Cyrano de Bergerac By Edmond Rostand Act IV — Scene 1


The Cadets of Gascony.

Post occupied by company of Carbon de Castel-Jaloux at the siege of Arras.

In the background an embankment across the whole stage. Beyond, view of plain extending to the horizon. The country covered with intrenchments. The walls of Arras and the outlines of its roofs against the sky in the distance. Tents. Arms strewn about, drums, etc. Day is breaking with a faint glimmer of yellow sunrise in the east. Sentinels at different points. Watch-fires. The cadets of Gascony, wrapped in their mantles, are sleeping. Carbon de Castel-Jaloux and Le Bret are keeping watch. They are very pale and thin. Christian sleeps among the others in his cloak in the foreground, his face illuminated by the fire. Silence.

Act IV. Scene 1

Christian, Carbon de Castel-Jaloux, Le Bret, the cadets, then Cyrano.

LE BRET: 'Tis terrible.

CARBON: Not a morsel left.

LE BRET: Mordioux!

CARBON (making a sign that he should speak lower): Curse under your breath. You will awake them. (To the cadets): Hush! Sleep on. (To Le Bret): He who sleeps, dines!

LE BRET: But that is sorry comfort for the sleepless! . . . What starvation!

(Firing is heard in the distance.)

CARBON: Oh, plague take their firing! 'Twill wake my sons. (To the cadets, who lift up their heads): Sleep on!

(Firing is again heard, nearer this time.)

A CADET (moving): The devil! . . . Again.

CARBON: 'Tis nothing! 'Tis Cyrano coming back!

(Those who have lifted up their heads prepare to sleep again.)

A SENTINEL (from without): Ventrebieu! Who goes there?


The SENTINEL (who is on the redoubt): Ventrebieu! Who goes there?

CYRANO (appearing at the top): Bergerac, idiot!

(He comes down; Le Bret advances anxiously to meet him.)

LE BRET: Heavens!

CYRANO (making signs that he should not awake the others): Hush!

LE BRET: Wounded?

CYRANO: Oh! you know it has become their custom to shoot at me every morning and to miss me.

LE BRET: This passes all! To take letters at each day's dawn. To risk . . .

CYRANO (stopping before Christian): I promised he should write often. (He looks at him): He sleeps. How pale he is! But how handsome still, despite his sufferings. If his poor little lady-love knew that he is dying of hunger . . .

LE BRET: Get you quick to bed.

CYRANO: Nay, never scold, Le Bret. I ran but little risk. I have found me a spot to pass the Spanish lines, where each night they lie drunk.

LE BRET: You should try to bring us back provision.

CYRANO: A man must carry no weight who would get by there! But there will be surprise for us this night. The French will eat or die . . . if I mistake not!

LE BRET: Oh! . . . tell me! . . .

CYRANO: Nay, not yet. I am not certain . . . You will see!

CARBON: It is disgraceful that we should starve while we're besieging!

LE BRET: Alas, how full of complication is this siege of Arras! To think that while we are besieging, we should ourselves be caught in a trap and besieged by the Cardinal Infante of Spain.

CYRANO: It were well done if he should be besieged in his turn.

LE BRET: I am in earnest.

CYRANO: Oh! indeed!

LE BRET: To think you risk a life so precious . . . for the sake of a letter . . . Thankless one. (Seeing him turning to enter the tent): Where are you going?

CYRANO: I am going to write another.

(He enters the tent and disappears.)

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