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- Cyrano De Bergerac - 4/48 -


RAGUENEAU: Poet!

CUIGY: Soldier!

BRISSAILLE: Philosopher!

LE BRET: Musician!

LIGNIERE: And of how fantastic a presence!

RAGENEAU: Marry, 'twould puzzle even our grim painter Philippe de Champaigne to portray him! Methinks, whimsical, wild, comical as he is, only Jacques Callot, now dead and gone, had succeeded better, and had made of him the maddest fighter of all his visored crew--with his triple-plumed beaver and six-pointed doublet--the sword-point sticking up 'neath his mantle like an insolent cocktail! He's prouder than all the fierce Artabans of whom Gascony has ever been and will ever be the prolific Alma Mater! Above his Toby ruff he carries a nose!--ah, good my lords, what a nose is his! When one sees it one is fain to cry aloud, 'Nay! 'tis too much! He plays a joke on us!' Then one laughs, says 'He will anon take it off.' But no!--Monsieur de Bergerac always keeps it on.

LE BRET (throwing back his head): He keeps it on--and cleaves in two any man who dares remark on it!

RAGUENEAU (proudly): His sword--'tis one half of the Fates' shears!

FIRST MARQUIS (shrugging his shoulders): He will not come!

RAGUENEAU: I say he will! and I wager a fowl--a la Ragueneau.

THE MARQUIS (laughing): Good!

(Murmurs of admiration in hall. Roxane has just appeared in her box. She seats herself in front, the duenna at the back. Christian, who is paying the buffet-girl, does not see her entrance.)

SECOND MARQUIS (with little cries of joy): Ah, gentlemen! she is fearfully--terribly--ravishing!

FIRST MARQUIS: When one looks at her one thinks of a peach smiling at a strawberry!

SECOND MARQUIS: And what freshness! A man approaching her too near might chance to get a bad chill at the heart!

CHRISTIAN (raising his head, sees Roxane, and catches Ligniere by the arm): 'Tis she!

LIGNIERE: Ah! is it she?

CHRISTIAN: Ay, tell me quick--I am afraid.

LIGNIERE (tasting his rivesalte in sips): Magdaleine Robin--Roxane, so called! A subtle wit--a precieuse.

CHRISTIAN: Woe is me!

LIGNIERE: Free. An orphan. The cousin of Cyrano, of whom we were now speaking.

(At this moment an elegant nobleman, with blue ribbon across his breast, enters the box, and talks with Roxane, standing.)

CHRISTIAN (starting): Who is yonder man?

LIGNIERE (who is becoming tipsy, winking at him): Ha! ha! Count de Guiche. Enamored of her. But wedded to the niece of Armand de Richelieu. Would fain marry Roxane to a certain sorry fellow, one Monsieur de Valvert, a viscount--and--accommodating! She will none of that bargain; but De Guiche is powerful, and can persecute the daughter of a plain untitled gentleman. More by token, I myself have exposed this cunning plan of his to the world, in a song which. . .Ho! he must rage at me! The end hit home. . .Listen!

(He gets up staggering, and raises his glass, ready to sing.)

CHRISTIAN: No. Good-night.

LIGNIERE: Where go you?

CHRISTIAN: To Monsieur de Valvert!

LIGNIERE: Have a care! It is he who will kill you (showing him Roxane by a look): Stay where you are--she is looking at you.

CHRISTIAN: It is true!

(He stands looking at her. The group of pickpockets seeing him thus, head in air and open-mouthed, draw near to him.)

LIGNIERE: 'Tis I who am going. I am athirst! And they expect me--in the taverns!

(He goes out, reeling.)

LE BRET (who has been all round the hall, coming back to Ragueneau reassured): No sign of Cyrano.

RAGUENEAU (incredulously): All the same. . .

LE BRET: A hope is left to me--that he has not seen the playbill!

THE AUDIENCE: Begin, begin!

Scene 1.III.

The same, all but Ligniere. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury.

A marquis (watching De Guiche, who comes down from Roxane's box, and crosses the pit surrounded by obsequious noblemen, among them the Viscount de Valvert): He pays a fine court, your De Guiche!

ANOTHER: Faugh!. . .Another Gascon!

THE FIRST: Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon--that is the stuff success is made of! Believe me, we had best make our bow to him.

(They go toward De Guiche.)

SECOND MARQUIS: What fine ribbons! How call you the color, Count de Guiche? 'Kiss me, my darling,' or 'Timid Fawn?'

DE GUICHE: 'Tis the color called 'Sick Spaniard.'

FIRST MARQUIS: 'Faith! The color speaks truth, for, thanks to your valor, things will soon go ill for Spain in Flanders.

DE GUICHE: I go on the stage! Will you come? (He goes toward the stage, followed by the marquises and gentlemen. Turning, he calls): Come you Valvert!

CHRISTIAN (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name): The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my. . . (He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him. He turns round): Hey?

THE PICKPOCKET: Oh!

CHRISTIAN (holding him tightly): I was looking for a glove.

THE PICKPOCKET (smiling piteously): And you find a hand. (Changing his tone, quickly and in a whisper): Let me but go, and I will deliver you a secret.

CHRISTIAN (still holding him): What is it?

THE PICKPOCKET: Ligniere. . .he who has just left you. . .

CHRISTIAN (same play): Well?

THE PICKPOCKET: His life is in peril. A song writ by him has given offense in high places-- and a hundred men--I am of them--are posted to-night. . .

CHRISTIAN: A hundred men! By whom posted?


Cyrano De Bergerac - 4/48

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