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

SECOND MARQUIS (with little cries of joy): Ah, gentlemen! she is fearfully — terribly — ravishing!

FIRST MARQUIS: When one looks at her one thinks of a peach smiling at a strawberry!

SECOND MARQUIS: And what freshness! A man approaching her too near might chance to get a bad chill at the heart!

CHRISTIAN (raising his head, sees Roxane, and catches Ligniere by the arm): 'Tis she!

LIGNIERE: Ah! is it she?

CHRISTIAN: Ay, tell me quick — I am afraid.

LIGNIERE (tasting his rivesalte in sips): Magdaleine Robin — Roxane, so called! A subtle wit — a precieuse.

CHRISTIAN: Woe is me!

LIGNIERE: Free. An orphan. The cousin of Cyrano, of whom we were now speaking.

(At this moment an elegant nobleman, with blue ribbon across his breast, enters the box, and talks with Roxane, standing.)

CHRISTIAN (starting): Who is yonder man?

LIGNIERE (who is becoming tipsy, winking at him): Ha! ha! Count de Guiche. Enamored of her. But wedded to the niece of Armand de Richelieu. Would fain marry Roxane to a certain sorry fellow, one Monsieur de Valvert, a viscount — and — accommodating! She will none of that bargain; but De Guiche is powerful, and can persecute the daughter of a plain untitled gentleman. More by token, I myself have exposed this cunning plan of his to the world, in a song which . . . Ho! he must rage at me! The end hit home . . . Listen!

(He gets up staggering, and raises his glass, ready to sing.)

CHRISTIAN: No. Good-night.

LIGNIERE: Where go you?

CHRISTIAN: To Monsieur de Valvert!

LIGNIERE: Have a care! It is he who will kill you (showing him Roxane by a look): Stay where you are — she is looking at you.

CHRISTIAN: It is true!

(He stands looking at her. The group of pickpockets seeing him thus, head in air and open-mouthed, draw near to him.)

LIGNIERE: 'Tis I who am going. I am athirst! And they expect me — in the taverns!

(He goes out, reeling.)

LE BRET (who has been all round the hall, coming back to Ragueneau reassured): No sign of Cyrano.

RAGUENEAU (incredulously): All the same . . .

LE BRET: A hope is left to me — that he has not seen the playbill!

THE AUDIENCE: Begin, begin!

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As Cyrano writes a love letter to Roxane, he does not sign it because