Act I. Scene 7
Cyrano, Le Bret. Then actors, actresses, Cuigy, Brissaille, Ligniere, the porter, the violinists.
CYRANO (falling into Le Bret's arms): A rendezvous . . . from her! . . .
LE BRET: You're sad no more!
CYRANO: Ah! Let the world go burn! She knows I live!
LE BRET: Now you'll be calm, I hope?
CYRANO (beside himself for joy): Calm? I now calm? I'll be frenetic, frantic, — raving mad! Oh, for an army to attack! — a host! I've ten hearts in my breast; a score of arms; No dwarfs to cleave in twain! . . . (Wildly): No! Giants now!
(For a few moments the shadows of the actors have been moving on the stage, whispers are heard — the rehearsal is beginning. The violinists are in their places.)
A VOICE FROM THE STAGE: Hollo there! Silence! We rehearse!
CYRANO (laughing): We go!
(He moves away. By the big door enter Cuigy, Brissaille, and some officers, holding up Ligniere, who is drunk.)
CYRANO: Well, what now?
CUIGY: A lusty thrush They're bringing you!
CYRANO (recognizing him): Ligniere! . . . What has chanced?
CUIGY: He seeks you!
BRISSAILLE: He dare not go home!
CYRANO: Why not?
LIGNIERE (in a husky voice, showing him a crumpled letter): This letter warns me . . . that a hundred men . . . Revenge that threatens me . . . that song, you know — At the Porte de Nesle. To get to my own house I must pass there . . . I dare not! . . . Give me leave To sleep to-night beneath your roof! Allow . . .
CYRANO: A hundred men? You'll sleep in your own bed!
LIGNIERE (frightened): But —
CYRANO (in a terrible voice, showing him the lighted lantern held by the porter, who is listening curiously): Take the lantern. (Ligniere seizes it): Let us start! I swear That I will make your bed to-night myself! (To the officers): Follow; some stay behind, as witnesses!
CUIGY: A hundred! . . .
CYRANO: Less, to-night — would be too few!
(The actors and actresses, in their costumes, have come down from the stage, and are listening.)
LE BRET: But why embroil yourself?
CYRANO: Le Bret who scolds!
LE BRET: That worthless drunkard! —
CYRANO (slapping Ligniere on the shoulder): Wherefore? For this cause; — This wine-barrel, this cask of Burgundy, Did, on a day, an action full of grace; As he was leaving church, he saw his love Take holy water — he, who is affeared At water's taste, ran quickly to the stoup, And drank it all, to the last drop! . . .
AN ACTRESS: Indeed, that was a graceful thing!
CYRANO: Ay, was it not?
THE ACTRESS (to the others): But why a hundred men 'gainst one poor rhymer?
CYRANO: March! (To the officers): Gentlemen, when you shall see me charge, Bear me no succor, none, whate'er the odds!
ANOTHER ACTRESS (jumping from the stage): Oh! I shall come and see!
CYRANO: Come, then!
ANOTHER (jumping down — to an old actor): And you? . . .
CYRANO: Come all — the Doctor, Isabel, Leander, Come, for you shall add, in a motley swarm, The farce Italian to this Spanish drama!
ALL THE WOMEN (dancing for joy): Bravo! — a mantle, quick! — my hood!
JODELET: Come on!
CYRANO: Play us a march, gentlemen of the band! (The violinists join the procession, which is forming. They take the footlights, and divide them for torches): Brave officers! next, women in costume, And, twenty paces on — (He takes his place): I all alone, Beneath the plume that Glory lends, herself, To deck my beaver — proud as Scipio! . . . — You hear me? — I forbid you succor me! — One, two three! Porter, open wide the doors! (The porter opens the doors; a view of old Paris in the moonlight is seen): Ah! . . . Paris wrapped in night! half nebulous: The moonlight streams o'er the blue-shadowed roofs; A lovely frame for this wild battle-scene; Beneath the vapor's floating scarves, the Seine Trembles, mysterious, like a magic mirror, And, shortly, you shall see what you shall see!
ALL: To the Porte de Nesle!
CYRANO (standing on the threshold): Ay, to the Porte de Nesle! (Turning to the actress): Did you not ask, young lady, for what cause Against this rhymer fivescore men were sent? (He draws his sword; then, calmly): 'Twas that they knew him for a friend of mine!
(He goes out. Ligniere staggers first after him, then the actresses on the officers' arms — the actors. The procession starts to the sound of the violins and in the faint light of the candles.)