The Mohicans of Paris

Drama in Five Acts

by Alexandre Dumas père, 1864

Translated and adapted by Frank J. Morlock

Translation is Copyright © 2001 by Frank J. Morlock. Reproduction in any form is prohibited without explicit consent of Frank J. Morlock. Please contact frankmorlock@msn.com for licensing information.

For more information on this play, click here.


Table of Contents

  • Characters
  • Prologue
  • Scene i
  • Act I
  • Scene ii
  • Scene iii
  • Act II
  • Scene iv
  • Act III
  • Scene v
  • Scene vi
  • Act IV
  • Scene vii
  • Scene viii
  • Act V
  • Scene ix

  • Characters


    Prologue

    Scene i

    A kitchen giving on a park.

    (Leonie & Bresil resting on a sofa. Orsola entering.)

    ORSOLA

    (aside)

    Still that child.

    (aloud)

    Go, Leonie, go play in the garden.

    LEONIE

    (leaving with the dog)

    Come Bresil, come.

    ORSOLA

    (going to Gerard's bedroom and opening the door)

    He's still sleeping! And this morning, when he wakes, he will, as usual, forget all the promises he made me last night when he was drunk. Truly, I don't know why I give myself so much trouble. I am still young and still pretty while this man -- and all this worry for five or six thousand pounds of income! Oh -- he owes me a fortune, like the one these miserable children will have one day -- playing by the pool. They will have a million and a half each -- for taking the trouble to be born while I, after struggling in poverty and shame for fifteen or twenty years arrive at thirty having been the mistress of Mr. Gerard with the immense ambition of becoming the wife of a man of fifty, who the day the thing occurs will be the envy of all the ladies of Viry sur Orge and its environs. Magnificent future indeed worth the trouble of being being jealous over.

    (Enter postman.)

    POSTMAN

    (outside)

    Hey. Anybody home?

    ORSOLA

    Who's there?

    POSTMAN

    (entering)

    Me, the postman, it's a letter.

    ORSOLA

    Give it here.

    POSTMAN

    Can't do that!

    ORSOLA

    Why can't you?

    POSTMAN

    Because it is for Mr. Gerard.

    ORSOLA

    Well, Mr. Gerard or me -- isn't that the same thing?

    POSTMAN

    Not quite yet, although they say in town that one day pretty soon it will be. Say, Madame Orsola, the day it happens you'll be a pretty picture!

    ORSOLA

    Come on, stop the idle talk and give me this letter. Don't you know, I receive all Mr. Gerard's correspondence?

    POSTMAN

    Yes, but not registered letters which must be signed for.

    ORSOLA

    (frowning)

    Look here, Jerome.

    POSTMAN

    Madame Orsola?

    ORSOLA

    I believe that you wish to renew the lease on the little corner house that you rent from Mr. Gerard?

    POSTMAN

    Certainly, I do.

    ORSOLA

    Well, you won't, taking this tack with me, I warn you. Good-day, Jerome, take back your letter.

    POSTMAN

    Now, now, Madame Orsola, I am not opposed myself to giving you the letter if you would sign in place of Mr. Gerard?

    ORSOLA

    And why shouldn't I sign in his place?

    POSTMAN

    Heck, I don't know. Here, here's the register. Only since the letter is for Mr. Gerard, sign "Gerard."

    (Orsola takes a pen and signs.)

    POSTMAN

    (aside)

    She signed all the same. Oh, she's a real boss-lady.

    (aloud)

    Here's the letter.

    (Enter Victor on the stone steps.)

    ORSOLA

    (aside looking at the letter)

    A black seal! What does this mean?

    VICTOR

    Mr. Mailman, do you bring us news of papa?

    ORSOLA

    (unsealing the letter cautiously)

    Perhaps!

    POSTMAN

    Ask Madame Gerard, Monsieur Victor, she's the one who has received the letter.

    (Exit postman.)

    (Enter Leonie with the hound, Bresil.)

    VICTOR

    You mean to say "Madame Orsola" -- Come Leonie, it's time to take our lesson with Monsieur Sarranti.

    (he leaves with his sister and the dog by the door opposite that of Mr. Gerard)

    ORSOLA

    (alone watching the children leave)

    Yes, there is news of your father and good! Dead during the crossing! A will.

    (the door to the bedroom opens)

    Gerard!

    (Enter Gerard.)

    GERARD

    (hesitating)

    What time is it, Orsola?

    ORSOLA

    Ten o'clock. Wait.

    (the clock striking)

    GERARD

    What time did we go to bed?

    ORSOLA

    Almost midnight.

    GERARD

    And you're up already?

    ORSOLA

    As usual. Isn't it necessary to take a look over the house in the morning?

    GERARD

    The mistress?

    ORSOLA

    I am your servant, Monsieur Gerard! And if you please to order I will obey, but meanwhile, I really ought to tell you something -- or rather someone is preoccupying me.

    GERARD

    Who?

    ORSOLA

    This man.

    GERARD

    What man?

    ORSOLA

    The one your brother imposed as tutor of the children, your Corsican!

    GERARD

    Sarranti!

    ORSOLA

    Yes!

    GERARD

    And why does he preoccupy you?

    ORSOLA

    God prevent that no evil befalls us because of him.

    GERARD

    Why do you tell me this?

    ORSOLA

    First, a man who under your name has deposited one hundred thousand francs with a notary.

    GERARD

    That proves he has confidence in me, who since he cannot deposit the money in his name deposits it in mine.

    ORSOLA

    And who, possessing that amount would be content to work for fifteen hundred francs as a tutor to the two children! What these children are to him I cannot say.

    GERARD

    But these children are my brother's and Sarranti has been his friend.

    ORSOLA

    And today, do you know what your brother's friend is doing?

    GERARD

    What's he doing?

    ORSOLA

    I am going to tell you, I am, if you don't know, he's a conspirator.

    GERARD

    Sarranti.

    ORSOLA

    Yes, or I am much deceived. Needless for me to get up at dawn, he's up before me. Then he insists on having the pavilion, doesn't he?

    GERARD

    He's a studious man who likes to work at his ease.

    ORSOLA

    And one never knows at all with whom or at what he works.

    GERARD

    Oh, I recognize you well in that -- always suspicious.

    (Enter Jean.)

    JEAN

    I ask your pardon, sir, to come without being called, but Mr. Sarranti desires to speak to you and you alone --

    GERARD

    Tell him I'll be down.

    ORSOLA

    No, tell him to come up.

    GERARD

    (after looking at Orsola)

    Yes, let him come up.

    JEAN

    I'll go do it, sir.

    (Jean exits.)

    GERARD

    Now, Orsola, if you would leave us.

    ORSOLA

    Ah, then you have got secrets from me?

    GERARD

    No, but Mr. Sarranti's secrets are not mine but his.

    ORSOLA

    With your permission, Monsieur Gerard, the secrets of Sarranti are ours or he can keep his secrets.

    GERARD

    Here's Sarranti.

    ORSOLA

    (hiding in a cabinet)

    I warn you, I am listening.

    (Sarranti enters.)

    SARRANTI

    (looking around)

    Are we alone, my friend? Can I speak in complete confidence?

    GERARD

    We are alone and you can speak.

    SARRANTI

    Above all, dear Mr. Gerard, I must assure you of one thing: it's that all I am going to say to you was known to your brother from the first day I saw him, so that he knew perfectly well that it was to a conspirator that he opened his door to, when he charged me with the education of his children.

    GERARD

    Why, is it true that you conspire?

    SARRANTI

    Alas yes, Mr. Gerard, but be easy, I've taken every precaution not to compromise you. In two words, here are the facts. A conspiracy is organized; today at four o'clock, it goes off. I cannot tell you who the leaders are, their secret is not mine. What I can tell you, what I can swear to you is that the most illustrious names will try to ruin the government.

    GERARD

    How unfortunate!

    SARRANTI

    Will we succeed? Will we fail? If we succeed, we will be acclaimed as heroes -- if we miscarry -- the scaffold awaits us.

    GERARD

    The scaffold.

    SARRANTI

    One more time. Don't fear of being compromised. Here is a letter that I address to you as if no confidence had been placed in you and in which I recount that important business calls me to leave you. If the conspiracy fails, I will save myself if I can -- now will you help me to the end? Give me Jean who is a faithful servant -- let him keep two saddled horses for me all day with the hundred thousand francs in the saddlebags that I confided in you and that you have withdrawn from the notary. The whole length of the route to Nantes I have helpers who will hide me. At Nantes I will embark for the Indies.

    GERARD

    You won't find my brother there because three months ago I received a letter from him in which he announced that, his fortune having reached the figure he desired, he was starting on his way back to us.

    SARRANTI

    No, but I will find another friend there, General Premont. Now dear Monsieur Gerard, you hold my life in your hands. Don't rush to reply. I am going to my apartment to burn all the papers that could compromise me and in five minutes I will return to learn your response.

    (going to leave)

    No need to tell you who this secret must be kept from.

    (Gerard replies by a motion of his head. Sarranti goes off. Orsola enters from the cabinet.)

    GERARD

    Have you heard, Orsola?

    ORSOLA

    All!

    GERARD

    What's to be done?

    ORSOLA

    Do what he asks.

    GERARD

    What -- you whom I've always found to be the enemy of Sarranti?

    ORSOLA

    I say you must give him Jean. I tell you you must keep two horses ready and pray to God or rather the Devil, that he fails -- for never will a like occasion present itself to make us millionaires.

    GERARD

    Millionaires -- what are you raving about?

    ORSOLA

    Nothing. Work on one thing at a time. It is to take back your counter-letter. Me, I am going to send it before any time is lost. I'll take care of the rest.

    GERARD

    What do you mean "the rest"?

    ORSOLA

    Ah, that's right. You don't know yet. Read this letter, which just came for you this morning. Here it is. Read it after he leaves.

    (Orsola exits crossing in front of Sarranti and getting him.)

    (Enter Sarranti.)

    SARRANTI

    Well, dear Gerard, have you thought about it?

    GERARD

    Jean is at your disposition. The horses are saddled and are waiting for you with the money in the saddlebags.

    SARRANTI

    Fine! Here's your letter. From today I regard myself as having the hundred thousand crowns returned since the money has been withdrawn from the notary. I cannot return through Viry and if I am neither taken prisoner nor killed, a word from me will tell you where to hold my money.

    GERARD

    It will be done point for point according to your wishes, dear Monsieur Sarranti.

    SARRANTI

    Monsieur Gerard count on my eternal recognition. Till we meet again. Perhaps goodbye!

    (Exit Sarranti.)

    GERARD

    What did Orsola mean, "Never a better chance for us to become millionaires?" This woman never does anything without reason, and does nothing without -- This letter bordered in black that she left me in parting and told me to read -- it carries a stamp from Marseille. Ah -- I am not the first to open it. A second hidden sheet. My brother's signature. "This is my holographic will." Jacques is dead.

    (Gerard falls into an armchair. Orsola appears slowly climbing the steps outside the house, and while Gerard reads, comes without being seen nor heard to peer over the back of his armchair.)

    GERARD

    Let's see the letter first.

    (reading the letter)

    "To Monsieur Gerard, proprietor at Viry sur Orge" indeed, it's for me. "Monsieur, I have sad news to announce to you. Your brother Jacques embarked aboard La Mouette, merchant brig from Marseille under my command, took a pernicious fever, and in passing the Cape of Good Hope died at the latitude of Saint Helena, 12 June last, at five o'clock. He left a will in duplicate, the original to be taken to his notary, Mr. Barrateau, Rue de Bac #31, the other to be sent to you, so that you will know directly the dispositions he took. His last words in expiring were, 'My God, care for my children.' With regret at being the bearer of such bad news, I am, etc., Captain Lucas." His last words were, "My God, care for my children."

    (He remains motionless.)

    ORSOLA

    Let's see -- read the rest.

    GERARD

    (jumping)

    You were there, you!

    ORSOLA

    Yes.

    GERARD

    (reading)

    "At sea, 1st of January 1820, sensing that my illness is mortal, and that it pleases the all-powerful Lord to recall me to him, I intend, being in full possession of my facilities, to divide my fortune between my sole remaining relative, my good brother, Gerard, and my dear children, Victor and Leonie. This division is simple. I leave one and a half million to each of my children. I desire that save for the expense of their education and upbringing, the revenue of this three million shall accumulate until their majority; it is to my brother, Gerard, that I have given charge of watching over them."

    (he stops a moment and wipes his face)

    "As to him, I know the simplicity of his tastes, I leave to him his choice of a sum of three hundred thousand or an annual income of twenty-four thousand francs a year. If one of my children dies, I want his share to be given to the survivor -- if both die -- "

    (stopping)

    Oh!

    ORSOLA

    Keep on, what's so astonishing that both might die?

    GERARD

    (continuing in a trembling voice)

    "If the two children were to die, my brother shall become the sole heir."

    ORSOLA

    (low voice)

    The sole heir.

    (louder)

    You understand, Gerard?

    GERARD

    Yes, but they will live.

    ORSOLA

    Who knows -- children are so fragile!

    GERARD

    My poor brother.

    ORSOLA

    What do you want? You must support with courage these misfortunes that you cannot combat. Death is one of those misfortunes. Today, his turn, tomorrow ours.

    GERARD

    Yes, I know that quite well. My brother was nothing to you, you never saw him, and then -- are you happy, ambitious one? -- these are our riches!

    ORSOLA

    We -- rich?

    GERARD

    Certainly, since my poor brother left us three hundred thousand francs.

    ORSOLA

    You call that being rich?

    GERARD

    Without doubt.

    ORSOLA

    It's the children who are rich -- three million!

    GERARD

    Orsola! Orsola!

    ORSOLA

    What?

    (Jean enters.)

    JEAN

    Monsieur Gerard, the two horses are saddled; but it remains for you to give me what is in the suitcases.

    GERARD

    That's right.

    (low, to Orsola)

    You know what it's about?

    ORSOLA

    Several hundred thousand shillings.

    GERARD

    And you are still of the opinion I should give them to him?

    ORSOLA

    To the last sou?

    GERARD

    (going to his desk)

    Wait Jean -- take one of these sacks. I will take the other!

    (to Orsola)

    You understand, I intend --

    ORSOLA

    Go! Go! The air will make you feel better. You are pale as a cadaver.

    GERARD

    (after looking at Orsola)

    Come Jean! Come!

    (He goes out.)

    ORSOLA

    Oh -- debate with yourself as much as you like. I am like one of our mountain bears -- I hold you between my claws. You will not escape me.

    (looking out the window)

    Cursed children -- whom I've always detested from instinct. There they are. They're playing at the side of the lake. Victor unties his boat and makes Leonie get up. The dog follows them to the shore and when I think that if the boat capsized. It's true the dog is there. First I must get rid of the dog.

    GERARD

    (outside)

    Victor! Victor!

    VICTOR

    Uncle?

    GERARD

    I've already forbidden you to go out in the boat because you don't know how to steer it. Look, you see, your sister almost fell in the water.

    ORSOLA

    (to Gerard)

    Oh, let the children alone; they are having fun.

    (aside)

    He never forgets to take precautions against good luck -- the imbecile.

    (Gerard enters.)

    GERARD

    That's done with. Now, Sarranti can come.

    ORSOLA

    Did the air make you feel any better?

    GERARD

    Admit that you read this will and letter before I did?

    ORSOLA

    Well, since it was there -- have I committed a crime?

    GERARD

    My poor brother.

    (He puts his handkerchief to his eyes.)

    ORSOLA

    Bah! -- you know the song of our mountains.

    Happiness is for the Gods
    Who leave pleasure to men
    Bless the dead who are in heaven
    But console the hearts of those
    Who remain on Earth where we are.

    GERARD

    Shut up! Shut up! To sing at such a moment is impious.

    ORSOLA

    Impious? Get out.

    GERARD

    From charity leave me alone for a while.

    ORSOLA

    Oh, I ask nothing better. You are not very gay company.

    (going, singing)

    The dead in their graves
    Feel neither cold nor hunger.

    (Gerard closes the door after her.)

    GERARD

    Oh, this woman is my evil genius.

    (Enter Victor followed by the dog, Bresil.)

    VICTOR

    Here I am, uncle.

    GERARD

    Victor.

    VICTOR

    You see I am good and I obey you carefully.

    GERARD

    Yes, you are a good little child.

    VICTOR

    Then hug me my good uncle.

    GERARD

    (aside)

    His good uncle.

    VICTOR

    My sister can pick some flowers, right?

    GERARD

    As many as she likes.

    VICTOR

    The postman came this morning -- did he bring news about papa?

    GERARD

    (hesitating)

    No, my child, why?

    VICTOR

    Oh, it's because Madame Orsola received a big letter outlined in black.

    (Gerard chokes)

    What's wrong, uncle?

    GERARD

    (rising)

    Nothing, my child, nothing.

    (He goes into his room.)

    VICTOR

    It's funny. You would say my uncle is crying. I always thought only children cried.

    ORSOLA

    (outside)

    Leonie! Have you already finished picking my flowers?

    LEONIE

    These flowers are not for you, they are for my uncle.

    VICTOR

    (at the window)

    And my uncle just told me that my sister can pick all she wants.

    ORSOLA

    It is possible that your uncle said that, but I say otherwise.

    VICTOR

    Pick away, Leonie! You don't have to take orders except from my uncle.

    ORSOLA

    Take care, Leonie.

    LEONIE

    Of what?

    ORSOLA

    Of making me come down -- for it you make me come down, you will have it out with me.

    LEONIE

    Come then, nasty woman.

    ORSOLA

    (rushing towards the garden)

    Devil's child.

    VICTOR

    You know that if you touch my sister, Bresil is there!

    (noise of a little girl screaming; Bresil jumps through the window)

    Uncle! Uncle!

    GERARD

    (entering)

    What is wrong, my God?

    VICTOR

    It's that mean Orsola who is beating Leonie because she's picking some flowers. Didn't you permit Leonie to pick the flowers -- do they belong to Madame Orsola?

    GERARD

    Orsola! Orsola!

    ORSOLA

    Here I am -- sir!

    (She shows Gerard her bloody arm.)

    GERARD

    Who did that to you?

    ORSOLA

    Bresil! I hope you will punish your niece and you will kill the dog.

    VICTOR

    Why kill Bresil? He was protecting his mistress -- and you were beating her. Bresil was doing his duty.

    GERARD

    Victor, go put Bresil on his chain.

    VICTOR

    I am going, uncle, but you won't kill Bresil will you?

    GERARD

    No, child -- rest easy.

    VICTOR

    Oh! Oh!

    (Victor goes out.)

    ORSOLA

    On the contrary, they will caress him, the poor animal! What's he done? He's murdered Orsola. What's Orsola? A serving maid to be thrown out the door when one is angry with her. But she won't wait to be kicked out, this servant, she's going by herself. Goodbye, sir.

    GERARD

    Orsola, where are you going?

    ORSOLA

    I'm going to find a master who will do right by me -- and a dog who won't murder me.

    GERARD

    Come on, let me see! The blood is flowing, but the wound is not dangerous.

    ORSOLA

    You would much prefer if I had a broken arm, right?

    GERARD

    Listen, Orsola; Sarranti has gone. We will part from the children. We will put them in a pension.

    ORSOLA

    Oh, if I stay here, I will take care of the children.

    GERARD

    Why not stay here? You know very well, I cannot do without you. What do you lack here? The right to command? You have. For fifteen years, you've called yourself Madame Gerard. Look, Orsola, today is a day from the devil -- sad as it is don't make it terrible.

    ORSOLA

    Oh! You know how much influence you have over me.

    DOMINIQUE

    (in the garden)

    Mr. Gerard! Mr. Gerard!

    GERARD

    Listen, isn't someone calling me?

    (Dominique Sarranti in lay costume.)

    DOMINIQUE

    (entering quickly)

    Mr. Gerard! Aren't you Mr. Gerard?

    GERARD

    Yes. What do you want from me?

    DOMINIQUE

    Have you seen my father? I am the son of Mr. Sarranti. They just came to my home to arrest him. They are pursuing him like a conspirator.

    GERARD

    I hear the gallop of a horse.

    DOMINIQUE

    Ah! There he is.

    SARRANTI

    (entering, covered with dust)

    Dominique here! So much the better. I can embrace you at last.

    DOMINIQUE

    (jumping on his neck)

    Father.

    SARRANTI

    The conspiracy is discovered. I have to flee is all ready.

    DOMINIQUE

    Father, I am going with you.

    SARRANTI

    No, no! You will compromise yourself uselessly.

    DOMINIQUE

    What difference?

    SARRANTI

    You would compromise us. Betrayed! Denounced! Ah the wretches! A plot so well constructed, a conspiracy so well set up.

    DOMINIQUE

    Then flee right now; flee without waiting; your safety above all!

    SARRANTI

    And you, return to Paris; take a detour so none know you've come -- my security, the peace of Mr. Gerard depends on it.

    ORSOLA

    (aside)

    Fine. We will be alone.

    GERARD

    (calling)

    Jean, the horses.

    JEAN

    They are ready, sir.

    DOMINIQUE

    Leave, leave, Father.

    SARRANTI

    Goodbye!

    (to his son)

    Come!

    (to Gerard)

    My friend, between us -- it's life and death.

    DOMINIQUE

    (pulling him)

    Well, come then!

    GERARD

    Be careful!

    SARRANTI

    Oh -- don't worry. I am well armed. They won't take me alive.

    (He leaves with Dominique.)

    GERARD

    Fatal day.

    ORSOLA

    (preparing the table)

    On the contrary -- happy day.

    GERARD

    What are you doing?

    ORSOLA

    It's four in the afternoon, and you've had nothing all day.

    GERARD

    I'm not hungry -- I won't eat -- I'm suffocated.

    ORSOLA

    Oh go on! People say that every time they feel sad and they always end by eating. Get some strength.

    GERARD

    Yes, I know that what you want me to do requires strength.

    ORSOLA

    Drink this glass of Madeira, first.

    (Gerard drinks while Orsola goes out to prepare the table.)

    GERARD

    I don't know what this woman mixes in my drinks; this isn't wine I've just had -- it's liquid fire.

    (Orsola returns with two plates)

    Why do you bring two places?

    ORSOLA

    Because we are dining tête-à-tête.

    GERARD

    But the children.

    ORSOLA

    Let them be served on the lawn. As they have no liking for me, they will prefer that.

    GERARD

    Who will serve them?

    ORSOLA

    The gardener; I already told him; after which he leaves for Morsang.

    GERARD

    It's five leagues from here to Morsang.

    ORSOLA

    Also -- he won't be back until tomorrow.

    GERARD

    And what's he going to do at Morsang?

    ORSOLA

    An errand.

    GERARD

    For whom?

    ORSOLA

    For me -- can I not give an errand to the gardener?

    GERARD

    Surely -- but then the house will be empty.

    ORSOLA

    (giving him a glass)

    That's what necessary.

    GERARD

    Why this glass?

    ORSOLA

    Didn't you ask me for a drink?

    GERARD

    No.

    ORSOLA

    I thought --

    (She wishes to take the glass back.)

    GERARD

    Give it to me! When once I've had this cursed wine -- and why must the house be empty?

    ORSOLA

    I'll tell you when the moment comes.

    (she lets a plate fall -- it breaks)

    When we are millionaires, we will eat in the money.

    (she picks up the pieces and throws them in a corner)

    And if the plates break at least the pieces will be expensive.

    GERARD

    Millionaires! Never!

    (He rises and intends to go to his room.)

    ORSOLA

    What are you doing? What are you doing? Sit down there.

    (She forces him to sit before a full glass.)

    GERARD

    My throat is dry. My mouth is burning.

    ORSOLA

    Drink then.

    GERARD

    Orsola, why is that having had hardly half a bottle, my head is swimming, and what I see runs with blood.

    ORSOLA

    Really, Gerard, you are not a man.

    GERARD

    No, it's true. A man has his reason, a man has his free will, a man says to himself, "God forbids doing evil" and doesn't do it. Where as I --

    ORSOLA

    Well -- you?

    GERARD

    No, I am a brute, an animal without understanding, a ferocious beast. Is it blood or wine you've given me to drink? I am thirsty.

    ORSOLA

    Drink then.

    (Gerard empties a glass of wine, fills it, and wants to empty a second)

    Enough -- you won't be good for anything.

    GERARD

    Yes, you know quite well that now you can propose what you wish and that I am ready for anything.

    ORSOLA

    Are you sure?

    GERARD

    (holding his head between his hands)

    Oh!

    ORSOLA

    You've figured out what we are going to do, right?

    GERARD

    (rising and calling)

    William! William!

    ORSOLA

    What do you want?

    GERARD

    I see it clearly. I am calling the gardener.

    ORSOLA

    To do what?

    GERARD

    To take the children away.

    ORSOLA

    Come on. I thought it was agreed.

    (aside)

    I was mistaken. He hasn't had enough to drink.

    (aloud)

    Millionaire -- you understand, millionaire!

    GERARD

    O serpent with the face of a woman.

    (He drinks and passes violently to stupidity.)

    (Orsola opens the desk which the money was kept. Then with a scissors, she breaks the lock.)

    ORSOLA

    There -- it's better this way.

    GERARD

    What is better?

    ORSOLA

    You understand. It will be better if it seems Sarranti committed the act.

    GERARD

    What act?

    ORSOLA

    You don't understand.

    GERARD

    No.

    ORSOLA

    Sarranti brought you yesterday to steal from you the sum your notary brought you; yesterday to steal it he forced the secretary, when he was doing it, the children entered by chance and so as not to be denounced by them, he killed them. Do you understand now?

    GERARD

    (drunk)

    Yes, I understand, but he will deny it.

    ORSOLA

    He will return to deny it? Does he dare to return to France where he will be condemned as a conspirator, as a thief, and an assassin.

    GERARD

    No, he wouldn't dare.

    ORSOLA

    Beside, we will be millionaires; and one can do many things with three millions.

    GERARD

    But how will we be millionaires?

    ORSOLA

    Since you take care of the little boy, and I take care of the little girl.

    GERARD

    (recoiling with fear)

    I didn't say that! I didn't say that.

    ORSOLA

    You said it.

    GERARD

    Never! Never! Ah, my poor Victor.

    (Enter Victor and Leonie holding each other by the hand.)

    VICTOR

    You called me, Uncle?

    ORSOLA

    Yes, your uncle wanted to know if the gardener is still here.

    VICTOR

    No, he left, and he has closed the gate to the park.

    (Orsola goes into Gerard's room.)

    GERARD

    (follow her with eyes full of terror)

    Where are you going?

    ORSOLA

    (from the room)

    You are going to find out!

    GERARD

    (looking at the children)

    Oh, if I take the two of them in my arms and if I escape with them.

    (Orsola returns with Gerard's rifle and gives it to him.)

    GERARD

    What is that?

    ORSOLA

    You can see quite well.

    (She puts the rifle into his hands.)

    VICTOR

    Oh -- Uncle, are you going to shoot something?

    ORSOLA

    Yes, we are going to have a lot of company tomorrow, so it's necessary for your uncle to kill a little game.

    VICTOR

    Oh, I am going with you, Uncle, may I go with you?

    (He runs ahead.)

    GERARD

    No -- no.

    ORSOLA

    Well -- decide, coward, you know very well by tomorrow there will be no more time.

    VICTOR

    (outside)

    Come, Uncle.

    ORSOLA

    Do you hear that child calling you? But go with him then since he's the one who wants it.

    (She pushes Gerard out.)

    LEONIE

    (stamping her foot)

    I want to go with my brother, I want to go!

    ORSOLA

    Go to your room, Miss.

    LEONIE

    I will go without you, thanks.

    (She leaves.)

    ORSOLA

    (alone - night has fallen)

    The hour has come. Riches and vengeance at once. They are going to pay for all the humiliations these cursed children have caused me for the past four years -- so long as he doesn't lose heart.

    (looks out the window)

    What's he doing? Getting in the boat with the child. He crossed the lake. Ah, I understand. The noise of the rifle worries him. He prefers -- the coward.

    VICTOR

    (in the garden)

    Oh, Uncle, what are you doing? My good Uncle. I have never done wrong to anybody. My good Uncle, don't murder me.

    LEONIE

    (in her room)

    They are killing my brother! Help! Help!

    ORSOLA

    (rushing into the room)

    You will shut up, wretch!

    (The stage remains empty.)

    VICTOR

    Uncle -- my good uncle! Ah!

    (The furious snarling of the dog who breaks his chains and who comes on stage dragging his chain.)

    LEONIE

    (in her room)

    Help -- help! Bresil! Bresil!

    (The dog hurtles through the door breaking a bottle -- disappearing into the room.)

    ORSOLA

    (in the room)

    Cursed dog.

    (she screams)

    Ah!

    (Gerard appears in the rear, pale, eyes haggard, his rifle in his hands. Silence on all sides.)

    GERARD

    Oh, wretch or infamous creature that I am. Oh, this voice, this prayer - it will pursue me through eternity. My God, I guess I dared pronounce the name of the Lord. And the other, the other who cried inside. No, I cannot remain another minute in this house. I want to flee. I want to leave France. Let us flee! Orsola! Orsola!

    ORSOLA

    (in the room)

    Help! Help! I'm dying.

    (Leonie can be seen escaping through the window.)

    GERARD

    Orsola! It's Orsola who is dying who calls for help! Orsola --

    (he opens the door of the room)

    What his happened then?

    (He goes in and returns with a wounded Orsola.)

    ORSOLA

    (hand to her throat)

    The dog! The dog!

    (She falls dying.)

    GERARD

    Strangled! Justice of heaven! And I, to what am I reserved, if this woman has received such a punishment? And Leonie, where is she? Escaped without doubt. It's a fire in my brain. I am going mad!

    (falls in an armchair)

    But if she has escaped she will speak; she will denounce us.

    (jumping towards Orsola)

    Why did you allow her to flee? Speak! Speak! Dead! She is dead! Some air! Some air!

    (he tears his shirt and tie)

    I am suffocating.

    (falling on his knees, his arms extended toward the window)

    Some air!

    (suddenly his look becomes fixed)

    What do I see down there? The dog! The dog! What's he doing? He's turning around the lake. He's following the same route we took. He's plunging in. He reappears in the water. There he is. What's he dragging after him -- the body! Horror! We are at the day of the last judgment. The abyss surrenders its dead.

    (he grabs his rifle and fires at the dog)

    Dead! Good. Leonie now. I must find Leonie again.

    (He hurries out of the room.)

    (curtain)

    ACT I

    Scene ii

    At Bornier's (in La Halle)

    (Jean Taureau and others. A pierrot sleeping on a table.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (striking the table with a bottle)

    Some wine! Some wine! Wine!

    WAITER

    Here's the wine you asked for.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    I see the wine but I don't see the cards.

    WAITER

    As for the cards, you must be in your mourning, Mr. Jean Taureau, because you know very well no one gives cards at these hours.

    TOUSSAINT

    And the reason?

    WAITER

    Because it is forbidden by the regulations.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    What are your regulations to me?

    WAITER

    To you, nothing, but something to us.

    SAC A PLATRE

    But then if one cannot gamble, what do you want to do with us in your place?

    WAITER

    Fine. No one is forcing you to stay, Mr. Sac a Platre.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Ah, indeed! Do you know you appear to me to have a pretty comic air. Hell's bells! Some cards or with a blow I will demolish the place.

    WAITER

    No one's afraid of you, Jean Taureau though you may be.

    (Enter Petrus, Jean Robert, Ludovic.)

    PETRUS

    Here we are!

    LUDOVIC

    The cabaret appears to you sufficiently sleazy?

    JEAN ROBERT

    I could find it even if I were blind.

    PETRUS

    In that case, let's go in.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Are you sure?

    PETRUS

    Why not?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Because it is always time to stop when youth goes to embark on stupidity.

    LUDOVIC

    A stupidity -- in what?

    JEAN ROBERT

    By God, in that instead of going to supper tranquilly, or to Verys or to the Rock or to the Provincial Brothers, you want to spend the night in an ignoble hole where we will drink from the infusion of logwood in place of wine of Bordeaux, and where we'll eat cat instead of wild rabbit.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Do you hear, Jean Taureau? He said a hole.

    TOUSSAINT

    He said logwood.

    SAC A PLATRE

    He said "some cat."

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Let him say it. He who laughs best, laughs last.

    LUDOVIC

    Do what you please, gentlemen, but me, I declare that I didn't get an invitation to dine at Bordier's this evening. I am here and I sup.

    PETRUS

    As for me, in my capacity as painter, I who have not always had wine from logwood to drink or even a cat to eat, I who frequently have models of both sexes, types of living cadavers that, unlike the dead, have inferior souls, I who have slept in a hole belonging to a bear or the lair of lions, throwing myself with the quadrupeds when I hadn't even three francs to go home to Papa Cadmoor or Miss Rosive, the blond, I am not disgusted, and I agree with Ludovic and I say: I am staying.

    JEAN ROBERT

    My dear Petrus -- you are only half drunk, but you are completely Gascon.

    PETRUS

    Gascon! Right! I am from Saint Lo. If there are Gascons at Saint Lo, there are Normands at Tarbes.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Well, I say to you, Gascon from St. Lo, you boast some faults that you haven't got to hide the qualities which you possess. You act the rake for fear of appearing naive. You pretend to be wicked for fear of blushing to appear good. You've never entered a lion's den or a bear's cave, you've never put foot in a cabaret in La Halle, any more than Ludovic, any more than I, any more than the young people who respect themselves or the workers who toil.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Good! So we don't work, I suppose?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But let them talk.

    PETRUS

    Have you finished your sermon? In that case, so be it.

    (He yawns.)

    TOUSSAINT

    Do you understand a word they are saying?

    SAC A PLATRE

    Not a traitorous word!

    JEAN ROBERT

    (continuing)

    Then you want to sup in a rug. Let us sup, my friend, that at least will have a result; it will disgust you for the rest of your life.

    (striking the table with his switch)

    Boy!

    WAITER

    (from below)

    Coming, sir, coming.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Look, there's a menu, make your choice. We will be like princes here.

    LUDOVIC

    Yes, all we lack is breathable air.

    PETRUS

    Good. Have them open a window.

    (A Polichinelle enters and goes to a sleeping Pierrot.)

    POLICHINELLE

    Hey! Vol-au-Vent!

    PIERROT

    Is it you? And Mr. Jackal?

    POLICHINELLE

    He will be here at two in the morning. That's the time for the rendezvous.

    (Pierrot leaves. Polichinelle sits down. Let's his head fall on the table and appears to sleep.)

    LUDOVIC

    (to Jean Robert)

    Have you seen?

    JEAN ROBERT

    What?

    LUDOVIC

    (pointing with his head)

    There!

    JEAN ROBERT

    Yes.

    LUDOVIC

    It's comic.

    JEAN ROBERT

    No. There are men on the lookout for some thief. We are in what they call a mousetrap -- Boy!

    WAITER

    (entering)

    (looking at Polichinelle)

    Huh, I thought it was a Pierrot but it's a Polichinelle. I was mistaken. What do you want, gentlemen?

    JEAN ROBERT

    (to Petrus)

    Have you finished with the menu?

    PETRUS

    Yes -- six dozen oysters, six muttonchops, and an omelette.

    WAITER

    And some wine, gentlemen -- what kind?

    PETRUS

    Three Chablis -- the best -- with seltzer water if there is some in this establishment.

    WAITER

    And some fine stuff, rest assured, you will be served.

    PETRUS

    (retaining the waiter)

    One moment, young man! Whose voice was that I heard, accompanied by a drum that I noticed on the first floor?

    WAITER

    It's the little gypsy! Rose Noel, pupil of Brocanti.

    PETRUS

    What a coincidence, a gypsy! And here I was, dreaming of a picture of Mignon! Is she young, your gypsy?

    WAITER

    Fifteen.

    PETRUS

    Pretty?

    VICTOR

    I think so -- but you know --

    PETRUS

    What?

    WAITER

    She's forbidden fruit.

    PETRUS

    So much the better. You will bring her for dessert. Here's a crown for her.

    WAITER

    Oh well, yes, for her -- you mean for Brocanti?

    PETRUS

    That's not my concern. I am giving a crown. No matter in whose pocket it falls.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Six dozen oysters, six mutton chops, an omelette, three chablis -- the best, seltzer water if there is any -- a gypsy for dessert, even if there isn't any. Nice. We have an affair with these fops.

    TOUSSAINT

    With these sons of the wealthy.

    PETRUS

    (going to the window and opening it)

    And now let us get rid of the carbonic acid! Yuck!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Excuse me! These gentlemen are opening the window or so it appears.

    PETRUS

    As you see my dear friend.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    First of all, I am not your friend, since I don't know you from Adam or Eve. Close the window!

    PETRUS

    What's your name, sir, if you please?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    I am called John Bull -- since I can kill a bull with a single blow of my hand.

    PETRUS

    This last detail is useless and I don't want to know your name. Now that I know it, Mr. Jean Taureau, or John Bull, here is my friend Dr. Ludovic, a distinguished physician, who is going to explain to you briefly what the air must consist of to be breathable.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    What do I care what the air consists of?

    LUDOVIC

    He's saying, Mr. Jean Taureau, that for the atmosphere not to be noxious to the lungs of an honest man, it must be composed of seventy-nine parts nitrogen and twenty-one parts oxygen, and of a certain quantity of dissolved water -- the quantity varies according to the climate and temperature -- for example in Senegal.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Say, Jean Taureau, I think he's talking Latin.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Good! I am going to make him speak French, I am.

    SAC A PLATRE

    And if he doesn't understand?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (showing two fists)

    They kill.

    (he takes three steps forward)

    Go -- close the window! And be quick about it.

    PETRUS

    (turning his back to the window and crossing his arms)

    Perhaps that's your opinion, Mr. Jean Taureau, but it isn't mine.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    What! It isn't yours? You mean you have an opinion? You?

    PETRUS

    And why cannot a man have an opinion when a brute pretends to have one?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Say my friends, Do you think this unlucky fop is calling me a brute?

    SAC A PLATRE

    Damn! That's what I think.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Well -- what's to be done?

    TOUSSAINT

    He must be made to close the window first -- because it's your opinion -- and then kill him.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Fine! Now you're talking.

    (to the young men)

    Thunder! Get going. Close the window.

    PETRUS

    There's neither thunder nor lightning. The window is staying open.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Let's see, Petrus.

    (to Jean Taureau)

    Sir, we have just come from outside, and coming in this room we have been suffocated by the change in the temperature. Permit us to leave the window open for a short while to refresh the air -- then we will close it.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    You opened it without my permission.

    PETRUS

    Well?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    You must ask permission. Perhaps you would have received it.

    PETRUS

    That's it, enough. I opened the window because it pleases me, and it will remain open so long as it pleases me.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Shut up, Petrus.

    PETRUS

    (half laughing, half threatening)

    No, I won't shut up. If the gentleman's called Jean Taureau, I am called Pierre Herbel de Courtney -- and I am not accustomed to being led around by clowns like this.

    (At the word "clowns" five men rise and take a step forward.)

    JEAN ROBERT

    Before fighting, let's see if we can have an explanation; after that it will be too late.

    (rising in his turn)

    What do these gentlemen want?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    He's still insulting us; he calls us gentlemen!

    SAC A PLATRE

    We are not gentlemen, understand?

    PETRUS

    You are right, you are not gentlemen, you are rednecks.

    SAC A PLATRE

    They call us rednecks. Oh, there it is. They give us out as rednecks.

    TOUSSAINT

    (separating from the others)

    But let me pass --

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Shut up -- all stay where you are -- this is my concern.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Why's it your concern more than mine?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    First of all -- because there's no need for five against three when one suffices. To your seat Sac a Platre. To your seat Croc en Jambes.

    (the take seats)

    That's better. And now my little loves -- let's sing that song again -- first verse. Do you intend to close the window?

    THE THREE YOUNG MEN

    No!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (exasperated)

    Then you want me to pulverize you?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Try!

    PETRUS

    Get out of the way, Jean Robert. This is my affair.

    JEAN ROBERT

    (pushing him away softly)

    Keep the others in respect, you and Ludovic -- I will take care of this one.

    (He puts his finger on Jean Taureau's breast.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (frowning)

    I believe you are speaking of me, my prince?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Of you yourself!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    And to what do I owe the honor of being chosen by you?

    JEAN ROBERT

    I might say that being the most insolent you deserve the rudest lesson -- but that's not the motive.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    I am waiting for the motive.

    JEAN ROBERT

    It's that having the same first name, we are naturally alike. You are called Jean Taureau, and I am called Jean Robert.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    It's true, I am called Jean Taureau, but you are called Jean --

    JEAN ROBERT

    You lie!

    (Hits him in the eye. Jean Taureau takes three steps back and falls on a table which he breaks in two. Petrus trips up Sac a Platre and rolls him near Jean Taureau. Ludovic whacks Toussaint, who falls in the lap of Croc en Jambes whose hands are at his side.)

    POLICHINELLE

    (raising his head)

    Bam!

    (He falls back to sleep.)

    JEAN ROBERT

    Round one.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (heavily)

    That's what happens when you are taken unawares; a child will beat you.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Well, this time, take your time, Jean Taureau, for my intention is to break you in pieces like the table.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    We are going to see.

    (fist raised, he stalks towards Jean Robert, who takes the carpenter's blow on his arm and with a half turn, kicks Jean Taureau in the chest who falls in the chimney)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Oof!

    POLICHINELLE

    (rising)

    Bam!

    (He goes back to sleep.)

    TOUSSAINT and SAC A PLATRE

    To knives. To knives.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Well, since they are forcing us -- to knives!

    JEAN ROBERT

    Then to barricades.

    (The waiter comes in carrying the oysters.)

    WAITER

    Wow! It seems it is not the time.

    (puts the oysters on the table)

    Help! Help!

    (He leaves running.)

    MR. JACKAL

    (appearing at the door dressed like a Turk)

    Oh, that's all. They said someone was being strangled here.

    (to Polichinelle)

    Give me your place and leave quickly.

    POLICHINELLE

    Why, is that you, Mr. Jackal?

    MR. JACKAL

    Hush!

    POLICHINELLE

    (giving up his seat)

    Bam!

    (He leaves.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (and his companions)

    To knives! To knives!

    MASKS

    Bravo! We are going to laugh!

    (The young men take their tables and form a barricade. Petrus tears a stick from the curtain. Ludovic brings the oysters into the fortifications.)

    LUDOVIC

    Some snacks and some projectiles.

    (He throws the shells at his adversary.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Let me pulverize the guy in black!

    (He pulls his carpenter's compass from his pocket.)

    JEAN ROBERT

    (jumping over the table, switch in his hand)

    But you still haven't had enough.

    MASKS

    Bravo! Bravo! The guy in black!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    No, I won't have enough until I've put six inches of my compass in your torso.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Meaning, not being the strongest you are the most treacherous! Since you cannot win, you intend to murder.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Thunder! I intend to avenge myself.

    JEAN ROBERT

    (his little switch in his hand)

    Take care, Jean Taureau, for on my honor you have never before run such a danger as the one you are running now.

    (to the crowd)

    My friends, you are men -- make this fellow listen to reason, you can see I am calm and he is out of his head.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (escaping from those who wish to calm him down)

    Oh! I have never run such a danger as I now run? Do you intend to protect yourself with that switch against my compass?

    JEAN ROBERT

    You are deceived, John Bull! For my cane is not a cane, it's a viper and if you doubt it, there -- see it's fangs.

    (he pulls a short sword from his cane. He puts himself on guard)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Ah! You have a weapon. I didn't expect that!

    (He gets ready to jump on Jean Robert where one hears a shivering in the crowd. A young man, dressed as an errand-boy, but with every elegance of costume enters, breaks through the crowd and seizes the compass from Jean Taureau.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (turning)

    Oh, -- traitor!

    (stupefied, recognizing the young man)

    Mr. Salvator!

    CROWD

    Mr. Salvator!

    (The Turk raises his head, opens an eye, then immediately goes back to sleep.)

    PETRUS

    There's a fellow whose name augurs well. Let's see if he will do honor to his name.

    SALVATOR

    (to Jean Taureau)

    You are always drunk and quarrelsome?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Mr. Salvator, let me explain.

    SALVATOR

    You are wrong.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But let me tell you --

    SALVATOR

    You are wrong.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But still --

    SALVATOR

    You are wrong, I tell you.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But how do you know that since you weren't here?

    SALVATOR

    Do I need to be here to understand how things happen?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    It seems to me -- still --

    SALVATOR

    (pointing to the three young men)

    Look!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Well, I'm looking, so?

    SALVATOR

    What do you see?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    I see three fops to whom I promised to give a thrashing and who are going to get it, one day or another.

    SALVATOR

    You see three young men, elegant, well-dressed, who are wrong to come to a dive; but it's no reason to quarrel with them.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Me -- try to pick a quarrel? I'm incapable of it, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Look! You are not going to say that they are the ones who provoked you, you and your companions!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But still, you can see very plainly that they were in a state of defending themselves.

    SALVATOR

    Because right was on their side. You think strength is everything, you who changed your name from Barthelmy Lelong to Jean Taureau. You have just had proof to the contrary, God let the lesson profit you.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    But since I tell you that it was they who called us clowns, rednecks, brutes --

    SALVATOR

    And why did they call you that?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    They said we were drunk.

    SALVATOR

    I ask you why they said that.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    For nothing, that's why.

    SALVATOR

    Come on?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Because I wanted to make them close the window --

    SALVATOR

    And you wanted them to close the window because?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Because -- because I don't like drafts.

    SALVATOR

    Because you were drunk, as these gentlemen told you, because you wanted to start a dispute with someone and you seized the occasion by its hair, because you had some quarrel at home and you wished to make these innocents pay for the caprices and infidelities of Miss Fifine.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Be quiet, Mr. Salvator! Don't pronounce that name. The wretch; she's killing me.

    SALVATOR

    Ah! You see plainly that I have touched you where it hurts. These gentlemen did well to open the window, the air in here is infected, and as there isn't enough with two open windows, you are going to open the second this instant.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Me, go open a window when I asked someone to close the other -- me, Barthelmy Lelong -- my father's son.

    SALVATOR

    Yes, you Barthelmy Lelong, drunk and brawler, who dishonors the name of your father, and who has done well to take a second name! I tell you, you are going to open this window as punishment for having insulted these gentlemen.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Thunder could explode around my head and I would not obey you.

    SALVATOR

    Then, I don't know you under any name, you are only a worker -- huge and insulting, and I will kick you out from wherever I happen to be. Leave! Well -- did you hear me?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Yes, but I am not going to go.

    SALVATOR

    In the name of your father, whose name you invoked just now, I order you to go away.

    (He walks toward him.)

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Mr. Salvator, Mr. Salvator -- don't come near me!

    SALVATOR

    (stamping his foot)

    You are going to leave!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    You know very well that you can make me do whatever you wish and that I would cut my hand off rather than strike you. So -- you see --

    (recoiling, leaving)

    I leave --

    (by the stairs)

    Oh -- but if I ever meet them, they will pay me.

    TOUSSAINT

    Mr. Salvator, your very humble servant.

    (He leaves.)

    SAC A PLATRE

    Mr. Salvator, I have indeed the honor -- you have orders to give me?

    SALVATOR

    (grabbing his arms)

    Indeed! You are the least drunk of all.

    SAC A PLATRE

    You think so?

    SALVATOR

    You are going to stay at the door and if you see a man dressed like a magician who looks like he's going to enter the cabaret, you will say to him, "Mount Saint John." He will know what that means and go. If he needs you, you will put yourself at his orders.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Yes, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    To prove that you have my commission, you will imitate the rooster's crowing which you imitate so well, when you go to place a flag on a house.

    SAC A PLATRE

    As you say, Mr. Salvator. Au revoir, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Au revoir -- and don't let me hear it said that you are mixed up in such a mess. Go!

    (During this exchange, the Turk has raised his head but was unable to hear. At the moment Salvator returns, he lets his head fall on the table.)

    JEAN ROBERT

    (extending his hand to Salvator)

    Thanks, sir, for delivering us from that drunken fiend.

    SALVATOR

    It was nothing to speak of, only if you will allow me to give you some advice from a friend? Never put your foot in here again, Mr. Jean Robert.

    JEAN ROBERT

    You know me, Mr. Salvator?

    SALVATOR

    As everyone does. Aren't you one of our celebrated poets?

    (turning to the crowd)

    And now folks, you should be content. You've seen something for your money, right? Do me then the courtesy of moving on. There's not air enough in here for four men to breathe. Which means my good friends that I wish to be alone with these gentlemen.

    (the crowd leaves shouting -- long live Mr. Salvator, raising their caps)

    (Salvator to the Turk, who is sleeping on the table)

    And you too -- sir, like the others.

    (The Turk replies with loud snores.)

    JEAN ROBERT

    Oh, my word, Mr. Salvator, that one there's sleeping so majestically one hasn't the conscience to wake him.

    SALVATOR

    (to himself)

    Yes, perhaps it would be better for him to remain here than others. So, he doesn't irritate you, Mr. Jean Robert?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Not the least in the world.

    SALVATOR

    Nor you, Mr. Petrus?

    PETRUS

    Ah! Ah! You know me, too?

    SALVATOR

    Nor you, Mr. Ludovic? But what are you looking at?

    LUDOVIC

    I am looking to see if you haven't one leg shorter than the other.

    SALVATOR

    Yes, because, in that case, you would greet me by the name of Asmodeus. Tell me, why is it so astonishing that I know a painter who last year had a very nice exhibition, and a young doctor who three months ago passed his examinations with flying colors?

    JEAN ROBERT

    But you, sir, who know everyone and who appear to be known by everyone, would it be indiscreet to ask you who you are?

    SALVATOR

    Me, sir? You have heard my name: Salvator. As for my position, I am an errand-boy in the corner of the Rue aux Fers. If you need a sure person to carry your letter and a solid fellow to carry your trunks, I ask your business.

    LUDOVIC

    What, sir, this costume is not a disguise?

    SALVATOR

    Not the least in the world. Rather ask the waiter who brought your supper?

    WAITER

    (with the supper looking at the Turk)

    What? I thought it was a polichinelle -- it's a Turk. I am always making mistakes.

    SALVATOR

    What's wrong with you, and why don't you serve these gentlemen?

    WAITER

    Here, gentlemen, here it is. The cutlets are a bit dry and the omelette is a little thick but it's not the fault of the cook.

    PETRUS

    Mr. Salvator, would you do us the honor of supping with us?

    SALVATOR

    Thanks, gentlemen, but I am going to ask your permission to retire.

    PETRUS

    No manners!

    SALVATOR

    I am very cognizant of the honor that you are doing me, gentlemen, but it's impossible to accept.

    (the young people bow -- Salvator, low to the waiter)

    You don't have some corner from which I won't lose sight of the Turk?

    WAITER

    On the landing to the right. There's a door which gives on a room. It is empty, you can see from there everything you wish to see.

    SALVATOR

    That's fine.

    (to the young men)

    Gentlemen!

    MR. JACKAL

    (aside, raising his head)

    He's pretending to go, but he's not going. Good! He's in the closet. The curtain has risen.

    (He snores.)

    WAITER

    Do you gentlemen still wish to hear the gypsy sing? According to your orders, gentlemen, she's waiting below with her honorable mother La Brocanti, the most celebrated card-reader of the Faubourg St. Germain, who will do big or small readings for you, and her young brother, Babolin, boy of high hopes, who executes the three postures of body, swallows swords and eats flaming torches.

    PETRUS

    Yes, it's true, and I was forgotting my painting of Mignon! Indeed I should say we are still asking for her; and more than ever.

    WAITER

    (calling)

    Eh! La Brocanti, they are asking for you here.

    LA BROCANTI

    (from below)

    We'll be there.

    (Babolin enters with a series of capers and flips.)

    BABOLIN

    Hop!

    ROSE NOEL

    (entering after him)

    Oh! I thought Mr. Salvator was here.

    PETRUS

    Oh, the charming child! But look, gentlemen!

    JEAN ROBERT

    (at the sight of La Brocanti)

    Oh -- the horrid witch -- don't look gentlemen.

    LA BROCANTI

    What do these gentlemen want? Do they want to know the past, the present, or the future? They have inheritances awaiting them. Will they have a good marriage? Will they have a lot of children? Three francs for the big readings and thirty sous for the small ones.

    LUDOVIC

    Thanks, old lady. We have forgotten the past, we thank God for the present and consequently we are in no hurry about the future. We love our relatives to the twenty-fifth degree and consequently, in no hurry to inherit from them. No Brocanti, my love, what we wish to see and hear is this charming child.

    LA BROCANTI

    What do you want her to sing? The complaint of Montebelolo. Brave Frenchmen, spill your tears.

    LUDOVIC

    Thanks, I have cradles with that.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Can we speak to Rose Noel?

    LA BROCANTI

    Without doubt.

    PETRUS

    Disturb her the least possible. I am devouring her. She's my Mignon.

    BABOLIN

    Do you hear, Rose Noel? -- he's eating you!

    (looking at Petrus' notebook)

    Ah, that's what she is all the same!

    JEAN ROBERT

    Listen, my pretty child.

    ROSE NOEL

    I am listening, sir.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Do you not know some gypsy song -- something original and poetic?

    ROSE NOEL

    In German, English or French?

    JEAN ROBERT

    What, my child, you speak three languages?

    LA BROCANTI

    God be thanked! Nothing was neglected for her education.

    BABOLIN

    Oh -- what a mother -- how expensive that was for her, her eduction, it's like mine. Say, Rose Noel, La Brocanti is speaking of the education that she gave us, if that doesn't make you shhivverr!

    ROSE NOEL

    Would you like to hear Marguerite's song from Faust?

    BABOLIN

    Or the Queen Mab from Shakespeare?

    JEAN ROBERT

    You know the Queen Mab?

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes -- Mr. Salvator translated it for me.

    JEAN ROBERT

    What -- he's a poet, our errand-boy?

    ROSE NOEL

    He does what he pleases.

    LUDOVIC

    Is this some disguised Prince?

    PETRUS

    Imbecile! He cannot compose verse.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Queen Mab. I wouldn't mind hearing verse by the errand-boy.

    BABOLIN

    Go for it.

    LUDOVIC

    Queen Mab! Queen Mab!

    JEAN ROBERT

    What is this Queen Mab!

    ROSE NOEL

    (recites)

    She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
    In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
    On the fore-finger of an alderman,
    Drawn with a team of little atomies
    Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
    Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
    The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
    The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
    The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
    Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
    Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
    Not so big as a round little worm
    Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
    Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
    Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
    Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
    And in this state she gallops night by night
    Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
    O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
    O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
    O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
    Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
    Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
    Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
    And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
    And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
    Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
    Then dreams, he of another benefice:
    Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
    And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
    Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
    Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
    Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
    And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
    And sleeps again.

    ALL

    Bravo! Bravo!

    JEAN ROBERT

    But this Mr. Salvator is a poet, gentlemen.

    (takes a saucer for a collection, it produces three coins)

    Here, my child, this is for you.

    BABOLIN

    Three gold coins! Say, mom, it's better than the big reading.

    PETRUS

    Where do you live, Brocanti?

    LA BROCANTI

    Rue Triperti #8, my good sir.

    PETRUS

    That's fine. That's all I wanted to know.

    LUDOVIC

    What will you do at Brocanti's?

    PETRUS

    I will play the grand game.

    LUDOVIC

    And now, Brocanti, I have some advice to give you, as a doctor, which is to go home and let this child sleep -- and take care of her -- she isn't in good health, your child!

    BABOLIN

    Do you hear, Brocanti? This the same story which Mr. Salvator repeats to you ceaselessly.

    LA BROCANTI

    Fine, we'll watch over her. Come, little loves.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Waiter, the bill.

    (Rose Noel, Babolin, and La Brocanti leave.)

    ROSE NOEL

    (to waiter as she leaves)

    You haven't seen Mr. Salvator?

    WAITER

    No, Miss Rose Noel -- no.

    JEAN ROBERT

    The bill.

    WAITER

    Here.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Thirty-five francs for six dozen oysters, six cutlets, an omelette and three bottles of Chablis?

    WAITER

    And -- a broken table and two broken chairs.

    JEAN ROBERT

    That's fair. Here's forty. The rest is a tip.

    PETRUS

    Well, are you happy with your night, Jean Robert?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Admit there was a moment where you would have preferred to be at the Rock than here?

    LUDOVIC

    My word, I confess it, and you Petrus?

    PETRUS

    No, there I would not have met Rose Noel, and thanks to Rose Noel, my picture Mignon is finished.

    JEAN ROBERT

    You are going to to put her in it?

    PETRUS

    As of tomorrow.

    LUDOVIC

    And the portrait of Miss de Valgeneuse?

    PETRUS

    The two things go together. One is work, the other is art.

    JEAN ROBERT

    And when can we see the rough draft?

    PETRUS

    In three days, at two in the afternoon at my workshop, Rue de l'Ouest.

    LUDOVIC

    (pointing to the Turk)

    Should we do this brave man the service of waking him before we leave?

    JEAN ROBERT

    For what? He dreams he's in Mohammed's paradise. Let him dream -- the hours are rare.

    (They hear the rooster crowing.)

    PETRUS

    My goodness -- it's the cock singing.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Which proves it is two in the morning.

    (They leave.)

    SALVATOR

    (enters and goes to Mr. Jackal)

    Now, Mr. Jackal, you can wake up, take off your false nose, put on your glasses and have some tobacco. The one who was waiting for you will no longer do so.

    (Mr. Jackal raises his head, puts on his spectacles, takes out some tobacco and offers some to Salvator.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Do you use this, Mr. Salvator?

    SALVATOR

    Never.

    MR. JACKAL

    Let's go. I'm done up.

    SALVATOR

    Console yourself -- only strong men can admit things like that.

    MR. JACKAL

    Because they hope to take their revenge.

    SALVATOR

    (ready to leave)

    After you -- honor to those who deserve it.

    (curtain)

    Scene iii

    Petrus' workshop. Very elegant with trophies, armor, pictures, etc.

    (Suzanne poses on a couch. Loredan is amusing himself with a flower. Jean Robert is seated writing some verse in a notebook.)

    PETRUS

    It is with the most profound regret, Miss, that I must tell you our sitting will be curtailed today.

    SUZANNE

    And why will our sitting be curtailed today -- if you please, Master Van Dyck?

    PETRUS

    Because I was waiting for you yesterday and not today.

    SUZANNE

    What do you want? Yesterday I couldn't come. Ah, you think that the pensioners of Madame Adrienne Desmarest are free like the students of Mr. Gros or Mr. Horace Vernet? No, know this, what fame ought to have taught you: it was Madame's party yesterday like they said at Vanvres, and we were ordered to be gay under pain of punishment. They dined in families with three extras -- cabbage in the soup, parsley around the beef, and eggs in the salad. They drank her health with some wine d'Argenteuil, and then for dessert, she was taken on foot to stroll with Diogenes' lantern -- with permission to pick the daisies but forbidden to strip the leaves from them to tell fortunes. We were very amused -- go!

    PETRUS

    You would be much more amused here?

    SUZANNE

    Indeed, I think so. First of all, I find you charming.

    PETRUS

    (to Loredan)

    You hear, sir. Your sister has made me a declaration.

    LOREDAN

    Let her do it and don't believe a word she says; Suzanne is the greatest coquette I know.

    SUZANNE

    But at least wait until I tell you why I find you charming.

    PETRUS

    Oh -- there's a reason.

    SUZANNE

    Right! You think it's because you call yourself Pierre de Courtney; you think it's because your uncle the Marquis de Herbel lets you have fifty thousand pounds; you think it's because you are dressed by the best tailor in Paris -- that I find you charming? No -- it's because you let me stay still while I'm posing, it's because your friend, Mr. Ludovic gives me powder for my teeth and rouge for my lips. It's even because Mr. Jean Robert is of an agreeable conversation, when he isn't composing verse -- Mr. Jean Robert!

    JEAN ROBERT

    Miss?

    SUZANNE

    For whom, please, are you composing verse?

    JEAN ROBERT

    For a gypsy girl, miss.

    SUZANNE

    What! you know a gypsy girl?

    JEAN ROBERT

    A dramatic author has to know everybody.

    SUZANNE

    My dear brother, Loredan, do me the favor of reading over Mr. Jean Robert's shoulder the verse he's composing, and if they can be repeated to a girl like me, tell them to me.

    PETRUS

    Would you be good enough to turn a little more to the right, Miss? I want to see your left eye.

    SUZANNE

    Don't forget my wink; it's the best thing I've got in my face.

    PETRUS

    You make a good bargain with the rest!

    LOREDAN

    Mr. Jean Robert's verses are charming.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Only you know they are not mine.

    SUZANNE

    And whose are they?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Goethe's. Do you know the novel, "Wilhelm Meister"?

    SUZANNE

    A young woman named Miss de Valgeneuse and who is Madame Desmarest's pension, does not read novels, sir, and is unfamiliar with "Wilhelm Meister." By chance, are you translating the song of Mignon?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Exactly. But if you don't know the novel how do you know the song?

    SUZANNE

    Who doesn't know the song "Kennst du das Land?" Read your translation, Mr. Jean Robert, so I can see if it is exact.

    JEAN ROBERT

    I would like nothing better, but the last four verses are not finished.

    SUZANNE

    Finish your last four verses and during that time, Mr. Petrus will explain to me why he cannot accord me a full sitting today.

    PETRUS

    Because I am waiting for this same gypsy for whom Jean Robert is writing verses.

    SUZANNE

    A true gypsy?

    PETRUS

    Oh, as to that, there's no way to be sure, is there?

    SUZANNE

    It seems there's a novel here; and ought one to take an interest in it?

    PETRUS

    For us, until today, the story or rather, what we know if it, is very simple.

    SUZANNE

    May I hear it?

    PETRUS

    Of course.

    SUZANNE

    Speak, I am listening. What a misfortune that Mr. Jean Robert hasn't finished his song. He would have made this simple story into a very complicated drama.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Help me to rhyme "beloved," Petrus, I am stupid today.

    SUZANNE

    "Charmed."

    JEAN ROBERT

    Thanks, Miss.

    PETRUS

    You see, you must be satisfied with my narrative.

    SUZANNE

    Did you notice that if King Louis XIV failed to wait, I, I am waiting.

    PETRUS

    Imagine then that Tuesday in the midst of the Ball at the Opera, the idea came to us -- to Ludovic, Jean Robert and myself -- the stupid idea of having supper in a cabaret at la Halle.

    SUZANNE

    What are you saying?

    PETRUS

    In a cabaret.

    SUZANNE

    In la Halle?

    PETRUS

    In la Halle.

    SUZANNE

    I compliment you on that.

    LOREDAN

    It was very well done in the time of the Regency.

    SUZANNE

    Yes, but in the year 1827 under His Majesty Charles X?

    LOREDAN

    I wish I had known; I'd have gone with you.

    SUZANNE

    Fie! And in this cabaret?

    PETRUS

    From the opinion that you are manifesting, I don't know if I should continue.

    SUZANNE

    Keep talking! This interests me a great deal. Only, I find there are delays in your story.

    PETRUS

    I am hastening to the denouement. In this cabaret we met a ravishing little gypsy.

    SUZANNE

    Gypsies are always ravishing to painters. It's only women of the world who are ugly.

    PETRUS

    You cannot say that of me, Miss, since I've tried to paint your portrait. I cannot complain of anything except that you are too pretty!

    SUZANNE

    Should I get up and curtsy to you?

    PETRUS

    One doesn't curtsy except to liars.

    SUZANNE

    Well, you met a ravishing little gypsy?

    PETRUS

    Who sang, who dances, who recited poetry -- the true type of Mignon.

    SUZANNE

    And when she turned her head toward you, you decided to do a painting?

    PETRUS

    Right-o!

    SUZANNE

    And she's the one who's coming today?

    PETRUS

    It's she.

    SUZANNE

    So that it's simply this little vagabond who's shortening my sitting?

    PETRUS

    The poor child will earn a crown, more perhaps than she could earn in a month.

    SUZANNE

    And she's coming all alone like that, to find her money?

    PETRUS

    Not at all, on the contrary! She's tied to the skirts of her mother, a horrible witch named la Brocanti, who reads cards -- not to mention her brother, who's nourishing the ambition to become a clown.

    SUZANNE

    Well, while you are painting the daughter, I will have my fortune told by the mother.

    LOREDAN

    That's an idea!

    PETRUS

    Well, but what will Madame Desmarest say?

    SUZANNE

    She's not here -- I am under the protection of my brother.

    LOREDAN

    And I permit the fortune telling.

    (A knock on the door.)

    SUZANNE

    Is that your gypsy?

    PETRUS

    I don't believe so. That's Ludovic's knock. Can he come in?

    SUZANNE

    I know him well. Enter!

    LOREDAN

    (entering and going to Suzanne)

    Miss, although I never hoped to meet you here, I am going to prove that I executed your orders. Here's the powder for your teeth and the rouge for your lips.

    SUZANNE

    Mr. Ludovic, I promise to be your client as soon as I am better.

    LOREDAN

    Have you fallen ill?

    SUZANNE

    The conventions require that I go to an old doctor of seventy, who will kill me. The same conventions don't permit a doctor of twenty-five to treat a sick girl of nineteen.

    LUDOVIC

    Fine! You must outrage the conventions and get better!

    (to Petrus)

    My dear Petrus, I have just seen a long way off and I just heard a carriage stop at your door, which seemed to me to have the honor of conveying Miss Rose Noel and her respectable family.

    SUZANNE

    She's called Rose Noel?

    PETRUS

    Yes, don't you find the name pretty?

    SUZANNE

    Indeed.

    PETRUS

    It is indeed them. I hear them coming up. Excuse me, Miss.

    SUZANNE

    I hope you aren't going to deprive us of this ravishing person?

    PETRUS

    On the contrary, I am going to put her in a costume of my choice which is waiting in a neighboring room -- and I am going to present her to you in all her splendor.

    (Petrus goes out.)

    SUZANNE

    Well, are those verses ready, Mr. Jean Robert?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Alas, yes, miss.

    SUZANNE

    Why "alas"?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Because they are not good.

    LOREDAN

    Shut up! They are charming.

    LUDOVIC

    Which of these two to believe?

    SUZANNE

    Give them here. I promise you a judgment whose impartiality will rival that of Solomon.

    LUDOVIC

    Let us hear.

    JEAN ROBERT

    You know -- it's Mignon's song.

    SUZANNE

    We know.

    (reading)

    Do you know the land where the orange blossoms bloom,
    Where the orange ripens under its green leaves
    Where the days are burning and the nights are tepid,
    Where Spring reigns, and exiles Winter?
    This sweet land where the solitary myrtle thrives
    Where the laurel grows in a perfumed air.
    Tell me, do you know where it is? No? Know, well it's the earth
    That I want to return to with you, beloved!

    Do you know the house where my eye opens
    Where those gods of granite who terrify me,
    As they see me return, with their stony lips
    Murmuring: "Child, what have they done to you.

    Each night, like a beacon, in my dream shining
    It's pane which ignites the enflamed sleeper.
    Tell me, do you know that house ? It's the one
    Where I would have wanted to live with you, beloved!

    (Rose Noel in Mignon's costume enters by the side door, pushed by Petrus then stops without Suzanne seeing her. Babolin and La Brocanti enter as well.)

    (Suzanne continues to recite)

    Do you know the mountain where the avalanche glitters
    Where the mule travels along a misty footpath
    Where an old dragon crouches with its brood,
    Where the foaming torrent leaps on the rocks?
    That mountain must cross it in the clouds,
    It's from its summit that the charmed gaze
    Discovers on the horizon the familiar land
    Where I want to die with you, beloved.

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh! It's Mignon. It's Mignon's song. Oh -- Miss, for the love of God, give it to me -- I have heard it sung in German, when I was little and I've never been able to find it since.

    (Suzanne gives it to her.)

    PETRUS

    Now, my sweet Rose Noel, will you come pose as Mignon?

    SUZANNE

    For Mignon. I want to.

    (Petrus puts her in an agreeable position.)

    BABOLIN

    Ah, I wish they'd paint my picture, too.

    LA BROCANTI

    Mr. Babolin, the society in which we find ourselves is not that in which we are accustomed to travel, so you are going to do me the pleasure of waiting for me outside.

    BABOLIN

    But if Rose Noel can stay in your society, why can't I?

    LA BROCANTI

    Because Rose Noel is an artist.

    BABOLIN

    I am not an artist. Well, that's new!

    (He leaves, grumbling)

    LOREDAN

    (to his sister)

    Do you know this child is truly charming?

    SUZANNE

    You're not going to become amorous, too?

    LOREDAN

    Why not?

    SUZANNE

    Say, Madame Brocanti! That's your name isn't it?

    LA BROCANTI

    To serve you, my pretty miss.

    SUZANNE

    They assure me you tell fortunes.

    LA BROCANTI

    That's my business.

    SUZANNE

    And in what manner do you do it?

    LA BROCANTI

    In every way: with cards, with coffee stains; in your hand -- and infallibly. Mrs. Lenormand was my aunt, you know who predicted to Madame de Beauharnais.

    LOREDAN

    That she would marry Bonaparte and become Empress?

    PETRUS

    (satisfied with Rose Noel's pose)

    She's charming like that, isn't she Jean Robert?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Charming!

    SUZANNE

    (drawing off her glove)

    Here's my hand, good woman.

    LUDOVIC

    (to Suzanne)

    May we listen?

    SUZANNE

    Yes, for those who, like me, want to waste their time.

    LA BROCANTI

    What do you want to know; the past, the present, or the future?

    LUDOVIC

    You see, you have choices.

    SUZANNE

    What do you advise me?

    LUDOVIC

    The future. At your age you don't have a past.

    SUZANNE

    That's what you think! I have one and I wish to be told about it. Let's hear about my past.

    LA BROCANTI

    Here -- aristocratic hand, long, fine, without connection to the phalanges, straight nails, hand of a duchess; idle but prodigious hand.

    SUZANNE

    Ought I to take all that as so many compliments?

    LA BROCANTI

    I though you asked for the truth?

    SUZANNE

    Continue.

    LA BROCANTI

    You are rich! Very rich.

    SUZANNE

    What news! You saw my coachman and voiture at the door.

    LA BROCANTI

    Although rich, you are ambitious for fortune, although noble, you are ambitious of honors.

    SUZANNE

    Eh -- well, that is true enough.

    LUDOVIC

    You admit ambition.

    SUZANNE

    Oh -- I am very frank.

    LA BROCANTI

    You have, in the last eighteen months lost a close relative.

    SUZANNE

    That's true enough.

    (pointing to her brother)

    Then I suppose I'll marry this gentleman?

    LA BROCANTI

    (to Loredan)

    Give me your hand, if you please, young man.

    (she takes a magnifying glass from her pocket and looks at his hand with it)

    Similar hand -- family line. You try to deceive me, Miss. This gentlemen is not your husband. He is near relative -- probably your brother.

    LOREDAN

    What do you say to that Suzanne?

    LUDOVIC

    This is becoming very interesting, it seems to me.

    SUZANNE

    For that reason, I give you your liberty, gentlemen.

    LUDOVIC

    You chase us --

    SUZANNE

    Just a bit farther off.

    (Ludovic bows and separates himself.)

    LOREDAN

    By chance, is this La Brocanti a real witch?

    LA BROCANTI

    Must I say all that I see in your hand?

    SUZANNE

    All.

    LA BROCANTI

    But suppose you get angry?

    SUZANNE

    I won't get angry.

    LA BROCANTI

    I told you that, although rich, you were ambitious of fortune, that, although noble you were ambitious of honors, and I am going to add although young and pretty, you have never loved, and probably --

    SUZANNE

    Probably?

    LA BROCANTI

    You will never love.

    SUZANNE

    Where do you see that?

    LA BROCANTI

    The line of the heart is barely indicated -- and that of the head cuts the line in two.

    LOREDAN

    (laughing)

    Go on, go on, Mother. You are in the right.

    SUZANNE

    (to Loredan)

    Wait.

    (Brocanti)

    But suppose I have never loved because I've never been loved.

    LA BROCANTI

    You have been loved -- and a lot. You have been loved too much!

    SUZANNE

    Is anyone ever loved too much?

    LA BROCANTI

    Do you want to turn to the present?

    LOREDAN

    Not at all. The past is very interesting. I knew nothing of all this. I was on a trip with my tutor and I stayed away five years. Well, my sister proves the maxim: "Men keep others' secrets best, but women keep their own best."

    LA BROCANTI

    I would prefer not to continue my pretty miss.

    SUZANNE

    And why is that?

    LA BROCANTI

    Science cannot be mistaken and sometimes it says things that are displeasing.

    SUZANNE

    There, let's finish! I have been loved too much -- and what as the result of this love?

    LA BROCANTI

    A great misfortune!

    (brother and sister look at each other)

    A death, here's a star beside the life line.

    SUZANNE

    Well, what does this star say?

    LA BROCANTI

    I cannot be mistaken, Miss. Think it over carefully.

    LOREDAN

    My sister is asking you what this star means.

    LA BROCANTI

    What it means --

    SUZANNE

    Speak, will you!

    LA BROCANTI

    Very well, since you absolutely insist, Miss -- it means that someone who loved you killed himself for you!

    SUZANNE

    (rising)

    Enough!

    LOREDAN

    What are you talking about?

    SUZANNE

    I say this woman is probably from the police. Give her a crown, and let her go.

    LA BROCANTI

    Saving your respect, Miss, I cannot go until Mr. Petrus has finished with little Rose Noel.

    SUZANNE

    (giving her a crown)

    Here!

    LOREDAN

    (low to Suzanne)

    Could she be speaking of our cousin Conrad?

    SUZANNE

    I don't know who she means.

    (She goes to the window and leans her face against it.)

    BABOLIN

    (popping his head in the door)

    Pardon everyone! Which one of these gentlemen is called Jean Robert?

    JEAN ROBERT

    I am.

    BABOLIN

    The errand-boy from the Rue aux Fers has a letter for you.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Salvator?

    BABOLIN

    Yes.

    ALL

    Salvator.

    ROSE NOEL

    (joyously)

    Salvator.

    JEAN ROBERT

    (to Suzanne)

    Miss, you were asking me for a novel just now. I have better than a novel to offer you. I have an enigma. An errand-boy who -- day before yesterday, in the cabaret Petrus was telling you of, saved our lives, who has the manners of a gentleman and who writes verse like Lamantine. Would you have him come in?

    SUZANNE

    Willingly. I love enigmas when I don't have to solve them.

    PETRUS

    (without leaving his palette and his brush)

    Dear Mr. Salvator, do us the pleasure of entering!

    SALVATOR

    (entering)

    Mr. Jean Robert, I have only a letter to bring to you; but I was urged to bring it myself. The lady will look for her reply at your place at five o'clock this evening, Rue de l'University. Now that my commission is performed, and the postage paid --

    SUZANNE

    This is strange. That voice.

    PETRUS

    But no, no, no. We won't let you go so easily. Come in. Come in.

    LOREDAN

    (in a low voice)

    Much ceremony for an errand-boy.

    SUZANNE

    (aside, seeing Salvator)

    Conrad!

    SALVATOR

    Suzanne!

    ROSE NOEL

    Good day, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Good day, my child.

    JEAN ROBERT

    You don't know who this letter is from?

    SALVATOR

    It doesn't contain anything irritating, I hope?

    JEAN ROBERT

    No.

    (to Ludovic)

    It is from that poor Dominican monk who was in pension with us.

    LUDOVIC

    Dominique?

    PETRUS

    Dominique! The one whose father was involved in that strange and terrible affair! What was his family name?

    LUDOVIC

    What -- wait --

    JEAN ROBERT

    Sarranti, by God.

    ROSE NOEL

    Sarranti.

    SALVATOR

    What's wrong with you?

    ROSE NOEL

    Nothing. Nothing's wrong with me!

    LUDOVIC

    And he writes you?

    JEAN ROBERT

    To tell me that he will be at my house today at five o'clock.

    SALVATOR

    As he wrote, "Rush" on the letter and I knew you were here, I came.

    JEAN ROBERT

    He says he needs all my friendship.

    LOREDAN

    (searing in his turn)

    Sarranti! Sarranti! I have heard that name. A Bonapartist who was accused of having stolen a hundred thousand crowns and murdering two children -- the nephews of a certain Mr. Gerard.

    ROSE NOEL

    (putting her hand to her heart)

    Ah!

    LOREDAN

    The affair made enough noise, so that it is easy to remember.

    SUZANNE

    Mr. Gerard. I knew him. A saintly man who contributes to the Prix Montoyon.

    ROSE NOEL

    (interrupting)

    Mr. Petrus if you would permit me.

    PETRUS

    What's wrong, Miss?

    LA BROCANTI

    What's wrong?

    ROSE NOEL

    I don't know if this setting is tiring me, but --

    PETRUS

    Brocanti, take your child to the room where she changed. You will find water, sugar and orangeade.

    ROSE NOEL

    (prayerfully)

    Don't go, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    No, be tranquil, my child.

    BABOLIN

    (stupefied)

    Ah, Rose Noel feels ill!

    (sitting in the armchair she vacated)

    As for me I don't feel too bad -- On the contrary.

    (Rose Noel leaves with Brocanti.)

    SALVATOR

    Did you notice that this child repeated the name of Mr. Sarranti?

    JEAN ROBERT

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    That she went pale at that of Mr. Gerard?

    LUDOVIC

    Yes.

    LOREDAN

    But you who are, or appear to be, her confidant, if the thing upsets you, she will tell you.

    SALVATOR

    (dreamily)

    Perhaps.

    BABOLIN

    Say, Mr. Petrus, there's a scratching at your door.

    LUDOVIC

    Exactly like the King's.

    BABOLIN

    (opening the door)

    Oh -- a dog who is big as the elephant at the Bastille.

    (Shuts the door.)

    SALVATOR

    It's Roland who followed me. I left him in the street but when someone came in, he slid in.

    PETRUS

    Babolin, I name you introducer of Ambassadors -- let Roland enter. Who loves the master, loves the dog.

    BABOLIN

    (announcing)

    Mr. Roland.

    JEAN ROBERT

    Oh -- the beautiful beast.

    SALVATOR

    You can indeed say "oh, the fine beast." Go say good day to these gentlemen, Roland.

    LUDOVIC

    (feeling the sides of the dog)

    Really, he's received a nasty wound, your dog, Mr. Salvator -- and I don't know a Christian who wouldn't return it.

    (to dog)

    You were at war, my boy.

    SALVATOR

    It seems.

    PETRUS

    What do you mean "it seems."

    SALVATOR

    On that point I know no more than you, gentlemen. I hunted for five or six years in the environs of Paris.

    LOREDAN

    (with surprise)

    You hunted?

    SALVATOR

    I mean I was poaching; an errand-boy doesn't hunt. I found this poor animal all bloody, dying in a ditch. His beauty and his suffering excited my compassion. I took him to a fountain. I washed him with fresh water. He appeared reborn from the care I took of him -- that night I treated his wounds -- and cured by me, Roland has vowed me recognition which would shame a man -- right Roland?

    (Roland comes to rub against Salvator and puts his two paws on his breast. The door of the room opens. Rose Noel and Brocanti enter.)

    SUZANNE

    Ah -- here's the lady of the vapors -- who's getting better so it seems.

    SALVATOR

    What's wrong with you, Roland?

    LA BROCANTI

    What's wrong with you, Rose Noel?

    ROSE NOEL

    (suffocating with joy)

    Oh -- my good dog -- is it you?

    (Roland escapes from Salvator and rushes to Rose Noel.)

    ALL

    Roland! Roland!

    (They try to stop Roland.)

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh, gentleman, don't harm Bresil.

    SALVATOR

    You know Roland!

    ROSE NOEL

    He's not called Roland. He's called Bresil.

    SALVATOR

    And where did you know Bresil? Tell me that.

    ROSE NOEL

    Where did I know Bresil?

    SALVATOR

    Yes -- can you tell me that.

    ROSE NOEL

    (frightened)

    No, no, no! Impossible! My brother! My poor brother! Oh, Madame Orsola -- Madame Orsola! Don't kill me!

    ALL

    Madame Orsola?

    (Rose Noel faints. They group around her.)

    (curtain)

    ACT II

    Scene iv

    La Brocanti's loft. To the right a garret reached by a staircase. Midnight.

    (La Brocanti, counting some money. Babolin is making a pack of clothes.)

    LA BROCANTI

    Let's see. What are you doing rummaging about, vagabond?

    BABOLIN

    I am putting my clothes together.

    LA BROCANTI

    And what for?

    BABOLIN

    To remove them.

    LA BROCANTI

    What! You're moving?

    BABOLIN

    My lease isn't up, I'm well aware, but I'm in a hurry.

    LA BROCANTI

    You are going away, wretch?

    BABOLIN

    Ah, fine! You don't believe I am going to stay here when Rose Noel is no longer here. Not in this life.

    LA BROCANTI

    But, ingrate, weren't you lodged, nourished and clothed?

    BABOLIN

    Yes, let's talk of that. Lodged in the attic -- that means freezing in the winter, roasted in the summer, nourished with cabbage stalks, the shells of peas, and carrot tops. "Waiter, a toothpick for Mr. Babolin so we can go over the bill together." Dressed! When one thinks what my Sunday dress was, it would give me a vivid idea of the old days, huh? What misery! What misery!

    LA BROCANTI

    So! You abandon me.

    BABOLIN

    Why not? You are rich. You've sold Rose Noel for two hundred pounds of income for life, and a thousand shillings down -- and that on the sole condition you have no rights to her and that Mr. Salvator will be her tutor. Rose Noel is in a grand pension, where she will become a great lady, and which she will leave to marry a millionaire; her future is assured. It is time I thought of mine.

    LA BROCANTI

    Do you want me to predict your future?

    BABOLIN

    Known already, mother. I will end in the galleys. I will die on the scaffold. That's it, isn't it?

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes, that's it!

    BABOLIN

    Well, let's leave that and without bitterness. Goodbye, Brocanti.

    LA BROCANTI

    But first what are you taking in that package?

    BABOLIN

    Aren't you afraid that it's your gold? I'm not taking anything which is not mine! My rug, for making the leap. My candlestick to make a split pear and my wooden bowl to receive the offerings of society. You don't count on making the jump or a split pear, right, Mother? Well, I leave you your establishment, leave me mine.

    LA BROCANTI

    Go away! I give you my curse!

    BABOLIN

    Thanks! It's the first time you've given me something.

    LA BROCANTI

    May the devil break your bones!

    BABOLIN

    (on the stairs)

    Phooey! Pay no attention, it's Babolin, who tumbles.

    (opening the door)

    Say, La Brocanti, now you have income, you must put lights on the stairs.

    VOICE

    (from below)

    (imitating an English accent)

    Hola -- in the loft! Can you give me a light?

    BABOLIN

    Ah, an Englishman. La Brocanti receiving an Englishman at midnight. That's going to be funny. I'm not going yet. Come up, Milord.

    (Enter Gibassier disguised as an Englishman.)

    GIBASSIER

    Isn't this the apartment of Madame La Brocanti?

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes, sir.

    BABOLIN

    (aside)

    He must be an Englishman to call this an apartment.

    GIBASSIER

    Oh -- I want cards read for me.

    LA BROCANTI

    That's easy, Milord. Three francs for a short reading, six for a long.

    GIBASSIER

    Oh -- I thought it was thirty sous for the short and three francs for the long?

    BABOLIN

    Yes, but for the English, it is double. Please sit down, Milord.

    (he sits on his trunk)

    Tell for him! Tell for him.

    GIBASSIER

    I will make a sacrifice to have the long reading.

    BABOLIN

    And Milord is right, you can't bargain with the cards.

    GIBASSIER

    Milord wants nothing to do with that.

    LA BROCANTI

    What does Milord wish then?

    GIBASSIER

    (low and in his natural voice)

    First, I want you to send that maggot, who irritates me, away.

    BABOLIN

    (aside)

    I thought he called me a maggot -- oh, if I was sure of it.

    (He goes behind Gibassier and threatens him from behind.)

    GIBASSIER

    Well, my boy!

    BABOLIN

    It wasn't "maggot" -- it was "my boy" -- a compliment.

    GIBASSIER

    (how to la Brocanti)

    Well, send him off then.

    LA BROCANTI

    (aside, astonished)

    I know this voice, I know it.

    BABOLIN

    (aside)

    He whispered in her ear. What did he say?

    GIBASSIER

    It was three days ago, no -- four days ago or rather four days when at the Opera ball, they stole a considerable sum from me.

    BABOLIN

    It wasn't me -- I wasn't there. I was at Bordier's in La Halle. I can prove an alibi.

    GIBASSIER

    (low to Brocanti)

    Send this kid away, as I told you.

    BABOLIN

    (aside)

    He spoke to her again, very low.

    LA BROCANTI

    Babolin, you see that door there?

    BABOLIN

    Certainly, I see it.

    LA BROCANTI

    Well, you understand when one shows the door to someone, it's so he will leave.

    BABOLIN

    That's fine! Let's get going. I would already have been on the Rue Rivali if you hadn't kept me.

    (aside)

    They have some secrets together. Oh, he's a fake Englishman. He didn't say "Goddamn" even once.

    (aloud)

    Time to go.

    LA BROCANTI

    Fine. And let me hear you close the street door.

    (Babolin leaves.)

    GIBASSIER

    While waiting --

    (looks to make sure Babolin is not listening at the door)

    Let's close this. Two precautions are worth more than one.

    (he closes the door, then returning to Brocanti)

    Ah, since you have already recognized my voice, I hope you will recognize my face as well.

    LA BROCANTI

    Gibassier! I think you were in the Midi.

    GIBASSIER

    Indeed, I was there. For the last three days, I've been at Paris. I travel.

    LA BROCANTI

    And what do you do at Paris?

    GIBASSIER

    I come to put up with La Brocanti for a night and a day. Tomorrow, at the same hour, I will take leave of you, my pretty hostess, is it agreed?

    LA BROCANTI

    You know I can refuse you nothing.

    GIBASSIER

    Yes. I know it. But first and above all, you are going to remember something. It's that I arrived here at ten-thirty precisely.

    LA BROCANTI

    But midnight just tolled at Saint Sulpice.

    GIBASSIER

    All the more reason.

    LA BROCANTI

    I don't understand.

    GIBASSIER

    You don't need to understand, only if by chance someone wished to ask you, "Woman Catherine Couturier, called La Brocanti, at what time on Sunday the twenty-eighth of February did Jean Chrysostome Gibassier enter your house?" you will reply simply: "At ten-thirty that evening."

    LA BROCANTI

    Meaning at ten-thirty tonight you did something?

    GIBASSIER

    Perhaps.

    LA BROCANTI

    Something bad?

    GIBASSIER

    It's possible, but I am not uneasy. I know your address, my chicken, and I said to myself, "I have a good friend where they'll never look for me since we've been separated for five years and no one's ever seen me in Paris with her." Without which you understand there's a fellow who frequents the quays: a certain Mr. Jackal, whose motto is "Cherchez la femme." Hush!

    LA BROCANTI

    What?

    GIBASSIER

    It seems to me someone is coming up.

    LA BROCANTI

    I heard nothing.

    GIBASSIER

    I hear a crack on the stairs.

    LA BROCANTI

    What do you mean, Jean! I am getting old --

    GIBASSIER

    Are you trying to make me believe you've never been young -- where can I hide?

    LA BROCANTI

    In the attic.

    GIBASSIER

    Is there a way out?

    LA BROCANTI

    On the roof, through the skylight.

    GIBASSIER

    The devil! At this time of year, the roofs are slippery. But I can take off my shoes.

    (He hides in the attic. A knock.)

    LA BROCANTI

    Are you all right up there?

    GIBASSIER

    Yes. Don't forget, ten-thirty.

    LA BROCANTI

    Agreed.

    (more knocking)

    Go away. Who can come at this hour?

    (she opens the door. Mr. Jackal enters with a cellar light in his hand)

    (stupefied)

    Mr. Jackal!

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, respectable Brocanti, Mr. Jackal in person, at such an unreasonable hour. But, what do you want? The malefactors give me so much business during the day, that only the night remains for me to consecrate to honest people.

    GIBASSIER

    Mr. Jackal!

    LA BROCANTI

    Mr. Jackal at my house. It's such a great honor, I can't believe it.

    MR. JACKAL

    And that's what troubles you, I suspect.

    (he puts on his spectacles, looks at La Brocanti, and takes a step)

    Didn't you ask yesterday that you renew your license as a card-reader?

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Well, I signed your license and I brought it myself.

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    That's not natural. Take care, Gibassier.

    (He raises the skylight.)

    LA BROCANTI

    Who's moving around up in the attic?

    LA BROCANTI

    It's the rats.

    LA BROCANTI

    You have rats?

    LA BROCANTI

    A whole lot, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    That's astonishing in an apartment so well decorated. But let's leave the rats and return to the sheep. Did you know, oh, seven or eight years ago, about a fourth of a league from Essone a certain Catherine Couturier?

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    The devil. This is becoming interesting.

    LA BROCANTI

    Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Answer yes or no!

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes.

    MR. JACKAL

    You knew her. Fine.

    (takes a step)

    Wasn't she a cook to the used furniture dealers in the Faubourg St. Antoine, retired after two years?

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Didn't she have a lover?

    LA BROCANTI

    Oh -- Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Reply yes or no. Didn't she have a lover -- and this lover, wasn't he called Jean-Chrysostome Gibassier?

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    Wow!

    LA BROCANTI

    Alas, yes, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    There's an "alas" which is a good augur for the future. Let's continue. This lover, didn't he come in the house through the first floor window?

    LA BROCANTI

    How do you know all that?

    MR. JACKAL

    The important thing is that I do know it.

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    Is he informed! Is he informed!

    MR. JACKAL

    One night -- it was a Friday or Saturday, a night when the masters were absent, Catherine, as was her custom, opened the window to her lover, only this time Master Jean-Chrysostome Gibassier was followed by three friends who entered after him, garrotted Catherine, and visited the entire house, reaping from their visit twenty-four gold plates, a dozen sweets, more or less of little coffee spoons and five thousand francs, thirty thousand bills of exchange, the rest in gold or silver. All this -- is it correct?

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    There must have been one among the four who was a chatterbox.

    LA BROCANTI

    All this is true, Mr. Jackal, but you know I took -- you know that I gained nothing from the theft.

    MR. JACKAL

    Ah -- ah -- it was you then, Catherine Couturier?

    (He raises his spectacles, looks at Brocanti and takes a step.)

    LA BROCANTI

    Eh! You know very well it was me, but you know also that I am not a thief.

    MR. JACKAL

    No, but you left with the thieves. Do you remember the date?

    LA BROCANTI

    It was the night of May 20th, 1820.

    MR. JACKAL

    Come, I see that you have a good memory! Let's continue. You left around eight at night in a wicker carriage with a fast horse so that towards 11 p.m. you were already near Juvrier. The carriage stopped. The men got out to get provisions.

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    There's no way to deny it.

    MR. JACKAL

    While you were alone you saw a little girl of eight or nine running across the fields, pale, frightened, breathless, who threw herself in your arms, crying "Save me, they want to kill me." This little girl was losing blood from a wound she had received under her clavicle.

    LA BROCANTI

    (pointing with her finger)

    Here, right here. The scar is still there.

    MR. JACKAL

    So much the better! You had pity on her, you took her, you hid her in the straw of the carriage?

    LA BROCANTI

    Did I do wrong, Mr. Jackal?

    MR. JACKAL

    One never does wrong to perform a good act, Brocanti! And it is that good action which protects you from me.

    LA BROCANTI

    Oh, Great God, Mr. Jackal, if I have you for a protector, I need fear no one, and all goes well.

    MR. JACKAL

    I never told you things were going wrong, Brocanti.

    LA BROCANTI

    Oh -- you warm my heart.

    GIBASSIER

    What the devil is he getting at?

    MR. JACKAL

    You reached Entretat -- you took a fishing boat to Holland, from Holland to Germany, from Germany to Bohemia. It's there your lover abandoned you with little Rose Noel. But as she was inclined to music and dancing, you taught her to sing, dance and play the guitar. For your part, in your relations with the Bohemians, you learned to read cards and tell fortunes, which means living at the expense of imbeciles. Imbeciles have to be good for something. So long as you preferred to remain out of France, it was no business of mine. But then there came a time you returned to Paris, where you told fortunes and read cards at your home or in town -- and whatever happens on the streets of the King is my concern. I need to know for the moment whose daughter Rose Noel is -- who gave her the knife wound of which she bears the scar on her neck -- and who she was afraid of when she fled Viry sur Orge.

    LA BROCANTI

    Damn, Mr. Jackal, only Rose Noel can tell you that.

    MR. JACKAL

    It's to see her that I came to see you. Where is Rose Noel?

    LA BROCANTI

    Rose Noel is no longer here, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    What, she isn't here?

    LA BROCANTI

    No.

    MR. JACKAL

    And since when?

    LA BROCANTI

    Since the day before yesterday.

    MR. JACKAL

    Brocanti! Brocanti!

    LA BROCANTI

    Really, I tell you she is not here.

    MR. JACKAL

    And where is she?

    LA BROCANTI

    I don't know.

    MR. JACKAL

    Take care, Brocanti, take care!

    LA BROCANTI

    My good, Mr. Jackal, I swear that I tell you the truth. God's own truth. Here's how the thing happened. On the night of the Mardi Gras, three young men were supping at Bordier's at La Halle. They asked for Rose Noel.

    MR. JACKAL

    I know that.

    LA BROCANTI

    They made her recite verse.

    MR. JACKAL

    I know that.

    LA BROCANTI

    And they gave her two crowns.

    MR. JACKAL

    No, three.

    LA BROCANTI

    What? Were you there, too?

    MR. JACKAL

    Continue.

    LA BROCANTI

    After Rose Noel recited verse, one of the three men -- a painter.

    MR. JACKAL

    Mr. Petrus.

    LA BROCANTI

    Yes! He offered me three crowns for a setting if Rose Noel would pose in his studio. I saw no problem and the next day we went there. There were two friends of Mr. Petrus and another gentleman with his sister. Mr. Salvator came bringing a letter to Mr. Jean Robert. He came with his dog. Rose Noel was afraid of the dog and fainted. I don't know what took place between these gentlemen and this lady, who are united in a spirit of friendship. Anyway, when Rose Noel came to her senses, they told me Rose Noel couldn't stay with me anymore, that she was too weak to do the job I made her do, that they would be responsible for her -- and that they would place her in a boarding school and that Mr. Salvator would watch over her; where she would be educated at their joint expense. As for me, to put a little balm on my poor heart, they offered me a twelve hundred pound income as a pension. Mr. Salvator responded in the name of the group and they took Rose Noel away.

    MR. JACKAL

    Where?

    LA BROCANTI

    But I just told you, I don't know.

    MR. JACKAL

    You think rightly that I won't take this on your word?

    (He lights his cellar light.)

    LA BROCANTI

    What are you going to do?

    MR. JACKAL

    A little domestic visit to see if you haven't hidden the child in some corner.

    LA BROCANTI

    Mr. Jackal, when I swear to you --

    MR. JACKAL

    You know the more you swear, the less I will believe you.

    GIBASSIER

    (aside)

    It seems to me it's time to decamp.

    MR. JACKAL

    Let's look in this closet first.

    LA BROCANTI

    You will see her poor bed, which they left me, as it wasn't worth the trouble to be taken.

    MR. JACKAL

    Nothing! Let's visit the little attic.

    GIBASSIER

    (removing his slippers and hauling himself to the roof)

    Has he got a nose!

    LA BROCANTI

    (coughing)

    Hum! Hum!

    MR. JACKAL

    You are catching a cold, Brocanti, I'm warning you, not surprising the skylight's open! Huh! To whom do those legs belong?

    GIBASSIER

    To someone who knows how to use them -- happily.

    (He disappears over the roof.)

    MR. JACKAL

    (pushing half his body out the skylight)

    Sir! Sir! My word, bon voyage!

    (shuts the skylight)

    Wait, he left his shoes.

    (taking a slipper and examines it)

    If that brigand of a Gibassier wasn't in the galleys, I would say it was his foot. Let's keep this specimen like a piece of evidence. It's probable that one day or another, I will have a bone to pick with this big bloke.

    (takes his Gazette from his pocket)

    Star-Evening Paper.

    (wrapping the shoes)

    Who can ever deny the utility of the newspapers?

    (who puts them in his pocket)

    Now, us two, Brocanti! Wait, someone is coming up the stairs.

    BABOLIN

    (on the stairway)

    Brocanti! Eh! La Brocanti!

    LA BROCANTI

    Who's coming here again, this poltroon, at such an hour.

    BABOLIN

    (closer)

    Here's an event -- a terrible one.

    MR. JACKAL

    Not a word of me, you understand, Brocanti?

    LA BROCANTI

    Oh, my God, my God -- what a night!

    BABOLIN

    (enters)

    A chair, a chair, and a cushion. I am going to be sick, like Rose Noel.

    LA BROCANTI

    Look -- what's wrong with you? Speak imbecile! I thought I was rid of you.

    BABOLIN

    You haven't the least drop of something? Of kirsch or a love potion?

    LA BROCANTI

    (pulling him by the arm)

    Will you speak?

    BABOLIN

    Oh la la! Oh la ha!

    MR. JACKAL

    (listening)

    He was marvelously able to listen to all we said, that gentleman.

    LA BROCANTI

    But what's wrong with you, speak.

    BABOLIN

    Well, Rose Noel has been carried off.

    LA BROCANTI

    What do you mean carried off? And by whom?

    MR. JACKAL

    (to himself)

    Carried off? That complicates matters.

    LA BROCANTI

    By whom, I ask you.

    BABOLIN

    By one of the four gentlemen from the other day, probably.

    LA BROCANTI

    And how do you know she was carried off?

    BABOLIN

    Luck, pure luck!

    LA BROCANTI

    But will you get to the point?

    BABOLIN

    Oh! Don't eat your blood -- we are going to tell you in two words. I was crossing the place Maubert, I thought I heard the glass break in a carriage and my name, Babolin, Babolin! I recognized the voice of Rose Noel. I turned and a paper fell at my feet. I took it and I escaped. Next moment, a gentleman jumped onto the pavement and ran after me. I made two or three dodges. That was the distance. A gentleman jumped to the pavement and tried to run after me. Outran him. Rose Noel cried for help, but you understand, Brocanti, at 2:00 in the morning on the place Maubert, there wasn't a crowd. The gentleman got back in the carriage and whipped the coachman toward the Rue St. Jacques! Seeing that no one ran after me, I stopped, I clambered up a street lamp and I read, "They are kidnapping me, Mr. Salvator, save me. Rose Noel" written in a hurry on a scrap of paper. I ran to Rue Mason #4 -- Mr. Salvator's -- to wake him for it wasn't long, he was already dressed. "Rose Noel kidnapped?" he cried, "Quickly! Quickly!" "Where are you going?" I asked him. "To find Mr. Jackal. He's the only one who can get her back," he said.

    MR. JACKAL

    (aside)

    There's a flatterer.

    BABOLIN

    Good. Only Mr. Jackal wasn't there, Brocanti. You know he's like the bat, he leaves at night and doesn't return until morning.

    LA BROCANTI

    You intend to shut up, wretch!

    BABOLIN

    Why should I shut up? "Then," Mr. Salvator said, "let's go to Brocanti. She may perhaps know something." I told him in reply, "I don't think so, but never mind. Come anyway. I'll run ahead to get lights."

    MR. JACKAL

    (coming down)

    Then get lights, imbecile, since you came for that.

    BABOLIN

    (aside)

    Mr. Jackal, where can I hide?

    MR. JACKAL

    (taking the candle)

    This way, Mr. Salvator. This way.

    (Mr. Salvator enters.)

    SALVATOR

    Mr. Jackal, I was looking for you.

    MR. JACKAL

    I know it.

    SALVATOR

    Rose Noel has been kidnapped.

    MR. JACKAL

    I know it.

    SALVATOR

    What is to be done?

    MR. JACKAL

    Where was she?

    SALVATOR

    At the pension of Madame Desmarest, at Vanvres.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then to the pension of Madame Desmarest.

    SALVATOR

    Ah, Mr. Jackal, if you find her.

    MR. JACKAL

    I hope indeed to get her back -- I must find her -- where can we get a carriage?

    SALVATOR

    I have one below.

    MR. JACKAL

    In that case, en route.

    (He lights her hand lamp.)

    BABOLIN

    (coming from under the table and following them)

    Good! I will be right behind you! You didn't see that in your cards, Mother?

    (He leaves behind Salvator and Jackal.)

    LA BROCANTI

    (alone)

    Oh -- what night! What a night! Hopefully, they'll continue to pay my pension.

    (curtain)

    ACT III

    Scene v

    The Courtyard of the pension of Madame Desmarest. At the right a large wall which extends and is lost in the trees. To the left, the pavilion in which Rose Noel's chamber is situated, visible to the public. The door of this room faces opposite the entry gate. Window in the rear. Small bed of pensioner, slippers at the foot of the bed, candle on a table. At the rear, a house whose windows give on the garden of the pension. It is around 7:00 in the morning.

    SALVATOR and BABOLIN

    (outside at the gate)

    Hey somebody -- hey! hey!

    BABOLIN

    Wait, Mr. Salvator. I am going to climb a tree.

    (climbing)

    I'm up. I can see the interior of the house.

    SALVATOR

    Well?

    BABOLIN

    One would say it's the Castle of Sleeping Beauty. No one is stirring. Knock -- keep it up -- someone must come!

    SALVATOR

    (rapping)

    Hey! Hey!

    BABOLIN

    Want me to come down and let you in?

    SALVATOR

    Eh! Wretch -- it's breaking and entering you are proposing.

    BABOLIN

    Then knock!

    (Salvator knocks)

    SALVATOR

    Ah, there's a door opening.

    BABOLIN

    Ah, good idea! Good day, sir!

    SALVATOR

    Madame Desmarest! Madame Desmarest!

    PIERRE

    Hey -- up there! Who do you want, at such an hour!

    BABOLIN

    Open the door. We're going to tell you.

    SALVATOR

    Open! Open!

    PIERRE

    First of all -- who are you?

    SALVATOR

    I am Salvator, the tutor of the young girl who was put in pension here day before yesterday.

    BABOLIN

    Ah! Mr. Salvator! There a window in the house which is blinking and opening. I see inside an old woman.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    (from her window)

    What is it, Pierre?

    PIERRE

    Madame, it's the tutor of Miss Rose Noel, who insists on speaking to you.

    SALVATOR

    Immediately, Madame! And one a matter of the highest importance.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Open, Pierre, I'm coming down.

    SALVATOR

    (entering)

    Thanks, my friend.

    PIERRE

    Can I shut the door again?

    SALVATOR

    Useless. I'm waiting for someone, but you can go back inside, my friend. I will watch to see no one comes in or leaves.

    BABOLIN

    And I, I will give warning!

    MADAME DESMAREST

    You're asking for Rose Noel.

    SALVATOR

    Rather, Madame, I've come because of her.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Must I wake her?

    SALVATOR

    She isn't here.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    What do you mean?

    SALVATOR

    That she was carried off during the night.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Impossible! I escorted her at 9:00 p.m. last night to her room or rather I left her with Miss Suzanne de Valgeneuse.

    SALVATOR

    Well, I repeat, Madame, she isn't in the room you escorted her to.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    And are you certain?

    SALVATOR

    Read this letter which I received at three o'clock in the morning.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    (after having read)

    Oh, sir, what can be done?

    SALVATOR

    Wait and watch, so no one can penetrate either the room, or the court or the garden.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Wait for whom?

    SALVATOR

    The police officer who stopped at the Mayor's to warn him to hold himself read at the first call.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    What, sir, is the law coming?

    SALVATOR

    Without any doubt.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Here?

    SALVATOR

    Here.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But if such a thing happens, my establishment is ruined.

    SALVATOR

    What do you want me to do? It's up to you to watch your pensioners.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But sir, this carrying off is impossible. The walls are higher, the windows solidly shut, if Rose Noel was kidnapped against her will, she must have cried out, and I would have hard her as I live above her.

    SALVATOR

    Well, Madame, there are ladders for the tallest walls, jimmies for the best locked windows, and gags for young girls' mouths.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Shall we go into Rose Noel's room, sir?

    SALVATOR

    On the contrary, Madame, we are forbidden to enter it, for fear of erasing evidence of the rape.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Let's look in the garden, then, perhaps we can see how someone got through the window.

    SALVATOR

    Pardon, Madame, but entry to the garden is forbidden to everyone.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Even to me?

    SALVATOR

    To you just like the rest, Madame.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But still, sir, I am in my own home.

    SALVATOR

    You are mistaken, Madame. At this time, the law is at your home, and wherever it is, the law is at home.

    BABOLIN

    (form the top of the wall)

    Mr. Jackal! There's Mr. Jackal.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Who is Mr. Jackal?

    SALVATOR

    The police officer we are waiting for, Madame.

    MR. JACKAL

    Do you intend to get down from your perch, scoundrel?

    BABOLIN

    Right away; Mr. Jackal, right away.

    (Jackal enters humming -- without paying attention to anyone, he tours the court. Babolin hides in the corner of the door.)

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    Madame Desmarest, I suppose? Very good.

    (he continues to hum)

    Where is Miss Rose Noel's room?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    There it is, sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    Whose house is that which gives on your garden?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    That of Mr. Gerard.

    MR. JACKAL

    Oh! Oh! Mr. Gerard. The honest man. Isn't that the way he's known?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Ah, sir, he deserves it greatly.

    MR. JACKAL

    Who before coming to Vanvres lived at Viry sur Orge?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    I believe so.

    MR. JACKAL

    And I, I am sure of it.

    (He starts humming again.)

    SALVATOR

    Gerard! That's the name that had such an effect on Rose Noel the other day.

    (to Madame Desmarest)

    Is Mr. Gerard married?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    No, sir.

    SALVATOR

    Do you know someone around Mr. Gerard who bears the name "Orsola?"

    MR. JACKAL

    Dead at least seven years, killed by a dog -- let's get back to business. What does this wall give on?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    On a small deserted street.

    MR. JACKAL

    Go outside, Mr. Salvator, run along the wall and see if you don't find at the base of the wall, some bit of plaster fallen off. If you do, note its place.

    SALVATOR

    Be easy.

    BABOLIN

    Would you like me to go with you, Mr. Salvator?

    SALVATOR

    Come!

    MR. JACKAL

    Now, just the two of us, Madame.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Question me, sir, and I am ready to reply.

    MR. JACKAL

    At what time to your pensioners go to bed?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    At eight o'clock in the winter.

    MR. JACKAL

    And the sub-mistresses?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    At nine o'clock.

    MR. JACKAL

    And you, Madame, at what time did you go to sleep yesterday?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    At ten o'clock, sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    And you saw nothing, heard nothing?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Saw nothing, heard nothing.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then, you noticed nothing unusual.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Nothing unusual.

    MR. JACKAL

    Nothing unusual! That's unusual.

    SALVATOR

    (pointing to the tile from the wall)

    This is what you want.

    MR. JACKAL

    My word, yes. You marked the place carefully!

    SALVATOR

    Exactly.

    BABOLIN

    And there, I threw a stone, to the side of the wall.

    MR. JACKAL

    Let's go there or rather let me go there first by myself. Ah! Ah! Here are traces of footprints of the same length and a larger one -- could a single man have done this?

    SALVATOR

    No.

    MR. JACKAL

    What makes you think that?

    SALVATOR

    The prints are arranged differently. One of the two men leaned on his right foot -- the footprint of the right foot is deeper than that of the left.

    MR. JACKAL

    Have you been in the profession, Mr. Salvator?

    SALVATOR

    No, but I've done some hunting.

    MR. JACKAL

    Look here.

    SALVATOR

    What?

    MR. JACKAL

    A ray of light.

    (He pulls out of his pocket the shoes of Gibassier.)

    SALVATOR

    What's that?

    VICTOR

    A lobster clue, I bet!

    MR. JACKAL

    (measuring the impression)

    Exactly the same. The same position of the nails. No need to bother about this one, I've got him.

    PIERRE

    You mean you've got his slippers.

    MR. JACKAL

    You will learn, my good friend, that when I have the shoe, I have the foot and when I have the foot, I have the rest of him. Turn to the other. Ah -- ah -- here's a third track. A very particular foot which has no resemblance to that we just examined -- a foot of a great lord or churchman.

    SALVATOR

    A man of the world, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Why do you stress a man of the world?

    SALVATOR

    Because in our day, churchmen don't wear spurs -- and here at the heel is the little cut made by a spur.

    MR. JACKAL

    You are right, on my word! Now, let's see where these footprints go and where they come from. Ah, here they go from the wall to the window and from the window to the wall. It appears the ravishers were well informed. Ah, come here, Mr. Salvator! Look!

    SALVATOR

    Two tracks in the ground joined by a line cutting them.

    MR. JACKAL

    You recognize the signs of a ladder.

    SALVATOR

    And the first step is pushed into the muddy ground -- caused by the humidity.

    MR. JACKAL

    It must be a pleasure to work with you, Mr. Salvator. No -- it's a question of figuring out how many men leaned on the ladder to cause it sink in the mud thus deeply. Is there a ladder in the house, Madame Desmarest?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Ask Pierre.

    SALVATOR

    Mr. Pierre, do you have a ladder?

    PIERRE

    Ah! Good question.

    MR. JACKAL

    Reply to it.

    PIERRE

    Certainly, I have a ladder.

    MR. JACKAL

    And where is this ladder?

    PIERRE

    It's near the greenhouse.

    MR. JACKAL

    (pointing to a ladder leaning against Gerard's house)

    You must be mistaken, my friend, wouldn't that be it, by chance?

    PIERRE

    Goodness -- yes! Who the devil took my ladder and put it under Mr. Gerard's window? Now do you want it? I am going to go get it.

    MR. JACKAL

    No. I am going there myself. That's what complicates things. Your Mr. Gerard passes for rich, doesn't he?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    They say he's a millionaire.

    MR. JACKAL

    Did my comedians kill two birds with one stone? This will have to be looked into -- but later.

    (fitting the ladder to the prints)

    Already we have a piece of proof. The marks and the ladder are in agreement.

    SALVATOR

    And what's more remarkable is that the ladder isn't of ordinary dimensions.

    MR. JACKAL

    Do you have a son, Pierre?

    PIERRE

    Yes. Who told you that?

    MR. JACKAL

    Between twelve and fifteen?

    PIERRE

    He'll be fourteen soon.

    MR. JACKAL

    Soon! It is indeed his son.

    PIERRE

    What do you mean, it's indeed his son?

    MR. JACKAL

    He needed help from a child to show him the way and he bought a large ladder, so the child could go up the ladder at the same time with him.

    PIERRE

    Well, so what? Is there anything wrong in that?

    MR. JACKAL

    No -- on the contrary! Come here, my friend -- how long is it since you worked in the garden?

    PIERRE

    Not for at least three days.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then for three days your ladder has been near the greenhouse.

    PIERRE

    It isn't near the greenhouse, as you just placed it here.

    MR. JACKAL

    This boy is smart! But there is one thing of which I am sure -- it's that he had no experience in kidnapping. Come up with me, my friend!

    (Pierre gives a questioning look to Madame Desmarest.)

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Do what the gentleman tells you, Pierre.

    (Pierre climbs.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Again.

    (to Salvator)

    Well?

    SALVATOR

    It's stuck in but not the other side.

    MR. JACKAL

    Go down, my friend.

    PIERRE

    I'm down.

    MR. JACKAL

    Notice how this man says few things but what he says is well said. Now, my friend, take Madame Desmarest in your arms.

    PIERRE

    Fie! Sir!

    MR. JACKAL

    Take Madame Desmarest in your arms.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But what are you saying?

    PIERRE

    I will never dare, sir.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    I forbid you to, Pierre.

    MR. JACKAL

    (coming down the ladder)

    Go where I was, my friend.

    (He intends to carry off Madame Desmarest.)

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But, sir, but, sir, what are you doing?

    MR. JACKAL

    Suppose, Madame, that I am in love with you.

    PIERRE

    Now, there's a supposition.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    But sir!

    MR. JACKAL

    Relax, Madame, it's only as my friend, Pierre, said -- a supposition. I am carrying you off -- rather I am not -- I am going to help you to climb, Much prefer that. Fear nothing.

    (they go up)

    (to Salvator)

    Is it pressing in on the other side?

    SALVATOR

    Not at all.

    MR. JACKAL

    (to Babolin)

    Come here to make it balance.

    BABOLIN

    Me?

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, you -- get on the second rung.

    BABOLIN

    There.

    SALVATOR

    The ladder is exactly on the same point as the other.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then everything is done. Let's get down.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    I do not understand.

    MR. JACKAL

    It's very simple, now. You are somewhat heavier than Rose Noel.

    (to Babolin)

    How much do you weigh?

    BABOLIN

    Sixty-five pounds. I weighed myself three days ago.

    MR. JACKAL

    The two men who kidnapped Rose Noel were sixty-five pounds heavier than Pierre and me.

    BABOLIN

    He's clever, this Mr. Jackal! He's clever.

    PIERRE

    Ah, I understand now. Someone kidnapped one of the pensioners.

    MR. JACKAL

    Madame Desmarest -- never lose this boy -- he's a treasure of penetration. Let's look around the interior of the room.

    (to Madame Desmarest)

    You have a double key for each room?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Here's that of Rose Noel.

    (Jackal opens the door. They all try to enter.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Softly! All depends on the first examination. Ah! Ah! Traces of footprints from the door to the bed -- and from the bed to the window. Mr. Salvator -- look with your hunter's eyes.

    SALVATOR

    Ah! Ah! Something new. A woman's footprint. It's outlined by the garden gravel.

    MR. JACKAL

    What did I always tell you, Mr. Salvator, "Cherchez la femme," this time the woman is found.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    What do you mean, the woman is found? You think there's a woman in this affair?

    MR. JACKAL

    There's a woman in every case. Rather than having a report given, I say "look for the woman." They look for the woman and when the woman is found --

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Well.

    MR. JACKAL

    -- there's no delay in finding the man. One day, a roofing man fell from a roof and broke both of his legs. They gave me a report and I said "look for the woman." That made them laugh. I questioned the injured man. The imbecile was amusing himself watching a grisette undress in her garret. He missed his step and he fell. Let's look for the woman, Mr. Salvator, let's look for the woman.

    SALVATOR

    This one is a coquette. She followed the garden paths so as not to dirty her slippers. Yellow gravel, without a mixture of mud.

    MR. JACKAL

    When you stop being an errand-boy, Mr. Salvator, come tell me. And now, Madame Desmarest that's what happened. You yourself conducted Ms. Rose Noel to her chamber.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Myself, sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    She was very sad.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    How do you know that?

    MR. JACKAL

    It's not difficult to figure out. Her handkerchief was wet, she went to bed crying. They knocked on the door.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Which one did that?

    MR. JACKAL

    Probably the woman. Rose Noel rose and opened the door.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Without knowing who was knocking?

    MR. JACKAL

    Who told you she didn't know who was knocking? Behind the woman came the young man with boots and spurs. Behind the young man were the men with large shoes. She was overpowered. They put a kerchief in her mouth -- they threw her peignoir over her from the bed and wrapped her in it -- and thus, they carried her off. See, they took her by way of the window -- and the proof that she came through the window and not very willingly --?

    SALVATOR

    Is that she grabbed the curtain and that the curtain is torn.

    MR. JACKAL

    The rest goes by itself -- they went over the wall. The woman returned to the room. She closed the window, very naturally, then the door, then she went back to sleep.

    SALVATOR

    (grasping the hand of Mr. Jackal)

    I've got it all -- let me do it. Madame Desmarest can you get us a slipper of Miss Suzanne de Valgeneuse without her knowing it?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Probably. She probably put them outside her door yesterday evening so her chambermaid could clean them as usual.

    SALVATOR

    Then Madame Desmarest -- a slipper of Miss Suzanne's and not a word.

    MR. JACKAL

    You hear, Madame, not a word.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    I am going there myself.

    (She leaves.)

    SALVATOR

    Mr. Pierre, if you want to go back to your room we have no further need of you. Babolin, if you want to go play with your top, you will be pleasing us.

    BABOLIN

    I have no top, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Then go buy one -- here's for it.

    (He give him five francs.)

    BABOLIN

    Oh -- a five franc note.

    (Babolin leaves but Pierre stops by his door.)

    PIERRE

    Why should I go back to my room? I only take orders from Madame Desmarest.

    SALVATOR

    The woman is Miss Suzanne de Valgeneuse. The man with spurs is her brother.

    MR. JACKAL

    You think so?

    SALVATOR

    I am sure of it. She was the one who suggested the pension of Madame Desmarest for Rose Noel that day at Petrus. It was she who fought all my objections at the instigation of her brother. From that moment, the plan for the kidnapping was made. Ah, my dear cousins.

    MR. JACKAL

    What do you mean there?

    SALVATOR

    Nothing -- I say you are a great man, Mr. Jackal and that your maxim "cherchez la femme" will pass on to posterity.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    (entering)

    Here's one of Miss Suzanne's slippers, gentlemen.

    SALVATOR

    (measuring the footprint)

    Sir! Well -- what do you say to that?

    MR. JACKAL

    I say that it is Miss Suzanne who's behind all this. Madame Desmarest, call Miss Suzanne.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Wait, sir, here she is.

    MR. JACKAL

    Where's that?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    She's walking toward the garden.

    MR. JACKAL

    Signal her to come here.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    I don't know if she will come.

    MR. JACKAL

    And why wouldn't she come?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Because Miss Suzanne is very proud.

    MR. JACKAL

    Call her anyway. If she doesn't come. I'll go fetch her.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Miss Suzanne! Miss Suzanne!

    SUZANNE

    Madame does me the honor of calling me, I believe?

    (Mr. Jackal is in the court; Salvator in the pavilion -- invisible to Suzanne.)

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Yes, my child, for here's a gentleman, who wishes to ask you some questions.

    SUZANNE

    Some questions from me? But I don't know the gentleman.

    MADAME DESMAREST

    The gentleman is the representative of the authorities.

    SUZANNE

    What have I do with the authorities?

    MADAME DESMAREST

    Calm yourself, my child; it's a question of Rose Noel.

    SUZANNE

    Well -- so what?

    MR. JACKAL

    So what? Please leave us, Madame Desmarest, and bid Mr. Pierre to go to his room.

    (Pierre and Madame Desmarest both leave.)

    MR. JACKAL

    So what, Miss -- ? We want to have some information about your friend.

    SUZANNE

    What friend?

    MR. JACKAL

    Miss Rose Noel.

    SUZANNE

    I choose my friends from places other than the streets. Miss Rose Noel was perhaps my protégé but she was not my friend.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then I am simply going to interrogate you.

    SUZANNE

    Interrogate me? About what?

    MR. JACKAL

    On the kidnapping of Miss Rose Noel.

    SUZANNE

    Oh! Poor little thing -- she was kidnapped?

    MR. JACKAL

    You know it better than anyone, Miss, since you participated in the kidnapping.

    SUZANNE

    You are mad, sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    No, Miss -- I am --

    (opens his coat and show his uniform)

    SUZANNE

    Why didn't you say so before? One would have answered you with the respect due to your rank.

    MR. JACKAL

    Let's not waste any more time, Miss. Your name and station in the world?

    SUZANNE

    Then this really is an interrogation?

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, Miss.

    SUZANNE

    My name! I am Aimee Adelaide Suzanne de Valgeneuse. I am the daughter of the Marquise Rene de Valgeneuse, peer of France, niece of Louis Clement de Valgeneuse, Cardinal at the Court of Rome and sister of the Count Loredan de Valgeneuse, lieutenant in the guards. I am the heiress of a half-million pound income. There --

    MR. JACKAL

    (taking a step back and rebuttoning his coat)

    Pardon, Miss, I was unaware.

    SUZANNE

    Yes, I understand, you were unaware that I am my father's daughter, my uncle's niece and my brother's sister. But now you know it -- don't forget it.

    (She makes a disdainful gesture with her hand and starts to leave.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Pardon, Miss, one more word, I beg you. You are proud and boastful of your fortune -- but this fortune comes to you through the succession of an uncle whose will they say, disappeared. Reduced to misery by the disappearance of this will, Mr. Conrad de Valgeneuse killed himself -- but let's suppose for a moment that your cousin is not dead and the will is found. You would be ruined -- you, and your brother.

    SUZANNE

    Is that a threat you are making me?

    MR. JACKAL

    No, Miss -- it's an opinion I'm giving you.

    SUZANNE

    From where do you get an opinion in this?

    MR. JACKAL

    The opinion is not in what I've told you, but in what I still have to tell you. Listen to me then, Miss, and although I speak quietly to you -- don't lose one of my words for they are the words of a friend.

    SUZANNE

    (scornfully)

    You, a friend?

    MR. JACKAL

    You shall judge -- the young girl your brother had kidnapped and who he thinks is a gypsy is not a gypsy -- she is the niece of Mr. Gerard -- and on the day her uncle dies, she will inherit five million. So your brother must not make her his mistress -- but his wife. Will you say this advice doesn't come from a friend?

    SUZANNE

    I don't know from whom it comes nor from what motive it is given, but as it is good. In an hour, I will leave to join my brother -- and I swear to you that Rose Noel will never be his mistress -- goodbye, sir!

    (Mr. Jackal bows very low.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Your humble servant, Miss.

    (Suzanne leaves.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Mr. Salvator, I believe we have nothing more of importance to do here and as I have a different reason for staying, I won't keep you.

    SALVATOR

    If I asked you for an explanation, Mr. Jackal, would you give me one?

    MR. JACKAL

    No, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Well, I will give one myself. You're afraid of this viper, Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    I'm not afraid of anything, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Well, Mr. Jackal, what you don't want to do, I will do myself.

    MR. JACKAL

    You?

    SALVATOR

    Me! Only one last word -- is it your conscience which forces you to abstain from acting?

    MR. JACKAL

    It's my duty -- goodbye, Mr. Conrad.

    SALVATOR

    (turning quickly)

    Mr. Conrad?

    MR. JACKAL

    Pardon, I made a mistake -- goodbye, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    Mr. Jackal within eight hours I will have found Rose Noel and brought her back.

    MR. JACKAL

    If that happens try to protect her.

    SALVATOR

    Oh -- once in my hands, she'll never leave them. Goodbye, Mr. Jackal. I'll answer for that.

    (Salvator leaves.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Man proposes -- God disposes. While waiting, let's see why this ladder was placed against Gerard's window -- if that brigand Gibassier wasn't in Toulon, I would swear it was he who did this.

    (curtain)

    Scene vi

    Interior of Gerard's room at Vanvres. The most complete disorder -- chairs overturned -- secretary forced open -- light continuing to burn on the right table -- a bloody knife on the furniture. Jackal is outside on the ladder. Only his arm can be seen which passes through a broken pane of glass feeling for the lock -- he opens the lock and then in the window Jackal appears.

    VOICE

    (from outside the door)

    Mr. Gerard! Mr. Gerard! Open up, Mr. Gerard -- open up.

    MR. JACKAL

    (at the window)

    It's very imprudent for a millionaire to sleep on the first floor without grills on his windows -- true, it gives on the pension of young girls -- but the sheep attract the wolves.

    (he jumps into the room)

    Here's a beautiful mess! Perhaps it is an effect of art.

    VOICE

    Mr. Gerard -- if you don't reply I am going to get the police.

    MR. JACKAL

    Go without wasting a moment. That's what you ought best to do.

    VOICE

    (frightened, going off)

    There's someone in Mr. Gerard's room. Help, police -- police!

    MR. JACKAL

    That's very good! One of the three men has separated himself. The one whose shoes I have in my pocket, he came with the ladder, leaned on it underneath the window, broke a pane and entered. Mr. Gerard slept or didn't sleep. The bed is made, but seems not to be in its place. Why isn't it in place? Oh -- because they moved it to force open the armoire which was behind it. Mr. Gerard heard a noise, he came in, he was overcome, since here is the desk forced open -- the drawer is empty.

    (seeing a spot on the floor and putting his handkerchief over it)

    That's clear. A piece of evidence. To the stationhouse.

    (while rummaging he spots the knife)

    What do I see shining under it? Oh -- oh -- here's something will put us on the man's track. "Lardereau to Valence." Near to the road to Toulon. Gibassier escaped from the galleys. It was his legs I saw at Brocanti's. These are his shoes in my pocket and this is his knife which I have in my hand. More evidence. To the stationhouse.

    (a noise is heard)

    God. They've come back.

    VOICE

    (outside)

    In the name of the law -- open.

    MR. JACKAL

    Nice voice? Who is Commissioner in Vanvres? It's Henry Bertin, one of my proteges. I am charmed to see that I used my protection so well.

    COMMISSIONER

    In the name of the law -- open.

    MR. JACKAL

    What the devil has become of Mr. Gerard in all this?

    (opening the door of the cabinet)

    Well -- there he is -- the assassin placed him here -- he put the key in his pocket and left by the door, locked it from outside and got to the street by the window on the street floor.

    (He goes to the cabinet; meanwhile the door is forced; the Commissioner rushes in the room with police; at this moment Mr. Jackal comes out of the cabinet pulling Mr. Gerard's body by the shoulder.)

    COMMISSIONER

    (pointing to Mr. Jackal)

    Arrest this man!

    MR. JACKAL

    Whom do you wish to arrest?

    COMMISSIONER

    You, by God.

    MR. JACKAL

    Ah, dear Mr. Henry, I had a high opinion of you and now you destroy it yourself.

    COMMISSIONER

    Mr. Jackal.

    ALL

    Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Let's see, help me to put this brave Mr. Gerard on his bed. I have to be at the prefects at eight o'clock and I want to know before I go if he is dead or alive. If he's not dead he's in very bad condition. Is there a doctor in the village?

    COMMISSIONER

    Yes, but I saw him leave this morning in his carriage.

    MR. JACKAL

    Then, as there is no time to lose, send for a priest.

    COMMISSIONER

    Today is Sunday, he is singing a mass at the chapel of Mr. Lamotte Houden. But I saw a monk on his way to Meudon, where two lovers asphyxiated themselves. I will go --

    MR. JACKAL

    No, not you.

    GENDARME

    I am going, sir.

    MR. JACKAL

    If you find a doctor in Meudon, bring him along.

    (The gendarme leaves.)

    MR. JACKAL

    There, now that you have seen all there is to see, my good friends, let's have some air. If Mr. Gerard is dead he doesn't need you here, if he's alive it's our business not yours.

    ASSISTANTS

    (slowly as they leave)

    Oh! Try to preserve him for us, Mr. Jackal, you don't know the good he has done in the country -- he is the father of the poor. We are going to pray to God for him.

    MR. JACKAL

    You will do well! Go, my friends, go. Watch the door and don't let anyone enter except the monk and the doctor --

    (the gendarmes leave -- to Commissioner)

    As for you -- take notes for your report.

    COMMISSIONER

    Do you want to dictate it to me?

    MR. JACKAL

    I don't have the time. I should already be on my way to Paris.

    (The Commissioner sets to work at a table.)

    COMMISSIONER

    Sunday, etc., etc.

    MR. JACKAL

    (about to leave)

    Hush! It seems to me that I heard a sigh. Come help me, Mr. Henry.

    (they listen to Gerard)

    Ah -- ah -- it appears he's calling us.

    GERARD

    Ah!

    MR. JACKAL

    Bravo! 7:10. I will spur the horse.

    (he takes a silver spoon from the glass on the desk)

    It appears the desk was well furnished; although made of silver, the little spoon was scorned.

    (He puts some drops of red liquor contained in a flask which he has about him, and helps Gerard to drink.)

    GERARD

    (returning to himself)

    Thanks, Mr. Thief, thanks.

    MR. JACKAL

    Honest, Mr. Gerard, it's not a case of a thief here but justice watching over you.

    GERARD

    (returning to himself)

    J--J--Justice?

    MR. JACKAL

    See how Justice reassures him! Relax, dear Mr. Gerard; we are old acquaintances, what the devil. I took your deposition after the murder at Viry sur Orge, which resulted in the indictment against Mr. Sarranti and caused him to be condemned to death as a thief and assassin.

    GERARD

    I have nothing to say except to a confessor.

    MR. JACKAL

    You are going to be served as you wish. I have sent for a priest and a doctor.

    GERARD

    Oh, the priest first, the priest first.

    (He falls back on his bed.)

    MR. JACKAL

    The devil! And I have to leave him. My dear Mr. Henry, I doubt that Mr. Gerard will revive, but if he does, do me the favor of watching him and informing me of his gestures and actions.

    COMMISSIONER

    Of the acts and gestures of the honest Mr. Gerard?

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, of the good Mr. Gerard.

    COMMISSIONER

    You have some intentions with regard to him then?

    MR. JACKAL

    Hush! I'm preparing a surprise for him. Don't breathe a word of it to him. Only if he is ill, make him drink a cup of this liquor; it will sustain him for a while; 7:15, luckily what I am bringing will excuse my delay. Goodbye.

    Mr. Henry! Goodbye.

    (An agent comes in.)

    AGENT

    From the prefect.

    MR. JACKAL

    From the prefect?

    AGENT

    Yes -- it seems it's about a grave concern, for he ordered me not to return without you.

    MR. JACKAL

    My, my, my -- here's something else! Mr. Sarranti has returned to France. I thought to arrest him the other day at Bordiers -- and he is coming to surrender himself. Does this imbecile of an honest man, who was all right in India, who could easily have stayed there, imagine he can return and purge his guilt? Poor devil -- I feel sorry for him!

    (to Agent)

    Come! Come! And you, dear Mr. Henry -- don't forget my instructions.

    (looking at Gerard)

    Decidedly, I wouldn't give them for nothing.

    (Jackal leaves with the agent.)

    GERARD

    (reopening his eyes)

    He is gone? This man frightens me! What is this letter he has received? I heard him pronounce the name of Sarranti. Oh -- how weak I am! Help! I am dying.

    COMMISSIONER

    What's wrong, dear Mr. Gerard?

    GERARD

    Mr. Henry Bertin. Do you think they can find a priest, sir?

    A POLICEMAN

    (entering)

    Pardon, excuse me, Mr. Commissioner -- it's the monk -- my partner and I met him on the way from Meudon and he sent us ahead, waiting for the doctor.

    GERARD

    (rising up)

    The monk! What monk?

    COMMISSIONER

    The Curé of Vanvres is away -- and since I knew that a monk was at Meudon, I sent for him. It seems they met him on the way.

    GERARD

    Then -- then this monk is a stranger to the country?

    (Enter Dominique.)

    DOMINIQUE

    (replying to Gerard's question)

    I've come from Rome where I have been received into orders by the hands of His Holiness himself.

    GERARD

    That's good. Coming from Rome perhaps you have great power. Closer, come closer, Father.

    DOMINIQUE

    Here I am.

    GERARD

    It seems to me you are very young.

    DOMINIQUE

    I am not offering myself, sir, I have been requested.

    GERARD

    I only mean that at your age, one has not perhaps meditated enough on the somber side of life to reply to the questions that I am going to put to you.

    DOMINIQUE

    All that I can reply to you, sir, is that if you question my faith, I will reply in faith, and if you question my spirit, well, I will reply spiritually.

    GERARD

    That's fine, Father. Gentlemen -- leave us.

    (Everyone leaves.)

    GERARD

    Sit down, Father, and come as close to me as possible. I am so weak that I can hardly speak.

    (Dominique sits.)

    GERARD

    Now, in the name of heaven -- don't be scandalized by what I tell you and especially promise me not to abandon me before I have told you all that I have to tell you.

    DOMINIQUE

    Speak with confidence, sir, I am listening.

    GERARD

    You know better than I, the dogmas of religion to which you are born -- tell me -- is there a case where the words of a dying man can be revealed by the confessor who has received them?

    DOMINIQUE

    I know of none, sir.

    GERARD

    So once you have received my confession, none could force you to make it public?

    DOMINIQUE

    Not by anyone in the world.

    GERARD

    Not even by a court, not even by a minister, not even by a King?

    DOMINIQUE

    Not even by the Vicar of God who sits at Rome.

    GERARD

    And what ought a priest to do who was placed between death and revealing a secret so confided to him?

    DOMINIQUE

    He must die.

    GERARD

    Then listen to me, Father, hear me.

    DOMINIQUE

    I am waiting.

    GERARD

    And I, I hesitate. It seems to me that I still have strength and that I can wait. Couldn't you return this evening -- or tomorrow?

    DOMINIQUE

    Impossible! For it is likely I will not only quit Paris, but France, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps tonight even. Never to return.

    GERARD

    (aside)

    He's leaving -- better him than someone else -- ah! Ah!

    DOMINIQUE

    What's wrong?

    GERARD

    Father, Father, I think I am going to die. Help me -- there on the table a flask. Be kind enough -- a sip of liquor which is in the flask.

    DOMINIQUE

    I understand.

    (he makes Gerard take a sip of the liquor)

    It's strange. It seems to me I know this man.

    GERARD

    Listen to me now. I am going to tell you everything succinctly as possible. I'm afraid I won't be able to finish.

    DOMINIQUE

    (sitting)

    Speak, I am listening.

    GERARD

    I was living in the country a few leagues from Paris. I lived with a woman thirty years of age -- beautiful -- too beautiful for my good. She was born in the mountains of the Pyrenees. She had a bitter and obstinate will, and she had brought me her under her will! My brother, who had left for India, left me with his two children, a boy and a girl -- had recommended one of his friends as their tutor -- a Corsican.

    (Dominique passes successively from curiosity to interest and from interest to terror)

    My brother died.

    DOMINIQUE

    The place you lived -- was it called Viry sur Orge?

    GERARD

    Yes.

    DOMINIQUE

    Weren't the children called Victor and Leonie?

    GERARD

    Those were their names.

    DOMINIQUE

    Oh! I recognize you, now, although I only saw you once before while I was suffering severe pain. You are Mr. Gerard.

    GERARD

    Yes but you -- who are you?

    DOMINIQUE

    Don't you recognize me?

    GERARD

    No!

    DOMINIQUE

    Have a good look!

    GERARD

    Who are you, in the name of heaven?

    DOMINIQUE

    I am Dominique Sarranti!

    GERARD

    Oh!

    DOMINIQUE

    I am the son of Phillippe Sarranti, who you accused of murder and theft and who was, by your action, condemned to death, while I was finishing my novitiate.

    GERARD

    My God! My God!

    DOMINIQUE

    You see well how you would betray yourself if I listen any longer to your confession; because instead of listening with the charity of a priest and the pardon of a Christian, I would listen with the hate of a son whose father you have dishonored and consequently with a curse in his heart.

    (He goes quickly to the door.)

    GERARD

    No, no, no! Stay -- to the contrary, stay -- it is Providence which has sent you. Stay! It is God who will permit me before dying to repair the harm I have done.

    DOMINIQUE

    You want that? Take care! I ask nothing better than to stay -- it took a superhuman effort on my part to tell you who I was and not to abuse the luck that brought me near you.

    GERARD

    No, not luck, but Providence, my brother, Providence. Oh, far from fleeing you, far from fearing you, I had been, before dying, I would have been on top of the world if I'd known how to find you. You here -- listen to me, but no, I feel, I won't have the strength to tell you the horrible deed.

    DOMINIQUE

    But my father? My father?

    GERARD

    Well, one of the children was killed by me, the other --

    DOMINIQUE

    My father, I tell you?

    GERARD

    But don't you see I am dying?

    DOMINIQUE

    Oh -- don't die, wretch -- I need the innocence of my father.

    GERARD

    Yes, your father is innocent.

    DOMINIQUE

    I knew it -- and yet, I might see him die on the scaffold without the power to save him, for despite the admission you have made to me, sir, as the admission is in confession, I cannot reveal it, and the accusation continues to weigh eternally on the head of my father -- oh, sir, you are indeed infamous!

    GERARD

    But am I not dying? Do you think that if I didn't feel the mortal wound the horrible secret would ever leave my mouth?

    DOMINIQUE

    But, you dead, will I be permitted to reveal it?

    GERARD

    All, father, all -- didn't I thank Heaven for bringing you to my bed?

    DOMINIQUE

    But who will believe the declaration of a son in favor of his father?

    GERARD

    Wait -- there -- there in -- the thickness of the wall a secret armoire. Follow the molding of the door. There -- you are there. Push! Do you see a manuscript found in three seals?

    DOMINIQUE

    A manuscript. Here it is! Here it is!

    (reading)

    Here is my confession before god and man -- not to be made public before my death -- signed, Gerard.

    GERARD

    That paper contains word-for-word the story of my weakness; for now it is forbidden to you to reveal it in all its details, but after my death, I relieve you of the secret of the confessional.

    DOMINIQUE

    It will be according to your wish -- I swear it before God!

    GERARD

    You see, I succumb to emotion; won't you console me with some words of hope?

    DOMINIQUE

    Sir, perhaps, you need a more powerful intercession before the Lord than mine. But as for me, I pardon you. Now God willingly ratifies the pardon, that as a priest I beg him to cause to descend on your head.

    GERARD

    (in a voice almost unintelligible)

    And now, what does there remain for me to do?

    DOMINIQUE

    Pray.

    (He goes out.)

    GERARD

    (alone)

    Lord! Lord! Have pity on me! Lord! Lord! Receive me in your mercy!

    A SERVANT

    (introducing Ludovic)

    Now, sir, you can enter, the priest is gone.

    LUDOVIC

    It's against custom -- after the doctor, the priest -- while today, after the priest, the doctor. Let's hope all this portends well for you, Mr. Gerard.

    GERARD

    (in a weak voice)

    Who's calling me.

    LUDOVIC

    Eh! The voice is not wheezing. Are you spitting blood?

    (Gerard makes a negative sign)

    LUDOVIC

    Nothing in the lungs consequently. Lividity -- from the enormous quantity of blood lost. Let's see the eye. Look at me! A little distraction caused by terror! The wounds now.

    GERARD

    Great God -- if I am not going to die!

    LUDOVIC

    Eh! Eh! I've seen far worse!

    GERARD

    Oh! The monk! The monk! Run after the monk! Bring him back! No --

    (weakening)

    If --

    (fainting)

    This time I am dying.

    LUDOVIC

    Well -- this is a singular illness. You might say he was terrified of being cured!

    (curtain)

    ACT IV

    Scene vii

    The Park at Viry seen at night. To the left the chateau cut away. The lake is seen shining brightly through the trees.

    (Salvator and others come from the wall at right.)

    SALVATOR

    Come on, let's go Roland!

    (Roland jumps over the wall, after Roland, Salvator appears at the top of the wall)

    Very good, Roland.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (from the other side of the wall)

    Well? What do you see, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    A great park and at the back a sort of chateau.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (showing his head)

    And no one?

    SALVATOR

    No one.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    You are sure?

    SALVATOR

    Roland is barking.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    It's very true -- only watch out for a trap.

    SALVATOR

    Come down, and tell Sac a Platre to come down in his turn.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Well -- he isn't up here yet. Come on -- slow poke.

    (he takes Sac a Platre by the collar and passes him over the wall)

    There. That does it. My turn.

    (He jumps.)

    SALVATOR

    Come here, Roland.

    (The dog and the three men group around a tree.)

    SAC A PLATRE

    (in a half voice)

    But, say Mr. Salvator, I recognize this place.

    SALVATOR

    You!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    There's nothing surprising in that, he's from the country.

    SAC A PLATRE

    Not at all. I am from Savigny -- but that means nothing.

    SALVATOR

    Well, where are we?

    SAC A PLATRE

    We are in the Park of the Chateau Viry. I was there several times for Mr. Gerard -- I worked for him -- poor dear man.

    SALVATOR

    For Mr. Gerard, you said?

    SAC A PLATRE

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    And near Mr. Gerard, did you know a woman named Orsola?

    SAC A PLATRE

    I should say so! She was his mistress. He was going to marry her when the famous catastrophe took place.

    SALVATOR

    What catastrophe?

    SAC A PLATRE

    That of the children killed -- hold, the poor children, I can still see them playing on the lawn. The little boy was called Victor and the little girl, Leonie.

    SALVATOR

    They are the two children Mr. Sarranti was accused of having killed. Mr. Sarranti was condemned to death in absentia, returned to France and yesterday, unable to endure the infamous accusation which weighed on him, surrendered himself to the authorities. Now, listen here, you who are honest men, instead of submitting him to a jury which would have acquitted him he was deferred here to a military court; in twenty-four hours he will be sentenced; in forty-eight hours executed unless we find proof of his innocence. This proof at all hazards, I've come to look for here. I am going to tell you briefly what hope leads me here. You both know Rose Noel, don't you?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    The little gypsy.

    SAC A PLATRE

    I should say we know here.

    SALVATOR

    Well, Roland and she know each other, too, and my conviction is that Roland played his role in the terrible drama in the month of May 1820, and that Rose Noel is one of the two children Mr. Sarranti is accused of having killed.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    That would be a providence.

    SALVATOR

    Through misfortune, Rose Noel whom I wish to question, was kidnapped on the day after we put her in pension at Vanvres, and by another misfortune I was not able to follow her ravisher. Well, this morning, I said to myself, "Let's use Roland's intelligence and the courage of my good friends of Jean Taureau and Sac a Platre." I brought you to the place where I had found Roland and said to him, "Find!" and he led us to the foot of this wall, which he tried to scale. Here we are on the other side of the wall. Sac a Platre recognizes the garden of this chateau. It was the chateau inhabited by Orsola and Mr. Gerard, meaning the two persons whose names made Rose Noel faint. Roland recognized it, too, since he absolutely wants me to leave to let him search. Now what are we going to see? What are we going to find? There's something profoundly funereal in the aspect of all we see. I would be very surprised if some horrible crime wasn't committed here, in fact, the shadow is darker here than elsewhere. The light is weaker than elsewhere -- never mind! Let's continue to seek the cause of all this.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Silence -- it seems to me I heard the step of a horse.

    SAC A PLATRE

    He's passing by the foot of this wall which leads to the side of the chateau.

    SALVATOR

    Don't budge, Roland!

    (approaching the wall)

    Come here, Jean Taureau.

    (Jean Taureau leans on the wall and holds the short ladder for Salvator, who goes up with his hands -- and looks over the wall.)

    Loredan de Valgeneuse! The ravisher of Rose Noel -- what the devil is my dear cousin doing here?

    (he comes back down pensively)

    Where is Sac a Platre?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    I saw him glide down that alley. He wanted to hear or see something.

    SALVATOR

    Nothing upsetting in any case, since Roland didn't budge.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Wait.

    (he goes down the alley and makes a sign to Salvator not to budge)

    Here's someone coming.

    SAC A PLATRE

    I heard the noise of a carriage.

    SALVATOR

    Well?

    SAC A PLATRE

    It stopped at the gate. The gate opened. Two women got out and went into the chateau.

    SALVATOR

    The windows are lighting up.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    The devil! This may hinder our investigation.

    SALVATOR

    It isn't like at this time of night they will go for a walk in the garden. Never mind. Where is your carriage?

    SAC A PLATRE

    A hundred feet from here -- under the Godeau bridge, guarded by Toussaint.

    SALVATOR

    You have some ropes?

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    Your masks?

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    You are convinced what we are doing is right?

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    And whatever I order you to do, you are disposed to obey me?

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    Blindly!

    SALVATOR

    Then in God's care! -- let's get Pirolet -- wait, what's Roland doing?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    He's scratching the earth, there, behind this bush at the foot of the tree.

    SAC A PLATRE

    He's whining.

    SALVATOR

    What's wrong my good Roland?

    (Roland scratches harder)

    Hunt, my dog, hunt!

    (calling)

    Sac a Platre.

    (Sac a Platre approaches.)

    SALVATOR

    The other child was a little boy, right?

    SAC A PLATRE

    Yes -- his name was Victor.

    SALVATOR

    You've never mentioned that they found his body.

    SAC A PLATRE

    No, Mr. Salvator, the authorities have not yet found his body.

    SALVATOR

    Well -- we are luckier. The cadaver is there. Come Roland! Roland come.

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Mr. Salvator -- I am a man who never fears anybody. Well, word of Jean Taureau, I am trembling like a child.

    SALVATOR

    Why not? I am trembling, too.

    (noise of a scream)

    What is this again?

    JEAN TAUREAU

    Some one screamed.

    SAC A PLATRE

    A woman!

    ROSE NOEL

    (in the distance)

    Help -- help -- help!

    SALVATOR

    It's Rose Noel's voice!

    ROSE NOEL

    Help -- come to me! I am dying!

    SALVATOR

    Rose, come to me! This way. Hold Roland, you two --

    (the two men restrain Roland by his collar)

    This way, Rose, it's me, Salvator!

    ROSE NOEL

    (entering, pale, out of breath)

    Salvator, my friend! Help me, protect me! Save me!

    SALVATOR

    From whom? From what? I will defend you against whoever you wish.

    ROSE NOEL

    Mr. Gerard! My father! Orsola! They brought me to this cursed house. Save me! Save me!

    VOICE OF LOREDAN

    Rose! Dear Rose! What's wrong with you? Don't you know that I love you and that I respect you?

    ROSE NOEL

    He's coming! He's coming! Where can I hide?

    SALVATOR

    It's him, it's Loredan! Fear nothing!

    (to Sac a Platre and Jean Taureau)

    Hold Roland! Put on your masks. Get the rope ready. And obey me as you promised to do.

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    We are ready.

    SALVATOR

    Have no fear, Rose.

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh! Near you, I fear nothing.

    LOREDAN

    (hunting for Rose)

    Rose Noel! My dear Rose! Where are you?

    SALVATOR

    Over here, sir!

    LOREDAN

    Salvator! What have you come here for?

    SALVATOR

    You see, sir, I am come to look for Rose Noel who you carried off.

    LOREDAN

    I find you here in a garden, which is my property, you have climbed the walls like a bandit. I will treat you like a bandit.

    (He draws a pistol from his pocket and intends to fire on Salvator. Rose Noel covers him with her body.)

    SALVATOR

    And I, I treat you as a madman. Take this man.

    (Jean Taureau and Sac a Platre hurl themselves on him.)

    SALVATOR

    Gag him!

    SALVATOR

    Tie him! Is it done?

    SAC A PLATRE and JEAN TAUREAU

    Yes.

    LOREDAN

    Oh! You wretch!

    SALVATOR

    In the house you know, near the Cour de France, you will hide the gentlemen from sight for forty-eight hours and not let him leave. There are provisions there for three days. Go!

    JEAN TAUREAU

    (putting Loredan on his shoulder)

    Come, my dear, sir.

    (Sac a Platre and Jean Taureau go over the wall carrying Loredan.)

    ROSE NOEL

    Salvator!

    SALVATOR

    Dear child!

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh, my God, how did you get here? Who brought you here?

    SALVATOR

    Providence! A miracle! God who doesn't want the innocent to be punished instead of the guilty. But let's not waste time. It's my job to ask the questions and yours to reply.

    ROSE NOEL

    Ask -- I will tell you everything, everything.

    SALVATOR

    Hear, in my breast, in my arms, you have no fear, right?

    ROSE NOEL

    No, and I am very happy!

    SALVATOR

    It was here in this house you were brought up, right?

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes, with my poor brother.

    SALVATOR

    You are the niece of Mr. Gerard?

    ROSE NOEL

    (trembling)

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    Don't be afraid! Don't tremble! You have nothing to fear now. He had a housekeeper named Orsola? I told you not to be afraid.

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    Well, now, on May 20th, 1820, what happened?

    ROSE NOEL

    Hold me to you, Salvator!

    SALVATOR

    Speak, child. On each of your trembling words hangs the life of a man. You remember everything, right?

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh, I do indeed. I don't think what happened in the afternoon would have happened but for a letter brought earlier.

    SALVATOR

    It announced the death of your father.

    ROSE NOEL

    Towards four o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Sarranti returned, very pale, very agitated. He spoke for a short while with Mr. Gerard, then got on his horse with Jean, and both of them left at a gallop.

    SALVATOR

    Because he stole a hundred thousand shillings and murdered your brother?

    ROSE NOEL

    Not for that! Others did it.

    SALVATOR

    Gerard and Orsola?

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    (turning his eyes to heaven)

    I knew it! Continue.

    ROSE NOEL

    We had dinner, Victor and me on the terrace, then they sent the gardener to Morsang! After dinner, Mr. Gerard took his rifle and led my brother to hunt.

    SALVATOR

    Continue --

    ROSE NOEL

    I really wanted to go with him. I was afraid to stay alone with Orsola, for I had seen her place a knife on the table.

    SALVATOR

    I am listening.

    ROSE NOEL

    She led me off by force. I was afraid; I cried. And then passing in front of a window that gave on the lake.

    SALVATOR

    Courage. Go on!

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh it was so terrible I can see it.

    SALVATOR

    You see Mr. Gerard, who was drowning your brother, right?

    ROSE NOEL

    (eyes fixed as if she were seeing it again)

    Yes! Yes! There! I called for help and at the same time, I felt a wound in my throat, I was blinded by my blood. I called Bresil. Bresil by good luck broke his chain and ran, he got in, I don't know how -- coming through the door, he leapt for Orsola's throat, who in her turn uttered a scream. I felt her hands release me. I escaped. The park's gate was closed. I got through a hole.

    SALVATOR

    The same without doubt which Roland passed through?

    ROSE NOEL

    I ran, I ran, I was mad with terror. I must have run two or three leagues. Then I stopped at a great highway where a carriage had stopped. It was that of Brocanti. She saw me, covered with blood -- nearly fainting, dying, I cried to her "Hide me -- hide me." She hid me in her carriage. You know the rest, right?

    SALVATOR

    Right up to the day you were kidnapped by Mr. de Valgeneuse. Now, I understand your joy and astonishment, in meeting Roland or rather Bresil, your emotion at the name of the Mr. Sarranti, your fright at those of Mr. Gerard and Orsola. Only, you have to tell me how you got here.

    ROSE NOEL

    I myself hardly know. The night I was kidnapped I came down with a fever and was delirious. Mr. Loredan was obliged to stop in a town, I don't know where -- when I came to myself, it was his sister who was near my bed.

    SALVATOR

    Suzanne?

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes -- she told me I had nothing to fear from her brother, that I had to pardon the violence of the passion which I had inspired in him. That he didn't want to make me his mistress but his wife. I replied to her that wife or mistress, I would never belong to him. Mr. de Valgeneuse had never come back to see me -- only each day his sister received a letter which she read to me, which was full of his passion for me. Succumbing to fatigue believing they had taken me far from Paris, I was sleeping when the carriage stopped at the door of the chateau. I got up, hardly awake, and they left me in a room. At first I did not recognize this room, the furnishings were different. I found myself in the midst of an elegance which was unfamiliar to me. But little by little, my memories returned and with them, an unspeakable terror. I was in a house of murder! After seven years, chance fatally brought me back to the same place I had left. I opened the door and I recognized the room where Orsola tried to murder me and was herself killed. I opened the window and I recognized the lake where my poor brother perished. It was in this moving moment that another door opened and Mr. de Valgeneuse appeared. Then it was more than fear, terror, fright -- it was madness. I rose to the heights, screaming "Help, help!" You heard me. Your voice guided me -- I came to you -- I hurled myself in your arms -- ! Now, you are here, I don't fear anyone. What is there to say -- ? What is to be done? Where must one go? My dear savior, I will listen to you and obey you.

    SALVATOR

    Oh -- my beloved child -- an atheist who heard your story would be forced to fall to his knees and say "My God! I believe you." But you said, I think that Miss Suzanne de Valgeneuse accompanied you?

    ROSE NOEL

    Yes.

    SALVATOR

    Where is she?

    ROSE NOEL

    (pointing to the chateau)

    She is there.

    SALVATOR

    That's good. I have a score to settle with her. I am going there.

    ROSE NOEL

    And me?

    SALVATOR

    You are going to stay here.

    ROSE NOEL

    I would never dare.

    SALVATOR

    And if I give you a guardian as sure as myself?

    ROSE NOEL

    Who?

    SALVATOR

    Bresil.

    ROSE NOEL

    Where is he?

    SALVATOR

    There.

    ROSE NOEL

    Bresil?

    SALVATOR

    (excitedly)

    Don't go. Sit there at the foot of this tree -- Bresil!

    ROSE NOEL

    Bresil!

    (Bresil comes slowly.)

    SALVATOR

    Bresil. Protect Leonie, and think that you will answer to me for her.

    (The dog lies at her feet head on her knees.)

    SALVATOR

    Wait for me -- both of you -- innocence and fidelity, under the protection of the Lord.

    ROSE NOEL

    (arms toward him)

    Salvator!

    SALVATOR

    I will return or I will call you.

    ROSE NOEL

    And we will wait.

    (Salvator goes. Rose Noel leans her head on the dog.)

    (curtain)

    Scene viii

    Same as in Prologue only the furnishings and tapestries are new.

    SUZANNE

    (on the balcony, alone)

    I see nothing. I hear nothing. Decidedly nothing will tame this little savage! But I hope Loredan won't fail. It's well worth the trouble. A fortune of four or five millions! For certain, this little girl is in love with someone. Who could she love? An individual of her class -- some gypsy. Ah, I hear some steps. Is it you, my brother?

    SALVATOR

    (enters)

    No, it's me, cousin.

    SUZANNE

    Mr. Salvator!

    SALVATOR

    Say Conrad! Didn't we recognize each other at Petrus' studio at first glance?

    SUZANNE

    I thought you were dead, sir!

    SALVATOR

    In effect, I am.

    SUZANNE

    Then I'm having business with a ghost.

    SALVATOR

    Or something like.

    SUZANNE

    How I detest enigmas and love plain talk. Who are you? What do you want?

    SALVATOR

    I am a man who has believed for a long time that you had a heart, Suzanne, and who believing this, loved you madly.

    SUZANNE

    And did you rise from the grave to tell me that?

    SALVATOR

    No, I tell you this in passing -- something that is in the past.

    SUZANNE

    Then, you no longer love me?

    SALVATOR

    I have that happiness. You ask me who I am and what I want. I came here precisely to tell you that.

    SUZANNE

    Will it be that long?

    SALVATOR

    Long enough for you to take a seat if you are afraid of tiring yourself.

    SUZANNE

    And you?

    SALVATOR

    I'll stand up, if you like.

    SUZANNE

    This story ought to be curious.

    SALVATOR

    And full of interest, I swear to you.

    SUZANNE

    For me?

    SALVATOR

    Especially for you.

    SUZANNE

    Even if, following the example you have given me, I no longer love you?

    SALVATOR

    You will always love your fortune and your position, two things which only I can take from you.

    SUZANNE

    You can take away my fortune and my position? Ridiculous!

    SALVATOR

    You will permit me to prove it to you?

    SUZANNE

    By all means!

    SALVATOR

    I am the natural son of the Marquis de Valgeneuse.

    SUZANNE

    The biological son -- but not recognized.

    SALVATOR

    Unfortunately for you.

    SUZANNE

    Why's that?

    SALVATOR

    As a natural son, he could not leave me, if I was recognized, more than a fifth of his fortune. As nonrecognized, he could leave me everything.

    SUZANNE

    By will.

    SALVATOR

    You understand.

    SUZANNE

    With much more facility, but he left no will.

    SALVATOR

    He left no will?

    SUZANNE

    No.

    SALVATOR

    The rumor is he had two. One which he dictated to his notary, Mr. Barrateau, and one which was shut in his desk.

    SUZANNE

    As I recall, neither one was found.

    SALVATOR

    In this manner, my father dying intestate, his fortune went to your father and consequently to you.

    SUZANNE

    At which time, my father offered you an income of six thousand francs.

    SALVATOR

    Which I refused.

    SUZANNE

    With a dignity that everyone admired.

    SALVATOR

    Yes, but what I supported with less dignity than the loss of my fortune was the loss of your love. Without you, who for more than two years I regarded as my life's companion, life appeared to me impossible. I decided to kill myself.

    SUZANNE

    I am pleased to see you gave up that resolution.

    SALVATOR

    Not completely, since, not being killed, I am no less dead because of it.

    SUZANNE

    Now that you will have to explain to me.

    SALVATOR

    I am going to do it briefly. I went to buy the ammunition necessary to blow my brains out. Good fortune caused me to pass before St. Roch, and the idea came to me to address one last prayer to God. A monk was preaching against suicide. In the midst of a number of listeners, an errand-boy listened to the monk. At this monk's words, I felt remorse born in my heart, and ready to die, I resolved to live in another form. I was without any resources. I knew no job nor trade -- I must live by my own strength. I questioned the errand-boy and what he told me of his job pleased me. Only, so that I could break with my old friends, all the world must believe me dead. I had often studied anatomy at the Hotel Dieu, I said I wanted to study a body at home -- I got a medic that I knew to let me have a subject -- I hid it in my bed -- I wrote a letter in which I declared I had decided to kill myself -- and I asked those who found my body not to accuse anyone of my death and I discharged my pistol in the face of the one I wanted buried in my place. All happened as I planned; a doctor attested to my suicide, and seated on my errand-boy's cushions I watched my own funeral.

    SUZANNE

    And I had the naivety to cry for you with hot tears.

    SALVATOR

    You are very kind.

    SUZANNE

    But all that tells me nothing to the point, dear cousin; how you can dispossess me of my fortune and my position?

    SALVATOR

    Do you believe in Providence, my beautiful cousin?

    SUZANNE

    I have my days.

    SALVATOR

    Well, I am going to tell you a little anecdote which will make you understand why I believe it.

    SUZANNE

    Speak! You have no idea the interest with which I am listening to you.

    SALVATOR

    Well, listen to what I am going to tell you then, and don't let a word escape you. One day when I was practicing my business as errand-boy, I took a letter to a merchant of bric-a-brac in the Rue de la Paix, and while waiting for a response to my letter, I looked over his old boxes and saw an old desk of rosewood which struck me as familiar and I recognized a little desk which once belonged to my father.

    SUZANNE

    You mean to say to the Marquis de Valgeneuse.

    SALVATOR

    Excuse me, I always make that mistake -- it's only habit. A sort of filial piety caused me to purchase this furniture and it cost me twice what it is worth, but as I had had a good day's work, I bought it and brought it home where I amused myself by looking it over very carefully. I recalled then that there was a double bottomed drawer, but this secret was very well hidden, something I learned from my father, excuse me, the Marquis. Well, I found the opening and the drawer opened -- can you imagine what I found?

    SUZANNE

    How do you expect me to imagine that?

    SALVATOR

    You're right -- well I found the copy of the will made by Mr. Barrateau which had been lost and vainly searched for -- and whose loss was the cause of my ruin and your fortune.

    SUZANNE

    (stupefied)

    You found it again?

    SALVATOR

    Oh! My God, yes, that will.

    SUZANNE

    How long ago was it?

    SALVATOR

    A year -- a little more.

    SUZANNE

    This is impossible.

    SALVATOR

    And why?

    SUZANNE

    In a year, you'd have had your rights evaluated.

    SALVATOR

    To what good?

    SUZANNE

    Well, if only, not to stay an errand-boy all your life.

    SALVATOR

    I love my job.

    SUZANNE

    What! You prefer to carry letters for ten sous and packages for twenty, than to have a two hundred thousand francs income?

    SALVATOR

    I don't just carry letter and packages.

    SUZANNE

    What do you do then?

    SALVATOR

    A host of other things which amuse me. As for example at this moment.

    SUZANNE

    Well?

    SALVATOR

    I am recovering a young woman that your brother carried off.

    SUZANNE

    Ah!

    SALVATOR

    And whom I have taken back from him.

    SUZANNE

    From my brother?

    SALVATOR

    From your brother.

    SUZANNE

    From Loredan?

    SALVATOR

    From Loredan.

    SUZANNE

    And he let you do it so easily?

    SALVATOR

    No, oh, he drew a gun on me.

    SUZANNE

    And --

    SALVATOR

    And he lost.

    SUZANNE

    Come on!

    SALVATOR

    You always disbelieve what I tell you.

    SUZANNE

    Certainly, I doubt it.

    SALVATOR

    (opening the window)

    Well -- look -- there -- down there at the foot of the tree. In the ray of moonlight. Do you see Rose Noel with Bresil who is guarding her?

    SUZANNE

    Where is my brother?

    SALVATOR

    He is --

    (laughing)

    He is where I put those I don't want to disturb me.

    SUZANNE

    And you are not afraid to attack us this way?

    SALVATOR

    Since I found the will, I've become very audacious!

    SUZANNE

    (after a moment of silent rage)

    I would really like to see this will!

    SALVATOR

    Could it really be true you have this desire?

    SUZANNE

    Very seriously.

    SALVATOR

    Oh dear cousin, it will never be said that on the day I had the good fortune to find you again, you had a desire which I could fulfill and did not.

    SUZANNE

    You have this will on you?

    SALVATOR

    A will worth four million is worth keeping about -- especially when it has been lost for nearly two years.

    (he pulls a portfolio from his pocket)

    You know the Marquis' handwriting, right, dear cousin?

    SUZANNE

    Without doubt, I know it.

    SALVATOR

    (putting the paper before her eyes)

    Well look: "This is my Last Will and Testament written in my own handwriting, a copy of which is in the possession of Mr. Barrateau, notary, Rue de Bac No. 31 -- signed by Marquis de Valgeneuse."

    SUZANNE

    And you've shown this paper to Loredan?

    SALVATOR

    Oh! No! I reserved it first for you. I don't know if this attention will please your brother, dear cousin, but I can give you my word of honor that you are the first person who has seen it -- after me.

    SUZANNE

    And to what end do you show it to me?

    SALVATOR

    Only to make you understand that you have all sorts of reasons to be nice to me. That is, of course, dear cousin, to be set down to revenge.

    SUZANNE

    And your desire to be nice to me goes to the point of--

    SALVATOR

    Goes to assure that something is happening -- if you do me the services I have come to ask you -- goes to assure you of a million under this will.

    SUZANNE

    And, if not?

    SALVATOR

    And if not, I will take the value of the will in its entirety, and keep the four million for myself. But, believe it, from a friend, accept the million and do me the service.

    SUZANNE

    What is my guaranty?

    SALVATOR

    My word of honor.

    SUZANNE

    What are you doing?

    SALVATOR

    I see that you accept.

    SUZANNE

    And then?

    SALVATOR

    (ringing)

    And now, I am ringing.

    SUZANNE

    Why?

    SALVATOR

    To put the horses to the carriage.

    A SERVANT

    (entering)

    Madame rang?

    SUZANNE

    Yes. Harness up!

    (Servant leaves)

    Where am I going?

    SALVATOR

    To Paris.

    SUZANNE

    And at Paris, what will I do?

    SALVATOR

    You will go to the prefect of police and request a promotion for Mr. Jackal.

    SUZANNE

    Why the promotion of Mr. Jackal? I thought he was your enemy?

    SALVATOR

    That's exactly the way I deal with my enemies. To one I give a million, to the other advancement. Only, this promotion must be given to Mr. Jackal by noon tomorrow and he must leave Paris by two o'clock. Have you something against Mr. Jackal, my beautiful cousin?

    SUZANNE

    On the contrary, he rendered my brother and myself a service at Madame Desmarest's, which I must reward, in supposing his intention be taken for fact, but it astonishes me you pay a million for a service I would have done for nothing.

    SALVATOR

    It was the only way I had of offering it to you.

    SERVANT

    (returning)

    Madame's carriage is ready.

    (Suzanne takes a step to the door but returns, looking fixedly at Salvator.)

    SUZANNE

    So, you no longer love me, Conrad?

    SALVATOR

    (laughing)

    Oh, dear cousin, how can you ask such a question of a man who blew out his brains for you?

    SUZANNE

    Decidedly, I was stupid, Mr. Jackal will have his promotion before noon tomorrow.

    SALVATOR

    And you, dear cousin, you will have your million on the day you marry.

    SUZANNE

    Goodbye, cousin.

    (Suzanne leaves.)

    SALVATOR

    (alone)

    She's a very intelligent woman, my cousin de Valgeneuse, but I doubt she will ever make her husband happy. She's gone. Bon Voyage! Now let's call Rose Noel.

    (opens window)

    Rose! Rose! Come my child.

    ROSE NOEL

    (outside)

    Here we are! Come, Bresil! Come!

    SALVATOR

    Poor child. I understand what fear she must have had. For her, this house is full of ghosts.

    (pointing to the room in which Orsola had been killed)

    Here, Orsola's --

    (pointing to the lake)

    There that of her brother. If she had known down there that she was sitting ten paces from the ditch where little Victor was -- here she is.

    ROSE NOEL

    Bresil -- come, Bresil -- don't leave me.

    SALVATOR

    Rest easy, my child. Neither Bresil nor I will ever leave you again.

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh -- then I will be very happy.

    SALVATOR

    But you must be brave. You mustn't let these terrors prevent the truth from leaving your mouth. What you told me -- that Mr. Gerard was guilty and Mr. Sarranti innocent. It must be said again, publicly to the whole world. What you told me of the murder your brother by his uncle and of your murder by Orsola -- it must be repeated to the justices. The justices, you see, are delegates of the Lord on earth and you cannot lie to God's judges.

    ROSE NOEL

    Oh, I will never lie, I will be courageous, I will tell everything, I will tell all. Besides, I know that you are there to help me, to encourage me, to protect me. With you, near to you, and even far from you, now that I have found you, I fear nothing.

    SALVATOR

    Come, I have a sure place to hide you.

    (Mr. Jackal appears.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Why hide the young lady -- doesn't she have a natural protector in Mr. Gerard, her uncle?

    SALVATOR

    Mr. Jackal.

    ROSE NOEL

    What is this man talking about, my good friend?

    MR. JACKAL

    I am saying, Miss, that you owe thanks to Mr. Salvator for the trouble he has taken to get you from your ravisher, Mr. Loredan de Valgeneuse, but you see, he got here a few minutes ahead of me. Would you please follow me?

    ROSE NOEL

    But I don't wish to leave Mr. Salvator. I don't want to! I don't want to!

    (She hugs Salvator.)

    MR. JACKAL

    Mr. Salvator, be good enough to make this child understand, since she appears to me to have the greatest confidence in you, that as neither her husband nor her brother, nor her relative, you can not claim the right to protect her. That right belongs to her nearest relative after her father, that right belongs to her uncle, Mr. Gerard. Come Miss!

    ROSE NOEL

    Never! Never! Help me, Salvator, help me!

    MR. JACKAL

    The law does not discuss, Miss, it demands, and you have in Mr. Salvator a very wise advisor who will tell you to obey it without delay or rebellion.

    SALVATOR

    (to Jackal)

    Mr. Jackal, are you the bearer of a decree which orders the young lady to be returned to the hands of her uncle?

    MR. JACKAL

    Here it is, Mr. Salvator.

    SALVATOR

    (after having glanced at the paper)

    Obey, my child! But fear nothing, I watch over you and were you in the claws of Satan, by the living God, I will tear you from them.

    (curtain)

    ACT V

    Scene ix

    Gerard's room -- same decorations as Scene vi.

    (At the rise, Gerard is occupied arranging sacks of gold in a suitcase. Someone knocks at the door. He shuts the suitcase and the door of the hiding place.)

    GERARD

    Who is it?

    LUDOVIC

    (outside)

    Me, the doctor.

    GERARD

    Come in, dear Mr. Ludovic.

    LUDOVIC

    On your feet! And opening the door by yourself. Do you know you are sound without looking so? Without doubt, as I told you the first day I saw you, when you were apparently in so much pain. It wasn't a serious wound, but you had lost a devilish lot of blood. It's true that with good bouillon and roast beef, the blood would come back rapidly. How many days since your accident took place?

    GERARD

    Nine days today.

    LUDOVIC

    Well, at the end of nine days, it's fine! Continue and if you wish to follow my advice in two or three weeks, you will take a little trip which will put you completely right.

    GERARD

    I was just about to leave, my dear, sir, when this horrible misfortune happened to me -- and I have my passport ready to travel.

    LUDOVIC

    Go to Italy, then Mr. Gerard, go to Italy. Is there nothing to keep you in Paris?

    GERARD

    Nothing.

    LUDOVIC

    No children?

    GERARD

    No children.

    LUDOVIC

    No nieces? No nephews?

    GERARD

    No.

    LUDOVIC

    Millionaire?

    GERARD

    People say so, but --

    LUDOVIC

    You, you needn't hide anything from me, it is not my fees that will ruin you. One hundred sous per visit, it's a nice price and still if you find it too expensive, I won't come back. At present, you are cured, my dear sir. Only, don't forget you won't always have such luck.

    GERARD

    On the contrary, come back, come back, as much as you like. No, your visits not only cure me, they make me feel good.

    LUDOVIC

    The Devil! Don't go around saying that; you will do me harm. A feel-good doctor cannot be a serious physician. And now, by my word, I am going to leave you in good company. Here's Mr. Jackal, who is probably coming to tell you he has caught your assailant. It's all the same, but it must pain you when you read, as was said in the papers, that you were dead. Mr. Jackal, you know that I am one of your admirers.

    MR. JACKAL

    I return the compliment, sir, for you have accomplished a magnificent cure you know.

    LUDOVIC

    (joking)

    Have you found the woman?

    MR. JACKAL

    If she has not been found, she will be.

    LUDOVIC

    Let's hope so!

    (He leaves singing.)

    MR. JACKAL

    You have a charming doctor there, Mr. Gerard.

    GERARD

    Yes, and I told him just now I am always happier after he leaves me.

    MR. JACKAL

    Well, I bring you news which will make you happier still.

    GERARD

    Really?

    MR. JACKAL

    But take the trouble to have a seat, you are still weak.

    (Gerard sits)

    Since I've known you, dear Mr. Gerard, I have noticed in you a bit of sadness, melancholy and taciturnity.

    GERARD

    The fact is I'm not gay.

    MR. JACKAL

    I said to myself, "There's no sadness without some reason."

    (Gerard sighs)

    Well, what makes this brave Mr. Gerard sad is the death of his nephew, Victor, and the disappearance of his niece, Leonie. His nephew one cannot bring back to him, but his niece can be found again.

    GERARD

    (shaking his head)

    I have done all I could to achieve this result and I have not succeeded.

    MR. JACKAL

    Because you do not have at your disposition the means that I have. Also, I've been luckier than you.

    GERARD

    (frightened)

    Luckier than me! What have you done then?

    MR. JACKAL

    I've done some research.

    GERARD

    (paling)

    You?

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, and --

    GERARD

    (with a voice out of breath)

    And?

    MR. JACKAL

    And I have found her.

    GERARD

    Who?

    MR. JACKAL

    Leonie, your niece!

    GERARD

    My God!

    MR. JACKAL

    Come on, good! You're going to be sick with joy now -- Ah, dear Mr. Gerard, you have a very tender heart.

    GERARD

    And where is she?

    MR. JACKAL

    Below in the carriage. She's only waiting for your permission to throw herself in your arms.

    GERARD

    Oh!

    MR. JACKAL

    (to the wings)

    Mr. Gerard says he cannot resist his impatience -- have Miss Leonie come up.

    (Gerard gets up and goes trembling to the room at the rear)

    Where are you going?

    GERARD

    I don't know.

    MR. JACKAL

    My dear Mr. Gerard, you don't seem to be completely right in your head and therefore you won't object that an officer of the government takes some precautions. A single moment of madness can sometimes cause irreparable damage. I bring you back your neice, Leonie. She's a beautiful girl of sixteen, so beset by misfortune that from the moment I received the order placing her back in your hands, she inspired in me the liveliest interest and I tell you, my dear Mr. Gerard, it's in your care that this charming girl is placed. Well, take care nothing bad happens to her, watch that a single hair doesn't fall from her head, for wherever you may be, even in a foreign country, even in America, even in China, I will reach out my arm and bring you to me -- and then, you know the old adage -- tooth for tooth, eye for eye -- head for head -- ! But what's wrong with you? You are not listening to me. What I am now saying has its importance.

    GERARD

    (eye fixed on the door)

    Mr. Jackal! Mr. Jackal! Do you see -- !

    MR. JACKAL

    Certainly, I see! I see your niece entering and I am withdrawing to leave you all the pleasure of seeing her again. Goodbye, Mr. Gerard! Goodbye Miss.

    (to gendarmes)

    Gentlemen, you have nothing to do here.

    (Stops at the most distant part of the room. Gerard looks at her with a profound terror. Moment of silence.)

    GERARD

    (in a voice he tries to render caressing)

    Leonie, my dear Leonie, is it really you?

    LEONIE

    Myself! And if you doubt it, look, uncle.

    (she opens her collar)

    There's the scar from Orsola's knife!

    GERARD

    Yes, she was an evil creature, and who, to me also, did evil! But God has punished her.

    LEONIE

    If it was God who punished her, why since she was the least guilty of the two, was she punished the most severely?

    GERARD

    Leonie! Leonie! Remember how much I loved you.

    LEONIE

    I remember that the one you loved the best was my brother Victor. Your preferences are terrible, uncle. They kill. Don't love me too much.

    GERARD

    You are right, Leonie, accuse me, overwhelm me, condemn me. Never, no never, can you say more than my conscience has said. Look at me! It's seven years since that wretched crime was committed; I have aged twenty years in seven years. It's really a terrible thing, isn't it? That you find yourself face-to-face with me in the sunlight. That to see you enter, pale and threatening in this room, and when I doubt it's you, to see you trace the scar from Orsola's knife, telling me "look." Well, less terrible I tell you, than to see in my dreams the hair running in the water of the lake and the pressed face, the ghostly sight of your poor brother crying to me, "Uncle, Uncle, good Uncle, do not kill me." But let's let the poor child sleep in his tomb. He rests there more peacefully than I do in my bed, I am sure of it -- and let's concern ourselves with you, my dear Leonie -- of your future, of your happiness. You are young, you are pretty, you can be happy. I don't speak of riches.

    (going to the door which he opens)

    Hold on, this armoire contains millions -- for fear of having them stolen, I created this hiding place. No one knows of it. No one can find it when it is closed; it only opens to the a touch known only to me. Some thieves came, they threatened me with death if I wouldn't tell them where my money was -- I told them nothing. It was for you, Leonie, that I protected all this. For me, I have no need of it, what would I do with it? Come on, it's ready, let's leave. You see my portfolio, there is my passport. There it is. The carriage is below -- at our disposal -- nothing keeps us here -- come Leonie, let us go.

    LEONIE

    I am not leaving.

    GERARD

    What do you mean, not leaving?

    LEONIE

    No, my testimony is necessary, I am staying.

    GERARD

    Your testimony is necessary for what?

    LEONIE

    So the innocent will not be condemned in place of the guilty.

    GERARD

    (almost threatening)

    Oh, you wish to stay to denounce me -- to have me condemned -- to see me on the scaffold?

    LEONIE

    No, but to see that Mr. Sarranti does not mount in your place.

    GERARD

    Sarranti, Sarranti. What does that man matter to you? Fate pursues him, abandon him to his fate.

    LEONIE

    Meaning you want me to kill him when with a word, I can save him? You want my nights to be haunted by a specter, only your ghost is merely that of a drowned child who cries, "Good uncle, don't kill me!" My ghost would be an innocent who from the height of the scaffold cried to me "Wretch, you let me die!" I don't leave.

    GERARD

    Oh -- willingly or by force, it's necessary for you to leave.

    LEONIE

    Willingly, I have told you, I won't leave. By force, how will you do it? Will you drag me down the stairs? In the stairs, I will scream! You will shut me in a carriage. In the carriage I will scream! You'll keep me in this room. In this room there is a window and from the window, I will scream. You will take me to a desert -- in the desert I will scream! And take care! In place of judges to hear me in this desert, there will be God! The man who brought me, here told you that he gave you your crime to conceal. He lied, it was your punishment.

    GERARD

    (head in his hand)

    Frightful logic of murder! Here I am forced, because I committed one murder. Either to submit to punishment or commit a second -- Leonie!

    LEONIE

    (running to the window and opening it)

    Don't come near me or I will scream!

    GERARD

    Leonie, I am not threatening you, I am begging you.

    LEONIE

    Begging or threatening, sir, little matter! You are a man and you are armed. I am a child without defense, but I am much stronger, I am more invulnerable than you, because I am the truth, because I am justice, because I am the law!

    GERARD

    What is there for me to do then?

    LEONIE

    To open the door for me and to tell me "Go freely where your duty tells you to go" or rather --

    GERARD

    Or rather?

    LEONIE

    Or rather kill me, as you killed my brother.

    GERARD

    She too!

    (looks around him, sees the door of the hiding place open and appears struck by an idea to himself)

    Well, I will not kill you. I will leave you to die.

    (threatening)

    Leonie!

    LEONIE

    (opening the window)

    Help!

    (Gerard leaps on her and throws his cloak over her)

    GERARD

    Ah, you scream!

    LEONIE

    (in a weakening voice)

    Help! Help! Murder!

    GERARD

    (drags her to the hiding place and locks her in)

    Scream now! We will see if, when I am gone, when all the doors are shut, we will see if someone will hear you and come open for you.

    (he takes the suitcase full of gold and goes to the door, then recoils)

    The monk! What do you want with me?

    DOMINIQUE

    I am going to tell you.

    GERARD

    Not at this time, not at this moment. This evening, tomorrow, the day after.

    DOMINIQUE

    No, immediately.

    GERARD

    I cannot.

    (Gerard goes to the door, Dominique bars his way.)

    DOMINIQUE

    You shall not pass.

    GERARD

    Too late! Five minutes too late!

    DOMINIQUE

    It is God who measures time. Will you listen to me?

    GERARD

    Speak then.

    DOMINIQUE

    I come to ask you the right to reveal your confession.

    GERARD

    Meaning you come to ask my death, meaning you come to lead me by the hand to the scaffold?

    DOMINIQUE

    No, sir, for this permission granted to no longer oppose your departure.

    GERARD

    My departure -- and after that, you denounce me, the telegraph follows me, and ten leagues, twenty leagues, thirty leagues from here, they arrest me.

    DOMINIQUE

    I give you my word, sir, and you know I am a slave to my word, that tomorrow at noon -- meaning when you are in Belgium, I will exercise your permission.

    GERARD

    And when I am in Belgium, as there is a murder, you will obtain my extradition.

    DOMINIQUE

    I will not solicit it, sir. I am a man of peace. I ask only that the sinner repent and not that he be punished. I wish not that you die, but that my father not die.

    GERARD

    Impossible! You ask an impossible thing of me.

    DOMINIQUE

    What you are doing is terrible! At this moment, the court is deliberating the fate of my father, perhaps at this instant, they are pronouncing his sentence and the court's orders are executed in forty-eight hours.

    GERARD

    The agreement you had with me is exact, after my death, yes, but so long as I live, no, no, a thousand times no. Let me pass then. You can do nothing against me.

    DOMINIQUE

    (in complete despair)

    Sir, you know that to persuade you I have employed all means, all words, all prayers, all supplications, which can raise an echo in the heart of a man? Do you think if there was a possibility of saving my father outside of this; I would propose it to you; if there is a way, say it, I ask nothing better to use it, even if it will kill my worldly body and lose my soul in the next. Wait, I put myself at your knees to beg you to save my father. A way -- indicate a way.

    GERARD

    I don't know of any! Let me pass!

    DOMINIQUE

    And if I kill you?

    (Salvator rushes in and restrains Dominique)

    SALVATOR

    Stop -- such a rogue doesn't deserve to die by the and of an honest man! Help, Roland!

    (Roland rushes into the room and jumps at the throat of Gerard who rolls with him behind the bed.)

    GERARD

    Protect me from the dog -- and let me leave -- and I will sign whatever you wish.

    (Salvator pulls the dog from Gerard.)

    SALVATOR

    Good work, Roland!

    DOMINIQUE

    (taking a pen and presenting it with a manuscript to Gerard)

    Write! Tuesday -- 11 a.m. I authorize the son of Mr. Sarranti to reveal my confession, Wednesday at noon. Sign!

    (Gerard signs.)

    SALVATOR

    And now go hang where it pleases God and human justice to adorn a gibbet! Go -- go away -- wretch!

    DOMINIQUE

    (hugging Salvator)

    Oh, my savior! Embrace me!

    SALVATOR

    Now -- where is Rose Noel?

    DOMINIQUE

    Rose Noel? I haven't seen her.

    SALVATOR

    She ought to be here now. Mr. Jackal brought her here this morning. Ah -- in the other room without doubt.

    (he goes in)

    Rose Noel.

    DOMINIQUE

    (calling)

    Leonie! Leonie!

    SALVATOR

    (pale, frightened, reappears at the door)

    Rose Noel! Rose Noel! Where are you.

    DOMINIQUE

    My God! What are you afraid of?

    SALVATOR

    Everything! This man is capable of everything!

    DOMINIQUE

    He must have killed her to flee, just as he killed her brother.

    SALVATOR

    My God!

    DOMINIQUE

    Listen! No -- I thought I heard a groan.

    SALVATOR

    Ah, that's her. It cannot be her last cry. Where is she, my God? Where is she?

    (to Roland, who scratches the wall)

    What are you doing, Roland? What's wrong with him? Look, my dog -- look --

    (after a pause)

    Dead or alive, Rose Noel is there.

    DOMINIQUE

    Wait.

    SALVATOR

    Not the door! The wall. Oh -- if necessary I will tear the house down to find her body. Rose Noel! Rose Noel!

    DOMINIQUE

    I remember a nook hollowed in the wall is where he'd hid his gold -- it's where he hid a manuscript -- a spring, a secret. God permitted that he showed it to me.

    (He presses the spring, the hiding place opens -- one sees Rose Noel on her knees, suffocating, almost asphyxiated. She has, with her teeth and her hands torn the cloak apart, through which her head and one of her arms have broken through in the struggle.)

    SALVATOR

    (taking her in his arms)

    Oh! Rose Noel! Living. Thanks to God!

    LEONIE

    Oh, Salvator, I knew it was you who saved me.

    MR. JACKAL

    (entering)

    Gentlemen! Gentlemen!

    DOMINIQUE and SALVATOR

    Mr. Jackal.

    MR. JACKAL

    Yes, Mr. Jackal in person who comes to tell you that thanks to the influence of a powerful and unknown person he has been named central Commissioner at Toulon.

    (to Gerard, who enters)

    If you ever pass by there, Mr. Gerard, I will put myself at your disposal.

    SALVATOR

    But how does he know that Mr. Gerard --

    MR. JACKAL

    It's quite simple. Before leaving for my new destination, I came to pay a visit to Mr. Henry, my protege. All of a sudden, I saw pass in a post chaise, Mr. Gerard, who, instead of parting with his niece as I expressly recommended, was leaving alone. I was afraid some misfortune had happened to Rose Noel, who I love very much and I brought Mr. Gerard back here to demand a little explanation.

    SALVATOR

    I am going to give it to you. Mr. Gerard, in leaving had thrown his niece living into this sepulchre where she would be dead at this time had we not got her out thanks to Bresil.

    MR. JACKAL

    Well -- as I've always said, Mr. Salvator, cherchez la femme!

    (curtain)