Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
There are Crimes and Crimes - A Comedy (1899)
by August Strindberg - Translated by Edwin Bjorkman
MAURICE, a playwright
JEANNE, his mistress
MARION, their daughter, five years old
ADOLPHE, a painter
HENRIETTE, his mistress
EMILE, a workman, brother of Jeanne
A HEAD WAITER
A SERVANT GIRL
ACT I FIRST SCENE
(The upper avenue of cypresses in the Montparnasse Cemetery at
Paris. The background shows mortuary chapels, stone crosses on
which are inscribed "O Crux! Ave Spes Unica!" and the ruins of a
wind-mill covered with ivy.)
(A well-dressed woman in widow's weeds is kneeling and muttering
prayers in front of a grave decorated with flowers.)
(JEANNE is walking back and forth as if expecting somebody.)
(MARION is playing with some withered flowers picked from a
rubbish heap on the ground.)
(The ABBE is reading his breviary while walking along the further
end of the avenue.)
WATCHMAN. [Enters and goes up to JEANNE] Look here, this is no
JEANNE. [Submissively] I am only waiting for somebody who'll soon
WATCHMAN. All right, but you're not allowed to pick any flowers.
JEANNE. [To MARION] Drop the flowers, dear.
ABBE. [Comes forward and is saluted by the WATCHMAN] Can't the
child play with the flowers that have been thrown away?
WATCHMAN. The regulations don't permit anybody to touch even the
flowers that have been thrown away, because it's believed they may
spread infection--which I don't know if it's true.
ABBE. [To MARION] In that case we have to obey, of course. What's
your name, my little girl?
MARION. My name is Marion.
ABBE. And who is your father?
(MARION begins to bite one of her fingers and does not answer.)
ABBE. Pardon my question, madame. I had no intention--I was just
talking to keep the little one quiet.
(The WATCHMAN has gone out.)
JEANNE. I understood it, Reverend Father, and I wish you would say
something to quiet me also. I feel very much disturbed after
having waited here two hours.
ABBE. Two hours--for him! How these human beings torture each
other! O Crux! Ave spes unica!
JEANNE. What do they mean, those words you read all around here?
ABBE. They mean: O cross, our only hope!
JEANNE. Is it the only one?
ABBE. The only certain one.
JEANNE. I shall soon believe that you are right, Father.
ABBE. May I ask why?
JEANNE. You have already guessed it. When he lets the woman and
the child wait two hours in a cemetery, then the end is not far
ABBE. And when he has left you, what then?
JEANNE. Then we have to go into the river.
ABBE. Oh, no, no!
JEANNE. Yes, yes!
MARION. Mamma, I want to go home, for I am hungry.
JEANNE. Just a little longer, dear, and we'll go home.
ABBE. Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil.
JEANNE. What is that woman doing at the grave over there?
ABBE. She seems to be talking to the dead.
JEANNE. But you cannot do that?
ABBE. She seems to know how.
JEANNE. This would mean that the end of life is not the end of our
ABBE. And you don't know it?
JEANNE. Where can I find out?
ABBE. Hm! The next time you feel as if you wanted to learn about
this well-known matter, you can look me up in Our Lady's Chapel at
the Church of St. Germain--Here comes the one you are waiting for,
JEANNE. [Embarrassed] No, he is not the one, but I know him.
ABBE. [To MARION] Good-bye, little Marion! May God take care of
you! [Kisses the child and goes out] At St. Germain des Pres.
EMILE. [Enters] Good morning, sister. What are you doing here?
JEANNE. I am waiting for Maurice.
EMILE. Then I guess you'll have a lot of waiting to do, for I saw
him on the boulevard an hour ago, taking breakfast with some
friends. [Kissing the child] Good morning, Marion.
JEANNE. Ladies also?
EMILE. Of course. But that doesn't mean anything. He writes plays,
and his latest one has its first performance tonight. I suppose he
had with him some of the actresses.
JEANNE. Did he recognise you?
EMILE. No, he doesn't know who I am, and it is just as well. I
know my place as a workman, and I don't care for any condescension
from those that are above me.
JEANNE. But if he leaves us without anything to live on?
EMILE. Well, you see, when it gets that far, then I suppose I
shall have to introduce myself. But you don't expect anything of
the kind, do you--seeing that he is fond of you and very much
attached to the child?
JEANNE. I don't know, but I have a feeling that something dreadful
is in store for me.
EMILE. Has he promised to marry you?
JEANNE. No, not promised exactly, but he has held out hopes.
EMILE. Hopes, yes! Do you remember my words at the start: don't
hope for anything, for those above us don't marry downward.
JEANNE. But such things have happened.
EMILE. Yes, they have happened. But, would you feel at home in his
world? I can't believe it, for you wouldn't even understand what
they were talking of. Now and then I take my meals where he is
eating--out in the kitchen is my place, of course--and I don't
make out a word of what they say.
JEANNE. So you take your meals at that place?
EMILE. Yes, in the kitchen.
JEANNE. And think of it, he has never asked me to come with him.
EMILE. Well, that's rather to his credit, and it shows he has some
respect for the mother of his child. The women over there are a
JEANNE. Is that so?
EMILE. But Maurice never pays any attention to the women. There is
something SQUARE about that fellow.
JEANNE. That's what I feel about him, too, but as soon as there is
a woman in it, a man isn't himself any longer.
EMILE. [Smiling] You don't tell me! But listen: are you hard up
JEANNE. No, nothing of that kind.
EMILE. Well, then the worst hasn't come yet--Look! Over there!
There he comes. And I'll leave you. Good-bye, little girl.
JEANNE. Is he coming? Yes, that's him.
EMILE. Don't make him mad now--with your jealousy, Jeanne! [Goes
JEANNE. No, I won't.
MARION. [Runs up to him and is lifted up into his arms] Papa,
MAURICE. My little girl! [Greets JEANNE] Can you forgive me,
Jeanne, that I have kept you waiting so long?
JEANNE. Of course I can.
MAURICE. But say it in such a way that I can hear that you are
JEANNE. Come here and let me whisper it to you.
(MAURICE goes up close to her.)
(JEANNE kisses him on the cheek.)
MAURICE. I didn't hear.
(JEANNE kisses him on the mouth.)
MAURICE. Now I heard! Well--you know, I suppose that this is the
day that will settle my fate? My play is on for tonight, and there
is every chance that it will succeed--or fail.
JEANNE. I'll make sure of success by praying for you.
MAURICE. Thank you. If it doesn't help, it can at least do no
harm--Look over there, down there in the valley, where the haze is
thickest: there lies Paris. Today Paris doesn't know who Maurice
is, but it is going to know within twenty-four hours. The haze,
which has kept me obscured for thirty years, will vanish before my
breath, and I shall become visible, I shall assume definite shape
and begin to be somebody. My enemies--which means all who would
like to do what I have done--will be writhing in pains that shall
be my pleasures, for they will be suffering all that I have
JEANNE. Don't talk that way, don't!
MAURICE. But that's the way it is.
JEANNE. Yes, but don't speak of it--And then?
MAURICE. Then we are on firm ground, and then you and Marion will
bear the name I have made famous.
JEANNE. You love me then?
MAURICE. I love both of you, equally much, or perhaps Marion a
JEANNE. I am glad of it, for you can grow tired of me, but not of
MAURICE. Have you no confidence in my feelings toward you?
JEANNE. I don't know, but I am afraid of something, afraid of
MAURICE. You are tired out and depressed by your long wait, which
once more I ask you to forgive. What have you to be afraid of?
JEANNE. The unexpected: that which you may foresee without having
any particular reason to do so.
MAURICE. But I foresee only success, and I have particular reasons
for doing so: the keen instincts of the management and their
knowledge of the public, not to speak of their personal
acquaintance with the critics. So now you must be in good spirits-
JEANNE. I can't, I can't! Do you know, there was an Abbe here a
while ago, who talked so beautifully to us. My faith--which you
haven't destroyed, but just covered up, as when you put chalk on a
window to clean it--I couldn't lay hold on it for that reason, but
this old man just passed his hand over the chalk, and the light
came through, and it was possible again to see that the people
within were at home--To-night I will pray for you at St. Germain.
MAURICE. Now I am getting scared.
JEANNE. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
MAURICE. God? What is that? Who is he?
JEANNE. It was he who gave joy to your youth and strength to your
manhood. And it is he who will carry us through the terrors that
lie ahead of us.
MAURICE. What is lying ahead of us? What do you know? Where have
you learned of this? This thing that I don't know?
JEANNE. I can't tell. I have dreamt nothing, seen nothing, heard
nothing. But during these two dreadful hours I have experienced
such an infinity of pain that I am ready for the worst.
MARION. Now I want to go home, mamma, for I am hungry.
MAURICE. Yes, you'll go home now, my little darling. [Takes her
into his arms.]
MARION. [Shrinking] Oh, you hurt me, papa!
JEANNE. Yes, we must get home for dinner. Good-bye then, Maurice.
And good luck to you!
MAURICE. [To MARION] How did I hurt you? Doesn't my little girl
know that I always want to be nice to her?
MARION. If you are nice, you'll come home with us.
MAURICE. [To JEANNE] When I hear the child talk like that, you
know, I feel as if I ought to do what she says. But then reason
and duty protest--Good-bye, my dear little girl! [He kisses the
child, who puts her arms around his neck.]
JEANNE. When do we meet again?
MAURICE. We'll meet tomorrow, dear. And then we'll never part
JEANNE. [Embraces him] Never, never to part again! [She makes the
sign of the cross on his forehead] May God protect you!
MAURICE. [Moved against his own will] My dear, beloved Jeanne!
(JEANNE and MARION go toward the right; MAURICE toward the left.
Both turn around simultaneously and throw kisses at each other.)
MAURICE. [Comes back] Jeanne, I am ashamed of myself. I am always
forgetting you, and you are the last one to remind me of it. Here
are the tickets for tonight.
JEANNE. Thank you, dear, but--you have to take up your post of
duty alone, and so I have to take up mine--with Marion.
MAURICE. Your wisdom is as great as the goodness of your heart.
Yes, I am sure no other woman would have sacrificed a pleasure to
serve her husband--I must have my hands free tonight, and there is
no place for women and children on the battle-field--and this you
JEANNE. Don't think too highly of a poor woman like myself, and
then you'll have no illusions to lose. And now you'll see that I
can be as forgetful as you--I have bought you a tie and a pair of
gloves which I thought you might wear for my sake on your day of
MAURICE. [Kissing her hand] Thank you, dear.
JEANNE. And then, Maurice, don't forget to have your hair fixed,
as you do all the time. I want you to be good-looking, so that
others will like you too.
MAURICE. There is no jealousy in YOU!
JEANNE. Don't mention that word, for evil thoughts spring from it.
MAURICE. Just now I feel as if I could give up this evening's
victory--for I am going to win--
JEANNE. Hush, hush!
MAURICE. And go home with you instead.
JEANNE. But you mustn't do that! Go now: your destiny is waiting
MAURICE. Good-bye then! And may that happen which must happen!
JEANNE. [Alone with MARION] O Crux! Ave spes unica!
(The Cremerie. On the right stands a buffet, on which are placed
an aquarium with goldfish and dishes containing vegetables, fruit,
preserves, etc. In the background is a door leading to the
kitchen, where workmen are taking their meals. At the other end of
the kitchen can be seen a door leading out to a garden. On the
left, in the background, stands a counter on a raised platform,
and back of it are shelves containing all sorts of bottles. On the
right, a long table with a marble top is placed along the wall,
and another table is placed parallel to the first further out on
the floor. Straw-bottomed chairs stand around the tables. The
walls are covered with oil-paintings.)
(MME. CATHERINE is sitting at the counter.)
(MAURICE stands leaning against it. He has his hat on and is
smoking a cigarette.)
MME. CATHERINE. So it's tonight the great event comes off,
MAURICE. Yes, tonight.
MME. CATHERINE. Do you feel upset?
MAURICE. Cool as a cucumber.
MME. CATHERINE. Well, I wish you luck anyhow, and you have
deserved it, Monsieur Maurice, after having had to fight against
such difficulties as yours.
MAURICE. Thank you, Madame Catherine. You have been very kind to
me, and without your help I should probably have been down and out
by this time.
MME. CATHERINE. Don't let us talk of that now. I help along where
I see hard work and the right kind of will, but I don't want to be
exploited--Can we trust you to come back here after the play and
let us drink a glass with you?
MAURICE. Yes, you can--of course, you can, as I have already
(HENRIETTE enters from the right.)
(MAURICE turns around, raises his hat, and stares at HENRIETTE,
who looks him over carefully.)
HENRIETTE. Monsieur Adolphe is not here yet?
MME. CATHERINE. No, madame. But he'll soon be here now. Won't you
HENRIETTE. No, thank you, I'll rather wait for him outside. [Goes
MME. CATHERINE. Why, that's Monsieur Adolphe's friend.
MME. CATHERINE. Have you never seen her before?
MAURICE. No, he has been hiding her from me, just as if he was
afraid I might take her away from him.
MME. CATHERINE. Ha-ha!--Well, how did you think she looked?
MAURICE. How she looked? Let me see: I can't tell--I didn't see
her, for it was as if she had rushed straight into my arms at once
and come so close to me that I couldn't make out her features at
all. And she left her impression on the air behind her. I can
still see her standing there. [He goes toward the door and makes a
gesture as if putting his arm around somebody] Whew! [He makes a
gesture as if he had pricked his finger] There are pins in her
waist. She is of the kind that stings!
MME. CATHERINE. Oh, you are crazy, you with your ladies!
MAURICE. Yes, it's craziness, that's what it is. But do you know,
Madame Catherine, I am going before she comes back, or else, or
else--Oh, that woman is horrible!
MME. CATHERINE. Are you afraid?
MAURICE. Yes, I am afraid for myself, and also for some others.
MME. CATHERINE. Well, go then.
MAURICE. She seemed to suck herself out through the door, and in
her wake rose a little whirlwind that dragged me along--Yes, you
may laugh, but can't you see that the palm over there on the
buffet is still shaking? She's the very devil of a woman!
MME. CATHERINE. Oh, get out of here, man, before you lose all your
MAURICE. I want to go, but I cannot--Do you believe in fate,
MME. CATHERINE. No, I believe in a good God, who protects us
against evil powers if we ask Him in the right way.
MAURICE. So there are evil powers after all! I think I can hear
them in the hallway now.
MME. CATHERINE. Yes, her clothes rustle as when the clerk tears
off a piece of linen for you. Get away now--through the kitchen.
(MAURICE rushes toward the kitchen door, where he bumps into
EMILE. I beg your pardon. [He retires the way he came.]
ADOLPHE. [Comes in first; after him HENRIETTE] Why, there's
Maurice. How are you? Let me introduce this lady here to my oldest
and best friend. Mademoiselle Henriette--Monsieur Maurice.
MAURICE. [Saluting stiffly] Pleased to meet you.
HENRIETTA. We have seen each other before.
ADOLPHE. Is that so? When, if I may ask?
MAURICE. A moment ago. Right here.
ADOLPHE. O-oh!--But now you must stay and have a chat with us.
MAURICE. [After a glance at MME. CATHERINE] If I only had time.
ADOLPHE. Take the time. And we won't be sitting here very long.
HENRIETTE. I won't interrupt, if you have to talk business.
MAURICE. The only business we have is so bad that we don't want to
talk of it.
HENRIETTE. Then we'll talk of something else. [Takes the hat away
from MAURICE and hangs it up] Now be nice, and let me become
acquainted with the great author.
MME. CATHERINE signals to MAURICE, who doesn't notice her.
ADOLPHE. That's right, Henriette, you take charge of him. [They
seat themselves at one of the tables.]
HENRIETTE. [To MAURICE] You certainly have a good friend in
Adolphe, Monsieur Maurice. He never talks of anything but you, and
in such a way that I feel myself rather thrown in the background.
ADOLPHE. You don't say so! Well, Henriette on her side never
leaves me in peace about you, Maurice. She has read your works,
and she is always wanting to know where you got this and where
that. She has been questioning me about your looks, your age, your
tastes. I have, in a word, had you for breakfast, dinner, and
supper. It has almost seemed as if the three of us were living
MAURICE. [To HENRIETTE] Heavens, why didn't you come over here and
have a look at this wonder of wonders? Then your curiosity could
have been satisfied in a trice.
HENRIETTE. Adolphe didn't want it.
(ADOLPHE looks embarrassed.)
HENRIETTE. Not that he was jealous--
MAURICE. And why should he be, when he knows that my feelings are
tied up elsewhere?
HENRIETTE. Perhaps he didn't trust the stability of your feelings.
MAURICE. I can't understand that, seeing that I am notorious for
ADOLPHE. Well, it wasn't that--
HENRIETTE. [Interrupting him] Perhaps that is because you have not
faced the fiery ordeal--
ADOLPHE. Oh, you don't know--
HENRIETTE. [Interrupting]--for the world has not yet beheld a
MAURICE. Then it's going to behold one.
ADOLPHE. Well, that's going it--
HENRIETTE. [Interrupting him and directing herself continuously to
MAURICE] Do you think I ever trust my dear Adolphe more than a
month at a time?
MAURICE. I have no right to question your lack of confidence, but
I can guarantee that Adolphe is faithful.
HENRIETTE. You don't need to do so--my tongue is just running away
with me, and I have to take back a lot--not only for fear of
feeling less generous than you, but because it is the truth. It is
a bad habit I have of only seeing the ugly side of things, and I
keep it up although I know better. But if I had a chance to be
with you two for some time, then your company would make me good
once more. Pardon me, Adolphe! [She puts her hand against his
ADOLPHE. You are always wrong in your talk and right in your
actions. What you really think--that I don't know.
HENRIETTE. Who does know that kind of thing?
MAURICE. Well, if we had to answer for our thoughts, who could
then clear himself?
HENRIETTE. Do you also have evil thoughts?
MAURICE. Certainly; just as I commit the worst kind of cruelties
in my dreams.
HENRIETTE. Oh, when you are dreaming, of course--Just think of it-
-No, I am ashamed of telling--
MAURICE. Go on, go on!
HENRIETTE. Last night I dreamt that I was coolly dissecting the
muscles on Adolphe's breast--you see, I am a sculptor--and he,
with his usual kindness, made no resistance, but helped me instead
with the worst places, as he knows more anatomy than I.
MAURICE. Was he dead?
HENRIETTE. No, he was living.
MAURICE. But that's horrible! And didn't it make YOU suffer?
HENRIETTE. Not at all, and that astonished me most, for I am
rather sensitive to other people's sufferings. Isn't that so,
ADOLPHE. That's right. Rather abnormally so, in fact, and not the
least when animals are concerned.
MAURICE. And I, on the other hand, am rather callous toward the
sufferings both of myself and others.
ADOLPHE. Now he is not telling the truth about himself. Or what do
you say, Madame Catherine?
MME. CATHERINE. I don't know of anybody with a softer heart than
Monsieur Maurice. He came near calling in the police because I
didn't give the goldfish fresh water--those over there on the
buffet. Just look at them: it is as if they could hear what I am
MAURICE. Yes, here we are making ourselves out as white as angels,
and yet we are, taking it all in all, capable of any kind of
polite atrocity the moment glory, gold, or women are concerned--So
you are a sculptor, Mademoiselle Henriette?
HENRIETTE. A bit of one. Enough to do a bust. And to do one of
you--which has long been my cherished dream--I hold myself quite
MAURICE. Go ahead! That dream at least need not be long in coming
HENRIETTE. But I don't want to fix your features in my mind until
this evening's success is over. Not until then will you have
become what you should be.
MAURICE. How sure you are of victory!
HENRIETTE. Yes, it is written on your face that you are going to
win this battle, and I think you must feel that yourself.
MAURICE. Why do you think so?
HENRIETTE. Because I can feel it. This morning I was ill, you
know, and now I am well.
(ADOLPHE begins to look depressed.)
MAURICE. [Embarrassed] Listen, I have a single ticket left--only
one. I place it at your disposal, Adolphe.
ADOLPHE. Thank you, but I surrender it to Henriette.
HENRIETTE. But that wouldn't do?
ADOLPHE. Why not? And I never go to the theatre anyhow, as I
cannot stand the heat.
HENRIETTE. But you will come and take us home at least after the
show is over.
ADOLPHE. If you insist on it. Otherwise Maurice has to come back
here, where we shall all be waiting for him.
MAURICE. You can just as well take the trouble of meeting us. In
fact, I ask, I beg you to do so--And if you don't want to wait
outside the theatre, you can meet us at the Auberge des Adrets--
That's settled then, isn't it?
ADOLPHE. Wait a little. You have a way of settling things to suit
yourself, before other people have a chance to consider them.
MAURICE. What is there to consider--whether you are to see your
lady home or not?
ADOLPHE. You never know what may be involved in a simple act like
that, but I have a sort of premonition.
HENRIETTE. Hush, hush, hush! Don't talk of spooks while the sun is
shining. Let him come or not, as it pleases him. We can always
find our way back here.
ADOLPHE. [Rising] Well, now I have to leave you--model, you know.
Good-bye, both of you. And good luck to you, Maurice. To-morrow
you will be out on the right side. Good-bye, Henriette.
HENRIETTE. Do you really have to go?
ADOLPHE. I must.
MAURICE. Good-bye then. We'll meet later.
(ADOLPHE goes out, saluting MME. CATHERINE in passing.)
HENRIETTE. Think of it, that we should meet at last!
MAURICE. Do you find anything remarkable in that?
HENRIETTE. It looks as if it had to happen, for Adolphe has done
his best to prevent it.
MAURICE. Has he?
HENRIETTE. Oh, you must have noticed it.
MAURICE. I have noticed it, but why should you mention it?
HENRIETTE. I had to.
MAURICE. No, and I don't have to tell you that I wanted to run
away through the kitchen in order to avoid meeting you and was
stopped by a guest who closed the door in front of me.
HENRIETTE. Why do you tell me about it now?
MAURICE. I don't know.
(MME. CATHERINE upsets a number of glasses and bottles.)
MAURICE. That's all right, Madame Catherine. There's nothing to be
HENRIETTE. Was that meant as a signal or a warning?
MAURICE. Probably both.
HENRIETTE. Do they take me for a locomotive that has to have
flagmen ahead of it?
MAURICE. And switchmen! The danger is always greatest at the
HENRIETTE. How nasty you can be!
MME. CATHERINE. Monsieur Maurice isn't nasty at all. So far nobody
has been kinder than he to those that love him and trust in him.
MAURICE. Sh, sh, sh!
HENRIETTE. [To MAURICE] The old lady is rather impertinent.
MAURICE. We can walk over to the boulevard, if you care to do so.
HENRIETTE. With pleasure. This is not the place for me. I can just
feel their hatred clawing at me. [Goes out.]
MAURICE. [Starts after her] Good-bye, Madame Catherine.
MME. CATHERINE. A moment! May I speak a word to you, Monsieur
MAURICE. [Stops unwillingly] What is it?
MME. CATHERINE. Don't do it! Don't do it!
MME. CATHERINE. Don't do it!
MAURICE. Don't be scared. This lady is not my kind, but she
interests me. Or hardly that even.
MME. CATHERINE, Don't trust yourself!
MAURICE. Yes, I do trust myself. Good-bye. [Goes out.]
(The Auberge des Adrets: a cafe in sixteenth century style, with a
suggestion of stage effect. Tables and easy-chairs are scattered
in corners and nooks. The walls are decorated with armour and
weapons. Along the ledge of the wainscoting stand glasses and
(MAURICE and HENRIETTE are in evening dress and sit facing each
other at a table on which stands a bottle of champagne and three
filled glasses. The third glass is placed at that side of the
table which is nearest the background, and there an easy-chair is
kept ready for the still missing "third man.")
MAURICE. [Puts his watch in front of himself on the table] If he
doesn't get here within the next five minutes, he isn't coming at
all. And suppose in the meantime we drink with his ghost. [Touches
the third glass with the rim of his own.]
HENRIETTE. [Doing the same] Here's to you, Adolphe!
MAURICE. He won't come.
HENRIETTE. He will come.
MAURICE. He won't.
HENRIETTE. He will.
MAURICE. What an evening! What a wonderful day! I can hardly grasp
that a new life has begun. Think only: the manager believes that I
may count on no less than one hundred thousand francs. I'll spend
twenty thousand on a villa outside the city. That leaves me eighty
thousand. I won't be able to take it all in until to-morrow, for I
am tired, tired, tired. [Sinks back into the chair] Have you ever
felt really happy?
HENRIETTE. Never. How does it feel?
MAURICE. I don't quite know how to put it. I cannot express it,
but I seem chiefly to be thinking of the chagrin of my enemies. It
isn't nice, but that's the way it is.
HENRIETTE. Is it happiness to be thinking of one's enemies?
MAURICE. Why, the victor has to count his killed and wounded
enemies in order to gauge the extent of his victory.
HENRIETTE. Are you as bloodthirsty as all that?
MAURICE. Perhaps not. But when you have felt the pressure of other
people's heels on your chest for years, it must be pleasant to
shake off the enemy and draw a full breath at last.
HENRIETTE. Don't you find it strange that yon are sitting here,
alone with me, an insignificant girl practically unknown to you--
and on an evening like this, when you ought to have a craving to
show yourself like a triumphant hero to all the people, on the
boulevards, in the big restaurants?
MAURICE. Of course, it's rather funny, but it feels good to be
here, and your company is all I care for.
HENRIETTE. You don't look very hilarious.
MAURICE. No, I feel rather sad, and I should like to weep a
HENRIETTE. What is the meaning of that?
MAURICE. It is fortune conscious of its own nothingness and
waiting for misfortune to appear.
HENRIETTE. Oh my, how sad! What is it you are missing anyhow?
MAURICE. I miss the only thing that gives value to life.
HENRIETTE. So you love her no longer then?
MAURICE. Not in the way I understand love. Do you think she has
read my play, or that she wants to see it? Oh, she is so good, so
self-sacrificing and considerate, but to go out with me for a
night's fun she would regard as sinful. Once I treated her to
champagne, you know, and instead of feeling happy over it, she
picked up the wine list to see what it cost. And when she read the
price, she wept--wept because Marion was in need of new stockings.
It is beautiful, of course: it is touching, if you please. But I
can get no pleasure out of it. And I do want a little pleasure
before life runs out. So far I have had nothing but privation, but
now, now--life is beginning for me. [The clock strikes twelve] Now
begins a new day, a new era!
HENRIETTE. Adolphe is not coming.
MAURICE. No, now he won't, come. And now it is too late to go back
to the Cremerie.
HENRIETTE. But they are waiting for you.
MAURICE. Let them wait. They have made me promise to come, and I
take back my promise. Are you longing to go there?
HENRIETTE. On the contrary!
MAURICE. Will you keep me company then?
HENRIETTE. With pleasure, if you care to have me.
MAURICE. Otherwise I shouldn't be asking you. It is strange, you
know, that the victor's wreath seems worthless if you can't place
it at the feet of some woman--that everything seems worthless when
you have not a woman.
HENRIETTE. You don't need to be without a woman--you?
MAURICE. Well, that's the question.
HENRIETTE. Don't you know that a man is irresistible in his hour
of success and fame?
MAURICE. No, I don't know, for I have had no experience of it.
HENRIETTE. You are a queer sort! At this moment, when you are the
most envied man in Paris, you sit here and brood. Perhaps your
conscience is troubling you because you have neglected that
invitation to drink chicory coffee with the old lady over at the
MAURICE. Yes, my conscience is troubling me on that score, and
even here I am aware of their resentment, their hurt feelings,
their well-grounded anger. My comrades in distress had the right
to demand my presence this evening. The good Madame Catherine had
a privileged claim on my success, from which a glimmer of hope was
to spread over the poor fellows who have not yet succeeded. And I
have robbed them of their faith in me. I can hear the vows they
have been making: "Maurice will come, for he is a good fellow; he
doesn't despise us, and he never fails to keep his word." Now I
have made them forswear themselves.
(While he is still speaking, somebody in the next room has begun
to play the finale of Beethoven's Sonata in D-minor (Op. 31, No.
3). The allegretto is first played piano, then more forte, and at
last passionately, violently, with complete abandon.)
MAURICE. Who can be playing at this time of the night?
HENRIETTE. Probably some nightbirds of the same kind as we. But
listen! Your presentation of the case is not correct. Remember
that Adolphe promised to meet us here. We waited for him, and he
failed to keep his promise. So that you are not to blame--
MAURICE. You think so? While you are speaking, I believe you, but
when you stop, my conscience begins again. What have you in that
HENRIETTE. Oh, it is only a laurel wreath that I meant to send up
to the stage, but I had no chance to do so. Let me give it to you
now--it is said to have a cooling effect on burning foreheads.
[She rises and crowns him with the wreath; then she kisses him on
the forehead] Hail to the victor!
HENRIETTE. [Kneeling] Hail to the King!
MAURICE. [Rising] No, now you scare me.
HENRIETTE. You timid man! You of little faith who are afraid of
fortune even! Who robbed you of your self-assurance and turned you
into a dwarf?
MAURICE. A dwarf? Yes, you are right. I am not working up in the
clouds, like a giant, with crashing and roaring, but I forge my
weapons deep down in the silent heart of the mountain. You think
that my modesty shrinks before the victor's wreath. On the
contrary, I despise it: it is not enough for me. You think I am
afraid of that ghost with its jealous green eyes which sits over
there and keeps watch on my feelings--the strength of which you
don't suspect. Away, ghost! [He brushes the third, untouched glass
off the table] Away with you, you superfluous third person--you
absent one who has lost your rights, if you ever had any. You
stayed away from the field of battle because you knew yourself
already beaten. As I crush this glass under my foot, so I will
crush the image of yourself which you have reared in a temple no
HENRIETTE. Good! That's the way! Well spoken, my hero!
MAURICE. Now I have sacrificed my best friend, my most faithful
helper, on your altar, Astarte! Are you satisfied?
HENRIETTE. Astarte is a pretty name, and I'll keep it--I think you
love me, Maurice.
MAURICE. Of course I do--Woman of evil omen, you who stir up man's
courage with your scent of blood, whence do you come and where do
you lead me? I loved you before I saw you, for I trembled when I
heard them speak of you. And when I saw you in the doorway, your
soul poured itself into mine. And when you left, I could still
feel your presence in my arms. I wanted to flee from you, but
something held me back, and this evening we have been driven
together as the prey is driven into the hunter's net. Whose is the
fault? Your friend's, who pandered for us!
HENRIETTE. Fault or no fault: what does it matter, and what does
it mean?--Adolphe has been at fault in not bringing us together
before. He is guilty of having stolen from us two weeks of bliss,
to which he had no right himself. I am jealous of him on your
behalf. I hate him because he has cheated you out of your
mistress. I should like to blot him from the host of the living,
and his memory with him--wipe him out of the past even, make him
MAURICE. Well, we'll bury him beneath our own memories. We'll
cover him with leaves and branches far out in the wild woods, and
then we'll pile stone on top of the mound so that he will never
look up again. [Raising his glass] Our fate is sealed. Woe unto
us! What will come next?
HENRIETTE. Next comes the new era--What have you in that package?
MAURICE. I cannot remember.
HENRIETTE. [Opens the package and takes out a tie and a pair of
gloves] That tie is a fright! It must have cost at least fifty
MAURICE. [Snatching the things away from her] Don't you touch
HENRIETTE. They are from her?
MAURICE. Yes, they are.
HENRIETTE. Give them to me.
MAURICE. No, she's better than we, better than everybody else.
HENRIETTE. I don't believe it. She is simply stupider and
stingier. One who weeps because you order champagne--
MAURICE. When the child was without stockings. Yes, she is a good
HENRIETTE. Philistine! You'll never be an artist. But I am an
artist, and I'll make a bust of you with a shopkeeper's cap
instead of the laurel wreath--Her name is Jeanne?
MAURICE. How do you know?
HENRIETTE. Why, that's the name of all housekeepers.
(HENRIETTE takes the tie and the gloves and throws them into the
MAURICE. [Weakly] Astarte, now you demand the sacrifice of women.
You shall have them, but if you ask for innocent children, too,
then I'll send you packing.
HENRIETTE. Can you tell me what it is that binds you to me?
MAURICE. If I only knew, I should be able to tear myself away. But
I believe it must be those qualities which you have and I lack. I
believe that the evil within you draws me with the irresistible
lure of novelty.
HENRIETTE. Have you ever committed a crime?
MAURICE. No real one. Have you?
MAURICE. Well, how did you find it?
HENRIETTE. It was greater than to perform a good deed, for by that
we are placed on equality with others; it was greater than to
perform some act of heroism, for by that we are raised above
others and rewarded. That crime placed me outside and beyond life,
society, and my fellow-beings. Since then I am living only a
partial life, a sort of dream life, and that's why reality never
gets a hold on me.
MAURICE. What was it you did?
HENRIETTE. I won't tell, for then you would get scared again.
MAURICE. Can you never be found out?
HENRIETTE. Never. But that does not prevent me from seeing,
frequently, the five stones at the Place de Roquette, where the
scaffold used to stand; and for this reason I never dare to open a
pack of cards, as I always turn up the five-spot of diamonds.
MAURICE. Was it that kind of a crime?
HENRIETTE. Yes, it was that kind.
MAURICE. Of course, it's horrible, but it is interesting. Have you
HENRIETTE. None, but I should be grateful if you would talk of
MAURICE. Suppose we talk of--love?
HENRIETTE. Of that you don't talk until it is over.
MAURICE. Have you been in love with Adolphe?
HENRIETTE. I don't know. The goodness of his nature drew me like
some beautiful, all but vanished memory of childhood. Yet there
was much about his person that offended my eye, so that I had to
spend a long time retouching, altering, adding, subtracting,
before I could make a presentable figure of him. When he talked, I
could notice that he had learned from you, and the lesson was
often badly digested and awkwardly applied. You can imagine then
how miserable the copy must appear now, when I am permitted to
study the original. That's why he was afraid of having us two
meet; and when it did happen, he understood at once that his time
MAURICE. Poor Adolphe!
HENRIETTE. I feel sorry for him, too, as I know he must be
suffering beyond all bounds--
MAURICE. Sh! Somebody is coming.
HENRIETTE. I wonder if it could be he?
MAURICE. That would be unbearable.
HENRIETTE. No, it isn't he, but if it had been, how do you think
the situation would have shaped itself?
MAURICE. At first he would have been a little sore at you because
he had made a mistake in regard to the meeting-place--and tried to
find us in several other cafes--but his soreness would have
changed into pleasure at finding us--and seeing that we had not
deceived him. And in the joy at having wronged us by his
suspicions, he would love both of us. And so it would make him
happy to notice that we had become such good friends. It had
always been his dream--hm! he is making the speech now--his dream
that the three of us should form a triumvirate that could set the
world a great example of friendship asking for nothing--"Yes, I
trust you, Maurice, partly because you are my friend, and partly
because your feelings are tied up elsewhere."
HENRIETTE. Bravo! You must have been in a similar situation
before, or you couldn't give such a lifelike picture of it. Do you
know that Adolphe is just that kind of a third person who cannot
enjoy his mistress without having his friend along?
MAURICE. That's why I had to be called in to entertain you--Hush!
There is somebody outside--It must be he.
HENRIETTE. No, don't you know these are the hours when ghosts
walk, and then you can see so many things, and hear them also. To
keep awake at night, when you ought to be sleeping, has for me the
same charm as a crime: it is to place oneself above and beyond the
laws of nature.
MAURICE. But the punishment is fearful--I am shivering or
quivering, with cold or with fear.
HENRIETTE. [Wraps her opera cloak about him] Put this on. It will
make you warm.
MAURICE. That's nice. It is as if I were inside of your skin, as
if my body had been melted up by lack of sleep and were being
remoulded in your shape. I can feel the moulding process going on.
But I am also growing a new soul, new thoughts, and here, where
your bosom has left an impression, I can feel my own beginning to
(During this entire scene, the pianist in the next room has been
practicing the Sonata in D-minor, sometimes pianissimo, sometimes
wildly fortissimo; now and then he has kept silent for a little
while, and at other times nothing has been heard but a part of the
finale: bars 96 to 107.)
MAURICE. What a monster, to sit there all night practicing on the
piano. It gives me a sick feeling. Do you know what I propose? Let
us drive out to the Bois de Boulogne and take breakfast in the
Pavilion, and see the sun rise over the lakes.
MAURICE. But first of all I must arrange to have my mail and the
morning papers sent out by messenger to the Pavilion. Tell me,
Henriette: shall we invite Adolphe?
HENRIETTE. Oh, that's going too far! But why not? The ass can also
be harnessed to the triumphal chariot. Let him come. [They get
MAURICE. [Taking off the cloak] Then I'll ring.
HENRIETTE. Wait a moment! [Throws herself into his arms.]
(A large, splendidly furnished restaurant room in the Bois de
Boulogne. It is richly carpeted and full of mirrors, easy-chairs,
and divans. There are glass doors in the background, and beside
them windows overlooking the lakes. In the foreground a table is
spread, with flowers in the centre, bowls full of fruit, wine in
decanters, oysters on platters, many different kinds of wine
glasses, and two lighted candelabra. On the right there is a round
table full of newspapers and telegrams.)
(MAURICE and HENRIETTE are sitting opposite each other at this
(The sun is just rising outside.)
MAURICE. There is no longer any doubt about it. The newspapers
tell me it is so, and these telegrams congratulate me on my
success. This is the beginning of a new life, and my fate is
wedded to yours by this night, when you were the only one to share
my hopes and my triumph. From your hand I received the laurel, and
it seems to me as if everything had come from you.
HENRIETTE. What a wonderful night! Have we been dreaming, or is
this something we have really lived through?
MAURICE. [Rising] And what a morning after such a night! I feel as
if it were the world's first day that is now being illumined by
the rising sun. Only this minute was the earth created and
stripped of those white films that are now floating off into
space. There lies the Garden of Eden in the rosy light of dawn,
and here is the first human couple--Do you know, I am so happy I
could cry at the thought that all mankind is not equally happy--Do
you hear that distant murmur as of ocean waves beating against a
rocky shore, as of winds sweeping through a forest? Do you know
what it is? It is Paris whispering my name. Do you see the columns
of smoke that rise skyward in thousands and tens of thousands?
They are the fires burning on my altars, and if that be not so,
then it must become so, for I will it. At this moment all the
telegraph instruments of Europe are clicking out my name. The
Oriental Express is carrying the newspapers to the Far East,
toward the rising sun; and the ocean steamers are carrying them to
the utmost West. The earth is mine, and for that reason it is
beautiful. Now I should like to have wings for us two, so that we
might rise from here and fly far, far away, before anybody can
soil my happiness, before envy has a chance to wake me out of my
dream--for it is probably a dream!
HENRIETTE. [Holding out her hand to him] Here you can feel that
you are not dreaming.
MAURICE. It is not a dream, but it has been one. As a poor young
man, you know, when I was walking in the woods down there, and
looked up to this Pavilion, it looked to me like a fairy castle,
and always my thoughts carried me up to this room, with the
balcony outside and the heavy curtains, as to a place of supreme
bliss. To be sitting here in company with a beloved woman and see
the sun rise while the candles were still burning in the
candelabra: that was the most audacious dream of my youth. Now it
has come true, and now I have no more to ask of life--Do you want
to die now, together with me?
HENRIETTE. No, you fool! Now I want to begin living.
MAURICE. [Rising] To live: that is to suffer! Now comes reality. I
can hear his steps on the stairs. He is panting with alarm, and
his heart is beating with dread of having lost what it holds most
precious. Can you believe me if I tell you that Adolphe is under
this roof? Within a minute he will be standing in the middle of
HENRIETTE. [Alarmed] It was a stupid trick to ask him to come
here, and I am already regretting it--Well, we shall see anyhow if
your forecast of the situation proves correct.
MAURICE. Oh, it is easy to be mistaken about a person's feelings.
(The HEAD WAITER enters with a card.)
MAURICE. Ask the gentleman to step in. [To HENRIETTE] I am afraid
we'll regret this.
HENRIETTE. Too late to think of that now--Hush!
(ADOLPHE enters, pale and hollow-eyed.)
MAURICE. [Trying to speak unconcernedly] There you are! What
became of you last night?
ADOLPHE. I looked for you at the Hotel des Arrets and waited a
MAURICE. So you went to the wrong place. We were waiting several
hours for you at the Auberge des Adrets, and we are still waiting
for you, as you see.
ADOLPHE. [Relieved] Thank heaven!
HENRIETTE. Good morning, Adolphe. You are always expecting the
worst and worrying yourself needlessly. I suppose you imagined
that we wanted to avoid your company. And though you see that we
sent for you, you are still thinking yourself superfluous.
ADOLPHE. Pardon me: I was wrong, but the night was dreadful.
(They sit down. Embarrassed silence follows.)
HENRIETTE. [To ADOLPHE] Well, are you not going to congratulate
Maurice on his great success?
ADOLPHE. Oh, yes! Your success is the real thing, and envy itself
cannot deny it. Everything is giving way before you, and even I
have a sense of my own smallness in your presence.
MAURICE. Nonsense!--Henriette, are you not going to offer Adolphe
a glass of wine?
ADOLPHE. Thank you, not for me--nothing at all!
HENRIETTE. [To ADOLPHE] What's the matter with you? Are you ill?
ADOLPHE. Not yet, but--
HENRIETTE. Your eyes--
ADOLPHE. What of them?
MAURICE. What happened at the Cremerie last night? I suppose they
are angry with me?
ADOLPHE. Nobody is angry with you, but your absence caused a
depression which it hurt me to watch. But nobody was angry with
you, believe me. Your friends understood, and they regarded your
failure to come with sympathetic forbearance. Madame Catherine
herself defended you and proposed your health. We all rejoiced in
your success as if it had been our own.
HENRIETTE. Well, those are nice people! What good friends you
MAURICE. Yes, better than I deserve.
ADOLPHE. Nobody has better friends than he deserves, and you are a
man greatly blessed in his friends--Can't you feel how the air is
softened to-day by all the kind thoughts and wishes that stream
toward you from a thousand breasts?
(MAURICE rises in order to hide his emotion.)
ADOLPHE. From a thousand breasts that you have rid of the
nightmare that had been crushing them during a lifetime. Humanity
had been slandered--and you have exonerated it: that's why men
feel grateful toward you. To-day they are once more holding their
heads high and saying: You see, we are a little better than our
reputation after all. And that thought makes them better.
(HENRIETTE tries to hide her emotion.)
ADOLPHE. Am I in the way? Just let me warm myself a little in your
sunshine, Maurice, and then I'll go.
MAURICE. Why should you go when you have only just arrived?
ADOLPHE. Why? Because I have seen what I need not have seen;
because I know now that my hour is past. [Pause] That you sent for
me, I take as an expression of thoughtfulness, a notice of what
has happened, a frankness that hurts less than deceit. You hear
that I think well of my fellow-beings, and this I have learned
from you, Maurice. [Pause] But, my friend, a few moments ago I
passed through the Church of St. Germain, and there I saw a woman
and a child. I am not wishing that you had seen them, for what has
happened cannot be altered, but if you gave a thought or a word to
them before you set them adrift on the waters of the great city,
then you could enjoy your happiness undisturbed. And now I bid you
HENRIETTE. Why must you go?
ADOLPHE. And you ask that? Do you want me to tell you?
HENRIETTE. No, I don't.
ADOLPHE. Good-by then! [Goes out.]
MAURICE. The Fall: and lo! "they knew that they were naked."
HENRIETTE. What a difference between this scene and the one we
imagined! He is better than we.
MAURICE. It seems to me now as if all the rest were better than
HENRIETTE. Do you see that the sun has vanished behind clouds, and
that the woods have lost their rose colour?
MAURICE. Yes, I see, and the blue lake has turned black. Let us
flee to some place where the sky is always blue and the trees are
HENRIETTE. Yes, let us--but without any farewells.
MAURICE. No, with farewells.
HENRIETTE. We were to fly. You spoke of wings--and your feet are
of lead. I am not jealous, but if you go to say farewell and get
two pairs of arms around your neck--then you can't tear yourself
MAURICE. Perhaps you are right, but only one pair of little arms
is needed to hold me fast.
HENRIETTE. It is the child that holds you then, and not the woman?
MAURICE. It is the child.
HENRIETTE. The child! Another woman's child! And for the sake of
it I am to suffer. Why must that child block the way where I want
to pass, and must pass?
MAURICE. Yes, why? It would be better if it had never existed.
HENRIETTE. [Walks excitedly back and forth] Indeed! But now it
does exist. Like a rock on the road, a rock set firmly in the
ground, immovable, so that it upsets the carriage.
MAURICE. The triumphal chariot!--The ass is driven to death, but
the rock remains. Curse it! [Pause.]
HENRIETTE. There is nothing to do.
MAURICE. Yes, we must get married, and then our child will make us
forget the other one.
HENRIETTE. This will kill this!
MAURICE. Kill! What kind of word is that?
HENRIETTE. [Changing tone] Your child will kill our love.
MAURICE. No, girl, our love will kill whatever stands in its way,
but it will not be killed.
HENRIETTE. [Opens a deck of cards lying on the mantlepiece] Look
at it! Five-spot of diamonds--the scaffold! Can it be possible
that our fates are determined in advance? That our thoughts are
guided as if through pipes to the spot for which they are bound,
without chance for us to stop them? But I don't want it, I don't
want it!--Do you realise that I must go to the scaffold if my
crime should be discovered?
MAURICE. Tell me about your crime. Now is the time for it.
HENRIETTE. No, I should regret it afterward, and you would despise
me--no, no, no!--Have you ever heard that a person could be hated
to death? Well, my father incurred the hatred of my mother and my
sisters, and he melted away like wax before a fire. Ugh! Let us
talk of something else. And, above all, let us get away. The air
is poisoned here. To-morrow your laurels will be withered, the
triumph will be forgotten, and in a week another triumphant hero
will hold the public attention. Away from here, to work for new
victories! But first of all, Maurice, you must embrace your child
and provide for its immediate future. You don't have to see the
mother at all.
MAURICE. Thank you! Your good heart does you honour, and I love
you doubly when you show the kindness you generally hide.
HENRIETTE. And then you go to the Cremerie and say good-by to the
old lady and your friends. Leave no unsettled business behind to
make your mind heavy on our trip.
MAURICE. I'll clear up everything, and to-night we meet at the
HENRIETTE. Agreed! And then: away from here--away toward the sea
and the sun!
(In the Cremerie. The gas is lit. MME. CATHERINE is seated at the
counter, ADOLPHE at a table.)
MME. CATHERINE. Such is life, Monseiur Adolphe. But you young ones
are always demanding too much, and then you come here and blubber
over it afterward.
ADOLPHE. No, it isn't that. I reproach nobody, and I am as fond as
ever of both of them. But there is one thing that makes me sick at
heart. You see, I thought more of Maurice than of anybody else; so
much that I wouldn't have grudged him anything that could give him
pleasure--but now I have lost him, and it hurts me worse than the
loss of her. I have lost both of them, and so my loneliness is
made doubly painful. And then there is still something else which
I have not yet been able to clear up.
MME. CATHERINE. Don't brood so much. Work and divert yourself.
Now, for instance, do you ever go to church?
ADOLPHE. What should I do there?
MME. CATHERINE. Oh, there's so much to look at, and then there is
the music. There is nothing commonplace about it, at least.
ADOLPHE. Perhaps not. But I don't belong to that fold, I guess,
for it never stirs me to any devotion. And then, Madame Catherine,
faith is a gift, they tell me, and I haven't got it yet.
MME. CATHERINE. Well, wait till you get it--But what is this I
heard a while ago? Is it true that you have sold a picture in
London for a high price, and that you have got a medal?
ADOLPHE. Yes, it's true.
MME. CATHERINE. Merciful heavens!--and not a word do you say about
ADOLPHE. I am afraid of fortune, and besides it seems almost
worthless to me at this moment. I am afraid of it as of a spectre:
it brings disaster to speak of having seen it.
MME. CATHERINE. You're a queer fellow, and that's what you have
ADOLPHE. Not queer at all, but I have seen so much misfortune come
in the wake of fortune, and I have seen how adversity brings out
true friends, while none but false ones appear in the hour of
success--You asked me if I ever went to church, and I answered
evasively. This morning I stepped into the Church of St. Germain
without really knowing why I did so. It seemed as if I were
looking for somebody in there--somebody to whom I could silently
offer my gratitude. But I found nobody. Then I dropped a gold coin
in the poor-box. It was all I could get out of my church-going,
and that was rather commonplace, I should say.
MME. CATHERINE. It was always something; and then it was fine to
think of the poor after having heard good news.
ADOLPHE. It was neither fine nor anything else: it was something I
did because I couldn't help myself. But something more occurred
while I was in the church. I saw Maurice's girl friend, Jeanne,
and her child. Struck down, crushed by his triumphal chariot, they
seemed aware of the full extent of their misfortune.
MME. CATHERINE. Well, children, I don't know in what kind of shape
you keep your consciences. But how a decent fellow, a careful and
considerate man like Monsieur Maurice, can all of a sudden desert
a woman and her child, that is something I cannot explain.
ADOLPHE. Nor can I explain it, and he doesn't seem to understand
it himself. I met them this morning, and everything appeared quite
natural to them, quite proper, as if they couldn't imagine
anything else. It was as if they had been enjoying the
satisfaction of a good deed or the fulfilment of a sacred duty.
There are things, Madame Catherine, that we cannot explain, and
for this reason it is not for us to judge. And besides, you saw
how it happened. Maurice felt the danger in the air. I foresaw it
and tried to prevent their meeting. Maurice wanted to run away
from it, but nothing helped. Why, it was as if a plot had been
laid by some invisible power, and as if they had been driven by
guile into each other's arms. Of course, I am disqualified in this
case, but I wouldn't hesitate to pronounce a verdict of "not
MME. CATHERINE. Well, now, to be able to forgive as you do, that's
what I call religion,
ADOLPHE. Heavens, could it be that I am religious without knowing
MME. CATHERINE. But then, to LET oneself be driven or tempted into
evil, as Monsieur Maurice has done, means weakness or bad
character. And if you feel your strength failing you, then you ask
for help, and then you get it. But he was too conceited to do
that--Who is this coming? The Abbe, I think.
ADOLPHE. What does he want here?
ABBE. [Enters] Good evening, madame. Good evening, Monsieur.
MME. CATHERINE. Can I be of any service?
ABBE. Has Monsieur Maurice, the author, been here to-day?
MME. CATHERINE. Not to-day. His play has just been put on, and
that is probably keeping him busy.
ABBE. I have--sad news to bring him. Sad in several respects.
MME. CATHERINE. May I ask of what kind?
ABBE. Yes, it's no secret. The daughter he had with that girl,
Jeanne, is dead.
MME. CATHERINE. Dead!
ADOLPHE. Marion dead!
ABBE. Yes, she died suddenly this morning without any previous
MME. CATHERINE. O Lord, who can tell Thy ways!
ABBE. The mother's grief makes it necessary that Monsieur Maurice
look after her, so we must try to find him. But first a question
in confidence: do you know whether Monsieur Maurice was fond of
the child, or was indifferent to it?
MME. CATHERINE. If he was fond of Marion? Why, all of us know how
he loved her.
ADOLPHE. There's no doubt about that.
ABBE. I am glad to hear it, and it settles the matter so far as I
MME. CATHERINE. Has there been any doubt about it?
ABBE. Yes, unfortunately. It has even been rumoured in the
neighbourhood that he had abandoned the child and its mother in
order to go away with a strange woman. In a few hours this rumour
has grown into definite accusations, and at the same time the
feeling against him has risen to such a point that his life is
threatened and he is being called a murderer.
MME. CATHERINE. Good God, what is THIS? What does it mean?
ABBE. Now I'll tell you my opinion--I am convinced that the man is
innocent on this score, and the mother feels as certain about it
as I do. But appearances are against Monsieur Maurice, and I think
he will find it rather hard to clear himself when the police come
to question him.
ADOLPHE. Have the police got hold of the matter?
ABBE. Yea, the police have had to step in to protect him against
all those ugly rumours and the rage of the people. Probably the
Commissaire will be here soon.
MME. CATHERINE. [To ADOLPHE] There you see what happens when a man
cannot tell the difference between good and evil, and when he
trifles with vice. God will punish!
ADOLPHE. Then he is more merciless than man.
ABBE. What do you know about that?
ADOLPHE. Not very much, but I keep an eye on what happens--
ABBE. And you understand it also?
ADOLPHE. Not yet perhaps.
ABBE. Let us look more closely at the matter--Oh, here comes the
COMMISSAIRE. [Enters] Gentlemen--Madame Catherine--I have to
trouble you for a moment with a few questions concerning Monsieur
Maurice. As you have probably heard, he has become the object of a
hideous rumour, which, by the by, I don't believe in.
MME. CATHERINE. None of us believes in it either.
COMMISSAIRE. That strengthens my own opinion, but for his own sake
I must give him a chance to defend himself.
ABBE. That's right, and I guess he will find justice, although it
may come hard.
COMMISSAIRE. Appearances are very much against him, but I have
seen guiltless people reach the scaffold before their innocence
was discovered. Let me tell you what there is against him. The
little girl, Marion, being left alone by her mother, was secretly
visited by the father, who seems to have made sure of the time
when the child was to be found alone. Fifteen minutes after his
visit the mother returned home and found the child dead. All this
makes the position of the accused man very unpleasant--The post-
mortem examination brought out no signs of violence or of poison,
but the physicians admit the existence of new poisons that leave
no traces behind them. To me all this is mere coincidence of the
kind I frequently come across. But here's something that looks
worse. Last night Monsieur Maurice was seen at the Auberge des
Adrets in company with a strange lady. According to the waiter,
they were talking about crimes. The Place de Roquette and the
scaffold were both mentioned. A queer topic of conversation for a
pair of lovers of good breeding and good social position! But even
this may be passed over, as we know by experience that people who
have been drinking and losing a lot of sleep seem inclined to dig
up all the worst that lies at the bottom of their souls. Far more
serious is the evidence given by the head waiter as to their
champagne breakfast in the Bois de Boulogne this morning. He says
that he heard them wish the life out of a child. The man is said
to have remarked that, "It would be better if it had never
existed." To which the woman replied: "Indeed! But now it does
exist." And as they went on talking, these words occurred: "This
will kill this!" And the answer was: "Kill! What kind of word is
that?" And also: "The five-spot of diamonds, the scaffold, the
Place de Roquette." All this, you see, will be hard to get out of,
and so will the foreign journey planned for this evening. These
are serious matters.
ADOLPHE. He is lost!
MME. CATHERINE. That's a dreadful story. One doesn't know what to
ABBE. This is not the work of man. God have mercy on him!
ADOLPHE. He is in the net, and he will never get out of it.
MME. CATHERINE. He had no business to get in.
ADOLPHE. Do you begin to suspect him also, Madame Catherine?
MME. CATHERINE. Yes and no. I have got beyond having an opinion in
this matter. Have you not seen angels turn into devils just as you
turn your hand, and then become angels again?
COMMISSAIRE. It certainly does look queer. However, we'll have to
wait and hear what explanations he can give. No one will be judged
unheard. Good evening, gentlemen. Good evening, Madame Catherine.
ABBE. This is not the work of man.
ADOLPHE. No, it looks as if demons had been at work for the
undoing of man.
ABBE. It is either a punishment for secret misdeeds, or it is a
JEANNE. [Enters, dressed in mourning] Good evening. Pardon me for
asking, but have you seen Monsieur Maurice?
MME. CATHERINE. No, madame, but I think he may be here any minute.
You haven't met him then since--
JEANNE. Not since this morning.
MME. CATHERINE. Let me tell you that I share in your great sorrow.
JEANNE. Thank you, madame. [To the ABBE] So you are here, Father.
ABBE. Yes, my child. I thought I might be of some use to you. And
it was fortunate, as it gave me a chance to speak to the
JEANNE. The Commissaire! He doesn't suspect Maurice also, does he?
ABBE. No, he doesn't, and none of us here do. But appearances are
against him in a most appalling manner.
JEANNE. You mean on account of the talk the waiters overheard--it
means nothing to me, who has heard such things before when Maurice
had had a few drinks. Then it is his custom to speculate on crimes
and their punishment. Besides it seems to have been the woman in
his company who dropped the most dangerous remarks. I should like
to have a look into that woman's eyes.
ADOLPHE. My dear Jeanne, no matter how much harm that woman may
have done you, she did nothing with evil intention--in fact, she
had no intention whatever, but just followed the promptings of her
nature. I know her to be a good soul and one who can very well
bear being looked straight in the eye.
JEANNE. Your judgment in this matter, Adolphe, has great value to
me, and I believe what you say. It means that I cannot hold
anybody but myself responsible for what has happened. It is my
carelessness that is now being punished. [She begins to cry.]
ABBE. Don't accuse yourself unjustly! I know you, and the serious
spirit in which you have regarded your motherhood. That your
assumption of this responsibility had not been sanctioned by
religion and the civil law was not your fault. No, we are here
facing something quite different.
ADOLPHE. What then?
ABBE. Who can tell?
(HENRIETTE enters, dressed in travelling suit.)
ADOLPHE. [Rises with an air of determination and goes to meet
HENRIETTE] You here?
HENRIETTE. Yes, where is Maurice?
ADOLPHE. Do you know--or don't you?
HENRIETTE. I know everything. Excuse me, Madame Catherine, but I
was ready to start and absolutely had to step in here a moment.
[To ADOLPHE] Who is that woman?--Oh!
(HENRIETTE and JEANNE stare at each other.)
(EMILE appears in the kitchen door.)
HENRIETTE. [To JEANNE] I ought to say something, but it matters
very little, for anything I can say must sound like an insult or a
mockery. But if I ask you simply to believe that I share your deep
sorrow as much as anybody standing closer to you, then you must
not turn away from me. You mustn't, for I deserve your pity if not
your forbearance. [Holds out her hand.]
JEANNE. [Looks hard at her] I believe you now--and in the next
moment I don't. [Takes HENRIETTE'S hand.]
HENRIETTE. [Kisses JEANNE'S hand] Thank you!
JEANNE. [Drawing back her hand] Oh, don't! I don't deserve it! I
don't deserve it!
ABBE. Pardon me, but while we are gathered here and peace seems to
prevail temporarily at least, won't you, Mademoiselle Henriette,
shed some light into all the uncertainty and darkness surrounding
the main point of accusation? I ask you, as a friend among
friends, to tell us what you meant with all that talk about
killing, and crime, and the Place de Roquette. That your words had
no connection with the death of the child, we have reason to
believe, but it would give us added assurance to hear what you
were really talking about. Won't you tell us?
HENRIETTE. [After a pause] That I cannot tell! No, I cannot!
ADOLPHE. Henriette, do tell! Give us the word that will relieve us
HENRIETTE. I cannot! Don't ask me!
ABBE. This is not the work of man!
HENRIETTE. Oh, that this moment had to come! And in this manner!
[To JEANNE] Madame, I swear that I am not guilty of your child's
death. Is that enough?
JEANNE. Enough for us, but not for Justice.
HENRIETTE. Justice! If you knew how true your words are!
ABBE. [To HENRIETTE] And if you knew what you were saying just
HENRIETTE. Do you know that better than I?
ABBE. Yes, I do.
(HENRIETTE looks fixedly at the ABBE.)
ABBE. Have no fear, for even if I guess your secret, it will not
be exposed. Besides, I have nothing to do with human justice, but
a great deal with divine mercy.
MAURICE. [Enters hastily, dressed for travelling. He doesn't look
at the others, who are standing in the background, but goes
straight up to the counter, where MME. CATHERINE is sitting.] You
are not angry at me, Madame Catherine, because I didn't show up. I
have come now to apologise to you before I start for the South at
eight o'clock this evening.
(MME. CATHERINE is too startled to say a word.)
MAURICE. Then you are angry at me? [Looks around] What does all
this mean? Is it a dream, or what is it? Of course, I can see that
it is all real, but it looks like a wax cabinet--There is Jeanne,
looking like a statue and dressed in black--And Henriette looking
like a corpse--What does it mean?
(All remain silent.)
MAURICE. Nobody answers. It must mean something dreadful.
[Silence] But speak, please! Adolphe, you are my friend, what is
it? [Pointing to EMILE] And there is a detective!
ADOLPHE. [Comes forward] You don't know then?
MAURICE. Nothing at all. But I must know!
ADOLPHE. Well, then--Marion is dead.
ADOLPHE. Yes, she died this morning.
MAURICE. [To JEANNE] So that's why you are in mourning. Jeanne,
Jeanne, who has done this to us?
JEANNE. He who holds life and death in his hand.
MAURICE. But I saw her looking well and happy this morning. How
did it happen? Who did it? Somebody must have done it? [His eyes
ADOLPHE. Don't look for the guilty one here, for there is none to
he found. Unfortunately the police have turned their suspicion in
a direction where none ought to exist.
MAURICE. What direction is that?
ADOLPHE. Well--you may as well know that, your reckless talk last
night and this morning has placed you in a light that is anything
MAURICE, So they were listening to us. Let me see, what were we
saying--I remember!--Then I am lost!
ADOLPHE. But if you explain your thoughtless words we will believe
MAURICE. I cannot! And I will not! I shall be sent to prison, but
it doesn't matter. Marion is dead! Dead! And I have killed her!
ADOLPHE. Think of what you are saying! Weigh your words! Do you
realise what you said just now?
MAURICE. What did I say?
ADOLPHE. You said that you had killed Marion.
MAURICE. Is there a human being here who could believe me a
murderer, and who could hold me capable of taking my own child's
life? You who know me, Madame Catherine, tell me: do you believe,
can you believe--
MME. CATHERINE. I don't know any longer what to believe. What the
heart thinketh the tongue speaketh. And your tongue has spoken
MAURICE. She doesn't believe me!
ADOLPHE. But explain your words, man! Explain what you meant by
saying that "your love would kill everything that stood in its
MAURICE. So they know that too--Are you willing to explain it,
HENRIETTE. No, I cannot do that.
ABBE. There is something wrong behind all this and you have lost
our sympathy, my friend. A while ago I could have sworn that you
were innocent, and I wouldn't do that now.
MAURICE. [To JEANNE] What you have to say means more to me than
anything else. JEANNE. [Coldly] Answer a question first: who was
it you cursed during that orgie out there?
MAURICE. Have I done that too? Maybe. Yes, I am guilty, and yet I
am guiltless. Let me go away from here, for I am ashamed of
myself, and I have done more wrong than I can forgive myself.
HENRIETTE. [To ADOLPHE] Go with him and see that he doesn't do
himself any harm.
ADOLPHE. Shall I--?
HENRIETTE. Who else?
ADOLPHE. [Without bitterness] You are nearest to it--Sh! A
carriage is stopping outside.
MME. CATHERINE. It's the Commissaire. Well, much as I have seen of
life, I could never have believed that success and fame were such
MAURICE. [To HENRIETTE] From the triumphal chariot to the patrol
JEANNE. [Simply] And the ass--who was that?
ADOLPHE. Oh, that must have been me.
COMMISSAIRE. [Enters with a paper in his hand] A summons to Police
Headquarters--to-night, at once--for Monsieur Maurice Gerard--and
for Mademoiselle Henrietta Mauclerc--both here?
MAURICE and HENRIETTE. Yes.
MAURICE. Is this an arrest?
COMMISSAIRE. Not yet. Only a summons.
MAURICE. And then?
COMMISSAIRE. We don't know yet.
(MAURICE and HENRIETTE go toward the door.)
MAURICE. Good-bye to all!
(Everybody shows emotion. The COMMISSAIRE, MAURICE, and HENRIETTE
EMILE. [Enters and goes up to JEANNE] Now I'll take you home,
JEANNE. And what do you think of all this?
EMILE. The man is innocent.
ABBE. But as I see it, it is, and must always be, something
despicable to break one's promise, and it becomes unpardonable
when a woman and her child are involved.
EMILE. Well, I should rather feel that way, too, now when it
concerns my own sister, but unfortunately I am prevented from
throwing the first stone because I have done the same thing
ABBE. Although I am free from blame in that respect, I am not
throwing any stones either, but the act condemns itself and is
punished by its consequences.
JEANNE. Pray for him! For both of them!
ABBE. No, I'll do nothing of the kind, for it is an impertinence
to want to change the counsels of the Lord. And what has happened
here is, indeed, not the work of man.
(The Auberge des Adrets. ADOLPHE and HENRIETTE are seated at the
same table where MAURICE and HENRIETTE were sitting in the second
act. A cup of coffee stands in front of ADOLPHE. HENRIETTE has
ADOLPHE. You believe then that he will come here?
HENRIETTE. I am sure. He was released this noon for lack of
evidence, but he didn't want to show himself in the streets before
it was dark.
ADOLPHE. Poor fellow! Oh, I tell you, life seems horrible to me
HENRIETTE. And what about me? I am afraid to live, dare hardly
breathe, dare hardly think even, since I know that somebody is
spying not only on my words but on my thoughts.
ADOLPHE. So it was here you sat that night when I couldn't find
HENRIETTE. Yes, but don't talk of it. I could die from shame when
I think of it. Adolphe, you are made of a different, a better,
stuff than he or I---
ADOLPHE. Sh, sh, sh!
HENRIETTE. Yes, indeed! And what was it that made me stay here? I
was lazy; I was tired; his success intoxicated me and bewitched
me--I cannot explain it. But if you had come, it would never have
happened. And to-day you are great, and he is small--less than the
least of all. Yesterday he had one hundred thousand francs. To-day
he has nothing, because his play has been withdrawn. And public
opinion will never excuse him, for his lack of faith will be
judged as harshly as if he were the murderer, and those that see
farthest hold that the child died from sorrow, so that he was
responsible for it anyhow.
ADOLPHE. You know what my thoughts are in this matter, Henriette,
but I should like to know that both of you are spotless. Won't you
tell me what those dreadful words of yours meant? It cannot be a
chance that your talk in a festive moment like that dealt so
largely with killing and the scaffold.
HENRIETTE. It was no chance. It was something that had to be said,
something I cannot tell you--probably because I have no right to
appear spotless in your eyes, seeing that I am not spotless.
ADOLPHE. All this is beyond me.
HENRIETTE. Let us talk of something else--Do you believe there are
many unpunished criminals at large among us, some of whom may even
be our intimate friends?
ADOLPHE. [Nervously] Why? What do you mean?
HENRIETTE. Don't you believe that every human being at some time
or another has been guilty of some kind of act which would fall
under the law if it were discovered?
ADOLPHE. Yes, I believe that is true, but no evil act escapes
being punished by one's own conscience at least. [Rises and
unbuttons his coat] And--nobody is really good who has not erred.
[Breathing heavily] For in order to know how to forgive, one must
have been in need of forgiveness--I had a friend whom we used to
regard as a model man. He never spoke a hard word to anybody; he
forgave everything and everybody; and he suffered insults with a
strange satisfaction that we couldn't explain. At last, late in
life, he gave me his secret in a single word: I am a penitent! [He
sits down again.]
(HENRIETTE remains silent, looking at him with surprise.)
ADOLPHE. [As if speaking to himself] There are crimes not
mentioned in the Criminal Code, and these are the worse ones, for
they have to be punished by ourselves, and no judge could be more
severe than we are against our own selves.
HENRIETTE. [After a pause] Well, that friend of yours, did he find
ADOLPHE. After endless self-torture he reached a certain degree of
composure, but life had never any real pleasures to offer him. He
never dared to accept any kind of distinction; he never dared to
feel himself entitled to a kind word or even well-earned praise:
in a word, he could never quite forgive himself.
HENRIETTE. Never? What had he done then?
ADOLPHE. He had wished the life out of his father. And when his
father suddenly died, the son imagined himself to have killed him.
Those imaginations were regarded as signs of some mental disease,
and he was sent to an asylum. From this he was discharged after a
time as wholly recovered--as they put it. But the sense of guilt
remained with him, and so he continued to punish himself for his
HENRIETTE. Are you sure the evil will cannot kill?
ADOLPHE. You mean in some mystic way?
HENRIETTE. As you please. Let it go at mystic. In my own family--I
am sure that my mother and my sisters killed my father with their
hatred. You see, he had the awful idea that he must oppose all our
tastes and inclinations. Wherever he discovered a natural gift, he
tried to root it out. In that way he aroused a resistance that
accumulated until it became like an electrical battery charged
with hatred. At last it grew so powerful that he languished away,
became depolarised, lost his will-power, and, in the end, came to
wish himself dead.
ADOLPHE. And your conscience never troubled you?
HENRIETTE. No, and furthermore, I don't know what conscience is.
ADOLPHE. You don't? Well, then you'll soon learn. [Pause] How do
you believe Maurice will look when he gets here? What do you think
he will say?
HENRIETTE. Yesterday morning, you know, he and I tried to make the
same kind of guess about you while we were waiting for you.
HENRIETTE. We guessed entirely wrong.
ADOLPHE. Can you tell me why you sent for me?
HENRIETTE. Malice, arrogance, outright cruelty!
ADOLPHE. How strange it is that you can admit your faults and yet
not repent of them.
HENRIETTE. It must be because I don't feel quite responsible for
them. They are like the dirt left behind by things handled during
the day and washed off at night. But tell me one thing: do you
really think so highly of humanity as you profess to do?
ADOLPHE. Yes, we are a little better than our reputation--and a
HENRIETTE. That is not a straightforward answer.
ADOLPHE. No, it isn't. But are you willing to answer me frankly
when I ask you: do you still love Maurice?
HENRIETTE. I cannot tell until I see him. But at this moment I
feel no longing for him, and it seems as if I could very well live
ADOLPHE. It's likely you could, but I fear you have become chained
to his fate--Sh! Here he comes.
HENRIETTE. How everything repeats itself. The situation is the
same, the very words are the same, as when we were expecting you
MAURICE. [Enters, pale as death, hollow-eyed, unshaven] Here I am,
my dear friends, if this be me. For that last night in a cell
changed me into a new sort of being. [Notices HENRIETTE and
ADOLPHE. Sit down and pull yourself together, and then we can talk
MAURICE. [To HENRIETTE] Perhaps I am in the way?
ADOLPHE. Now, don't get bitter.
MAURICE. I have grown bad in these twenty-four hours, and
suspicious also, so I guess I'll soon be left to myself. And who
wants to keep company with a murderer?
HENRIETTE. But you have been cleared of the charge.
MAURICE. [Picks up a newspaper] By the police, yes, but not by
public opinion. Here you see the murderer Maurice Gerard, once a
playwright, and his mistress, Henriette Mauclerc--
HENRIETTE. O my mother and my sisters--my mother! Jesus have
MAURICE. And can you see that I actually look like a murderer? And
then it is suggested that my play was stolen. So there isn't a
vestige left of the victorious hero from yesterday. In place of my
own, the name of Octave, my enemy, appears on the bill-boards, and
he is going to collect my one hundred thousand francs. O Solon,
Solon! Such is fortune, and such is fame! You are fortunate,
Adolphe, because you have not yet succeeded.
HENRIETTE. So you don't know that Adolphe has made a great success
in London and carried off the first prize?
MAURICE. [Darkly] No, I didn't know that. Is it true, Adolphe?
ADOLPHE. It is true, but I have returned the prize.
HENRIETTE. [With emphasis] That I didn't know! So you are also
prevented from accepting any distinctions--like your friend?
ADOLPHE. My friend? [Embarrassed] Oh, yes, yes!
MAURICE. Your success gives me pleasure, but it puts us still
ADOLPHE. That's what I expected, and I suppose I'll be as lonely
with my success as you with your adversity. Think of it--that
people feel hurt by your fortune! Oh, it's ghastly to be alive!
MAURICE. You say that! What am I then to say? It is as if my eyes
had been covered with a black veil, and as if the colour and shape
of all life had been changed by it. This room looks like the room
I saw yesterday, and yet it is quite different. I recognise both
of you, of course, but your faces are new to me. I sit here and
search for words because I don't know what to say to you. I ought
to defend myself, but I cannot. And I almost miss the cell, for it
protected me, at least, against the curious glances that pass
right through me. The murderer Maurice and his mistress! You don't
love me any longer, Henriette, and no more do I care for you. To-
day you are ugly, clumsy, insipid, repulsive.
(Two men in civilian clothes have quietly seated themselves at a
table in the background.)
ADOLPHE. Wait a little and get your thoughts together. That you
have been discharged and cleared of all suspicion must appear in
some of the evening papers. And that puts an end to the whole
matter. Your play will be put on again, and if it comes to the
worst, you can write a new one. Leave Paris for a year and let
everything become forgotten. You who have exonerated mankind will
be exonerated yourself.
MAURICE. Ha-ha! Mankind! Ha-ha!
ADOLPHE. You have ceased to believe in goodness? MAURICE. Yes, if
I ever did believe in it. Perhaps it was only a mood, a manner of
looking at things, a way of being polite to the wild beasts. When
I, who was held among the best, can be so rotten to the core, what
must then be the wretchedness of the rest?
ADOLPHE. Now I'll go out and get all the evening papers, and then
we'll undoubtedly have reason to look at things in a different
MAURICE. [Turning toward the background] Two detectives!--It means
that I am released under surveillance, so that I can give myself
away by careless talking.
ADOLPHE. Those are not detectives. That's only your imagination. I
recognise both of them. [Goes toward the door.]
MAURICE. Don't leave us alone, Adolphe. I fear that Henriette and
I may come to open explanations.
ADOLPHE. Oh, be sensible, Maurice, and think of your future. Try
to keep him quiet, Henriette. I'll be back in a moment. [Goes
HENRIETTE. Well, Maurice, what do you think now of our guilt or
MAURICE. I have killed nobody. All I did was to talk a lot of
nonsense while I was drunk. But it is your crime that comes back,
and that crime you have grafted on to me.
HENRIETTE. Oh, that's the tone you talk in now!--Was it not you
who cursed your own child, and wished the life out of it, and
wanted to go away without saying good-bye to anybody? And was it
not I who made you visit Marion and show yourself to Madame
MAURICE. Yes, you are right. Forgive me! You proved yourself more
human than I, and the guilt is wholly my own. Forgive me! But all
the same I am without guilt. Who has tied this net from which I
can never free myself? Guilty and guiltless; guiltless and yet
guilty! Oh, it is driving me mad--Look, now they sit over there
and listen to us--And no waiter comes to take our order. I'll go
out and order a cup of tea. Do you want anything?
(MAURICE goes out.)
FIRST DETECTIVE. [Goes up to HENRIETTE] Let me look at your
HENRIETTE. How dare you speak to me?
DETECTIVE. Dare? I'll show you!
HENRIETTE. What do you mean?
DETECTIVE. It's my job to keep an eye on street-walkers. Yesterday
you came here with one man, and today with another. That's as good
as walking the streets. And unescorted ladies don't get anything
here. So you'd better get out and come along with me.
HENRIETTE. My escort will be back in a moment.
DETECTIVE. Yes, and a pretty kind of escort you've got--the kind
that doesn't help a girl a bit!
HENRIETTE. O God! My mother, my sisters!--I am of good family, I
DETECTIVE. Yes, first-rate family, I am sure. But you are too well
known through the papers. Come along!
HENRIETTE. Where? What do you mean?
DETECTIVE. Oh, to the Bureau, of course. There you'll get a nice
little card and a license that brings you free medical care.
HENRIETTE. O Lord Jesus, you don't mean it!
DETECTIVE. [Grabbing HENRIETTE by the arm] Don't I mean it?
HENRIETTE. [Falling on her knees] Save me, Maurice! Help!
DETECTIVE. Shut up, you fool!
(MAURICE enters, followed by WAITER.)
WAITER. Gentlemen of that kind are not served here. You just pay
and get out! And take the girl along!
MAURICE. [Crushed, searches his pocket-book for money] Henriette,
pay for me, and let us get away from this place. I haven't a sou
WAITER. So the lady has to put up for her Alphonse! Alphonse! Do
you know what that is?
HENRIETTE. [Looking through her pocket-book] Oh, merciful heavens!
I have no money either!--Why doesn't Adolphe come back?
DETECTIVE. Well, did you ever see such rotters! Get out of here,
and put up something as security. That kind of ladies generally
have their fingers full of rings.
MAURICE. Can it be possible that we have sunk so low?
HENRIETTE. [Takes off a ring and hands it to the WAITER] The Abbe
was right: this is not the work of man.
MAURICE. No, it's the devil's!--But if we leave before Adolphe
returns, he will think that we have deceived him and run away.
HENRIETTE. That would be in keeping with the rest--But we'll go
into the river now, won't we?
MAURICE. [Takes HENRIETTE by the hand as they walk out together]
Into the river--yes!
(In the Luxembourg Gardens, at the group of Adam and Eve. The wind
is shaking the trees and stirring up dead leaves, straws, and
pieces of paper from the ground.)
(MAURICE and HENRIETTE are seated on a bench.)
HENRIETTE. So you don't want to die?
MAURICE. No, I am afraid. I imagine that I am going to be very
cold down there in the grave, with only a sheet to cover me and a
few shavings to lie on. And besides that, it seems to me as if
there were still some task waiting for me, but I cannot make out
what it is.
HENRIETTE. But I can guess what it is.
MAURICE. Tell me.
HENRIETTE. It is revenge. You, like me, must have suspected Jeanne
and Emile of sending the detectives after me yesterday. Such a
revenge on a rival none but a woman could devise.
MAURICE. Exactly what I was thinking. But let me tell you that my
suspicions go even further. It seems as if my sufferings during
these last few days had sharpened my wits. Can you explain, for
instance, why the waiter from the Auberge des Adrets and the head
waiter from the Pavilion were not called to testify at the
HENRIETTE. I never thought of it before. But now I know why. They
had nothing to tell, because they had not been listening.
MAURICE. But how could the Commissaire then know what we had been
HENRIETTE. He didn't know, but he figured it out. He was guessing,
and he guessed right. Perhaps he had had to deal with some similar
MAURICE. Or else he concluded from our looks what we had been
saying. There are those who can read other people's thoughts--
Adolphe being the dupe, it seemed quite natural that we should
have called him an ass. It's the rule, I understand, although it's
varied at times by the use of "idiot" instead. But ass was nearer
at hand in this case, as we had been talking of carriages and
triumphal chariots. It is quite simple to figure out a fourth
fact, when you have three known ones to start from.
HENRIETTE. Just think that we have let ourselves be taken in so
MAURICE. That's the result of thinking too well of one's fellow
beings. This is all you get out of it. But do you know, "I"
suspect somebody else back of the Commissaire, who, by-the-bye,
must be a full-fledged scoundrel.
HENRIETTE. You mean the Abbe, who was taking the part of a private
MAURICE. That's what I mean. That man has to receive all kinds of
confessions. And note you: Adolphe himself told us he had been at
the Church of St. Germain that morning. What was he doing there?
He was blabbing, of course, and bewailing his fate. And then the
priest put the questions together for the Commissaire.
HENRIETTE. Tell me something: do you trust Adolphe?
MAURICE. I trust no human being any longer.
HENRIETTE. Not even Adolphe?
MAURICE. Him least of all. How could I trust an enemy--a man from
whom I have taken away his mistress?
HENRIETTE. Well, as you were the first one to speak of this, I'll
give you some data about our friend. You heard he had returned
that medal from London. Do you know his reason for doing so?
HENRIETTE. He thinks himself unworthy of it, and he has taken a
penitential vow never to receive any kind of distinction.
MAURICE. Can that he possible? But what has he done?
HENRIETTE. He has committed a crime of the kind that is not
punishable under the law. That's what he gave me to understand
MAURICE. He, too! He, the best one of all, the model man, who
never speaks a hard word of anybody and who forgives everything.
HENRIETTE. Well, there you can see that we are no worse than
others. And yet we are being hounded day and night as if devils
were after us.
MAURICE. He, also! Then mankind has not been slandered--But if he
has been capable of ONE crime, then you may expect anything of
him. Perhaps it was he who sent the police after you yesterday.
Coming to think of it now, it was he who sneaked away from us when
he saw that we were in the papers, and he lied when he insisted
that those fellows were not detectives. But, of course, you may
expect anything from a deceived lover.
HENRIETTE. Could he be as mean as that? No, it is impossible,
MAURICE. Why so? If he is a scoundrel?--What were you two talking
of yesterday, before I came?
HENRIETTE. He had nothing but good to say of you.
MAURICE. That's a lie!
HENRIETTE. [Controlling herself and changing her tone] Listen.
There is one person on whom you have cast no suspicion whatever--
for what reason, I don't know. Have you thought of Madame
Catherine's wavering attitude in this matter? Didn't she say
finally that she believed you capable of anything?
MAURICE. Yes, she did, and that shows what kind of person she is.
To think evil of other people without reason, you must be a
(HENRIETTE looks hard at him. Pause.)
HENRIETTE. To think evil of others, you must be a villain
MAURICE. What do you mean?
HENRIETTE. What I said.
MAURICE. Do you mean that I--?
HENRIETTE. Yes, that's what I mean now! Look here! Did you meet
anybody but Marion when you called there yesterday morning?
MAURICE. Why do you ask?
MAURICE. Well, as you seem to know--I met Jeanne, too.
HENRIETTE. Why did you lie to me?
MAURICE. I wanted to spare you.
HENRIETTE. And now you want me to believe in one who has been
lying to me? No, my boy, now I believe you guilty of that murder.
MAURICE. Wait a moment! We have now reached the place for which my
thoughts have been heading all the time, though I resisted as long
as possible. It's queer that what lies next to one is seen last of
all, and what one doesn't WANT to believe cannot be believed--Tell
me something: where did you go yesterday morning, after we parted
in the Bois?
HENRIETTE. [Alarmed] Why?
MAURICE. You went either to Adolphe--which you couldn't do, as he
was attending a lesson--or you went to--Marion!
HENRIETTE. Now I am convinced that you are the murderer.
MAURICE. And I, that you are the murderess! You alone had an
interest in getting the child out of the way--to get rid of the
rock on the road, as you so aptly put it.
HENRIETTE. It was you who said that.
MAURICE. And the one who had an interest in it must have committed
HENRIETTE. Now, Maurice, we have been running around and around in
this tread-mill, scourging each other. Let us quit before we get
to the point of sheer madness.
MAURICE. You have reached that point already.
HENRIETTE. Don't you think it's time for us to part, before we
drive each other insane?
MAURICE. Yes, I think so.
HENRIETTE. [Rising] Good-bye then!
(Two men in civilian clothes become visible in the background.)
HENRIETTE. [Turns and comes back to MAURICE] There they are again!
MAURICE. The dark angels that want to drive us out of the garden.
HENRIETTE. And force us back upon each other as if we were chained
MAURICE. Or as if we were condemned to lifelong marriage. Are we
really to marry? To settle down in the same place? To be able to
close the door behind us and perhaps get peace at last?
HENRIETTE. And shut ourselves up in order to torture each other to
death; get behind locks and bolts, with a ghost for marriage
portion; you torturing me with the memory of Adolphe, and I
getting back at you with Jeanne--and Marion.
MAURICE. Never mention the name of Marion again! Don't you know
that she was to be buried today--at this very moment perhaps?
HENRIETTE. And you are not there? What does that mean?
MAURICE. It means that both Jeanne and the police have warned me
against the rage of the people.
HENRIETTE. A coward, too?
MAURICE. All the vices! How could you ever have cared for me?
HENRIETTE. Because two days ago you were another person, well
worthy of being loved---
MAURICE. And now sunk to such a depth!
HENRIETTE. It isn't that. But you are beginning to flaunt bad
qualities which are not your own.
MAURICE. But yours?
HENRIETTE. Perhaps, for when you appear a little worse I feel
myself at once a little better.
MAURICE. It's like passing on a disease to save one's self-
HENRIETTE. And how vulgar you have become, too!
MAURICE. Yes, I notice it myself, and I hardly recognise myself
since that night in the cell. They put in one person and let out
another through that gate which separates us from the rest of
society. And now I feel myself the enemy of all mankind: I should
like to set fire to the earth and dry up the oceans, for nothing
less than a universal conflagration can wipe out my dishonour.
HENRIETTE. I had a letter from my mother today. She is the widow
of a major in the army, well educated, with old-fashioned ideas of
honour and that kind of thing. Do you want to read the letter? No,
you don't!--Do you know that I am an outcast? My respectable
acquaintances will have nothing to do with me, and if I show
myself on the streets alone the police will take me. Do you
realise now that we have to get married?
MAURICE. We despise each other, and yet we have to marry: that is
hell pure and simple! But, Henriette, before we unite our
destinies you must tell me your secret, so that we may be on more
HENRIETTE. All right, I'll tell you. I had a friend who got into
trouble--you understand. I wanted to help her, as her whole future
was at stake--and she died!
MAURICE. That was reckless, but one might almost call it noble,
HENRIETTE. You say so now, but the next time you lose your temper
you will accuse me of it.
MAURICE. No, I won't. But I cannot deny that it has shaken my
faith in you and that it makes me afraid of you. Tell me, is her
lover still alive, and does he know to what extent you were
HENRIETTE. He was as guilty as I.
MAURICE. And if his conscience should begin to trouble him--such
things do happen--and if he should feel inclined to confess: then
you would be lost.
HENRIETTE. I know it, and it is this constant dread which has made
me rush from one dissipation to another--so that I should never
have time to wake up to full consciousness.
MAURICE. And now you want me to take my marriage portion out of
your dread. That's asking a little too much.
HENRIETTE. But when I shared the shame of Maurice the murderer---
MAURICE. Oh, let's come to an end with it!
HENRIETTE. No, the end is not yet, and I'll not let go my hold
until I have put you where you belong. For you can't go around
thinking yourself better than I am.
MAURICE. So you want to fight me then? All right, as you please!
HENRIETTE. A fight on life and death!
(The rolling of drums is heard in the distance.)
MAURICE. The garden is to be closed. "Cursed is the ground for thy
sake; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee."
HENRIETTE. "And the Lord God said unto the woman---"
A GUARD. [In uniform, speaking very politely] Sorry, but the
garden has to be closed.
(The Cremerie. MME. CATHERINE is sitting at the counter making
entries into an account book. ADOLPHE and HENRIETTE are seated at
ADOLPHE. [Calmly and kindly] But if I give you my final assurance
that I didn't run away, but that, on the contrary, I thought you
had played me false, this ought to convince you.
HENRIETTE. But why did you fool us by saying that those fellows
were not policemen?
ADOLPHE. I didn't think myself that they were, and then I wanted
to reassure you.
HENRIETTE. When you say it, I believe you. But then you must also
believe me, if I reveal my innermost thoughts to you.
ADOLPHE. Go on.
HENRIETTE. But you mustn't come back with your usual talk of
fancies and delusions.
ADOLPHE. You seem to have reason to fear that I may.
HENRIETTE. I fear nothing, but I know you and your scepticism--
Well, and then you mustn't tell this to anybody--promise me!
ADOLPHE. I promise.
HENRIETTE. Now think of it, although I must say it's something
terrible: I have partial evidence that Maurice is guilty, or at
least, I have reasonable suspicions---
ADOLPHE. You don't mean it!
HENRIETTE. Listen, and judge for yourself. When Maurice left me in
the Bois, he said he was going to see Marion alone, as the mother
was out. And now I have discovered afterward that he did meet the
mother. So that he has been lying to me.
ADOLPHE. That's possible, and his motive for doing so may have
been the best, but how can anybody conclude from it that he is
guilty of a murder?
HENRIETTE. Can't you see that?--Don't you understand?
ADOLPHE. Not at all.
HENRIETTE. Because you don't want to!--Then there is nothing left
for me but to report him, and we'll see whether he can prove an
ADOLPHE. Henriette, let me tell you the grim truth. You, like he,
have reached the border line of--insanity. The demons of distrust
have got hold of you, and each of you is using his own sense of
partial guilt to wound the other with. Let me see if I can make a
straight guess: he has also come to suspect you of killing his
HENRIETTE. Yes, he's mad enough to do so.
ADOLPHE. You call his suspicions mad, but not your own.
HENRIETTE. You have first to prove the contrary, or that I suspect
ADOLPHE. Yes, that's easy. A new autopsy has proved that Marion
died of a well-known disease, the queer name of which I cannot
recall just now.
HENRIETTE. Is it true?
ADOLPHE. The official report is printed in today's paper.
HENRIETTE. I don't take any stock in it. They can make up that
kind of thing.
ADOLPHE. Beware, Henriette--or you may, without knowing it, pass
across that border line. Beware especially of throwing out
accusations that may put you into prison. Beware! [He places his
hand on her head] You hate Maurice?
HENRIETTE. Beyond all bounds!
ADOLPHE. When love turns into hatred, it means that it was tainted
from the start.
HENRIETTE. [In a quieter mood] What am I to do? Tell me, you who
are the only one that understands me.
ADOLPHE. But you don't want any sermons.
HENRIETTE. Have you nothing else to offer me?
ADOLPHE. Nothing else. But they have helped me.
HENRIETTE. Preach away then!
ADOLPHE. Try to turn your hatred against yourself. Put the knife
to the evil spot in yourself, for it is there that YOUR trouble
HENRIETTE. Explain yourself.
ADOLPHE. Part from Maurice first of all, so that you cannot nurse
your qualms of conscience together. Break off your career as an
artist, for the only thing that led you into it was a craving for
freedom and fun--as they call it. And you have seen now how much
fun there is in it. Then go home to your mother.
ADOLPHE. Some other place then.
HENRIETTE. I suppose you know, Adolphe, that I have guessed your
secret and why you wouldn't accept the prize?
ADOLPHE. Oh, I assumed that you would understand a half-told
HENRIETTE. Well--what did you do to get peace?
ADOLPHE. What I have suggested: I became conscious of my guilt,
repented, decided to turn over a new leaf, and arranged my life
like that of a penitent.
HENRIETTE. How can you repent when, like me, you have no
conscience? Is repentance an act of grace bestowed on you as faith
ADOLPHE. Everything is a grace, but it isn't granted unless you
(HENRIETTE remains silent.)
ADOLPHE. But don't wait beyond the allotted time, or you may
harden yourself until you tumble down into the irretrievable.
HENRIETTE. [After a pause] Is conscience fear of punishment?
ADOLPHE. No, it is the horror inspired in our better selves by the
misdeeds of our lower selves.
HENRIETTE. Then I must have a conscience also?
ADOLPHE. Of course you have, but--
HENRIETTE, Tell me, Adolphe, are you what they call religious?
ADOLPHE. Not the least bit.
HENRIETTE. It's all so queer--What is religion?
ADOLPHE. Frankly speaking, I don't know! And I don't think anybody
else can tell you. Sometimes it appears to me like a punishment,
for nobody becomes religious without having a bad conscience.
HENRIETTE. Yes, it is a punishment. Now I know what to do.
ADOLPHE. You'll go away from here?
HENRIETTE. Yes, I am going--to where you said. Good-bye my friend!
Good-bye, Madame Catherine!
MME. CATHERINE. Have you to go in such a hurry?
ADOLPHE. Do you want me to go with you?
HENRIETTE. No, it wouldn't do. I am going alone, alone as I came
here, one day in Spring, thinking that I belonged where I don't
belong, and believing there was something called freedom, which
does not exist. Good-bye! [Goes out.]
MME. CATHERINE. I hope that lady never comes back, and I wish she
had never come here at all!
ADOLPHE. Who knows but that she may have had some mission to fill
here? And at any rate she deserves pity, endless pity.
MME. CATHERINE. I don't, deny it, for all of us deserve that.
ADOLPHE. And she has even done less wrong than the rest of us.
MME. CATHERINE. That's possible, but not probable.
ADOLPHE. You are always so severe, Madame Catherine. Tell me: have
you never done anything wrong?
MME. CATHERINE. [Startled] Of course, as I am a sinful human creature.
But if you have been on thin ice and fallen in, you have a right to
tell others to keep away. And you may do so without being held severe
or uncharitable. Didn't I say to Monsieur Maurice the moment that lady
entered here: Look out! Keep away! And he didn't, and so he fell in. Just
like a naughty, self-willed child. And when a man acts like that he has
to have a spanking, like any disobedient youngster.
ADOLPHE. Well, hasn't he had his spanking?
MME. CATHERINE. Yes, but it does not seem to have been enough, as
he is still going around complaining.
ADOLPHE. That's a very popular interpretation of the whole
MME. CATHERINE. Oh, pish! You do nothing but philosophise about
your vices, and while you are still at it the police come along
and solve the riddle. Now please leave me alone with my accounts!
ADOLPHE. There's Maurice now.
MME. CATHERINE. Yes, God bless him!
MAURICE. [Enters, his face very flushed, and takes a seat near
ADOLPHE] Good evening.
(MME. CATHERINE nods and goes on figuring.)
ADOLPHE. Well, how's everything with you?
MAURICE. Oh, beginning to clear up.
ADOLPHE. [Hands him a newspaper, which MAURICE does not take] So
you have read the paper?
MAURICE. No, I don't read the papers any longer. There's nothing
but infamies in them.
ADOLPHE. But you had better read it first---
MAURICE. No, I won't! It's nothing but lies--But listen: I have
found a new clue. Can you guess who committed that murder?
ADOLPHE. Nobody, nobody!
MAURICE. Do you know where Henriette was during that quarter hour
when the child was left alone?--She was THERE! And it is she who
has done it!
ADOLPHE. You are crazy, man.
MAURICE. Not I, but Henriette, is crazy. She suspects me and has
threatened to report me.
ADOLPHE. Henriette was here a while ago, and she used the self-
same words as you. Both of you are crazy, for it has been proved
by a second autopsy that the child died from a well-known disease,
the name of which I have forgotten.
MAURICE. It isn't true!
ADOLPHE. That's what she said also. But the official report is
printed in the paper.
MAURICE. A report? Then they have made it up!
ADOLPHE. And that's also what she said. The two of you are
suffering from the same mental trouble. But with her I got far
enough to make her realise her own condition.
MAURICE. Where did she go?
ADOLPHE. She went far away from here to begin a new life.
MAURICE. Hm, hm!--Did you go to the funeral? ADOLPHE. I did.
ADOLPHE. Well, Jeanne seemed resigned and didn't have a hard word
to say about you.
MAURICE. She is a good woman.
ADOLPHE. Why did you desert her then?
MAURICE. Because I WAS crazy--blown up with pride especially--and
then we had been drinking champagne---
ADOLPHE. Can you understand now why Jeanne wept when you drank
MAURICE. Yes, I understand now--And for that reason I have already
written to her and asked her to forgive me--Do you think she will
ADOLPHE. I think so, for it's not like her to hate anybody.
MAURICE. Do you think she will forgive me completely, so that she
will come back to me?
ADOLPHE. Well, I don't know about THAT. You have shown yourself so
poor in keeping faith that it is doubtful whether she will trust
her fate to you any longer.
MAURICE. But I can feel that her fondness for me has not ceased,
and I know she will come back to me.
ADOLPHE. How can you know that? How can you believe it? Didn't you
even suspect her and that decent brother of hers of having sent
the police after Henriette out of revenge?
MAURICE. But I don't believe it any longer--that is to say, I
guess that fellow Emile is a pretty slick customer.
MME. CATHERINE. Now look here! What are you saying of Monsieur
Emile? Of course, he is nothing but a workman, but if everybody
kept as straight as he--There is no flaw in him, but a lot of
sense and tact.
EMILE. [Enters] Monsieur Gerard?
MAURICE. That's me.
EMILE. Pardon me, but I have something to say to you in private.
MAURICE. Go right on. We are all friends here.
(The ABBE enters and sits down.)
EMILE. [With a glance at the ABBE] Perhaps after---
MAURICE. Never mind. The Abbe is also a friend, although he and I
EMILE. You know who I am, Monsieur Gerard? My sister has asked me
to give you this package as an answer to your letter.
(MAURICE takes the package and opens it.)
EMILE. And now I have only to add, seeing as I am in a way my
sister's guardian, that, on her behalf as well as my own, I
acknowledge you free of all obligations, now when the natural tie
between you does not exist any longer.
MAURICE. But you must have a grudge against me?
EMILE. Must I? I can't see why. On the other hand, I should like
to have a declaration from you, here in the presence of your
friends, that you don't think either me or my sister capable of
such a meanness as to send the police after Mademoiselle
MAURICE. I wish to take back what I said, and I offer you my
apology, if you will accept it.
EMILE. It is accepted. And I wish all of you a good evening. [Goes
EVERYBODY. Good evening!
MAURICE. The tie and the gloves which Jeanne gave me for the
opening night of my play, and which I let Henrietta throw into the
fireplace. Who can have picked them up? Everything is dug up;
everything comes back!--And when she gave them to me in the
cemetery, she said she wanted me to look fine and handsome, so
that other people would like me also--And she herself stayed at
home--This hurt her too deeply, and well it might. I have no right
to keep company with decent human beings. Oh, have I done this?
Scoffed at a gift coming from a good heart; scorned a sacrifice
offered to my own welfare. This was what I threw away in order to
get--a laurel that is lying on the rubbish heap, and a bust that
would have belonged in the pillory--Abbe, now I come over to you.
MAURICE. Give me the word that I need.
ABBE. Do you expect me to contradict your self-accusations and
inform you that you have done nothing wrong?
MAURICE. Speak the right word!
ABBE. With your leave, I'll say then that I have found your
behaviour just as abominable as you have found it yourself.
MAURICE. What can I do, what can I do, to get out of this?
ABBE. You know as well as I do.
MAURICE. No, I know only that I am lost, that my life is spoiled,
my career cut off, my reputation in this world ruined forever.
ABBE. And so you are looking for a new existence in some better
world, which you are now beginning to believe in?
MAURICE. Yes, that's it.
ABBE. You have been living in the flesh and you want now to live
in the spirit. Are you then so sure that this world has no more
attractions for you?
MAURICE. None whatever! Honour is a phantom; gold, nothing but dry
leaves; women, mere intoxicants. Let me hide myself behind your
consecrated walls and forget this horrible dream that has filled
two days and lasted two eternities.
ABBE. All right! But this is not the place to go into the matter
more closely. Let us make an appointment for this evening at nine
o'clock in the Church of St. Germain. For I am going to preach to
the inmates of St. Lazare, and that may be your first step along
the hard road of penitence.
ABBE. Well, didn't you wish---
MAURICE. Yes, yes!
ABBE. Then we have vigils between midnight and two o'clock.
MAURICE. That will be splendid!
ABBE. Give me your hand that you will not look back.
MAURICE. [Rising, holds out his hand] Here is my hand, and my will
goes with it.
SERVANT GIRL. [Enters from the kitchen] A telephone call for
MAURICE. From whom?
SERVANT GIRL. From the theatre.
(MAURICE tries to get away, but the ABBE holds on to his hand.)
ABBE. [To the SERVANT GIRL] Find out what it is.
SERVANT GIRL. They want to know if Monsieur Maurice is going to
attend the performance tonight.
ABBE. [To MAURICE, who is trying to get away] No, I won't let you
MAURICE. What performance is that?
ADOLPHE. Why don't you read the paper?
MME. CATHERINE and the ABBE. He hasn't read the paper?
MAURICE. It's all lies and slander. [To the SERVANT GIRL] Tell
them that I am engaged for this evening: I am going to church.
(The SERVANT GIRL goes out into the kitchen.)
ADOLPHE. As you don't want to read the paper, I shall have to tell
you that your play has been put on again, now when you are
exonerated. And your literary friends have planned a demonstration
for this evening in recognition of your indisputable talent.
MAURICE. It isn't true.
EVERYBODY. It is true.
MAURICE. [After a pause] I have not deserved it!
ADOLPHE. And furthermore, Maurice---
MAURICE. [Hiding his face in his hands] Furthermore!
MME. CATHERINE. One hundred thousand francs! Do you see now that
they come back to you? And the villa outside the city. Everything
is coming back except Mademoiselle Henriette.
ABBE. [Smiling] You ought to take this matter a little more
seriously, Madame Catherine.
MME. CATHERINE. Oh, I cannot--I just can't keep serious any
[She breaks into open laughter, which she vainly tries to smother
with her handkerchief.]
ADOLPHE. Say, Maurice, the play begins at eight.
ABBE. But the church services are at nine.
MME. CATHERINE. Let us hear what the end is going to be, Monsieur
(MAURICE drops his head on the table, in his arms.)
ADOLPHE. Loose him, Abbe!
ABBE. No, it is not for me to loose or bind. He must do that
MAURICE. [Rising] Well, I go with the Abbe.
ABBE. No, my young friend. I have nothing to give you but a
scolding, which you can give yourself. And you owe a duty to
yourself and to your good name. That you have got through with
this as quickly as you have is to me a sign that you have suffered
your punishment as intensely as if it had lasted an eternity. And
when Providence absolves you there is nothing for me to add.
MAURICE. But why did the punishment have to be so hard when I was
ABBE. Hard? Only two days! And you were not innocent. For we have
to stand responsible for our thoughts and words and desires also.
And in your thought you became a murderer when your evil self
wished the life out of your child.
MAURICE. You are right. But my decision is made. To-night I will
meet you at the church in order to have a reckoning with myself--
but to-morrow evening I go to the theatre.
MME. CATHERINE. A good solution, Monsieur Maurice.
ADOLPHE. Yes, that is the solution. Whew!
ABBE. Yes, so it is!
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