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

Act I. Scene 3

The same, all but Ligniere. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury.

A marquis (watching De Guiche, who comes down from Roxane's box, and crosses the pit surrounded by obsequious noblemen, among them the Viscount de Valvert): He pays a fine court, your De Guiche!

ANOTHER: Faugh! . . . Another Gascon!

THE FIRST: Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon — that is the stuff success is made of! Believe me, we had best make our bow to him.

(They go toward De Guiche.)

SECOND MARQUIS: What fine ribbons! How call you the color, Count de Guiche? 'Kiss me, my darling,' or 'Timid Fawn?'

DE GUICHE: 'Tis the color called 'Sick Spaniard.'

FIRST MARQUIS: 'Faith! The color speaks truth, for, thanks to your valor, things will soon go ill for Spain in Flanders.

DE GUICHE: I go on the stage! Will you come? (He goes toward the stage, followed by the marquises and gentlemen. Turning, he calls): Come you Valvert!

CHRISTIAN (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name): The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my . . . (He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him. He turns round): Hey?


CHRISTIAN (holding him tightly): I was looking for a glove.

THE PICKPOCKET (smiling piteously): And you find a hand. (Changing his tone, quickly and in a whisper): Let me but go, and I will deliver you a secret.

CHRISTIAN (still holding him): What is it?

THE PICKPOCKET: Ligniere . . . he who has just left you . . .

CHRISTIAN (same play): Well?

THE PICKPOCKET: His life is in peril. A song writ by him has given offense in high places — and a hundred men — I am of them — are posted to-night . . .

CHRISTIAN: A hundred men! By whom posted?

THE PICKPOCKET: I may not say — a secret . . .

CHRISTIAN (shrugging his shoulders): Oh!

THE PICKPOCKET (with great dignity): . . . Of the profession.

CHRISTIAN: Where are they posted?

THE PICKPOCKET: At the Porte de Nesle. On his way homeward. Warn him.

CHRISTIAN (letting go of his wrists): But where can I find him?

THE PICKPOCKET: Run round to all the taverns — The Golden Wine Press, the Pine Cone, The Belt that Bursts, The Two Torches, The Three Funnels, and at each leave a word that shall put him on his guard.

CHRISTIAN: Good — I fly! Ah, the scoundrels! A hundred men 'gainst one! (Looking lovingly at Roxane): Ah, to leave her! . . . (looking with rage at Valvert): and him! . . . But save Ligniere I must!

(He hurries out. De Guiche, the viscount, the marquises, have all disappeared behind the curtain to take their places on the benches placed on the stage. The pit is quite full; the galleries and boxes are also crowded.)


A BURGHER (whose wig is drawn up on the end of a string by a page in the upper gallery): My wig!

CRIES OF DELIGHT: He is bald! Bravo, pages — ha! ha! ha! . . .

THE BURGHER (furious, shaking his fist): Young villain!

LAUGHTER AND CRIES (beginning very loud, and dying gradually away): Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

(Total silence.)

LE BRET (astonished): What means this sudden silence? . . . (A spectator says something to him in a low voice): Is't true?

THE SPECTATOR: I have just heard it on good authority.

MURMURS (spreading through the hall): Hush! Is it he? No! Ay, I say! In the box with the bars in front! The Cardinal! The Cardinal! The Cardinal!

A PAGE: The devil! We shall have to behave ourselves . . .

(A knock is heard upon the stage. Every one is motionless. A pause.)

THE VOICE OF A MARQUIS (in the silence, behind the curtain): Snuff that candle!

ANOTHER MARQUIS (putting his head through the opening in the curtain): A chair!

(A chair is passed from hand to hand, over the heads of the spectators. The marquis takes it and disappears, after blowing some kisses to the boxes.)


(Three knocks are heard on the stage. The curtain opens in the centre Tableau. The marquises in insolent attitudes seated on each side of the stage. The scene represents a pastoral landscape. Four little lusters light the stage; the violins play softly.)

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