The Plays of W. E. Henley and R. L. Stevenson
Part 5 out of 5
the Lord Harry, of a jumping-Jack - (HE SHOWS HIS KNIFE.)
BERTRAND. Put it up, put it up: I'll do what you want.
MACAIRE. What is obedience? fear. So march straight, or look
for mischief. It's not BON TON, I know, and far from friendly.
But what is friendship? convenience. But we lose time in this
amiable dalliance. Come, now an effort of deportment: the head
thrown back, a jaunty carriage of the leg; crook gracefully the
elbow. Thus. 'Tis better. (CALLING.) House, house here!
BERTRAND. Are you mad? We haven't a brass farthing.
MACAIRE. Now! - But before we leave!
TO THESE, DUMONT
DUMONT. Gentlemen, what can a plain man do for your service?
MACAIRE. My good man, in a roadside inn one cannot look for the
impossible. Give one what small wine and what country fare you
DUMONT. Gentlemen, you come here upon a most auspicious day, a
red-letter day for me and my poor house, when all are welcome.
Suffer me, with all delicacy, to inquire if you are not in
somewhat narrow circumstances?
MACAIRE. My good creature, you are strangely in error; one is
rolling in gold.
BERTRAND. And very hungry.
DUMONT. Dear me, and on this happy occasion I had registered a
vow that every poor traveller should have his keep for nothing,
and a pound in his pocket to help him on his journey.
MACAIRE. A pound in his pocket? }
BERTRAND. Keep for nothing? } ASIDE.
MACAIRE. Bitten! }
BERTRAND. Sold again! }
DUMONT. I will send you what we have: poor fare, perhaps, for
gentlemen like you.
MACAIRE, BERTRAND; AFTERWARDS CHARLES, WHO APPEARS ON THE
GALLERY, AND COMES DOWN.
BERTRAND. I told you so. Why will you fly so high?
MACAIRE. Bertrand, don't crush me. A pound: a fortune! With a
pound to start upon - two pounds, for I'd have borrowed yours -
three months from now I might have been driving in my barouche,
with you behind it, Bertrand, in a tasteful livery.
BERTRAND (SEEING CHARLES). Lord, a policeman!
MACAIRE. Steady! What is a policeman? Justice's blind eye.
(TO CHARLES.) I think, sir, you are in the force?
CHARLES. I am, sir, and it was in that character -
MACAIRE. Ah, sir, a fine service!
CHARLES. It is, sir, and if your papers -
MACAIRE. You become your uniform. Have you a mother? Ah, well,
CHARLES. My duty, sir -
MACAIRE. They tell me one Macaire - is not that his name,
Bertrand? - has broken jail at Lyons?
CHARLES. He has, sir, and it is precisely for that reason -
MACAIRE. Well, good-bye. (SHAKING CHARLES BY THE HAND AND
LEADING HIM TOWARDS THE DOOR, L. U. E.) Sweet spot, sweet spot.
The scenery is . . . (KISSES HIS FINGER-TIPS. EXIT CHARLES).
And now, what is a policeman?
BERTRAND. A bobby.
MACAIRE, BERTRAND; TO WHOM ALINE WITH TRAY; AND AFTERWARDS MAIDS
ALINE (ENTERING WITH TRAY, AND PROCEEDING TO LAY TABLE, L.) My
men, you are in better luck than usual. It isn't every day you
go shares in a wedding feast.
MACAIRE. A wedding? Ah, and you're the bride.
ALINE. What makes you fancy that?
MACAIRE. Heavens, am I blind?
ALINE. Well, then, I wish I was.
MACAIRE. I take you at the word: have me.
ALINE. You will never be hanged for modesty.
MACAIRE. Modesty is for the poor: when one is rich and nobly
born, 'tis but a clog. I love you. What is your name?
ALINE. Guess again, and you'll guess wrong. (ENTER THE OTHER
SERVANTS WITH WINE BASKETS.) Here, set the wine down. No, that
is the old Burgundy for the wedding party. These gentlemen must
put up with a different bin. (SETTING WINE BEFORE MACAIRE AND
BERTRAND, WHO ARE AT TABLE, L.)
MACAIRE (DRINKING). Vinegar, by the supreme Jove!
BERTRAND. Sold again!
MACAIRE. Now, Bertrand, mark me. (BEFORE THE SERVANTS HE
EXCHANGES THE BOTTLE FOR THE ONE IN FRONT OF DUMONT'S PLACE AT
THE HEAD OF THE OTHER TABLE.) Was it well done?
MACAIRE (EMPTYING HIS GLASS INTO BERTRAND'S). There, Bertrand,
you may finish that. Ha! music?
To these, from the inn, L. U. E., DUMONT, CHARLES, the CURATE,
the NOTARY jigging: from the inn, R. U. E., FIDDLERS playing and
dancing; and through door L. C., GORIOT, ERNESTINE, PEASANTS,
dancing likewise. Air: 'Haste to the Wedding.' As the parties
meet, the music ceases.
DUMONT. Welcome, neighbours! welcome friends! Ernestine, here
is my Charles, no longer mine. A thousand welcomes. O the gay
day! O the auspicious wedding! (CHARLES, ERNESTINE, DUMONT,
GORIOT, CURATE, AND NOTARY SIT TO THE WEDDING FEAST; PEASANTS,
FIDDLERS, AND MAIDS, GROUPED AT BACK, DRINKING FROM THE BARREL.)
O, I must have all happy around me.
GORIOT. Then help the soup.
DUMONT. Give me leave: I must have all happy. Shall these poor
gentlemen upon a day like this drink ordinary wine? Not so: I
shall drink it. (TO MACAIRE, WHO IS JUST ABOUT TO FILL HIS
GLASS) Don't touch it, sir! Aline, give me that gentleman's
bottle and take him mine: with old Dumont's compliments.
BERTRAND. Change the bottle?
MACAIRE. Bitten! } ASIDE.
BERTRAND. Sold again. }
DUMONT. Yes, all shall be happy.
GORIOT. I tell 'ee, help the soup!
DUMONT (BEGINS TO HELP SOUP. THEN, DROPPING LADLE.) One word:
a matter of detail: Charles is not my son. (ALL EXCLAIM.) O
no, he is not my son. Perhaps I should have mentioned it before.
CHARLES. I am not your son, sir?
DUMONT. O no, far from it.
GORIOT. Then who the devil's son be he?
DUMONT. O, I don't know. It's an odd tale, a romantic tale: it
may amuse you. It was twenty years ago, when I kept the GOLDEN
HEAD at Lyons: Charles was left upon my doorstep in a covered
basket, with sufficient money to support the child till he should
come of age. There was no mark upon the linen, nor any clue but
one: an unsigned letter from the father of the child, which he
strictly charged me to preserve. It was to prove his identity:
he, of course, would know the contents, and he only; so I keep it
safe in the third compartment of my cash-box, with the ten
thousand francs I've saved for his dowry. Here is the key; it's
a patent key. To-day the poor boy is twenty-one, to-morrow to be
married. I did perhaps hope the father would appear: there was
a Marquis coming; he wrote me for a room; I gave him the best,
Number Thirteen, which you have all heard of: I did hope it
might be he, for a Marquis, you know, is always genteel. But no,
you see. As for me, I take you all to witness I'm as innocent of
him as the babe unborn.
MACAIRE. Ahem! I think you said the linen bore an M?
DUMONT. Pardon me: the markings were cut off.
MACAIRE. True. The basket white, I think?
DUMONT. Brown, brown.
MACAIRE. Ah! brown - a whitey-brown.
GORIOT. I tell 'ee what, Dumont, this is all very well; but in
that case, I'll be danged if he gets my daater. (GENERAL
DUMONT. O Goriot, let's have happy faces!
GORIOT. Happy faces be danged! I want to marry my daater; I
want your son. But who be this? I don't know, and you don't
know, and he don't know. He may be anybody; by Jarge, he may be
CURATE. The situation is crepuscular.
ERNESTINE. Father, and Mr. Dumont (and you too, Charles), I wish
to say one word. You gave us leave to fall in love; we fell in
love; and as for me, my father, I will either marry Charles, or
die a maid.
CHARLES. And you, sir, would you rob me in one day of both a
father and a wife?
DUMONT (WEEPING). Happy faces, happy faces!
GORIOT. I know nothing about robbery; but she cannot marry
without my consent, and that she cannot get.
DUMONT. O dear, O dear! }
ALINE. What spoil the wedding? } TOGETHER.
ERNESTINE. O father! }
CHARLES. Sir, sir, you would not - }
GORIOT (EXASPERATED). I wun't, and what's more I shan't.
NOTARY. I donno if I make myself clear?
DUMONT. Goriot, do let's have happy faces!
GORIOT. Fudge! Fudge!! Fudge!!!
CURATE. Possibly on application to this conscientious jurist,
light may be obtained.
ALL. The Notary; yes, yes; the Notary!
DUMONT. Now, how about this marriage?
NOTARY. Marriage is a contract, to which there are two
constracting parties, John Doe and Richard Roe. I donno if I
make myself clear?
ALINE. Poor lamb!
CURATE. Silence, my friend; you will expose yourself to
MACAIRE (TAKING THE STAGE). As an entire stranger in this
painful scene, will you permit a gentleman and a traveller to
interject one word? There sits the young man, full, I am sure,
of pleasing qualities; here the young maiden, by her own
confession bashfully consenting to the match; there sits that
dear old gentleman, a lover of bright faces like myself, his own
now dimmed with sorrow; and here - (may I be allowed to add?) -
here sits this noble Roman, a father like myself, and like myself
the slave of duty. Last you have me - Baron Henri-Frederic de
Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de Brest, the man of the world and
the man of delicacy. I find you all - permit me the expression -
gravelled. A marriage and an obstacle. Now, what is marriage?
The union of two souls, and, wha is possibly more romantic, the
fusion of two dowries. What is an obstacle? the devil. And
this obstacle? to me, as a man of family, the obstacle seems
grave; but to me, as a man and a brother, what is it but a word?
O my friend (TO GORIOT), you whom I single out as the victim of
the same noble failings with myself - of pride of birth, of pride
of honesty - O my friend, reflect. Go now apart with your
dishevelled daughter, your tearful son-in-law, and let their
plaints constrain you. Believe me, when you come to die, you
will recall with pride this amiable weakness.
GORIOT. I shan't, and what's more I wun't. (CHARLES AND
ERNESTINE LEAD HIM UP STAGE, PROTESTING. ALL RISE, EXCEPT
DUMONT (FRONT R., SHAKING HANDS WITH MACAIRE). Sir, you have a
noble nature. (MACAIRE PICKS HIS POCKET.) Dear me, dear me, and
you are rich.
MACAIRE. I own, sir, I deceived you: I feared some wounding
offer, and my pride replied. But to be quite frank with you, you
behold me here, the Baron Henri-Frederic de Latour de Main de la
Tonnerre de Brest, and between my simple manhood and the infinite
these rags are all.
DUMONT. Dear me, and with this noble pride, my gratitude is
useless. For I, too, have delicacy: I understand you could not
stoop to take a gift.
MACAIRE. A gift? a small one? never!
DUMONT. And I will never wound you by the offer.
MACAIRE. Bitten. }
BERTRAND. Sold again. } ASIDE.
GORIOT (TAKING THE STAGE). But, look'ee here, he can't marry.
MACAIRE. Hey? }
DUMONT. Ah! }
ALINE. Hey day! }
CURATE. Wherefore? } TOGETHER.
ERNESTINE. Oh! }
CHARLES. Ah! }
GORIOT. Not without his veyther's consent! And he hasn't got
it; and what's more, he can't get it: and what's more, he
hasn't got a veyther to get it from. It's the law of France.
ALINE. Then the law of France ought to be ashamed of itself.
ERNESTINE. O, couldn't we ask the Notary again?
CURATE. Indubitably you may ask him.
MACAIRE. Can't they marry? }
DUMONT. Can't he marry? }
ALINE. Can't she marry? } TOGETHER.
ERNESTINE. Can't we marry? }
CHARLES. Can't I marry? }
GORIOT. Bain't I right? }
NOTARY. Constracting parties.
CURATE. Possibly to-morrow at an early hour he may be more
GORIOT. Ay, before he've time to get at it.
NOTARY. Unoffending jurisconsult overtaken by sorrow. Possibly
by applying justice of peace might afford relief.
MACAIRE. Bravo! }
DUMONT. Excellent! } TOGETHER.
CHARLES. Let's go at once! }
ALINE. The very thing! }
ERNESTINE. Yes, this minute!
GORIOT. I'll go. I don't mind getting advice, but I wun't take
MACAIRE. My friends, one word: I perceive by your downcast
looks that you have not recognised the true nature of your
responsibility as citizens of time. What is care? impiety.
Joy? the whole duty of man. Here is an opportunity of duty it
were sinful to forego. With a word, I could lighten your hearts;
but I prefer to quicken your heels, and send you forth on your
ingenuous errand with happy faces and smiling thoughts, the
physicians of your own recovery. Fiddlers, to your catgut! Up,
Bertrand, and show them how one foots it in society; forward,
girls, and choose me every one the lad she loves; Dumont, benign
old man, lead forth our blushing Curate; and you, O bride,
embrace the uniform of your beloved, and help us dance in your
wedding-day. (DANCE, IN THE COURSE OF WHICH MACAIRE PICKS
DUMONT'S POCKET OF HIS KEYS, SELECTS THE KEY OF THE CASH-BOX, AND
RETURNS THE OTHERS TO HIS POCKET. IN THE END, ALL DANCE OUT:
THE WEDDING-PARTY, HEADED BY FIDDLERS, L. C; THE MAIDS AND ALINE
INTO THE INN, R. U. E. MANET BERTRAND AND MACAIRE.)
MACAIRE, BERTRAND, who instantly takes a bottle from the
wedding-table, and sits with it, L.
MACAIRE. Bertrand, there's a devil of a want of a father here.
BERTRAND. Ay, if we only knew where to find him.
MACAIRE. Bertrand, look at me: I am Macaire; I am that father.
BERTRAND. You, Macaire? you a father?
MACAIRE. Not yet, but in five minutes. I am capable of
anything. (PRODUCING KEY.) What think you of this?
BERTRAND. That? Is it a key?
MACAIRE. Ay, boy, and what besides? my diploma of
respectability, my patent of fatherhood. I prigged it - in the
ardour of the dance I prigged it; I change it beyond recognition,
thus (TWISTS THE HANDLE OF THE KEY); and now . . .? Where is my
long-lost child? produce my young policeman! show me my gallant
BERTRAND. I don't understand.
MACAIRE. Dear innocence, how should you? Your brains are in
your fists. Go and keep watch. (HE GOES INTO THE OFFICE AND
RETURNS WITH THE CASH-BOX.) Keep watch, I say.
MACAIRE. Everywhere. (HE OPENS BOX.)
MACAIRE. Hands off! Keep watch. (BERTRAND AT BACK OF STAGE.)
Beat slower, my paternal heart! The third compartment; let me
BERTRAND. S'st! (MACAIRE SHUTS BOX.) No; false alarm.
MACAIRE. The third compartment. Ay, here t-
BERTRAND. S'st! (SAME BUSINESS.) No: fire away.
MACAIRE. The third compartment: it must be this.
BERTRAND. S'st! (MACAIRE, KEEPS BOX OPEN, WATCHING BERTRAND.)
All serene; it's the wind.
MACAIRE. Now, see here! (HE DARTS HIS KNIFE INTO THE STAGE.) I
will either be backed as a man should be, or from this minute out
I'll work alone. Do you understand? I said alone.
BERTRAND. For the Lord's sake, Macaire! -
MACAIRE. Ay, here it is. (READING LETTER). 'Preserve this
letter secretly; its terms are known only to you and me: hence
when the time comes, I shall repeat them, and my son will
recognise his father.' Signed: 'Your Unknown Benefactor.' (HE
TURNS IT OVER TWICE AND REPLACES IT. THEN, FINGERING THE GOLD)
Gold! The yellow enchantress, happiness ready-made and laughing
in my face! Gold: what is gold? The world; the term of ills;
the empery of all; the multitudinous babble of the change, the
sailing from all ports of freighted argosies; music, wine, a
palace; the doors of the bright theatre, the key of consciences,
and love - love's whistle! All this below my itching fingers;
and to set this by, turn a deaf ear upon the siren present, and
condescend once more, naked, into the ring with fortune -
Macaire, how few would do it! But you, Macaire, you are
compacted of more subtile clay. No cheap immediate pilfering:
no retail trade of petty larceny; but swoop at the heart of the
position, and clutch all!
BERTRAND (AT HIS SHOULDER). Halves!
MACAIRE. Halves? (HE LOCKS THE BOX.) Bertrand, I am a father.
(REPLACES BOX IN OFFICE.)
BERTRAND (LOOKING AFTER HIM). Well, I - am - damned!
When the curtain rises, the night has come. A hanging cluster of
lighted lamps over each table, R. and L. MACAIRE, R., smoking a
cigarette; BERTRAND, L., with a church-warden: each with bottle
MACAIRE. Bertrand, I am content: a child might play with me.
Does your pipe draw well?
BERTRAND. Like a factory chimney. This is my notion of life:
liquor, a chair, a table to put my feet on, a fine clean pipe,
and no police.
MACAIRE. Bertrand, do you see these changing exhalations? do you
see these blue rings and spirals, weaving their dance, like a
round of fairies, on the footless air?
BERTRAND. I see 'em right enough.
MACAIRE. Man of little vision, expound me these meteors! what do
they signify, O wooden-head? Clod, of what do they consist?
BERTRAND. Damned bad tobacco.
MACAIRE. I will give you a little course of science.
Everything, Bertrand (much as it may surprise you), has three
states: a vapour, a liquid, a solid. These are fortune in the
vapour: these are ideas. What are ideas? the protoplasm of
wealth. To your head - which, by the way, is a solid, Bertrand -
what are they but foul air? To mine, to my prehensile and
constructive intellects, see, as I grasp and work them, to what
lineaments of the future they transform themselves: a palace, a
barouche, a pair of luminous footmen, plate, wine, respect, and
to be honest!
BERTRAND. But what's the sense in honesty?
MACAIRE. The sense? You see me: Macaire: elegant, immoral,
invincible in cunning; well, Bertrand, much as it may surprise
you, I am simply damned by my dishonesty.
MACAIRE. The honest man, Bertrand, that God's noblest work. He
carries the bag, my boy. Would you have me define honesty? the
strategic point for theft. Bertrand, if I'd three hundred a
year, I'd be honest to-morrow.
BERTRAND. Ah! Don't you wish you may get it!
MACAIRE. Bertrand, I will bet you my head against your own - the
longest odds I can imagine - that with honesty for my
spring-board, I leap through history like a paper hoop, and come
out among posterity heroic and immortal.
To these, all the former characters, less the NOTARY. The
fiddles are heard without, playing dolefully. Air: 'O dear,
what can the matter be?' in time to which the procession enters.
MACAIRE. Well, friends, what cheer?
ALINE. No wedding, no wedding! }
GORIOT. I told 'ee he can't and he can't. }
DUMONT. Dear, dear me! } TOGETHER.
ERNESTINE. They won't let us marry. }
CHARLES. No wife, no father, no nothing! }
CURATE. The facts have justified the worst anticipations of our
absent friend, the Notary.
MACAIRE. I perceive I must reveal myself.
DUMONT. God bless me, no!
MACAIRE. My friends, I had meant to preserve a strict incognito,
for I was ashamed (I own it!) of this poor accoutrement; but when
I see a face that I can render happy, say, my old Dumont, should
I hesitate to work the change? Hear me, then, and you (TO THE
OTHERS) prepare a smiling countenance. (REPEATING.) 'Preserve
this letter secretly; its terms are only known to you and me;
hence when the time comes, I shall repeat them, and my son will
recognise his father. - Your Unknown Benefactor.'
DUMONT. The words! the letter! Charles, alas! it is your
CHARLES. Good Lord! (GENERAL CONSTERNATION.)
BERTRAND (ASIDE: SMILING HIS BROW). I see it now; sublime!
CURATE. A highly singular eventuality.
GORIOT. Him? O well, then, I wun't. (GOES UP.)
MACAIRE. Charles, to my arms! (BUSINESS.) Ernestine, your
second father waits to welcome you. (BUSINESS.) Goriot, noble
old man, I grasp your hand. (HE DOESN'T.) And you, Dumont, how
shall your unknown benefactor thank you for your kindness to his
boy? (A DEAD PAUSE.) Charles, to my arms!
CHARLES. My father, you are still something of a stranger. I
hope - er - in the course of time - I hope that may be somewhat
mended. But I confess that I have so long regarded Mr. Dumont -
MACAIRE. Love him still, dear boy, love him still. I have not
returned to be a burden on your heart, nor much, comparatively,
on your pocket. A place by the fire, dear boy, a crust for my
friend, Bertrand. (A DEAD PAUSE.) Ah, well, this is a different
home-coming from that I fancied when I left the letter: I
dreamed to grow rich. Charles, you remind me of your sainted
CHARLES. I trust, sir, you do not think yourself less welcome
for your poverty.
MACAIRE. Nay, nay - more welcome, more welcome. O, I know your
- (BUSINESS) backs! Besides, my poverty is noble. Political .
. . . Dumont, what are your politics?
DUMONT. A plain old republican, my lord.
MACAIRE. And yours, my good Goriot?
GORIOT. I be a royalist, I be, and so be my daater.
MACAIRE. How strange is the coincidence! The party that I
sought to found combined the peculiarities of both: a patriotic
enterprise in which I fell. This humble fellow . . . have I
introduced him? You behold in us the embodiment of aristocracy
and democracy. Bertrand, shake hands with my family. (BERTRAND
IS REBUFFED BY ONE AND THE OTHER IN DEAD SILENCE.)
BERTRAND. Sold again!
MACAIRE. Charles, to my arms! (BUSINESS.)
ERNESTINE. Well, but now that he has a father of some kind,
cannot the marriage go on?
MACAIRE. Angel, this very night: I burn to take my grandchild
on my knees.
GORIOT. Be you that young man's veyther?
MACAIRE. Ay, and what a father!
GORIOT. Then all I've got to say is, I shan't and I wun't.
MACAIRE. Ah, friends, friends, what a satisfaction it is, what a
sight is virtue! I came among you in this poor attire to test
you; how nobly have you borne the test! But my disguise begins
to irk me: who will lend me a good suit? (BUSINESS.)
To these, the MARQUIS, L. C.
MARQUIS. Is this the house of John Paul Dumont, once of Lyons?
DUMONT. It is, sir, and I am he, at your disposal.
MARQUIS. I am the Marquis Villers-Cotterets de la Cherte de
MACAIRE. Marquis, delighted, I am sure.
MARQUIS (TO DUMONT). I come, as you perceive, unfollowed; my
errand, therefore, is discreet. I come (PRODUCING NOTES FROM
BREAST-POCKET) equipped with thirty thousand francs; my errand,
therefore, must be generous. Can you not guess?
DUMONT. Not I, my lord.
MARQUIS (REPEATING). 'Preserve this letter,' etc.
BERTRAND. Sold again (ASIDE). (A PAUSE.)
ALINE. Well, I never did!
DUMONT. Two fathers!
MARQUIS. Two? Impossible.
DUMONT. Not at all. This is the other.
MARQUIS. This man?
MACAIRE. This is the man, my lord; here stands the father;
Charles, to my arms! (CHARLES BACKS.)
DUMONT. He knew the letter.
MARQUIS. Well, but so did I.
CURATE. The judgment of Solomon.
GORIOT. What did I tell 'ee? he can't marry.
ERNESTINE. Couldn't they both consent?
MARQUIS. But he's my living image.
MACAIRE. Mine, Marquis, mine.
MARQUIS. My figure, I think?
MACAIRE. Ah, Charles, Charles!
CURATE. We used to think his physiognomy resembled Dumont's.
DUMONT. Come to look at him, he's really like Goriot.
ERNESTINE. O papa, I hope he's not my brother.
GORIOT. What be talking of? I tell 'ee, he's like our Curate.
CHARLES. Gentlemen, my head aches.
MARQUIS. I have it: the involuntary voice of nature. Look at
me, my son.
MACAIRE. Nay, Charles, but look at me.
CHARLES. Gentlemen, I am unconscious of the smallest natural
inclination for either.
MARQUIS. Another thought: what was his mother's name?
MACAIRE. What was the name of his mother by you?
MARQUIS. Sir, you are silenced.
MACAIRE. Silenced by honour. I had rather lose my boy than
compromise his sainted mother.
MARQUIS. A thought: twins might explain it: had you not two
DUMONT. Nay, sir, one only; and judging by the miseries of this
evening, I should say, thank God!
MACAIRE. My friends, leave me alone with the Marquis. It is
only a father that can understand a father's heart. Bertrand,
follow the members of my family. (THEY TROOP OUT, L. U. E. AND
R. U. E., THE FIDDLERS PLAYING. AIR: 'O DEAR, WHAT CAN THE
MARQUIS. Well, sir?
MACAIRE. My lord, I feel for you. (BUSINESS. THEY SIT, R.)
MARQUIS. And now, sir?
MACAIRE. The bond that joins us is remarkable and touching.
MARQUIS. Well, sir?
MACAIRE (TOUCHING HIM ON THE BREAST). You have there thirty
MARQUIS. Well, sir?
MACAIRE. I was but thinking of the inequalities of life, my
lord: that I who, for all you know, may be the father of your
son, should have nothing; and that you who, for all I know, may
be the father of mine, should be literally bulging with bank
notes. . . . Where do you keep them at night?
MARQUIS. Under my pillow. I think it rather ingenious.
MACAIRE. Admirably so! I applaud the device.
MARQUIS. Well, sir?
MACAIRE. Do you snuff, my lord?
MARQUIS. No, sir, I do not.
MACAIRE. My lord, I am a poor man.
MARQUIS. Well, sir? and what of that?
MACAIRE. The affections, my lord, are priceless. Money will not
buy them; or, at least, it takes a great deal.
MARQUIS. Sir, your sentiments do you honour.
MACAIRE. My lord, you are rich.
MARQUIS. Well, sir?
MACAIRE. Now follow me, I beseech you. Here am I, my lord; and
there, if I may so express myself, are you. Each has the
father's heart, and there we are equal; each claims yon
interesting lad, and there again we are on a par. But, my lord -
and here we come to the inequality, and what I consider the
unfairness of the thing - you have thirty thousand francs, and I,
my lord, have not a rap. You mark me? not a rap, my lord! My
lord, put yourself in my position: consider what must be my
feelings, my desires; and - hey?
MARQUIS. I fail to grasp . . . .
MACAIRE (WITH IRRITATION). My dear man, there is the door of the
house; here am I; there (TOUCHING, MARQUIS ON THE BREAST) are
thirty thousand francs. Well, now?
MARQUIS. I give you my word of honour, sir, I gather nothing; my
mind is quite unused to such prolonged exertion. If the boy be
yours, he is not mine; if he be mine, he is not yours; and if he
is neither of ours, or both of ours . . . in short, my mind . .
MACAIRE. My lord, will you lay those thirty thousand francs upon
MARQUIS. I fail to grasp . . . but if it will in any way
oblige you . . . . (DOES SO.)
MACAIRE. Now, my lord, follow me: I take them up; you see? I
put them in my pocket; you follow me? This is my hat; here is my
stick; and here is my - my friend's bundle.
MARQUIS. But that is my cloak.
MACAIRE. Precisely. Now, my lord, one more effort of your
lordship's mind. If I were to go out of that door, with the full
intention - follow me close - the full intention of never being
heard of more, what would you do?
MARQUIS. I! - send for the police.
MACAIRE. Take your money! (DASHING DOWN THE NOTES.) Man, if I
met you in a lane! (HE DROPS HIS HEAD UPON THE TABLE.)
MARQUIS. The poor soul is insane. The other man, whom I suppose
to be his keeper, is very much to blame.
MACAIRE (RAISING HIS HEAD). I have a light! (TO MARQUIS.) With
invincible oafishness, my lord, I cannot struggle. I pass you
by; I leave you gaping by the wayside; I blush to have a share
in the progeny of such an owl. Off, off, and send the tapster!
MARQUIS. Poor fellow!
MACAIRE, TO WHOM BERTRAND. AFTERWARDS DUMONT
BERTRAND. Sold again.
MACAIRE. Had he the wit of a lucifer match! But what can gods
or men against stupidity? Still, I have a trick. Where is that
damned old man?
DUMONT (ENTERING). I hear you want me.
MACAIRE. Ah, my good old Dumont, this is very sad.
DUMONT. Dear me, what is wrong?
MACAIRE. Dumont, you had a dowry for my son?
DUMONT. I had; I have: ten thousand francs.
MACAIRE. It's a poor thing, but it must do. Dumont, I bury my
old hopes, my old paternal tenderness.
DUMONT. What? is he not your son?
MACAIRE. Pardon me, my friend. The Marquis claims my boy. I
will not seek to deny that he attempted to corrupt me, or that I
spurned his gold. It was thirty thousand.
DUMONT. Noble soul!
MACAIRE. One has a heart . . . He spoke, Dumont, that proud
noble spoke, of the advantages to our beloved Charles; and in my
father's heart a voice arose, louder than thunder. Dumont, was I
unselfish? The voice said no; the voice, Dumont, up and told me
DUMONT. To begone? to go?
MACAIRE. To begone, Dumont, and to go. Both, Dumont. To leave
my son to marry, and be rich and happy as the son of another; to
creep forth myself, old, penniless, broken-hearted, exposed to
the inclemencies of heaven and the rebuffs of the police.
DUMONT. This is what I had looked for at your hands. Noble,
MACAIRE. One has a heart . . . and yet, Dumont, it can hardly
have escaped your penetration that if I were to shift from this
hostelry without a farthing, and leave my offspring to wallow -
literally - among millions, I should play the part of little
better than an ass.
DUMONT. But I had thought . . . I had fancied . . . .
MACAIRE. No, Dumont, you had not; do not seek to impose upon my
simplicity. What you did think was this, Dumont: for the sake
of this noble father, for the sake of this son whom he denies for
his own interest - I mean, for his interest - no, I mean, for
his own - well, anyway, in order to keep up the general
atmosphere of sacrifice and nobility, I must hand over this dowry
to the Baron Henri-Frederic de Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de
DUMONT. Noble, O noble! } TOGETHER: EACH SHAKING
BERTRAND. Beautiful, O beautiful! } HIM BY THE HAND.
DUMONT. Now Charles is rich he needs it not. For whom could it
more fittingly be set aside than for his noble father? I will
give it you at once.
BERTRAND. At once, at once!
MACAIRE (ASIDE TO BERTRAND). Hang on. (ALOUD.) Charles,
Charles, my lost boy! (HE FALLS WEEPING AT L. TABLE. DUMONT
ENTERS THE OFFICE, AND BRINGS DOWN CASH-BOX TO TABLE R. HE FEELS
IN ALL HIS POCKETS: BERTRAND FROM BEHIND HIM MAKING SIGNS TO
MACAIRE, WHICH THE LATTER DOES NOT SEE.)
DUMONT. That's strange. I can't find the key. It's a patent
BERTRAND (BEHIND DUMONT, MAKING SIGNS TO MACAIRE). The key, he
can't find the key.
MACAIRE. O yes, I remember. I heard it drop. (DROPS KEY.) And
here it is before my eyes.
DUMONT. That? That's yours. I saw it drop.
MACAIRE. I give you my word of honour I heard it fall five
DUMONT. But I saw it.
MACAIRE. Impossible. It must be yours.
DUMONT. It is like mine, indeed. How came it in your pocket?
MACAIRE. Bitten. (ASIDE.)
BERTRAND. Sold again (ASIDE) . . . . You forget, Baron, it's the
key of my valise; I gave it you to keep in consequence of the
hole in my pocket.
MACAIRE. True, true; and that explains.
DUMONT. O, that explains. Now, all we have to do is to find
mine. It's a patent key. You heard it drop.
BERTRAND. So I did: distinctly.
DUMONT. Here, Aline, Babette, Goriot, Curate, Charles,
everybody, come here and look for my key!
To these with candles, all the former characters, except
FIDDLERS, PEASANTS, and NOTARY. They hunt for the key.
DUMONT. It's bound to be here. We all heard it drop.
MARQUIS (WITH BERTRAND's BUNDLE). Is this it?
ALL (WITH FURY). No.
BERTRAND. Hands off, that's my luggage. (HUNT RESUMED.)
DUMONT. I heard it drop, as plain as ever I heard anything.
MARQUIS. By the way (ALL START UP), what are we looking for?
ALL (WITH FURY). O!!
DUMONT. Will you have the kindness to find my key? (HUNT
CURATE. What description of a key -
DUMONT. A patent, patent, patent, patent key!
MACAIRE. I have it. Here it is!
ALL (WITH RELIEF). Ah!!
DUMONT. That? What do you mean? That's yours.
MACAIRE. Pardon me.
DUMONT. It is.
MACAIRE. It isn't.
DUMONT. I tell you it is: look at that twisted handle.
MACAIRE. It can't be mine, and so it must be yours.
DUMONT. It is not. Feel in your pockets. (TO THE OTHERS.)
Will you have the kindness to find my patent key?
ALL. Oh!! (HUNT RESUMED.)
MACAIRE. Ah, well, you're right. (HE SLIPS KEY INTO DUMONT'S
POCKET.) An idea: suppose you felt in your pocket?
ALL (RISING). Yes! Suppose you did!
DUMONT. I will not feel in my pockets. How could it be there?
It's a patent key. This is more than any man can bear. First,
Charles is one man's son, and then he's another's, and then he's
nobody's, and be damned to him! And then there's my key lost;
and then there's your key! What is your key? Where is your key?
Where isn't it? And why is it like mine, only mine's a patent?
The long and short of it is this: that I'm going to bed, and
that you're all going to bed, and that I refuse to hear another
word upon the subject or upon any subject. There!
MACAIRE. Bitten. }
BERTRAND. Sold again. } Aside
(ALINE AND MAIDS EXTINGUISH HANGING LAMPS OVER TABLES, R. AND L.
STAGE LIGHTED ONLY BY GUESTS' CANDLES.)
CHARLES. But, sir, I cannot decently retire to rest till I
embrace my honoured parent. Which is it to be?
MACAIRE. Charles, to my -
DUMONT. Embrace neither of them; embrace nobody; there has been
too much of this sickening folly. To bed!!! (EXIT VIOLENTLY R.
U. E. ALL THE CHARACTERS TROOP SLOWLY UPSTAIRS, TALKING IN DUMB
SHOW. BERTRAND AND MACAIRE REMAIN IN FRONT C., WATCHING THEM
BERTRAND. Sold again, captain?
MACAIRE. Ay, they will have it.
BERTRAND. It? What?
MACAIRE. The worst, Bertrand. What is man? a beast of prey. An
hour ago, and I'd have taken a crust, and gone in peace. But no:
they would trick and juggle, curse them; they would wriggle and
cheat! Well, I accept the challenge: war to the knife.
MACAIRE. What is murder? A legal term for a man dying. Call it
Fate, and that's philosophy; call me Providence, and you talk
religion. Die? My, that is what man is made for; we are full of
mortal parts; we are all as good as dead already, we hang so
close upon the brink: touch a button, and the strongest falls in
dissolution. Now, see how easy: I take you - (GRAPPLING HIM.)
BERTRAND. Macaire - O no!
MACAIRE. Fool! would I harm a fly, when I had nothing to gain?
As the butcher with the sheep, I kill to live; and where is the
difference between man and mutton? pride and a tailor's bill.
Murder? I know who made that name - a man crouching from the
knife! Selfishness made it - the aggregated egotism called
society; but I meet that with a selfishness as great. Has he
money? Have I none - great powers, none? Well, then, I fatten
and manure my life with his.
BERTRAND. You frighten me. Who is it?
MACAIRE. Mark well. (THE MARQUIS OPENS THE DOOR OF NUMBER
THIRTEEN, AND THE REST, CLUSTERING ROUND, BID HIM GOOD-NIGHT. AS
THEY BEGIN TO DISPERSE ALONG THE GALLERY HE ENTERS AND SHUTS THE
DOOR.) Out, out, brief candle! That man is doomed.
As the curtain rises, the stage is dark and empty. Enter
MACAIRE, L. U. E., with lantern. He looks about.
MACAIRE (CALLING OFF). S'st!
BERTRAND (ENTERING L. U. E.). It's creeping dark.
MACAIRE. Blinding dark; and a good job.
BERTRAND. Macaire, I'm cold; my very hair's cold.
MACAIRE. Work, work will warm you: to your keys.
BERTRAND. No, Macaire, it's a horror. You not kill him; let's
have no bloodshed.
MACAIRE. None: it spoils your clothes. Now, see: you have
keys and you have experience; up that stair, and pick me the lock
of that man's door. Pick me the lock of that man's door.
BERTRAND. May I take the light?
MACAIRE. You may not. Go. (BERTRAND MOUNTS THE STAIRS, AND IS
SEEN PICKING THE LOCK OF NUMBER THIRTEEN.) The earth spins
eastward, and the day is at the door. Yet half an hour of
covert, and the sun will be afoot, the discoverer, the great
policeman. Yet, half an hour of night, the good, hiding,
practicable night; and lo! at a touch the gas-jet of the
universe turned on; and up with the sun gets the providence of
honest people, puts off his night-cap, throws up his window,
stares out of house - and the rogue must skulk again till dusk.
Yet half an hour and, Macaire, you shall be safe and rich. If
yon fool - my fool - would but miscarry, if the dolt within
would hear and leap upon him, I could intervene, kill both, by
heaven - both! - cry murder with the best, and at one stroke
reap honour and gold. For, Bertrand dead -
BERTRAND (FROM ABOVE). S'st, Macaire!
MACAIRE. Is it done, dear boy? Come down. (BERTRAND DESCENDS.)
Sit down beside this light: this is your ring of safety, budge
not beyond - the night is crowded with hobgoblins. See ghosts
and tremble like a jelly if you must; but remember men are my
concern; and at the creak of a man's foot, hist! (SHARPENING
HIS KNIFE UPON HIS SLEEVE.) What is a knife? A plain man's
BERTRAND. Not the knife, Macaire; O, not the knife!
MACAIRE. My name is Self-Defence. (HE GOES UPSTAIRS AND ENTERS
BERTRAND. He's in. I hear a board creak. What a night, what a
night! Will he hear him? O Lord, my poor Macaire! I hear
nothing, nothing. The night's as empty as a dream: he must hear
him; he cannot help but hear him; and then - O Macaire, Macaire,
come back to me. It's death, and it's death, and it's death.
Red, red: a corpse. Macaire to kill, Macaire to die? I'd
rather starve, I'd rather perish, than either: I'm not fit, I'm
not fit, for either! Why, how's this? I want to cry. (A
STROKE, AND GROAN FROM ABOVE.) God Almighty, one of them's
gone! (HE FALLS WITH HIS HEAD ON TABLE, R. MACAIRE APPEARS AT
THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, DESCENDS, COMES AIRILY FORWARD AND TOUCHES
HIM ON THE SHOULDER. BERTRAND, WITH A CRY, TURNS AND FALLS UPON
HIS NECK.) O, O, and I thought I had lost him. (DAY BREAKING.)
MACAIRE. The contrary, dear boy. (HE PRODUCES NOTES.)
BERTRAND. What was it like?
MACAIRE. Like? Nothing. A little blood, a dead man.
BERTRAND. Blood! . . . Dead! HE FALLS AT TABLE SOBBING.
MACAIRE DIVIDES THE NOTES INTO TWO PARTS; ON THE SMALLER HE WIPES
THE BLOODY KNIFE, AND FOLDING THE STAINS INWARD, THRUSTS THE
NOTES INTO BERTRAND'S FACE.)
MACAIRE. What is life without the pleasures of the table!
BERTRAND (TAKING AND POCKETING NOTES). Macaire, I can't get over
MACAIRE. My mark is the frontier, and at top speed. Don't hang
your jaw at me. Up, up, at the double; pick me that cash-box;
and let's get the damned house fairly cleared.
BERTRAND. I can't. Did he bleed much?
MACAIRE. Bleed? Must I bleed you? To work, or I'm dangerous.
BERTRAND. It's all right, Macaire; I'm going.
MACAIRE. Better so: an old friend is nearly sacred. (FULL
DAYLIGHT: LIGHTS UP. MACAIRE BLOWS OUT LANTERN.)
BERTRAND. Where's the key?
MACAIRE. Key? I tell you to pick it.
BERTRAND (WITH THE BOX). But it's a patent lock. Where is the
key? You had it.
MACAIRE. Will you pick that lock?
BERTRAND. I can't: it's a patent. Where's the key?
MACAIRE. If you will have it, I put it back in that old ass's
BERTRAND. Bitten, I think. (MACAIRE DANCING MAD.)
To these, DUMONT
DUMONT. Ah, friends, up so early? Catching the worm, catching
MACAIRE. Good-morning, good-morning! } SITTING ON THE TABLE
BERTRAND. Early birds, early birds. } DISSEMBLING BOX.
DUMONT. By the way, very remarkable thing: I found the key.
DUMONT. Perhaps a still more remarkable thing: it was my key
that had the twisted handle.
MACAIRE. I told you so.
DUMONT. Now, what we have to do is to get the cash-box. Hallo!
what's that your sitting on?
MACAIRE. The table! I beg your pardon.
DUMONT. Why, it's my cash-box!
MACAIRE. Why, so it is!
DUMONT. It's very singular.
MACAIRE. Diabolishly singular.
BERTRAND. Early worms, early worms!
DUMONT (BLOWING IN KEY). Well, I suppose you are still willing
MACAIRE. More than willing, my dear soul: pressed, I may say,
for time; for though it had quite escaped my memory, I have an
appointment in Turin with a lady of title.
DUMONT (AT BOX). It's very odd. (BLOWS ITS KEY.) It's a
singular thing (BLOWING), key won't turn. It's a patent. Some
one must have tampered with the lock (BLOWING). It's strangely
singular, it's singularly singular! I've shown this key to
commercial gentlemen all the way from Paris: they never saw a
better key! (MORE BUSINESS). Well (GIVING IT UP AND LOOKING
REPROACHFULLY ON KEY), that's pretty singular.
MACAIRE. Let me try. (HE TRIES, AND FLINGS DOWN THE KEY WITH A
BERTRAND. Sold again.
DUMONT (PICKING UP KEY). It's a patent key.
MACAIRE (TO BERTRAND). The game's up: we must save the swag.
(TO DUMONT.) Sir, since your key, on which I invoke the blight
of Egypt, has once more defaulted, my feelings are unequal to a
repetition of yesterday's distress, and I shall simply pad the
hoof. From Turin you shall receive the address of my banker, and
may prosperity attend your ventures. (TO BERTRAND.) Now, boy!
(TO DUMONT.) Embrace my fatherless child! farewell! (MACAIRE
AND BERTRAND TURN TO GO OFF AND ARE MET IN THE DOOR BY THE
To these, the BRIGADIER and GENDARMES
BRIGADIER. Let no man leave the house.
MACAIRE. Bitten. } ASIDE.
BERTRAND. Sold again. }
DUMONT. Welcome, old friend!
BRIGADIER. It is not the friend that comes; it is the Brigadier.
Summon your guests: I must investigate their passports. I am in
pursuit of a notorious malefactor, Robert Macaire.
DUMONT. But I was led to believe that both Macaire and his
accomplice had been arrested and condemned.
BRIGADIER. They were, but they have once more escaped for the
moment, and justice is indefatigable. (HE SITS AT TABLE R.)
Dumont, a bottle of white wine.
MACAIRE (TO DUMONT). My excellent friend, I will discharge your
commission, and return with all speed. (GOING.)
MACAIRE (RETURNING: AS IF HE SAW BRIGADIER FOR THE FIRST TIME).
Ha? a member of the force? Charmed, I'm sure. But you
misconceive me: I return at once, and my friend remains behind
to answer for me.
BRIGADIER. Justice is insensible to friendship. I shall deal
with you in due time. Dumont, that bottle.
MACAIRE. Sir, my friend and I, who are students of character,
would grasp the opportunity to share and - may one add? - to pay
the bottle. Dumont, three!
BERTRAND. For God's sake! (ENTER ALINE AND MAIDS.)
MACAIRE. My friend is an author: so, in a humbler way, am I.
Your knowledge of the criminal classes naturally tempts one to
pursue so interesting an acquaintance.
BRIGADIER. Justice is impartial. Gentlemen, your health.
MACAIRE. Will not these brave fellows join us?
BRIGADIER. They are on duty; but what matters?
MACAIRE. My dear sir, what is duty? duty is my eye.
BRIGADIER (SOLEMNLY). And Betty Martin. (GENDARMES SIT AT
MACAIRE (TO BERTRAND). Dear friend, sit down.
BERTRAND (SITTING DOWN). O Lord!
BRIGADIER (TO MACAIRE). You seem to be a gentleman of
MACAIRE. I fear, sir, you flatter. One has lived, one has
loved, and one remembers: that is all. One's LIVES OF
CELEBRATED CRIMINALS has met with a certain success, and one is
ever in quest of fresh material.
DUMONT. By the way, a singular thing about my patent key.
BRIGADIER. This gentleman is speaking.
MACAIRE. Excellent Dumont! he means no harm. This Macaire is
not personally known to you?
BRIGADIER. Are you connected with justice?
MACAIRE. Ah, sir, justice is a point above a poor author.
BRIGADIER (WITH GLASS). Justice is the very devil.
MACAIRE. My dear sir, my friend and I, I regret to say, have an
appointment in Lyons, or I could spend my life in this society.
Charge your glasses: one hour to madness and to joy! What is
to-morrow? the enemy of to-day. Wine? the bath of life. One
moment: I find I have forgotten my watch. (HE MAKES FOR THE
MACAIRE. Sir, what is this jest?
BRIGADIER. Sentry at the door. Your passports.
MACAIRE. My good man, with all the pleasure in life. (Gives
papers. THE BRIGADIER PUTS ON SPECTACLES, AND EXAMINES THEM.)
BERTRAND (RISING, AND PASSING ROUND TO MACAIRE'S OTHER SIDE).
It's life and death: they must soon find it.
MACAIRE (ASIDE). Don't I know? My heart's like fire in my body.
BRIGADIER. Your name is?
MACAIRE. It is; one's name is not unknown.
BRIGADIER. Justice exacts your name.
MACAIRE. Henri-Frederic de Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de
BRIGADIER. Your profession?
BRIGADIER. No, but what is your trade?
MACAIRE. I am an analytical chymist.
BRIGADIER. Justice is inscrutable. Your papers are in order.
(TO BERTRAND.) Now, sir, and yours?
BERTRAND. I feel kind of ill.
MACAIRE. Bertrand, this gentleman addresses you. He is not one
of us; in other scenes, in the gay and giddy world of fashion,
one is his superior. But to-day he represents the majesty of
law; and as a citizen it is one's pride to do him honour.
BRIGADIER. Those are my sentiments.
BERTRAND. I beg your pardon, I - (GIVES PAPERS.)
BRIGADIER. Your name?
BRIGADIER. What? In your passport it is written Bertrand.
BERTRAND. It's this way: I was born Bertrand, and then I took
the name of Napoleon, and I mostly always call myself either
Napoleon or Bertrand.
BRIGADIER. The truth is always best. Your profession?
BERTRAND. I am an orphan.
BRIGADIER. What the devil! (TO MACAIRE.) Is your friend an
MACAIRE. Pardon me, he is a poet.
BRIGADIER. Poetry is a great hindrance to the ends of justice.
Well, take your papers.
MACAIRE. Then we may go?
To these, CHARLES, who is seen on the gallery, going to the door
of Number Thirteen. Afterwards all the characters but the
NOTARY and the MARQUIS
BRIGADIER. One glass more. (BERTRAND TOUCHES MACAIRE, AND
POINTS TO CHARLES, WHO ENTERS NUMBER THIRTEEN).
MACAIRE. No more, no more, no more.
BRIGADIER (RISING AND TAKING MACAIRE BY THE ARM). I stipulate!
MACAIRE. Engagement in Turin!
MACAIRE. Lyons, Lyons!
BERTRAND. For God's sake.
BRIGADIER. Well, good-bye!
MACAIRE. Good-bye, good -
CHARLES (FROM WITHIN). Murder! Help! (APPEARING.) Help here!
The Marquis is murdered.
BRIGADIER. Stand to the door. A man up there. (A GENDARME
HURRIES UP STAIRCASE INTO NUMBER THIRTEEN, CHARLES FOLLOWING HIM.
ENTER ON BOTH SIDES OF GALLERY THE REMAINING CHARACTERS OF THE
PIECE, EXCEPT THE NOTARY AND THE MARQUIS.)
MACAIRE. Bitten, by God! } ASIDE.
BERTRAND. Lost! }
BRIGADIER (TO DUMONT). John Paul Dumont, I arrest you.
DUMONT. Do your duty, officer. I can answer for myself and my
BRIGADIER. Yes, but these strangers?
DUMONT. They are strangers to me.
MACAIRE. I am an honest man: I stand upon my rights: search
me; or search this person, of whom I know too little. (SMITING
HIS BROW.) By heaven, I see it all! This morning - (TO
BERTRAND.) How, sir, did you dare to flaunt your booty in my
very face? (TO BRIGADIER.) He showed me notes; he was up ere
day; search him, and you'll find. There stands the murderer.
BERTRAND. O, Macaire! (HE IS SEIZED AND SEARCHED AND THE NOTES
BRIGADIER. There is blood upon the notes. Handcuffs. (MACAIRE
EDGING TOWARDS THE DOOR.)
BERTRAND. Macaire, you may as well take the bundle. (MACAIRE IS
STOPPED BY SENTRY, AND COMES FRONT, R.)
CHARLES (RE-APPEARING). Stop, I know the truth. (HE COMES
DOWN.) Brigadier, my father is not dead. He is not even
dangerously hurt. He has spoken. There is the would-be
MACAIRE. Hell! (HE DARTS ACROSS TO THE STAIRCASE, AND TURNS ON
THE SECOND STEP, FLASHING OUT THE KNIFE.) Back, hounds! (HE
SPRINGS UP THE STAIR, AND CONFRONTS THEM FROM THE TOP.) Fools, I
am Robert Macaire! (AS MACAIRE TURNS TO FLEE, HE IS MET BY THE
GENDARME COMING OUT OF NUMBER THIRTEEN; HE STANDS AN INSTANT
CHECKED, IS SHOT FROM THE STAGE, AND FALLS HEADLONG BACKWARD DOWN
THE STAIR. BERTRAND, WITH A CRY, BREAKS FROM THE GENDARMES,
KNEELS AT HIS SIDE, AND RAISES HIS HEAD.)
BERTRAND. Macaire, Macaire, forgive me. I didn't blab; you know
I didn't blab.
MACAIRE. Sold again, old boy. Sold for the last time; at least,
the last time this side death. Death - what is death? (HE DIES.)
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