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- There are Crimes and Crimes - 4/18 -


JEANNE. Don't think too highly of a poor woman like myself, and then you'll have no illusions to lose. And now you'll see that I can be as forgetful as you--I have bought you a tie and a pair of gloves which I thought you might wear for my sake on your day of honour.

MAURICE. [Kissing her hand] Thank you, dear.

JEANNE. And then, Maurice, don't forget to have your hair fixed, as you do all the time. I want you to be good-looking, so that others will like you too.

MAURICE. There is no jealousy in YOU!

JEANNE. Don't mention that word, for evil thoughts spring from it.

MAURICE. Just now I feel as if I could give up this evening's victory--for I am going to win--

JEANNE. Hush, hush!

MAURICE. And go home with you instead.

JEANNE. But you mustn't do that! Go now: your destiny is waiting for you.

MAURICE. Good-bye then! And may that happen which must happen! [Goes out.]

JEANNE. [Alone with MARION] O Crux! Ave spes unica!

Curtain.

SECOND SCENE

(The Cremerie. On the right stands a buffet, on which are placed an aquarium with goldfish and dishes containing vegetables, fruit, preserves, etc. In the background is a door leading to the kitchen, where workmen are taking their meals. At the other end of the kitchen can be seen a door leading out to a garden. On the left, in the background, stands a counter on a raised platform, and back of it are shelves containing all sorts of bottles. On the right, a long table with a marble top is placed along the wall, and another table is placed parallel to the first further out on the floor. Straw-bottomed chairs stand around the tables. The walls are covered with oil-paintings.)

(MME. CATHERINE is sitting at the counter.)

(MAURICE stands leaning against it. He has his hat on and is smoking a cigarette.)

MME. CATHERINE. So it's tonight the great event comes off, Monsieur Maurice?

MAURICE. Yes, tonight.

MME. CATHERINE. Do you feel upset?

MAURICE. Cool as a cucumber.

MME. CATHERINE. Well, I wish you luck anyhow, and you have deserved it, Monsieur Maurice, after having had to fight against such difficulties as yours.

MAURICE. Thank you, Madame Catherine. You have been very kind to me, and without your help I should probably have been down and out by this time.

MME. CATHERINE. Don't let us talk of that now. I help along where I see hard work and the right kind of will, but I don't want to be exploited--Can we trust you to come back here after the play and let us drink a glass with you?

MAURICE. Yes, you can--of course, you can, as I have already promised you.

(HENRIETTE enters from the right.)

(MAURICE turns around, raises his hat, and stares at HENRIETTE, who looks him over carefully.)

HENRIETTE. Monsieur Adolphe is not here yet?

MME. CATHERINE. No, madame. But he'll soon be here now. Won't you sit down?

HENRIETTE. No, thank you, I'll rather wait for him outside. [Goes out.]

MAURICE. Who--was--that?

MME. CATHERINE. Why, that's Monsieur Adolphe's friend.

MAURICE. Was--that--her?

MME. CATHERINE. Have you never seen her before?

MAURICE. No, he has been hiding her from me, just as if he was afraid I might take her away from him.

MME. CATHERINE. Ha-ha!--Well, how did you think she looked?

MAURICE. How she looked? Let me see: I can't tell--I didn't see her, for it was as if she had rushed straight into my arms at once and come so close to me that I couldn't make out her features at all. And she left her impression on the air behind her. I can still see her standing there. [He goes toward the door and makes a gesture as if putting his arm around somebody] Whew! [He makes a gesture as if he had pricked his finger] There are pins in her waist. She is of the kind that stings!

MME. CATHERINE. Oh, you are crazy, you with your ladies!

MAURICE. Yes, it's craziness, that's what it is. But do you know, Madame Catherine, I am going before she comes back, or else, or else--Oh, that woman is horrible!

MME. CATHERINE. Are you afraid?

MAURICE. Yes, I am afraid for myself, and also for some others.

MME. CATHERINE. Well, go then.

MAURICE. She seemed to suck herself out through the door, and in her wake rose a little whirlwind that dragged me along--Yes, you may laugh, but can't you see that the palm over there on the buffet is still shaking? She's the very devil of a woman!

MME. CATHERINE. Oh, get out of here, man, before you lose all your reason.

MAURICE. I want to go, but I cannot--Do you believe in fate, Madame Catherine?

MME. CATHERINE. No, I believe in a good God, who protects us against evil powers if we ask Him in the right way.

MAURICE. So there are evil powers after all! I think I can hear them in the hallway now.

MME. CATHERINE. Yes, her clothes rustle as when the clerk tears off a piece of linen for you. Get away now--through the kitchen.

(MAURICE rushes toward the kitchen door, where he bumps into EMILE.)

EMILE. I beg your pardon. [He retires the way he came.]

ADOLPHE. [Comes in first; after him HENRIETTE] Why, there's Maurice. How are you? Let me introduce this lady here to my oldest and best friend. Mademoiselle Henriette--Monsieur Maurice.

MAURICE. [Saluting stiffly] Pleased to meet you.

HENRIETTA. We have seen each other before.

ADOLPHE. Is that so? When, if I may ask?

MAURICE. A moment ago. Right here.

ADOLPHE. O-oh!--But now you must stay and have a chat with us.

MAURICE. [After a glance at MME. CATHERINE] If I only had time.

ADOLPHE. Take the time. And we won't be sitting here very long.

HENRIETTE. I won't interrupt, if you have to talk business.

MAURICE. The only business we have is so bad that we don't want to talk of it.

HENRIETTE. Then we'll talk of something else. [Takes the hat away from MAURICE and hangs it up] Now be nice, and let me become acquainted with the great author.

MME. CATHERINE signals to MAURICE, who doesn't notice her.

ADOLPHE. That's right, Henriette, you take charge of him. [They seat themselves at one of the tables.]

HENRIETTE. [To MAURICE] You certainly have a good friend in Adolphe, Monsieur Maurice. He never talks of anything but you, and in such a way that I feel myself rather thrown in the background.

ADOLPHE. You don't say so! Well, Henriette on her side never leaves me in peace about you, Maurice. She has read your works, and she is always wanting to know where you got this and where that. She has been questioning me about your looks, your age, your tastes. I have, in a word, had you for breakfast, dinner, and supper. It has almost seemed as if the three of us were living together.

MAURICE. [To HENRIETTE] Heavens, why didn't you come over here and have a look at this wonder of wonders? Then your curiosity could have been satisfied in a trice.

HENRIETTE. Adolphe didn't want it.

(ADOLPHE looks embarrassed.)


There are Crimes and Crimes - 4/18

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