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- There are Crimes and Crimes - 2/18 -


A COMEDY

1899

CHARACTERS

MAURICE, a playwright

JEANNE, his mistress

MARION, their daughter, five years old

ADOLPHE, a painter

HENRIETTE, his mistress

EMILE, a workman, brother of Jeanne

MADAME CATHERINE

THE ABBE

A WATCHMAN

A HEAD WAITER

A COMMISSAIRE

TWO DETECTIVES

A WAITER

A GUARD

A SERVANT GIRL

ACT I, SCENE 1. THE CEMETERY 2. THE CREMERIE

ACT II, SCENE 1. THE AUBERGE DES ADRETS 2. THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE

ACT III, SCENE 1. THE CREMERIE 2. THE AUBERGE DES ADRETS

ACT IV, SCENE 1. THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS 2. THE CREMERIE

(All the scenes are laid in Paris)

THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES

ACT I FIRST SCENE

(The upper avenue of cypresses in the Montparnasse Cemetery at Paris. The background shows mortuary chapels, stone crosses on which are inscribed "O Crux! Ave Spes Unica!" and the ruins of a wind-mill covered with ivy.)

(A well-dressed woman in widow's weeds is kneeling and muttering prayers in front of a grave decorated with flowers.)

(JEANNE is walking back and forth as if expecting somebody.)

(MARION is playing with some withered flowers picked from a rubbish heap on the ground.)

(The ABBE is reading his breviary while walking along the further end of the avenue.)

WATCHMAN. [Enters and goes up to JEANNE] Look here, this is no playground.

JEANNE. [Submissively] I am only waiting for somebody who'll soon be here--

WATCHMAN. All right, but you're not allowed to pick any flowers.

JEANNE. [To MARION] Drop the flowers, dear.

ABBE. [Comes forward and is saluted by the WATCHMAN] Can't the child play with the flowers that have been thrown away?

WATCHMAN. The regulations don't permit anybody to touch even the flowers that have been thrown away, because it's believed they may spread infection--which I don't know if it's true.

ABBE. [To MARION] In that case we have to obey, of course. What's your name, my little girl?

MARION. My name is Marion.

ABBE. And who is your father?

(MARION begins to bite one of her fingers and does not answer.)

ABBE. Pardon my question, madame. I had no intention--I was just talking to keep the little one quiet.

(The WATCHMAN has gone out.)

JEANNE. I understood it, Reverend Father, and I wish you would say something to quiet me also. I feel very much disturbed after having waited here two hours.

ABBE. Two hours--for him! How these human beings torture each other! O Crux! Ave spes unica!

JEANNE. What do they mean, those words you read all around here?

ABBE. They mean: O cross, our only hope!

JEANNE. Is it the only one?

ABBE. The only certain one.

JEANNE. I shall soon believe that you are right, Father.

ABBE. May I ask why?

JEANNE. You have already guessed it. When he lets the woman and the child wait two hours in a cemetery, then the end is not far off.

ABBE. And when he has left you, what then?

JEANNE. Then we have to go into the river.

ABBE. Oh, no, no!

JEANNE. Yes, yes!

MARION. Mamma, I want to go home, for I am hungry.

JEANNE. Just a little longer, dear, and we'll go home.

ABBE. Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil.

JEANNE. What is that woman doing at the grave over there?

ABBE. She seems to be talking to the dead.

JEANNE. But you cannot do that?

ABBE. She seems to know how.

JEANNE. This would mean that the end of life is not the end of our misery?

ABBE. And you don't know it?

JEANNE. Where can I find out?

ABBE. Hm! The next time you feel as if you wanted to learn about this well-known matter, you can look me up in Our Lady's Chapel at the Church of St. Germain--Here comes the one you are waiting for, I guess.

JEANNE. [Embarrassed] No, he is not the one, but I know him.

ABBE. [To MARION] Good-bye, little Marion! May God take care of you! [Kisses the child and goes out] At St. Germain des Pres.

EMILE. [Enters] Good morning, sister. What are you doing here?

JEANNE. I am waiting for Maurice.

EMILE. Then I guess you'll have a lot of waiting to do, for I saw him on the boulevard an hour ago, taking breakfast with some friends. [Kissing the child] Good morning, Marion.

JEANNE. Ladies also?

EMILE. Of course. But that doesn't mean anything. He writes plays, and his latest one has its first performance tonight. I suppose he had with him some of the actresses.

JEANNE. Did he recognise you?

EMILE. No, he doesn't know who I am, and it is just as well. I know my place as a workman, and I don't care for any condescension from those that are above me.

JEANNE. But if he leaves us without anything to live on?

EMILE. Well, you see, when it gets that far, then I suppose I


There are Crimes and Crimes - 2/18

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