The SAME. Cyrano.
CYRANO (appearing from the tent, very calm, with a pen stuck behind his ear and a book in his hand):
What is wrong?
(Silence. To the first cadet):
Why drag you your legs so sorrowfully?
I have something in my heels which weighs them down.
And what may that be?
So have I, 'faith!
It must be in your way?
Nay, I am all the taller.
My stomach's hollow.
'Faith, 'twill make a fine drum to sound the assault.
I have a ringing in my ears.
No, no, 'tis false; a hungry stomach has no ears.
Oh, to eat something--something oily!
CYRANO (pulling off the cadet's helmet and holding it out to him):
Behold your salad!
What, in God's name, can we devour?
CYRANO (throwing him the book which he is carrying):
The first minister in Paris has his four meals a day!
'Twere courteous an he sent you a few partridges!
And why not? with wine, too!
A little Burgundy. Richelieu, s'il vous plait!
He could send it by one of his friars.
Ay! by His Eminence Joseph himself.
I am as ravenous as an ogre!
Eat your patience, then.
THE FIRST CADET (shrugging his shoulders):
Always your pointed word!
Ay, pointed words!
I would fain die thus, some soft summer eve,
Making a pointed word for a good cause.
--To make a soldier's end by soldier's sword,
Wielded by some brave adversary--die
On blood-stained turf, not on a fever-bed,
A point upon my lips, a point within my heart.
CRIES FROM ALL:
CYRANO (crossing his arms):
All your thoughts of meat and drink!
Bertrand the fifer!--you were shepherd once,--
Draw from its double leathern case your fife,
Play to these greedy, guzzling soldiers. Play
Old country airs with plaintive rhythm recurring,
Where lurk sweet echoes of the dear home-voices,
Each note of which calls like a little sister,
Those airs slow, slow ascending, as the smoke-wreaths
Rise from the hearthstones of our native hamlets,
Their music strikes the ear like Gascon patois!. . .
(The old man seats himself, and gets his flute ready):
Your flute was now a warrior in durance;
But on its stem your fingers are a-dancing
A bird-like minuet! O flute! Remember
That flutes were made of reeds first, not laburnum;
Make us a music pastoral days recalling--
The soul-time of your youth, in country pastures!. . .
(The old man begins to play the airs of Languedoc):
Hark to the music, Gascons!. . .'Tis no longer
The piercing fife of camp--but 'neath his fingers
The flute of the woods! No more the call to combat,
'Tis now the love-song of the wandering goat-herds!. . .
Hark!. . .'tis the valley, the wet landes, the forest,
The sunburnt shepherd-boy with scarlet beret,
The dusk of evening on the Dordogne river,--
'Tis Gascony! Hark, Gascons, to the music!
(The cadets sit with bowed heads; their eyes have a far-off look as if dreaming, and they surreptitiously wipe away their tears with their cuffs and the corner of their cloaks.)
CARBON (to Cyrano in a whisper):
But you make them weep!
Ay, for homesickness. A nobler pain than hunger,--'tis of the soul, not of
the body! I am well pleased to see their pain change its viscera. Heart-ache
is better than stomach-ache.
But you weaken their courage by playing thus on their heart-strings!
CYRANO (making a sign to a drummer to approach):
Not I. The hero that sleeps in Gascon blood is ever ready to awake in them.
'Twould suffice. . .
(He makes a signal; the drum beats.)
ALL THE CADETS (stand up and rush to take arms):
What? What is it?
You see! One roll of the drum is enough! Good-by dreams, regrets, native
land, love. . .All that the pipe called forth the drum has chased away!
A CADET (looking toward the back of the stage):
Ho! here comes Monsieur de Guiche.
ALL THE CADETS (muttering):
Ugh!. . .Ugh!. . .
A flattering welcome!
We are sick to death of him!
--With his lace collar over his armor, playing the fine gentleman!
As if one wore linen over steel!
It were good for a bandage had he boils on his neck.
Another plotting courtier!
His uncle's own nephew!
For all that--a Gascon.
Ay, false Gascon!. . .trust him not. . .
Gascons should ever be crack-brained. . .
Naught more dangerous than a rational Gascon.
How pale he is!
Oh! he is hungry, just like us poor devils; but under his cuirass, with its
fine gilt nails, his stomach-ache glitters brave in the sun.
Let us not seem to suffer either! Out with your cards, pipes, and dice. . .
(All begin spreading out the games on the drums, the stools, the ground, and on their cloaks, and light long pipes):
And I shall read Descartes.
(He walks up and down, reading a little book which he has drawn from his pocket. Tableau. Enter De Guiche. All appear absorbed and happy. He is very pale. He goes up to Carbon.)
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