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- There are Crimes and Crimes - 18/18 -

attend the performance tonight.

ABBE. [To MAURICE, who is trying to get away] No, I won't let you go.

MAURICE. What performance is that?

ADOLPHE. Why don't you read the paper?

MME. CATHERINE and the ABBE. He hasn't read the paper?

MAURICE. It's all lies and slander. [To the SERVANT GIRL] Tell them that I am engaged for this evening: I am going to church.

(The SERVANT GIRL goes out into the kitchen.)

ADOLPHE. As you don't want to read the paper, I shall have to tell you that your play has been put on again, now when you are exonerated. And your literary friends have planned a demonstration for this evening in recognition of your indisputable talent.

MAURICE. It isn't true.

EVERYBODY. It is true.

MAURICE. [After a pause] I have not deserved it!

ABBE. Good!

ADOLPHE. And furthermore, Maurice---

MAURICE. [Hiding his face in his hands] Furthermore!

MME. CATHERINE. One hundred thousand francs! Do you see now that they come back to you? And the villa outside the city. Everything is coming back except Mademoiselle Henriette.

ABBE. [Smiling] You ought to take this matter a little more seriously, Madame Catherine.

MME. CATHERINE. Oh, I cannot--I just can't keep serious any longer!

[She breaks into open laughter, which she vainly tries to smother with her handkerchief.]

ADOLPHE. Say, Maurice, the play begins at eight.

ABBE. But the church services are at nine.

ADOLPHE. Maurice!

MME. CATHERINE. Let us hear what the end is going to be, Monsieur Maurice.

(MAURICE drops his head on the table, in his arms.)

ADOLPHE. Loose him, Abbe!

ABBE. No, it is not for me to loose or bind. He must do that himself.

MAURICE. [Rising] Well, I go with the Abbe.

ABBE. No, my young friend. I have nothing to give you but a scolding, which you can give yourself. And you owe a duty to yourself and to your good name. That you have got through with this as quickly as you have is to me a sign that you have suffered your punishment as intensely as if it had lasted an eternity. And when Providence absolves you there is nothing for me to add.

MAURICE. But why did the punishment have to be so hard when I was innocent?

ABBE. Hard? Only two days! And you were not innocent. For we have to stand responsible for our thoughts and words and desires also. And in your thought you became a murderer when your evil self wished the life out of your child.

MAURICE. You are right. But my decision is made. To-night I will meet you at the church in order to have a reckoning with myself-- but to-morrow evening I go to the theatre.

MME. CATHERINE. A good solution, Monsieur Maurice.

ADOLPHE. Yes, that is the solution. Whew!

ABBE. Yes, so it is!


There are Crimes and Crimes - 18/18

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