Act I. Scene 2
The same. Christian, Ligniere, then Ragueneau and Le Bret.
BRISSAILLE (laughing): Not drunk as yet?
LIGNIERE (aside to Christian): I may introduce you? (Christian nods in assent): Baron de Neuvillette.
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?
THE BUFFET-GIRL: Milk?
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.)