  its severe look_).

Impossible, Sir! My blood curdles at the thought of my verse being
improved by the displacement or the addition of a single comma.

                                GUICHE.

But, on the other hand, my dear fellow, when a line pleases him, he pays
for it a large price.

                                CYRANO.

Not so large a one as I myself pay. When I have written a line and then
I fall in love with it, I buy it from and sing it to myself.

                                GUICHE.

Your disposition is a proud one!

                                CYRANO.

Really, you noticed it?

           A CADET (_enters with, strung on a sword, a number
                of hats, crushed, pierced and very much dejected as
                to plumes_).

Behold, Cyrano! This morning, on the quay, we found this sorry feathered
game. The hats of those you put to flight!....

                                CARBON.

Spolia opima!

     (_Everybody laughs ._)

                                 CUIGY.

Whoever paid these cut-throats must to-day regret his bargain.

                              BRISSAILLE.

Does anyone know who it is?

                                GUICHE.

It is I!

     (_Laughing stops short._)

I had hired them--a nobleman is above doing these things himself--to
chastise--a drunkard rimester.

     (_General embarrassment._)

          THE CADET (_aside to Cyrano, pointing to the hats_).

What shall we do with them? They are greasy enough to make a stew.

            CYRANO (_taking the sword on which the hats are
                strung, and allowing them, as he salutes, to
                slip off at the feet of Guiche_).

You may desire, Sir, to return them to your friends.

                 GUICHE (_rising and in sharp tones_).

My chair, immediately!

     (_to Cyrano, angrily_).

As to you, Sir!....

                       A VOICE (_in the street_).

The chair of his lordship Count de Guiche.

       GUICHE (_who has conquered his feelings and now smiles_).

No doubt you've read Don Quixote?

                                CYRANO.

                                    Yes, and, when
  I hear the name of this enthusiast,
  I doff my hat.

                                GUICHE.

                 Then kindly meditate
  The windmill chapter....

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

                                               Yes,--I know--thirteenth.

                                GUICHE.

When windmills are attacked it happens oft....

                                CYRANO.

Have I attacked some noble weather-vane?

                                GUICHE.

  That, if their mighty arms revolve, a man
  Is dashed to earth!....

                                CYRANO.

                                Or lifted to the stars!

     (_Exit Guiche, who enters his chair. His friends, whispering. Crowd
     withdraws._)


                             _SCENE VIII._

       CYRANO, LE BRET, THE CADETS, _who have taken seats at the
                 tables, and are eating and drinking_.

            CYRANO (_bowing out in an affectedly polite way
                those who are leaving without taking any
                further notice of him_).

Gentlemen--delighted--Delighted--gentlemen--

                LE BRET (_lifting his arms in despair_).

A pretty mess you've made of it!

                                CYRANO.

Oh! of course! As usual, you must growl!

                                LE BRET.

Come, now, you must admit that this constant assassination--that is the
word--of every passing opportunity is, to say the least, a gross
exaggeration.

                                CYRANO.

Well, yes, I do exaggerate. There!

                        LE BRET (_triumphant_).

You see!

                                CYRANO.

But I do so as a matter of principle, for the sake of example. In my
opinion, such exaggeration is good.

                                LE BRET.

  Suppose you set aside, a while, your soul
  Heroic and success....

                                CYRANO.

                         What should I do?....
  Set out to find a power, influence,
  A master, then? A lowly ivy be
  That licks the trunk it uses for support?
  Creep up by stealth, instead of rising strong?
  I thank you, no!--Inscribe the verse I write
  To money bags, and play the low buffoon,
  To cause, on lips that I despise, a smile?
  I thank you, no! For breakfast eat a toad?
  Wear out, or soil, especially my knees?
  Forever prove how pliant is a spine?
  I thank you, no! Give--only to exact?
  Have ready praise for all, and strive to be
  A pygmy hero in a puny ring?
  I thank you, no! Ask publishers to print
  My verse--at my expense? I thank you, no!
  Seek favour from the solemn councils held
  By pompous fools in taverns and the like?
  I thank you, no! Or try to build a name
  Upon a single sonnet, sooner than
  Write other sonnets? No. I thank you, no!
  Be terrorized by journals vague and small,
  And hope the while they'll not forget me? No,
  I thank you! Ever weigh, observe and fear?
  Place gossip far above poetic lines?
  Solicit, beg, crave notoriety?
  I thank you, no! I thank you, nay!.... But, oh!....
  To sing, to dream, to laugh, to be alone
  And free, with eyes that naught will cause to turn,
  And with a voice that naught will cause to shake!
  To cock your hat, if you feel so disposed:
  For this, or that, to fight--or write a verse!
  To plan, without a thought of gold or fame,
  A novel trip, perhaps unto the moon!
  To write but what is honestly your own,
  And, diffident for once, reflect: my boy,
  Be satisfied with flower, fruit.... or leaf,
  If they have grown on soil that's strictly yours!
  Then, if perchance a bit of fame is earned,
  To feel that none of it to Cæsar's due!
  The truth is there, and so is honesty:
  Despise to ape the ivy-parasite,
  And try to be an oak, or elm, to rise,
  Not very high, perhaps, but rise alone!

                                LE BRET.

  Alone, you're right! But not opposing all!
  Why should you make so many enemies?

                                CYRANO.

  Because I see you make so many friends,
  And smile on them with mouths I'll not describe.[19]
  I'm glad to pass with fewer greetings met,
  And proud to think: another enemy!

                                LE BRET.

  You are insane!

                                CYRANO.

                  Perhaps. My vice is such.
  I'm pleased if I displease. Indeed, I love
  To gather hatred. Friend, you've never felt
  The thrill that's caused by walking on erect,
  While fifty pairs of eyes are sending shot,
  As if they were so many guns! And then....
  How comical the spots on doublets made
  By envy's gall and cowardice's slaver!
  --Loose friendships like to those you cultivate
  Resemble the Italian collars, soft
  And open-worked, that feminize your necks.
  They're easy and of tranquil-going mien;
  Your head with them can bend to any will.
  Not so with me! For Hatred, every morn,
  Makes stiff the ruff that forces up my head!
  An enemy I gain's another fold
  That straightens me the more, perhaps, but adds
  A beam to my renown. The Spanish ruff,
  Though sitting on the neck as would a yoke,
  With some can be a halo 'round the head!

      LE BRET (_after a pause, passing his arm through Cyrano's_).

  Speak out aloud your pride and bitterness,
  But whisper to me then: she loves me not!

  [17] Note.--This is a Gascon oath. Like the similar oaths following,
       it would if translated literally (Blood of God,) lose its
       picturesque and really innocent character. All of these are
       oath-sounds rather than oaths, and somewhat oath-evading, after
       the fashion of "goldarn it," in America.

  [18] Note.--The name "Castel-Jaloux," in the original, being
       indicative of Gascon pride and superlativeness, it was thought
       better to translate it in order to preserve colour. But here
       arose the question: "Him" or "He" of Haughty-Hall? Both cases
       have their champions, with most excellent reasons. It was
       thought, however, that argument might be avoided and the line be
       made more effective by the insertion of a dash after "Carbon,"
       thus leaving time for the imaginary interrogation: "What Carbon?"
       following which suspension, the answer is. "He of Haughty-Hall"
       is the Carbon meant.

  [19] Note.--The text here, justified by a current French expression,
       would be too broad in English.


                              _SCENE IX._

         CYRANO, LE BRET, THE CADETS, CHRISTIAN DE NEUVILLETTE.

          A CADET (_seated at a table in the rear, drinking_).

Cyrano!

     (_Cyrano turns._)

That narrative, please.

                                CYRANO.

Yes, presently!

     (_He takes the arm of Le Bret, going up and speaking in low tone to
     him._)

                 THE CADET (_rising and coming down_).

The details of the fight! They will make the best kind of lesson....
(_stopping near the table before which Christian is seated_) for a timid
apprentice!

                       CHRISTIAN (_looking up_).

Apprentice!

                             ANOTHER CADET.

Just so, sickly northerner!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Sickly!

                      FIRST CADET (_sneeringly_).

Monsieur de Neuvillette, there's something you must learn, to wit: there
exists a thing that, with us, must never be even alluded to--no more
than a rope in the house of one who was hung.

                               CHRISTIAN.

And what is that?

                 ANOTHER CADET (_in terrifying tone_).

Look at me!

     (_With his finger he, three times, strikes his nose._)

                                      You understand?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Oh! you mean the....

                             ANOTHER CADET.

Hush!.... The word is never pronounced....

     (_pointing to Cyrano, who, in the rear, is talking with Le Bret_).

.... Or else trouble is sure.

            ANOTHER CADET (_who, while Christian was looking
                the other way, took a seat on the table_).

Two men were killed by him because they spoke through the nose--a
subject he dislikes!

              ANOTHER CADET (_springing up from underneath
                  the table, where he had crawled_).

Those who desire to die young have but to come here and speak of the
fatal cartilage.

      ANOTHER CADET (_placing his hand on Christian's shoulder_).

One word's enough. Did I say: a word? One motion, just one, suffices.
And drawing out one's handkerchief is equivalent to weaving one's
shroud!

     (_Silence. All the Cadets remain, with folded arms, staring at
     Christian. Christian goes up to Carbon of Haughty-Hall, who has
     been conversing with an officer and affecting not to notice the
     proceedings._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

Captain!

              CARBON (_turning, and with a severe look_).

Sir?

                               CHRISTIAN.

When one encounters southerners possessed of too much braggadocio....

                                CARBON.

The right thing to do? Prove to them that you may come from the North
and still be brave.

     (_Carbon turns._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

Captain, I thank you.

                       FIRST CADET (_to Cyrano_).

And now your narrative!

                             OTHER CADETS.

Yes, his narrative!

                    CYRANO (_coming down to them_).

My narrative? Well, here it is!

     (_They gather around him, some seated, some standing. Christian
     straddles a chair._)

Well, then, I was walking along so as to meet them. The moon, in the
sky, looked like a big silver watch; when suddenly some zealous
watch-maker, I suppose, began passing over it, with a view to making it
shine, no doubt, some cloudy cotton. In consequence, the night became as
dark as possible, and, mordious! I could not see further....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Than the end of your nose.

     (_Silence. Everybody rises slowly, frightened, and looking at
     Cyrano, whom the interruption has astounded. General expectancy._)

                                CYRANO.

Who is this man?

                      A CADET (_in subdued tone_).

One who joined this morning.

                   CYRANO (_going toward Christian_).

This morning?

                                CARBON.

His name is Baron de Neuvillette.

                     CYRANO (_rapidly, stopping_).

Oh! very well then!....

     (_He turns pale, then reddens, and appears ready to throw himself
     upon Christian._)

I must....

     (_restraining himself, however_).

That is different. (_resuming_). As I was saying....

     (_with ill-concealed fury_).

Mordious!....

     (_continuing in a natural tone_).... I could not see very far.

     (_General stupefaction. All take their seats again, looking at
     Cyrano._)

So, I was walking on, thinking how I was going to disappoint some mighty
lord desirous of pulling....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Your nose!....

     (_Everybody rises again, while Christian rocks on his chair._)

                        CYRANO (_half choking_).

My ears!.... and how imprudent some people might find me for thus
poking....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Your nose....

                                CYRANO.

No, my finger, between the tree and the bark. For this great lord might
be powerful enough to rap me....

                               CHRISTIAN.

On the nose....

         CYRANO (_wiping the perspiration from his forehead_).

No, on the fingers. But I said to myself: go ahead, Gascon; do your
duty! On, Cyrano! Then, abruptly, out of the dark, somebody made a lunge
at me. I parried: when suddenly, I found myself....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Nose to nose....

                    CYRANO (_bounding toward him_).

Ventre--Saint--Gris!....

     (_All the Gascons advance to witness the scene. But Cyrano, on
     coming up to Christian, masters himself, and continues:_)

Confronted by a hundred drunken rascals.... smelling....

                               CHRISTIAN.

With their hundred noses....

                 CYRANO (_pale as death, but smiling_).

....Strongly of onion and garlic! I rushed forward blindly....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Without nosing....

                                CYRANO.

And charged them! Down went two of them. A third I ran through. They
lunged, I parried, and struck down, how many?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Who knows!....

                     CYRANO (_bursting with rage_).

Thunder and lightning! Clear the room!

     (_The Cadets rush toward the door._)

                              FIRST CADET.

The tiger wakes!

                                CYRANO.

All out! Leave me alone with this man!

                             SECOND CADET.

We'll find the fellow in mince-meat.

                               RAGUENEAU.

Mince-meat. Not fit, though, for my pies.

     (_All go out, by the rear, the sides and the staircase. Cyrano and
     Christian remain face to face staring at each other fiercely._)


                               _SCENE X._

                           CYRANO, CHRISTIAN.

                                CYRANO.

Embrace me!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Sir!....

                                CYRANO.

You are brave.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Perhaps. But....

                                CYRANO.

Very brave. I prefer it so.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Kindly explain....

                                CYRANO.

Embrace me! I am her brother!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Whose brother?

                                CYRANO.

Her's! Roxane's!

                    CHRISTIAN (_running up to him_).

You! The brother of Roxane?

                                CYRANO.

Well, very much the same: a brotherly cousin.

                               CHRISTIAN.

And she?....

                                CYRANO.

Told me all!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Does she love me?

                                CYRANO.

Perhaps!

                  CHRISTIAN (_taking Cyrano's hands_).

How happy I feel, Sir, to know you!

                                CYRANO.

Rather a sudden sentiment, is it not?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Forgive me, but....

              CYRANO (_looking well at him, and laying his
                  hand on Christian's shoulder_).

It's a fact. A fine-looking fellow, this rascal!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I only wish you knew, Sir, how much I admire you.

                                CYRANO.

Yes? But what of all those noses that you....

                               CHRISTIAN.

I withdraw them, Sir!

                                CYRANO.

Roxane expects a letter to-night.

                               CHRISTIAN.

That is the trouble.

                                CYRANO.

How so?

                               CHRISTIAN.

I am lost if I remain silent!....

                                CYRANO.

Well then?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

But, I am ashamed to own it, I am too stupid to write.

                                CYRANO.

Stupid? You are not, friend, since you realise your inability. Moreover,
your attack upon me was not that of a dunce.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Oh! it is easy enough to find words for a fight! Yes, perhaps I have a
sort of easy, military wit; but, facing women, I am struck dumb. Oh!
their eyes seem favourable enough as I pass them....

                                CYRANO.

Are not their hearts the same when you stop?

                               CHRISTIAN.

No, for I belong to those--and I know it--who tremble, and know not how
to speak of love.

                                CYRANO.

Strange!.... It seems to me that, if I were better looking, I should
belong to the other class: those who know and dare.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Oh! that I could with elegance express my feelings!

                                CYRANO.

Or be a pretty little musketeer!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Roxane is a "_précieuse_," and, in her eyes, I shall be disgraced!

                    CYRANO (_looking at Christian_).

Oh! that for the feelings of my soul I had such an interpreter!

                       CHRISTIAN (_despairing_).

What would I not give for eloquence!

                          CYRANO (_eagerly_).

I'll lend you some! Lend you to me your physical attraction, and the two
combined will constitute the hero of a romance.

                               CHRISTIAN.

What then?

                                CYRANO.

Would you feel equal to repeating the daily lessons I could give you?

                               CHRISTIAN.

What is it you propose?

                                CYRANO.

In Roxane's eyes you shall not be disgraced. Together, if you will, we
can gain her love. Will you allow the soul so ill-restrained by my
buckskin here to breathe and sing beneath your embroidered doublet?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

But Cyrano....

                                CYRANO.

.... Christian, will you?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Would it give you so much pleasure?

                         CYRANO (_enraptured_).

It would....

     (_returning to his senses, and lightly_)

It would amuse me!

  A trial this to tempt a poet. Come!
  We shall complete each other, if you will.
  You'll walk, and I'll be near you in the shade!
  I'll be the breath, and you shall be the form!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But that letter she expects. I cannot write it....

             CYRANO (_taking from his doublet the letter he
                  wrote a while before_).

Your letter?.... Here it is!

                               CHRISTIAN.

How is this?

                                CYRANO.

It lacks nothing but the address. You may send it. Feel no anxiety. It
is as it should be.

                               CHRISTIAN.

But how is it that you?....

                                CYRANO.

  We poets have about us, as a rule,
  Fine letters to the women we adore....
  In our dreams. For we belong to those
  Whose love is but a fleeting fancy blown
  Into the rainbow-bubble of a name!
  Take this and make a truth of what is feigned.
  My rambling words of rapture flutter like
  Bewildered birds; you'll cause them to alight.
  The letter shows, itself--now take it!--that
  My eloquence was born of artifice.

                               CHRISTIAN.

But there may be a few words to change. Thus, written at random, will it
fit Roxane?

                                CYRANO.

It will fit her like a glove! Human vanity is so credulous that Roxane
will never doubt the letter was written for her!

                               CHRISTIAN.

You are my dearest friend!

     (_He throws himself into Cyrano's arms. They remain embracing._)


                              _SCENE XI._

          CYRANO, CHRISTIAN, THE GASCONS, THE MUSKETEER, LISE.

                   A CADET (_half opening the door_).

Complete silence.... the silence of death.... I fear to look around!

     (_after a survey_) What!....

                SEVERAL CADETS (_entering and looking at
                    Cyrano and Christian locked in each
                    other's arms_).

Ah!.... Oh!.... Impossible!....

     (_Consternation._)

                      THE MUSKETEER (_jeeringly_).

Well, well!....

                                CARBON.

Our quarrelsome demon has become as lamblike as an apostle! Struck on
one of his nostrils--he offers the other!

                             THE MUSKETEER.

So, now we may speak of his nose!....

     (_calling Lise, triumphantly_).

Lise, just come and see!....

     (_sniffing with affectation_).

Why!.... Why!.... this is surprising! It smells here of....

     (_going up to Cyrano_).

But you, Sir, must have noticed it? It smells of....

                 CYRANO (_slapping Musketeer's face_).

Five-leaf clover!

     (_General rejoicing, Cyrano is himself again. Cadets turn
     somersaults._)

                               _CURTAIN._

  [Illustration: _SECOND ACT._]

  [Illustration: _SECOND ACT._]



                               _ACT III._

                          THE KISS OF ROXANE.


_A small public square in the old Marais quarter of Paris. Old houses,
narrow streets. To the right Roxane's house and garden, over the wall of
which spread and hang the branches of large trees inside. Above the
door, a window and a balcony. By the door a stone bench._

_Ivy creeps up the wall, and a jasmine twines around the balcony. By
means of the bench and of stones projecting from the wall, it is
comparatively easy to climb up to the balcony._

_Over the way, an old house in the same style, brick and stone, with a
door, the knocker of which is wrapped with rags like a sore finger._

_As the curtain rises, the Duenna is seated on the bench. The window on
Roxane's balcony is wide open. Standing near the Duenna is Ragueneau,
wearing a sort of livery. He is concluding a story, and wiping his
eyes._


                               _SCENE I._

    RAGUENEAU, THE DUENNA, _later_ ROXANE, CYRANO, _and two pages_.

                               RAGUENEAU.

.... And then she left with a Musketeer! Deserted and ruined, I hung
myself, and I was already off for another world, when enter Monsieur de
Bergerac. He unhung me and offered me to his cousin for a steward.

                              THE DUENNA.

But how were you ruined so?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Lise had a weakness for the military, and I for poets. Mars ate all the
cakes that Apollo left. Oh! they made short work of it!

           THE DUENNA (_rises and calls toward the window_).

Roxane! Are you ready? We'll be late.

                VOICE OF ROXANE (_through the window_).

I'm putting on my cape!

               THE DUENNA (_to Ragueneau, pointing to the
                  door of the house over the way_).

We are expected over there, at Clomire's. She holds her literary
assizes. There will be a reading. Subject: The Tender Passion!

                               RAGUENEAU.

The Tender Passion, indeed!

                        THE DUENNA (_smirking_).

The Tender Passion. Why not?

     (_calling toward the window_).

Roxane, come down! Or we shall miss the discourse on The Tender Passion.

                            VOICE OF ROXANE.

I am coming!

     (_Sound of string instruments growing gradually nearer._)

               VOICE OF CYRANO (_singing in the wings_).

La, la, la, la!

                       THE DUENNA (_surprised_).

Music for us!

        CYRANO (_followed by two pages each with an archlute_).

I say again that it's a demi-semi-quaver, you triple fool!

                       FIRST PAGE (_with irony_).

So then, Sir, you have thorough knowledge of quavers?

                                CYRANO.

I am a musician, as are all the disciples of Gassendi.

                   THE PAGE (_playing and singing_).

La, la!

              CYRANO (_snatching from him the archlute and
                  continuing the music_).

I can go on! La, la, la, la!

                  ROXANE (_appearing on the balcony_).

So, it is you?

                  CYRANO (_continuing the same air_).

Yes, I who come to celebrate the lily, And to extol the glory of the
ro....se!

                                ROXANE.

I'll be down in a moment.

     (_She leaves the balcony._)

          THE DUENNA (_to Cyrano, pointing to the two pages_).

And who may be these two songsters?

                                CYRANO.

Oh! they are part of a bet I won. D'Assoucy and I had a discussion on a
point of grammar. No! Yes! No! Yes! Of a sudden he points to these two
scarecrows here, his constant escort, great in the art of scratching a
string with a claw, and he says: "I'll bet you a whole day of
music!"--He lost. And now, until to-morrow comes, I must enjoy both the
strains and the presence of these two harmonious witnesses of all my
acts!.... Pleasant, if you like, in the beginning, but now the pleasure
is growing less.

     (_to the musicians_).

Hep!.... Just go and play a pavan--with my compliments--for that actor
Montfleury!

     (_Pages go up. To the Duenna_).

I've come this evening--as on previous evenings--

     (_to the Pages who are leaving_).

Play long,--and out of tune!

                                                          (_to Duenna_).

To ask Roxane if the friend of her soul is still as faultless as before.

                  ROXANE (_coming out of the house_).

How beautiful, how clever he is! and how I love him!

                          CYRANO (_smiling_).

Indeed! And is Christian so very clever?....

                                ROXANE.

Yes, dear friend, more so even than yourself!

                                CYRANO.

So be it, then!

                                ROXANE.

To my mind, it would be impossible for anyone to deliver with more
elegance and wit than he does these pretty trifles that are nothing, if
you will--and still are everything. At times, it is true, he seems quite
absent-minded; but, suddenly, he recovers and says the most charming
things!

                        CYRANO (_incredulous_).

You surprise me!

                                ROXANE.

You men are really astonishing! Because Christian is handsome, he _must_
be stupid!

                                CYRANO.

I doubt if he can speak of hearts and love.

                                ROXANE.

He does not speak of, he lectures on them, Sir!

                                CYRANO.

And he writes?

                                ROXANE.

Still better. Just listen.

     (_reciting_).

"The more you take of what's my heart, the more I've left."

     (_triumphantly_).

What think you of that?

                                CYRANO.

So! So!

                                ROXANE.

And of this? (_reciting_).

  "Since I must suffer and, to suffer, have a heart,
  If you would keep the heart that's mine, then send me yours."

                                CYRANO.

At first he had too much heart; now he has not enough. It would be
interesting to know exactly how much heart would satisfy him.

                                ROXANE.

You are exasperating! True jealousy!....

                           CYRANO (_moved_).

What?....

                                ROXANE.

An author's jealousy! And is not this just as lovely as possible?
Listen!

  "T'ward you my heart, I swear, has but a single cry,
  And, if in written lines fond kisses could be sent,
  O Madam, you would read this letter with your lips!"

         CYRANO (_with an unconscious smile of satisfaction_).

Ha! ha! the lines are.... hum! hum!....

     (_recovering and disdainfully_).

              .... really pretty weak!

                                ROXANE.

Indeed! And this?

                                CYRANO.

Why! do you remember all his letters?

                                ROXANE.

Every one of them!

                                CYRANO.

Undoubtedly, this is quite a compliment!

                                ROXANE.

He is a master!

                        CYRANO (_with modesty_).

Oh!.... a master!....

                       ROXANE (_with decision_).

A master, I say!

                                CYRANO.

So be it! A master!

                THE DUENNA (_returning from the rear_).

Monsieur de Guiche!

     (_to Cyrano, pushing him toward the house_).

Get into the house. It is better he should not see you here--or else he
might suspect....

                         ROXANE (_to Cyrano_).

Yes, discover my secret. He loves me; he is powerful, and he must not
know of my love. He could destroy it!

                     CYRANO (_entering the house_).

Very well, then, very well!

     (_Enter Guiche._)


                              _SCENE II._

              ROXANE, GUICHE, THE DUENNA, _at a distance_.

                 ROXANE (_to Guiche, with a curtsey_).

I was just going out.

                                GUICHE.

And I have come to take leave, before starting for the front.

                                ROXANE.

Oh!....

                                GUICHE.

I am ordered to the siege of Arras....

                                ROXANE.

Oh!....

                                GUICHE.

.... and I go to-night.

                                ROXANE.

Oh!....

                                GUICHE.

My departure does not seem to distress you greatly....

                                ROXANE.

Oh!....

                                GUICHE.

.... But I seriously grieve over it. Shall I ever see you again?....
When?.... By the way, I have been given a high command.

                        ROXANE (_indifferent_).

I congratulate you!

                                GUICHE.

The Guards regiment.

                         ROXANE (_interested_).

Oh! the Guards?

                                GUICHE.

Yes, the regiment in which is your cousin, the man of boastful words.
I'll have my revenge when I get him at the siege.

                          ROXANE (_overcome_).

What! the Guards are going there?

                          GUICHE (_laughing_).

Of course, since they are now my regiment.

                ROXANE (_sinking on the bench--aside_).

Christian!

                                GUICHE.

What ails you?

                           ROXANE (_moved_).

This.... departure.... grieves me sorely. To know that those you....
care for.... are going to battle!

                   GUICHE (_surprised and pleased_).

Why is it I hear words so sweet only on the day of my departure?

           ROXANE (_changing her manner and using her fan_).

So, then, you mean to seek revenge on my cousin Cyrano?

                         GUICHE (_surprised_).

Do you take his part?

                                ROXANE.

I? Not at all. I am against him.

                                GUICHE.

Do you see him often?

                                ROXANE.

Very seldom.

                                GUICHE.

I meet him everywhere.... with one of those cadets.... this Neu....
vil.... Neuvil....

                                ROXANE.

A tall man?

                                GUICHE.

A blond.

                                ROXANE.

Red-haired, rather.

                                GUICHE.

Handsome!....

                                ROXANE.

For some, perhaps, but....

                                GUICHE.

But very stupid.

                                ROXANE.

So it struck me! (_changing her manner_).

....Your revenge as regards Cyrano no doubt consists in holding him
under fire, which he relishes. So I hardly see great vengeance for you
in that. I can tell you, though, what would wound him to the quick!....

                                GUICHE.

And that is?....

                                ROXANE.

To have his regiment and his dear cadets remain, so long as there is
war, right here, in Paris, inactive! The only way to punish him is to
deprive him of danger.

                                GUICHE.

Woman! Woman! No one but a woman would think of such a scheme!

     (_getting closer to Roxane_).

You have then some regard for me? (_She smiles._) The fact that you take
sides with me, Roxane, is, in my eyes, a proof of love.

                                ROXANE.

It is one.

               GUICHE (_showing several sealed papers_).

I have the orders here for every company, and they shall be sent
immediately, except....

     (_he takes one out of the batch_) this one! It is for the cadets,
     and (_puts it into a pocket_)

I hold it back! Ha! ha! Cyrano....so eager for the fray! And so you play
with people as with mice, Roxane?

                                ROXANE.

Sometimes!

                     GUICHE (_quite close to her_).

You enthrall me! Roxane, listen. To-night--yes, I know, I must depart.
But leave you when I feel that you are moved!....I cannot. Hear me!
Close by here is the convent of the Capuchin fathers. Laymen cannot
enter it; but, as the fathers serve my uncle Richelieu, they have some
regard for his nephew, and they will give me a place of concealment.
Officially, I shall have left for the front, but I shall return to you
under the cover of a mask. Allow me to delay my departure a few hours,
dear waywardness!

                                ROXANE.

But if you are discovered! Your reputation....

                                GUICHE.

I'll risk it.

                                ROXANE.

But the siege.... Arras....

                                GUICHE.

I care not. Grant me your permission!

                                ROXANE.

No!

                                GUICHE.

Do!

                       ROXANE (_affectionately_).

My duty says that I must forbid! I beseech you, go!

                                                              (_aside_).

Christian remains here!

                                                              (_aloud_).

I would have you be a hero--Antoine!

                                GUICHE.

Celestial word!--And so you love the one....

                                ROXANE.

For whom I tremble? Yes!

                         GUICHE (_enraptured_).

'Tis well, I leave!

     (_Kisses her hand._)

Are you satisfied?

                                ROXANE.

Yes, dearest friend!

     (_Exit Guiche._)

           THE DUENNA (_curtseying mockingly behind Guiche_).

Yes, dearest friend.

                         ROXANE (_to Duenna_).

Not a word, if you please. Cyrano would never forgive me for stealing
his war from him!

     (_calling toward the house_).

Cousin!


                              _SCENE III._

                      ROXANE, THE DUENNA, CYRANO.

          ROXANE (_pointing to door of house opposite hers_).

We are going to Clomire's. Alcandre is to speak, so is Lysimon.

                                DUENNA.

Yes, but my little finger says that we shall be late.

                                CYRANO.

Make haste lest you miss part of their monkey talk.

                     DUENNA (_looking at knocker_).

That's right, they have gagged this noisy little wretch. It might have
interrupted the finest speeches.

     (_She knocks very gently. Door opens._)

                ROXANE (_about to pass in. To Cyrano_).

Were Christian to come, as is likely, request him to wait for me,
please.

                                CYRANO.

I shall.

     (_As she is passing in the door, she turns, on hearing Cyrano
     speak._)

And what question do you intend, as is your wont, to propound to him
to-day?

                                ROXANE.

The question of....

                          CYRANO (_eagerly_).

Of?....

                                ROXANE.

But you'll remain silent!

                                CYRANO.

As a prison wall.

                                ROXANE.

No question at all!.... I shall simply say to him: Proceed--without a
rein!--Extemporise. Speak of love. Be grand!

                          CYRANO (_smiling_).

Excellent idea!

                                ROXANE.

Hush!

                                CYRANO.

Hush!

     (_Roxane enters, closing the door._)

                     CYRANO (_bowing to the door_).

Very many thanks!

     (_The door opens and Roxane passes out her head._)

                                ROXANE.

He might try to prepare!....

                                CYRANO.

That would never do!....

                               TOGETHER.

Hush!

     (_Door closes._)

                          CYRANO (_calling_).

Christian!


                              _SCENE IV._

                           CYRANO, CHRISTIAN.

                                CYRANO.

Now I'm informed! Prepare your memory. There is glory in store for
you.--Drop your bad humour, and let us haste to your house, where I
shall coach you.

                               CHRISTIAN.

No!

                                CYRANO.

What!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I'll wait for Roxane here.

                                CYRANO.

Have you gone mad? Come, come!

                               CHRISTIAN.

No! I said. I am weary of committing to memory my letters, my
speeches.... Weary of playing a part....weary of trembling lest I fail!
All good and well in the beginning! But now I feel that she really loves
me! Many thanks, I fear nothing now. I'll speak unprompted.

                                CYRANO.

So, indeed!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Probably you think that I cannot?.... After all, I'm not so stupid! You
shall see! Your lessons have improved me. I'll speak unaided. And--speak
or not--I'll know enough to clasp her in my arms!

     (_Perceiving Roxane coming out of Clomire's house_).

It is she! Cyrano, for pity's sake, do not leave me!

                       CYRANO (_bowing to him_).

You'll speak unprompted, Sir.

     (_He disappears behind the garden wall._)


                               _SCENE V._

               CHRISTIAN, ROXANE, THE DUENNA, _a moment_.

           ROXANE (_coming out of Clomire's house, in company
              with several ladies and gentlemen.--Curtsies_).

Barthénoïde!--Alcandre--Grémione!....

                         DUENNA (_in despair_).

We missed the discourse on The Tender Passion!

     (_Enters house of Roxane._)

                   ROXANE (_going up to Christian_).

Oh! here you are!.... Twilight is coming, the air is balmy, and there is
nobody about. Let us be seated. Speak. I'm listening.

     (_She takes a seat on the bench. Christian sits near her.
     Silence._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

I love you!

                      ROXANE (_closing her eyes_).

Yes, speak of love!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I love thee!

                                ROXANE.

Yes, that is the theme. Amplify!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I love....

                                ROXANE.

Expatiate!

                               CHRISTIAN.

So deeply!....

                                ROXANE.

Of course.... and then?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

And then?.... I should feel so happy if you loved me! Roxane, do say
that you love me!

                          ROXANE (_pouting_).

You offer me porridge when I expected cream! Now, say _how_ you love me.

                               CHRISTIAN.

I love you....very much.

                                ROXANE.

Uncloud your sentiments a little!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Your neck! Ah! that I could press my lips to it!

                                ROXANE.

Christian, for shame!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I love you!

                       ROXANE (_about to rise_).

Again!

                     CHRISTIAN (_restraining her_).

No! I do _not_ love you....

                ROXANE (_settling again into her seat_).

That is better!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I adore you!

                 ROXANE (_rising and from a distance_).

Oh! the same thing!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes--I feel that I am getting stupid!

                                ROXANE.

Yes, and it displeases me. No more should I like to have you lose your
good looks.

                               CHRISTIAN.

But....

                                ROXANE.

Come, call up all your eloquence, just now put to flight.

                               CHRISTIAN.

I....

                                ROXANE.

Yes, I know, you love me. Farewell!

     (_She goes toward the door._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

Do not go! Let me tell you....

                      ROXANE (_opening her door_).

That you adore me?.... But I know it already. No! no! you had better
leave me!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But hear me, Roxane....

     (_She closes the door in his face._)

          CYRANO (_who has just appeared without being seen_).

Quite a success!


                              _SCENE VI._

               CHRISTIAN, CYRANO, THE PAGES, _a moment_.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Help! help!

                                CYRANO.

No, Sir!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I'll die if she does not this moment relent....

                                CYRANO.

What can I do? This very moment drum into you....

                  CHRISTIAN (_clasping Cyrano's arm_).

See! There she comes!

     (_Light in the balcony window._)

                           CYRANO (_moved_).

Her window!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Help me! Or I'll die!

                                CYRANO.

Speak lower!

                       CHRISTIAN (_whispering_).

It is life or death to me!

                                CYRANO.

The night is dark....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Well, speak!

                                CYRANO.

The harm can be undone. You do not deserve it, you wretch!....but stand
there before the balcony! I'll remain beneath it--and prompt you!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But, my friend....

                                CYRANO.

Obey orders!

                 THE PAGES (_in the rear, to Cyrano_).

Hep!

                       CYRANO (_silencing them_).

Hush!

                      FIRST PAGE (_in a whisper_).

We have serenaded Montfleury.

               CYRANO (_in a whisper, quickly to Pages_).

You, stand on this corner....and you, on that one. If anyone comes
along, play an air.

                              SECOND PAGE.

What sort of air would suit Gassendi?

                                CYRANO.

Lively for a woman; for a man a sad one!

     (_Pages disappear, taking two different streets._)

(_To Christian_) Now, call her!

                         CHRISTIAN (_calling_).

Roxane.

            CYRANO (_picking up a few pebbles that he throws
                against the window_).

Wait! A few pebbles.

                  ROXANE (_half opening her window_).

Who calls me?

                               CHRISTIAN.

I.

                                ROXANE.

Who is I?

                               CHRISTIAN.

I, Christian.

                         ROXANE (_scornfully_).

Oh! you!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I must speak to you.

              CYRANO (_under the balcony, to Christian_).

Good! Lower your voice.

                                ROXANE.

No! You speak too clumsily. Better go!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Be pitiful!....

                                ROXANE.

No! You love me no more!

                   CHRISTIAN (_prompted by Cyrano_).

You accuse me....merciful Gods!....of loving no more....when....I love
more!

       ROXANE (_stopping as she was going to close the window_).

Why! you are improving.

                     CHRISTIAN (_still prompted_).

Love grows stronger in the restless soul--mine--that he has
chosen....cruel child!....for a cradle!

                 ROXANE (_coming out on the balcony_).

Better still!....But, since this love is so cruel, you were foolish,
indeed, not to smother it at its birth!

                        CHRISTIAN (_prompted_).

I tried....but without success: this new-born babe, Madam, is a little
Hercules.

                                ROXANE.

Still better!

                        CHRISTIAN (_prompted_).

In fact, he....strangled without an effort....two serpents....Pride
and....Doubt....

               ROXANE (_leaning on the balcony railing_).

Very good indeed! But why do you speak so....deliberately? Has your
imagination the gout, that it limps so?

           CYRANO (_drawing Christian under the balcony, and
                noiselessly taking Christian's place before it_).

Hush! The task is getting too difficult!....

                                ROXANE.

To-night you waver in your speech. Why so?

              CYRANO (_speaking in a low tone as Christian
                  did before him_).

Because night has come, and, in the dark, my words must wander in search
of your ear.

                                ROXANE.

But my words meet with no such difficulty.

                                CYRANO.

Yours find a resting-place immediately. Oh! very naturally, since I
receive them into my heart. Remember that my heart is large, while your
ear is very small. Moreover, your words descend! thus have they speed.
While mine must rise, Madam: they require more time!

                                ROXANE.

But they have been rising much better for the last few moments.

                                CYRANO.

They are getting trained to climbing!

                                ROXANE.

The fact is that I am speaking to you from quite a height!

                                CYRANO.

Assuredly, and you would kill me if, from such an elevation, you allowed
a sharp word to drop upon my heart!

                           ROXANE (_moved_).

I'll come down.

                          CYRANO (_quickly_).

No!

       ROXANE (_pointing to the stone bench under the balcony_).

Step upon the bench, then, and climb up here!

                 CYRANO (_frightened and retreating_).

No!

                                ROXANE.

You surprise me.... Why not?

                    CYRANO (_more and more moved_).

Let us rather improve.... this opportunity of.... speaking softly
together.... without seeing each other.

                                ROXANE.

What! To each other almost invisible?

                                CYRANO.

  As now.--Let us enjoy the bliss there is
  In seeking to distinguish one the other.
  For you, I'm but the darkness of a cloak;
  For me, you are the whiteness of a robe.
  I'm shadow only, you are blessèd light!

If ever you have thought me eloquent....

                                ROXANE.

I have.

                                CYRANO.

Remember now that my words never yet came from my true heart.

                                ROXANE.

Why not?

                                CYRANO.

Because.... until now.... I have spoken to you through....

                                ROXANE.

Through what?

                                CYRANO.

The spell that you cast upon those who bask in the light of your
eyes!.... And so, this night, to me it seems as if I were about to speak
to you for the first time!

                                ROXANE.

Ah! that is why your voice seems different.

       CYRANO (_feverish, and coming up closer to the balcony_).

Yes, different; for, now that darkness shields me, I dare to be myself
at last, I dare....

     (_He stops, bewildered._)

Where was I?.... I forget.... Pardon my confusion.... All this is so
exquisite.... so new to me!....

                                ROXANE.

So new!

          CYRANO (_quite bewildered, and trying to explain_).

So new!.... Why! yes.... It's new to be sincere. And then.... a fear of
ridicule....

                                ROXANE.

Ridicule? For what?

                                CYRANO.

My emotional flights!

  My heart, through diffidence, forever calls
  Upon my mind to shield it from disdain:
  I start to cull a star, and then I halt,
  For fear of ridicule, to pick a floret.

                                ROXANE.

  A floret has its charms.

                                CYRANO.

                                Disdain them now!

                                ROXANE.

  You never spoke to me as now you speak!

                                CYRANO.

  Oh! let us set aside the pygmy things,
  The superannuated niceties
  Of love as it is understood to-day!
  Why sip by drops the waters of a spring,
  When from a river we can freely quaff?

                                ROXANE.

  But mind and wit?

                                CYRANO.

                   They serve to make you stay.
  But now 'twould be an insult to the night,
  To fragrance, and to fate, and nature too,
  If we should hold unto affected style.
  One look above, and artifice disarms!
  I fear that, with this subtle alchemy,
  The truth of sentiment might vapourise,
  The soul exhaust itself in futile play,
  And niceties be carried to a point
  So pointed that it end in nothingness!

                                ROXANE.

  But mind and wit?

                                CYRANO.

                    I hate them now. It is
  A crime to force sweet love to bandy words!
  There comes a time, moreover, be assured--
  Oh! how I pity those who feel it not!--
  When our breast o'erflows with noble love,
  A love that pretty words must desecrate!

                                ROXANE.

  Since now for both of us the time has come,
  What words shall I expect from you?

                                CYRANO.

                                      All, all,
  All those I know; accept them scattered loose,
  Unsought, unbound. I love you--let me breathe!--
  I love thee[20], and I rave. 'Tis joy too much!
  Thy name is in my heart as in a bell,
  Roxane, and, as my heart forever throbs,
  The bell is e'er the sounder of thy name.
  Of thee there's nought I do not hoard and love:
  I mind me that, last year, the twelfth of May,
  A twist was changed in what's a crown, thy hair!
  Thy glowing hair to me is truly light.
  When we have gazed too long upon the sun,
  We see on things around a halo reign;
  'Tis thus when I have lost the light thou shedst:
  My dazzled eyes are filled with golden sparks!

                                ROXANE.

  Yes, this is love--

                                CYRANO.

                      The passion in my heart
  Is jealous, fierce, with sadness tainted, but
  It's really love--love shorn of selfish thought.
  Would I could give my happiness for thine--
  E'en shouldst thou ne'er suspect whose gift it was--
  If I could hear, perchance and from afar,
  The music of thy bliss, my offering!
  From every glance of thine fresh virtue springs,
  Fresh valour, too. Oh! say I'm understood,
  And that thou feelst my soul ascend to thee!
  All is to-night too beautiful and sweet!
  And still it's true! I speak, at last, to thee.
  Yes, I to thee! 'Tis bliss too great! My hopes,
  My wildest hopes ne'er leaped to such a height;
  My dream's no dream, and I can die content.
  Because of me she quivers with the trees!
  For, leaf divine, you tremble with the leaves!
  Thou tremblest, for, against thy will or not,
  I feel, oh, bliss! the tremour of thy hand
  Descending now along these flowery vines.

     (_He imprints a passionate kiss upon one of the branches._)

                                ROXANE.

  I tremble, yes; I weep, I love, I'm thine!
  I am enthralled!

                                CYRANO.

                  May Death then come along,
  Since rapture's born of me, of me alone!
  What more can I expect of life?--

                    CHRISTIAN (_under the balcony_).

                                     A kiss!

                        ROXANE (_falling back_).

What?

                                CYRANO.

          Oh!

                                ROXANE.

                  You claim?--

                                CYRANO.

                                   Yes--I--

                                   (_aside to Christian_).

                                                         You go too far.

                     CHRISTIAN (_aside to Cyrano_).

Now she is moved, it's time for me to act.

                         CYRANO (_to Roxane_).

Yes, I.... I asked.... it is true.... but now I realise how more than
bold I was.

                   ROXANE (_somewhat disappointed_).

And you do not insist?

                                CYRANO.

Insist? Of course I do.... but with reserve!.... Yes, I know your
modesty's offended. So, I withdraw the kiss.... refuse it to me!

              CHRISTIAN (_with a tug at Cyrano's cloak_).

Why so?

                                CYRANO.

Be silent, Christian!

                  ROXANE (_leaning over the balcony_).

What are you muttering?

                                CYRANO.

I was reproving myself for going too far. I was saying: be silent
Christian!....

     (_sound of archlute._)

                                  One moment please!.... Some one comes.

     (_Roxane closes her window. Cyrano listens to the archlutes; one of
     them plays a lively air, and the other a sad one._)

Lively?.... Sad?.... A woman or a man? No, a monk!

     (_Enter monk holding a lighted lantern. He goes from house to
     house, looking at the doors._)

  [20] Note.--In this tirade, and in the following one, _you_, _thou_
       and _she_ are intentionally interwoven. When Cyrano is carried by
       his emotion, he passes from _you_ to _thou_, which latter is, in
       French, familiar and endearing much more than in English. Then,
       reclaimed by reason and fearing that he has overstepped the
       bounds, he returns to the (in French) more formal _you_, or
       resorts to a discreet _she_, only to forget himself again and to
       resume the caressing _thou_.


                              _SCENE VII._

                 CYRANO, CHRISTIAN, _a_ CAPUCHIN MONK.

                        CYRANO (_to the Monk_).

Are you a new Diogenes?

                                 MONK.

I'm looking for the house of Madam Magdeleine Robin.

               CYRANO (_pointing to one of the streets_).

That way--straight ahead--as far as you can go....

                                 MONK.

Thank you, Sir!--I'll tell my beads for you.

                                                          (_Exit Monk._)

                                CYRANO.

Peace be with you! I bid you Godspeed!

     (_Comes down toward Christian._)


                             _SCENE VIII._

                           CYRANO, CHRISTIAN.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Obtain for me that kiss!

                                CYRANO.

No, Sir!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But, sooner or later, you know....

                                CYRANO.

  True,
  The time will come, that time of bliss intense,
  When each will fall into the other's arms,
  And blond mustache to rosy lips will go!

     (_aside_)

'Twas better that at least I cause the bliss.

     (_Window above opens. Christian conceals himself beneath the
     balcony._)


                              _SCENE IX._

                       CYRANO, CHRISTIAN, ROXANE.

                 ROXANE (_coming out on the balcony_).

Is it you?--Yes.... What were we speaking of?.... oh! of a.... well,
of....

                                CYRANO.

  A kiss! The word is soft. Why hesitate?
  The name, be sure, will not maltreat your lips,
  However burning be the thing itself.--
  Just now, you left the trifling mood, to glide,
  To steal from smile to sigh, and sigh to tears.
  Glide on!.... From tear to kiss there's but a thrill!

                                ROXANE.

  Be silent!

                                CYRANO.

            After all, what is a kiss?
  An oath that's given closer than before;
  A promise more precise; the sealing of
  Confessions that till then were barely breathed;
  A ruby O to spell the verb: I love![21]
  A secret that's confided to a mouth
  And not to ears; a precious moment of
  Infinity that buzzes like a bee;
  Communion with the fragrance flowers have;
  A gentle way for heart to breathe a heart,
  For soul from fervid lips to drink a soul!

                                ROXANE.

  Be still!

                                CYRANO.

            A kiss is oft a thing so grand
  That once a queen of France permitted one
  Unto a happy lord. I said: a queen!

                                ROXANE.

  And then?

                          CYRANO (_excited_).

            Like Buckingham, I've suffered long;
  Like him I love a queen, the one that's you!
  Like him, I'm sad and faithful....

                                ROXANE.

                                And like him
  You've beauty.

                       CYRANO (_aside, abashed_).

                Yes.... I've beauty.... I forgot!

                                ROXANE.

  Well, then, come up, to cull the flower....

            CYRANO (_pushing Christian toward the balcony_).

                                           Go!

                                ROXANE.

  Whose fragrance....

                        CYRANO (_to Christian_).

                      Go!

                                ROXANE.

                          The buzzing of the bee....

                        CYRANO (_to Christian_).

  Go up!

                       CHRISTIAN (_hesitating_).

         But now, it really seems a crime!

                                ROXANE.

  A moment of infinity....

                     CYRANO (_pushing Christian_).

                               You fool,
  Go up!

     (_Christian, by aid of bench, vines and posts, reaches the balcony
     and steps over the railing._)

                               CHRISTIAN.

          Roxane!....

     (_He clasps her to his breast and kisses her on the lips._)

                           CYRANO (_aside_).

                      What pinches so my heart?....
  That kiss!.... a feast where I'm the Lazarus!....
  Sweet feast, from thee there falls to me a crumb,
  Since on the lips Roxane mistakes, alas!
  She drinks the words that I just now pronounced!

                                               (_Sound of instruments._)

An air that's sad, a lively air!--The Monk!

     (_Affecting to run as if coming from a distance. In clear tone:_)

Hello!

                                ROXANE.

What is it?

                                CYRANO.

It is I, Cyrano. I was passing.... Is Christian still here?

                    CHRISTIAN (_as if astonished_).

Why! it's Cyrano!

                                ROXANE.

How do you do, cousin?

                                CYRANO.

Cousin, how do you do?

                                ROXANE.

I'll come down.

     (_She disappears into the house. By the rear, enter the Monk._)

                     CHRISTIAN (_perceiving him_).

What! he again!

     (_He follows Roxane._)

  [21] Note.--"Un point rose qu'on met sur l'i du verbe aimer."

       "A ruby O"...., as above, may prove, it is thought, a good
       example of _equivalence_, the _i_, impossible here in English,
       finding in O a good substitute, calling up, if not exactly the
       very same image, at least a kindred one fully as good.


                               _SCENE X._

            CYRANO, CHRISTIAN, ROXANE, THE MONK, RAGUENEAU.

                               THE MONK.

She must live here--I insist--Magdeleine Robin!

                                CYRANO.

Why! You said _Ro-lin_.

                                 MONK.

No! _Bin_. B, I, N, _bin_!

              ROXANE (_appears in the doorway, followed by
                  Ragueneau, carrying a lighted lantern,
                  and by Christian_).

What is it?

                                 MONK.

A letter.

                               CHRISTIAN.

What's this?

                          MONK (_to Roxane_).

Oh! it can but be a saintly thing! A worthy gentleman....

                        ROXANE (_to Christian_).

Evidently Guiche!

                               CHRISTIAN.

He would dare?....

                                ROXANE.

Oh! he cannot long annoy me! I love you, and....

     (_She opens the letter, and, by the aid of Ragueneau's lantern, she
     reads to herself, in a low voice:_)

"Mademoiselle,

"The drums are beating and my regiment is about to start. All think that
I have already gone; but I have remained, thus disobeying you. I am here
in the convent. I'll come to you forthwith, but I give you notice of my
visit, through an innocent monk who knows not what message he is
carrying. Your lips smiled to me just now; I must see them again.
Dismiss whoever is near you, and condescend to hear the bold suitor whom
you have, I trust, already forgiven, and who remains your most.... et
cetera...."

     (_to the Monk_).

Father, listen! Here is what the letter says:

     (_All come up and listen, as she reads aloud:_)

"Mademoiselle,

"You must submit to the will of the Cardinal, however hard it may appear
to you. And that is why I send this message by a saintly, most
intelligent and discreet capuchin. We desire you to receive his
blessing....(_turning the page_) his nuptial blessing immediately.
Christian must be married to you secretly. I send him to you, though I
know you like him not. Be resigned, remembering that Heaven will bless
your zeal. Be assured, Mademoiselle, of my respect, for I have been and
shall ever be your most humble and very.... et cetera."

                          MONK (_delighted_).

Worthy gentleman! I knew he could suggest but a saintly thing!

                     ROXANE (_aside to Christian_).

Do you not think I read letters well?

                               CHRISTIAN.

It depends....

                     ROXANE (_aloud, in despair_).

Ah!.... this is terrible!

        MONK (_throwing the light of the lantern upon Cyrano_).

Are you the groom?

                               CHRISTIAN.

I am the one!

             MONK (_turning the light upon Christian and as
                if he was in doubt on seeing Christian's
                handsome looks_).

But, my son....

                          ROXANE (_eagerly_).

There is a Post Scriptum: "Donate to the convent one hundred and twenty
pistoles."

                                 MONK.

Worthy, worthy gentleman! (_To Roxane_) Be resigned!

                    ROXANE (_with a martyr's look_).

I am!

     (_While Ragueneau shows the Monk into the house, on Christian's
     invitation, Roxane, in low tone, says to Cyrano_).

Guiche is coming. Detain him here until....

                                CYRANO.

I understand.

     (_to the Monk_). To give them your blessing will take you.... how
long?

                                 MONK.

A quarter of an hour.

              CYRANO (_pushing them all into the house_).

Go in, go in! Only one must remain here: I!

                        ROXANE (_to Christian_).

Come!

     (_They all go into the house._)

                                CYRANO.

How can I detain Guiche fifteen minutes? Oh! I have a plan!

     (_He climbs upon the balcony. The archlutes play a sort of dirge._)

This time it must be a man, most certainly. It is!

     (_He is on the balcony, with his hat well down over his eyes. Takes
     off his sword, wraps himself in his cloak, leans over the railing
     and observes._)

No! Really not too high!

     (_Straddles the railing, seizes a long branch of one of the trees
     and makes ready to drop._)

I'll only slightly disturb the atmosphere!


                              _SCENE XI._

                            CYRANO, GUICHE.

             GUICHE (_masked, and hesitating in the dark_).

What can this infernal monk be doing?

                                CYRANO.

By the way--my voice?--He might recognise it!

     (_He loosens a hand and makes the motion of turning a key._)

Cric! Crac!

     (_Solemnly_) Now, Cyrano, resume the accent of Bergerac!

                    GUICHE (_looking at the house_).

Here's the house!

     (_He is about to enter, but Cyrano springs from the balcony while
     holding on to the branch; the latter bends and lets him down
     between Guiche and the door. He affects to fall heavily, as if from
     a great height, remaining crushed and dazed. Guiche jumps back._)

What is this?

     (_When Guiche recovers from his astonishment the branch has sprung
     up again, so that Cyrano appears to have fallen from the sky._)

From where did this man drop?

              CYRANO (_speaking with a Gascon's accent_).

From the moon!

                                GUICHE.

The moon!....

                        CYRANO (_as if dazed_).

What time is it? What country is this? What month? What day?

                                GUICHE.

But, my dear Sir....

                                CYRANO.

I feel quite dizzy.--Like a bombshell, I have just dropped from the
moon!

                      GUICHE (_out of patience_).

Look here, Sir!....

               CYRANO (_rising, and in thundering tone_).

I say that I dropped!

                        GUICHE (_falling back_).

So be it, then! You dropped!.... (_aside_) He is no doubt insane!

                     CYRANO (_walking toward him_).

And my drop is not metaphorical!.... One hundred years, or one minute
ago--I cannot tell how long I was on the way--I was up in that
saffron-coloured ball!

                  GUICHE (_shrugging his shoulders_).

Quite so! But allow me to pass!

                        CYRANO (_stopping him_).

Be frank now! Where am I? Where have I fallen like a meteorite?

                                GUICHE.

Zounds, Sir!....

                                CYRANO.

During my fall, I could make no selection as to my point of arrival. Is
it upon a moon or an earth that my dead weight has just landed?

                                GUICHE.

But I repeat to you, Sir!....

            CYRANO (_with a cry of horror that causes Guiche
                to fall back_).

Good Heavens!.... In this country are people's faces black? Am I in
Algiers, and are you a native?

                     GUICHE (_touching his mask_).

No doubt, this mask....

                 CYRANO (_seemingly less frightened_).

Oh! then, it's Venice.... or Genoa!

                       GUICHE (_trying to pass_).

A lady is waiting for me!...

                    CYRANO (_completely reassured_).

Then I must be in Paris!

                    GUICHE (_reluctantly smiling_).

The rascal is amusing!

                                CYRANO.

You are laughing.

                                GUICHE.

Yes,--but I must pass.

                    CYRANO (_apparently overjoyed_).

So I have dropped in Paris!....

     (_Quite at his ease, laughing, dusting himself, and bowing._)

I have just arrived--pardon me--by the last cyclone, and I must brush
off the ether that is still on me. I've travelled! My eyes are still
full of astral dust, and my spurs have caught planet hairs.

     (_picking something off his sleeve_).

Here, on my doublet, is one from a comet!....

     (_He blows, as if to cast off the hair._)

                          GUICHE (_enraged_).

Now, look here, Sir!....

     (_As Guiche is going to pass, Cyrano stretches out his leg as if to
     show something that is on it._)

                                CYRANO.

In the calf of this leg, Sir, I have a tooth of the Great Bear,--and, as
nearing the Trident, I managed to avoid its three lances, I fell in a
lump upon the Balance--where my weight up there is still registered!

     (_preventing Guiche from passing and holding him by one of his
     buttons._)

If you were to press my nose, Sir, you would cause a flow of milk!....

                                GUICHE.

Milk, indeed!

                                CYRANO.

Yes, Sir.... from the Milky Way!

                                GUICHE.

Oh! by Satan!....

                                CYRANO.

No! I dropped from heaven! (_crossing his arms_). Would you believe it?
I noticed it as I was going by there: Sirius, at night actually wears a
turban! (_confidentially_) The other Bear, the little one, is still too
small to bite! (_laughing_) As I was passing through the Lyre, I broke
one of its strings! (_proudly_) But I intend to write a book on the
subject; and the golden stars that I gathered into my scorched cloak,
regardless of peril, shall be used by my printer for asterisks!

                                GUICHE.

Once more, I must insist....

                                CYRANO.

Oh! Sir, I know what you desire!

                                GUICHE.

You do?....

                                CYRANO.

Yes. You desire to hear from me how the moon is made, and if any one
inhabits the rotundity of this cucurbit![22]

                         GUICHE (_very loud_).

No! No! I desire....

                                CYRANO.

To learn how I got up there? Easily. Through an invention of mine.

                        GUICHE (_discouraged_).

A madman, certainly!

                        CYRANO (_disdainfully_).

I copied not the stupid eagle of Regiomontanus, or the timid pigeon of
Archytas!....

                                GUICHE.

A madman--but a learned one.

                                CYRANO.

No, Sir. I imitated nothing ever done.

     (_Guiche, having managed to pass, is nearing Roxane's door, but
     Cyrano follows, ready to seize him._)

I invented six different ways of assaulting the virgin blue!

                          GUICHE (_turning_).

Six?

                   CYRANO (_with increased fluency_).

I could, with body as bare as a taper, have comparisoned it with crystal
phials o'erflowing with tears from the morning skies, and my person,
then, if exposed in the sun, would have been aspirated by the luminary
along with the dew!

               GUICHE (_astonished, goes toward Cyrano_).

True! That is one way!

          CYRANO (_backing, so as to draw him further away_).

Again, I could have created a powerful gust of wind, to lift me, if I
had rarefied the air in a cedar box, by means of heated mirrors forming
an icosahedron!

                      GUICHE (_following Cyrano_).

Two ways!

                       CYRANO (_still backing_).

Or else, being both a machinist and an artificer, have straddled a
steel-legged grasshopper, and caused myself, through successive
explosions of saltpetre, to be projected into the azure fields where the
stars are wont to graze!

             GUICHE (_still following him, and counting on
                  his fingers_).

That is three!

                                CYRANO.

Since smoke persists in rising, I might have blown into a globe enough
of it to carry me up!

                  GUICHE (_more and more astonished_).

Four!

                                CYRANO.

Since Phoebe, when her bow is the thinnest, loves to draw, O beeves!
your marrow,.... anoint myself with the same!

                         GUICHE (_stupefied_).

Five!

              CYRANO (_who has managed, while talking, to
                  press Guiche over to the other side of
                  the square, near a bench_).

Last: I could have placed myself upon an iron plate, taken a magnet and
thrown it up into the air! This is a capital way. As soon as the magnet
starts, the iron rushes in pursuit of it. The magnet is thrown up again;
the iron plate follows--and, Cadedis! there is nothing to prevent the
ascension from lasting indefinitely.

                                GUICHE.

Six!--All excellent systems. And, tell me, Sir, which one of the six did
you adopt?

                                CYRANO.

A seventh one!

                                GUICHE.

Astonishing! And what was it, please?

                                CYRANO.

You would never dream of it!....

                           GUICHE (_aside_).

The fellow is really interesting!

               CYRANO (_very mysterious and imitating the
                  sound of waves on a beach_).

Houüh! Houüh!

                                GUICHE.

What's that?

                                CYRANO.

You cannot imagine?

                                GUICHE.

No!

                                CYRANO.

The tide!.... As it was running out, in obedience to the attraction of
the moon, I lay on the sands--head foremost, so that my hair--hair, you
know, does not dry fast--so that my hair was kept bathed in the receding
waves. And, thus I was, by the moon's attraction, drawn up, up, erect,
like an angel. And up I went, gently, without an effort, until suddenly,
I felt a shock!.... Then!....

           GUICHE (_interested, takes a seat on the bench_).

Then?....

                                CYRANO.

Then.... (_resuming his natural tone_). The fifteen minutes have
elapsed, Sir, and now I grant you your freedom. The marriage is
accomplished!

                         GUICHE (_jumping up_).

Am I intoxicated?.... That voice!

     (_The door of Roxane's house opens; lackeys come out with lighted
     candelabra. Cyrano takes off his hat that he had kept well down
     over his face._)

And that nose!.... Cyrano!

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

In person.... Cyrano! They have just exchanged their marriage rings.

                                GUICHE.

They!.... Who?

     (_He turns. Tableau. Behind the lackeys, Roxane and Christian
     holding each other by the hand. The Monk, smiling, follows them.
     Ragueneau is behind, also holding a light. And last is the Duenna,
     bewildered, half dressed, as if she had been hurried out of bed._)

Merciful heavens!

  [22] Note.--_Cucurbit_ ("cucurbite") for moon is, in French, as odd as
       it appears in English. The oddity of the expression, that
       assimulates Luna to the rotund melon, pumpkin, etc., of the genus
       of plants known as _cucurbita_, is in keeping with Cyrano's
       intentional extravagance of speech.


                              _SCENE XII._

_The same._ ROXANE, CHRISTIAN, THE MONK, RAGUENEAU, LACKEYS, THE DUENNA.

                         GUICHE (_to Roxane_).

You, Roxane!

     (_Astounded on recognising Christian_) and he?

     (_Bowing admiringly to Roxane._)

You are admirably shrewd!

     (_To Cyrano_) My compliments to you, Sir, as an inventor. Your
narrative would have stopped a saint at the gate of heaven! Do not
forget to write that book!

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

I promise, Sir, to follow your advice.

             THE MONK (_with an air of satisfaction calling
                  Guiche's attention to the two lovers_).

A beautiful couple, my son, and good work of yours!

                        GUICHE (_very coldly_).

Yes.

     (_to Roxane_) Be good enough to bid farewell, Madam, to your
husband.

                                ROXANE.

How so?

                        GUICHE (_to Christian_).

Your regiment is about to march. Join it immediately!

                                ROXANE.

Is it going to the war?

                                GUICHE.

Of course it is.

                                ROXANE.

But you said, Sir, that the Cadets were not going!

                                GUICHE.

They shall go!

     (_Drawing from his pocket the paper he had put into it._)

Here is the order.

     (_to Christian_) Bear it yourself, Baron.

        ROXANE (_throwing herself into the arms of Christian_).

Oh! dear Christian!

                    GUICHE (_chuckling, to Cyrano_).

A still very distant honeymoon!

                           CYRANO (_aside_).

A fact not so annoying to me as he thinks!

                        CHRISTIAN (_to Roxane_).

Another kiss! Your lips again!

                                CYRANO.

Come, that is enough! enough!

                  CHRISTIAN (_still kissing Roxane_).

It is very hard to leave her.... You do not know....

               CYRANO (_endeavouring to draw him away_).

Oh! yes, I do!

     (_Drums beating a march, in the distance._)

                GUICHE (_who has gone up to the rear_).

The troops are leaving!

           ROXANE (_to Cyrano, who is drawing away Christian
                while she is trying to hold him back_).

Oh!.... I entrust him to you! Promise me that nothing shall endanger his
life!

                                CYRANO.

I shall do my best.... but I can hardly promise....

               ROXANE (_still holding on to Christian_).

Promise me that he shall be very prudent!

                                CYRANO.

I'll try, but as to promising....

                      ROXANE (_still holding on_).

That during this terrible siege he shall never be cold!

                                CYRANO.

If it is at all possible, but....

                      ROXANE (_still holding on_).

That he shall remain true to me!

                                CYRANO.

Yes! of course! But I cannot....

                      ROXANE (_still holding on_).

That he shall write to me often!

                          CYRANO (_halting_).

Oh! that--I promise you!

                               _CURTAIN._

  [Illustration: _THIRD ACT._]



                               _ACT IV._

                         THE CADETS OF GASCONY.


_The post occupied by the Company of Carbon of Haughty-Hall at the siege
of Arras. In the rear, an embankment running across the stage. Beyond, a
plain, extending as far as the horizon, covered with siege works. In the
distance, the walls of the City of Arras, with the outline of its roofs
against the sky. Tents; arms strewn around; drums, etc.--Day is about to
dawn; gold in the east. Sentinels here and there. Camp fires.--Rolled up
in their cloaks the Cadets of Gascony are sleeping. Carbon of
Haughty-Hall and Le Bret are watching. They are very pale and thin.
Christian is asleep, in front, his face lighted by a fire. Silence._


                               _SCENE I._

        CHRISTIAN, CARBON OF HAUGHTY-HALL, LE BRET, THE CADETS,
                            _later_ CYRANO.

                                LE BRET.

It's awful!

                                CARBON.

Yes, nothing left to eat.

                                LE BRET.

Mordious!

              CARBON (_motioning to him to speak lower_).

Deaden your oaths! or you'll wake the men.

                                                      (_to the Cadets_).

                                                               Sleep on!

     (_to Le Bret_).

He who sleeps eats!

                                LE BRET.

Yes, but waking starves!

     (_A few musket reports are heard in the distance._)

                                CARBON.

Confound the muskets!.... They'll wake up my children.

     (_to several of the Cadets who lift up their heads_).

Sleep!

     (_More musketry, nearer_).

                          A CADET (_tossing_).

The Devil! again?

                                CARBON.

It's nothing! Only Cyrano coming back!

     (_The lifted heads lie down again._)

                        A SENTINEL (_outside_).

Who goes there?

                          CYRANO (_outside_).

Bergerac!

                   A SENTINEL (_on the embankment_).

Ventrebieu! who goes there?

                                CYRANO.

Bergerac, you idiot!

     (_He comes down and is met by Le Bret._)

                                LE BRET.

What, you! wounded?

                      CYRANO (_raising his hand_).

Hush! You know that they miss me regularly every morning.

                                LE BRET.

What! risk your life thus, every day, just to carry a letter without the
camp! That is going too far.

               CYRANO (_stopping in front of Christian_).

I promised that he would write often!

                                    (_looking at him_).

                                    He sleeps. How pale!
  If sweet Roxane knew that he is starving! But he has not
  lost his good looks.

                                LE BRET.

Go get some sleep!

                                CYRANO.

Don't growl, Le Bret!.... Remember this: To pass through the Spanish
lines, I long ago selected a place where they are invariably drunk.

                                LE BRET.

Why don't you once bring back some provisions?

                                CYRANO.

A load would not leave me light enough to pass through. But there is
going to be a change. We, the French, shall soon eat.... or die,--if my
eyes did not deceive me....

                                LE BRET.

How soon?

                                CYRANO.

You'll see!.... I'm not sure enough to speak.

                                CARBON.

Isn't it shameful that the besiegers should be the ones to starve!

                                LE BRET.

An extraordinary siege this! We are besieging Arras, and the Spanish are
besieging us.

                                CYRANO.

Somebody should come now to besiege the Spanish.

                                LE BRET.

Do not joke so.--When I think that a life, precious as yours is, can be
risked daily just to carry....

     (_Cyrano walks toward one of the tents._)

                                   Where are you going?

                                CYRANO.

I am going to write another letter.

     (_Enters tent._)


                              _SCENE II._

                        _The same, less_ CYRANO.

_Day is dawning. Rosy tints in the sky, and golden ones on the distant
city. A gun is heard, then drums beat in the distance, to the left.
Other drums are heard, successively, nearer, and nearer, until they
sound on the stage, the noise then receding gradually, toward the right.
Awakening of the Camp. Officers' commands in the distance._

                          CARBON (_sighing_).

Reveille!.... Alas!

     (_the Cadets begin rising._)

Their dream of dinner is finished.... I know what their cry will be now.

                          A CADET (_rising_).

I'm hungry!

                             ANOTHER CADET.

I'm half dead!

                             OTHER CADETS.

We are dead! quite!

                                CARBON.

Get up!

                            SEVERAL CADETS.

Can't!

       FIRST CADET (_using his breastplate as a looking-glass_).

My tongue is yellow. Indigestion!

                             ANOTHER CADET.

As to me, if my gastric organ gets not wherewith to produce a pint of
chyle, I'll retire into my tent--like Achilles.

                            SEVERAL CADETS.

Bread! Something to eat! Now!

           CARBON (_going to the tent of Cyrano and speaking
                low to him_).

Cyrano, help! Come with your ready wit, and put some life into them.
Give them new courage.

            A CADET (_to another who is chewing something_).

What are you nibbling at?

                            THE OTHER CADET.

Cannon wad fried in axle grease! There is but little game around Arras.

                      ANOTHER CADET (_entering_).

I've been out shooting.

               STILL ANOTHER CADET (_likewise entering_).

And I've been fishing in the Scarpe.

                 ALL THE CADETS (_rushing up to them_).

What have you killed? What have you caught?--A pheasant?--A
carp?--Quick, quick, show them!

                             THE FISHERMAN.

A gudgeon!

                             THE HUNTSMAN.

A sparrow!

                    ALL THE CADETS (_exasperated_).

Enough, enough! too much!--let us mutiny!

                                CARBON.

Help, Cyrano.

     (_Daylight has come._)


                              _SCENE III._

                          _The same_, CYRANO.

            CYRANO (_leaving his tent, perfectly tranquil, a
                pen over his ear, book in hand_).

Hey!....

     (_Silence. To the first Cadet_).

                                 What makes you drag your feet along so?

                               THE CADET.

Something in my heels that should not be there!....

                                CYRANO.

What's that?

                               THE CADET.

My stomach!

                                CYRANO.

Mine's the same. What of it?

                               THE CADET.

Isn't it inconvenient?

                                CYRANO.

No, it heightens me.

                             SECOND CADET.

My teeth are very long.

                                CYRANO.

Well, you can bite off a larger piece.

                             ANOTHER CADET.

My skin sounds empty.

                                CYRANO.

We'll use it as a drum, for the charge.

                             ANOTHER CADET.

There is a humming in my ears.

                                CYRANO.

Not that; an empty stomach has no ears. Impossible!

                              OTHER CADET.

Oh! for something to eat,--with good oil!

            CYRANO (_taking off the helmet of the Cadet, in
                whose hand he places it_).

Eat your salad.

                             ANOTHER CADET.

What could we find to devour?

       CYRANO (_throwing to him the book he holds in his hand_).

The Iliad!

                              OTHER CADET.

Meanwhile, the Minister in Paris has his four meals a day!

                                CYRANO.

He ought certainly to send you at least a partridge.

                              SAME CADET.

Why not? And some wine with it too!

                                CYRANO.

Richelieu, some Burgundy, if you please!

                              SAME CADET.

By one of his capuchins!

                                CYRANO.

The Grey Eminence is so intoxicating!

                              OTHER CADET.

I'm as hungry as a bear!

                                CYRANO.

Well, bear it![23]

                FIRST CADET (_shrugging his shoulders_).

Forever words, a point!

                                CYRANO.

                           A point and words!
  'Tis true; and I should like to die--at eve,
  The sky aglow--as the defender of
  A noble cause, a soldier and a poet too,
  With, on my lips, the thrill of daring words,
  And in my heart a sword's ennobling point!

                                  ALL.

  We're hungry!

                     CYRANO (_crossing his arms_).

                  So--you think of naught but food!
  Come up here, then, Bertrandou, with your fife.
  Seek shepherds' notes, and let these gluttons feast
  Upon some old and ne'er forgotten tune
  Each sound of which is like a sister's voice;
  An air that slowly winds its way aloft,
  As does the smoke from lowly cottage roofs,
  A lay of youth, of waiting hearts and home!

     (_Bertrandou prepares his fife._)

  Let fife a while forget the battle note,
  Remembering that it was born a reed.

     (_Bertrandou begins playing some Gascony airs._)

  Ye Gascons, list! 'Tis war no more, but peace.
  'Tis hill and dale, 'tis wood and meadow-land,
  With red-capped lads beside their gentle herds;
  'Tis smiling riverbank and sunny sea.
  O Gascons, hark! You are in Gascony!

     (_All have bowed their heads and are dreaming: many brush away a
     tear._)

                      CARBON (_to Cyrano, aside_).

But, instead of giving them courage, you make them weep!

                                CYRANO.

I've made them homesick!.... A noble sort of suffering .... nobler than
hunger. It is a comfort to see their pain change organs, and pass from
their stomachs to their hearts!

                                CARBON.

But you will weaken them!

             CYRANO (_motioning to a drummer to come up_).

Never mind! The heroes' blood that is in them will soon arouse them!

     (_He motions to the drummer, who begins beating his drum._)

               ALL THE CADETS (_rushing to their arms_).

Hey!.... What?.... What is it?....

                     CYRANO (_smiling, to Carbon_).

You see that, at the sound of the drum, dreams, longings, thoughts of
home, of love,....all fly away. What comes by the fife goes by the
drum.[24]

                       A CADET (_from the rear_).

Ha! ha! here is Monsieur de Guiche!

                     ALL THE CADETS (_murmuring_).

Hou....

                          CYRANO (_smiling_).

Quite complimentary!

                                A CADET.

He is a bore, with his lace collar over his armour. He comes here to
exhibit himself!

                              OTHER CADET.

As if lace were in keeping with iron!

                              OTHER CADET.

Good if one has a boil on his neck!

                              OTHER CADET.

Too much of the courtier!

                              OTHER CADET.

The nephew of his uncle, the Cardinal.

                                CARBON.

And still he's a Gascon!

                              FIRST CADET.

Not a true one!....Beware! Because Gascons, you know, must be madcaps.
There is nothing more dangerous than a reasonable Gascon.

                                LE BRET.

How pale he is!

                                A CADET.

He is hungry.... Just as much as we poor devils. But his breastplate
gives a lustre to his cramps!

                          CYRANO (_quickly_).

We should not appear to suffer more than he does! Here! all of you, take
up your cards, your pipes and your dice....

     (_They all rapidly begin playing, on benches, drums, or on their
     cloaks spread out on the ground, meanwhile lighting long pipes._)

                                     .... and I ... will read Descartes.

     (_He walks up and down, reading a small book that he has taken out
     of his pocket.--Tableau.--Guiche enters; everybody seems busy and
     satisfied. He is very pale; goes up to Carbon._)

  [23] Note.--"Tu croques le marmot" (literally "you are eating the
       baby") is an allusion to ogres' proverbial taste for infants,
       coupled with the somewhat slangy meaning: "you are waiting long
       and impatiently." This in English would be meaningless, and was
       perforce replaced by what seems to be a fair equivalent.

  [24] Note.--A French proverb.


                              _SCENE IV._

                          _The same_, GUICHE.

                         GUICHE (_to Carbon_).

Ha! Good morning!

     (_Aside, after looking at Carbon, with satisfaction_). His face is
     green!

                           CARBON (_aside_).

There is nothing left of him but his eyes.

                   GUICHE (_looking at the Cadets_).

So, here are these soreheads!.... Yes, gentlemen, I understand that I am
jeered at plentifully here; that cadets, nobility and gentry, barons
all, are not over-burdened with respect for their Colonel; that they
charge me with intrigue and court-flattery, that my lace collar over my
breastplate is an eye-sore to them,--and that it is distressing to them
to find that one can be a Gascon and still not out at the elbow!

     (_Silence. The Cadets continue to play and smoke._)

Shall I have you punished by your Captain? No.

                                CARBON.

Well, I am free and I punish only....

                                GUICHE.

Ah!....

                                CARBON.

I paid for my company, and it belongs to me. I obey only to war
commands.

                                GUICHE.

Ah!.... Well, that is sufficient.

                      (_speaking to the Cadets_).

                              I can afford to scorn your bluster.
  Everybody knows how I behave under fire. Even yesterday, there were
  enough witnesses to the spirit with which I routed Count de Bucquoi;
  leading my people against his men like an avalanche, I charged him
  three successive times!

           CYRANO (_without lifting his eyes from his book_).

How about your white scarf?

                  GUICHE (_surprised and satisfied_).

You know of this trifle?.... True, it happened, while I was circling to
gather my people for the third charge, that a party of runaways forced
me too close to the enemy; I was in danger of being taken or shot, when,
happily, I bethought me to untie and to drop the scarf that told my
rank. In this way, and without attracting notice, I managed to get away
from the Spaniards, and to turn back upon them with all my men, beating
them terribly!--Now, what do you say to this?

     (_The Cadets affect not to listen, but they have stopped playing,
     and they hold back the smoke of their pipes. A wait._)

                                CYRANO.

I say that Henry IV, even surrounded by a host of foes, never would have
consented to diminish himself by casting off his plume of snowy white.

     (_Silent joy. Playing and smoking are resumed._)

                                GUICHE.

The device was successful, however!

     (_Playing and smoking again suspended._)

                                CYRANO.

Possibly! But who would abdicate the honour of being a target?

     (_Playing and smoking resumed. Growing satisfaction._)

Had I been present when the scarf slipped off,--see how ideas of bravery
can vary, Sir,--I should have picked it up and put it on.

                                GUICHE.

Yes, Gascon boasting again!

                                CYRANO.

Boasting?.... Lend it to me. I offer to hang it on my shoulder and, this
very night, to scale with it the enemy's fortifications.

                                GUICHE.

A Gascon's offer! You know full well that the scarf remained on the
enemy's ground, near the river Scarpe, a place so well covered by
Spanish guns that nobody can venture there to get it!

             CYRANO (_taking a white scarf from his pocket
                and handing it to Guiche_).

Here it is!

     (_Silence. The Cadets restrain their laughter and affect to be very
     busy playing. Guiche turns and looks at them; they assume an air of
     great gravity; one of them, in an absent-minded way, half whistles
     one of the airs the fife played a while before._)

                      GUICHE (_taking the scarf_).

Thank you! I can use this white fabric to make a signal,--that I
hesitated to give.

     (_He goes to the embankment and waves the scarf several times._)

                                  ALL.

What is this?

                  THE SENTINEL (_on the embankment_).

A man, over there, who is running away!....

              GUICHE (_coming down from the embankment_).

One who plays the part of a Spanish spy. He is very useful to us; takes
over to the enemy information that I give him, so that we can influence
their decision.

                                CYRANO.

He is a blackguard!

                 GUICHE (_slowly tying on his scarf_).

Yes, but a great convenience. What were we saying?.... Ah!.... I was
going to apprise you of something. Last night, in a desperate attempt to
revictual us, the Marshal left for Dourlens; he took with him so many
men that an attack upon us just now would certainly be successful. Half
of the army is away from the camp!

                                CARBON.

But the Spanish do not know of it.

                                GUICHE.

Yes, they do. They are going to attack us. My false spy came to tell me
of it. He added: "I can have the attack made wherever you prefer." I
answered: "Good. Leave the camp and watch it. The point to attack will
be the one from which I make a signal to you."

                       CARBON (_to the Cadets_).

Gentlemen, make ready!

     (_The Cadets rise and busy themselves preparing for the fight._)

                                GUICHE.

The attack will take place in an hour from now.

                             A FEW CADETS.

Oh!.... that is different!

     (_They sit down and resume playing._)

                         GUICHE (_to Carbon_).

You must gain time, pending the Marshal's return.

                                CARBON.

And, in order to gain time, what shall we do?

                                GUICHE.

You will have the goodness to get killed, all of you, in defense of the
camp.

                                CYRANO.

Ah! this is his vengeance!

                                GUICHE.

I will not pretend that, if I loved you, I should have selected you;
but, as your bravery has no equal, by using you I am serving my king as
well as my ill-will.

                                CYRANO.

Allow me, Sir, to be thankful for the honour.

                                GUICHE.

Oh! I know that you love to fight one against a hundred. You certainly
cannot complain, then, that I leave you inactive.

     (_He goes toward the rear with Carbon._)

                       CYRANO (_to the Cadets_).

Well, then we will add to the Gascon coat of arms, proud of its six
chevrons of azure and gold, gentlemen, another chevron, still lacking,
one of blood!

     (_Guiche speaks, aside, with Carbon in the rear. Orders are given.
     Preparations against attack. Cyrano goes up to Christian, who has
     remained motionless with folded arms._)

          CYRANO (_placing his hand on Christian's shoulder_).

Christian!

                    CHRISTIAN (_shaking his head_).

Roxane.

                                CYRANO.

Alas!

                               CHRISTIAN.

At least, I should like to condense all the loving farewells of my heart
into a beautiful letter!....

                                CYRANO.

I thought it might be for to-day, and....

                 (_He draws a letter from his doublet_)

                                      .... I have written your farewell.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Let me see!....

                                CYRANO.

You desire to?....

                    CHRISTIAN (_taking the letter_).

Yes, certainly!

     (_He opens the letter, reads, and stops._)

What is this?....

                                CYRANO.

What?

                               CHRISTIAN.

This little round spot?....

           CYRANO (_taking the letter and looking at it with
              an air of innocence_).

A little round spot?....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, a tear!

                                CYRANO.

Oh!.... Yes!.... we poets are caught in our own trap, through the swing
of our art. You understand.... this letter,--was heart-rending; I drew
tears from my own eyes as I was writing it.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Tears?....

                                CYRANO.

Yes.... because.... to die is not so terrible .... but ....never to see
her again, that is the torture! for the fact is, I shall never....

     (_Christian looks at him._)

               We shall never....

                             (_Quickly_).

                             You shall never....

              CHRISTIAN (_snatching the letter from him_).

Give me the letter!

     (_A murmur is heard in the rear._)

                              A SENTINEL.

Ventrebieu! who goes there?

     (_A few musket shots. Voices. Sound of carriage bells._)

                                CARBON.

What is it?

                    SENTINEL (_on the embankment_).

A coach!

     (_All rush up to look._)

                                 CRIES.

What! In the camp?--Coming in!--It seems to come from the
enemy!--Diantre! Fire!--No! the coachman shouted!--Shouted
what?--Shouted: "Service of the King."

     (_They are all on the embankment, looking into the distance. The
     sound of carriage bells grows nearer and nearer._)

                                GUICHE.

What? of the King!....

     (_All come down again and form in line._)

                                CARBON.

Hats off, all!

                  GUICHE (_to those in the distance_).

Of the King! I said.--Make way, you rabble, so that he can swing around
in state.

     (_The coach enters on a full trot. It is covered with mud and dust.
     The curtains are closed. Two lackeys behind. It stops short._)

                          CARBON (_shouting_).

Salute!

     (_Drums beat._)

                                GUICHE.

Lower the step!

(_Two men advance rapidly. The coach door opens._)

                    ROXANE (_jumping out of coach_).

How are you all?

     (_On hearing a woman's voice, they all, from a profound
     inclination, suddenly straighten up. Stupor._)


                               _SCENE V._

                          _The same_, ROXANE.

                                GUICHE.

Service of the King! You?

                                ROXANE.

Certainly, of the only king there is: Love!

                                CYRANO.

Great God.

                    CHRISTIAN (_rushing up to her_).

You, Roxane! Wherefor?

                                ROXANE.

Oh! this siege was entirely too long.

                               CHRISTIAN.

But the reason?....

                                ROXANE.

I'll tell you later.

              CYRANO (_he has remained motionless, without
                  daring to look at her_).

Heavens! Shall I face her?

                                GUICHE.

You cannot remain here!

                           ROXANE (_gayly_).

Oh! yes, I can! Will you be kind enough to bring up a drum?

     (_One of the Cadets brings up a drum, on which she sits._)

There! thank you.

     (_laughing_).

Do you know that they fired on my coach? It looks like a squash, does it
not? As in the fairy tale; and the lackeys like rats.

     (_sending a kiss to Christian_).

How are you, dear?

     (_looking around at them all_).

You don't seem to be very merry here! I didn't know that Arras was so
far off.

     (_looking at Cyrano_).

Cousin, delighted!

                         CYRANO (_advancing_).

Roxane, tell me how?....

                                ROXANE.

How I managed to find the army? Oh! my dear friend, it was the simplest
thing in the world: I drove on so long as I saw the country laid waste.
Such horrors must be seen to be believed! If that is the service of your
King, gentlemen, my service is a better one.

                                CYRANO.

Come, this is foolhardiness! How could you pass?

                                ROXANE.

How? Why! Right through the Spanish army.

                              FIRST CADET.

Oh! women. They are knowing ones!

                                GUICHE.

But how could you get through their lines?

                                LE BRET.

It must have been very difficult!

                                ROXANE.

Why! No. I just went along, in my coach, on a trot. Whenever one of the
Dons showed his haughty face, I put on and displayed through the window
my most fascinating smile, and these gentlemen being, whatever the
French may say, the most courteous people in the world, I passed!

                                CARBON.

Yes, you have a most excellent passport in that smile! But you must
frequently have been called upon, Madam, to declare whither you were
going.

                                ROXANE.

Oh! yes, quite frequently. I answered simply: "I am going to see my
lover."--Immediately the most ferocious Spaniard would gravely close the
door of my coach, with a knightly wave of the hand order up the muskets
already pointed at me, and, with as much grace as haughtiness, the plume
of his hat proudly floating on the breeze, bow low and say: "Pass on,
Senorita!"

                               CHRISTIAN.

But, Roxane....

                                ROXANE.

I said: My lover. Yes, husband, you must forgive! You will surely
understand that, if I had said my husband, nobody would have let me
pass!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But....

                                ROXANE.

Well, what?

                                GUICHE.

You must be gone immediately!

                                ROXANE.

I?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, and sooner!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, at once.

                                ROXANE.

But how can I get away?

                       CHRISTIAN (_embarrassed_).

The fact is....

                    CYRANO (_likewise embarrassed_).

In forty-five minutes....

                      GUICHE (_also embarrassed_).

Or fifty....

                      CARBON (_embarrassed too_).

It would be preferable....

                                LE BRET.

You might....

                                ROXANE.

I remain, for there is going to be fighting.

                                  ALL.

Fighting? Nothing of the kind.

        ROXANE (_throwing herself into the arms of Christian_).

He is my husband! And if he is killed, I must be killed too!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But what is the matter with your eyes?

                                ROXANE.

I will tell you later!

                                GUICHE.

But the post is a most dangerous one.

                          ROXANE (_turning_).

What! So dangerous?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, and the proof is that he assigned it to us.

                         ROXANE (_to Guiche_).

So, you desire to make a widow of me?

                                GUICHE.

I swear to you....

                                ROXANE.

No! Now I am determined and I will not leave!.... Moreover, it is very
exciting.

                                CYRANO.

What! will the "précieuse" turn out to be a heroine?

                                ROXANE.

Monsieur de Bergerac, I am your cousin.

                                A CADET.

Moreover, we will defend you desperately!

               ROXANE (_growing more and more excited_).

I believe it, my friends!

                       ANOTHER CADET (_elated_).

A perfume of iris pervades the camp.

                                ROXANE.

Just so! I put some on this hat, which will be very becoming in the
fray!....

     (_looking at Guiche_).

But perhaps it is time the Count should leave: the fight might begin.

                                GUICHE.

Ah! this is too much! I will inspect the guns and return .... You have a
little time left still,....change your mind!

                                ROXANE.

Never!

     (_Exit Guiche._)


                              _SCENE VI._

                       _The same, except_ GUICHE.

                      CHRISTIAN (_supplicating_).

Roxane!....

                                ROXANE.

No!

                     FIRST CADET (_to the others_).

She remains!

           ALL (_rushing around hurriedly, and brushing up_).

A comb!--Soap!--My doublet is torn: a needle!--A bright bow!--Your
looking glass!--My cuffs!--Your curling iron!--A razor!

       ROXANE (_to Cyrano, who continues begging her to leave_).

No! I will not budge from here!

           CARBON (_after having, like the others, tightened
              his belt and arranged his cuffs, advances
              toward Roxane and says ceremoniously:_)

Such being the case, it may not seem improper for me to present to you a
few of the gentlemen who will have the honour of dying before your eyes.

     (_Roxane bows, and waits leaning on the arm of Christian. Carbon
     makes the presentations._)

Baron de Peyrescous de Colignac!

                          A CADET (_bowing_).

Madam....

                         CARBON (_continuing_).

Baron de Casterac de Cahuzac!--Baron de Malgouyre Estressac Lesbas
d'Escarabiot!--Chevalier d'Antignac-Juzet!--Baron Hillot de
Blagnac--Salechan de Castel Crabioules!

                                ROXANE.

But how many names has each of you.

                             BARON HILLOT.

More than many.

                         CARBON (_to Roxane_).

Kindly open the hand that holds your handkerchief.

           ROXANE (_opens her hand; her handkerchief falls_).

What for?

     (_The whole company darts forward to pick it up._)

              CARBON (_heading them off and seizing it_).

My company had no flag! Now it will have the finest in the camp!

                          ROXANE (_smiling_).

It is rather small!

            CARBON (_tying the handkerchief to his lance_).

It is lace.... and yours!

                       A CADET (_to the others_).

I would die most willingly for eyes so beautiful, if only I could have a
crust of bread or two.

                         CARBON (_indignant_).

For shame! How can you think of eating before so exquisite a woman?....

                                ROXANE.

But he is right. The morning air is sharp, and I myself am famished.
Meat-pie,--cold game and jelly, some good wine,--I'll have nothing else,
thank you! Suppose we have them now? There is still time.

                                A CADET.

But where shall we get all these good things?

                          ROXANE (_quietly_).

In my coach.

                                  ALL.

What!....

                                ROXANE.

But somebody must serve and carve. Look at my coachman more attentively,
gentlemen, and you will see that he is a very valuable man.

                THE CADETS (_running up to the coach_).

Why! It's Ragueneau!

                      ROXANE (_looking at them_).

Poor hungry fellows!

                      CYRANO (_kissing her hand_).

What a kind fairy you are!

                  RAGUENEAU (_standing on his seat_).

Gentlemen!....

                              THE CADETS.

Speech! Speech!

                               RAGUENEAU.

The Spaniards, when so much beauty passed, did not see the repast.
(_Applause._) They are so bony that they did not notice the boned
turkey.

     (_He takes a dish from under his seat and passes it down._)

                     CYRANO (_aside to Christian_).

A word with you for pity's sake!....

                               RAGUENEAU.

They were so busy with Venus that they allowed Diana's spoils to pass.

     (_He hands down a stag's leg._)

                     CYRANO (_aside to Christian_).

I must speak to you!

       ROXANE (_to the Cadets who come up loaded with eatables_).

Place all that on the ground.

     (_She spreads a table-cloth on the grass, and, with the assistance
     of the two lackeys, prepares the cover._)

     (_to Christian, whom Cyrano is endeavouring to draw aside_).

Come, make yourself useful.

     (_Christian helps her. Cyrano looks anxious._)

                               RAGUENEAU.

A stuffed peacock!

         A CADET (_cutting for himself a large slice of ham_).

Jupiter's thunder! We'll not die without previously ....stuffing
our....(_noticing Roxane_) your pardon.... feasting!

          RAGUENEAU (_tossing to them the coach's cushions_).

These cushions are stuffed with ortolans!

     (_Confusion. Cushions ripped open. Laughter. Joy._)

                              THIRD CADET.

Ah! Viédaze!

             RAGUENEAU (_handing out bottles of red wine_).

  Liquid rubies!....

                       (_Bottles of white wine._)

                                                       Melted topaz!....

             ROXANE (_throwing a table-cloth that falls on
                Cyrano's head_).

Attend to this!.... Be nimble!

            RAGUENEAU (_handing down one of the lanterns_).

Each one of the lanterns is a diminutive larder!

           CYRANO (_unfolds the table-cloth, getting near to
              Christian, who assists him_).

I must speak to you before you speak to her!

                     RAGUENEAU (_growing lyrical_).

The handle of my whip is a sausage from Arles!

           ROXANE (_passing the dishes and filling glasses_).

Since we are ordered to die, what care we for the rest of the
army?--Yes! all for the Gascons!--and, if Guiche comes, we'll not invite
him! (_going from one to the other_).

Come, you have plenty of time. Do not eat so fast! Drink a little.--Why
have you tears in your eyes?

                              FIRST CADET.

Because it's all too good!....

                                ROXANE.

Hush!--Red or white?--Bread, Monsieur de Carbon!--A knife?--Your
plate!--Meat pie?--Champagne wine?--Chicken?

           CYRANO (_following her, loaded with eatables, and
              helping her to serve. Aside_).

How I love her!

                   ROXANE (_going up to Christian_).

And what will _you_ have?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Nothing.

                                ROXANE.

Yes, just a cake and a little Muscatel!

               CHRISTIAN (_endeavouring to detain her_).

Oh! tell me why, why you came?

                                ROXANE.

Hush! Let me first give these poor starving fellows something to eat....
I'll tell you by and by....

            LE BRET (_who had gone to the rear, to pass, on
                the end of a lance, a loaf of bread to the
                sentinel on the embankment_).

Here is Guiche!

                                CYRANO.

Make haste, hide bottles, dishes, plates, baskets, everything! Be lively
there! Let him notice nothing!....

     (_to Ragueneau_).

You, get up to your box again!--Be quick! Everything out of the way!

     (_It has taken only a few seconds to conceal everything, under
     tent, doublet, cloak or hat.--Enter Guiche. He stops and sniffs the
     air.--Silence._)


                              _SCENE VII._

                          _The same_, GUICHE.

                                GUICHE.

It smells good here!

               A CADET (_humming an air, unconcernedly_).

To lo lo!....

                GUICHE (_stopping and looking at him_).

Why! what is the matter?.... You are as red as a beet!

                               THE CADET.

I?.... Oh! nothing. Merely my blood. We are going to fight. It boils!

                             ANOTHER CADET.

Poum.... poum.... poum.... patapoum....

                       GUICHE (_turning to him_).

What is this, now?

          THE CADET (_slightly feeling the effects of wine_).

That, oh! nothing. Just a little song!

                                GUICHE.

You are of a lively disposition, my boy!

                               THE CADET.

Oh! the approach of danger!

              GUICHE (_calling Carbon to give an order_).

Captain,....

     (_looking at him with astonishment_).

Zounds! You, too, have an over-healthy look!

              CARBON (_very red in the face, and hiding a
                  bottle behind his back_).

Oh! constitution....

                                GUICHE.

I had a field-piece left and I ordered it placed in that corner
(_pointing to the wings_).

Your men may have occasion to use it.

       ONE OF THE CADETS (_with an affectation of thankfulness_).

Delightful attention!

                 ANOTHER CADET (_smiling gracefully_).

Exquisitely thoughtful!

                           GUICHE (_aside_).

Why! they have all gone mad!--

                              (_sternly_).

                              As you are not accustomed
  to using cannon, beware of the recoil.

                              FIRST CADET.

Who cares for recoil?

                  GUICHE (_going up to him, in rage_).

Look here, Sir!....

                               THE CADET.

Gascon guns never move backward.

           GUICHE (_taking him by the arm and shaking him_).

You are intoxicated, Sir!.... with what?

                         THE CADET (_proudly_).

With the smell of gun powder!

             GUICHE (_shrugs his shoulders, pushes him, and
                goes up to Roxane_).

You must decide quickly. What will you be pleased to do?

                                ROXANE.

I remain!

                                GUICHE.

No, better escape!

                                ROXANE.

Fly? Never.

                                GUICHE.

Such being the case, give me a musket!

                                CARBON.

What for?

                                GUICHE.

I, too, will remain.

                                CYRANO.

At last, Sir, you show your courage!

                              FIRST CADET.

So you are a true Gascon, after all, in spite of your lace?

                                GUICHE.

I never abandon a woman in danger!

                  SECOND CADET (_to the first Cadet_).

Say! don't you think he deserves something to eat?

     (_Eatables and drinkables instantly reappear._)

                    GUICHE (_whose eyes brighten_).

Provisions!

                              THIRD CADET.

Every doublet covers some!

                 GUICHE (_mastering himself, proudly_).

I eat nobody's leavings!

                           CYRANO (_bowing_).

You are improving, Sir!

             GUICHE (_proudly and forgetting to master his
                natural Gascon accent_).

I know how to fight on an empty stomach! _A jeung!_

                       FIRST CADET (_overjoyed_).

He said it with the Gascon accent!

                          GUICHE (_laughing_).

Did I?

                               THE CADET.

He is one of us!

     (_They all begin to dance._)

               CARBON (_who has been away a moment behind
                  the embankment, reappearing on top of it_).

My men are placed, and determined!

     (_He points to a row of lances that show over the crest of the
     embankment._)

                     GUICHE (_to Roxane, bowing_).

Will you accept my hand to pass them in review?....

     (_She gives her hand and they go up to the embankment. Hats come
     off, and everybody follows._)

                   CHRISTIAN (_going up to Cyrano_).

Now! speak quickly!

     (_As Roxane appears on the crest, the lances disappear in a salute;
     she bows._)

                          THE MEN (_outside_).

Hurrah!

                               CHRISTIAN.

What is your secret?....

                                CYRANO.

In case Roxane...

                               CHRISTIAN.

Well?

                                CYRANO.

Should speak to you of letters....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Yes, yes, I know!....

                                CYRANO.

Do not be silly enough to appear surprised....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Surprised by what?

                                CYRANO.

Oh! I must tell you.... The simplest thing in the world .... and I
happened to think of it only to-day, on seeing her. You have....

                               CHRISTIAN.

I have what?

                                CYRANO.

You have....written to her more often than you think.

                               CHRISTIAN.

How so?

                                CYRANO.

Well! I had undertaken to speak for you, and I interpreted your love.
Sometimes I wrote without saying to you: I'm writing!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Oh! you did?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, the simplest thing in the world, as I said!

                               CHRISTIAN.

But, since we have been hemmed in, how did you manage to....

                                CYRANO.

Oh!.... Before dawn I could pass through the lines....

                    CHRISTIAN (_folding his arms_).

Ah! another very simple matter, I suppose? And how many times a week did
I write?.... Twice?--Three times?--Four times?--

                                CYRANO.

More.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Every day?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, every day,--twice.

                      CHRISTIAN (_with violence_).

And this enraptured you, and the rapture was such that each day you
faced death....

             CYRANO (_noticing Roxane, who is returning_).

Hush! not in her presence!

     (_Exit rapidly, under his tent._)


                             _SCENE VIII._

            ROXANE, CHRISTIAN; _in the rear_ CADETS, _going
                    and coming_: CARBON _and_ GUICHE
                            _giving orders_.

                  ROXANE (_running up to Christian_).

And now, dear Christian!....

                  CHRISTIAN (_taking both her hands_).

And now tell me why, over impassable roads, why, through the ranks of
brutal soldiery, you joined me here.

                                ROXANE.

On account of your letters.

                               CHRISTIAN.

My letters?

                                ROXANE.

Yes, and it is your fault if I took so many risks. Your letters
intoxicated me. Ah! remember how many you wrote me, during this last
month, and all so beautiful!

                               CHRISTIAN.

What! Do you mean to say that for a few short love letters?....

                                ROXANE.

  Your letters, yes! My ardent love for you,
  Love passionate, was born that night of bliss
  When, from beneath my willing balcony,
  In accents that to both of us were new,
  A soul revealed itself to me....'twas yours....
  So that, each time your letters came, it seemed
  As if I lived those minutes once again,
  And, rapture-bound, I heard your voice itself,
  Those tender tones that twined around me then.
  So here am I! Penelope would not
  Have persevered in waiting labour if
  Ulysses could have written grandly so;
  But, daft as Helen, she, to join him, would
  Have flung away her tedious worsted balls.

                               CHRISTIAN.

  But....

                                ROXANE.

            Yes, I read and read, while every thrill
  Confirmed me yours. Each leaflet that I held
  Was like a petal wafted from your soul,
  Each word was one of love sincere and strong....

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Indeed, sincere and strong?--You felt it so?....

                                ROXANE.

  Oh! yes, so strongly!

                               CHRISTIAN.

                       And, Roxane, you came....

                                ROXANE.

  I came because.... O Christian, dearest conqueror,
  You'd bid me rise, if I should clasp your knees;
  So 'tis my soul that's at your feet. My soul
  You never can remove from reverence.
  I came to seek forgiveness (and the time
  Is meet, indeed, since death is near, perhaps!),
  Your pardon for--how frivolous I was!--
  Once loving you for beauty's sake alone.

                       CHRISTIAN (_frightened_).

  Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

            But later, dear, with growing sense,
  --A bird will hop before it learns to soar--
  I marked your soul outshining e'en your looks,
  And then I loved you more for both.

                               CHRISTIAN.

                                          And now?

                                ROXANE.

  You have, in short, yourself outshone yourself,
  And now I love you for your soul alone.

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

            Rejoice! What is a love we owe
  To passing gifts, to beauty doomed to fade?
  It's torture for an eager, noble heart.
  My thoughts of you recall no handsome face;
  Your beauty that, at first, had captured me,
  Now that my eyes are opened, strikes me not.

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Oh!

                                ROXANE.

       Doubt you not what victory is yours!

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

            I understand. Such love as this
  Is past belief.

                               CHRISTIAN.

                  'Tis not the love I seek.
  I wish to be belovèd simply for....

                                ROXANE.

  For what some others prized before to-day?
  Oh! let your heart make room for better love!

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Roxane, your former love was better.

                                ROXANE.

                                        Nay!
  'Tis now I love you better, most and well!
  'Tis what is really you that now I love,
  And I should love you still if you should cease....

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Oh! hush, Roxane.

                                ROXANE.

                       Yes, cease to look so grand.

                               CHRISTIAN.

  If I were homely?

                                ROXANE.

                             Even hideous!

                               CHRISTIAN.

  Roxane!....

                                ROXANE.

                The thought should give you joy profound.

                    CHRISTIAN (_in a husky voice_).

Yes....

                                ROXANE.

What troubles you?

                 CHRISTIAN (_gently pushing her off_).

Nothing. I have an order to give! One second, please....

                                ROXANE.

But....

        CHRISTIAN (_pointing to a group of Cadets in the rear_).

My love for you, my selfishness, has deprived these poor fellows of your
sweet company. Go smile to them a little, since they are about to
die.... Go!

                           ROXANE (_moved_).

How good you are, dear Christian!....

     (_She goes up to the Gascons, who respectfully surround her._)


                              _SCENE IX._

           CHRISTIAN, CYRANO: _in the rear_, ROXANE _speaking
                 with_ CARBON _and some of the Cadets_.

      CHRISTIAN (_calling out in the direction of Cyrano's tent_).

Cyrano!

                CYRANO (_coming out armed for battle_).

What is it? You are white as a ghost!

                               CHRISTIAN.

She loves me no more!

                                CYRANO.

How so?

                               CHRISTIAN.

You are the one she loves.

                                CYRANO.

Nonsense!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Now my soul is all she loves.

                                CYRANO.

Fiddlesticks!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I tell you it is so! You therefore are the one she loves,--and you love
her.

                                CYRANO.

I?

                               CHRISTIAN.

I know it!

                                CYRANO.

Well, it is true.

                               CHRISTIAN.

You love her madly.

                                CYRANO.

More than that.

                               CHRISTIAN.

Tell her so!

                                CYRANO.

No!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Why not?

                                CYRANO.

Look at my face!

                               CHRISTIAN.

She said she would love me even if I were homely!

                                CYRANO.

She really told you so?

                               CHRISTIAN.

She did!

                                CYRANO.

I am very glad she said so! But you must not believe anything so wild.
Do not lose your beauty, for then she would hate me too much.

                               CHRISTIAN.

That we shall see. Let her choose! Tell her all.

                                CYRANO.

No, no! Do not put me to such torture!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Would you have me destroy your happiness because of my good looks? That
would be too unjust!

                                CYRANO.

And I should ruin yours because I happen, by mere chance, to have the
gift of expressing.... that which no doubt you feel?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Tell her all, I say!

                                CYRANO.

You persist in tempting me. It is wrong!

                               CHRISTIAN.

I am tired of having a rival in myself!

                                CYRANO.

Oh! Christian!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Our marriage.... without witnesses.... quite secret, in fact, could be
annulled.... should we survive!

                                CYRANO.

How obstinate he is!....

                               CHRISTIAN.

Perhaps,....but I desire to be loved for myself,....or not at all!--But
enough!... I had better go see how things are progressing. I'll return
presently; meanwhile, speak, and let her prefer one of us two!

                                CYRANO.

It shall be you!

                               CHRISTIAN.

Well.... I hope so!

     (_he calls out_) Roxane!

                                CYRANO.

No, do not call her, please!

                         ROXANE (_running in_).

What is it?

                               CHRISTIAN.

Cyrano will tell you... something.... important....

     (_She runs up to Cyrano. Exit Christian._)


                               _SCENE X._

        ROXANE, CYRANO, _later_ LE BRET, CARBON OF HAUGHTY-HALL,
                 THE CADETS, RAGUENEAU, GUICHE, _etc._

                                ROXANE.

Something important?....

                         CYRANO (_bewildered_).

What! he is gone!.... (_to Roxane_)

                                          Oh, nothing!....
  he attaches--Oh! well, you must know him!--a great deal
  of importance to trifles!

                          ROXANE (_eagerly_).

He doubts, perhaps, the truth of what I said?.... I could almost see he
did not believe it!....

                   CYRANO (_taking her by the hand_).

But was what you said really true?

                                ROXANE.

Certainly. I would love him even.... (_she hesitates a second._)

                       CYRANO (_smiling sadly_).

You stop at the word.... in my presence?

                                ROXANE.

But....

                                CYRANO.

It will not hurt my feelings! You meant: Even if he were homely!

                                ROXANE.

Yes.... homely!

     (_Sound of musketry in the rear._)

                          CYRANO (_ardently_).

Abominably so?

                                ROXANE.

Yes!

                                CYRANO.

Disfigured?

                                ROXANE.

Yes, disfigured!

                                CYRANO.

Grotesque?

                                ROXANE.

Nothing can make him look grotesque.... to me!

                                CYRANO.

And then you would love him still?

                                ROXANE.

More, perhaps!

               CYRANO (_losing his self control, aside_).

Good God! It is true, perhaps, and happiness is there! (_to Roxane_).
Well, then.... Roxane.... listen!....

        LE BRET (_entering rapidly and calling in a low voice_).

Cyrano!

                       CYRANO (_turning around_).

What is it?

                                LE BRET.

Hush! (_whispers to him a few words._)

                   CYRANO (_dropping Roxane's hand_).

Great God!....

                                ROXANE.

What has happened?

                         CYRANO (_stupefied_).

It is all over!

     (_Sounds of musketry again._)

                                ROXANE.

What is it? Why all this firing?

     (_She goes up and looks beyond the embankment._)

                                CYRANO.

All over! I never can tell her!

                  ROXANE (_as if going to rush out_).

What is going on?

                      CYRANO (_restraining her_).

Nothing! nothing!

     (_Cadets enter bearing something which they conceal by forming
     around it a group that keeps Roxane at a distance._)

                                ROXANE.

What are these men here for?

                      CYRANO (_leading her away_).

Never mind them!....

                                ROXANE.

But what is it you were going to say before this disturbance?

                                CYRANO.

Going to say?.... Nothing. Oh! nothing, I swear it, Madam! (_Solemnly_)
I swear that the spirit of Christian and his soul were.... (_correcting
himself_) _are_ the greatest....

                                ROXANE.

You said: were!

     (_With a shriek_). Ah!.... (_she rushes back, pushing the men
     aside._)

                                CYRANO.

The end has come!

           ROXANE (_seeing Christian laid out in his cloak_).

Christian!

                         LE BRET (_to Cyrano_).

The first shot fired by the enemy!

     (_Roxane throws herself upon the body of Christian. Musketry again.
     Clash of arms. Shouts. Drums._)

               CARBON OF HAUGHTY-HALL (_sword in hand_).

The attack! to your arms!

     (_Followed by the Cadets he goes to the other side of the
     embankment._)

                         ROXANE (_in despair_).

Christian! Christian!

          THE VOICE OF CARBON (_from behind the embankment_).

Make haste there!

                                ROXANE.

Christian!

                                CARBON.

_Fall into line!_

                                ROXANE.

Christian!

                                CARBON.

_Measure.... match!_

     (_Ragueneau has rushed up bringing some water in a helmet._)

                      CHRISTIAN (_in dying tone_).

Roxane!....

             CYRANO (_quickly and in a low tone, in the ear
                of Christian, while Roxane, frantic, dips
                into the water of the helmet a piece of
                linen which she has torn from her breast_).

I told her all! and it is you she still loves!

     (_Christian closes his eyes._)

                                ROXANE.

What is it, my love?

                                CARBON.

_Ramrods.... high!_

                         ROXANE (_to Cyrano_).

He is not dead?....

                                CARBON.

_Open charge.... with teeth!_

                                ROXANE.

I feel, here against mine, his cheek getting cold!

                          CARBON (_outside_).

_Take aim!_

                                ROXANE.

A letter in his bosom! (_she opens the letter_) for me!

                           CYRANO (_aside_).

My letter!

                                CARBON.

_Fire!_

     (_Musketry. Cries. Noise of battle._)

             CYRANO (_trying to draw away his hand that is
                held by Roxane, who is on her knees_).

But, Roxane, I must join in the fight!

                      ROXANE (_holding him back_).

Stay just a little. He is dead, and you were the only one who really
knew him.

     (_She weeps softly._) Is it not true that he had an exquisite soul,
     a marvellous one?

                    CYRANO (_standing bareheaded_).

Yes, Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

That he was a thrilling poet, an adorable one?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

A sublime spirit?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

That he had a heart large and brave, too deep to be fathomed by the
crowd?

                           CYRANO (_firmly_).

Yes, Roxane!

        ROXANE (_throwing herself upon the body of Christian_).

And he is dead!

                CYRANO (_aside, as he draws his sword_).

And I to-day can but die, since, though she knows it not, it is for me
she is weeping over him!

     (_Sound of trumpets in the distance._)

            GUICHE (_reappearing on the embankment, hatless,
                wounded in the forehead; with a voice of
                thunder_).

It is the signal that was promised! the trumpets! our comrades come with
help and food! Hold fast a few minutes!

                                ROXANE.

On his letter blood .... and tears!

                  A VOICE (_outside the embankment_).

Surrender!

                              THE CADETS.

No!

              RAGUENEAU (_who has climbed upon the coach,
                  and is looking at the battle over the
                  embankment_).

We are lost!

               CYRANO (_to Guiche, pointing to Roxane_).

Carry her off! I will charge!

          ROXANE (_in dying tones, as she kisses the letter_).

His blood! His tears!....

      RAGUENEAU (_jumping off the coach and running toward her_).

She is fainting!

         GUICHE (_on the embankment, fiercely, to the Cadets_).

Steady, for your lives!

                          A VOICE (_outside_).

Lay down your arms!

                              THE CADETS.

Never!

                         CYRANO (_to Guiche_).

You have proved your valour, Sir! You can afford to fly (_pointing to
Roxane_) and save her!

          GUICHE (_runs to Roxane and takes her in his arms_).

So be it! Hold fast a few moments and we shall win the day!

                                CYRANO.

We'll hold to the death!

     (_In a voice of anguish, looking toward Roxane, whom Guiche and
     Ragueneau are carrying away senseless_).

Farewell, Roxane!

     (_Tumult. Cries. Wounded Cadets reappear and fall within the
     embankment. Cyrano, rushing to the fray, is stopped on the crest of
     the embankment by Carbon of Haughty-Hall, covered with blood._)

                                CARBON.

We are wavering! I have received two gun shots.

                  CYRANO (_shouting to the Gascons_).

Steady there! Hold fast, you rascals!

     (_to Carbon, holding him up_).

Have no fear! I have two deaths to avenge: Christian's and that of my
happiness!

     (_Both come down. Cyrano brandishes a lance to which is attached
     the handkerchief of Roxane._)

Float bravely on, you little flag of lace that is hers! (_He plants the
lance into the ground and cries to the Cadets_).

Fall upon them now! Crush them! (_to the fife player_) And you, strike
up!

     (_The fife plays. The wounded rise to their feet. The Cadets form a
     group around Cyrano and the little flag; others climb into and upon
     the coach, making it look like a small fortress._)

              A CADET (_coming up from the outside of the
                  embankment, backward, still fighting_).

They come! they come!

     (_Falls down dead._)

                                CYRANO.

We'll give them a salute!

     (_The embankment is at once occupied by a troop of the enemy, with
     large flags waving._)

Fire!

     (_General discharge._)

                   ORDER (_from the enemy's ranks_).

Fire!

     (_Most of the Cadets fall, either wounded or dead._)

               A SPANISH OFFICER (_taking off his hat_).

Who are these people dying so bravely?

                 CYRANO (_erect and proudly reciting_).

  Fair Gascony's cadets are they,
  With Carbon,--He of Haughty-Hall;
  They fight and lie without dismay,

     (_He rushes on to enemy, followed by a few surviving Cadets._)

  Fair Gascony's cadets....

     (_The rest is lost in the noise of battle._)

                               _CURTAIN._

  [Illustration: _FOURTH ACT._]



                                _ACT V._

                           CYRANO'S GAZETTE.


_Fifteen years later, in 1655. The garden of the Convent of the Ladies
of the Cross, in Paris._

_Beautiful shade trees. To the left, the house. Wide porch on which
several doors open. In the centre of the stage, an enormous
overspreading tree standing alone in a sort of open circle. To the
right, first entrance, backed by high box-wood bushes, a semi-circular
stone bench._

_In the rear an avenue of chestnut trees leading up to fourth entrance,
right, where the door of the Chapel can be seen through the branches.
Beyond the avenue, lawns, other rows of trees, shrubbery and the sky._

_The Chapel has a small side door, from which starts, running down to
the right, first entrance, behind the box-wood bushes, a sort of
colonnade entwined with creepers rich in hues of gold and red._

_It is Autumn. The russet leaves of the trees are in bright contrast
with the green lawns, except the box-wood and yew-trees that form dark
spots here and there. Yellow leaves beneath the trees; fallen leaves
everywhere on the ground, on the porch and on the benches._

_Between the stone bench to the right and the tree in the centre, a
tapestry frame, and in front of it a chair. Baskets full of worsted
skeins and balls. On the frame, a piece of tapestry-work, unfinished._

_As the curtain rises, sisters are going and coming through the garden;
some are seated on the bench, on either side of an elderly sister.
Leaves are falling._


                               _SCENE I._

    MOTHER MARGARET, SISTER MARTHA, SISTER CLAIRE, _other_ SISTERS.

                 SISTER MARTHA (_to Mother Margaret_).

Sister Claire looked at herself twice in the mirror.

                 MOTHER MARGARET (_to Sister Claire_).

That was very wrong!

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

But Sister Martha pulled a plum out of the pie this morning; I saw her
do it.

                 MOTHER MARGARET (_to Sister Martha_).

Very wrong, indeed, Sister Martha!

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

A little bit of a look!

                             SISTER MARTHA.

A little bit of a plum!

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

I'll have to tell Mr. Cyrano.

                     SISTER CLAIRE (_frightened_).

Oh! please, do not, he would tease us!....

                             SISTER MARTHA.

.... Say that we are vain!....

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

.... Or great gluttons!....

                      MOTHER MARGARET (_smiling_).

But full of goodness.

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

Is it not true, Mother, that he has been coming here, every Saturday,
for the last ten years?

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

And more. Ever since his cousin, fourteen years ago, saddened the
whiteness of our caps with the darkness of her widow's veil, as would a
bird of sombre hue alighting 'mid a flight of brighter birds.

                             SISTER MARTHA.

And he alone can relieve with a ray of light the grief that she persists
in feeding.

                           THE OTHER SISTERS.

He is so entertaining!--It is fun when he comes!--He teases us!--He is
so kind!--We love him so!--And we make sweets for him!

                             SISTER MARTHA.

But he is not a very good Catholic!

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

We'll convert him!

                           THE OTHER SISTERS.

Assuredly, we will!

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

I forbid your tormenting him on that score, children. He might come here
less often?

                             SISTER MARTHA.

But.... dear Mother.... God....

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

Have no fear.... God knows him!

                             SISTER MARTHA.

But, every Saturday, as he enters, he says proudly: "Sister, like a bad
Catholic, I ate meat yesterday!"

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

Is that what he says? Well, the last time he came he had eaten nothing
whatever for two days.

                             SISTER MARTHA.

Mother!

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

He is very poor. Mr. Le Bret told me so.

                             SISTER MARTHA.

And no one assists him!

                            MOTHER MARGARET.

He is proud and would not accept assistance.

     (_Roxane is seen in the rear; she is in black, wearing the long
     veil of a widow. Guiche, grown older, but magnificently clad,
     accompanies her. They walk slowly, Mother Margaret rises._)

Come, it is time to get in.--Here is Madam Madeleine, with a visitor.

               SISTER MARTHA (_aside to Sister Claire_).

It is the Marshall--Duke de Grammont.

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

Yes, I think it is.

                             SISTER MARTHA.

He has not come to see her for months!

                             SISTER CLAIRE.

The court--the army--the world--keep him away, I suppose.

     (_Exeunt Sisters. Guiche and Roxane come down in silence, and stop
     near the tapestry frame. A pause._)


                              _SCENE II._

         ROXANE, DUKE DE GRAMMONT (_formerly Count de Guiche_);
                    _later_ LE BRET _and_ RAGUENEAU.

                                 DUKE.

And so you persist in remaining in this seclusion, uselessly lovely,
forever in mourning?

                                ROXANE.

Forever!

                                 DUKE.

Ever true to his memory?

                                ROXANE.

Ever!

                                 DUKE.

You have forgiven me?

                                ROXANE.

Yes! Since I am here.

     (_A pause._)

                                 DUKE.

And he was truly so?....

                                ROXANE.

You never really knew him!

                                 DUKE.

Probably!.... And his last letter lies on your heart always?

                                ROXANE.

Like a blessèd talisman it hangs on this ribbon.

                                 DUKE.

You love him even dead?

                                ROXANE.

  At times it seems as if he'd left me not,
  As if our hearts still beat as one, as if
  His love still coiled around me, strong, alive!

     (_Another pause._)

                                 DUKE.

Does Cyrano ever come to see you?

                                ROXANE.

Yes, often. He is a very dear old friend, and he brings me all the news.
He comes regularly, every Saturday. As the hour strikes, while I am at
work on my tapestry, I know, without even turning around to see, that he
is here, for I can hear his stick on the stone steps. If the weather is
fine, he sits under this tree, where his chair awaits him. He laughs at
what he calls my eternal work, relates to me the events of the week,
and....

     (_Le Bret appears on the porch._)

Why! here is Le Bret!

     (_to Le Bret, who has come down_).

And how is our friend?

                                LE BRET.

Not at all well.

                                 DUKE.

Oh! I'm sorry.

                          ROXANE (_to Duke_).

Le Bret exaggerates!

                                LE BRET.

All as I predicted: desertion and poverty!.... His epistles have made
him new enemies! He denounces mock nobility, mock piety, mock bravery,
plagiarism,--in fact everybody!

                                ROXANE.

But the fear of his wonderful sword holds them all in respect. They'll
never reach him.

                       DUKE (_shaking his head_).

Who knows?

                                LE BRET.

What I fear for him is not an assault; it is solitude, hunger, winter
stealthily entering his poor abode. These are the enemies that may lay
him low.--Each morning he buckles his belt a little tighter. His nose
has now the sallowness of old ivory. His wardrobe is reduced to one suit
of black.

                                 DUKE.

Ah! he at least is not a parvenu. So, do not pity him too much. He has
lived free from obligations and humiliating restraint.

                       LE BRET (_smiling sadly_).

Duke, Duke!....

                                 DUKE.

Yes, I know: I have everything, and he has nothing.... But I should very
much like to shake his hand.

     (_bowing to Roxane_). Farewell.

                                ROXANE.

I'll see you to the gate.

     (_The Duke bows to Le Bret, and goes, with Roxane, towards the
     house._)

                      DUKE (_stopping a moment_).

  I envy him at times. You see, Roxane,
  When we have had too much success in life,
  Although we've done no very wicked act--
  We feel within a thousand sickly stings
  Of self-reproach; their total is too small
  To constitute remorse, but large enough
  To keep us in a dull uneasiness.
  Thus ducal mantles sweep, as we ascend
  The steps of greatness, with their fringe of furs
  A rustling heap of withered sentiments,
  As now your sombre train, upon the porch,
  Draws in its folds a bunch of autumn leaves.

                         ROXANE (_ironically_).

You are in a very sentimental mood.

                               THE DUKE.

Alas! yes.

     (_as he is about to go out, abruptly_).

                                Monsieur Le Bret!

     (_to Roxane_).

By your permission, one word.

     (_to Le Bret in a low tone_).

                                It is true; no one would
  dare to attack your friend. But there are many who hate
  him, and somebody said to me, yesterday, at the Queen's
  reception: "This Cyrano is not unlikely to meet some day
  with an accident." Tell him not to be about too much.
  To be prudent.

                   LE BRET (_throwing up his arms_).

Prudent, he! But he is coming here to-day, and I must warn him, though I
doubt if that will do much good.

              ROXANE (_who has remained on the porch, to a
                  sister coming up to her_).

What is it?

                              THE SISTER.

Ragueneau wishes to see you, Madam.

                                ROXANE.

Let him in.

     (_Exit Sister._) (_to Duke and to Le Bret_).

              He comes to tell his woes.
  He started to be an author, but became in turn a chanter....

                                LE BRET.

A bath-keeper....

                                ROXANE.

An actor....

                                LE BRET.

A beadle....

                                ROXANE.

A barber....

                                LE BRET.

An archlute-teacher....

                                ROXANE.

To-day what can he have become?

                    RAGUENEAU (_entering rapidly_).

Oh! Madam!

            (_noticing Le Bret_). Oh! Sir!

                          ROXANE (_smiling_).

Tell your misfortunes to Le Bret. I shall be back presently.

     (_Exit Roxane, with the Duke, without listening to Ragueneau, who
     comes down toward Le Bret._)


                              _SCENE III._

                          LE BRET, RAGUENEAU.

                               RAGUENEAU.

After all, since you are here, Sir, it is just as well that she should
be kept in ignorance! I was on my way to see your friend, this
afternoon, when, as I was nearing his door, I saw him coming out. As I
was endeavouring to overtake him, and as he was turning the corner, a
window above him opened, and,--was it through accident? perhaps! a
lackey dropped upon him a heavy log of wood.

                                LE BRET.

Cowards!.... Abominable!

                               RAGUENEAU.

Our friend, Sir, our poet, lay there on the ground with a large hole in
his head!

                                LE BRET.

Is he dead?

                               RAGUENEAU.

No! but in what a state! I carried him up to his room... his room! You
should see what it is!

                                LE BRET.

He is in great pain?

                               RAGUENEAU.

No, Sir, he has not recovered his senses.

                                LE BRET.

You found a doctor?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Yes, one who was good enough to come.

                                LE BRET.

Unfortunate Cyrano!--We must break the news gently to Roxane.--And what
said the doctor?

                               RAGUENEAU.

He spoke of fever.... meningitis. Oh! if you saw him.... with his poor
head bandaged!.... Come quickly, Sir, there is nobody with him! It would
be death to him if he left his bed!

                LE BRET (_urging him toward the right_).

This way is shorter; through the Chapel!

             ROXANE (_appearing on the porch, and seeing Le
                Bret and Ragueneau running up the colonnade
                to the Chapel!_)

Monsieur Le Bret!

     (_Exeunt Le Bret and Ragueneau without answering._)

No doubt another of good Ragueneau's troubles.


                              _SCENE IV._

                ROXANE _alone, two_ SISTERS _a moment_.

  How beautiful these last September days!
  My sadness fain would smile. Spring's ardour oft
  Offends our grief, but Autumn chastens it.

     (_She sits down before her work. Two sisters sally from the house
     carrying a large armchair that they place under the tree._)

  Ah! here's the chair in which Cyrano sits.

                                (_Exeunt Sisters._)

The hour strikes.... he's coming.--Where are my skeins!--He's not here
yet? The first time he is late.... My thimble.... Here it is. Some
sister preaching to him, no doubt.

                              (_A pause._)

How thickly fall the leaves!....

     (_She removes some dead leaves from her work._)

Moreover, what could prevent his coming?

                      A SISTER (_from the porch_).

Monsieur de Bergerac.


                               _SCENE V._

           ROXANE, CYRANO, _and, one moment_, SISTER MARTHA.

                   ROXANE (_without turning around_).

Why did I worry so?

     (_She works.--Enter Cyrano, very pale, with his hat well over his
     eyes. Exit sister who announced him. He descends the steps slowly,
     with a visible effort to remain erect, leaning heavily on his
     stick._)

For the first time in fourteen years, you are late!

              CYRANO (_who has gained his chair and seated
                 himself, speaks in a cheerful tone, in
                 contrast with his looks_).

Yes, and, in truth, I boil with rage. I was delayed....

                                ROXANE.

By what, by whom?

                                CYRANO.

By an intruder.

                         ROXANE (_distraught_).

Some bore? But you got rid of him, or her.

                                CYRANO.

Yes. "Excuse me," said I, "but this is Saturday, and I have a weekly
engagement that nothing can prevent me from keeping. Return an hour
hence!"

                          ROXANE (_lightly_).

The person shall wait. I'll keep you here until evening.

                                CYRANO.

I may be compelled to leave you sooner.

     (_He closes his eyes and remains silent a moment. Sister Martha
     appears in the rear going to the Chapel. Roxane sees her, and
     nods._)

                         ROXANE (_to Cyrano_).

How is it you do not tease Sister Martha to-day?

                 CYRANO (_rapidly, opening his eyes_).

Tease? Of course!

     (_with affected severity_).

                       Sister Martha! Come here.

     (_Sister Martha goes up to him._)

Ha! ha! Your eyes are too fine to remain thus forever down!

                       SISTER MARTHA (_smiling_).

But....

     (_She notices his pale looks._)

Oh!

                  CYRANO (_aside, pointing to Roxane_)

Hush! It's nothing.

     (_aloud, in boastful tone_).

                         I ate meat yesterday! Friday!

                             SISTER MARTHA.

Yes, I know.

            (_aside_). That is the reason he looks so pale!

     (_to Cyrano rapidly and in a low tone_). Come to the refectory by
     and by. I want to make you taste some broth..... Will you come?

                                CYRANO.

Yes, yes, yes.

                             SISTER MARTHA.

Oh! you are very reasonable to-day.

                ROXANE (_who notices their whispering_).

Is she trying to convert you?

                             SISTER MARTHA.

Oh! nothing of the kind!

                                CYRANO.

It is a fact! You always have an abundance of saintly sermons, and
to-day, Sister, you are not preaching to me.

     (_with affected fury_).

Swords and muskets! I, too, shall astonish you! See here, I will permit
you....

     (_Affects to be thinking and to have found a good jest._)

Ah! this is something new.... to.... to pray for me, to-night, in the
chapel.

                                ROXANE.

Oh! oh! this is serious.

                          CYRANO (_laughing_).

Sister Martha is dumfounded!

                       SISTER MARTHA (_gently_).

I did not wait for your permission.

     (_Exit Sister Martha._)

     CYRANO (_returning to Roxane, who is leaning over her work_).

I verily believe there never will be an end to this task of yours.

                                ROXANE.

I am getting accustomed to this remark.

     (_Just then a few dead leaves fall on Roxane's work._)

                                CYRANO.

  Oh! withered leaves!

                  ROXANE (_looking at the landscape_).

                       Poor blondes of Venice hue,
  How fast they fall!

                                CYRANO.

                      They fall, but see how well!
  Their race is short, and still they sweetly show
  How beauty e'er recoils from rottenness:
  For, as they drop, they do not in their grace
  Appear to fall, but rather to alight!

                                ROXANE.

Unusually sad thoughts for you!

              CYRANO (_recovering his presence of mind_).

Sad? Not at all, Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

Come, let the dead leaves fall as they will....Better give me the news,
be my weekly gazette.

                                CYRANO.

Agreed!

                                ROXANE.

I'm listening.

           CYRANO (_getting paler and paler, as he struggles
              against pain_).

Saturday, the 19th, having over indulged in grape-jam from Cette, the
King was taken with fever; his indisposition was sentenced, for high
treason, to be twice lanced, and the royal pulse was relieved of
febricity![25] At the Queen's ball, on Sunday, seven hundred and
sixty-three candles of white wax were burned. Our troops have been
victorious, it is said, over those of John the Austrian; four sorcerers
have been hung! the little dog of Madam d'Athis was given....

                                ROXANE.

Monsieur de Bergerac, you may omit the details!

                                CYRANO.

Monday.... nothing. Oh! yes, Lygdamire took a new lover.

                                ROXANE.

Oh!

          CYRANO (_whose suffering is evidently increasing_).

Tuesday, all the Court was at Fontainebleu. Wednesday, the beauty
Montglat said to Count de Fiesque: No! Thursday, Mancini, Queen of
France,--or almost! the 25th, Montglat said to Fiesque: Yes; and
Saturday, 26th....

     (_His eyes close. His head falls upon his shoulder. Silence._)

              ROXANE (_surprised at hearing nothing more,
                  turns around, looks at him, and rises
                  very much frightened_).

Has he fainted?

     (_Runs up to him._) Cyrano!

                 CYRANO (_opening his eyes and speaking
                    somewhat indistinctly_).

What is it?.... Who?.... When?....

     (_He sees Roxane leaning over him, and, quickly securing his hat on
     his head, backs up into his armchair._)

                       No! no! I assure you, it is nothing.
  I am quite myself again.

                                ROXANE.

But allow me....

                                CYRANO.

It is the old wound I received at Arras.... that.... sometimes.... you
know....

                                ROXANE.

Dearest friend!

                                CYRANO.

But, it is nothing serious. Soon over.

     (_makes an effort to smile_).

Quite well again now.

                     ROXANE (_standing near him_).

We each of us have our wound: I, too, have one, ever smarting; I feel it
here, old though it be,

                         (_placing her hand on her breast_)

                                                             right here,
  beneath the time-worn letter on which can still be seen the
  trace of tears and blood!

     (_Dusk begins to come on._)

                                CYRANO.

His letter!.... Did you not say that some day, perhaps, you would allow
me to read it?

                                ROXANE.

What! you wish?.... his letter?....

                                CYRANO.

Yes.... I wish.... to-day....

                                ROXANE.

     (_handing him the sachet she carries suspended to her neck_).

Here it is!

                         CYRANO (_taking it_).

I may open?

                                ROXANE.

You may open and read!....

     (_She returns to her work, folds it up and arranges her worsteds._)

                          CYRANO (_reading_).

  "Roxane, farewell! The time...."

                    ROXANE (_stopping, astonished_).

                                      You read aloud?

                          CYRANO (_reading_).

  "Roxane, farewell! The time of death has come;
  This eve, I think, belovèd, is my last.
  My soul's still rich in unexpressèd love,
  And I must die! My dazzled eyes no more,
  My eyes for which you were...."

                                ROXANE.

                                           Why! how you read
  His lines!....

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

          ".... for which you were a thrilling feast,
  No more will drink your ev'ry motion, dear.
  There's one that I recall, so truly yours,
  To smooth your hair, and I would cry aloud...."

                                ROXANE.

  How can you know?....

     (_Darkness comes on by degrees._)

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

                        "....And now I cry, indeed:
  Farewell!...."

                                ROXANE.

                   You read as if....

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

                                        ".... My dearest dear,
  My treasure...."

                                ROXANE.

                      Oh! that voice!

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

                                          "My love!...."

                                ROXANE.

                                                    That voice!
  That voice.... I know I heard it once before!

     (_She passes behind him, leans over the chair, without his noticing
     her, and looks over the letter. Darkness increases._)

                         CYRANO (_continuing_).

  "My yearning heart has never left you once.
  And I am he, and Death will leave me he
  Who loved you, dear, beyond all measure, he...."

              ROXANE (_placing her hand on his shoulder_).

But how is it you still can read? Night has come.

     (_He shudders, turns, sees her near by, moves as if greatly
     alarmed, and hangs his head. Long silence. It is quite dark. She
     joins her hands, and speaks slowly:_)

And during fourteen years you have played this part of an old friend who
comes to amuse!

                                CYRANO.

Roxane!

                                ROXANE.

It was you.

                                CYRANO.

No, no, Roxane, you mistake!

                                ROXANE.

I should have felt it each time you said my name!

                                CYRANO.

It was not I!

                                ROXANE.

It was!

                                CYRANO.

I swear to you....

                                ROXANE.

Swear not, for now I understand your generous deceit. The letters were
yours....

                                CYRANO.

No!

                                ROXANE.

The dear and tender words were yours....

                                CYRANO.

No!

                                ROXANE.

That voice in the night was yours!

                                CYRANO.

I swear it was not!

                                ROXANE.

That soul was yours!

                                CYRANO.

I loved you not!

                                ROXANE.

You did!

                                CYRANO.

It was the other!

                                ROXANE.

You loved me!

                                CYRANO.

No!

                                ROXANE.

You did, for each of your denials is lower than the one before!

                                CYRANO.

  No, no, my dearest, no, I loved you not!

                                ROXANE.

  How many things are dead!.... how many born!....
  --Oh! through these years why were you silent thus,
  Since on these lines, not his by word or thought,
  The tears were yours?

                                CYRANO.

                           Because the blood is his!

                                ROXANE.

  Why then allow a silence that's sublime
  To break as now?

                                CYRANO.

                      Roxane, oh! why, indeed?

     (_Le Bret and Ragueneau enter on a run._)

  [25] Note.--Intentional affectation, like that of "his indisposition
       was sentenced, for high treason."


                              _SCENE VI._

                  _The same_, LE BRET _and_ RAGUENEAU.

                                LE BRET.

How imprudent! I was sure of it! He is here!

            CYRANO (_smiling and straightening himself up_).

Of course, I'm here!

                                LE BRET.

It is suicide, Madam, for him to have left his bed!

                                ROXANE.

Great God! But just now, then....this weakness?.... this fainting?

                                CYRANO.

Oh! by the way, I did not finish my weekly chronicle: ....and Saturday,
26th, one hour before dinner, Monsieur de Bergerac was assassinated in
the street.

     (_He takes off his hat, and his head is seen wrapped in bandages._)

                                ROXANE.

What did he say?--Cyrano!--his poor head!.... What have they done to
you?

                                CYRANO.

  "And in my heart a sword's ennobling point!"
  --So said I once!.... What mockery in fate!....
  And now I'm killed ignobly from behind,
  O'erpowered by a lackey with a log.
  I missed my life; my death's a failure too!

                               RAGUENEAU.

Oh! sir....Oh! sir....

                                CYRANO.

Good Ragueneau, grieve not so!....

                      (_Extends his hand to him._)

                                       And what are you
  doing now, my brother poet?

                    RAGUENEAU (_through his tears_).

I am the one who.... who snuffs the candles at Molière's.[26]

                                CYRANO.

Molière!

                               RAGUENEAU.

But I shall leave him to-morrow. For I am indignant!.... Yesterday he
gave _Scapin_, and I saw that he had taken from you a whole scene!

                                LE BRET.

Entire?

                               RAGUENEAU.

Yes, sir; the famous: "What the deuce was he doing?...."

                         LE BRET (_to Cyrano_).

Molière has robbed you!

                                CYRANO.

Hush! hush! he did well!....

     (_to Ragueneau_).

     The scene was very effective, was it not?

                         RAGUENEAU (_sobbing_).

Oh! sir, what a laugh! what a laugh! through the whole audience!

                                CYRANO.

  My life, you see, is all in this: I've been
  The one who prompts--and ever is forgot!

     (_to Roxane_).

  Do you recall the night when Christian spoke
  His love for you--beneath your balcony?
  The words were mine, and mine the fondest thoughts;
  But I remained below, unknown, in darkness, while
  Another went aloft to gather light and love!
  'Tis justice, and my dying breath approves;
  Molière has genius, Christian's beauty won.

     (_The chapel bell sounds. Sisters pass in the rear, going to
     evening service._)

  It's time for prayer; the bell that tolls is right!

                       ROXANE (_rising to call_).

  Come, Sister!

                      CYRANO (_restraining her_).

                Leave me not to call for help!
  On your return, you would not find me here.

     (_The sisters have entered the chapel, and the organ begins to
     play._)

  I yearned for harmony; and now it's come!

                                ROXANE.

  I love you, live!

                                CYRANO.

                    In fairy tales alone
  Can love dispel the curse of homeliness.
  You'd soon discover that I cannot change.

                                ROXANE.

  You've suffered....and through me!

                                CYRANO.

                                      Through you? Not so!
  I never knew a woman's gentleness.
  My mother found me homely. Sister, none;
  And as to lady-loves, they would have laughed
  At me. Through you, at least, I had a friend;
  Through you I've known the spell a gown can bring!

          LE BRET (_showing the moonlight through the trees_).

  Another friend of yours is there!

                    CYRANO (_smiling to the moon_).

                                             I see.

                                ROXANE.

  I loved but one, and here I lose him twice!

                                CYRANO.

  And now, Le Bret, I'll mount, and reach the moon,
  Although I've not completed that machine....

                                LE BRET.

  Oh! speak not thus!

                                CYRANO.

                      Why not? 'Tis there, I say,
  That I'll be sent to seek for paradise.
  How many souls I love are there in bliss!
  Good Socrates and Galileo too!

                         LE BRET (_indignant_).

No! no! this is too stupid, too unjust! Such a poet! A heart so big and
lofty! To die thus!.... To die!....

                                CYRANO.

There is Le Bret growling again!

                    LE BRET (_bursting into tears_).

My dearest friend!....

             CYRANO (_rising, with wildness in his eyes_).

Fair Gascony's Cadets are they.... The elementary mass.... Why!
yes!....--There is the rub....

                                LE BRET.

Alas! delirious!

                                CYRANO.

Copernicus said....

                                ROXANE.

Dreadful! dreadful!

                                CYRANO.

What the deuce was he doing, what the deuce was he doing in that
galley?....

    Philosopher and physicist,
  A rimester, swordsman and musician,
      A man who travelled in the air
    As prompt with parry as reply,
  A lover too--alas!--here lies
      Sir Hercules, Savinian
      De Cyrano de Bergerac,
  Who compassed all and still was naught.

  But I must leave! I would not cause a wait.
  Your pardon. See! the moon sends down for me!

     (_A ray of light from the moon is on him. He falls back into his
     chair. The weeping of Roxane wakes him from his dreamy state. He
     looks at her and strokes her veil._)

  I would not have you weep a wit the less
  For Christian, who was all that's good and grand.
  But, when the hand of ice has laid me low,
  I would your weeds might have a double sense
  Of mourning: first for him....and then for me!

                                ROXANE.

  I swear to you....

             CYRANO (_shaking with fever, rises suddenly_).

                        No! never! In a chair!

     (_to those who advance to assist him_).

  No help!.... From anybody!....

     (_leaning back against the tree_).

                              .... But the tree!

     (_Silence._)

  It[27] comes!--I have already marble boots....
  And gloves of lead!....

     (_He straightens up._)

                         What matters?--Since It's here,
  I'll meet it standing and....

     (_draws his sword_)

                            ....with sword in hand!

                                LE BRET.

  Cyrano!

                          ROXANE (_overcome_).

             God!

     (_All fall back aghast._)

                                CYRANO.

           Ha! ha! I think it looks....
  It dares to look--the flat face--at my nose!

     (_Brandishes his sword._)

  What say you?....That it's useless?....Don't I know?
  But valiant hearts contend not for success!
  It's nobler to defend a hopeless cause!
  --Who are you all? I count a thousand....more!
  I know you now: my enemies of old!
  You're Falsehood!--

     (_Strikes the open air with his sword._)

                    Here!--Ha! ha! and Compromise,
  And Prejudice, and Cowardice!....

     (_He strikes._)

                                   Submit?
  No, never! Ah! here's Imbecility!....
  I know that, in the end, I must succumb,
  I dare you, though, and strike! and strike! and strike!

     (_Strikes right and left with his sword, and stops exhausted._)

  You take my all, the laurel and the rose!....
  Well, take them!.... But, in spite of you, there is
  A something that I bear along with me
  To sweep to-night with grandeur, as I pass,
  The threshold and the gates of heaven's blue;
  A something that's unsullied and is mine....
  Do what you will!

     (_Rushes forward, sword aloft._)

                          It is....

     (_Sword drops out of his hand. He staggers and falls into the arms
     of Le Bret and Ragueneau._)

         ROXANE (_leaning over him and kissing his forehead_).

                                 It is?....

         CYRANO (_opens his eyes, recognises her and smiles_).

                                          ....My plume![28]

  [26] Note.--An evident anachronism, since Molière did not open his
       Paris theatre until three years later (1658). Given, however, the
       deep knowledge of seventeenth century matters displayed
       throughout this drama, the anachronism must be intentional, the
       poet's object doubtless having been to embody the tradition
       according to which the "Qu'allait-il faire dans cette galère?" of
       Molière's "Fourberies de Scapin" (produced only in 1671) was
       taken from Cyrano de Bergerac's "Le Pédant Joué."

  [27] Note.--"It" here is Death (feminine in French). The personifying
       _he_ somewhat customary in English poetry, was set aside, and the
       _neuter_ gender was intentionally preserved, because, being more
       vague, it better represents the terror-striking _unknown_, and is
       more expressive of Cyrano's daring _contempt_ and repulsion for a
       loathsome _thing_. Cyrano, who put to flight one hundred men,
       could not be expected to fear a person, much less a
       personification.

  [28] Note.--See Introduction, Preface and Prefatory Triolets ("Le
       Panache").

                               _CURTAIN._

  [Illustration: _FIFTH ACT._]



                           Transcriber's Note

Apparent printer's errors have been retained, unless stated below.

Capitalization, accents and formatting markup have been normalized.
Please note that although ellipses as well as punctuation around
brackets appear inconsistent, these have been kept true to the text.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Illustration tags have been moved to the end of each Act.

Page 139, "seige" changed to "siege". (That during this terrible siege
he shall never be cold!)

Page 139, "CHRISTIAN" changed to "CYRANO". Other editions have Cyrano
speaking this line, and it only makes sense when it is spoken by him.
(CYRANO (_halting_).)

Page 141 and 156, "Ventrebieu" has been retained. It is believed that
this may be a typo for "Ventrebleu", however, multiple volumes in both
French and English use the same term.

Page 150, "Decartes" changed to "Descartes". (.... and I ... will read
Descartes.)

Page 188, CYRANO's name appeared twice in a row without a second
character speaking in between. (Once before his line, "We'll give them a
salute!" and again before he said "Fire!") This redundancy was
corrected.

Page 192, "vail" changed to "veil". (Roxane is seen in the rear; she is
in black, wearing the long veil of a widow.)

Page 209, "Youé" changed to "Joué". (Given, however, the deep knowledge
of seventeenth century matters displayed throughout this drama, the
anachronism must be intentional, the poet's object doubtless having been
to embody the tradition according to which the "Qu'allait-il faire dans
cette galère?" of Molière's "Fourberies de Scapin" (produced only in
1671) was taken from Cyrano de Bergerac's "Le Pédant Joué.")

Page 210, "genuis" changed to "genius". ('Tis justice, and my dying
breath approves; Molière has genius, Christian's beauty won.)

Page 212, "ROXANE" changed to "LE BRET". Other editions have Le Bret
speaking this line, and as Cyrano has just addressed him, it makes
better sense. (LE BRET. Oh! speak not thus!)





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