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Cyrano de Bergerac
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Act II, Scene vi

Cyrano, Roxane.
CYRANO:
Blessed be the moment when you condescend—
Remembering that humbly I exist—
To come to meet me, and to say. . .to tell?. . .
ROXANE (who has unmasked):
To thank you first of all. That dandy count,
Whom you checkmated in brave sword-play
Last night,. . .he is the man whom a great lord,
Desirous of my favor. . .
CYRANO:
Ha, De Guiche?
ROXANE (casting down her eyes):
Sought to impose on me. . .for husband. . .
CYRANO:
Ay! Husband!—dupe-husband!. . .Husband a la mode!
(Bowing):
Then I fought, happy chance! sweet lady, not
For my ill favor—but your favors fair!
ROXANE:
Confession next!. . .But, ere I make my shrift,
You must be once again that brother-friend
With whom I used to play by the lake-side!. . .
CYRANO:
Ay, you would come each spring to Bergerac!
ROXANE:
Mind you the reeds you cut to make your swords?. . .
CYRANO:
While you wove corn-straw plaits for your dolls' hair!
ROXANE:
Those were the days of games!. . .
CYRANO:
And blackberries!. . .
ROXANE:
In those days you did everything I bid!. . .
CYRANO:
Roxane, in her short frock, was Madeleine. . .
ROXANE:
Was I fair then?
CYRANO:
You were not ill to see!
ROXANE:
Ofttimes, with hands all bloody from a fall,
You'd run to me! Then—aping mother-ways—
I, in a voice would-be severe, would chide,—
(She takes his hand):
'What is this scratch, again, that I see here?'
(She starts, surprised):
Oh! 'Tis too much! What's this?
(Cyrano tries to draw away his hand):
No, let me see!
At your age, fie! Where did you get that scratch?
CYRANO:
I got it—playing at the Porte de Nesle.
ROXANE (seating herself by the table, and dipping her handkerchief in a glass
of water):
Give here!
CYRANO (sitting by her):
So soft! so gay maternal-sweet!
ROXANE:
And tell me, while I wipe away the blood,
How many 'gainst you?
CYRANO:
Oh! A hundred—near.
ROXANE:
Come, tell me!
CYRANO:
No, let be. But you, come tell
The thing, just now, you dared not. . .
ROXANE (keeping his hand):
Now, I dare!
The scent of those old days emboldens me!
Yes, now I dare. Listen. I am in love.
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
But with one who knows not.
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
Not yet.
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
But who, if he knows not, soon shall learn.
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
A poor youth who all this time has loved
Timidly, from afar, and dares not speak. . .
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
Leave your hand; why, it is fever-hot!—
But I have seen love trembling on his lips.
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE (bandaging his hand with her handkerchief):
And to think of it! that he by chance—
Yes, cousin, he is of your regiment!
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE (laughing):
—Is cadet in your own company!
CYRANO:
Ah!. . .
ROXANE:
On his brow he bears the genius-stamp;
He is proud, noble, young, intrepid, fair. . .
CYRANO (rising suddenly, very pale):
Fair!
ROXANE:
Why, what ails you?
CYRANO:
Nothing; 'tis. . .
(He shows his hand, smiling):
This scratch!
ROXANE:
I love him; all is said. But you must know
I have only seen him at the Comedy. . .
CYRANO:
How? You have never spoken?
ROXANE:
Eyes can speak.
CYRANO:
How know you then that he. . .?
ROXANE:
Oh! people talk
'Neath the limes in the Place Royale. . .
Gossip's chat
Has let me know. . .
CYRANO:
He is cadet?
ROXANE:
In the Guards.
CYRANO:
His name?
ROXANE:
Baron Christian de Neuvillette.
CYRANO:
How now?. . .He is not of the Guards!
ROXANE:
To-day
He is not join your ranks, under Captain
Carbon de Castel-Jaloux.
CYRANO:
Ah, how quick,
How quick the heart has flown!. . .But, my poor child. . .
THE DUENNA (opening the door):
The cakes are eaten, Monsieur Bergerac!
CYRANO:
Then read the verses printed on the bags!
(She goes out):
. . .My poor child, you who love but flowing words,
Bright wit,—what if he be a lout unskilled?
ROXANE:
No, his bright locks, like D'Urfe's heroes. . .
CYRANO:
Ah!
A well-curled pate, and witless tongue, perchance!
ROXANE:
Ah no! I guess—I feel—his words are fair!
CYRANO:
All words are fair that lurk 'neath fair mustache!
—Suppose he were a fool!. . .
ROXANE (stamping her foot):
Then bury me!
CYRANO (after a pause):
Was it to tell me this you brought me here?
I fail to see what use this serves, Madame.
ROXANE:
Nay, but I felt a terror, here, in the heart,
On learning yesterday you were Gascons
All of your company. . .
CYRANO:
And we provoke
All beardless sprigs that favor dares admit
'Midst us pure Gascons—(pure! Heaven save the mark!
They told you that as well?
ROXANE:
Ah! Think how I
Trembled for him!
CYRANO (between his teeth):
Not causelessly!
ROXANE:
But when
Last night I saw you,—brave, invincible,—
Punish that dandy, fearless hold your own
Against those brutes, I thought—I thought, if he
Whom all fear, all—if he would only. . .
CYRANO:
Good.
I will befriend your little Baron.
ROXANE:
Ah!
You'll promise me you will do this for me?
I've always held you as a tender friend.
CYRANO:
Ay, ay.
ROXANE:
Then you will be his friend?
CYRANO:
I swear!
ROXANE:
And he shall fight no duels, promise!
CYRANO:
None.
ROXANE:
You are kind, cousin! Now I must be gone.
(She puts on her mask and veil quickly; then, absently):
You have not told me of your last night's fray.
Ah, but it must have been a hero-fight!. . .
—Bid him to write.
(She sends him a kiss with her fingers):
How good you are!
CYRANO:
Ay! Ay!
ROXANE:
A hundred men against you? Now, farewell.—
We are great friends?
CYRANO:
Ay, ay!
ROXANE:
Oh, bid him write!
You'll tell me all one day—A hundred men!—
Ah, brave!. . .How brave!
CYRANO (bowing to her):
I have fought better since.
(She goes out. Cyrano stands motionless, with eyes on the ground. A silence.
The door (right) opens. Ragueneau looks in.)
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