Kuno Francke.

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Henri {quite seriously). When you have finished your

scene, you must come here and see me act. {They

Henri. No woman ever had a more glorious wedding

present. Come, Leocadie. Good-by for the present,

Prosper. I shall soon be back again.

[Exeunt Henri and Leocadie.]


Enter together FRANgois, Vicomte de Nogeant, and Albin, Chevalier

de la Tremouille.

ScAEVoLA. What a contemptible braggart !

Host. Good evening, you swine. [Albin starts hack.']

FRANgois {without taking any notice). Was not that the

little Leocadie of the Porte St. Martin, who went away

with Henri?
Host. Of course it was. — If she really took great trouble

she could eventually make you remember that even you

are something of a man, eh?
Franqois {laughing) . That is not impossible. It seems we

are rather early tonight.
Host. In the meanwhile you can amuse yourself with your


[Albin is on the point of flying into a passion.']
Francois. Let it pass. I told you what went on here.

Bring us wine.
Host. Ay, that I will. The time will soon come when you

will be very satisfied with Seine water.
Francois. Quite so, quite so . . . but tonight I would

fain ask for wine, and the best wine into the bargain.

[Host goes to the bar.]
Albin. That is really a dreadful fellow.
Franqois. But just think, it's all a joke. And, withal,

there are places where you can hear similar things in

real earnest.
Albin. Is it not forbidden?
FRANgois {laughs). One sees that you come from the

Albin. Ah ! we, too, are having a bad time of it nowadays.

The peasants are getting so insolent . . . one doesn't

know w^hat to do any more. . . .
Franqois. What would you have? The poor devils are

hungry — that is the secret.
Albin. How can I help it? How can my great-uncle

help it?
Feanqois. Why do you mention your great-uncle?


Albin. Well, I do so because they actually held a meeting
in our village — quite openly — and at the meeting
they actually called my great-uncle, the Comte de
Tremouille, a corn-usurer.

FRANgois. Is that all?

Albin. Nay, is that not enough!

FEANgois. We will go to the Palais-Royal tomorrow, and
there you will have a chance of hearing the monstrous
speeches the fellow^s make. But we let them speak —
it is the best thing to do. They are good people at
bottom ; one must let them bawl themselves out in that

Albin {pointing to Scaevola, etc.). What suspicious char-
acters those are ! Just see how they look at one. {He
feels for his sivord.)

PsANQois {draws his hand away). Don't be ridiculous.
{To the three others.) You need not begin yet; wait
till there is more audience. {To Albin.) They're the
most respectable people in the world, actors are. I
will warrant you have already sat at table with worse

Albin. But they were better attired. [Host brings ivine.]

Enter Michette and Flipotte,

FEANgois. God be with you, children! Come and sit
down by us.

Michette. Here we are. Come along, Flipotte. She is
still somewhat shy.

Flipotte. Good evening, young gentleman.

Albin. Good evening, ladies.

Michette. The little one is a dear. {She sits on Albin 's

Albin. But, Frangois, please explain, are these respec-
table ladies'?

Michette. What does he say?

FRANgois. No, that 's not quite the word for the ladies who
come here. Odds life, you are silly, Albin!

Host. What shall I bring for their Graces?


MicHETTE. Bring me a very sweet wine.

FRANgois {pointing to Flipotte). A friend of yours?

MicHETTE. We live together. Yes, we have only one bed
between us.

Flipotte (blushing). Would you find it a very great nui-
sance should you come and see her! (Sits on Fran-
cois's lap.)

Albin. She is not at all shy.

SCAEVOLA (stands up; gloomily turning to the table where
the young people are). At last I've found you. (To
Albin.) And you, you miserable seducer, aren't you
ashamed that you . . . She is mine.

[Host looks on.l

Fran(^'ois (^0 Albin). a joke — a joke. . . .

Albin. She isn't his —

Michette. Go away. You let me sit w^here I want to.

[ScAEvoLA stands there with clenched fists.^

Host (behind). Now, now?

ScAEvoLA. Ha, ha!

Host (takes him by the collar). Ha, ha! (By his side.)
You have not a farthing's worth of talent. Roaring,
that's the only thing you can do.

Michette (to FiiANgois). Recently he did it much better.

ScAEVOLA (to Host). I'm not in the vein. I'll make a bet-
ter show later on, when more people are here; you
see. Prosper, I need an audience.

Enter the Due de Cadignan.

Duke. Already in full swing!

[Michette and Flipotte go up to him.']
Michette. My sweet Duke.
FRAN501S. Good evening, Emile . . . (introducing) My

young friend, Albin, Chevalier de Tremouille — the

Due de Cadignan.
Duke. I am delighted to make your acquaintance. (To

the girls, ivho are hanging on to him.) Leave me alone,

children! (To Albin.) So you, too, are having a look

at this droll tavern ?


Albin. It bewilders me in the extreme.

FRANgois. The Chevalier has only been in Paris a few

Duke (laughing). Then you have certainly chosen a nice

Albin. How so?
MiCHETTE. He still has that delicious perfume ! There isn't

another man in Paris who has such a pleasant smell.

{To Albin.) . . . You can't perceive it like that.
Duke. She speaks of the seven or eight hundred whom

she knows as well as me.
Flipotte. Will you let me play with your sword, dear?
[She draws his sword out of its sheath and flashes
it ah out. 1
Grain {to Host). He's the man — 'twas him I saw her

with — [Host lets him go on, seems astonished.']

Duke. Henri is not here yet, then? {To Albijst.) If you

see him, you will not regret having com^e here.
Host {to Duke). Oh, so you're here again, are you? I

am glad. We shall not have the pleasure much longer.
Duke, Why? I tind it very nice at your place.
Host. I believe that. But since in any case you will be

one of the first . . .
Albin. What does that mean!
Host. You understand me well enough. The favorites of

fortune will be the first! {Goes to the back.)
Duke {after reflection). If I w^ere king, I would make him

my Court Fool; I mean to say, I should have many

Court Fools, but he would be one of them.
Albin. What did he mean by saying that you were too

fortunate ?
Duke. He means, Chevalier . . .
Albin. Please, don't call me Chevalier. Everybody calls

me Albin, simply Albin, just because I look so young.
Duke {smiling). Good. . . . But you must call me

Emile — eh?
Albin. With pleasure, if you allow it, Emile.

Permission Albert Lattgen, Munich



Duke. They liave a sinister wit, have these people.
FEANgois. Why sinister? I find it quite reassuring. So

long as the mob is in the mood for jests, it will never

come to anything serious.
Duke. Only the jests are much too strange. I learnt a

thing today that gives food for thought.
FEAisrgois. Tell us.

Flipotte and Michette. Ay, tell us, sweet Duke !
Duke. Do you know Lelange?
FEANgois. Of course — the village . . . the Marquis de

Montferrat has one of his finest hunts there.
Duke. Quite right; my brother is now at the castle with

him, and he has written home about the things I am

going to tell you. They have a mayor at Lelange who

is very unpopular.
FEANgois. If you can tell me the name of one who is

popular —
Duke. Just listen. The women of the village paraded in

front of the mayor's house with a coffin.
Flipotte. What? Did they carry it? Carry a coffin? I

wouldn't like to carry a coffin for anything in the

FEANgois. Hold your tongue. Nobody is asking you to

carry a coffin. {To the Duke.) Well?
Duke. And one or two of the women went into the mayor 's

house and explained to him that he must die, but they

w^ould do him the honor of burying him.
FEANgois. Well, have they killed him?
Duke. No; at least, my brother doesn't write anything

about it.
FEANgois. Well then . . . blusterers, talkers, clowns —

that's what they are. Today they're roaring in Paris

at the Bastille for a change, just as they've already

done half a dozen times before . . .
Duke. Well, if I were king I should have made an end of

it long ago.
Albin. Is it true that the king is so good-natured?


Duke. You have not yet been presented to His Majesty?

Feanqois. This is the first time the Chevalier has been in

Duke. Yes, you are incredibly young. How old, if I may

Albik". I only look so young ; I am already seventeen.

Duke. Seventeen ! — how much is still in front of you ! I
am already f our-and-twenty ! . . . I am beginning to
regret how much of my youth I have missed !

FnANQom (laughs). That is good. You, Duke — you count
every day lost in which you have not conquered a
woman or killed a man.

Duke. Only the unfortunate thing is that one never makes
a conquest of the right woman, and always kills the
wrong man. And that as a matter of fact is how one
misses one's youth. You know what Rollin says?

Feanqois. "What does Rollin say?

Duke. I was thinking of his new piece that they are
playing at the Comedie — there is such a pretty simile
in it. Don't you remember?

FEAFgois. I have no memory for verses.

Duke. Nor have I, unfortunately ... I only remember
the sense. He says, youth which a man does not enjoy
is like a feather-ball, which you leave lying in the sand
instead of throwing it up into the air.

AxBiN [like a wiseacre). I think that is quite right.

Duke. Is it not true? The feathers gradually lose their
color and fall out. 'Tis better for it to fall into a bush
where it cannot be found.

AxBiN. How should one understand that, Emile?

Duke. 'Tis more a matter of feeling than of understand-
ing. If I could repeat the verses, you would under-
stand it at once.

Albin. I have an idea, Emile, that you, too, could make
verses if you wished.

Duke. Why?

Albin. Since you have been here, it seems to me as though
life were flaming up.


Duke (smiling). Yes? Is life flaming up?
FEANgois. Won't you come and sit with us after all?

[Meamvhile, tivo nobles come in and sit down at a
distant table. Host appears to be addressing in-
sults to them.]
Duke, I cannot stay here. But in any ease I will come

back again.
MiCHETTE. Stay with me.

Flipotte. Take me with you. (They try to hold him.)
Host {coming to the front). Just you leave him alone.

You're not bad enough for him by a long way. He's

got to run after a whore off the streets — that's where

he feels most in his element.
Duke. I shall certainly come back, if only not to miss

FRANgois. What do you think, when we came, Henri was

just going out with Leocadie.
Duke. Really — he has married her. Did you know that?
FEANgois. Is that so? What will the others have to say

to it?
Albin. What others?

Francois. She is loved all around, you know.
Duke. And he wants to go away with her . . . what do

I know about it? . . . Somebody told me.
Host. Indeed? Did they tell you ? {Glances at the Dvkb.)
Duke {having first looked at Host). It is too silly.

Leocadie was made to be the greatest, the most

splendid whore in the world.
FRANgois. Who doesn't know that?
Duke. Could anything be more unreasonable than to take

people away from their true calling? {As FRANgois

laughs.) I am not joking. Whores are born, not made

— just as conquerors and poets are.
FRANgois. You are paradoxical.
Duke. I am sorry for her, and for Henri. He should stay

here — no, not here — I should like to bring him to the

Comedie — though even there — I always feel as


though nobody understood him as well as I do. Of
course, that may be an illusion, since I have the same
feeling in regard to most artists. But I must say if I
were not the Due de Cadignan, I should really like to
be a comedian like him — like him, I say . . .

Albin. Like Alexander the Great.

Duke {smiling). Yes, Alexander the Great. ... (To
Flipotte.) Give me my sword. {He puts it in the
sheath. Slowly.) It is the finest way of making fun
of the world ; a man who can play any part and at the
same time play us is greater than all of us. (Albin
looks at him in astonishment.) Don't you reflect on
what I say. 'Tis all only true at the actual moment.

MicHETTE. Give me a kiss before you go.

Flipotte. Me too!

[They hang on to him, the Duke kisses them both
at once and goes. In the meanwhile .-I

Albin. a wonderful man!

FEAisrgois. That is quite true; . , . but the existence of
men like that is almost a reason for not marrying.

Albin. But do explain; what are those girls?

FEAisrgois. Actresses. They, too, belong to the troupe of
Prosper, who is at present the host of the tavern. No
doubt they've done in the past much the same as
they're doing now.

[GuiLLAUME rushes in apparently breathless.']

GuiLLAUME {making toward the table where the actors are
sitting, with his hand on his heart — speaking with
difficulty — supporting himself). Saved — ay, saved!

ScAEvoLA. What is it? What ails you?

Albin. What has happened to the man?

FRANgois. That is part of the acting now. Mark you.

Albin. Ah !

MiCHETTE and Flipotte {going quickly to Guillaume).
What is it? What ails you?

ScAEVOLA. Sit down. Take a draught !


GuiLLAUME. More ! — more ! Prosper, more wine ! I have

been running. My tongue cleaves to my mouth. They

were right at my heels.
Jules {gives a start). Ah! be careful; they really are at

our heels.
Host. Come, tell us, what happened then? {To the

actors.) Movement! — more movement!
GuiLLAUME. Women here . . . women — ah! {Embraces

Flipotte.) That brings one back to life again! {To

Albin, wJio is highly impressed.) The Devil take me,

my boy, if I thought I would ever see you alive again.

{As though he were listening.) They come! — they

come! {Goes to the door.) No, it is nothing . . .

They . . .
Albin. How strange ! There really is a noise, as though

people outside were pressing forward very quickly. Is

that part of the stage effects as well?
ScAEVoLA. He goes in for such damned subtleties every

blessed time. {To Jules.) 'Tis too silly —
Host. Come now, tell us why they are at your heels again?
GuiLLAUME. Oh, nothing special. But if they got me, it

would cost me my head. I've set fire to a house.
[During this scene young nobles come in and sit
down at the tables.']
Host {softly). Go on! — go on!
GuiLLAUME {in the same tone). What more do you want?

Isn't it enough for you if I've set fire to a house?
FiiANgois. But tell me, my friend, why you set fire to the

GuiLLAUME. Because the President of the Supreme Court

lived in it. We wanted to make a beginning with him.

We wanted to keep the good Parisian householders

from taking folk into their houses so lightly who send

us poor devils to the prison.
Grain. That's good! That's good!


GuiLLAUME {looks at Grain and is surprised; then goes on

speaking). All the houses must be fired. Three more

fellows like me and there won't be any more judges in

Grain. Death to the judges !
Jules. Yes . . . but there may be one whom we can't

GuiLLAUME. I should like to know who he is.
Jules. The judge within us.
Host (softly). That's tasteless. Leave off. Scaevola,

roar! Now 's the time.
Scaevola. Wine here, Prosper; we want to drink to the

death of all the judges in France.

[^During the last words enter the Marquis de Lansac,
ivith his wife, Seveeine, and Rollin, the poet.']
Scaevola. Death to all who have the power in their hands

today !
Marquis. See you, Severine, that is how they greet us.
RoLLiN. Marquise, I warned you.
Severine. Why I
FBANgois. Whom do I see ? The Marquise ! Allow me to

kiss your hand. Good evening. Marquis. Well met

to you, Rollin. And you, Marquise, you dare to venture

into this place!
Severine. I heard such a lot about it. And besides, we

are having a day of adventures already — eh, Rollin?
Marquis. Yes. Just think of it, Vicomte ; you would never

believe where we come from — from the Bastille.
Franqois. Are they still keeping up the tumult there?
Severine. Ay, indeed ! It looks as though they meant to

storm it.
Rollin {declaiming).

Like to a flood that seethes against its banks,
And rages deep that its own child, the Earth,
Resists it. —
Severine. Don't, Rollin! We left our carriages there in

the neighborhood. It is a magnificent spectacle —

there is always something so grand about crowds.



Peancois. Yes, yes, if they only did not smell so vilely.
Maequis. And my wife would not leave me in peace — I

had to bring her here.
Seveeine. Well, what is there so very special here?
Host {to Lansac). Well, so you're here, are you, you

dried-up old scoundrel? Did you bring your wife along

because she wasn't safe enough for you at home?
Maequis {ivitli a forced laugh). He's quite a character.
Host. But take heed that she is not snatched away from

under your nose in this very place. Aristocratic ladies

like her very often get a deuce of a fancy to try what

a real rogue is like.
RoLLiN. I suffer unspeakably, Severine.
Maequis. My child, I prepared you for this — it is high

time that we went.
Seveeine. What ails you? I think it's charming. Nay,

let us seat ourselves.
FfiANgois. Would you allow me. Marquise, to present to

you the Chevalier de la Tremouille. He is here for

the first time, too. The Marquis de Lansac; Rollin,

our celebrated poet.
Albin. Delighted. {Compliments; they sit down.) {To

FRANgois.) Is that one of those that are playing, or —

I can't make it out —
Francois. Don't be so stupid. That is the lawful wife

of the Marquis de Lansac ... a lady of extreme

RoLLiN {to Severine). Say that thou lovest me.
Seveeine. Yes, yes ; but ask me not every minute.
Maequis. Have we missed a scene already?
Franqois. Nothing much. An incendiary 's playing over

there, 'twould appear.
Severine. Chevalier, you must be the cousin of the little

Lydia de la Tremouille who was married today.
Albin. Quite so. Marquise; that was one of the reasons

why I came to Paris.
Seveeine. I remember having seen you in the church.
Albin {embarrassed). I am highly flattered, Marquise.


Seveeine (^0 Rollin). What a dear little boy!

RoLLiN. My dear Severine, you have never yet managed

to know a man without his pleasing you.
Severine. Indeed I did ; and what is more, I married him

straight away.
RoLLiN. I am always so afraid, Severine — I am sure there

are moments when it's not safe for you to be with your

own husband.
Host {brings wine). There you are. I wish it were poison ;

but for the time being, the law won't let us serve it to

you, you scum.
FnANgois. The time '11 soon come, Prosper.
Seveeine {to Rollin). What is the matter with both those

pretty girls? Why don't they come nearer? Now

that we once are here, I want to join in everything.

I really think that everything is extremely moral here.
Marquis. Have patience, Severine.
Severine. I think nowadays one diverts oneself best in

the streets. Do you know what happened to us yester-
day when we went for a drive in the Promenade de

Longchamps ?
Marquis. Please, please, my dear Severine, why —
Severine. A fellow jumped onto the footboard of our

carriage and shouted, '' Next year you will stand

behind your coachman and we shall be sitting in the

carriages. ' '
FRANgois. Hm! That is rather strong.
Marquis. Odds life! I don't think one ought to talk of

such things. Paris is now somewhat feverish, but that

will soon pass off again.
GuiLLAUME {suddenly). I see flames — flames everywhere

I look — red, high flames.
Host {to him). You're playing a madman, not a criminal.
Severine. Does he see flames'?

Francois. But all this is still not the real thing. Marquise.
AiBiN {to Rollin). I cannot tell you how bewildered I feel
* already with everything.



MiCHETTE {comes to the Maequis). I have not yet greeted

you, darling, you dear old pig.
Marquis {embarrassed). Slie jests, dear Severine.
Seveeine. It does not look that way. Tell me, little one,

how many love-affairs have you had so far ?
Maequis {to FEA^gois). It is really wonderful how well

my wife the Marquise knows how to adapt herself to

every situation.
RoLLiN. Yes, it is wonderful.
MiCHETTE. Have you counted yours?
Seveeine. When I was still as young as you ... of

course . . .
Albin {to Rollin). Tell me, M. RoUin, is the Marquise

joking, or is she really like — 1 I positively can't

make it out.
Rollin. Reality . . . playing . . . do you know the differ-
ence so exactly. Chevalier?
Albin. At any rate . . .
Rollin. I don't. And what I find so peculiar here is that

all apparent distinctions, so to speak, are taken away.

Reality passes into play — play into reality. Just look

now at the Marquise. How she gossips with those

creatures as though she w^ere one of them. At the

same time she is —
Albin. Something quite different.
Rollin. I thank you. Chevalier.
Host {to Geain). Well, how did it all happen?
Geain. What?
Host. Why, the affair with your aunt, for which you went

to prison for two years.
Geain. I told you, I strangled her.
Franqois. That is feeble. He is an amateur. I have

never seen him before.
Georgette {comes quickly in, dressed like a prostitute of

the lotvest class). Good evening, children. Is my

Balthasar not here yet?
Scaevola. Georgette, sit by me. Your Balthasar will

yet be here in time.


Georgette. If he is not here in ten minutes, he won't bring
off anything again — he won't come back at all then.

Franqois. Watch her, Marquise. She is the wife of that
Balthasar of whom she has just beeji speaking, and
who will soon come in. She represents just a common
street-jade, while Balthasar is her bully. All the same,
she is the truest wife to be found in the whole of Paris.

Balthasar comes in.
Georgette. My Balthasar! {She runs toward him and

embracas him). So there you are.
Balthasar. It is all in order. {Silence around him.) It

was not worth the trouble. I was almost sorry for him.

You should size up your customers better. Georgette.

I am sick of killing promising youths for the sake of

a few francs.
Franqois. Splendid !
Albin. What — ?
FfiANgois. He brings out the points so well.

Enter the Commissaire, disguised; sits down at table.

Host {to him). You come at a good time, M. le Commis-
saire. This is one of my best exponents.

Balthasar. One should really try and find another pro-
fession. On my soul, I am not a craven, but this kind
of bread is hard earned.

ScAEvoLA. I can well believe so.

Georgette. What's the matter with you today"?

Balthasar. I will tell you what. Georgette — I think you 're
a trifle too tender with the young gentlemen.

Georgette. See what a child he is! But be reasonable,
Balthasar. I must needs be very tender so as to in-
spire them with confidence.

RoLLiN. What she says is really deep.

Balthasar. If I thought for a moment that you felt any-
thing when another —

Georgette. What do you say to that? Dumb jealousy
will yet bring him to his grave.


Balthasar. I have already heard one sigh, Georgette, and
that was at a moment when one of them was already
giving sufficient proofs of his confidence.

Georgette, One can't leave off playing a woman in love
so suddenly.

Balthasar. Be careful, Georgette — the Seine is deep.
(Wildly.) Should you ever deceive me —

Georgette. Never, never.

Albin. I positively can't make it out.

Severinb. RoUin, that is the right interpretation!

RoLLiN. You think so?

Marquis {to Severine). It is time we were going, Severine.

Severine. Why? I am beginning to enjoy it.

Georgette. My Balthasar, I adore you. {Embrace.)

FRANgois. Bravo ! bravo !

Balthasar. What loony is that?

Commissaire. This is unquestionably too strong; this is —

Enter Maurice and Etienne. They are dressed like young nobles^ but one
can see that they are only disguised in dilapidated theatrical costumes.

From the Actors' Table. Who are they?

Scaevola. May the devil take me if it ain't Maurice and

Georgette. Of course it is they !
Balthasar. Georgette !
Severine. Heavens! what monstrously pretty young

Rollin. It is painful, Severine, to see you so violently

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