Cyrano, Christian, Roxane, the friar, Ragueneau.
'Tis here,--I'm sure of it--Madame Madeleine Robin.
Why, you said Ro-LIN.
No, not I.
ROXANE (appearing on the threshold, followed by Ragueneau, who carries a lantern, and Christian):
THE FRIAR (to Roxane):
Oh, it can boot but a holy business!
'Tis from a worthy lord. . .
ROXANE (to Christian):
He dares. . .
Oh, he will not importune me forever!
(Unsealing the letter):
I love you,--therefore--
(She reads in a low voice by the aid of Ragueneau's lantern):
The drums beat;
My regiment buckles its harness on
And starts; but I,--they deem me gone before--
But I stay. I have dared to disobey
Your mandate. I am here in convent walls.
I come to you to-night. By this poor monk--
A simple fool who knows not what he bears--
I send this missive to apprise your ear.
Your lips erewhile have smiled on me, too sweet:
I go not ere I've seen them once again!
I would be private; send each soul away,
Receive alone him,--whose great boldness you
Have deigned, I hope, to pardon, ere he asks,--
He who is ever your--et cetera.'
(To the monk):
Father, this is the matter of the letter:--
(All come near her, and she reads aloud):
The Cardinal's wish is law; albeit
It be to you unwelcome. For this cause
I send these lines--to your fair ear addressed--
By a holy man, discreet, intelligent:
It is our will that you receive from him,
In your own house, the marriage
(She turns the page):
Straightway, this night. Unknown to all the world
Christian becomes your husband. Him we send.
He is abhorrent to your choice. Let be.
Resign yourself, and this obedience
Will be by Heaven well recompensed. Receive,
Fair lady, all assurance of respect,
From him who ever was, and still remains,
Your humble and obliged--et cetera.'
THE FRIAR (with great delight):
O worthy lord! I knew naught was to fear;
It could be but holy business!
ROXANE (to Christian, in a low voice):
Am I not apt at reading letters?
ROXANE (aloud, with despair):
But this is horrible!
THE FRIAR (who has turned his lantern on Cyrano):
THE FRIAR (turning the light on to him, and as if a doubt struck him on seeing his beauty):
But. . .
I have overlooked the postscript--see:--
'Give twenty pistoles for the Convent.'
. . .Oh!
Most worthy lord!
ROXANE (with a martyr's look):
(While Ragueneau opens the door, and Christian invites the friar to enter, she whispers to Cyrano):
Oh, keep De Guiche at bay! He will be here!
Let him not enter till. . .
(To the friar):
What time need you to tie the marriage-knot?
A quarter of an hour.
CYRANO (pushing them all toward the house):
Go! I stay.
ROXANE (to Christian):
Come!. . .
Now, how to detain De Guiche so long?
(He jumps on the bench, climbs to the balcony by the wall):
Come!. . .up I go!. . .I have my plan!. . .
(The lutes begin to play a very sad air):
(The tremolo grows more and more weird):
It is a man! ay! 'tis a man this time!
(He is on the balcony, pulls his hat over his eyes, takes off his sword, wraps himself in his cloak, then leans over):
'Tis not too high!
(He strides across the balcony, and drawing to him a long branch of one of the trees that are by the garden wall, he hangs on to it with both hands, ready to let himself fall):
I'll shake this atmosphere!