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Cyrano de Bergerac
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READ STUDY GUIDE: Act I, scenes i–iii

 

Act I, Scene i

The public, arriving by degrees. Troopers, burghers, lackeys, pages, a
pickpocket, the doorkeeper, etc., followed by the marquises. Cuigy,
Brissaille, the buffet-girl, the violinists, etc.
(A confusion of loud voices is heard outside the door. A trooper enters
hastily.)
THE DOORKEEPER (following him):
Hollo! You there! Your money!
THE TROOPER:
I enter gratis.
THE DOORKEEPER:
Why?
THE TROOPER:
Why? I am of the King's Household Cavalry, 'faith!
THE DOORKEEPER (to another trooper who enters):
And you?
SECOND TROOPER:
I pay nothing.
THE DOORKEEPER:
How so?
SECOND TROOPER:
I am a musketeer.
FIRST TROOPER (to the second):
The play will not begin till two. The pit is empty. Come, a bout with the
foils to pass the time.
(They fence with the foils they have brought.)
A LACKEY (entering):
Pst. . .Flanquin. . .!
ANOTHER (already there):
Champagne?. . .
THE FIRST (showing him cards and dice which he takes from his doublet):
See, here be cards and dice.
(He seats himself on the floor):
Let's play.
THE SECOND (doing the same):
Good; I am with you, villain!
FIRST LACKEY (taking from his pocket a candle-end, which he lights, and sticks
on the floor):
I made free to provide myself with light at my master's expense!
A GUARDSMAN (to a shop-girl who advances):
'Twas prettily done to come before the lights were lit!
(He takes her round the waist.)
ONE OF THE FENCERS (receiving a thrust):
A hit!
ONE OF THE CARD-PLAYERS:
Clubs!
THE GUARDSMAN (following the girl):
A kiss!
THE SHOP-GIRL (struggling to free herself):
They're looking!
THE GUARDSMAN (drawing her to a dark corner):
No fear! No one can see!
A MAN (sitting on the ground with others, who have brought their provisions):
By coming early, one can eat in comfort.
A BURGHER (conducting his son):
Let us sit here, son.
A CARD-PLAYER:
Triple ace!
A MAN (taking a bottle from under his cloak,
and also seating himself on the floor):
A tippler may well quaff his Burgundy
(he drinks):
in the Burgundy Hotel!
THE BURGHER (to his son):
'Faith! A man might think he had fallen in a bad house here!
(He points with his cane to the drunkard):
What with topers!
(One of the fencers in breaking off, jostles him):
brawlers!
(He stumbles into the midst of the card-players):
gamblers!
THE GUARDSMAN (behind him, still teasing the shop-girl):
Come, one kiss!
THE BURGHER (hurriedly pulling his son away):
By all the holies! And this, my boy, is the theater where they played
Rotrou erewhile.
THE YOUNG MAN:
Ay, and Corneille!
A TROOP OF PAGES (hand-in-hand, enter dancing the farandole, and singing):
Tra' a la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lere. . .
THE DOORKEEPER (sternly, to the pages):
You pages there, none of your tricks!. . .
FIRST PAGE (with an air of wounded dignity):
Oh, sir!—such a suspicion!. . .
(Briskly, to the second page, the moment the doorkeeper's back is turned):
Have you string?
THE SECOND:
Ay, and a fish-hook with it.
FIRST PAGE:
We can angle for wigs, then, up there i' th' gallery.
A PICKPOCKET (gathering about him some evil-looking youths):
Hark ye, young cut-purses, lend an ear, while I give you your first lesson
in thieving.
SECOND PAGE (calling up to others in the top galleries):
You there! Have you peashooters?
THIRD PAGE (from above):
Ay, have we, and peas withal!
(He blows, and peppers them with peas.)
THE YOUNG MAN (to his father):
What piece do they give us?
THE BURGHER:
'Clorise.'
THE YOUNG MAN:
Who may the author be?
THE BURGHER:
Master Balthazar Baro. It is a play!. . .
(He goes arm-in-arm with his son.)
THE PICKPOCKET (to his pupils):
Have a care, above all, of the lace knee-ruffles—cut them off!
A SPECTATOR (to another, showing him a corner in the gallery):
I was up there, the first night of the 'Cid.'
THE PICKPOCKET (making with his fingers the gesture of filching):
Thus for watches—
THE BURGHER (coming down again with his son):
Ah! You shall presently see some renowned actors. . .
THE PICKPOCKET (making the gestures of one who pulls something stealthily,
with little jerks):
Thus for handkerchiefs—
THE BURGHER:
Montfleury. . .
SOME ONE (shouting from the upper gallery):
Light up, below there!
THE BURGHER:
. . .Bellerose, L'Epy, La Beaupre, Jodelet!
A PAGE (in the pit):
Here comes the buffet-girl!
THE BUFFET-GIRL (taking her place behind the buffet):
Oranges, milk, raspberry-water, cedar bitters!
(A hubbub outside the door is heard.)
A FALSETTO VOICE:
Make place, brutes!
A LACKEY (astonished):
The Marquises!—in the pit?. . .
ANOTHER LACKEY:
Oh! only for a minute or two!
(Enter a band of young marquises.)
A MARQUIS (seeing that the hall is half empty):
What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woolen-drapers!
Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!—Oh, fie!
Fie!
(Recognizing some other gentlemen who have entered a little before him):
Cuigy! Brissaille!
(Greetings and embraces.)
CUIGY:
True to our word!. . .Troth, we are here before the candles are lit.
THE MARQUIS:
Ay, indeed! Enough! I am of an ill humor.
ANOTHER:
Nay, nay, Marquis! see, for your consolation, they are coming to light up!
ALL THE AUDIENCE (welcoming the entrance of the lighter):
Ah!. . .
(They form in groups round the lusters as they are lit. Some people have
taken their seats in the galleries. Ligniere, a distinguished-looking roue,
with disordered shirt-front arm-in-arm with christian de Neuvillette.
Christian, who is dressed elegantly, but rather behind the fashion, seems
preoccupied, and keeps looking at the boxes.)
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