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Cyrano de Bergerac
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READ STUDY GUIDE: Act II, scenes i–vi

 

Act II, Scene iv

Ragueneau, Lise, the musketeer. Cyrano at the little table writing. The
poets, dressed in black, their stockings ungartered, and covered with mud.
LISE (entering, to Ragueneau):
Here they come, your mud-bespattered friends!
FIRST POET (entering, to Ragueneau):
Brother in art!. . .
SECOND POET (to Ragueneau, shaking his hands):
Dear brother!
THIRD POET:
High soaring eagle among pastry-cooks!
(He sniffs):
Marry! it smells good here in your eyrie!
FOURTH POET:
'Tis at Phoebus' own rays that thy roasts turn!
FIFTH POET:
Apollo among master-cooks—
RAGUENEAU (whom they surround and embrace):
Ah! how quick a man feels at his ease with them!. . .
FIRST POET:
We were stayed by the mob; they are crowded all round the Porte de Nesle!. .
.
SECOND POET:
Eight bleeding brigand carcasses strew the pavements there—all slit open
with sword-gashes!
CYRANO (raising his head a minute):
Eight?. . .hold, methought seven.
(He goes on writing.)
RAGUENEAU (to Cyrano):
Know you who might be the hero of the fray?
CYRANO (carelessly):
Not I.
LISE (to the musketeer):
And you? Know you?
THE MUSKETEER (twirling his mustache):
Maybe!
CYRANO (writing a little way off:—he is heard murmuring a word from time to
time):
'I love thee!'
FIRST POET:
'Twas one man, say they all, ay, swear to it, one man who, single-handed,
put the whole band to the rout!
SECOND POET:
'Twas a strange sight!—pikes and cudgels strewed thick upon the ground.
CYRANO (writing):
. . .'Thine eyes'. . .
THIRD POET:
And they were picking up hats all the way to the Quai d'Orfevres!
FIRST POET:
Sapristi! but he must have been a ferocious. . .
CYRANO (same play):
. . .'Thy lips'. . .
FIRST POET:
'Twas a parlous fearsome giant that was the author of such exploits!
CYRANO (same play):
. . .'And when I see thee come, I faint for fear.'
SECOND POET (filching a cake):
What hast rhymed of late, Ragueneau?
CYRANO (same play):
. . .'Who worships thee'. . .
(He stops, just as he is about to sign, and gets up, slipping the letter into
his doublet):
No need I sign, since I give it her myself.
RAGUENEAU (to second poet):
I have put a recipe into verse.
THIRD POET (seating himself by a plate of cream-puffs):
Go to! Let us hear these verses!
FOURTH POET (looking at a cake which he has taken):
Its cap is all a' one side!
(He makes one bite of the top.)
FIRST POET:
See how this gingerbread woos the famished rhymer with its almond eyes, and
its eyebrows of angelica!
(He takes it.)
SECOND POET:
We listen.
THIRD POET (squeezing a cream-puff gently):
How it laughs! Till its very cream runs over!
SECOND POET (biting a bit off the great lyre of pastry):
This is the first time in my life that ever I drew any means of nourishing
me from the lyre!
RAGUENEAU (who has put himself ready for reciting, cleared his throat, settled
his cap, struck an attitude):
A recipe in verse!. . .
SECOND POET (to first, nudging him):
You are breakfasting?
FIRST POET (to second):
And you dining, methinks.
RAGUENEAU:
How almond tartlets are made.
Beat your eggs up, light and quick;
Froth them thick;
Mingle with them while you beat
Juice of lemon, essence fine;
Then combine
The burst milk of almonds sweet.
Circle with a custard paste
The slim waist
Of your tartlet-molds; the top
With a skillful finger print,
Nick and dint,
Round their edge, then, drop by drop,
In its little dainty bed
Your cream shed:
In the oven place each mold:
Reappearing, softly browned,
The renowned
Almond tartlets you behold!
THE POETS (with mouths crammed full):
Exquisite! Delicious!
A POET (choking):
Homph!
(They go up, eating.)
CYRANO (who has been watching, goes toward Ragueneau):
Lulled by your voice, did you see how they were stuffing themselves?
RAGUENEAU (in a low voice, smiling):
Oh, ay! I see well enough, but I never will seem to look, fearing to
distress them; thus I gain a double pleasure when I recite to them my poems;
for I leave those poor fellows who have not breakfasted free to eat, even
while I gratify my own dearest foible, see you?
CYRANO (clapping him on the shoulder):
Friend, I like you right well!. . .
(Ragueneau goes after his friends. Cyrano follows him with his eyes, then,
rather sharply):
Ho there! Lise!
(Lise, who is talking tenderly to the musketeer, starts, and comes down toward
Cyrano):
So this fine captain is laying siege to you?
LISE (offended):
One haughty glance of my eye can conquer any man that should dare venture
aught 'gainst my virtue.
CYRANO:
Pooh! Conquering eyes, methinks, are oft conquered eyes.
LISE (choking with anger):
But—
CYRANO (incisively):
I like Ragueneau well, and so—mark me, Dame Lise—I permit not that he be
rendered a laughing-stock by any. . .
LISE:
But. . .
CYRANO (who has raised his voice so as to be heard by the gallant):
A word to the wise. . .
(He bows to the musketeer, and goes to the doorway to watch, after looking at
the clock.)
LISE (to the musketeer, who has merely bowed in answer to Cyrano's bow):
How now? Is this your courage?. . .Why turn you not a jest on his nose?
THE MUSKETEER:
On his nose?. . .ay, ay. . .his nose.
(He goes quickly farther away; Lise follows him.)
CYRANO (from the doorway, signing to Ragueneau to draw the poets away):
Hist!. . .
RAGUENEAU (showing them the door on the right):
We shall be more private there. . .
CYRANO (impatiently):
Hist! Hist!. . .
RAGUENEAU (drawing them farther):
To read poetry, 'tis better here. . .
FIRST POET (despairingly, with his mouth full):
What! leave the cakes?. . .
SECOND POET:
Never! Let's take them with us!
(They all follow Ragueneau in procession, after sweeping all the cakes off the
trays.)
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