Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act I — Scenes 2-3

Act I. Scene 2

The same. Christian, Ligniere, then Ragueneau and Le Bret.

CUIGY: Ligniere!

BRISSAILLE (laughing): Not drunk as yet?

LIGNIERE (aside to Christian): I may introduce you? (Christian nods in assent): Baron de Neuvillette.

(Bows.)

THE AUDIENCE (applauding as the first luster is lighted and drawn up): Ah!

CUIGY (to Brissaille, looking at Christian): 'Tis a pretty fellow!

FIRST MARQUIS (who has overheard): Pooh!

LIGNIERE (introducing them to Christian): My lords De Cuigy. De Brissaille . . .

CHRISTIAN (bowing): Delighted! . . .

FIRST MARQUIS (to second): He is not ill to look at, but certes, he is not costumed in the latest mode.

LIGNIERE (to Cuigy): This gentleman comes from Touraine.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, I have scarce been twenty days in Paris; tomorrow I join the Guards, in the Cadets.

FIRST MARQUIS (watching the people who are coming into the boxes): There is the wife of the Chief-Justice.

THE BUFFET-GIRL: Oranges, milk . . .

THE VIOLINISTS (tuning up): La — la —

CUIGY (to Christian, pointing to the hall, which is filling fast): 'Tis crowded.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, indeed.

FIRST MARQUIS: All the great world!

(They recognize and name the different elegantly dressed ladies who enter the boxes, bowing low to them. The ladies send smiles in answer.)

SECOND MARQUIS: Madame de Guemenee.

CUIGY: Madame de Bois-Dauphin.

FIRST MARQUIS: Adored by us all!

BRISSAILLE: Madame de Chavigny . . .

SECOND MARQUIS: Who sports with our poor hearts! . . .

LIGNIERE: Ha! so Monsieur de Corneille has come back from Rouen!

THE YOUNG MAN (to his father): Is the Academy here?

THE BURGHER: Oh, ay, I see several of them. There is Boudu, Boissat, and Cureau de la Chambre, Porcheres, Colomby, Bourzeys, Bourdon, Arbaud . . . all names that will live! 'Tis fine!

FIRST MARQUIS: Attention! Here come our precieuses; Barthenoide, Urimedonte, Cassandace, Felixerie . . .

SECOND MARQUIS: Ah! How exquisite their fancy names are! Do you know them all, Marquis?

FIRST MARQUIS: Ay, Marquis, I do, every one!

LIGNIERE (drawing Christian aside): Friend, I but came here to give you pleasure. The lady comes not. I will betake me again to my pet vice.

CHRISTIAN (persuasively): No, no! You, who are ballad-maker to Court and City alike, can tell me better than any who the lady is for whom I die of love. Stay yet awhile.

THE FIRST VIOLIN (striking his bow on the desk): Gentlemen violinists!

(He raises his bow.)

THE BUFFET-GIRL: Macaroons, lemon-drink . . .

(The violins begin to play.)

CHRISTIAN: Ah! I fear me she is coquettish, and over nice and fastidious! I, who am so poor of wit, how dare I speak to her — how address her? This language that they speak to-day — ay, and write — confounds me; I am but an honest soldier, and timid withal. She has ever her place, there, on the right — the empty box, see you!

LIGNIERE (making as if to go): I must go.

CHRISTIAN (detaining him): Nay, stay.

LIGNIERE: I cannot. D'Assoucy waits me at the tavern, and here one dies of thirst.

THE BUFFET-GIRL (passing before him with a tray): Orange drink?

LIGNIERE: Ugh!

THE BUFFET-GIRL: Milk?

LIGNIERE: Pah!

THE BUFFET-GIRL: Rivesalte?

LIGNIERE: Stay. (To Christian): I will remain awhile. — Let me taste this rivesalte.

(He sits by the buffet; the girl pours some out for him.)

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