Mother Marguerite, Sister Martha, Sister Claire, other sisters.
SISTER MARTHA (to Mother Marguerite):
Sister Claire glanced in the mirror, once--nay, twice, to see if her coif
MOTHER MARGUERITE (to Sister Claire):
'Tis not well.
But I saw Sister Martha take a plum
Out of the tart.
MOTHER MARGUERITE (to Sister Martha):
That was ill done, my sister.
A little glance!
And such a little plum!
I shall tell this to Monsieur Cyrano.
Nay, prithee do not!--he will mock!
He'll say we nuns are vain!
MOTHER MARGUERITE (smiling):
Ay, and kind!
Is it not true, pray, Mother Marguerite,
That he has come, each week, on Saturday
For ten years, to the convent?
Ay! and more!
Ever since--fourteen years ago--the day
His cousin brought here, 'midst our woolen coifs,
The worldly mourning of her widow's veil,
Like a blackbird's wing among the convent doves!
He only has the skill to turn her mind
From grief--unsoftened yet by Time--unhealed!
ALL THE SISTERS:
He is so droll!--It's cheerful when he comes!--
He teases us!--But we all like him well!--
--We make him pasties of angelica!
But, he is not a faithful Catholic!
We will convert him!
My daughters, you attempt that subject. Nay,
Weary him not--he might less oft come here!
But. . .God. . .
Nay, never fear! God knows him well!
But--every Saturday, when he arrives,
He tells me, 'Sister, I eat meat on Friday!'
Ah! says he so? Well, the last time he came
Food had not passed his lips for two whole days!
Who told you so, dear Mother?
Monsieur Le Bret.
None help him?
He permits not.
(In an alley at the back Roxane appears, dressed in black, with a widow's coif and veil. De Guiche, imposing-looking and visibly aged, walks by her side. They saunter slowly. Mother Marguerite rises):
'Tis time we go in; Madame Madeleine
Walks in the garden with a visitor.
SISTER MARTHA (to Sister Claire, in a low voice):
The Marshal of Grammont?
SISTER CLAIRE (looking at him):
'Tis he, I think.
'Tis many months now since he came to see her.
He is so busy!--The Court,--the camp!. . .
(They go out. De Guiche and Roxane come forward in silence, and stop close to the embroidery frame.)