by Charles Reade
DAUBENTON (a magistrate)
JEROME LESURQUES (innkeeper)
JOSEPH LESURQUES (his son)
DUBOSC (a celebrated criminal)
DIDIER (a young citizen)
JOLIQUET (Lesurques's garçon)
LAMBERT (friends of Joseph Lesurques)
DUMONT (Courier of Lyons)
MAGLOIRE (the postilion)
CHOPPARD (a horse dealer, called "The Irresistible")
COURRIOL ("The Dandy")
FOUINARD ("The Chicken")
JULIE LESURQUES (daughter of Joseph)
JEANNE (an outcast)
AGENTS DE POLICE
SCENE 1. A public room in an old fashioned hotel. CHOPPARD and FOUINARD are discovered sitting at a table with a WAITER in attendance.
WAIT: Citizens, will you take anything, while waiting for your friends?
WAIT: Please yourselves, citizens, please yourselves. Should you alter your minds, you will be pleased to call. (Exit.)
CHOP: Well, Fouinard, this waste of time is too bad. He does not come, this Courriol--he that is to show himself and change into louis d'ors the sous--that we have not.
FOU: I believe that he will bring some great idea, but what will this idea be, Choppard? I have a presentiment that it will be the clothing of the armies of the Republic--pretty pickings sometimes found that way, Choppard! I have nothing, I am only a philosopher--but you could patriotically assist your countrymen; you are a lender of horses, at twenty sous the hour, you must supply them.
CHOP: If the Cavaliers of the Republic give chase to the Prussians with the horses I lend it we shan't take many prisoners, Fouinard. But not yet, not yet, you see--what can detain him!
FOU: Are you quite sure that this was the appointed place of meeting?
CHOP: Quite! Here is the note: "Fouinard and you be at the house of Hardouin, traiteur, No. 17, Rue du Bac, on the eighth of May, at ten o'clock in the morning. I shall be there. Be punctual--I shall explain all."
FOU: It is the writing of Courriol!
CHOP: This is the eighth of May?
CHOP: And this house is No. 17 in the Rue du Bac. And do you think that it is ten o'clock yet? (A clock strikes twelve.)
FOU: Hark! That is twelve striking.
CHOP: (rising) I am not going to remain here any longer. Do you see, Fouinard, I like independence. I should be sorry to serve under this Courriol--who does the dandy--like the Citizen Director Barras--who makes us wait here counting our fingers. What is he more than we? Excepting indeed he has been to college, and has fine white hands--one who has two sides to everything.
FOU: Come, be patient.
CHOP: I can't; I am too hungry. I shall go!
FOU: Hush! If the garçon hears you . . . !
CHOP: Bah! What does it signify? Here have I danced attendance for two hours. I shall decamp. Adieu, Fouinard!
FOU: If you go, I shall go.
(They begin to leave, but stop at the voice of the WAITER who enters.)
WAIT: This way, citizen; there is room here.
FOU: (to CHOPPARD) Stop! Here comes Courriol!
COUR: Ah, good-day! What going?
CHOP: We have been waiting here these two hours and--
COUR: And you find the time long? Excuse me, but coming here I perceived some figures that rather excited my observation, and thought it would be polite and prudent to avoid encountering individuals whose enquiries and attentions might be prolonged and unsatisfactory. I therefore took a circuitous route, and arrived safely.
CHOP: The explanation is satisfactory. We may be quiet enough here.
COUR: Yes; for I know no-one in this quarter.
WAIT: (advancing) These gentlemen will take breakfast?
FOU: Yes, citizen. (Exit WAITER.)
COUR: You have read my letter?
CHOP: You have promised to explain this affair.
COUR: At present I am as much in the dark as yourselves.
CHOP: Why do we meet here?
COUR: I am expecting our chief--as yet unknown--he that will give the idea and means of executing it.
CHOP: Who is he?
COUR: I have never seen him.
CHOP: You appear remarkably well informed! What's his name?
COUR: That I don't know.
CHOP: How are we to recognize him?
COUR: By a signal. A man will come here at two o'clock; he will place himself at one of the tables, and call for a bottle of brandy, which is his favourite drink, and finish it at a sitting, for that is his custom. That is the description. Recognize him who can.
CHOP: I know one man of that description, but he will not be here today.
FOU: And why not?
CHOP: Because those persons to whom the Republic has delegated the honour of watching and tending his health object to his appearance on the outside of the gates of his residence.
FOU: Of whom do you speak?
COUR: The famous Dubosc! Who has been confined these two years in the Chateau Trompette, at Bordeaux.
CHOP: Ah, if it is Dubosc, I shall have confidence. When in his sober senses he has ideas! But unhappily he is not always so. He is sometimes drunk--I may say, he is very often drunk, and then--
(Enter WAITER with breakfast on a tray.)
WAIT: Citizens, your refreshments.
(Enter GUERNEAU and LAMBERT.)
GUER: We shall do very well here, Lambert, I think?
LAM: Yes, Guerneau, very well. Some wine. (They sit. Exit WAITER.)
COUR: (turning round) Ah, mon dieu--what a fatality--those men will recognize me!
CHOP: Who are they?
COUR: Two old college chums. If they see me with you it may compromise us all.
CHOP: Compromise--bah! They're no chums of mine--they've not been to college with me. And so Fouinard and I will breakfast.
GUER: Courriol! Is it you, Courriol?
COUR: I am recognized.
LAM: Yes, it is he! How do you do, Courriol?
COUR: (turns) Ha! What Lambert! Guerneau! By what chance--(He crosses to them.)
GUER: We are expecting Lesurques, who arrived this morning from Douai. You remember the excellent and respected citizen Lesurques?
COUR: Yes, I remember him well!
LAM: He intends remaining at Paris, to marry his daughter; and we have appointed to meet him here, as being the most convenient rendezvous near his notary's.
GUER: But you--what do you do here with these queer looking gentlemen?
COUR: I! Oh, I was sitting down to breakfast and being alone, joined their table for company's sake.
CHOP: He denies us--the dandy!
FOU: Hush! Be prudent!
CHOP: (striking the table) What does he mean?
COUR: Eh! He means to call the garçon and pay the bill.
CHOP: (rising) That is good!
COUR: I believe they are going to pay at the bar, for they seem pressed for time.
(COURRIOL makes signs to them to go.)
FOU: Let's be off!
CHOP: Nom d'un tonnerre! It is humiliating.
FOU: I see nothing humiliating in having a good breakfast and not paying for it. Come along! Garçon--a toothpick!
LAM: Come join us at table.
COUR: (aside to FOUINARD and CHOPPARD) Go! I will remain and watch the grain; and at three o'clock you return here.
(Exeunt FOUINARD and CHOPPARD murmuring. The GARÇON enters with wine which he places on the table.)
COUR: (to GARÇON) Those gentlemen have left: bring here what I ordered--(aside) and silence. (He gives the WAITER money.)
LAM: A quarter past twelve! Lesurques is late!
(Enter LESURQUES, JULIE, and DIDIER.)
GUER: Ha, he is here!
LES: Come in, my children, come in! Good day, my friends! How are you, Guerneau--Lambert? (They shake hands.) Allow me to introduce my daughter, Julie, and her betrothed.
DIDIER: What, Courriol!
COUR: How are you, Lesurques? It is an age since we met.
LES: We were at the college of Louis le Grand!
GUER: Mon dieu, Lesurques! That sweet girl your daughter? Ah, Monsieur Didier, you have done well to be first in the field; one feels inclined to dispute the point with you!
DIDIER: It is necessary to prove first of all, monsieur that they love Mademoiselle more than I, or I will not yield her. (He places a chair for JULIE to sit.)
LES: (sitting) It is a glorious thing to be happy, is it not?
COUR: You are happy, Lesurques?
LES: Yes, I am happy! You need not ask it--you see it! All my life is a link of prosperity--good parents, good health, an honourable service in the army (when soldier in the regiment of Auvergne), a small fortune that I have amassed from my own labour--and then, a daughter, such as I have; and a son-in-law, such as I am going to have--with all this, still a little youthfulness left, and good friends--oh, I feel a happy man! Yes, heaven never made a happier man than I!
COUR: I am astonished to hear you say so much!
LES: Is it then so rare a thing, this happiness? But you rise, Julie.
JULIE: It is one o'clock, papa.
DIDIER: And you know we have many purchases to make.
LES: Yes, my children. Go, yes, go!
JULIE: What, must we leave you Father? When shall we see you? At five o'clock?
LES: Yes, that is to say, no; do not wait for me.
DIDIER: What! Will you not return home to dine with us?
LES: Oh, I shall not be hungry before tomorrow.
DIDIER: Well, then, we will call here for you as we return.
LES: No, no. I shall come to the house. You may expect me. Adieu, adieu--go, my children, go.
JULIE and DIDIER: Messieurs!
(COURRIOL, GUERNEAU, and LAMBERT bow. JULIE kisses her father, and exit with DIDIER.)
GUER: You have quite grieved your children.
LAM: Mademoiselle Julie is quite uneasy.
COUR: Why not tell them your plans?
LES: You ask me why I will not tell them what I am going to do--I will tell you. It is a little secret--however, it turns upon the subject that I before alluded to, and however perfectly happy one may be, there is always some little annoyance, from here, or from there. I have two sorrows--first, the remembrance of my poor wife that I have lost; secondly, my father.
GUER: Your father!
LES: He has not had the good fortune in life that I have had--the Revolution ruined him; but he is proud, and will not receive any assistance from me, his son, who owes him all, and two years since, he quitted Douai, in spite of all our prayers.
GUER: What has become of him?
LES: With his last resources, he has opened an auberge, a cabaret--I know not what: in the environs of Paris. It is very humble, but there is no honest trade humiliating for men of honour. Even there, misfortune still pursues him--and now, to satisfy his creditors, he is compelled to sell his establishment; but as no purchaser has presented himself, they will expel him.
GUER: And he does not address himself to you?
LES: Ah, you know him not--he would rather die of hunger! An old soldier--a man who has been in the possession of fortune--lost it, but never sacrificed either probity or honour!
GUER: And what do you intend to do?
LES: If possible, induce him to return with us, in spite of this exaggerated delicacy. It is a surprise that I intend for my dear Julie. Didier and Julie love him, as they love and respect me. Didier is a merchant, and a thriving man--if my father rebels, they will find him employment in attending to the books, or watching over the clerks. It will spare his scruples, and he shall, in spite of himself, eat the cake with us, instead of nibbling his own hard crust.
LAM: Brave Lesurques, go! Heaven will recompense you.
COUR: I think he has already been recompensed. Rich--flourishing--joyous--look at him! He gives one the wish to be an honest man!
COUR: That is--if one was not so already.
LES: (to GUERNEAU) I believe you have a horse, Guerneau?
GUER: Yes, but they have taken it for the Government requisition.
LES: I would have borrowed it.
LAM: Nothing--merely a ride.
COUR: Hire one.
LES: I know not where.
COUR: (aside) It will put a few sous in the pocket of one that will not be sorry to receive it. There is Choppard!
LES: Where does he reside?
COUR: Rue Saint-Honore, No. 213.
LES: Good horses?
COUR: Yes, and not dear.
LES: Rue Saint-Honore, 213. Good! Thank you! (He rises.)
GUER: You are going to leave us?
LES: I confess that I am rather in a hurry--but I shall see you tomorrow--it is tomorrow that I sign the contract with Julie and Didier. I have good apartments, newly furnished. I expect my friend, Daubenton, he is justice of the peace of the division of Pont-Neuf. You will come, Guerneau, and you also, Lambert? As to you, Courriol, as an old college friend, you will not refuse to sign the contract of Julie?
COUR: Thank you! Your address?
LES: Rue Montmartre, No. 118.
COUR: At what hour?
LES: (rising) At four o'clock to dinner. My friends, I will say, adieu! Remember tomorrow!
GUER: We shall not remain here as you are leaving, we will go together.
LAM: We will pay the bill and go.
LES: (looking at his watch) A quarter to three! Diable, the time has passed quickly with you, I shall be off, for I am rather in a hurry. (Exit.)
COUR: (aside) In a quarter of an hour the stranger will be here! If I remain it will not look well. I must accompany them and hurry back to my appointment.
GUER: Courriol, we will accompany Lesurques as far as the Tuileries. Garçon, my hat and cane! (The WAITER brings them.)
COUR: (taking his hat) I am ready!
LES: (off) Come, Courriol--I am in a hurry. (Exeunt, followed by the WAITER. Enter DUBOSC.)
DUBOSC: (looking about him) Good--no one! (Enter WAITER.)
WAIT: Can I bring you anything? (The WAITER removes a table, and exit.)
DUBOSC: Presently! This is the house--this is the room--but there is no one here. Hark! someone comes! (He sits at a table.)
(Enter JEANNE from door. She looks around her, sees DUBOSC, and speaks in a low voice.)
JEANNE: It is he, Dubosc!
DUBOSC: (starting) My name?
JEANNE: Dubosc, Dubosc, do not fear--
DUBOSC: (aside) That voice, Jeanne!
JEANNE: Dubosc, it is I, Jeanne--
DUBOSC: Pardon, madame, were you speaking to me?
JEANNE: You do not know me! Well then, I will aid your memory. I am the poor girl who believed you an honest man, and who loved you--now do you know me?
DUBOSC: My good madame, you really mistake me for someone else.
JEANNE: I have been mistaken in you, but am not so now!-- She that you robbed of her honour, she that you robbed of her gold, she that you abandoned when she was a mother, abandoned with her little helpless child, now stands by your side! Do you not know her?
JEANNE: She that has no longer parents (for shame and misery have killed them); she who soon will have no longer any child (for he will die of hunger); she who has no longer any shelter--not even bread; she that has no refuge from vice, but suicide or starvation, starvation with her child--Dubosc, do you know her now?
DUBOSC: This cursed woman will mar all.
JEANNE: You do not speak. Will you do nothing to soften your crime? It is charity I ask, but not for myself--no, no, no! Were it not for my child I should call for death with cries of despair! You have escaped from the prison at Bordeaux! Dubosc, I have followed you! I came on foot, counting every step! I have found you! I supplicate you to give me money to take me to Alsace, there I shall find charitable people who will assist me if I work--will help to nourish my child--and I shall have time to reconcile myself with heaven. Will you?. . . Will you?
DUBOSC: (seated) I repeat, I have not the honour of knowing you.
JEANNE: If you will grant it, I will pardon you all the ill that you have done me--if you will listen to my prayer, never shall you hear of me--never--I swear by the memory of my poor parents! I swear by the life of my poor child! (She kneels.)
DUBOSC: I have no money.
JEANNE: For my child--for my child!
DUBOSC: Here comes the garçon, if you do not go, I will.
JEANNE: Dubosc, I will leave you until tomorrow to reflect. If tomorrow you do not give me that I ask, to support my child and aid me to hide my shame--
JEANNE: Well! Tomorrow I shall be desperate--and you will learn what it is for a mother to be in despair, Dubosc!
DUBOSC: Tomorrow--be it so, tomorrow! I shall be far away from here tonight.
JEANNE: Adieu, Dubosc! I feel the cravings of hunger, but I must wait until tomorrow. (Exit.)
DUBOSC: Well, there was one advantage in being imprisoned, I was free from such absurd and intolerable intrusions. Ah, footsteps! (He sits, and a clock strikes three.)
(Enter CHOPPARD, and FOUINARD.)
DUBOSC: It strikes three. Ah, here is someone.
CHOP: (pushing FOUINARD) Go on!
FOU: But suppose it shouldn't be--
DUBOSC: Some brandy.
WAIT: A small glass?
DUBOSC: A bottle, and a large glass.
(Exit WAITER, who returns with a bottle and a tumbler, which he places on the table, before going off.)
CHOP: (to FOUINARD) Do you see! (DUBOSC pours a glass, and drinks.)
FOU: (singing to himself joyfully) Oh, la, la, la!
CHOP: It must be he.
DUBOSC: (regarding them) All right I think. (He pours out a second glass, and drinks it rapidly, they gazing upon him with admiration.)
CHOP: Citizen, in the manner in which you have rinsed down those two tumblers of brandy, I believe I can perceive--
DUBOSC: That I shall soon finish the bottle. (He drinks.)
FOU: I am sure it is he.
CHOP: It is Dubosc. (They bow with reverence. He extends his hands, which they shake with respect and fervour.)
DUBOSC: You know me--how is that?
CHOP: All the army know their general; but the general knows not all his soldiers.
DUBOSC: You reason well, thank you--it is flattering, but long, and we have no time to lose.
CHOP: Come, let us have something to drink.
DUBOSC: Yes, I am thirsty. Garçon, some brandy!
(Enter WAITER, who takes bottle and glasses, and exit. They sit.)
DUBOSC: Which of you is a lender of horses?
CHOP: I, Pierre Choppard, the jockey, generally known and appreciated as the amiable.
DUBOSC: And this imbecile is Fouinard, whom they call the philosopher.
FOU: (flattered) He knows me--the great thief knows me--oh, citizen! (He bows.)
DUBOSC: We want a third.
CHOP: We want Courriol, who is never to his time.
DUBOSC: I cannot wait for him--I have business--here! (DUBOSC signs to FOUINARD to come near, pours out a glass, and they touch glasses and drink. Then to CHOPPARD) You have four horses?
DUBOSC: They will be ready!
CHOP: In an hour.
DUBOSC: At the barrier of Charenton!
FOU: (timidly) And--the object--for which we shall employ these quadrupeds?
DUBOSC: Fifty-seven thousand livres in gold; thirty for me, forty-five you three.
FOU: Oh, oh! (He sings and dances.)
DUBOSC: You shall know more when we are on horseback and upon our road. You will let Courriol know? (going)
COUR: Here I am! Here I am!
CHOP: Ah, Monsieur Courriol, always behind time!
COUR: It was not my fault. (He sees DUBOSC.) Ah! (in amazement).
DUBOSC: Explain it all to him, I am going to the bar. Adieu, my chickens, adieu!
FOU: What is the matter?
COUR: Who is this man?
FOU: The famous Dubosc--the Man and the Brandy!
COUR: Dubosc! Is it Dubosc?--If I had not left Lesurques on horseback this very minute, I could swear--what a resemblance!
CHOP: Come, come, we have but one hour, come!
FOU: Seventy-five thousand livres--oh! (He sings and dances in delight. CHOPPARD pushes him, and exeunt.)
The front of Lesurques's cabaret at Lieursaint, with its sign, set upon the high road from Paris to Lyons. It is five o'clock in the afternoon. The cabaret, which is open to the audience's view, is raised by three steps above the ground. Tables, stools, buffet, bottles, and candles are visible. There is a door to an inner room at the back, and traps to the cellar at the front. There is a table outside, and trees extend to the back of the stage where the high road lies. JEROME comes out of the house, and sits at the table.
JEROME: No travellers! No visitors! This, the last day of my residence here, will be as the preceding. No one! The house is cursed! 'Tis well that I am compelled to quit it. I must go to Lieursaint, and give my consent that the auberge be sold, that my creditors, having all, may have nothing more to claim from me--and tomorrow--well tomorrow, I shall be without shelter, without resources--but at least my honour will remain.
(Enter JOLIQUET from the road.)
JOLI: Master! Master!
JEROME: Well, Joliquet?
JOLI: What will you give me for what I am going to give you?
JEROME: Is it good or is it bad?
JOLI: It comes from Douai, therefore it must be good. (He gives JEROME a letter, and goes behind the house to the road.)
JEROME: From Douai! From my son Joseph! Ah, thank heaven! I was despairing and you have sent me consolation. (He reads.) "Dear father, I shall arrive at Paris tomorrow with my daughter Julie; we are residing Rue Montmartre, No. 118; I shall marry Julie to a noble fellow, who will make her happy. Come and see us as soon as you receive this note. We sign the contract tomorrow after dinner--from your affectionate son, Joseph Lesurques." Tomorrow! (with sadness) Yes I shall be able to visit you tomorrow--I shall be free--for tomorrow I shall have no business, no home. But my son shall not know my misery, nor the unhappiness that surrounds me: poor fellow! He who has laboured so hard and so well, why grieve him with my misfortunes. Tomorrow, I will put on my Sunday suit, and an air of contentment; I will not carry a gloom to the betrothal of my dear grandchild: and afterwards--we shall see. Joliquet!
JOLI: (advancing from the road) Master!
JEROME: I am going out--take care of the house.
JOLI: Ah, that will not be difficult, for there is very little for anyone to run away with.
JEROME: True! But there is some wine and brandy; and it is necessary someone should be here when the courier of Lyons passes. We always take care that the courier shall be well served.
JOLI: Do not fear, master--a small glass of the hard for the postilion, a half bottle of the old for the courier--but where are you going, if I may ask, master?
JEROME: I am going to Lieursaint, Joliquet.
JOLI: And what to do, master?
JEROME: Sell the house and find you a better master.
JOLI: Sell the house! And me with it!
JEROME: Yes, you with it.
JOLI: Well, whoever buys us will have a bargain with me, whatever he may have with the inn, not that that would be a bad speculation if we ever had customers--but you're not going to Lieursaint tonight?
JEROME: Yes, I must, but you will not stir from here, (with a sigh) Now, Joliquet--my hat! (Hat and stick are fetched.) Yes, the house must be sold--it is a sacrifice, but it must be made. (Exit.)
JOLI: Good-bye, master, and may you find a good customer for the house! Well, this is not a very bad place, that's a fact; I don't tire myself in waiting on the guests; the perquisites will never burn a hole in my pocket. It is funny, but I like to be left alone because I am frightened; and when I am frightened, I go to the top of the hill to the cabaret of our neighbour--there they laugh and talk. It is not a hermitage like this. He is gone! Yes, I'll go too; the house can take care of itself, and I'll be back before eight o'clock to receive the courier. It is not likely that anyone will come while I'm away, when for days we do not see a single person. Hollo! Who is this, I wonder! A traveller! What's he looking at? Why does he stop? It looks very suspicious that a traveller should come to our inn--I feel very nervous--if I hide myself, I shall see what he is after.
(Music. JOLIQUET enters the house, and hides behind the door. Darkness comes on gradually. There is complete darkness during the attack on the mail. Enter LESURQUES, enveloped in a cloak.)
LES: Yes, it was my father I saw in the distance. Oh, yes, I could not mistake him. He looked sad and bowed down with grief. Thank heaven! Now his troubles will cease. What solitude! And what misery! No one to receive travellers. I did well to leave my horse down in the little wood. I will go in and see if there is anyone in the house. (One of his spurs drags on the ground. He knocks on the door.)
JOLI: (within, in a tremulous voice) Who's there? (He calls.) A thief! A thief!
LES: Eh!--a thief. Which is he--you or I?
JOLI: I don't know. What do you want?
JOLI: You must go somewhere else, we don't sell it.
LES: Then what means this sign here? Open, I say! Give me one of your best bottles of wine and here is a crown for you.
JOLI: A crown! (He opens the door a little, and peers out.) Yes, it looks like a crown--he must be an honest man. (JOLIQUET emerges.) You wish for some wine, citizen?
JOLI: Why did you not come earlier? Will you have white or red? You will lose your spur, the chain is broken.
LES: True. Give me a little thread, I will join the links; as to the wine, which you like. Where is the cellar? (They enter the house. JOLIQUET lights two candles, and gives to LESURQUES some thread.) Thank you. One can go there? (He points to the door of the inner chamber.)
JOLI: There? No, not there. That is the master's chamber.
LES: (mending the spur) That is his chamber, eh? Good! My wine, garçon, and let it be fresh.
JOLI: I will fetch it from the cellar. (He opens the trap, and disappears with a candle, but the light is seen through a small grating in front.)
LES: (producing from under his cloak a small bag of money) With this money, my poor father, you can pay all your debts, and be under no obligation to anyone--not even to me. I have fixed upon the bag a label, which will put you at your ease in accepting it, "Restitution." My poor father has been often robbed, and, believing in the remorse of the robbers, he will think it is his own property restored. Now then, to place the bag. (He enters the inner chamber, and returns immediately. JOLIQUET sings while in the cellar.) I have nothing more to do here. My dear child expects me, and I would not make her uneasy. (Six o'clock strikes.) Oh! Six o'clock! I shall be in Paris before seven. (Exit.)
JOLI: (returned, singing) There, you'll like this, it's only disturbed once a day, that's every night, for the courier, who passes at eight o'clock. There! Do not break the glass, that is so unlucky and costs two sous. Shall I pour it out for you? Where are you? (He looks about, and then goes outside.)
(Enter DUBOSC wearing a dark mantle like LESURQUES, together with FOUINARD, COURRIOL, and CHOPPARD, who remain at the back.)
DUBOSC: Wait while I knock.
JOLI: (seeing him) Ah, there you are! Drink that--and give me your opinion. I like the white myself, but everyone to his taste. (He offers DUBOSC the glass.)
DUBOSC: What do you mean? Who is this animal?
JOLI: (placing the bottle upon the table) Animal?
DUBOSC: You are alone here?
JOLI: No, I'm not.
JOLI: Not if you call yourself anybody.
DUBOSC: Give us something to drink.
JOLI: (pointing to the bottle) There's your bottle.
DUBOSC: Is one bottle sufficient for four persons?
JOLI: Four! You're not four. (He sees the others.) Ah, those heads!
DUBOSC: Where is the cellar?
JOLI: (trembling) You know very well--you asked me once before.
DUBOSC: (menacing) Well, will you bring it?
JOLI: (trembling) I am going. (He enters the house and descends into the cellar.)
DUBOSC: Advance, comrades. You have seen this fellow who is in the cellar?
CHOP: The rascal. Well?
DUBOSC: We must begin by stopping his mouth.
FOU: Poor little devil.
COUR: What do you gain by killing him?
DUBOSC: This much, that he will not see what we are going to do.
COUR: Well, then, I will prevent his seeing--Garçon!
(JOLIQUET comes from the cellar.)
COUR: How many bottles have you brought, my man?
JOLI: (placing the bottles upon the table) Two, sir. (aside) I like the looks of this one.
COUR: We must have two more, go fetch them. (Gives him money.) Here!
JOLI: It rains money today--I am going, sir! (He goes down into the cellar.)
COUR: (to CHOPPARD, and FOUINARD, who enter the house) Now assist me in placing the buffet upon the trap--then this table--there, if he comes up now it will surprise me.
CHOP: I believe we are quite alone, now we can drink.
DUBOSC: Is that the wind? (He drinks, goes out of the house, and listens.) Nothing yet--what is that?
COUR: What do you hear?
DUBOSC: What is the time?
COUR: A quarter to eight.
JOLI: (from the cellar) Ah, they have locked me in! Let me out! Open the trap!
DUBOSC: (enters the house and speaks at the trap) If you speak another word, I will open it, and then that word shall be your last! Do you hear? Silence, or death!
CHOP: (to DUBOSC) Come, let us know your plans and intentions.
DUBOSC: (makes sign for them to listen) At eight o'clock you will hear the noise of horses, and the tinkling of the bells upon the horses--
DUBOSC: It is the courier of Lyons coming this way, before mounting the hill side, he will stop here to take a glass with the postilion.
DUBOSC: This courier has in charge, a coach, and in this coach there is a chest; and in this chest, there is at this moment the seventy-five thousand livres that I spoke about this morning--this is the speculation.
FOU: But the mail courier always carries pistols.
DUBOSC: (producing his) So do I.
FOU: And the postilion carries a hunting knife.
CHOP: And I a table knife (showing one).
COUR: There is generally a traveller who accompanies the courier--that makes three men.
DUBOSC: I have foreseen that; do not make yourselves uneasy. You have perfectly understood me?
DUBOSC: Fifteen thousand livres for each of you, and thirty for me.
COUR: Be it so.
DUBOSC: Now this is the plan of the attack. When the courier arrives here, Courriol will follow the coach; I will pour out the wine; Fouinard must watch the road; Choppard must look to the postilion, and I will take the courier for myself.
(Eight o'clock strikes.)
DUBOSC: Now let me see, are your hearts strong?
DUBOSC: (regarding FOUINARD) Master Fouinard looks pale.
FOU: It's my courage!
DUBOSC: But, Monsieur Courriol!
FOU: Oh, the coward!
CHOP: With his white hands!
COUR: (calmly, while removing his gloves) Monsieur Dubosc, when I am in want of money, nothing stops me, not even the soiling of my hands.
(The stage has become quite dark. The group in the inn are illuminated by a red glare from the fireplace.)
DUBOSC: Hush! (The distant noise of whip and bells increases as the coach arrives.)
DUBOSC: Yes! Come, Fouinard, before; Courriol, behind the trees; Choppard, in the ditch; I remain here. (They retire to their positions.) This brute of a garçon remains still--he is quite alone here! Let me see! (He enters the chamber with a candle, and brings out the bag of money.) What is this--money! "Restitution!" Come, that's delicate! Good, I accept the restitution. (He puts it in his pocket. The noise of the coach comes closer.) They come! (The coach appears at the back of the stage, and the POSTILION alights.)
POST: Hollo there, father Jerome! House!
JOLI: (from the cellar) Here! Here!
DUBOSC: The rascal! (Concealing the voice of JOLIQUET) Here! Here! (He comes out of the house with brandy.)
POST: It is not Joliquet.
DUBOSC: (offering wine) No, I have taken his place--but here is your glass.
(The COURIER and a TRAVELLER come from within the coach to take refreshment.)
POST: Your health, citizen! (He drinks.) I will go to my horses. (He goes off behind the house.)
COURIER: (advancing) It is not Joliquet.
DUBOSC: (offering wine) All the same, citizen, your wine.
COURIER: The same wine?
TRAV: Drink, courier, drink.
COURIER: Your health, sir. (They drink. There are cries from the back of the stage.) What is that?
POST: (killed at the back by CHOPPARD) Ah, they have killed me! Help! (He staggers in, and falls.)
COURIER: My postilion assassinated! Murder! (He points a pistol towards CHOPPARD, and DUBOSC shoots him) Wounded! Ah, brigands! There are two, but I have a companion! (To TRAVELLER) Assist me! Defend me! You have a sword!
TRAV: Yes, I have a sword. (He stabs the COURIER, who falls.)
DUBOSC: Well done, Durochat! Now, quick, break open the chest.
(FOUINARD is upon the coach, throwing down all the papers and packets that he finds. They hand down the box, and break it open.)
DUBOSC: Durochat, here is your part; jump upon the postilion's horse, and fly! (The TRAVELLER runs away.) Choppard, here is yours; you, Courriol; and you, Fouinard--now save yourselves! (They go off.) I must look after the courier's purse.
JOLI: (from the trap) Ah, he's here at last! Master! Master! Murder! Murder!
JEROME: Ah, what is this? (He seizes DUBOSC.) Wretch! You shall not escape me!
DUBOSC: (struggling with him) Fool! Let me go--or die! (He draws a pistol, and shoots JEROME.)
JEROME: (seeing his features by the light of the flash) Ah! Great heavens! My son! My son! (He totters and falls. DUBOSC escapes.)
SCENE--An elegant apartment in the house of LESURQUES at Paris. There are doors to each side, and in the centre, opening into another room. There is a small table, with books and writing materials upon it; a sofa, another table, and chairs. DIDIER and JULIE are discovered.
DIDIER: (a list in his hand) I have counted and recounted; we shall be thirteen at table.
JULIE: (seated on the sofa) How unlucky! Thirteen at table on the day for signing our marriage contract.
DIDIER: A day commenced by so good an action, my dear Julie!
JULIE: What! You call it a good action, Didier, to succour a poor woman in misery? It should be but natural!
DIDIER: You might have done as many of the rich--turn the head, and pass on!
JULIE: Poor creature! She was dying with despair and famine; she had not eaten for three days. She would have expired with her child!
LES: (who has listened) Yes, but heaven had seen this misery, has had pity, and sent to the poor mother one of its angels--my dear Julie.
JULIE: You there--and listening, fie! We shall be thirteen at table, dear papa.
LES: We shall be fourteen, my child, and he who makes the fourteenth you will not be sorry to see. Adieu, my children, I am going to the notary.
JULIE: Are you going to leave us again? Not as yesterday, I hope, going no one knows where, and breaking your spurs!
LES: (laughing) Ah, true, true!
DIDIER: And mending it with thread!
LES: I will escape now by running away. Au revoir, my dear children, au revoir.
(Exit by the centre door, which remains open.)
JULIE: Dear, good father.
DIDIER: He has an excellent heart! Can I be of any service to you before I leave, Julie? (He takes his hat.)
JULIE: No--I will excuse your absence knowing that you have affairs to attend to.
DIDIER: Thanks, dearest--but who comes here?
(JEANNE appears at the back.)
JULIE: Ah, it is the poor woman that I succoured.
DIDIER: And comes to thank you--I will leave you. (To JEANNE) Come in.
JULIE: Yes, (to DIDIER) you will return soon. (Exit DIDIER.)
JEANNE: (near to the door) You have saved me, madame, and saved my child! Heaven bless you!
JULIE: (sitting) Do not tremble thus, come nearer to me--you are better, are you not?
JEANNE: (approaching) Thank you, yes!
JULIE: I have given orders that your wants shall be attended to; but how is it you have suffered so much, and without making your misery known?
JEANNE: I have made it known.
JULIE: To whom?
JEANNE: Oh, not to hearts like yours, madame!
JULIE: You have a child--but--your husband? Perhaps you are a widow?
JEANNE: (with hesitation) Yes, madame--I am--a widow.
JULIE: You have parents, or friends?
JEANNE: No one. This morning I expected a little money that had been promised me, to take me to Alsace with my son--
JEANNE: Well! The person that promised me the money, this morning, I have not been able to find.
JULIE: (rising) You conceal part of your misfortune--you have not confidence in me--you are wrong--what can I do for you? Speak!
JEANNE: Nothing! Nothing! You have already done too much--but why hesitate? I shall never have such another benefactress--so compassionate--so good. Madame, will you save me? (She goes up to JULIE.)
JULIE: In what way?
JEANNE: They tell me you are going to be married; you are rich, will require someone to attend upon you--I offer myself with all the ardour of deep-felt gratitude; I will not quit you, or give you time to form a wish; day and night I will devote myself to you; you may command my life! Only promise me that my poor child shall be cared for.
JULIE: I consent; you shall remain with us, but I am not yet at liberty to act according to the impulse of my heart. I must consult my husband tomorrow; today, my father; but he is so kind, so good--
JEANNE: Oh, madame, heaven will bless you for all the good you have done me!
(Enter DIDIER and COURRIOL.)
DIDIER: Not here, Monsieur Courriol, not here.
COUR: No one yet--I am very happy to be the first to arrive, (saluting her) Mademoiselle--I should say, madame.
JULIE: (curtseys) You are welcome, sir. (to JEANNE who is leaving) Stay! Here comes my father.
(Enter LESURQUES, GUERNEAU, and LAMBERT.)
LES: Enter, my dear friends. We are punctual to our time. Ah, Courriol, how are you? (GUERNEAU and LAMBERT pay their respects to JULIE, then sit and talk.)
JULIE: (in a low voice) Father, here is the poor woman.
LES: Ah, well?
JULIE: To assist without humiliating her, I would take her into our service.
LES: Very well. What is her name?
JEANNE: Jeanne, sir. (She raises her eyes towards LESURQUES.) Ah!
LES: Why this emotion?
JEANNE: Pardon me, monsieur--a resemblance.
LES: You are now one of our household, Jeanne; we receive you willingly--(DIDIER goes towards JULIE, who has remained sitting) try to do your duty, and we will do all in our power to render your labour agreeable, and your life happy.
JEANNE: I thank you, sir, with all my heart! (aside) So good--when the other--
LES: Come, my friends, and see my little gallery in the dining-room.
GUER: (to JULIE) Mademoiselle, allow me to offer my arm?
DIDIER: Pardon, sir, but--
GUER: I am sorry--pardon me, sir.
(GUERNEAU bows; JULIE takes DIDIER's arm, and exeunt.)
COUR: Of what resemblance were you speaking, my good woman?
JEANNE: (hesitating) I! Sir--
COUR: (aside) She hesitates! Can she have seen Dubosc? Impossible! (aloud) You do not reply?
JEANNE: (aside) Why does he ask me that question?
DAUB: (to JEANNE) Monsieur Lesurques?
JEANNE: Yes, here, sir.
DAUB: Announce Monsieur Daubenton, judge of the division of Pont-Neuf.
COUR: A judge--oh! (Salutes him.)
JEANNE: (going to the door) Monsieur Daubenton, madame!
JULIE: Monsieur Daubenton! Ah, my father will be very delighted to welcome you.
DAUB: And how are you, my dear little friend? You have returned--returned for ever?
JULIE: For ever--yes, sir. But excuse me, I will inform my father of your arrival--he is showing his pictures to his friends.
DAUB: (retaining JULIE) Do not disturb him, for I have not a moment to spare. A crime has been committed near to Paris. The affair has been confided to me, and I have witnesses to examine.
COUR: A crime? Where, sir?
DAUB: Sir, at Lieursaint.
COUR: (aside) At Lieursaint, Diable!
DAUB: (to JULIE) Who is this gentleman?
JULIE: Monsieur Courriol, a college friend of my father's, who dined yesterday with him. But what crime were you speaking of, Monsieur Daubenton?
DAUB: A frightful one! A terrible mystery!
COUR: (aside) A mystery--good! (aloud) Ah, a mystery?
DAUB: But we have some indication. I have sent off agents to collect witnesses. There is a certain innkeeper, named Jerome, that they have not yet found--but--
JEANNE: (announcing) Monsieur Jerome Lesurques!
JULIE: My dear grandfather!
JEROME: My dear Julie! (Exit JEANNE.)
JULIE: This is the surprise--the fourteenth guest that he expected! But sit down, grandfather. (She conducts him to the couch.)
COUR: (aside) I think I know that figure! I have heard that voice!
JULIE: Monsieur Didier, dear grandfather, my future husband; who will be a good son to you.
DIDIER: Truly I will, sir.
JEROME: (presses the hand of DIDIER, and embraces JULIE) Is your father here?
JULIE: Yes, grandfather, he is with some friends--I will call him--
JEROME: No, no!
DIDIER: Permit me to go. (Exit.)
JULIE: You look pale, grandfather--you are fatigued?
COUR: Do you come far, sir? Perhaps from the country?
JEROME: Lieursaint, sir.
DAUB: From Lieursaint, sir! Do you know a person of the name of Jerome?
JEROME: (rising) It is I, sir!
COUR: (aside) I thought so.
DAUB: (to JEROME) You, sir! You the father of Monsieur Lesurques, established at Lieursaint?
JEROME: His father--yes! Is it astonishing that I am his father? . . . That I come from Lieursaint?
JULIE: Dear grandfather, this is Monsieur Daubenton, a magistrate, who has been relating to Monsieur Courriol that a terrible crime has been committed this night at Lieursaint.
(LESURQUES, GUERNEAU, and LAMBERT appear at the door.)
LES: Ah, my father! Dear and excellent father! You have arrived, then?
JEROME: (trembling, and pushing him from him) Oh, it is he!
LES: My father, are you not well?
JEROME: Well? Yes! (LESURQUES takes his hand.)
JEROME: (again repulsing him) Ah, you hurt me!
LES and JULIE: What mean you?
JEROME: (with pain) A slight wound in the shoulder.
LES: (with emotion) A wound!
JEROME: (quickly) It is nothing.
DAUB: But, sir, you are from Lieursaint--you inhabit the place where the crime was committed! Saw you the horrible scene? Speak, Monsieur Jerome, I have sent agents to seek you for your deposition! Give me the details (he sits, ready to write).
LES: Ah, yes, speak, my father!
JEROME: You wish me to speak, Lesurques--be it so--the courier of Lyons has been assassinated with his postilion before my door!
(COURRIOL wipes his forehead with his handkerchief.)
LES: (with surprise) Before your door! Yesterday evening! At what hour?
JEROME: (equally astonished) What audacity!
DAUB: (writing) Yes, at what hour?
JEROME: (with calmness) The courier passed regularly at eight o'clock.
DAUB: (continues to write) And you saw--
JEROME: I was absent at the time of the murder.
DAUB: You have a servant, I believe!
JEROME: (quickly) You know that? This lad, the assassins locked in the cellar, and there--
COUR: (with emotion) And there?
JEROME: From there he could see nothing. (COURRIOL breathes again.)
DAUB: They say you arrived at the time when the courier was shot.
JEROME: It is true.
DAUB: And you were wounded by one of the assassins?
JEROME: By one of the assassins.
DAUB: Then you saw him?
JEROME: As clearly as I see my son.
LES: You could recognize him then. A crime thus odious must not remain unpunished; give the description clearly, Father--say all that you know.
DAUB: (to JEROME, rising) It is your duty, Monsieur Jerome, and I now resume the character of magistrate to interrogate you, I will return to my own house--follow me.
LES: Monsieur Daubenton, you have thrown fear and sadness into our little circle; by taking my father away from us, you will double this sadness--this fear. Remain, I pray you, my father will give his deposition here, as well as at your house.
DAUB: I would willingly, but I expect witnesses.
LES: But they may not come--give me the preference, this saloon will serve as your court: if of great importance there will be time to return to your own house.
COUR: (aside) If I escape, it will excite suspicion.
LES: You will consent?
JULIE: Join your entreaties to ours, Monsieur Courriol, requesting Monsieur Daubenton to remain.
COUR: (going unwillingly towards him) You, Monsieur Daubenton, will not hesitate--to remember--that--the dinner is waiting.
LES: (laughing) Good, Courriol, good; we will not pay for the guilty!
JEROME: (aside) What assurance! Comes it from an honest man, or a hardened ruffian?
DAUB: I will remain as you desire it, Mademoiselle.
LES: I am very glad of that! Julie, we will go to dinner, look to your grandfather, take care of him, see if he suffers from his shoulder.
JULIE: Come, grandfather!
(JEROME and JULIE exeunt. JEROME looks dejected.)
LES: (to DAUBENTON, who is going) A word, Daubenton. My friends, I will be with you immediately--follow them, Courriol!
COUR: (aside) What can he want with Daubenton? (Exit.)
LES: Tell me, Daubenton, will there be much trouble for my father in this sad affair?
DAUB: No, his testimony, once given, I will endeavour not to call upon him until he is required to identify the guilty party.
GUER: Lesurques, you did not tell us yesterday that your father lived at Lieursaint!
LES: He concealed it from all except me; not one in the family knew it.
GUER: It was there you were bound for on quitting us yesterday! Some kind action you wished to conceal!
DAUB: You were at Lieursaint yesterday?
LES: (hesitating) No! Merely taking the air--a ride to--to Vincennes.
(Enter JEANNE with a letter.)
JEANNE: Monsieur the judge, an agent and two gendarmes are below with a witness.
DAUB: (to LESURQUES) You see, a witness, it is necessary that I should go.
LES: This saloon is at your service. Can you not interrogate the witness here?
DAUB: True. It is a mere form. Ten minutes will suffice.
LES: (to GUERNEAU and LAMBERT) Come, we will leave Daubenton! Jeanne, bring in those that would speak to monsieur. There are pens, ink, and paper, you have there all that is necessary to convict twenty villains. Despatch them, my dear friend, quickly, the soup is getting cold. (Exit.)
(JEANNE has retired, and returns with the AGENT, who salutes.)
DAUB: Who have you brought?
AGENT: The witness that you intrusted me to bring from Lieursaint, the garçon of the auberge.
DAUB: He that the murderers locked up in the cellar--bring him in. (He sits at the table.)
DAUB: What is your name?
JOLI: Joliquet, sir, in the service of Monsieur Jerome.
DAUB: Jerome Lesurques?
JOLI: Ah! I don't know if it is Lesurques, I know that it is Jerome.
DAUB: You were there when the murder was committed?
JOLI: I was in the cellar.
DAUB: But before the murder?
JOLI: First of all a man asked me for wine, and thread to mend his spur, the villain!
DAUB: Ah, this is important! And afterwards?
JOLI: Afterwards, I saw him who--
DAUB: (returns to table and takes notes) Wait.
COUR: (aside) Decidedly, the wisest plan will be to escape from here. (To DAUBENTON) Pardon, but--(perceives JOLIQUET) the garçon! (He moves up stage.)
JOLI: Ah! (in terror).
JOLI: That is one of them!
COUR: (aside) He recognizes me!
JOLI: It is he that locked me in the cellar!
COUR: (aside) If I hesitate, I am lost! (aloud) What is it? Who is it? (He advances.)
JOLI: The robber!
DAUB: Are you mad, young man, or speak you according to your conscience?
JOLI: I tell you, it is he!
COUR: This garçon has lost his wits from fear!
JOLI: I recognize his voice! Arrest him! Arrest him, gendarmes! (He runs to COURRIOL and seizes him, calling) Gendarmes!
(COURRIOL seizes JOLIQUET by the throat. The AGENT goes to the back of the stage, and beckons on two gendarmes, who remain near the door.)
COUR: (shaking JOLIQUET) Miserable wretch!
JOLI: Oh, gendarmes, gendarmes! (The AGENT separates them, and reassures JOLIQUET.)
DAUB: Sir, be patient!
COUR: Sir, such an absurd accusation--
DAUB: You can the more easily disprove it. (Enter JEROME.)
JEROME: What is the matter?
JOLI: Ah, master, master! I have one of them, that is to say, we have one!
(Enter LESURQUES, followed by GUERNEAU, LAMBERT, DIDIER, and JULIE.)
LES: What is the meaning of this noise?
JOLI: (pointing to LESURQUES) Ah! Here is the other (all start). There is the assassin of the courier!
JULIE: My father?
COUR: (aside) Oh, the resemblance!
DAUB: (to JOLIQUET) What, you also accuse monsieur? This is folly.
JOLI: It is he that broke his spur.
JULIE: His spur! Merciful heaven!
JOLI: And to whom I gave the thread to join the chain.
JULIE: The chain! Ah, my father!
JEROME: (with dismay) All is lost!
DAUB: (to JOLIQUET) But my friend has not been to Lieursaint.
JEROME: (to JOLIQUET) No, no!
JOLI: Ah, master! You say that--you that received his pistol shot.
JEROME: I tell you it was not him, he was not at our house.
LES: This is useless--I might have been at Lieursaint, and still not culpable. I am not in want of a lie to defend myself.
GUER: Were you at Lieursaint?
LES: Yes. Well, did you not see me go upon the horse I borrowed of Courriol?
DAUB: You own having been at Lieursaint yesterday with Monsieur Courriol?
LES: I did not say with Courriol, but a horse that he procured me.
GUER and LAM: It is true, we assert that.
COUR: But, sir, I might lend a horse to Lesurques without going to Lieursaint. I was not at Lieursaint!
JOLI: That's a lie!
DAUB: And you entered the house of your father as the witness declares?
LES: I did.
DAUB: You broke, and afterwards mended, your spur?
LES: Why should I deny it?
JEROME: (aside, to his son) Be silent, unhappy one.
DAUB: Take care, Lesurques; if you avow this you confirm this young man's statement and recognition.
LES: Assuredly, and I recognize him also.
DAUB: But he says you are the assassin of the courier!
JEROME: No, Joliquet will not say that--he did not say it.
JOLI: (hesitating) Why, master--
DAUB: Ah, you are not quite sure, then?
JOLI: Why, sir--you see, he's my master's son--
LES: Oh, that is not the language required; I will have no prevarication. Did you see me at the house of my father--yes or no?
(JOLIQUET looks at JEROME, and hesitates.)
LES: Father, let him speak the truth.
JEROME: You will be lost!
LES: Did you see me--yes or no--at my father's house; and did you give me thread to mend my spur? Why not say yes, since I say yes!
JOLI: Then, yes!
LES: You also know I left the house while you fetched some wine! During the time you were in the cellar, you sang--that you know!
JOLI: (see JEROME) Must I say yes?
LES: Now, father, you speak! You know what I went to your house for!
JEROME: (astonished) I!
LES: Yes, you must now cast aside your delicacy of feeling. Say what you found!
JEROME: What I found!
LES: In your own room--speak quickly!
JEROME: I know not what you mean.
LES: The bag containing money that I placed upon your bed.
JEROME: Upon my bed?
LES: Yes--why do you not speak, father? I was at Lieursaint, but to carry money for you. Justify me then, my father. You can do so; and let them not take me for an assassin!
JEROME: (stammering and tottering) No! No! Ah! (He swoons. They place him upon the couch. There is general consternation. JEANNE brings a smelling bottle.)
DAUB: Do you persist in saying you saw Monsieur Lesurques at your master's house at Lieursaint on the night of the murder?
JOLI: Yes, sir.
COUR: (to DAUBENTON) But then, sir, I?
JOLI: (earnestly) Oh! He is not one of the family! I will not hesitate about him! My head upon the block, I still say--yes, I saw him! He was there!
DAUB: Gendarmes, arrest that man! (He rises, and touches LESURQUES upon the shoulder) Lesurques, in the name of the law, I arrest you!
JULIE: (going to LESURQUES) Father!
LES: (embracing her) My daughter! (Everyone is in consternation.)
SCENE 1. A boudoir in the house of Lesurques. There are doors to either side, and a window looking out into the garden at the back. There is a secretaire with writing materials in it, a sofa, and a table with a lighted candle upon it. JEANNE enters.
JEANNE: No, it is impossible! Judges, witnesses, nothing can ever convince me that he is culpable! There is some fatal mistake. Can his resemblance to Dubosc be the secret? Merciful heaven! Am I to be the means of saving a life that saved mine? The poor young girl, if I could only but save the honour of her family by my life, I would give it with joy! They have preserved a mother for her son--if it is my blessed lot to restore a father to his child! Oh, for a proof, a single proof that it is as I suspect, and you shall see if I can forget the good you have done to me, dear mistress! One single proof, and you shall see, Dubosc, that I remember the ill that you have done me!
(Enter JULIE, with a letter in her hand.)
JEANNE: (aside) She has been crying again, poor child, (aloud) Madame?
JULIE: How is my grandfather this morning?
JEANNE: The same, mademoiselle.
JULIE: Has he slept?
JEANNE: He has not slept since he has been here!
JULIE: (going to the table, and looking amongst the papers) No news from Monsieur Daubenton? Not one of my father's friends called?
JEANNE: No one comes here now.
JULIE: (quickly) No one?
JEANNE: Except Monsieur Didier, who calls every day.
JULIE: (sadly) Yes; but he did not come yesterday--for the first time he has abandoned me, it is but natural. If he comes--
JULIE: Jeanne, you will tell him--(she sees DIDIER) Ah!
DIDIER: (going to JULIE) Julie!
JEANNE: I knew he would come. (Exit.)
DIDIER: You receive me coldly, is it because I was not able to come yesterday? Oh, believe me--
JULIE: You need not excuse yourself--I have nothing to exact from you--I do not reproach you. (She gives him a letter.) In reading that, you will see, that far from accusing, I thank you. I do not accuse you, Monsieur Didier--if I were to I should be ungrateful.
DIDIER: You will leave me?
JULIE: Read! Often the hand has the courage to trace a word that the lips refuse to pronounce.
DIDIER: What word? You alarm me! Of what word would you speak? Oh, stay, Julie, I entreat.
JULIE: It is a word which places eternity between friends who are separated--it is the word adieu, Monsieur Didier.
DIDIER: Adieu! You say adieu! You have written it; you will separate yourself from me! And what for?
JULIE: Because you are an honest man; because you may have a happy future; because your name is spotless, and I--read, read, and spare me the anguish of telling you what I have written.
DIDIER: (tearing the letter) I will not read the word adieu, written by you, Julie. Look at me--reflect, and if you have the courage to say so to my face, then speak it.
JULIE: I tell you it is not just that you should be burthened with the weight of our shame and our misfortune. Didier, disgrace, ruin, and despair hover over this house. Fly! It is yet time--fly while I speak; tomorrow, perhaps, it will be too late.
JULIE: Oh, it is not that my father is culpable--in my eyes! Of what importance is it to what say the witnesses, what say the accusers, or the decision of the jury? For eighteen years since first I took breath I have seen him, and known him to be the best, the most noble of men. I am the daughter of Lesurques--it is my duty to speak thus; you have also a father--you who have sisters--you should not share our dishonour, which will fall also upon your family. You have promised me marriage--I return you your liberty. Didier, you are free from this moment.
DIDIER: Mademoiselle, I believe that I am considered an honest man--if I take back my promise, I should cease to be so. To whom am I engaged? To your father! Of his innocence you are sure, you say? I go further--for I will prove it--even should it take all the time I have to pass on earth. I have sworn to your father to make you happy. That oath, mademoiselle, I adhere to! I will accomplish this work; and when I shall have reached the end of my task -when I have aided you, and, if possible, consoled you during the captivity of your father--when I see him free--when I know there exists not a shadow to mar your happiness--not a cloud in the future--then, mademoiselle, forget not your words: "Didier, I marry you not because I am rich, happy--but I marry you because I love you."
JULIE: Oh, Didier, I love you more than ever!
DIDIER: (taking JULIE's hands) You love me, Julie--then your hand in mine. Julie, we have two inexhaustible resources that nothing can subdue--our love, which will support us through all trials--our conscience, which will plead for us before the tribunal of heaven--we must not despair. And now, dear Julie, let me ask you to summon all your fortitude, to bear the tidings I have to impart.
JULIE: A misfortune!
DIDIER: A happiness! Ah, a great happiness!
JULIE: (with joy) My father is acquitted.
DIDIER: Not yet, but he will be!
JULIE: Ah, take care, Didier, if you deceive me--after joy like this you will kill me.
DIDIER: Listen--whilst Lesurques vainly tried to prove that he entered Paris at seven o'clock in the evening of the 8th of May, I have been to the house of Choppard, the lender of horses, who has disappeared. His register of the sums he receives for the horses hired, contains the hour in which each horse returns; this book, this witness so many times invoked by your father had disappeared and could not be found. Ten times yesterday was I at the house of Madame Choppard, begging her to give me the book--this evening I returned again, "Here is five thousand francs, give me the register." "I have it not," she replied. "Here is ten thousand." "Impossible!" she said, looking at the money, "I have burnt it."
JULIE: Oh, heaven!
DIDIER: Her eyes were riveted upon the money, "Remember," I replied, "by keeping the book you become an accomplice in the murder of an innocent man." She began to tremble. "Well," I replied, "It is no longer ten thousand but twenty that I offer; here--in this pocket book; give me the register, and the money is yours."
JULIE: Well! Well!
DIDIER: She rose, and counted the notes; then breaking with her foot the horsehair cushion of the chair upon which she had been sitting, drew out the register, and it is here! (He shows the book.)
JULIE: Thank heaven!
DIDIER: Read, Julie: "8th May--The Blower, hired by Monsieur Lesurques--thirty sous the hour--started at four o'clock; returned at half-past seven--received five francs"--signed by the wife of Choppard. It was eight when the courier of Lyons was murdered at Lieursaint; the assassin would not be able to reach Paris before half-past nine o'clock, and this book proves your father to have returned at half-past seven. He is saved!
JULIE: (with emotion) Saved! Oh, blessed word!
DIDIER: There is not a moment to be lost!
JULIE: We will take this register to Monsieur Daubenton (going).
DIDIER: (stopping) Give me your father's pistols, Julie!
JULIE: (with fright) What to do?
DIDIER: In coming here, I have been followed!
DIDIER: The moment I came out of the house of Choppard, a man entered--an ill-looking fellow--I observed another in the street--I walked fast--it appeared to me in a few moments I heard someone running behind me. I then increased my speed. I will not go out with this register without arms. This book is precious; to lose it is to lose the life of your father!
JULIE: (going to the secretaire) You are right.
DIDIER: But, no--hold! I think we will have a coach, and go together; they will not attack a coach in Paris at half-past eight. Quick, Julie; dress yourself, while I fetch a conveyance. (He gives the book to JULIE.)
JULIE: Ah, Didier, how shall I ever be able to repay you for so much devotedness!
DIDIER: (kissing her hand) With your love. Julie, in ten minutes--
JULIE: I shall be quite ready. (She joyfully places the register in the secretaire, and goes off.)
(Exit DIDIER. JEANNE has entered during the above.)
JEANNE: (alone, and placing a light upon a stand) Now will Providence, whom I have so wrongfully accused, save the innocent, and spare me the misery of denouncing the culpable. Dubosc is the father of my child! If he is doomed, it will not be by me!
JULIE: (off) Jeanne! Jeanne!
(JEANNE exit into JULIET's room, taking the light. As soon as the light has gone, FOUINARD is seen to cut the glass and open the window. He assures himself that there is no one in the room, then returns to the balcony, and beckons.)
FOU: Now, quick!
DUBOSC: (appearing on the balcony) Is there no one?
DUBOSC: (entering) Who was here?
FOU: Two women jabbering with the young man. You get the book (going towards the window).
DUBOSC: Where are you going?
FOU: (on the balcony, in a low voice) I will watch below.
DUBOSC: You are a brave man, Fouinard! Are you sure he has not taken the book?
FOU: No, I saw him put it there! (He points to the secretaire, and opens a dark lantern.)
DUBOSC: Here it is! (reading) "8th May--Lesurques--the Blower--returned at half-past seven." (He takes a knife from his pocket, and begins to scratch the writing.)
FOU: Take the book--it is the easiest way!
DUBOSC: Imbecile! The book that cost them twenty thousand francs may be missed instantly on their return.
FOU: Ah, that is true! But come, come, I am getting nervous. Some one comes.
DUBOSC: Bah! Here--there is twenty thousand francs thrown away! (He closes the book triumphantly.)
JULIE: (off) Come, Jeanne!
FOU: Some one comes. (He darts over the balcony.)
DUBOSC: (hiding behind a table as he cannot get to the window quickly enough) Diable!
(Enter JULIE and JEANNE, with a light.)
JULIE: I think I heard the coach!
JEANNE: Yes, mademoiselle!
JULIE: Come at once! Ah, the book. (She takes the book, kissing it joyfully.) Oh, treasure, dear, precious book!
(Exeunt JULIE and JEANNE.)
DUBOSC: (alone) Thirty-two thousand and twenty makes fifty-two thousand francs! By my faith, I will marry Madame Choppard when she is a widow!
(The door opens suddenly. JEANNE appears with a candle in her hand.)
JEANNE: A man here!
JEANNE: Dubosc. Ah!
DUBOSC: Jeanne in this house! (He makes towards the window.)
JEANNE: (intercepting him) Ah! Villain! Open not that window--or I will call for assistance!
DUBOSC: (pointing to the door) Then by here, make way for me to pass. (He strikes out her candle, and the stage is plunged in darkness.)
JEANNE: I let you pass! When you can restore the life and honour of a family! Never! Never! (She locks the door, and takes out the key.)
DUBOSC: No jesting with me! You know me! I have no wish to settle our accounts here!
JEANNE: It is you, ruffian! You assassinated the courier of Lyons!
DUBOSC: The better reason that I should save myself now!
JEANNE: You do not leave this room as you entered! The measure of your crimes is full--you shall now pay for your past wickedness!
DUBOSC: Open that door!
JEANNE: (with resolution) You shall not escape! (DUBOSC makes for the door, but JEANNE places herself in front of it.) You do not leave, I say! Will you give yourself up to justice?
DUBOSC: That is good!
JEANNE: Will you set at liberty the innocent? Know you that there is an avenging angel?
DUBOSC: Good-bye, Jeanne! (He goes towards the window.)
JEANNE: (seizing him) You shall not escape!
DUBOSC: Let go! (He strikes her.) Let go!
JEANNE: (runs to the window, and opens it) Help! Thieves! Murder!
DUBOSC: Ah! (He puts his hand over her mouth, but JEANNE hurls him from her, and screams.) Be quiet--I will make you rich! Be still--I will make you my wife! Be still, I say!
JEANNE: (escapes from him, and runs to the window) Help! Help!
(DUBOSC seizes her, and a violent struggle takes place. He strikes her down, she rises. He draws a knife, and stabs her. She staggers and falls. He raises the window, and escapes.)
SCENE 2. An apartment in DAUBENTON's house. There are central doors, chairs, and tables, with writing materials.
(Enter DAUBENTON and AGENT.)
DAUB: Let the accused be conducted hither; the testimony of these new witnesses will be decisive. The man, Choppard, whom you have at last discovered, must have concealed himself to avoid affording his testimony. Lesurques has been for years my friend; I cannot believe him guilty, and will allow him every opportunity to disprove this most fearful accusation, that my duty to the public will allow. Let the accused mingle with the other parties present, and let no distinctive mark guide the witnesses in the identification of the persons accused. Should Lesurques pass this ordeal, his innocence will be at once manifest. (The AGENT throws open the central doors and beckons.)
(Enter four GENDARMES conducting CHOPPARD. They remain on each side of the entrance.)
DAUB: (to AGENT) This man is the witness, Choppard!
CHOP: (advancing) Yes, sir, Pierre Choppard. (aside) Witness! All goes well.
DAUB: You disappeared the day after the murder--that is strange.
CHOP: Sir, it is my custom to attend the fair of Perche: the murder would not prevent me attending to my business!
DAUB: You have also business at Paris--we require you as a witness; we would confront you with the accused.
CHOP: I am ready, sir. (aside) Who have they taken? Courriol is the only name that I know! I care very little for him. They have not taken the grand and illustrious Dubosc, the only one of the gang in whom I am interested?
(Enter LESURQUES and COURRIOL, followed by LAMBERT, GUERNEAU, and several police AGENTS.)
CHOP: Dubosc! Oh, they have taken him!
DAUB: (to CHOPPARD) Who do you recognize here?
CHOP: (aside) Now is the moment, (aloud) I? But--I recognize Monsieur Courriol. Ah, Courriol, how do you do?
COUR: Your humble servant, Monsieur Choppard.
DAUB: What have you to say, sir, relative to the 8th of May?
CHOP: Nothing in particular.
DAUB: On that day did he not hire a horse of you?
CHOP: Perhaps, yes; perhaps, no--I do not know!
COUR: I often hire horses at his house; that is not astonishing!
DAUB: Silence! (to CHOPPARD) There is another person here that you will recognize also?
CHOP: (aside) Now it's coming! Who?
DAUB: (pointing to LESURQUES) This gentleman, for example.
CHOP: (going up to LESURQUES) That gentleman? I do not know him.
DAUB: He was at your house on the 8th of May. (LESURQUES comes forward.)
CHOP: My house? (He makes a sign to LESURQUES.)
DAUB: Without doubt, sir, he has himself declared it.
CHOP: (surprised) Sir! (to LESURQUES) You have declared it? That--
LES: Declared what?
CHOP: That you came to my house.
LES: Conducted by Courriol, yes.
CHOP: The 8th of May, the day of the murder?
LES: The 8th of May.
CHOP: (aside to LESURQUES) Ah, you are a fool!
LES: What mean all these signals?
CHOP: Signals, oh, no. It's a cold I've got, sir.
LES: I do not know you; but I was at your house on that day.
CHOP: Sir, I do not say no; I did not see you, for I was not at home.
DAUB: If you were not at home, where were you then?
CHOP: (aside) I shall put my foot into it.
COUR: I will aid his memory if monsieur the judge will allow it. (upon a sign from DAUBENTON) It was about four o'clock, was it not, Lesurques?
CHOP: (astonished) Lesurques!
COUR: (aside to CHOPPARD) It is not Dubosc, it is a man who resembles him, and whom they have taken for him.
CHOP: Ah, it is not Dubosc!
COUR: It was about four o'clock, and at that hour Choppard was at home.
CHOP: Ah, yes, at that hour I was at home!
LES: But I did not see you!
CHOP: I might be there without your seeing me.
COUR: Monsieur Lesurques took a horse from your stables, Choppard?
CHOP: Yes, the horse we call the Blower.
COUR: But I--did I take a horse that day, Choppard? Was I with Lesurques?
CHOP: With Lesurques? No, I swear that--
DAUB: I did not ask you that.
COUR: Sir, it is the means to prove my innocence.
CHOP: It is true that he is innocent, like me.
COUR: Ask Lesurques again if I was with him at Lieursaint.
LES: No, he has not been there--at least with me!
CHOP: And now, sir, that you have received my deposition, I am at liberty to return?
DAUB: No, not yet.
CHOP: But, sir, this is the hour to feed the horses, and to feed myself: I'll come, sir, at any time you please to appoint, I will, upon my honour!
DAUB: I still require your presence.
CHOP: What to do, in the name of thunder?
DAUB: You will know directly. (A noise is heard.) Be seated, Lesurques. You, Monsieur Courriol, talk with Monsieur Lambert. Choppard, you will come to this side. I request that there may be no affectation, no constraint; and that no one will speak without my consent.
CHOP: (aside, and sitting) What devilish idea has he now, that he makes me stay here? Well, it is a resemblance!
(The witnesses are introduced: an OLD MAN, the postmaster, his NIECE, and GARÇON.)
OLD MAN: Sir, I have been told that you desired to speak to my niece, myself, and garçon: we are here.
DAUB: You are the owner of the post-house at Montgeron, and it appears certain that the assassins of the courier of Lyons had refreshment at your house.
OLD MAN: Unhappily, sir, yes.
DAUB: You have said, I believe, that you can give some important information?
OLD MAN: Sir, I can, for I distinctly remarked all four. (CHOPPARD and COURRIOL evince terror; LESURQUES only listens with interest.)
DAUB: All! And if you should see them?
OLD MAN: Sir, I should know them.
CHOP: (aside) An old vagabond!
DAUB: Tell us anything you may have remarked.
OLD MAN: First of all, they were on horseback, all four.
GARÇON: Upon hired horses. (CHOPPARD exhibits great terror.)
DAUB: Ah, you believe they were hired horses?
GARÇON: That was easily known--they were so lean.
CHOP: (aside, and in disgust) You're a nice judge!
DAUB: And then?
OLD MAN: Speak, niece.
NIECE: And then, sir, I filled for one of them a large decanter of brandy.
CHOP: (aside) That's Dubosc's only weakness.
OLD MAN: (to GARÇON) Do not forget the brush you lent to the most gentleman-like of the four, to remove the dust from his blue waistcoat.
COUR: (groans and buttons his coat) Oh!
DAUB: Is that all?
OLD MAN: Ah, no. There is one circumstance which I have not related yet to anyone, which I have reserved for the court of justice.
DAUB: Well, then, relate it now.
OLD MAN: One of them repeated, constantly knocking with a whip upon the table, "In the name of thunder, my horses will be broken winded!"
DAUB: Do you recognize him?
OLD MAN: It appears to me that I see him there. (CHOPPARD draws back.) When the four horsemen were gone from my house, we discovered that one of them had forgotten his whip--it is he of whom I speak. We went after them--they had disappeared; but about half-an-hour afterwards he returned for the lost whip--it was I that gave it to him. He took it so rudely from my hands that the knob of the whip fell off.
DAUB: He picked it up, no doubt?
OLD MAN: He was in such a hurry that he did not perceive it had fallen off; when he was gone I sought for it, picked it up, and saw two letters engraved upon it--P and C.
DAUB: P and C?
OLD MAN: Sir, here it is.
DAUB: Come and look at it, Monsieur Pierre Choppard.
CHOP: (frightened) Sir?
DAUB: (sternly) Approach, sir!
(CHOPPARD approaches, and turns to him most reluctantly.)
OLD MAN: (recognizing him) That is the man!
LES: (starting up) He!
NIECE: (recognizing LESURQUES) And that's the man that had the brandy.
GARÇON: (pointing to COURRIOL) And that's the gentleman who borrowed the brush. (There is a general sensation.)
DAUB: You see those three men, are you quite sure you recognize them?
WITNESSES: (solemnly, raising their hands) We swear it!
DAUB: This one is the owner of the lost whip, the one who spoke of the broken-winded horses, and to whom the handle belongs.
OLD MAN: Yes!
NIECE and GARÇON: Yes!
CHOP: Because there's a C engraven upon it. Am I the only man in France whose name commences with a C?
DAUB: (signs to an AGENT, who gives him a whip) Look at this--see if the handle belongs to this whip, that was found just now at the house of your wife. (He puts the knob on the whip, and holds it up.)
CHOP: There are ten others at the house of my wife, had your spies searched for them.
DAUB: (taking two cheques from an AGENT) But they have found something else.
DAUB: These two cheques of five hundred livres each upon the bank, numbers 159 and 180, which were stolen from the pocket-book of the courier of Lyons! Oh, I have watched you for a long time, Choppard!
CHOP: The devil--I am done for!
DAUB: Conduct him to prison! (To CHOPPARD) Have you any confession to make?
CHOP: I don't see what good that will do me.
LES: Gentlemen, in the name of heaven, own at least that I was not with you! Own that I was not at Montgeron! Own that you know me not!
CHOP: How would that serve you, when they won't believe me?
LES: (to CHOPPARD) But you know well that I am innocent. What have I done to you? Say, then, that I am guiltless. You know in your conscience, both of you, that I was not with you! Sir, if you have any belief in heaven--Courriol, if there is one spark of humanity left in you--speak and say that I was not with you.
COUR: No, you were not with me, nor I with you. We are both innocent!
CHOP: (crying) They will not believe it, these blood thirsty tyrants!
LES: I am lost! I am lost!
CHOP: Yes, but Dubosc is saved! It is sweet to do good (aside).
LES: (to the OLD MAN) Is it impossible that you can be my enemy? Look at me--have I not the face of an honest man? Look at me well! I drank no brandy at your house! Look at me, I say! There is no drop of blood in my veins, but boils with indignation at this most foul accusation! Speak one word, mademoiselle! (To the GARÇON) You, my friend--for my child's sake, for my father's sake-- speak! Say that you are mistaken! Say that you know me not! (He falls on his knees.) I implore you on my knees. (They fall back.) You do not speak! (rising) Oh, brain! Brain! I shall become mad! (He falls powerless upon a chair.)
DAUB: This man is a monster, or a martyr. (To an AGENT) Convey the prisoners to separate dungeons. I have investigated this case--fairly; if I have been partial, it has been in a leaning towards you, Lesurques; but all evidence condemns you--evidence that it is as impossible to controvert as to disbelieve; my conscience will not allow me to pause longer, unwilling, but truly, I declare you, Joseph Lesurques, guilty!
(Enter JULIE and DIDIER with the register.)
JULIE: No, he is innocent!
LES: Julie! My child!
JULIE: Oh, my father, you are saved! (To DAUBENTON) Monsieur Daubenton, suspend the proceedings--this proof we have so anxiously reached for--the witness that will prove my father was far away from Lieursaint at the hour of the murder, we have found!
LES: Great heaven!
JULIE: I feel choked--speak, Didier, speak!
DIDIER: (to DAUBENTON) If we prove that Lesurques was in Paris at half-past seven on the eighth of May, will you believe him innocent?
JULIE: (giving the register) There is the register belonging to the wife of Choppard. It contains an entry of the horse lent to Monsieur Lesurques, with its return at half-past seven, signed by the wife of Choppard, on the eighth of May.
DAUB: (turning the leaves) But--I do not see anything--no--
JULIE: Let me show you.
DAUB: (trying to decipher) I see several words which resemble "the eighth of May," "to Lesurques"--I also see traces of figures, but all is scratched, effaced, illegible!
DIDIER: (taking the register from his hands) Effaced! Illegible! Yes, yes, yes--it has been effaced, but who has done this? (To JULIE) You have not quitted this book, Julie?
JULIE: No, during the time I was dressing I placed it in the secretaire, and there I found it.
DIDIER: Jeanne only knows, Jeanne only!
JULIE: Oh, it is impossible! Jeanne, that I have saved!
LES: Who, then? Who can have been thus my enemy--thus to steal my life and honour?
DAUB: Lesurques, this attempt to impose on justice but steels the hearts that would pity you. As a friend it is time that I should cease to know you. You are guilty! And as a murderer your fate is sealed--your judge tells you that your doom is death! (JULIE shrieks, and faints in her father's arms.)
LES: Now, as with my latest breath, I swear that I am innocent!
SCENE--The first floor of a cabaret at the corner of the Place de Greve. In the distance is seen the Quay, and the Towers of Notre Dame. DUBOSC is sitting at a table, drinking. FOUINARD stands before him.
DUBOSC: Some drink! I am thirsty!
FOU: (uneasy) You have had more than enough! Go, conceal yourself, I must go below to the shop!
DUBOSC: (a little intoxicated) I will not hide myself! I will not go! I will drink!
FOU: At least don't remain here. Remember the procession will pass directly underneath that window, and if you are seen--
DUBOSC: No one will come here. I hired this room for myself, to see the poor
devils executed at my ease. Here I shall have a superb view!
FOU: (drawing back) Cruel devil!
DUBOSC: (rising, threateningly) Ah, is that it! Perhaps you would prefer me to appear in this procession, rather than the virtuous Lesurques?
FOU: Ah, mon dieu! I don't say that, but still one may feel some pity for this unhappy man!
DUBOSC: Pity? Curse you! You would rather it were me going to be guillotined instead of him? (He takes FOUINARD by the collar and shakes him violently.)
FOU: No, friend Dubosc, no! Now don't drink any more!
DUBOSC: (drains a tumbler of brandy, goes to the window, and shouts.) Come on!
FOU: Oh, murder! You must not cry out! You must not let them see you or we shall both be lost!
DUBOSC: Ah, poltroon! Contemptible sneak! (He kicks FOUINARD.) I will be sure that my place on the scaffold has been supplied! When a man, right or wrong, has paid his debt to society, society has no right to make another pay a second time--is that the law?
DUBOSC: You lie, you cur! (He kicks him again.)
FOU: Ah, yes, yes--it is the law (rubbing himself). But do keep yourself quiet; remember we have the affair of the woman and the register.
FOU: Yes, you know--that little assassination!
DUBOSC: (with a drunken air) The only woman that I have ever loved!
FOU: (aside) I hear a noise--it is them! (aloud) Oh, heavens, if anyone comes up here! Dear Dubosc, don't go to the window.
DUBOSC: (takes FOUINARD by the arm and whirls him about till he falls on the ground) Ah, coward! Be off, cur, or I'll break your neck. This is my room. Be off, dog!
FOU: (rising) I go. (aside) If I could, I would twist his neck--but he is stronger than I am. I see he'll betray himself- it's no use--I may as well look to myself, and I will too! Good-bye, my dear Dubosc, take care of yourself, (aside) A dog, eh? Perhaps you'll taste the dog's teeth presently. (Exit.)
DUBOSC: (closes and locks the door, then crouches down at the window looking through the balustrade) Here they are! It is them, they approach! (The noise of the crowd gets louder.) Come along, come along, you devil's cart, quicker, quicker still! A few more turns of the wheel, and I am safe! (The noise ceases.) They stop! What's that for? Oh, they come on again. (He advances towards the opening, then draws back again.) Imbecile! What am I going to do? (Renewed cries of the crowd as the cart arrives below the balcony.)
COUR: (from beneath the balcony) Lesurques is innocent! (The noise stops.) Choppard and I are guilty! Kill us, we deserve to die, but Lesurques is innocent! (There is a great tumult.)
DUBOSC: (lying on the floor) Ah, ah, my friend--you may spare your breath--they go on. Ah, six steps more, and I am safe! Ah, hell! What woman is that? 'Tis Jeanne--yes, Jeanne--or her ghost; and Fouinard too! They are pointing to this place--they are speaking of me. Curses on you! Curses on you!
(A frightful yell is heard outside which appears to approach the house. DUBOSC rushes backwards and forwards with wild gestures in despair. The tumult and the noise of feet ascend the stair and approach the door. He presses against the door with his back. It yields, and DUBOSC is pushed back and concealed behind it. Enter JEANNE and FOUINARD, with GENDARMES and the crowd. Other GENDARMES climb over the balustrade. DUBOSC is seized, struggling violently. Loud shouts are heard which herald the arrival of LESURQUES, who advances through the crowd with DIDIER and JULIE.
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