THE WHOLE HOUSE: Coward . . . come back!
CYRANO (delighted, sits back in his chair, arms crossed): Come back an if you dare!
A BURGHER: Call for the orator!
(Bellerose comes forward and bows.)
THE BOXES: Ah! here's Bellerose!
BELLEROSE (elegantly): My noble lords . . .
THE PIT: No! no! Jodelet!
JODELET (advancing, speaking through his nose): Calves!
THE PIT: Ah! bravo! good! go on!
JODELET: No bravos, Sirs! The fat tragedian whom you all love Felt . . .
THE PIT: Coward!
JODELET: . . . was obliged to go.
THE PIT: Come back!
A YOUNG MAN (to Cyrano): But pray, Sir, for what reason, say, Hate you Montfleury?
CYRANO (graciously, still seated): Youthful gander, know I have two reasons — either will suffice. Primo. An actor villainous! who mouths, And heaves up like a bucket from a well The verses that should, bird-like, fly! Secundo — That is my secret . . .
THE OLD BURGHER (behind him): Shameful! You deprive us Of the 'Clorise!' I must insist . . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the burgher, respectfully): Old mule! The verses of old Baro are not worth A doit! I'm glad to interrupt . . .
THE PRECIEUSES (in the boxes): Our Baro! — My dear! How dares he venture! . . .
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the boxes gallantly): Fairest ones, Radiate, bloom, hold to our lips the cup Of dreams intoxicating, Hebe-like! Or, when death strikes, charm death with your sweet smiles; Inspire our verse, but — criticise it not!
BELLEROSE: We must give back the entrance fees!
CYRANO (turning his chair toward the stage): Bellerose, You make the first intelligent remark! Would I rend Thespis' sacred mantle? Nay! (He rises and throws a bag on the stage): Catch then the purse I throw, and hold your peace!
THE HOUSE (dazzled): Ah! Oh!
JODELET (catching the purse dexterously and weighing it): At this price, you've authority To come each night, and stop 'Clorise,' Sir!
THE PIT: Ho! . . . Ho! Ho! . . .
JODELET: E'en if you chase us in a pack! . . .
BELLEROSE: Clear out the hall! . . .
JODELET: Get you all gone at once!
(The people begin to go out, while Cyrano looks on with satisfaction. But the crowd soon stop on hearing the following scene, and remain where they are. The women, who, with their mantles on, are already standing up in the boxes, stop to listen, and finally reseat themselves.)
LE BRET (to Cyrano): 'Tis mad! . . .
A BORE (coming up to Cyrano): The actor Montfleury! 'Tis shameful! Why, he's protected by the Duke of Candal! Have you a patron?
THE BORE: No patron? . . .
THE BORE: What! no great lord to shield you with his name?
CYRANO (irritated): No, I have told you twice! Must I repeat? No! no protector . . . (His hand on his sword): A protectress . . . here!
THE BORE: But you must leave the town?
CYRANO: Well, that depends!
THE BORE: The Duke has a long arm!
CYRANO: But not so long As mine, when it is lengthened out . . . (Shows his sword): As thus!
THE BORE: You think not to contend?
CYRANO: 'Tis my idea!
THE BORE: But . . .
CYRANO: Show your heels! now!
THE BORE: But I . . .
CYRANO: Or tell me why you stare so at my nose!