Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act II — Scenes 3-4

Act II. Scene 3

Ragueneau, Lise, Cyrano, then the musketeer.

CYRANO: What's o'clock?

RAGUENEAU (bowing low): Six o'clock.

CYRANO (with emotion): In one hour's time!

(He paces up and down the shop.)

RAGUENEAU (following him): Bravo! I saw . . .

CYRANO: Well, what saw you, then?

RAGUENEAU: Your combat! . . .

CYRANO: Which?

RAGUENEAU: That in the Burgundy Hotel, 'faith!

CYRANO (contemptuously): Ah! . . . the duel!

RAGUENEAU (admiringly): Ay! the duel in verse! . . .

LISE: He can talk of naught else!

CYRANO: Well! Good! let be!

RAGUENEAU (making passes with a spit that he catches up): 'At the envoi's end, I touch! . . . At the envoi's end, I touch!' . . . 'Tis fine, fine! (With increasing enthusiasm): 'At the envoi's end — '

CYRANO: What hour is it now, Ragueneau?

RAGUENEAU (stopping short in the act of thrusting to look at the clock): Five minutes after six! . . . 'I touch!' (He straightens himself): . . . Oh! to write a ballade!

LISE (to Cyrano, who, as he passes by the counter, has absently shaken hands with her): What's wrong with your hand?

CYRANO: Naught; a slight cut.

RAGUENEAU: Have you been in some danger?

CYRANO: None in the world.

LISE (shaking her finger at him): Methinks you speak not the truth in saying that!

CYRANO: Did you see my nose quiver when I spoke? 'Faith, it must have been a monstrous lie that should move it! (Changing his tone): I wait some one here. Leave us alone, and disturb us for naught an it were not for crack of doom!

RAGUENEAU: But 'tis impossible; my poets are coming . . .

LISE (ironically): Oh, ay, for their first meal o' the day!

CYRANO: Prythee, take them aside when I shall make you sign to do so . . . What's o'clock?

RAGUENEAU: Ten minutes after six.

CYRANO (nervously seating himself at Ragueneau's table, and drawing some paper toward him): A pen! . . .

RAGUENEAU (giving him the one from behind his ear): Here — a swan's quill.

A MUSKETEER (with fierce mustache, enters, and in a stentorian voice): Good-day!

(Lise goes up to him quickly.)

CYRANO (turning round): Who's that?

RAGUENEAU: 'Tis a friend of my wife — a terrible warrior — at least so says he himself.

CYRANO (taking up the pen, and motioning Ragueneau away): Hush! (To himself): I will write, fold it, give it her, and fly! (Throws down the pen): Coward! . . . But strike me dead if I dare to speak to her, . . . ay, even one single word! (To Ragueneau): What time is it?

RAGUENEAU: A quarter after six! . . .

CYRANO (striking his breast): Ay — a single word of all those here! here! But writing, 'tis easier done . . . (He takes up the pen): Go to, I will write it, that love-letter! Oh! I have writ it and rewrit it in my own mind so oft that it lies there ready for pen and ink; and if I lay but my soul by my letter-sheet, 'tis naught to do but to copy from it.

(He writes. Through the glass of the door the silhouettes of their figures move uncertainly and hesitatingly.)

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