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

 

Act I, Scene iii

The same, all but Ligniere. De Guiche, Valvert, then Montfleury.
A marquis (watching De Guiche, who comes down from Roxane's box, and crosses
the pit surrounded by obsequious noblemen, among them the Viscount de
Valvert):
He pays a fine court, your De Guiche!
ANOTHER:
Faugh!. . .Another Gascon!
THE FIRST:
Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon—that is the stuff success is made of!
Believe me, we had best make our bow to him.
(They go toward De Guiche.)
SECOND MARQUIS:
What fine ribbons! How call you the color, Count de Guiche? 'Kiss me, my
darling,' or 'Timid Fawn?'
DE GUICHE:
'Tis the color called 'Sick Spaniard.'
FIRST MARQUIS:
'Faith! The color speaks truth, for, thanks to your valor, things will soon
go ill for Spain in Flanders.
DE GUICHE:
I go on the stage! Will you come?
(He goes toward the stage, followed by the marquises and gentlemen. Turning,
he calls):
Come you Valvert!
CHRISTIAN (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name):
The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my. . .
(He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who
is about to rob him. He turns round):
Hey?
THE PICKPOCKET:
Oh!
CHRISTIAN (holding him tightly):
I was looking for a glove.
THE PICKPOCKET (smiling piteously):
And you find a hand.
(Changing his tone, quickly and in a whisper):
Let me but go, and I will deliver you a secret.
CHRISTIAN (still holding him):
What is it?
THE PICKPOCKET:
Ligniere. . .he who has just left you. . .
CHRISTIAN (same play):
Well?
THE PICKPOCKET:
His life is in peril. A song writ by him has given offense in high places—
and a hundred men—I am of them—are posted to-night. . .
CHRISTIAN:
A hundred men! By whom posted?
THE PICKPOCKET:
I may not say—a secret. . .
CHRISTIAN (shrugging his shoulders):
Oh!
THE PICKPOCKET (with great dignity):
. . .Of the profession.
CHRISTIAN:
Where are they posted?
THE PICKPOCKET:
At the Porte de Nesle. On his way homeward. Warn him.
CHRISTIAN (letting go of his wrists):
But where can I find him?
THE PICKPOCKET:
Run round to all the taverns—The Golden Wine Press, the Pine Cone, The Belt
that Bursts, The Two Torches, The Three Funnels, and at each leave a word that
shall put him on his guard.
CHRISTIAN:
Good—I fly! Ah, the scoundrels! A hundred men 'gainst one!
(Looking lovingly at Roxane):
Ah, to leave her!. . .
(looking with rage at Valvert):
and him!. . .But save Ligniere I must!
(He hurries out. De Guiche, the viscount, the marquises, have all disappeared
behind the curtain to take their places on the benches placed on the stage.
The pit is quite full; the galleries and boxes are also crowded.)
THE AUDIENCE:
Begin!
A BURGHER (whose wig is drawn up on the end of a string by a page in the upper
gallery):
My wig!
CRIES OF DELIGHT:
He is bald! Bravo, pages—ha! ha! ha!. . .
THE BURGHER (furious, shaking his fist):
Young villain!
LAUGHTER AND CRIES (beginning very loud, and dying gradually away):
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
(Total silence.)
LE BRET (astonished):
What means this sudden silence?. . .
(A spectator says something to him in a low voice):
Is't true?
THE SPECTATOR:
I have just heard it on good authority.
MURMURS (spreading through the hall):
Hush! Is it he? No! Ay, I say! In the box with the bars in front! The
Cardinal! The Cardinal! The Cardinal!
A PAGE:
The devil! We shall have to behave ourselves. . .
(A knock is heard upon the stage. Every one is motionless. A pause.)
THE VOICE OF A MARQUIS (in the silence, behind the curtain):
Snuff that candle!
ANOTHER MARQUIS (putting his head through the opening in the curtain):
A chair!
(A chair is passed from hand to hand, over the heads of the spectators. The
marquis takes it and disappears, after blowing some kisses to the boxes.)
A SPECTATOR:
Silence!
(Three knocks are heard on the stage. The curtain opens in the centre
Tableau. The marquises in insolent attitudes seated on each side of the
stage. The scene represents a pastoral landscape. Four little lusters light
the stage; the violins play softly.)
LE BRET (in a low voice to Ragueneau):
Montfleury comes on the scene?
RAGUENEAU (also in a low voice):
Ay, 'tis he who begins.
LE BRET:
Cyrano is not here.
RAGUENEAU:
I have lost my wager.
LE BRET:
'Tis all the better!
(An air on the drone-pipes is heard, and Montfleury enters, enormously stout,
in an Arcadian shepherd's dress, a hat wreathed with roses drooping over one
ear, blowing into a ribboned drone pipe.)
THE PIT (applauding):
Bravo, Montfleury! Montfleury!
MONTFLEURY (after bowing low, begins the part of Phedon):
'Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu solitaire,
Se prescrit a soi-meme un exil volontaire,
Et qui, lorsque Zephire a souffle sur les bois. . .'
A VOICE (from the middle of the pit):
Villain! Did I not forbid you to show your face here for month?
(General stupor. Every one turns round. Murmurs.)
DIFFERENT VOICES:
Hey?—What?—What is't?. . .
(The people stand up in the boxes to look.)
CUIGY:
'Tis he!
LE BRET (terrified):
Cyrano!
THE VOICE:
King of clowns! Leave the stage this instant!
ALL THE AUDIENCE (indignantly):
Oh!
MONTFLEURY:
But. . .
THE VOICE:
Do you dare defy me?
DIFFERENT VOICES (from the pit and the boxes):
Peace! Enough!—Play on, Montfleury—fear nothing!
MONTFLEURY (in a trembling voice):
'Heureux qui loin des cours, dans un lieu sol—'
THE VOICE (more fiercely):
Well! Chief of all the blackguards, must I come and give you a taste of my
cane?
(A hand holding a cane starts up over the heads of the spectators.)
MONTFLEURY (in a voice that trembles more and more):
'Heureux qui. . .'
(The cane is shaken.)
THE VOICE:
Off the stage!
THE PIT:
Oh!
MONTFLEURY (choking):
'Heureux qui loin des cours. . .'
CYRANO (appearing suddenly in the pit, standing on a chair, his arms crossed,
his beaver cocked fiercely, his mustache bristling, his nose terrible to see):
Ah! I shall be angry in a minute!. . .
(Sensation.)
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