Infomotions, Inc.élléas and Mélisande / Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1862-1949



Author: Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1862-1949
Title: élléas and Mélisande
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): melisande; golaud; pelleas; palomides; alladine; yniold; arkel; little yniold
Contributor(s): Hovey, Richard, 1864-1900 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 31,123 words (really short) Grade range: 6-8 (grade school) Readability score: 76 (easy)
Identifier: etext13329
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Title: Pelleas and Melisande

Author: Maurice Maeterlinck

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Pelleas and Melisande


ALLADINE AND PALOMIDES


HOME


BY

MAURICE MAETERLINCK

_Translated by_ RICHARD HOVEY



1911




1896, BY

STONE AND KIMBALL




Contents


PREFACE (by Maurice Maeterlinck)

PELLEAS AND MELISANDE

ALLADINE AND PALOMIDES

HOME




Preface.


On m'a demande plus d'une fois si mes drames, de _La Princesse
Maleine_ a _La Mort de Tintagiles_, avaient ete reellement ecrits pour
un theatre de marionettes, ainsi que je l'avais affirme dans l'edition
originale de cette sauvage petite legende des malheurs de Maleine. En
verite, ils ne furent pas ecrits pour des acteurs ordinaires. Il n'y
avait la nul desir ironique et pas la moindre humilite non plus. Je
croyais sincerement et je crois encore aujourd'hui, que les poemes
meurent lorsque des etres vivants s'y introduisent. Un jour, dans un
ecrit dont je ne retrouve plus que quelques fragments mutiles, j'ai
essaye d'expliquer ces choses qui dorment, sans doute, au fond de
notre instinct et qu'il est bien difficile de reveiller completement.
J'y constatais d'abord, qu'une inquietude nous attendait a tout
spectacle auquel nous assistions et qu'une deception a peu pres
ineffable accompagnait toujours la chute du rideau. N'est-il pas
evident que le Macbeth ou l'Hamlet que nous voyons sur la scene ne
ressemble pas au Macbeth ou a l'Hamlet du livre? Qu'il a visiblement
retrograde dans le sublime? Qu'une grande partie des efforts du poete
qui voulait creer avant tout une vie superieure, une vie plus proche
de notre ame, a ete annulee par une force ennemie qui ne peut se
manifester qu'en ramenant cette vie superieure au niveau de la vie
ordinaire? Il y a peut-etre, me disais-je, aux sources de ce malaise,
un tres ancien malentendu, a la suite duquel le theatre ne fut jamais
exactement ce qu'il est dans l'instinct de la foule, a savoir: _le
temple du Reve_. Il faut admettre, ajoutai-je, que le theatre, du
moins en ses tendances, est un art. Mais je n'y trouve pas la
marque des autres arts. L'art use toujours d'un detour et n'agit pas
directement. Il a pour mission supreme la revelation de i'infini et de
la grandeur ainsi que la beaute secrete, de l'homme. Mais montrer
au doigt a l'enfant qui nous accompagne, les etoiles d'une unit de
Juillet, ce n'est pas faire une oeuvre d'art. Il faut que l'art agisse
comme les abeilles. Elles n'apportent pas aux larves de la ruche les
fleurs des champs qui renferment leur avenir et leur vie. Les larves
mourraient sous ces fleurs sans se douter de rien. Il faut que les
abeilles nourricieres apportent a ces nymphes aveugles l'ame meme
de ces fleurs, et c'est alors seulement qu'elles trouveront sans le
savoir en ce miel mysterieux la substance des ailes qui un jour les
emporteront a leur tour dans l'espace. Or, le poeme etait une
oeuvre d'art et portait ces obliques et admirables marques. Mais la
representation vient le contredire. Elle chasse vraiment les cygnes
du grand lac, et elle rejette les perles dans l'abime. Elle remet les
choses exactement au point ou elles etaient avant la venue du poete.
La densite mystique de l'oeuvre d'art a disparue. Elle verse dans
la meme erreur que celui qui apres avoir vante a ses auditeurs
l'admirable _Annonciation_ de Vinci, par exemple, s'imaginerait
qu'il a fait penetrer dans leurs ames la beaute surnaturelle de cette
peinture en reproduisant, en un tableau vivant, tous les details du
grand chef-d'oeuvre florentin.

Qui sait si ce n'est pas pour ces raisons cachees que l'on est oblige
de s'avouer que la plupart des grands poemes de l'humanite ne sont pas
sceniques? _Lear, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Antoine et Cleopatre_,
ne peuvent etre representes, et il est dangereux de les voir sur
la scene. Quelque chose d'Hamlet est mort pour nous du jour ou nous
l'avons vu mourir sous nos yeux. Le spectre d'un acteur l'a detrone,
et nous ne pouvons plus ecarter l'usurpateur de nos reves. Ouvrez les
portes, ouvrez le livre, le prince anterieur ne revient plus. Il a
perdu la faculte de vivre selon la beaute la plus secrete de notre
ame. Parfois son ombre passe encore en tremblant sur le seuil, mais
desormais il n'ose plus, il ne peut plus entrer; et bien des voix sont
mortes qui l'acclamaient en nous.

Je me souviens de cette mort de l'Hamlet de mes reves. Un soir
j'ouvris la porte a l'usurpateur du poeme. L'acteur etait illustre. Il
entra. Un seul de ses regards me montra qu'il n'etait pas Hamlet.
Il ne le fut pas un seul instant pour moi. Je le vis s'agiter durant
trois heures dans le mensonge. Je voyais clairement qu'il avait ses
propres destinees; et celles qu'il voulait representer m'etaient
indiciblement indifferentes a cote des siennes. Je voyais sa sante
et ses habitudes, ses passions et ses tristesses, ses pensees et
ses oeuvres, et il essayait vainement de m'interesser a une vie qui
n'etait pas la sienne et que sa seule presence avait rendue factice.
Depuis je le revois lorsque j'ouvre le livre et Elsinore n'est plus le
palais d'autrefois....

"La verite," dit quelque part Charles Lamb, "la verite est que les
caracteres de Shakespeare sont tellement des objets de meditation
plutot que d'interet ou de curiosite relativement a leurs actes,
que, tandis que nous lisons l'un de ses grands caracteres
criminels,--Macbeth, Richard, Iago meme,--nous ne songeons pas
tant aux crimes qu'ils commettent, qu'a l'ambition, a l'esprit
d'aspiration, a l'activite intellectuelle qui les poussent a franchir
ces barrieres morales. Les actions nous affectent si peu, que, tandis
que les impulsions, l'esprit interieur en toute sa perverse grandeur,
paraissent seuls reels et appellent seuls l'attention, le crime n'est
comparativement rien. Mais lorsque nous voyons representer ces choses,
les actes sont comparativement tout, et les mobiles ne sont plus rien.
L'emotion sublime ou nous sommes entraines par ces images de nuit
et d'horreur qu'exprime Macbeth; ce solennel prelude ou il s'oublie
jusqu'a ce que l'horloge sonne l'heure qui doit l'appeler au meurtre
de Duncan; lorsque nous ne lisons plus cela dans un livre, lorsque
nous avons abandonne ce poste avantageux de l'abstraction d'ou la
lecture domine la vision, et lorsque nous voyons sous nos yeux, un
homme en sa forme corporelle se preparer actuellement au meurtre; si
le jeu de l'acteur est vrai et puissant, la penible anxiete au sujet
de l'acte, le naturel desir de le prevenir tout qu'il ne semble
pas accompli, la trop puissante apparence de realite, provoquent un
malaise et une inquietude qui detruisent totalement le plaisir que les
mots apportent dans le livre, ou l'acte ne nous oppresse jamais de
la penible sensation de sa presence, et semble plutot appartenir a
l'histoire; a quelque chose de passe et d'inevitable."

Charles Lamb a raison, et pour mille raisons bien plus profondes
encore que celles qu'il nous donne. Le theatre est le lien ou meurent
la plupart des chefs-d'oeuvre, parce que la representation d'un
chef-d'oeuvre a l'aide d'elements accidentels et humains est
antinomique. Tout chef-d'oeuvre est un symbole, et le symbole ne
supporte pas la presence active de l'homme. Il suffit que le coq
chante, dit Hamlet, pour que les spectres de la nuit s'evanouissent.
Et de meme, le poeme perd sa vie "de la seconde sphere" lorsqu'un etre
de la sphere inferieure s'y introduit. L'accident ramene le symbole
a l'accident; et le chef-d'oeuvre, en son essence, est mort durant le
temps de cette presence et de ses traces.

Les Grecs n'ignorerent pas cette antinomie, et leurs masques que nous
ne comprenons plus ne servaient probablement qu'a attenuer la presence
de l'homme et a soulager le symbole. Aux epoques ou le theatre eut une
vie veritable, il la dut peut-etre uniquement a quelque circonstance
ou a quelque artifice qui venait en aide du poeme dans sa lutte contre
l'homme. Ainsi, sous Elisabeth, par exemple, la declamation etait une
sorte de melopee, le jeu etait conventionnel, et la scene aussi. Il en
etait a peu pres de meme sous Louis XIV. Le poeme se retire a mesure
que l'homme s'avance. Le poeme veut nous arracher du pouvoir de nos
sens et faire predominer le passe et l'avenir; l'homme, au contraire,
n'agit que sur nos sens et n'existe que pour autant qu'il puisse
effacer cette predomination. S'il entre en scene avec toutes ses
puissances, et libre comme s'il entrait dans une foret; si sa voix,
ses gestes, et son attitude ne sont pas voilees par un grand nombre
de conventions synthetiques; si l'on apercoit un seul instant l'etre
vivant qu'il est et l'ame qu'il possede,--il n'y a pas de poeme au
monde qui ne recule devant lui. A ce moment precis, le spectacle du
poeme s'interrompt et nous assistons a une scene de la vie exterieure,
qui, de meme qu'une scene de la rue, de la riviere, ou du champ de
bataille, a ses beautes eternelles et secretes, mais qui est neanmoins
impuissante a nous arracher du present, parce qu'en cet instant nous
n'avons pas la qualite pour apercevoir ces beautes invisibles, qui ne
sont que "des fleurs offertes aux vers aveugles."

Et c'est pour ces raisons, et pour d'autres encore qu'on pourrait
rechercher dans les memes parages, que j'avais destine mes petits
drames a des etres indulgents aux poemes, et que, faute de mieux,
j'appelle "Marionettes."

MAURICE MAETERLINCK.




Pelleas and Melisande.


_To Octave Mirbeau_.

    In witness of deep friendship, admiration, and gratitude.

M.M.




PERSONS


ARKEL, _King of Allemonde._

GENEVIEVE, _mother of Pelleas and Golaud_.

PELLEAS,}
        }_grandsons of Arkel._
GOLAUD, }

MELISANDE.

LITTLE YNIOLD, _son of Golaud (by a former marriage)._

A PHYSICIAN.

THE PORTER.

_Servants, Beggars, etc._




Pelleas and Melisande.

       *       *       *       *       *




ACT FIRST.




SCENE I.--_The gate of the castle._


MAIDSERVANTS _(within)._

Open the gate! Open the gate!

PORTER _(within)._

Who is there? Why do you come and wake me up? Go out by the little
gates; there are enough of them!...

A MAIDSERVANT _(within)._

We have come to wash the threshold, the gate, and the steps; open,
then! open!

ANOTHER MAIDSERVANT _(within)._

There are going to be great happenings!

THIRD MAIDSERVANT _(within)._

There are going to be great fetes! Open quickly!...

THE MAIDSERVANTS.

Open! open!

PORTER.

Wait! wait! I do not know whether I shall be able to open it;... it is
never opened.... Wait till it is light....

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

It is light enough without; I see the sunlight through the chinks....

PORTER.

Here are the great keys.... Oh! oh! how the bolts and the locks
grate!... Help me! help me!...

MAIDSERVANTS.

We are pulling; we are pulling....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

It will not open....

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

Ah! ah! It is opening! it is opening slowly!

PORTER.

How it shrieks! how it shrieks! it will wake up everybody....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

_[Appearing on the threshold.]_ Oh, how light it is already
out-of-doors!

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

The sun is rising on the sea!

PORTER.

It is open.... It is wide open!... [_All the maidservants appear on
the threshold and pass over it._]

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

I am going to wash the sill first....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

We shall never be able to clean all this.

OTHER MAIDSERVANTS.

Fetch the water! fetch the water!

PORTER.

Yes, yes; pour on water; pour on water; pour on all the water of the
Flood! You will never come to the end of it....




SCENE II.--_A forest._ MELISANDE _discovered at the brink of a
spring._


_Enter_ GOLAUD.

GOLAUD.

I shall never be able to get out of this forest again.--God knows
where that beast has led me. And yet I thought I had wounded him to
death; and here are traces of blood. But now I have lost sight of him;
I believe I am lost myself--my dogs can no longer find me--I shall
retrace my steps....--I hear weeping.... Oh! oh! what is there yonder
by the water's edge?... A little girl weeping by the water's edge?
[_He coughs._]--She does not hear me. I cannot see her face. [_He
approaches and touches_ MELISANDE _on the shoulder._] Why weepest
thou? [MELISANDE _trembles, starts up, and would flee._]--Do not be
afraid. You have nothing to fear. Why are you weeping here all alone?

MELISANDE.

Do not touch me! do not touch me!

GOLAUD.

Do not be afraid.... I will not do you any.... Oh, you are beautiful!

MELISANDE.

Do not touch me! do not touch me! or I throw myself in the water!...

GOLAUD.

I will not touch you.... See, I will stay here, against the tree. Do
not be afraid. Has any one hurt you?

MELISANDE

Oh! yes! yes! yes!... [_She sobs profoundly._]

GOLAUD.

Who has hurt you?

MELISANDE.

Every one! every one!

GOLAUD. What hurt have they done you?

MELISANDE.

I will not tell! I cannot tell!...

GOLAUD.

Come; do not weep so. Whence come you?

MELISANDE.

I have fled!... fled ... fled....

GOLAUD.

Yes; but whence have you fled?

MELISANDE.

I am lost!... lost!... Oh! oh! lost here.... I am not of this
place.... I was not born there....

GOLAUD.

Whence are you? Where were you born?

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! far away from here!... far away ... far away....

GOLAUD.

What is it shining so at the bottom of the water?

MELISANDE.

Where?--Ah! it is the crown he gave me. It fell as I was weeping....

GOLAUD.

A crown?--Who was it gave you a crown?--I will try to get it....

MELISANDE.

No, no; I will have no more of it! I will have no more of it!... I had
rather die ... die at once....

GOLAUD.

I could easily pull it out. The water is not very deep.

MELISANDE.

I will have no more of it! If you take it out, I throw myself in its
place!...

GOLAUD.

No, no; I will leave it there. It could be reached without difficulty,
nevertheless. It seems very beautiful.--Is it long since you fled?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes!... Who are you?

GOLAUD.

I am Prince Golaud,--grandson of Arkel, the old King of Allemonde....

MELISANDE.

Oh, you have gray hairs already....

GOLAUD.

Yes; some, here, by the temples....

MELISANDE

And in your beard, too.... Why do you look at me so?

GOLAUD.

I am looking at your eyes.--Do you never shut your eyes?

MELISANDE.

Oh, yes; I shut them at night....

GOLAUD.

Why do you look so astonished?

MELISANDE.

You are a giant?

GOLAUD.

I am a man like the rest....

MELISANDE.

Why have you come here?

GOLAUD.

I do not know, myself. I was hunting in the forest, I was chasing a
wild boar. I mistook the road.--You look very young. How old are you?

MELISANDE.

I am beginning to be cold....

GOLAUD.

Will you come with me!

MELISANDE.

No, no; I will stay here....

GOLAUD.

You cannot stay here all alone. You cannot stay here all night
long.... What is your name?

MELISANDE.

Melisande.

GOLAUD.

You cannot stay here, Melisande. Come with me....

MELISANDE.

I will stay here....

GOLAUD.

You will be afraid, all alone. We do not know what there may be here
... all night long ... all alone ... it is impossible. Melisande,
come, give me your hand....

MELISANDE.

Oh, do not touch me!...

GOLAUD.

Do not scream.... I will not touch you again. But come with me. The
night will be very dark and very cold. Come with me....

MELISANDE.

Where are you going?...

GOLAUD.

I do not know.... I am lost too....
                                                                 [_Exeunt._




SCENE III.--_A hall in the castle_. ARKEL _and_ GENEVIEVE
_discovered_.


GENEVIEVE.

Here is what he writes to his brother Pelleas: "I found her all in
tears one evening, beside a spring in the forest where I had lost
myself. I do not know her age, nor who she is, nor whence she comes,
and I dare not question her, for she must have had a sore fright; and
when you ask her what has happened to her, she falls at once a-weeping
like a child, and sobs so heavily you are afraid. Just as I found her
by the springs, a crown of gold had slipped from her hair and fallen
to the bottom of the water. She was clad, besides, like a princess,
though her garments had been torn by the briers. It is now six months
since I married her and I know no more about it than on the day of
our meeting. Meanwhile, dear Pelleas, thou whom I love more than a
brother, although we were not born of the same father; meanwhile make
ready for my return.... I know my mother will willingly forgive me.
But I am afraid of the King, our venerable grandsire, I am afraid of
Arkel, in spite of all his kindness, for I have undone by this strange
marriage all his plans of state, and I fear the beauty of Melisande
will not excuse my folly to eyes so wise as his. If he consents
nevertheless to receive her as he would receive his own daughter,
the third night following this letter, light a lamp at the top of the
tower that overlooks the sea. I shall perceive it from the bridge
of our ship; otherwise I shall go far away again and come back no
more...." What say you of it?

ARKEL.

Nothing. He has done what he probably must have done. I am very old,
and nevertheless I have not yet seen clearly for one moment into
myself; how would you that I judge what others have done? I am not
far from the tomb and do not succeed in judging myself.... One always
mistakes when one does not close his eyes. That may seem strange to
us; but that is all. He is past the age to marry and he weds like a
child, a little girl he finds by a spring.... That may seem strange to
us, because we never see but the reverse of destinies ... the reverse
even of our own.... He has always followed my counsels hitherto; I had
thought to make him happy in sending him to ask the hand of Princess
Ursula.... He could not remain alone; since the death of his wife he
has been sad to be alone; and that marriage would have put an end to
long wars and old hatreds.... He would not have it so. Let it be as he
would have it; I have never put myself athwart a destiny; and he knows
better than I his future. There happen perhaps no useless events....

GENEVIEVE.

He has always been so prudent, so grave and so firm.... If it were
Pelleas, I should understand.... But he ... at his age.... Who is it
he is going to introduce here?--An unknown found along the roads....
Since his wife's death, he has no longer lived for aught but his son,
the little Yniold, and if he were about to marry again, it was because
you had wished it.... And now ... a little girl in the forest.... He
has forgotten everything....--What shall we do?...

_Enter_ PELLEAS.

ARKEL.

Who is coming in there?

GENEVIEVE.

It is Pelleas. He has been weeping.

ARKEL.

Is it thou, Pelleas?--Come a little nearer, that I may see thee in the
light....

PELLEAS.

Grandfather, I received another letter at the same time as my
brother's; a letter from my friend Marcellus.... He is about to die
and calls for me. He would see me before dying....

ARKEL.

Thou wouldst leave before thy brother's return?--Perhaps thy friend is
less ill than he thinks....

PELLEAS

His letter is so sad you can see death between the lines.... He says
he knows the very day when death must come.... He tells me I can
arrive before it if I will, but that there is no more time to lose.
The journey is very long, and if I await Golaud's return, it will be
perhaps too late....

ARKEL.

Thou must wait a little while, nevertheless.... We do not know what
this return has in store for us. And besides, is not thy father here,
above us, more sick perhaps than thy friend.... Couldst thou choose
between the father and the friend?...                              [_Exit._

GENEVIEVE.

Have a care to keep the lamp lit from this evening, Pelleas....

[_Exeunt severally._




SCENE IV.--_Before the castle. Enter_ GENEVIEVE _and_ MELISANDE.


MELISANDE.

It is gloomy in the gardens. And what forests, what forests all about
the palaces!...

GENEVIEVE.

Yes; that astonished me too when I came hither; it astonishes
everybody. There are places where you never see the sun. But one gets
used to it so quickly.... It is long ago, it is long ago.... It is
nearly forty years that I have lived here.... Look toward the other
side, you will have the light of the sea....

MELISANDE.

I hear a noise below us....

GENEVIEVE.

Yes; it is some one coming up toward us.... Ah! it is Pelleas.... He
seems still tired from having waited so long for you....

MELISANDE.

He has not seen us.

GENEVIEVE.

I think he has seen us but does not know what he should do....
Pelleas, Pelleas, is it thou?...

_Enter_ PELLEAS

PELLEAS.

Yes!... I was coming toward the sea....

GENEVIEVE.

So were we; we were seeking the light. It is a little lighter here
than elsewhere; and yet the sea is gloomy.

PELLEAS

We shall have a storm to-night. There has been one every night for
some time, and yet it is so calm now.... One might embark unwittingly
and come back no more.

MELISANDE.

Something is leaving the port....

PELLEAS.

It must be a big ship.... The lights are very high, we shall see it in
a moment, when it enters the band of light....

GENEVIEVE.

I do not know whether we shall be able to see it ... there is still a
fog on the sea....

PELLEAS.

The fog seems to be rising slowly....

MELISANDE.

Yes; I see a little light down there, which I had not seen....

PELLEAS.

It is a lighthouse; there are others we cannot see yet.

MELISANDE.

The ship is in the light.... It is already very far away....

PELLEAS.

It is a foreign ship. It looks larger than ours....

MELISANDE.

It is the ship that brought me here!...

PELLEAS.

It flies away under full sail....

MELISANDE.

It is the ship that brought me here. It has great sails.... I
recognized it by its sails.

PELLEAS.

There will be a rough sea to-night.

MELISANDE.

Why does it go away to-night?... You can hardly see it any longer....
Perhaps it will be wrecked....

PELLEAS.

The sight falls very quickly....                              [_A silence._

GENEVIEVE.

No one speaks any more?... You have nothing more to say to each
other?... It is time to go in. Pelleas, show Melisande the way. I mast
go see little Yniold a moment.                                     [_Exit._

PELLEAS.

Nothing can be seen any longer on the sea....

MELISANDE.

I see more lights.

PELLEAS.

It is the other lighthouses.... Do you hear the sea?... It is the wind
rising.... Let us go down this way. Will you give me your hand?

MELISANDE.

See, see, my hands are full....

PELLEAS.

I will hold you by the arm, the road is steep and it is very gloomy
there.... I am going away perhaps to-morrow....

MELISANDE.

Oh!... why do you go away?                                       [_Exeunt._




ACT SECOND.




SCENE I.--_A fountain in the park.


Enter_ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE.

PELLEAS.

You do not know where I have brought you?--I often come to sit here,
toward noon, when it is too hot in the gardens. It is stifling to-day,
even in the shade of the trees.

MELISANDE.

Oh, how clear the water is!...

PELLEAS.

It is as cool as winter. It is an old abandoned spring. It seems to
have been a miraculous spring,--it opened the eyes of the blind,--they
still call it "Blind Man's Spring."

MELISANDE.

It no longer opens the eyes of the blind?

PELLEAS.

Since the King has been nearly blind himself, no one comes any
more....

MELISANDE.

How alone one is here!... There is no sound.

PELLEAS.

There is always a wonderful silence here.... One could hear the water
sleep.... Will you sit down on the edge of the marble basin? There is
one linden where the sun never comes....

MELISANDE.

I am going to lie down on the marble.--I should like to see the bottom
of the water....

PELLEAS.

No one has ever seen it.--It is as deep, perhaps, as the sea.--It is
not known whence it comes.--Perhaps it comes from the bottom of the
earth....

MELISANDE.

If there were anything shining at the bottom, perhaps one could see
it....

PELLEAS.

Do not lean over so....

MELISANDE.

I would like to touch the water....

PELLEAS.

Have a care of slipping.... I will hold your hand....

MELISANDE.

No, no, I would plunge both hands in it.... You would say my hands
were sick to-day....

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! take care! take care! Melisande!... Melisande!...--Oh! your
hair!...

MELISANDE _(starting upright)._ I cannot,... I cannot reach it....

PELLEAS.

Your hair dipped in the water....

MELISANDE.

Yes, it is longer than my arms.... It is longer than I....    [_A silence._

PELLEAS.

It was at the brink of a spring, too, that he found you?

MELISANDE.

Yes....

PELLEAS.

What did he say to you?

MELISANDE.

Nothing;--I no longer remember....

PELLEAS.

Was he quite near you?

MELISANDE.

Yes; he would have kissed me.

PELLEAS.

And you would not?

MELISANDE.

No.

PELLEAS.

Why would you not?

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! I saw something pass at the bottom of the water....

PELLEAS.

Take care! take care!--You will fall! What are you playing with?

MELISANDE.

With the ring he gave me....

PELLEAS.

Take care; you will lose it....

MELISANDE.

No, no; I am sure of my hands....

PELLEAS.

Do not play so, over so deep a water....

MELISANDE.

My hands do not tremble.

PELLEAS.

How it shines in the sunlight I--Do not throw it so high in the
air....

MELISANDE.

Oh!...

PELLEAS.

It has fallen?

MELISANDE.

It has fallen into the water!...

PELLEAS.

Where is it? where is it?...

MELISANDE.

I do not see it sink?...

PELLEAS.

I think I see it shine....

MELISANDE.

My ring?

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; down yonder....

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! It is so far away from us!... no, no, that is not it ... that
is not it.... It is lost ... lost.... There is nothing any more but
a great circle on the water.... What shall we do? What shall we do
now?...

PELLEAS.

You need not be so troubled for a ring. It is nothing.... We shall
find it again, perhaps. Or else we will find another....

MELISANDE.

No, no; we shall never find it again; we shall never find any others
either.... And yet I thought I had it in my hands.... I had already
shut my hands, and it is fallen in spite of all.... I threw it too
high, toward the sun....

PELLEAS.

Come, come, we will come back another day;... come, it is time. They
will come to meet us. It was striking noon at the moment the ring
fell.

MELISANDE.

What shall we say to Golaud if he ask where it is?

PELLEAS.

The truth, the truth, the truth....                              [_Exeunt._




SCENE II.--_An apartment in the castle._ GOLAUD _discovered, stretched
upon his bed;_ MELISANDE, _by his bedside_.


GOLAUD.

Ah! ah! all goes well; it will amount to nothing. But I cannot
understand how it came to pass. I was hunting quietly in the forest.
All at once my horse ran away, without cause. Did he see anything
unusual?... I had just heard the twelve strokes of noon. At the
twelfth stroke he suddenly took fright and ran like a blind madman
against a tree. I heard no more. I do not yet know what happened. I
fell, and he must have fallen on me. I thought I had the whole forest
on my breast; I thought my heart was crushed. But my heart is sound.
It is nothing, apparently....

MELISANDE.

Would you like a little water?

GOLAUD.

Thanks, thanks; I am not thirsty.

MELISANDE.

Would you like another pillow?... There is a little spot of blood on
this.

GOLAUD.

No, no; it is not worth while. I bled at the mouth just now. I shall
bleed again perhaps....

MELISANDE.

Are you quite sure?... You are not suffering too much?

GOLAUD.

No, no; I have seen a good many more like this. I was made of iron
and blood.... These are not the little bones of a child; do not alarm
yourself....

MELISANDE.

Close your eyes and try to sleep. I shall stay here all night....

GOLAUD.

No, no; I do not wish you to tire yourself so. I do not need anything;
I shall sleep like a child.... What is the matter, Melisande? Why do
you weep all at once?...

MELISANDE _(bursting into tears)._

I am ... I am ill too....

GOLAUD.

Thou art ill?... What ails thee, then; what ails thee, Melisande?...

MELISANDE.

I do not know.... I am ill here.... I had rather tell you to-day; my
lord, my lord, I am not happy here....

GOLAUD.

Why, what has happened, Melisande? What is it?... And I suspecting
nothing.... What has happened?... Some one has done thee harm?... Some
one has given thee offence?

MELISANDE.

No, no; no one has done me the least harm.... It is not that.... It
is not that.... But I can live here no longer. I do not know why.... I
would go away, go away!... I shall die if I am left here....

GOLAUD.

But something has happened? You must be hiding something from me?...
Tell me the whole truth, Melisande.... Is it the King?... Is it my
mother?... Is it Pelleas?...

MELISANDE.

No, no; it is not Pelleas. It is not anybody.... You could not
understand me....

GOLAUD.

Why should I not understand?... If you tell me nothing, what will you
have me do?... Tell me everything and I shall understand everything.

MELISANDE.

I do not know myself what it is.... I do not know just what it is....
If I could tell you, I would tell you.... It is something stronger
than I....

GOLAUD.

Come; be reasonable, Melisande.--What would you have me do?--You are
no longer a child.--Is it I whom you would leave?

MELISANDE.

Oh! no, no; it is not that.... I would go away with you.... It is
here that I can live no longer.... I feel that I shall not live a long
while....

GOLAUD.

But there must be a reason nevertheless. You will be thought mad.
It will be thought child's dreams.--Come, is it Pelleas, perhaps?--I
think he does not often speak to you.

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; he speaks to me sometimes. I think he does not like me; I
have seen it in his eyes.... But he speaks to me when he meets me....

GOLAUD.

You must not take it ill of him. He has always been so. He is a little
strange. And just now he is sad; he thinks of his friend Marcellus,
who is at the point of death, and whom he cannot go to see.... He will
change, he will change, you will see; he is young....

MELISANDE.

But it is not that ... it is not that....

GOLAUD.

What is it, then?--Can you not get used to the life one leads here?
Is it too gloomy here?--It is true the castle is very old and very
sombre.... It is very cold, and very deep. And all those who dwell in
it, are already old. And the country may seem gloomy too, with all
its forests, all its old forests without light. But that may all be
enlivened if we will. And then, joy, joy, one does not have it every
day; we must take things as they come. But tell me something; no
matter what; I will do everything you could wish....

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; it is true.... You never see the sky here. I saw it for the
first time this morning....

GOLAUD.

It is that, then, that makes you weep, my poor Melisande?--It is only
that, then?--You weep, not to see the sky?--Come, come, you are no
longer at the age when one may weep for such things.... And then, is
not the summer yonder? You will see the sky every day.--And then, next
year.... Come, give me your hand; give me both your little hands. [_He
takes her hands._] Oh! oh! these little hands that I could crush like
flowers....--Hold! where is the ring I gave you?

MELISANDE.

The ring?

GOLAUD.

Yes; our wedding-ring, where is it?

MELISANDE.

I think.... I think it has fallen....

GOLAUD.

Fallen?--Where has it fallen?--You have not lost it?

MELISANDE.

No, no; it fell ... it must have fallen.... But I know where it is....

GOLAUD.

Where is it?

MELISANDE.

You know ... you know well ... the grotto by the seashore?...

GOLAUD.

Yes.

MELISANDE.

Well then, it is there.... It must be it is there.... Yes, yes; I
remember.... I went there this morning to pick up shells for little
Yniold.... There were some very fine ones.... It slipped from my
finger ... then the sea came in; and I had to go out before I had
found it.

GOLAUD.

Are you sure it is there?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; quite sure.... I felt it slip ... then, all at once, the
noise of the waves....

GOLAUD.

You must go look for it at once.

MELISANDE.

I must go look for it at once?

GOLAUD.

Yes.

MELISANDE.

Now?--at once?--in the dark?

GOLAUD.

Now, at once, in the dark. You must go look for it at once. I had
rather have lost all I have than have lost that ring. You do not know
what it is. You do not know whence it came. The sea will be very high
to-night. The sea will come to take it before you.... Make haste. You
must go look for it at once....

MELISANDE.

I dare not.... I dare not go alone....

GOLAUD.

Go, go with no matter whom. But you must go at once, do you
understand?--Make haste; ask Pelleas to go with you.

MELISANDE.

Pelleas?--With Pelleas?--But Pelleas would not....

GOLAUD.

Pelleas will do all you ask of him. I know Pelleas better than you do.
Go, go; hurry! I shall not sleep until I have the ring.

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! I am not happy!... I am not happy!...
                                                          [_Exit, weeping._




SCENE III.--_Before a grotto._


_Enter_ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE.

[_Speaking with great agitation._] Yes; it is here; we are there. It
is so dark you cannot tell the entrance of the grotto from the rest
of the night.... There are no stars on this side. Let us wait till
the moon has torn through that great cloud; it will light up the whole
grotto, and then we can enter without danger. There are dangerous
places, and the path is very narrow between two lakes whose bottom has
not yet been found. I did not think to bring a torch or a lantern, but
I think the light of the sky will be enough for us.--You have never
gone into this grotto?

MELISANDE.

No....

PELLEAS.

Let us go in; let us go in.... You must be able to describe the place
where you lost the ring, if he questions you.... It is very big and
very beautiful. There are stalactites that look like plants and men.
It is full of blue darks. It has not yet been explored to the end.
There are great treasures hidden there, it seems. You will see the
remains of ancient shipwrecks there. But you must not go far in it
without a guide. There have been some who never have come back. I
myself dare not go forward too far. We will stop the moment we no
longer see the light of the sea or the sky. When you strike a little
light there, you would say the vault was covered with stars like the
sky. It is bits of crystal or salt, they say, that shine so in the
rock.--Look, look, I think the sky is going to clear.... Give me your
hand; do not tremble, do not tremble so. There is no danger; we will
stop the moment we no longer see the light of the sea.... Is it the
noise of the grotto that frightens you? It is the noise of night or
the noise of silence.... Do you hear the sea behind us?--It does not
seem happy to-night.... Ah! look, the light!...

    [The moon lights up abundantly the entrance and part of the
    darkness of the grotto; and at a certain depth are seen three
    old beggars with white hair, seated side by side, leaning upon
    each other and asleep against a bowlder.]

MELISANDE.

Ah!

PELLEAS.

What is it?

MELISANDE.

There are ... there are....
                                       [_She points out the three Beggars._

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; I have seen them too....

MELISANDE.

Let us go!... Let us go!...

PELLEAS.

Yes ... it is three old poor men fallen asleep.... There is a famine in
the country.... Why have they come to sleep here....

MELISANDE.

Let us go!... Come, come.... Let us go!...

PELLEAS.

Take care; do not speak so loud.... Let us not wake them.... They are
still sleeping heavily.... Come.

MELISANDE.

Leave me, leave me; I prefer to walk alone....

PELLEAS.

We will come back another day....                                [_Exeunt._




SCENE IV.--_An apartment in the castle,_ ARKEL _and_ PELLEAS
_discovered._


ARKEL.

You see that everything retains you here just now and forbids you this
useless journey. We have concealed your father's condition from you
until now; but it is perhaps hopeless; and that alone should suffice
to stop you on the threshold. But there are so many other reasons....
And it is not in the day when our enemies awake, and when the people
are dying of hunger and murmur about us, that you have the right
to desert us. And why this journey? Marcellus is dead; and life has
graver duties than the visit to a tomb. You are weary, you say,
of your inactive life; but activity and duty are not found on the
highways. They must be waited for upon the threshold, and let in as
they go by; and they go by every day. You have never seen them? I
hardly see them any more myself; but I will teach you to see them, and
I will point them out to you the day when you would make them a sign.
Nevertheless, listen to me; if you believe it is from the depths of
your life this journey is exacted, I do not forbid your undertaking
it, for you must know better than I the events you must offer to your
being or your fate. I shall ask you only to wait until we know what
must take place ere long....

PELLEAS.

How long must I wait?

ARKEL.

A few weeks; perhaps a few days....

PELLEAS.

I will wait....




ACT THIRD




SCENE I.--_An apartment in the castle._ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE
_discovered_, MELISANDE _plies her distaff at the back of the room._


PELLEAS.

Yniold does not come back; where has he gone?

MELISANDE

He had heard something in the corridor; he has gone to see what it is.

PELLEAS.

Melisande....

MELISANDE

What is it?

PELLEAS.

... Can you see still to work there?...

MELISANDE

I work as well in the dark....

PELLEAS.

I think everybody is already asleep in the castle. Golaud does not
come back from the chase. It is late, nevertheless.... He no longer
suffers from his fall?...

MELISANDE.

He said he no longer suffered from it.

PELLEAS.

He must be more prudent; his body is no longer as supple as at twenty
years.... I see the stars through the window and the light of the moon
on the trees. It is late; he will not come back now. [_Knocking at the
door._] Who is there?... Come in!...

_Little_ YNIOLD _opens the door and enters the room._

It was you knocking so?... That is not the way to knock at doors. It
is as if a misfortune had arrived; look, you have frightened little
mother.

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I only knocked a tiny little bit.

PELLEAS.

It is late; little father will not come back to-night; it is time for
you to go to bed.

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I shall not go to bed before you do.

PELLEAS.

What?... What is that you are saying?

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I say ... not before you ... not before you....

[_Bursts into sobs and takes refuge by_ MELISANDE.]

MELISANDE.

What is it, Yniold?... What is it?... why do you weep all at once?

YNIOLD _(sobbing)._

Because ... oh! oh! because ...

MELISANDE.

Because what?... Because what?... Tell me ...

YNIOLD.

Little mother ... little mother ... you are going away....

MELISANDE.

But what has taken hold of you, Yniold?... I have never dreamed of
going away....

YNIOLD.

Yes, you have; yes, you have; little father has gone away.... Little
father does not come back, and you are going to go away too.... I have
seen it ... I have seen it....

MELISANDE.

But there has never been any idea of that, Yniold.... Why, what makes
you think that I would go away?...

YNIOLD.

I have seen it ... I have seen it.... You have said things to uncle
that I could not hear....

PELLEAS.

He is sleepy.... He has been dreaming.... Come here, Yniold; asleep
already?... Come and look out at the window; the swans are fighting
with the dogs....

YNIOLD _(at the window)._

Oh! oh! they are chasing the dogs!... They are chasing them!... Oh!
oh! the water!... the wings!... the wings!... they are afraid....

PELLEAS. _(coming back by_ MELISANDE_)._

He is sleepy; he is struggling against sleep; his eyes were
closing....

MELISANDE _(singing softly as she spins)._

  Saint Daniel and Saint Michael....
  Saint Michael and Saint Raphael....

YNIOLD _(at the window)._

Oh! oh! little mother!...

MELISANDE _(rising abruptly)._

What is it, Yniold?... What is it?...

YNIOLD.

I saw something at the window?...
                              [PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE _run to the window._

PELLEAS.

What is there at the window?... What have you seen?...

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! I saw something!...

PELLEAS.

But there is nothing. I see nothing....

MELISANDE.

Nor I....

PELLEAS.

Where did you see something? Which way?...

YNIOLD.

Down there, down there!... It is no longer there....

PELLEAS.

He does not know what he is saying. He must have seen the light of the
moon on the forest. There are often strange reflections,... or else
something must have passed on the highway ... or in his sleep. For
see, see, I believe he is quite asleep....

YNIOLD _(at the window)._

Little father is there! little father is there!

PELLEAS _(going to the window)._

He is right; Golaud is coming into the courtyard....

YNIOLD.

Little father!... little father!... I am going to meet him!...
                                              [_Exit, running,--A silence._

PELLEAS.

They are coming up the stair....

_Enter_ GOLAUD _and little_ YNIOLD _with a lamp._

GOLAUD.

You are still waiting in the dark?

YNIOLD.

I have brought a light, little mother, a big light!... [_He lifts
the lamp and looks at_ MELISANDE.] You have been weeping, little
mother?... You have been, weeping?... [_He lifts the lamp toward_
PELLEAS _and looks in turn at him._] You too, you too, you have been
weeping?... Little father, look, little father; they have both been
weeping....

GOLAUD.

Do not hold the light under their eyes so....



SCENE II.--_One of the towers of the castle.--watchman's round passes
under a window in the tower._


MELISANDE _(at the window, combing her unbound hair)._

  My long locks fall foaming
    To the threshold of the tower,--
  My locks await your coming
    All along the tower,
    And all the long, long hour,
    And all the long, long hour.

  _Saint Daniel and Saint Michael,_
  _Saint Michael and Saint Raphael._

  I was born on a Sunday,
    A Sunday at high noon....

_Enter_ PELLEAS _by the watchman's round._

PELLEAS.

Hola! Hola! ho!...

MELISANDE.

Who is there?

PELLEAS.

I, I, and I!... What art thou doing there at the window, singing like
a bird that is not native here?

MELISANDE.

I am doing my hair for the night...

PELLEAS.

Is it that I see upon the wall?... I thought you had some light....

MELISANDE.

I have opened the window; it is too hot in the tower.... It is
beautiful to-night....

PELLEAS.

There are innumerable stars; I have never seen so many as to-night;...
but the moon is still upon the sea.... Do not stay in the shadow,
Melisande; lean forward a little till I see your unbound hair....

MELISANDE.

I am frightful so....
                                            [_She learn out at the window._

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! Melisande!... oh, thou art beautiful!... thou art beautiful
so!... Lean out! lean out!... Let me come nearer thee....

MELISANDE

I cannot come nearer thee.... I am leaning out as far as I can....

PELLEAS.

I cannot come up higher;... give me at least thy hand to-night ...
before I go away.... I leave to-morrow....

MELISANDE.

No, no, no!...

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes, yes; I leave, I shall leave to-morrow.... Give me thy hand,
thy hand, thy little hand upon my lips....

MELISANDE.

I give thee not my hand if thou wilt leave....

PELLEAS.

Give, give, give!...

MELISANDE.

Thou wilt not leave?...

PELLEAS.

I will wait; I will wait....

MELISANDE.

I see a rose in the shadows....

PELLEAS.

Where?... I see only the boughs of the willow hanging over the
wall....

MELISANDE.

Further down, further down, in the garden; further down, in the sombre
green....

PELLEAS.

It is not a rose.... I will go see by and by, but give me thy hand
first; first thy hand....

MELISANDE.

There, there;... I cannot lean out further....

PELLEAS.

I cannot reach thy hand with my lips....

MELISANDE.

I cannot lean out further.... I am on the point of falling....--Oh!
oh! my hair is falling down the tower!...

[_Her tresses fall suddenly over her head, as she is leaning out so,
and stream over_ PELLEAS]

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! what is it?... Thy hair, thy hair is falling down to me!...
All thy locks, Melisande, all thy locks have fallen down the tower!...
I hold them in my hands; I hold them in my mouth.... I hold them in
my arms; I put them about my neck.... I will not open my hands again
to-night....

MELISANDE.

Let me go! let me go!... Thou wilt make me fall!...

PELLEAS.

No, no, no;... I have never seen such hair as thine, Melisande!...
See, see, see; it comes from so high and yet it floods me to the
heart!... And yet it floods me to the knees!... And it is sweet, sweet
as if it fell from heaven!... I see the sky no longer through thy
locks. Thou seest, thou seest?... I can no longer hold them with both
hands; there are some on the boughs of the willow.... They are alive
like birds in my hands,... and they love me, they love me more than
thou!...

MELISANDE.

Let me go; let me go!... Some one might come....

PELLEAS.

No, no, no; I shall not set thee free to-night.... Thou art my
prisoner to-night; all night, all night!...

MELISANDE.

Pelleas! Pelleas!...

PELLEAS.

I tie them, I tie them to the willow boughs.... Thou shalt not go away
now;... thou shalt not go away now.... Look, look, I am kissing thy
hair.... I suffer no more in the midst of thy hair.... Hearest thou my
kisses along thy hair?... They mount along thy hair.... Each hair must
bring thee some.... Thou seest, thou seest, I can open my hands.... My
hands are free, and thou canst not leave me now....

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! thou hurtest me.... [_Doves come out of the tower and fly
about them in the night._]--What is that, Pelleas?--What is it flying
about me?

PELLEAS.

It is the doves coming oat of the tower.... I have frightened them;
they are flying away....

MELISANDE.

It is my doves, Pelleas.--Let us go away, let me go; they will not
come back again....

PELLEAS.

Why will they not come back again?

MELISANDE

They will be lost in the dark.... Let me go; let me lift my head....
I hear a noise of footsteps.... Let me go!--It is Golaud!... I believe
it is Golaud!... He has heard us....

PELLEAS.

Wait! Wait!... Thy hair is about the boughs.... It is caught there in
the darkness.... Wait, wait!... It is dark....

_Enter_ GOLAUD, _by the watchman's round._

GOLAUD.

What do you here?

PELLEAS.

What do I here?... I....

GOLAUD.

You are children.... Melisande, do not lean out so at the window; you
will fall.... Do you not know it is late?--It is nearly midnight.--Do
not play so in the darkness.--You are children.... [_Laughing
nervously._] What children!... What children!...
                                                     [_Exit, with_ PELLEAS.




SCENE III.--_The-vaults of the castle.


Enter_ GOLAUD _and_ PELLEAS.

GOLAUD.

Take care; this way, this way.--You have never penetrated into these
vaults?

PELLEAS.

Yes; once, of old; but it was long ago....

GOLAUD.

They are prodigious great; it is a succession of enormous crypts that
end, God knows where. The whole castle is builded on these crypts. Do
you smell the deathly odor that reigns here?--That is what I wished,
to show you. In my opinion, it comes from the little underground lake
I am going to have you see. Take care; walk before me, in the light of
my lantern. I will warn you when we are there, [_They continue to walk
in silence._] Hey! hey! Pelleas! stop! stop!--[_He seizes him by the
arm._] For God's sake!... Do you not see?--One step more, and you had
been in the gulf!...

PELLEAS

But I did not see it!... The lantern no longer lighted me....

GOLAUD.

I made a misstep.... but if I had not held you by the arm.... Well,
this is the stagnant water that I spoke of to you.... Do you
perceive the smell of death that rises?--Let us go to the end of this
overhanging rock, and do you lean over a little. It will strike you in
the face.

PELLEAS.

I smell it already;... you would say a smell of the tomb.

GOLAUD.

Further, further.... It is this that on certain days has poisoned
the castle. The King will not believe it comes from here.--The crypt
should be walled up in which this standing water is found. It is time,
besides, to examine these vaults a little. Have you noticed those
lizards on the walls and pillars of the vaults?--There is a labor
hidden here you would not suspect; and the whole castle will be
swallowed up one of these nights, if it is not looked out for. But
what will you have? nobody likes to come down this far.... There are
strange lizards in many of the walls.... Oh! here ... do you perceive
the smell of death that rises?

PELLEAS.

Yes; there is a smell of death rising about us....

GOLAUD.

Lean over; have no fear.... I will hold you ... give me ... no, no,
not your hand ... it might slip ... your arm, your arm!... Do you see
the gulf? [_Moved._]--Pelleas? Pelleas?...

PELLEAS.

Yes; I think I see the bottom of the gulf.... Is it the light that
trembles so?... You ... [_He straightens up, turns, and looks at_
GOLAUD.]

GOLAUD (_with a trembling voice_).

Yes; it is the lantern.... See, I shook it to lighten the walls....

PELLEAS.

I stifle here;... let us go out....

GOLAUD.

Yes; let us go out....
                                                      [_Exeunt in silence._




SCENE IV.--_A terrace at the exit of the vaults. Enter_ GOLAUD _and_
PELLEAS.


PELLEAS.

Ah! I breathe at last!... I thought, one moment, I was going to be ill
in those enormous crypts; I was on the point of falling.... There is
a damp air there, heavy as a leaden dew, and darkness thick as a
poisoned paste.... And now, all the air of all the sea!... There is a
fresh wind, see; fresh as a leaf that has just opened, over the little
green waves.... Hold! the flowers have just been watered at the foot
of the terrace, and the smell of the verdure and the wet roses comes
up to us.... It must be nearly noon; they are already in the shadow of
the tower.... It is noon; I hear the bells ringing, and the children
are going down to the beach to bathe.... I did not know that we had
stayed so long in the caverns....

GOLAUD.

We went down towards eleven o'clock....

PELLEAS.

Earlier; it must have been earlier; I heard it strike half-past ten.

GOLAUD.

Half-past ten or a quarter to eleven....

PELLEAS.

They have opened all the windows of the castle. It will be unusually
hot this afternoon.... Look, there is mother with Melisande at a
window of the tower....

GOLAUD.

Yes; they have taken refuge on the shady side.--Speaking of Melisande,
I heard what passed and what was said last night. I am quite aware all
that is but child's play; but it need not be repeated. Melisande is
very young and very impressionable; and she must be treated the more
circumspectly that she is perhaps with child at this moment.... She
is very delicate, hardly woman; and the least emotion might bring on
a mishap. It is not the first time I have noticed there might be
something between you.... You are older than she; it will suffice to
have told you.... Avoid her as much as possible; without affectation
moreover; without affectation....--What is it I see yonder on the
highway toward the forest?...

PELLEAS.

Some herds they are leading to the city....

GOLAUD.

They cry like lost children; you would say they smelt the butcher
already.--It will be time for dinner.--What a fine day! What a capital
day for the harvest!...
                                                                 [_Exeunt._




SCENE V.--_Before the castle._


_Enter_ GOLAUD _and little_ YNIOLD.

GOLAUD.

Come, we are going to sit down here, Yniold; sit on my knee; we shall
see from here what passes in the forest. I do not see you any more
at all now. You abandon me too; you are always at little mother's....
Why, we are sitting just under little mother's windows.--Perhaps she
is saying her evening prayer at this moment.... But tell me, Yniold,
she is often with your uncle Pelleas, isn't she?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; always, little father; when you are not there, little
father....

GOLAUD.

Ah!--look; some one is going by with a lantern in the garden.--But I
have been told they did not like each other.... It seems they often
quarrel;... no? Is it true?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; it is true.

GOLAUD.

Yes?--Ah! ah!--But what do they quarrel about?

YNIOLD.

About the door.

GOLAUD.

What? about the door?--What are you talking about?--No, come, explain
yourself; why do they quarrel about the door?

YNIOLD.

Because it won't stay open.

GOLAUD.

Who wants it to stay open?--Come, why do they quarrel?

YNIOLD.

I don't know, little father; about the light.

GOLAUD.

I am not talking to you about the light; we will talk of that by and
by. I am talking to you about the door. Answer what I ask you; you
must learn to talk; it is time.... Do not put your hand in your mouth
so;... come....

YNIOLD.

Little father! little father!... I won't do it any more.... [_He
cries._]

GOLAUD.

Come; what are you crying for now? What has happened?

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! little father, you hurt me....

GOLAUD.

I hurt you?--Where did I hurt you? I did not mean to....

YNIOLD.

Here, here; on my little arm....

GOLAUD.

I did not mean to; come, don't cry any more, and I will give you
something to-morrow.

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

A quiver and some arrows; but tell me what you know about the door.

YNIOLD.

Big arrows?

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes; very big arrows.--But why don't they want the door to be
open?--Come, answer me sometime!--no, no; do not open your mouth to
cry. I am not angry. We are going to have a quiet talk, like Pelleas
and little mother when they are together. What do they talk about when
they are together?

YNIOLD.

Pelleas and little mother?

GOLAUD.

Yes; what do they talk about?

YNIOLD.

About me; always about me.

GOLAUD.

And what do they say about you?

YNIOLD.

They say I am going to be very big.

GOLAUD.

Oh, plague of my life!... I am here like a blind man searching for
his treasure at the bottom of the ocean!... I am here like a new-born
child lost in the forest, and you ... Come, come, Yniold, I was
wandering; we are going to talk seriously. Do Pelleas and little
mother never speak of me when I am not there?...

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; they are always speaking of you.

GOLAUD.

Ah!... And what do they say of me?

YNIOLD.

They say I shall grow as big as you are.

GOLAUD.

You are always by them?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, always, always, little father.

GOLAUD.

They never tell you to go play somewhere else?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are afraid when I am not there.

GOLAUD.

They are afraid?... What makes you think they are afraid?

YNIOLD.

Little mother always says, "Don't go away; don't go away!"... They are
unhappy, but they laugh....

GOLAUD.

But that does not prove they are afraid.

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; she is afraid....

GOLAUD.

Why do you say she is afraid?

YNIOLD.

They always weep in the dark.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!...

YNIOLD.

That makes one weep too.

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes!...

YNIOLD.

She is pale, little father.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!... patience, my God, patience!...

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing, my child.--I saw a wolf go by in the forest.--Then
they get on well together?--I am glad to learn they are on good
terms.--They kiss each other sometimes--No?...

YNIOLD.

Kiss each other, little father?--No, no,--ah! yes, little father, yes;
yes; once ... once when it rained....

GOLAUD.

They kissed?--But how, how did they kiss?

YNIOLD.

So, little father, so!... [_He gives him a kiss on the mouth,
laughing._] Ah! ah! your beard, little father!... It pricks! it
pricks! it pricks! It is getting all gray, little father, and your
hair, too; all gray, all gray, all gray.... [_The window under which
they are sitting is lighted up at this moment, and the light falls
upon them._] Ah! ah! little mother has lit her lamp. It is light,
little father; it is light....

GOLAUD.

Yes; it is beginning to be light....

YNIOLD.

Let us go there too, little father; let us go there too....

GOLAUD.

Where do you want to go?

YNIOLD.

Where it is light, little father.

GOLAUD.

No, no, my child; let us stay in the dark a little longer.... One
cannot tell, one cannot tell yet.... Do you see those poor people down
there trying to kindle a little fire in the forest?--It has rained.
And over there, do you see the old gardener trying to lift that tree
the wind has blown down across the road?--He cannot; the tree is too
big; the tree is too heavy, and it will lie where it fell. All that
cannot be helped.... I think Pelleas is mad....

YNIOLD.

No, little father, he is not mad; he is very good.

GOLAUD.

Do you want to see little mother?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; I want to see her!

GOLAUD.

Don't make any noise; I am going to hoist you up to the window. It is
too high for me, for all I am so big.... [_He lifts the child._] Do
not make the least noise; little mother would be terribly afraid....
Do you see her?--Is she in the room?

YNIOLD.

Yes.... Oh, how light it is!

GOLAUD.

She is alone?

YNIOLD.

Yes;... no, no; Uncle Pelleas Is there, too.

GOLAUD.

He--...!

YNIOLD.

Ah! ah! little father! you have hurt me!...

GOLAUD.

It is nothing; be still; I will not do it any more; look, look,
Yniold!... I stumbled; speak lower. What are they doing?--

YNIOLD.

They are not doing anything, little father; they are waiting for
something.

GOLAUD.

Are they near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.

GOLAUD.

And ... and the bed? are they near the bed?

YNIOLD.

The bed, little father?--I can't see the bed.

GOLAUD.

Lower, lower; they will hear you. Are they speaking?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not speak.

GOLAUD.

But what are they doing?--They must be doing something....

YNIOLD.

They are looking at the light.

GOLAUD.

Both?

YNIOLD.

Yes, little father.

GOLAUD.

They do not say anything?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not close their eyes.

GOLAUD.

They do not come near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not stir.

GOLAUD.

They are sitting down?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are standing upright against the wall.

GOLAUD.

They make no gestures?--They do not look at each other?--They make no
signs?...

YNIOLD.

No, little father.--Oh! oh! little father; they never close their
eyes.... I am terribly afraid....

GOLAUD.

Be still. They do not stir yet?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.--I am afraid, little father; let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Why, what are you afraid of?--Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

I dare not look any more, little father!... Let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! I am going to cry, little father!--Let me come down! let me
come down!,..

GOLAUD.

Come; we will go see what has happened.
                                                                 [_Exeunt._




ACT FOURTH




SCENE I.--_A corridor in the castle._


_Enter_ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE, _meeting_.

PELLEAS.

Where goest thou? I must speak to thee to-night. Shall I see thee?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

I have just left my father's room. He is getting better. The physician
has told us he is saved.... And yet this morning I had a presentiment
this day would end ill. I have had a rumor of misfortune in my ears
for some time.... Then, all at once there was a great change; to-day
it is no longer anything but a question of time. All the windows in
his room have been thrown open. He speaks; he seems happy. He does not
speak yet like an ordinary man, but already his ideas no longer all
come from the other world.... He recognized me. He took my hand and
said with that strange air he has had since he fell sick: "Is it thou,
Pelleas? Why, why, I had not noticed it before, but thou hast the
grave and friendly look of those who will not live long.... You must
travel; you must travel...." It is strange; I shall obey him.... My
mother listened to him and wept for joy.--Hast thou not been aware of
it?--The whole house seems already to revive, you hear breathing, you
hear speaking, you hear walking.... Listen; I hear some one speaking
behind that door. Quick, quick! answer quickly! where shall I see
thee?

MELISANDE.

Where wouldst thou?

PELLEAS.

In the park; near "Blind Man's Spring."--Wilt thou?--Wilt thou come?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

It will be the last night;--I am going to travel, as my father said.
Thou wilt not see me more....

MELISANDE.

Do not say that, Pelleas.... I shall see thee always; I shall look
upon thee always....

PELLEAS.

Thou wilt look in vain.... I shall be so far away thou couldst no
longer see me.... I shall try to go very far away.... I am full of
joy, and you would say I had all the weight of heaven and earth on my
body to-day....

MELISANDE.

What has happened, Pelleas?--I no longer understand what you say....

PELLEAS.

Go, go; let us separate. I hear some one speaking behind that door....
It is the strangers who came to the castle this morning.... They are
going out.... Let us go; it is the strangers....       [_Exeunt severally._




SCENE II.--_An apartment in the castle._ ARKEL _and_ MELISANDE
_discovered._


ARKEL.

Now that Pelleas's father is saved, and sickness, the old handmaid of
Death, has left the castle, a little joy and a little sunlight will
at last come into the house again.... It was time!--For, since thy
coming, we have only lived here whispering about a closed room.... And
truly I have pitied thee, Melisande.... Thou camest here all joyous,
like a child seeking a gala-day, and at the moment thou enteredst in
the vestibule I saw thy face change, and probably thy soul, as the
face changes in spite of us when we enter at noon into a grotto too
gloomy and too cold.... And since,--since, on account of all that, I
have often no longer understood thee.... I observed thee, thou went
there, listless perhaps, but with the strange, astray look of one
awaiting ever a great trouble, in the sunlight, in a beautiful
garden.... I cannot explain.... But I was sad to see thee so; for thou
art too young and too beautiful to live already day and night under
the breath of death.... But now all that will change. At my age,--and
there perhaps is the surest fruit of my life,--at my age I have gained
I know not what faith in the fidelity of events, and I have always
seen that every young and beautiful being creates about itself young,
beautiful, and happy events.... And it is thou who wilt now open the
door for the new era I have glimpses of.... Come here; why dost thou
stay there without answering and without lifting thine eyes?--I have
kissed thee but once only hitherto,--the day of thy coming; and yet
old men need sometimes to touch with their lips a woman's forehead or
a child's cheek, to believe still in the freshness of life and avert
awhile the menaces.... Art thou afraid of my old lips? How I have
pitied thee these months!...

MELISANDE.

Grandfather, I have not been unhappy....

ARKEL.

Perhaps you were of those who are unhappy without knowing it,... and
they are the most unhappy.... Let me look at thee, so, quite near, a
moment;... we have such need of beauty beside Death....

_Enter_ GOLAUD.

GOLAUD.

Pelleas leaves to-night.

ARKEL.

Thou hast blood on thy forehead.--What hast thou done?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing.... I have passed through a hedge of thorns.

MELISANDE.

Bend down your head a little, my lord.... I will wipe your
forehead....

GOLAUD (_repulsing her_).

I will not that you touch me, do you understand? Go, go!--I am not
speaking to you.--Where is my sword?--I came to seek my sword....

MELISANDE.

Here; on the praying-stool.

GOLAUD.

Bring it. [_To_ ARKEL.]--They have just found another peasant dead of
hunger, along by the sea. You would say they all meant to die under
our eyes.--[_To_ MELISANDE.] Well, my sword?--Why do you tremble
so?--I am not going to kill you. I would simply examine the blade. I
do not employ the sword for these uses. Why do you examine me like a
beggar?--I do not come to ask alms of you. You hope to see something
in my eyes without my seeing anything in yours?--Do you think I may
know something?--[_To_ ARKEL.]--Do you see those great eyes?--It is as
if they were proud of their richness....

ARKEL.

I see there only a great innocence....

GOLAUD.

A great innocence!... They are greater than innocence!... They are
purer than the eyes of a lamb.... They would give God lessons in
innocence! A great innocence! Listen: I am so near them I feel the
freshness of their lashes when they wink; and yet I am less far away
from the great secrets of the other world than from the smallest
secret of those eyes!... A great innocence!... More than innocence!
You would say the angels of heaven celebrated there an eternal
baptism!... I know those eyes! I have seen them at their work! Close
them! close them! or I shall close them for a long while!...--Do
not put your right hand to your throat so; I am saying a very simple
thing.... I have no under-thought.... If I had an under-thought, why
should I not say it? Ah! ah!--do not attempt to flee!--Here!--Give
me that hand!--Ah! your hands are too hot.... Go away! Your flesh
disgusts me!... Here!--There is no more question of fleeing now!--[_He
seizes her by the hair._]--You shall follow me on your knees!--On your
knees!--On your knees before me!--Ah! ah! your long hair serves
some purpose at last!... Right,... left!--Left,... right!--Absalom!
Absalom.--Forward! back! To the ground! to the ground!... You see, you
see; I laugh already like an old man....

ARKEL (_running up_).

Golaud!...

GOLAUD (_affecting a sudden calm_).

You will do as you may please, look you.--I attach no importance
to that.--I am too old; and, besides, I am not a spy. I shall await
chance; and then ... Oh! then!... simply because it is the custom;
simply because it is the custom....                                [_Exit._

ARKEL.

What ails him?--He is drunk?

MELISANDE (_in tears_).

No, no; he does not love me any more.... I am not happy!... I am not
happy!...

ARKEL.

If I were God, I would have pity on men's hearts....




SCENE III.--_A terrace of the castle. Little_ YNIOLD _discovered,
trying to lift a bowlder._


LITTLE YNIOLD.

Oh, this stone is heavy!... It is heavier than I am.... It is
heavier than everybody.... It is heavier than everything that ever
happened.... I can see my golden ball between the rock and this
naughty stone, and I cannot reach it.... My little arm is not long
enough,... and this stone won't be lifted.... I can't lift it,... and
nobody could lift it.... It is heavier than the whole house;... you
would think it had roots in the earth.... [_The Bleatings of a flock
heard far away._]--Oh! oh! I hear the sheep crying.... [_He goes to
look, at the edge of the terrace._] Why! there is no more sun.... They
are coming ... the little sheep ... they are coming.... There is a lot
of them!... There is a lot of them!... They are afraid of the dark....
They crowd together! they crowd together!... They can hardly walk any
more.... They are crying! they are crying! and they go quick!... They
go quick!... They are already at the great crossroads. Ah! ah! They
don't know where they ought to go any more.... They don't cry any
more.... They wait.... Some of them want to go to the right....
They all want to go to the right.... They cannot!... The shepherd is
throwing earth at them.... Ah! ah! They are going to pass by here....
They obey! They obey! They are going to pass under the terrace....
They are going to pass under the rocks.... I am going to see them near
by.... Oh! oh! what a lot of them!... What a lot of them!... The
whole road is full of them.... They all keep still now ... Shepherd!
shepherd! why don't they speak any more?

THE SHEPHERD (_who is out of sight_).

Because it is no longer the road to the stable....

YNIOLD.

Where are they going?--Shepherd! shepherd!--where are they going?--He
doesn't hear me any more. They are too far away already.... They go
quick.... They are not making a noise any more.... It is no longer the
road to the stable.... Where are they going to sleep to-night?--Oh!
oh!--It is too dark.... I am going to tell something to somebody....
                                                                   [_Exit._




SCENE IV.--_A fountain in the park._


_Enter_ PELLEAS.

PELLEAS.

It is the last evening ... the last evening. It must all end. I have
played like a child about a thing I did not guess.... I have played
a-dream about the snares of fate.... Who has awakened me all at once?
I shall flee, crying out for joy and woe like a blind man fleeing
from his burning house.... I am going to tell her I shall flee....
My father is out of danger; and I have no more reason to lie to
myself.... It is late; she does not come.... I should do better to
go away without seeing her again.... I must look well at her this
time.... There are some things that I no longer recall.... It seems at
times as if I had not seen her for a hundred years.... And I have not
yet looked upon her look.... There remains nought to me if I go away
thus. And all those memories ... it is as if I were to take away a
little water in a muslin bag.... I must see her one last time, to the
bottom of her heart.... I must tell her all that I have never told
her.

_Enter_ MELISANDE.

MELISANDE.

Pelleas!

Melisande!--Is it thou, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

Come hither; do not stay at the edge of the moonlight.--Come hither.
We have so many things to tell each other.... Come hither in the
shadow of the linden.

MELISANDE.

Let me stay in the light....

PELLEAS.

We might be seen from the windows of the tower. Come hither; here, we
have nothing to fear.--Take care; we might be seen....

MELISANDE.

I wish to be seen....

PELLEAS.

Why, what doth ail thee?--Thou wert able to come out without being
seen?

MELISANDE.

Yes; your brother slept....

PELLEAS.

It is late.--In an hour they will close the gates. We must be careful.
Why art thou come so late?

MELISANDE.

Your brother had a bad dream. And then my gown was caught on the nails
of the gate. See, it is torn. I lost all this time, and ran....

PELLEAS.

My poor Melisande!... I should almost be afraid to touch thee.... Thou
art still out of breath, like a hunted bird.... It is for me, for me,
thou doest all that?... I hear thy heart beat as if it were mine....
Come hither ... nearer, nearer me....

MELISANDE.

Why do you laugh?

PELLEAS.

I do not laugh;--or else I laugh for joy, unwittingly.... It were a
weeping matter, rather....

MELISANDE.

We have come here before.... I recollect....

PELLEAS.

Yes ... yes.... Long months ago.--I knew not then.... Knowest thou why
I asked thee to come here to-night?

MELISANDE.

No.

PELLEAS.

It is perhaps the last time I shall see thee.... I must go away
forever....

MELISANDE.

Why sayest thou always thou wilt go away?...

PELLEAS.

I must tell thee what thou knowest already?--Thou knowest not what I
am going to tell thee?

MELISANDE.

Why, no; why, no; I know nothing--...

PELLEAS.

Thou knowest not why I must go afar.... Thou knowest not it is
because ... [_He kisses her abruptly._] I love thee....

MELISANDE (_in a low voice_).

I love thee too....

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! What saidst thou, Melisande?... I hardly heard it!... Thou
sayest that in a voice coming from the end of the world!... I hardly
heard thee.... Thou lovest me?--Thou lovest me too?... Since when
lovest thou me?...

MELISANDE.

Since always.... Since I saw thee....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice seems to have blown across the
sea in spring!... I have never heard it until now;... one would say
it had rained on my heart!... Thou sayest that so frankly!... Like an
angel questioned!... I cannot believe it, Melisande!... Why shouldst
thou love me?--Nay, why dost thou love me?--Is what thou sayest
true?--Thou dost not mock me?--Thou dost not lie a little, to make me
smile?...

MELISANDE.

No; I never lie; I lie but to thy brother....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice! thy voice!... It is cooler and
more frank than the water is!... It is like pure water on my lips!...
It is like pure water on my hands.... Give me, give me thy hands!...
Oh, how small thy hands are!... I did not know thou wert so
beautiful!... I have never seen anything so beautiful before thee....
I was fall of unrest; I sought throughout the house.... I sought
throughout the country.... And I found not beauty.... And now I have
found thee!... I have found thee!.,. I do not think there could be on
the earth a fairer woman!... Where art thou?--I no longer hear thee
breathe....

MELISANDE.

Because I look on thee....

PELLEAS.

Why dost thou look so gravely on me?--We are already in the
shadow.--It is too dark under this tree. Come into the light. We
cannot see how happy we are. Come, come; so little time remains to
us....

MELISANDE.

No, no; let us stay here.... I am nearer thee in the dark....

PELLEAS.

Where are thine eyes?--Thou art not going to fly me?--Thou dost not
think of me just now.

MELISANDE.

Oh, yes; oh, yes; I only think of thee....

PELLEAS.

Thou wert looking elsewhere....

MELISANDE.

I saw thee elsewhere....

PELLEAS.

Thy soul is far away.... What ails thee, then?--Meseems thou art not
happy....

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I am happy, but I am sad....

PELLEAS.

One is sad often when one loves....

MELISANDE.

I weep always when I think of thee....

PELLEAS.

I too.... I too, Melisande.... I am quite near thee; I weep for joy,
and yet ...[_He kisses her again._]--Thou art strange when I kiss thee
so.... Thou art so beautiful that one would think thou wert about to
die....

MELISANDE.

Thou too....

PELLEAS.

There, there.... We do not what we will.... I did not love thee the
first time I saw thee....

MELISANDE.

Nor I ... nor I.... I was afraid....

PELLEAS.

I could not admit thine eyes.... I would have gone away at once ...
and then....

MELISANDE.

And I,--I would not have come.... I do not yet know why,--I was afraid
to come....

PELLEAS.

There are so many things one never knows. We are ever waiting; and
then.... What is that noise?--They are closing the gates!...

MELISANDE.

Yes, they have closed the gates....

PELLEAS.

We cannot go back now?--Hearest thou the bolts?--Listen! listen!...
the great chains!... the great chains!... It is too late; it is too
late!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

Thou--...? Behold, behold!... It is no longer we who will it so!...
All's lost, all's saved! all is saved to-night!--Come, come.... My
heart beats like a madman,--up to my very throat.... [_They embrace._]
Listen! listen! my heart is almost strangling me.... Come! come!...
Ah, how beautiful it is in the shadows!...

MELISANDE.

There is some one behind us!...

PELLEAS.

I see no one....

MELISANDE.

I heard a noise....

PELLEAS.

I hear only thy heart in the dark....

MELISANDE.

I heard the crackling of dead leaves....

PELLEAS.

Because the wind is silent all at once.... It fell as we were
kissing....

MELISANDE.

How long our shadows are to-night!...

PELLEAS.

They embrace to the very end of the garden. Oh, how they kiss far away
from us!... Look! look!...

MELISANDE.(_a stifled voice_).

A-a-h!--He is behind a tree!

PELLEAS.

Who?

MELISANDE.

Golaud!

PELLEAS.

Golaud!--where?--I see nothing....

MELISANDE.

There ... at the end of our shadows.

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; I saw him.... Let us not turn abruptly....

MELISANDE.

He has his sword....

PELLEAS.

I have not mine....

MELISANDE.

He saw us kiss....

PELLEAS.

He does not know we have seen him.... Do not stir; do not turn your
head.... He would rush headlong on us.... He will remain there while
he thinks we do not know. He watches us.... He is still motionless....
Go, go at once this way.... I will wait for him.... I will stop
him....

MELISANDE.

No, no, no!...

PELLEAS.

Go! go! he has seen all!... He will kill us!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

He comes! he comes!... Thy mouth!... Thy mouth!...

MELISANDE.

Yes!... yes! yes!...
                                                  [_They kiss desperately._

PELLEAS

Oh! oh! All the stars are falling!...

MELISANDE.

Upon me too! upon me too!...

PELLEAS.

Again! Again!... Give! give!...

MELISANDE.

All! all! all!...

    [Golaud rushes upon them, sword in hand, and strikes Pelleas, who
    falls at the brink of the fountain. Melisande flees terrified.]

MELISANDE. (_fleeing_).

Oh! oh! I have no courage I ... I have no courage!...

                         [GOLAUD _pursues her through the wood in silence._




ACT FIFTH.




SCENE I.--_A lower hall in the castle. The women servants discovered,
gathered together, while without children are playing before one of
the ventilators of the hall._


AN OLD SERVANT.

You will see, you will see, my daughters; it will be to-night.--Some
one will come to tell us by and by....

ANOTHER SERVANT.

They will not come to tell us.... They don't know what they are doing
any longer....

THIRD SERVANT.

Let us wait here....

FOURTH SERVANT.

We shall know well enough when we must go up....

FIFTH SERVANT.

When the time is come, we shall go up of ourselves....

SIXTH SERVANT.

There is no longer a sound heard in the house....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still, who are playing before the
ventilator.

EIGHTH SERVANT.

They will be still of themselves by and by.

NINTH SERVANT.

The time has not yet come....

_Enter an old Servant._

THE OLD SERVANT.

No one can go in the room any longer. I have listened more than
an hour.... You could hear the flies walk on the doors.... I heard
nothing....

FIRST SERVANT.

Has she been left alone in the room?

THE OLD SERVANT.

No, no; I think the room is full of people.

FIRST SERVANT.

They will come, they will come, by and by....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Lord! Lord! It is not happiness that has come into the house.... One
may not speak, but if I could say what I know...

SECOND SERVANT.

It was you who found them before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Why, yes! why, yes! it was I who found them. The porter says it was
he who saw them first; but it was I who waked them. He was sleeping on
his face and would not get up.--And now he comes saying, "It was I who
saw them first." Is that just?--See, I burned myself lighting a lamp
to go down cellar.--Now what was I going to do down cellar?--I can't
remember any more what I was going to do down cellar.--At any rate I
got up very early; it was not yet very light; I said to myself, I will
go across the courtyard, and then I will open the gate. Good; I
go down the stairs on tiptoe, and I open the gate as if it were an
ordinary gate.... My God! My God! What do I see? Divine a little what
I see!...

FIRST SERVANT.

They were before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

They were both stretched out before the gate!... Exactly like poor
folk that are too hungry.... They were huddled together like little
children who are afraid.... The little princess was nearly dead, and
the great Golaud had still his sword in his side.... There was blood
on the sill....

SECOND SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still.... They are screaming with
all their might before the ventilator....

THIRD SERVANT.

You can't hear yourself speak....

FOURTH SERVANT.

There is nothing to be done: I have tried already; they won't keep
still....

FIRST SERVANT.

It seems he is nearly cured?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Who?

FIRST SERVANT.

The great Golaud.

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; they have taken him to his wife's room. I met them just
now, in the corridor. They were holding him up as if he were drunk. He
cannot yet walk alone.

THE OLD SERVANT.

He could not kill himself; he is too big. But she is hardly wounded,
and it is she who is going to die.... Can you understand that?

FIRST SERVANT.

You have seen the wound?

THE OLD SERVANT.

As I see you, my daughter.--I saw everything, you understand.... I saw
it before all the others.... A tiny little wound under her little left
breast,--a little wound that wouldn't kill a pigeon. Is it natural?

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; there is something underneath....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes; but she was delivered of her babe three days ago....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Exactly!... She was delivered on her death-bed; is that a little
sign?--And what a child! Have you seen it?--A wee little girl a beggar
would not bring into the world.... A little wax figure that came much
too soon;... a little wax figure that must live in lambs' wool....
Yes, yes; it is not happiness that has come into the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; it Is the hand of God that has been stirring....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes, yes; all that did not happen without reason....

THIRD SERVANT.

It is as good lord Pelleas ... where is he?--No one knows....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; everybody knows.... But nobody dare speak of it.... One does
not speak of this;... one does not speak of that;... one speaks no
more of anything;... one no longer speaks truth.... But _I_ know he
was found at the bottom of Blind Man's Spring;... but no one, no one
could see him.... Well, well, we shall only know all that at the last
day....

FIRST SERVANT.

I dare not sleep here any longer....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; once ill-fortune is in the house, one keeps silence in
vain....

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes; it finds you all the same....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; but we do not go where we would....

FOURTH SERVANT.

Yes, yes; we do not do what we would....

FIRST SERVANT.

They are afraid of us now....

SECOND SERVANT.

They all keep silence....

THIRD SERVANT.

They cast down their eyes in the corridors.

FOURTH SERVANT.

They do not speak any more except in a low voice.

FIFTH SERVANT.

You would think they had all done it together.

SIXTH SERVANT.

One doesn't know what they have done....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

What is to be done when the masters are afraid?...            [_A silence_.

FIRST SERVANT.

I no longer hear the children screaming.

SECOND SERVANT.

They are sitting down before the ventilator.

THIRD SERVANT.

They are huddled against each other.

THE OLD SERVANT.

I no longer hear anything in the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

You no longer even hear the children breathe....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Come, come; it is time to go up....
                                                      [_Exeunt in silence._




SCENE II.--_An apartment in the castle._


ARKEL, GOLAUD, _and the_ PHYSICIAN _discovered in one corner of the
room._ MELISANDE _is stretched upon her bed._

THE PHYSICIAN.

It cannot be of that little wound she is dying; a bird would not have
died of it.... It is not you, then, who have killed her, good my lord;
do not be so disconsolate.... She could not have lived.... She was
born without reason ... to die; and she dies without reason.... And
then, it is not sure we shall not save her....

ARKEL.

No, no; it seems to me we keep too silent, in spite of ourselves, in
her room.... It is not a good sign.... Look how she sleeps ... slowly,
slowly;... it is as if her soul was cold forever....

GOLAUD.

I have killed her without cause! I have killed her without cause!...
Is it not enough to make the stones weep?... They had kissed like
little children.... They had simply kissed.... They were brother and
sister.... And I, and I at once!... I did it in spite of myself, look
you.... I did it in spite of myself....

THE PHYSICIAN.

Stop; I think she is waking....

MELISANDE.

Open the window;... open the window....

ARKEL

Shall I open this one, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

No, no; the great window ... the great window.... It is to see....

ARKEL.

Is not the sea air too cold to-night? Do it; do it....

MELISANDE.

Thanks.... Is it sunset?

ARKEL.

Yes; it is sunset on the sea; it is late.--How are you, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Well, well.--Why do you ask that? I have never been better.--And yet
it seems to me I know something....

ARKEL.

What sayest thou?--I do not understand thee....

MELISANDE.

Neither do I understand all I say, you see.... I do not know what I
am saying.... I do not know what I know.... I no longer say what I
would....

ARKEL.

Why, yes! why, yes!... I am quite happy to hear thee speak so; thou
hast raved a little these last days, and one no longer understood
thee.... But now all that is far away....

MELISANDE.

I do not know....--Are you all alone in the room, grandfather?

ARKEL.

No; there is the physician, besides, who cured thee....

MELISANDE.

Ah!...

ARKEL.

And then there is still some one else....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is ... thou must not be frightened.... He does not wish thee the
least harm, be sure.... If thou'rt afraid, he will go away.... He is
very unhappy....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is thy ... thy husband.... It is Golaud....

MELISANDE.

Golaud is here? Why does he not come by me?

GOLAUD (_dragging himself toward the bed._)

Melisande ... Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, Golaud? I should hardly recognize you any more.... It is
the evening sunlight in my eyes.... Why look you on the walls? You
have grown thin and old.... Is it a long while since we saw each
other?

GOLAUD (_to_ ARKEL _and the_ PHYSICIAN).

Will you withdraw a moment, if you please, if you please?... I will
leave the door wide open.... One moment only.... I would say something
to her; else I could not die.... Will you?--Go clear to the end of
the corridor; you can come back at once, at once.... Do not refuse
me this.... I am a wretch.... [_Exit_ ARKEL _and the_
PHYSICIAN.]--Melisande, hast thou pity on me, as I have pity on
thee?... Melisande?... Dost thou forgive me, Melisande?...

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes, I do forgive thee.... What must I forgive?...

GOLAUD.

I have wrought thee so much ill, Melisande.... I cannot tell thee the
ill I have wrought thee.... But I see it, I see it so clearly to-day
... since the first day.... And all I did not know till now leaps in
my eyes to-night.... And it is all my fault, all that has happened,
all that will happen.... If I could tell it, thou wouldst see as I
do!... I see all! I see all!... But I loved thee so!... I loved thee
so!... But now there is some one dying.... It is I who am dying....
And I would know.... I would ask thee.... Thou'lt bear me no
ill-will.... I would.... The truth must be told to a dying man.... He
must know the truth, or else he could not sleep.... Swearest thou to
tell me the truth?

MELISANDE

Yes.

GOLAUD.

Didst thou love Pelleas?

MELISANDE.

Why, yes; I loved him.--Where is he?

GOLAUD.

Thou dost not understand me?--Thou wilt not understand me?--It seems
to me ... it seems to me.... Well, then, here: I ask thee if thou
lovedst him with a forbidden love?... Wert thou ... were you guilty?
Say, say, yes, yes, yes!...

MELISANDE.

No, no; we were not guilty.--Why do you ask that?

GOLAUD.

Melisande!... tell me the truth, for the love of God!

MELISANDE.

Why have I not told the truth?

GOLAUD.

Do not lie so any more, at the moment of death!

MELISANDE.

Who is dying?--Is it I?

GOLAUD.

Thou, thou! and I, I too, after thee!... And we must have the
truth.... We must have the truth at last, dost thou understand?...
Tell me all! Tell me all! I forgive thee all!...

MELISANDE.

Why am I going to die?--I did not know it....

GOLAUD.

Thou knowest it now!... It is time! It is time!... Quick! quick!...
The truth! the truth!...

MELISANDE.

The truth ... the truth....

GOLAUD.

Where art thou?--Melisande!--Where art thou?--It is not natural!
Melisande! Where art thou?--Where goest thou? [_Perceiving_ ARKEL
_and the_ PHYSICIAN _at the door of the room.]--_ Yes, yes; you may
come in.... I know nothing; it is useless.... It is too late; she is
already too far away from us.... I shall never know!... I shall die
here like a blind man!...

ARKEL.

What have you done? You will kill her....

GOLAUD.

I have already killed her....

ARKEL.

Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, grandfather?

ARKEL.

Yes, my daughter.... What would you have me do?

MELISANDE.

Is it true that the winter is beginning?...

ARKEL.

Why dost thou ask?

MELISANDE.

Because it is cold, and there are no more leaves....

ARKEL.

Thou art cold?--Wilt thou have the windows closed?

MELISANDE.

No, no,... not till the sun be at the bottom of the sea.--It sinks
slowly; then it is the winter beginning?

ARKEL.

Yes.--Thou dost not like the winter?

MELISANDE.

Oh! no. I am afraid of the cold.--I am so afraid of the great cold....

ARKEL.

Dost thou feel better?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I have no longer all those qualms....

ARKEL.

Wouldst thou see thy child?

MELISANDE.

What child?

ARKEL.

Thy child.--Thou art a mother.... Thou hast brought a little daughter
into the world....

MELISANDE.

Where is she?

ARKEL.

Here....

MELISANDE.

It is strange.... I cannot lift my arms to take her....

ARKEL.

Because you are still very weak.... I will hold her myself; look....

MELISANDE.

She does not laugh.... She is little.... She is going to weep too....
I pity her....

    [The room has been invaded, little by little, by the women
    servants of the castle, who range themselves in silence along
    the walls and wait]

GOLAUD (_rising abruptly_).

What is the matter?--What are all these women coming here for?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is the servants....

ARKEL.

Who was it called them?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It was not I....

GOLAUD.

Why do you come here?--No one has asked for you.... What come you here
to do?--But what is it, then?--Answer me!...
                                            [_The servants make no answer._

ARKEL.

Do not speak too loud.... She is going to sleep; she has closed her
eyes....

GOLAUD.

It is not...?

THE PHYSICIAN.

No, no; see, she breathes....

ARKEL.

Her eyes are full of tears.--It is her soul weeping now.... Why does
she stretch her arms out so?--What would she?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is toward the child, without doubt.... It is the straggle of
motherhood against...

GOLAUD.

At this moment?--At this moment?--You must say. Say! Say!...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Perhaps.

GOLAUD.

At once?... Oh! oh! I must tell her....--Melisande! Melisande!...
Leave me alone! leave me alone with her!...

ARKEL.

No, no; do not come near.... Trouble her not.... Speak no more to
her.... You know not what the soul is....

GOLAUD.

It is not my fault!... It is not my fault!

ARKEL.

Hush!... Hush!... We must speak softly now.--She must not be
disturbed.... The human soul is very silent.... The human soul likes
to depart alone.... It suffers so timorously.... But the sadness,
Golaud ... the sadness of all we see!... Oh! oh! oh!... [_At this
moment, all the servants fall suddenly on their knees at the back of
the chamber._]

ARKEL (_turning_).

What is the matter?

THE PHYSICIAN (_approaching the bed and feeling the body_).

They are right....
                                                         [_A long silence._

ARKEL.

I saw nothing.--Are you sure?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Yes, yes.

ARKEL.

I heard nothing.... So quick, so quick!... All at once!... She goes
without a word....

GOLAUD (_sobbing_).

Oh! oh! oh!

_ARKEL._

Do not stay here, Golaud.... She must have silence now.... Come,
come.... It is terrible, but it is not your fault.... 'T was a little
being, so quiet, so fearful, and so silent.... 'T was a poor little
mysterious being, like everybody.... She lies there as if she were the
big sister of her child.... Come, come.... My God! My God!... I shall
never understand it at all.... Let us not stay here.--Come; the child
most not stay here in this room.... She must live now in her place....
It is the poor little one's turn....
                                                 [_They go out in silence._


[CURTAIN.]




Alladine and Palomides.

_To Camille Mauclair_.




Persons.


ABLAMORE.

ASTOLAINE, _daughter of Ablamore_.

ALLADINE.

PALOMIDES.

THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

A PHYSICIAN.

[NOTE: The translation of Ablamore's song is taken from the version of
this play made by the editors of "Poet-lore." R.H.]




Alladine and Palomides.

       *       *       *       *       *




ACT FIRST.

_A-wild part of the gardens_. ABLAMORE _discovered leaning over_
ALLADINE, _who is asleep_.


ABLAMORE.

Methinks sleep reigns day and night beneath these trees. Each time
she comes here with me toward nightfall, she is hardly seated when she
falls asleep. Alas! I must be glad even of that.... During the day,
whene'er I speak to her and her look happens to encounter mine, it is
hard as a slave's to whom a thing impossible has just been bidden....
Yet that is not her customary look.... I have seen her many times
resting her beautiful eyes on children, on the forest, the sea, or her
surroundings. She smiles at me as one smiles on a foe; and I dare not
bend over her save at times when her eyes can no longer see me.... I
have a few moments every evening; and all the rest of the day I live
beside her with my eyes cast down.... It is sad to love too late....
Maids cannot understand that years do not separate hearts.... They
have called me "The wise King."... I was wise because till now nothing
had happened to me.... There are men who seem to turn events aside.
It was enough that I should be about for nothing to be able to have
birth.... I had suspected it of old.... In the time of my youth, I had
many friends whose presence seemed to attract every adventure; but
the days when I went forth with them, for the encounter of joys or
sorrows, they came back again with empty hands.... I think I palsied
fate; and I long took pride in this gift. One lived under cover in my
reign.... But now I have recognized that misfortune itself is better
worth than sleep, and that there must be a life more active and higher
than waiting.... They shall see that I too have strength to trouble,
when I will, the water that seems dead at the bottom of the great
caldrons of the future.... Alladine, Alladine!... Oh! she is lovely
so, her hair over the flowers and over her pet lamb, her lips apart
and fresher than the morn.... I will kiss her without her knowing,
holding back my poor white beard.... [_He kisses her._]--She
smiled.... Should I pity her? For the few years she gives me, she will
some day be queen; and I shall have done a little good before I go
away.... They will be astonished.... She herself does not know.... Ah!
here she wakes with a start.... Where are you coming from, Alladine?

ALLADINE.

I have had a bad dream....

ABLAMORE.

What is the matter? Why do you look yonder?

ALLADINE.

Some one went by upon the road.

ABLAMORE.

I heard nothing.

ALLADINE.

I tell you some one is coming.... There he is! [_She points out a
young knight coming forward through the trees and holding his horse by
the bridle._] Do not take me by the hand; I am not afraid.... He has
not seen us....

ABLAMORE.

Who dares come here?... If I did not know.... I believe it is
Palomides.... It is Astolaine's betrothed.... He has raised his
head.... Is it you, Palomides?

_Enter_ PALOMIDES.

PALOMIDES.

Yes, my father.... If I am suffered yet to call you by that name.... I
come hither before the day and the hour....

ABLAMORE.

You are a welcome guest, whatever hour it be.... But what has
happened? We did not expect you for two days yet.... Is Astolaine
here, too?...

PALOMIDES.

No; she will come to-morrow. We have journeyed day and night. She was
tired and begged me to come on before.... Are my sisters come?

ABLAMORE.

They have been here three days waiting for your wedding.--You look
very happy, Palomides....

PALOMIDES.

Who would not be happy, to have found what he sought? I was sad of
old. But now the days seem lighter and more sweet than harmless birds
in the hand.... And if old moments come again by chance, I draw near
Astolaine, and you would think I threw a window open on the dawn....
She has a soul that can be seen around her,--that takes you in its
arms like an ailing child and without saying anything to you consoles
you for everything.... I shall never understand it at all.--I do not
know how it can all be; but my knees bend in spite of me when I speak
of it....

ALLADINE.

I want to go in again.

ABLAMORE.

[_Seeing that_ ALLADINE _and_ PALOMIDES _look at each other
stealthily._] This is little Alladine who has come hither from
the heart of Arcady.... Take hands ... Does that astonish you,
Palomides?...

PALOMIDES.

My father....

[PALOMIDES' _horse starts aside, frightening_ ALLADINE'S _lamb._]

ABLAMORE.

Take care.... Your horse has frightened Alladine's lamb.... He will
run away....

ALLADINE.

No; he never runs away.... He has been startled, but he will not
run away.... It is a lamb my godmother gave me.... He is not like
others.... He stays beside me night and day.               [_Caressing it._

PALOMIDES (_also caressing it_).

He looks at me with the eyes of a child....

ALLADINE.

He understands everything that happens....

ABLAMORE.

It is time to go find your sisters, Palomides.... They will be
astonished to see you....

ALLADINE.

They have gone every day to the turning of the road.... I have gone
with them; but they did not hope yet....

ABLAMORE.

Come; Palomides is covered with dust, and he must be weary.... We have
too many things to say to each other to talk here.... We will say them
to-morrow.... They claim the morn is wiser than the evening.... I see
the palace gates are open and seem to wait for us....

ALLADINE.

I cannot help being uneasy when I go back into the palace.... It is so
big, and I am so little, and I get lost there still.... And then
all those windows on the sea.... You cannot count them.... And the
corridors that turn without reason, and others that never turn, but
lose themselves between the walls.... And the halls I dare not go
into....

PALOMIDES.

We will go in everywhere....

ALLADINE.

You would think I was not made to dwell there,--that it was not built
for me.... Once I lost my way there.... I pushed open thirty doors,
before I found the light of day again.... And I could not go out;
the last door opened on a pool.... And the vaults that are cold all
summer; and the galleries that bend back on themselves endlessly....
There are stairways that lead nowhere and terraces from which nothing
can be seen....

ABLAMORE.

You who were not wont to talk, how you talk to-night!...
                                                                 [_Exeunt._




ACT SECOND.




SCENE I.--ALLADINE _discovered, her forehead against one of the
windows that open on the park. Enter_ ABLAMORE.


ABLAMORE.

Alladine....

ALLADINE (_turning abruptly_).

What is it?

ABLAMORE.

Oh, how pale you are!... Are you ill?

ALLADINE.

No.

ABLAMORE.

What is it in the park?--Were you looking at the avenue of fountains
that unfolds before your windows?--They are wonderful and weariless.
They were raised there one by one, at the death of each of my
daughters.... At night I hear them singing in the garden.... They
bring to mind the lives they represent, and I can tell their voices
apart....

ALLADINE.

I know.

ABLAMORE.

You must pardon me; I sometimes repeat the same things and my memory
is less trust-worthy.... It is not age; I am not an old man yet, thank
God! but kings have a thousand cares. Palomides has been telling me
his adventures....

ALLADINE.

Ah!

ABLAMORE.

He has not done what he would; young people have no will any more.--He
astonishes me. I had chosen him among a thousand for my daughter. He
should have had a soul as deep as hers.--He has done nothing which may
not be excusable, but I had hoped more.... What do you say of him?

ALLADINE.

Who?

ABLAMORE.

Palomides?

ALLADINE.

I have only seen him one evening....

ABLAMORE.

He astonishes me.--Everything has succeeded with him till now. He
would undertake a thing and accomplish it without a word.--He would
get out of danger without an effort, while others could not open a
door without finding death behind it.--He was of those whom events
seem to await on their knees. But a little while ago something
snapped. You would say he has no longer the same star, and every
step he takes carries him further from himself.--I don't know what it
is.--He does not seem to be at all aware, but others can remark it....
Let us speak of something else: look! the night comes; I see it rise
along the walls. Would you like to go together to the wood of Astolat,
as we do other evenings?

ALLADINE.

I am not going out to-night.

ABLAMORE.

We will stay here, since you prefer it so. Yet the air is sweet and
the evening very fair. [ALLADINE _starts without his noticing it._] I
have had flowers set along the hedges, and I should like to show them
to you....

ALLADINE.

No, not to-night.... If you wish me to.... I like to go there with you
... the air is pure and the trees ... but not to-night.... [_Cowers,
weeping, against the old man's breast._] I do not feel quite well....

ABLAMORE.

What is the matter? You are going to fall.... I will call....

ALLADINE.

No, no.... It is nothing.... It is over....

ABLAMORE.

Sit down. Wait....

    [He runs to the folding-doors at the back and opens both.
    Palomides is seen, seated on a bench. He has not had time to
    turn away his eyes. Ablamore looks fixedly at him, without a
    word, then re-enters the room. Palomides rises and retreats
    in the corridor, stifling the sound of his footsteps. The pet
    lamb leaves the room, unperceived.]




SCENE II.--_A drawbridge over the moats of the palace_. PALOMIDES
_and_ ALLADINE, _with her pet lamb, appear at the two ends of the
bridge._ KING ABLAMORE _leans out from a window of the tower_.


PALOMIDES.

Were you going out, Alladine?--I was coming in. I am coming back from
the chase.--It rained.

ALLADINE.

I have never passed this bridge.

PALOMIDES.

It leads to the forest. It is seldom passed. People had rather go a
long way around. I think they are afraid because the moats are deeper
at this place than elsewhere, and the black water that comes down from
the mountains boils horribly between the walls before it goes hurling
itself into the sea. It roars there always; but the quays are so high
you hardly notice it. It is the most deserted wing of the palace. But
on this side the forest is more beautiful, more ancient, and greater
than any you have seen. It is full of unusual trees and flowers that
have sprung up of themselves,--Will you come?

ALLADINE.

I do not know.... I am afraid of the roaring water.

PALOMIDES.

Come, come; it roars without reason. Look at your lamb; he looks at me
as if he wished to come.... Come, come....

ALLADINE.

Don't call him.... He will get away.

PALOMIDES.

Come, come.

    [The lamb escapes from Alladine's hands, and comes leaping toward
    Palomides, but slips on the inclined plane of the drawbridge and
    goes rolling into the moat.]

ALLADINE.

What has he done?--Where is he?

PALOMIDES.

He slipped. He is straggling in the heart of the eddy. Do not look at
him; there is nothing to be done....

ALLADINE.

You are going to save him?

PALOMIDES.

Save him? But look! he is already in the tunnel. One moment more,
and he will be under the vaults; and God himself will never see him
more....

ALLADINE.

Go away! Go away!

PALOMIDES.

What is the matter?

ALLADINE.

Go away!--I do not want to see you any more!...

    [Ablamore enters precipitately, seizes Alladine, and draws her
    away brusquely without speaking.]




SCENE III.--_A room in the palace_. ABLAMORE _and_ ALLADINE
_discovered_.


ABLAMORE.

You see, Alladine, my hands do not tremble, my heart beats like a
sleeping child's, and my voice has not once been stirred with wrath.
I bear no ill-will to Palomides, although what he has done might seem
unpardonable. And as for thee, who could bear thee ill-will? You obey
laws you do not know, and you could not act otherwise, I will not
speak to you of what took place the other day along the palace moats,
nor of all the unforeseen death of the lamb might have revealed to me,
had I believed in omens for an instant. But last night I surprised
the kiss you gave each other under the windows of Astolaine. At that
moment I was with her in her room. She has a soul that fears so much
to trouble, with a tear or with a simple movement of her eyelids, the
happiness of those about her, that I shall never know if she, as I,
surprised that wretched kiss. But I know what she has the power to
suffer. I shall not ask you anything you cannot avow to me, but I
would know if you had any secret design in following Palomides under
the window where you must have seen us. Answer me without fear; you
know beforehand I will pardon everything.

ALLADINE.

I did not kiss him.

ABLAMORE.

What? You did not kiss Palomides, and Palomides did not kiss you?

ALLADINE.

No.

ABLAMORE.

Ah!... Listen: I came here to forgive you everything.... I thought
you had acted as we almost all act, without aught of our soul
intervening.... But now I will know all that passed.... You love
Palomides, and you have kissed him under my eyes....

ALLADINE.

No.

ABLAMORE.

Don't go away. I am only an old man. Do not flee....

ALLADINE.

I am not fleeing.

ABLAMORE.

Ah! ah! You do not flee, because you think my old hands harmless! They
have yet the strength to tear a secret out in spite of all [_He seizes
her arms_.] And they could wrestle with all those you prefer.... [_He
twists her arms behind her head_.] Ah! you will not speak!... There
will yet come a time when all your soul shall spirt out like a clear
spring, for woe....

ALLADINE.

No, no!

ABLAMORE.

Again,... we are not at the end, the journey is very long--and naked
truth is hid among the rocks.... Will she come forth?... I see her
gestures in your eyes already, and her cool breath will lave my visage
soon.... Ah!... Alladine! Alladine!...[_He releases her suddenly_.]
I heard your bones cry out like little children.... I have not hurt
you?... Do not stay thus, upon your knees before me,... It is I who
go down on my knees. [_He does as he says_] I am a wretch.... You must
have pity.... It is not for myself alone I pray.... I have only one
poor daughter.... All the rest are dead.... I had seven of them
about me.... They were fair and full of happiness; and I saw them no
more.... The only one left to me is going to die, too.... She did
not love life.... But one day she encountered something she no longer
looked for, and I saw she had lost the desire to die.... I do not ask
a thing impossible.... [ALLADINE _weeps and makes no answer_.]




SCENE IV.--_The apartment of_ ASTOLAINE. ASTOLAINE _and_ PALOMIDES
_discovered_.


PALOMIDES.

Astolaine, when I met you several months ago by chance, it seemed
to me that I had found at last what I had sought for during many
years.... Till you, I did not know all that the ever tenderer goodness
and complete simplicity of a high soul might be. I was so deeply
stirred by it that it seemed to me the first time I had met a human
being. You would have said that I had lived till then in a closed
chamber which you opened for me; and all at once I knew what must be
the soul of other men and what mine might become.... Since then,
I have known you further. I have seen you act, and others too have
taught me all that you have been.

There have been evenings when I quitted you without a word, and went
to weep for wonder in a corner of the palace, because you had simply
raised your eyes, made a little unconscious gesture, or smiled for no
apparent cause, yet at the moment when all the souls about you asked
it and would be satisfied. There is but you who know these moments,
because you are, it seems, the soul of all, and I do not believe those
who have not drawn near you can know what true life is. To-day I come
to say all this to you, because I feel that I shall never be he whom
I hoped once to become.... A chance has come--or haply I myself have
come; for you can never tell if you have made a movement of yourself,
or if it be chance that has met with you--a chance has come, which has
opened my eyes, just as we were about to make each other unhappy; and
I have recognized there must be something more incomprehensible than
the beauty of the most beautiful soul or the most beautiful face; and
mightier, too, since I must needs obey it.... I do not know if you
have understood me. If you understand, have pity on me.... I have said
to myself all that could be said.... I know what I shall lose, for I
know her soul is a child's soul, a poor strengthless child's, beside
yours, and yet I cannot resist it....

ASTOLAINE.

Do not weep.... I know too that one does not do what one would do ...
nor was I ignorant that you would come.... There must indeed be
laws mightier than those of our souls, of which we always speak....
[_Kissing him abruptly_].--But I love thee the more, my poor
Palomides.

PALOMIDES.

I love thee, too ... more than her I love.... Thou weepest, as I do?

ASTOLAINE.

They are little tears.... Do not be sad for them.... I weep so,
because I am woman, but they say our tears are not painful.... You see
I can dry them already.... I knew well what it was.... I waited for
the wakening.... It has come, and I can breathe with less disquietude,
being no longer happy.... There!... We must see clearly now for you
and her. For I believe my father already has suspicions.         [_Exeunt_.




ACT THIRD.


SCENE I.--_A room in the palace_. ABLAMORE _discovered_. ASTOLAINE
_stands on the step of a half-open door at the back of the hall_.

ASTOLAINE.

Father, I have come because a voice that I no longer can resist,
commands me to. I told you all that happened in my soul when I met
Palomides. He was not like other men.... To-day I come to ask your
help ... for I do not know what should be said to him.... I have
become aware I cannot love him.... He has remained the same, and
I alone have changed, or have not understood.... And since it is
impossible for me to love, as I have dreamed of love, him I had chosen
among all, it must be that my heart is shut to these things.... I know
it to-day.... I shall look no more toward love; and you will see me
living on about you without sadness and without unrest.... I feel that
I am going to be happy....

ABLAMORE.

Come hither, Astolaine. It is not so that you were wont to speak in
the old days to your father. You wait there, on the threshold of a
door hardly ajar, as if you were ready to flee; and with your hand
upon the key, as if you would close from me forever the secret of your
heart. You know quite well I have not understood what you have just
said, and that words have no sense when souls are not within reach
of each other. Draw nearer still, and speak no more to me, [ASTOLAINE
_approaches slowly_.] There is a moment when souls touch each
other, and know all without need that one should move the lips. Draw
nearer.... They do not reach each other yet, and their radiance is
so slight about us!... [ASTOLAINE _stops_.] Thou darest not?--Thou
knowest too how far one can go?--It is I who must.... [_He approaches
Astolaine with slow step, then stops and looks long at her_.] I see
thee, Astolaine....

ASTOLAINE.

Father!... [_She sobs as she kisses the old man_.]

ABLAMORE.

You see well it was useless....




SCENE II.--_A chamber in the palace_.


_Enter_ ALLADINE _and_ PALOMIDES.

PALOMIDES.

All will be ready to-morrow. We cannot wait longer. He prowls like
a madman through the corridors of the palace; I met him even now.
He looked at me without a word. I passed; and as I turned, I saw him
slyly laugh, shaking his keys. When he perceived that I was looking
at him, he smiled at me, making signs of friendship. He must have
some secret project, and we are in the hands of a master whose reason
begins to totter.... To-morrow we shall be far away.... Yonder there
are wonderful countries that resemble thine.... Astolaine has already
provided for our flight and for my sisters'....

ALLADINE.

What has she said?

PALOMIDES.

Nothing, nothing.... You will see everything about my father's
castle,--after days of sea and days of forests--you will see lakes and
mountains ... not like these, under a sky that looks like the vault of
a cave, with black trees that the storms destroy ... but a sky beneath
which there is nothing more to fear,--forests that are always awake,
flowers that do not close....

ALLADINE.

She wept?

PALOMIDES.

What are you asking?... There is something there of which we have no
right to speak, do you understand?... There is a life there that does
not belong to our poor life, and which love has no right to approach
except in silence.... We are here, like two beggars in rags, when I
think of it.... Go! go!... I could tell you things....

ALLADINE.

Palomides!... What is the matter?

PALOMIDES.

Go! go!... I have seen tears that came from further than the eyes....
There is something else.... It may be, nevertheless, that we are right
... but how I regret being right so, my God!... Go!... I will tell you
to-morrow ... to-morrow ... to-morrow....
                                                       [_Exeunt severally_.




SCENE III.--_A corridor before the apartment of_ ALLADINE. _Enter_
ASTOLAINE _and the_ SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.


ASTOLAINE.

The horses wait in the forest, but Palomides will not flee; and yet
your lives and his are in danger. I do not know my poor father any
longer. He has a fixed idea that troubles his reason. This is the
third day I have followed him step by step, hiding myself behind the
pillars and the walls, for he suffers no one to companion him. To-day,
as the other days, and from the first gleams of the morning he has
gone wandering through the corridors and halls of the palace, and
along the moats and ramparts, shaking the great golden keys he has
had made and singing at the top of his voice the strange song whose
refrain, _Go follow what your eyes have seen_, has perhaps pierced
even to the depths of your chambers. I have concealed from you till
now all that has come to pass, because such things must not be spoken
of without reason. He must have shut up Alladine in this apartment,
but no one knows what he has done with her. I have listened at the
doors every night and whenever he has been away a moment, but I have
never heard any noise in the room.... Do you hear anything?

ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

No; I hear only the murmur of the air passing through the little
chinks of the wood....

ANOTHER SISTER.

It seems to me, when I listen hard, that I hear the great pendulum of
the clock.

A THIRD SISTER.

But what is this little Alladine, then, and why does he bear such
ill-will to her?

ASTOLAINE.

It is a little Greek slave that came from the heart of Arcady....
He bears her no ill-will, but ... Do you hear?--It is my father....
[_Singing heard in the distance._] Hide yourselves behind the pillars
... He will have no one pass by this corridor.--[_They hide._]

_Enter_ ABLAMORE, _singing and shaking a bunch of great keys_.

ABLAMORE (_sings_).

  Misfortune had three golden keys.
  --He has no rescue for the Queen!--
  Misfortune had three golden keys.
  Go follow what your eyes have seen.

    [Sits dejected on a bench, beside the door of Alladine's
    apartment, hums a little while longer, and soon goes to sleep, his
    arms hanging down and his head fallen.]

ASTOLAINE.

Come, come! make no noise. He has fallen asleep on the bench.--Oh, my
poor old father! How white his hair has grown during these days! He
is so weak, he is so unhappy, that sleep itself no longer brings him
peace. It is three whole days now since I have dared to look upon his
face....

ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

He sleeps profoundly....

ASTOLAINE.

He sleeps profoundly, but you can see his soul has no rest.... The
sunlight here will vex his eyelids.... I am going to draw his cloak
over his face....

ANOTHER SISTER.

No, no; do not touch it.... He might wake with a start....

ASTOLAINE.

Some one is coming in the corridor. Come, come! put yourselves before
him.... Hide him.... A stranger must not see him in this state....

A SISTER OF PALOMIDES.

It is Palomides....

ASTOLAINE.

I am going to cover his poor eyes.... [_She covers_ ABLAMORE'S
_face_.]--I would not have Palomides see him thus.... He is too
miserable.

_Enter_ PALOMIDES.

PALOMIDES.

What is the matter?

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

He has fallen asleep on the bench.

PALOMIDES.

I have followed him without his seeing me.... He said nothing?...

ASTOLAINE.

No; but see all he has suffered....

PALOMIDES.

Has he the keys?

ANOTHER SISTER.

He holds them in his hand....

PALOMIDES.

I am going to take them.

ASTOLAINE.

What are you going to do? Oh, do not wake him!... For three nights now
he has wandered through the palace....

PALOMIDES.

I will open his hand a little without his noticing it.... We have no
right to wait any longer.... God knows what he has done.... He will
forgive us when he has his reason back.... Oh! oh! his hand has no
strength any more...

ASTOLAINE.

Take care! Take care!

PALOMIDES.

I have the keys.--Which is it? I am going to open the room.

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

Oh, I am afraid!... Do not open it at once.... Palomides!...

PALOMIDES.

Stay here.... I do not know what I shall find....

[_He goes to the door, opens it, and enters the apartment_.]

ASTOLAINE.

Is she there?

PALOMIDES (_in the apartment_).

I cannot see.... The shutters are closed....

ASTOLAINE.

Have a care, Palomides.... Wilt thou that I go first?... Thy voice is
trembling....

PALOMIDES (_in the apartment_).

No, no.... I see a ray of sunlight falling through the chinks of the
shutters.

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

Yes; it is broad day out of doors.

PALOMIDES.

[_Rushing headlong from the room_.] Come! Come!... I think she ...

ASTOLAINE.

Thou hast seen her?...

PALOMIDES.

She is stretched out on the bed!... She does not stir!... I do not
think she ... Come! Come!                     [_They all go into the room._

ASTOLAINE AND THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

[_In the room_.] She is here.... No, no, she is not dead.... Alladine!
Alladine!... Oh! oh! The poor child!... Do not cry out so.... She has
fainted.... Her hair is tied across her mouth.... And her hands are
bound behind her back.... They are bound with the help of her hair....
Alladine! Alladine!... Fetch some water....

[ABLAMORE, _who has waked, appears on the step of the door_.]

ASTOLAINE.

There is my father!...

ABLAMORE (_going to_ PALOMIDES).

Was it you who opened the door of the room?

PALOMIDES.

Yes, it was I.... I did it--well, then?--well, then?... I could not
let her die under my eyes.... See what you have done. Alladine!...
Fear nothing.... She opens her eyes a little.... I will not ...

ABLAMORE.

Do not cry out.... Do not cry out so.... Come, we will open the
shutters.... You cannot see here. Alladine!... She is already sitting
up. Alladine, come too.... Do you see, my children, it is dark in
the room. It is as dark here as if we were a thousand feet under the
ground. But I open one of the shutters, and behold! All the light of
the sky and the sun!... It does not need much effort; the light
is full of good-will.... It suffices that one call it; it always
obeys.... Have you seen the river with its little islands between the
meadows in flower?... The sky is a crystal ring to-day.... Alladine!
Palomides, come see.... Draw both of you near Paradise.... You must
kiss each other in the new light.... I bear you no ill-will. You did
what was ordained; and so did I.... Lean out a moment from the open
window, and look once more at the sweet green things....
                       [_A silence. He closes the shutter without a word_.]




ACT FOURTH.

_Vast subterranean crypts_. ALLADINE _and_ PALOMIDES.


PALOMIDES.

They have bound my eyes with bands; they have tied my hands with
cords.

ALLADINE.

They have tied my hands with cords; they have bound my eyes with
bands.... I think my hands are bleeding....

PALOMIDES.

Wait. To-day I bless my strength.... I feel the knots beginning to
give way.... One struggle more, and let my fists burst! One struggle
more! I have my hands! [_Tearing away the bandage_.] And my eyes!...

ALLADINE.

You see now?

PALOMIDES.

Yes.

ALLADINE.

Where are we?

PALOMIDES.

Where are you?

ALLADINE.

Here; can you not see me?

PALOMIDES.

My eyes weep still where the band has left its trace.... We are not in
darkness.... Is it you I hear toward where I can just see?

ALLADINE.

I am here; come.

PALOMIDES.

You are at the edge of that which gives us light. Do not stir; I
cannot see all that there is about you. My eyes have not forgot the
bandage yet. They bound it tight enough to burst my eyelids.

ALLADINE.

Come; the knots stifle me. I can wait no longer....

PALOMIDES.

I hear only a voice coming out of the light....

ALLADINE.

Where are you?

PALOMIDES.

I have no idea myself. I walk still in darkness.... Speak again, that
I may find you. You seem to be on the edge of an unbounded light....

ALLADINE.

Come! come! I have borne without a word, but I can bear no more....

PALOMIDES (_groping forward_).

You are there? I thought you so far away!... My tears deceived me.
I am here, and I see you. Oh, your hands are wounded! They have bled
upon your gown, and the knots have entered into the flesh. I have no
longer any weapons. They have taken away my poniard. I will tear them
off. Wait! wait! I have the knots.

ALLADINE.

Take off the bandage first that makes me blind....

PALOMIDES.

I cannot.... I do not see.... It seems to be surrounded by a net of
golden threads....

ALLADINE.

My hands, then, my hands!

PALOMIDES.

They have taken silken cords.... Wait, the knots come undone. The cord
has thirty turns.... There, there!--Oh, your hands are all blood!...
You would say they were dead....

ALLADINE.

No, no!... They are alive! they are alive! See!...

    [With her hands hardly yet unbound, she clasps Palomides about the
    neck and kisses him passionately.]

PALOMIDES.

Alladine!

ALLADINE.

Palomides!

PALOMIDES.

Alladine, Alladine!...

ALLADINE.

I am happy!... I have waited a long while!...

PALOMIDES.

I was afraid to come....

ALLADINE.

I am happy ... and I would that I could see thee....

PALOMIDES.

They have tied down the bandage like a casque....--Do not turn round;
I have found the golden threads....

ALLADINE.

Yes, yes, I will turn round....
                                     [_She turns about, to kiss him again._

PALOMIDES.

Have a care. Do not stir. I am afraid of wounding thee....

ALLADINE.

Tear it away! Fear nothing. I can bear no more!...

PALOMIDES.

I would see thee too....

ALLADINE.

Tear it away! Tear it away! I am no longer within reach of woe!...
Tear it away!... Thou dost not know that one could wish to die....
Where are we?

PALOMIDES.

Thou'lt see, thou'lt see.... It is innumerable crypts ... great blue
halls, gleaming pillars, and deep vaults....

ALLADINE.

Why dost thou answer when I question thee?

PALOMIDES.

What matter where we be, if we be but together?...

ALLADINE.

Thou lovest me less already?

PALOMIDES.

Why, what ails thee?

ALLADINE.

I know well where I am when I am on thy heart.... Oh, tear the bandage
off!... I would not enter blind into thy soul.... What doest thou,
Palomides? Thou dost not laugh when I laugh. Thou dost not weep when
I weep. Thou dost not clap thy hands when I clap mine; and thou
tremblest not when I speak trembling to the bottom of my soul....
The band! The band!... I will see!... There, there, above my hair!...
[_She tears away the bandage_.] Oh!...

PALOMIDES.

Seest thou?

ALLADINE.

Yes.... I see thee only....

PALOMIDES.

What is it, Alladine? Thou kissest me as if thou wert already sad....

ALLADINE.

Where are we?

PALOMIDES.

Why dost thou ask so sadly?

ALLADINE.

No, I am not sad; but my eyes will hardly open....

PALOMIDES.

One would say your joy had fallen on my lips like a child at the
threshold of the house.... Do not turn away.... I fear lest you should
flee, and I fear lest I dream....

ALLADINE.

Where are we?

PALOMIDES.

We are in crypts that I have never seen.... Doth it not seem to thee
the light increases? When I unclosed my eyes, I could distinguish
nothing; now little by little it is all revealed. I have been often
told of wondrous caverns whereon the halls of Ablamore were built. It
must be these. No one descends here ever; and the king only has the
keys. I knew the sea flooded the lowest vaults; and it is probably the
reflex of the sea which thus illumines us.... They thought to bury us
in night. They came down here with torches and flambeaus and saw the
darkness only, while the light came out to meet us, seeing we had
none.... It brightens without ceasing.... I am sure the dawn pierces
the ocean and sends down to us through all its greening waves the
purest of its child-soul....

ALLADINE.

How long have we been here?

PALOMIDES.

I have no idea.... I made no effort till I heard thee speak....

ALLADINE.

I do not know how this took place. I was asleep in the room where thou
didst find me; and when I waked, my eyes were bound across, and both
my hands were pinioned in my girdle....

PALOMIDES.

I too was sleeping. I heard nothing, and I had a band across my eyes
ere I could open them. I struggled in the darkness; but they were
stronger than I.... I must have passed under deep vaults, for I felt
the cold fall on my shoulders; and I went down so far I could not
count the steps.... Did no one speak to thee?

ALLADINE.

No; no one spoke. I heard some one weeping as he walked; and then I
fainted....

PALOMIDES (_kissing her_).

Alladine!

ALLADINE.

How gravely thou dost kiss me!...

PALOMIDES.

Close not thine eyes when I do kiss thee so.... I would see the kisses
trembling in thy heart, and all the dew that rises in thy soul.... We
shall not find such kisses any more....

ALLADINE.

Always, always!

PALOMIDES.

No, no; there is no kissing twice upon the heart of death.... How fair
thou art so!... It is the first time I have seen thee near.... It is
strange, we think that we have seen each other because we have gone by
two steps apart; but everything changes the moment the lips touch....
There, thou must be let to have thy will.... I stretch my arms wide
to admire thee, as if thou wert no longer mine; and then I draw them
nearer till I touch thy kisses and perceive only eternal bliss....
There needed us this supernatural light!... [_He kisses her again_.]
Ah! What hast thou done? Take care! we are upon a crest of rock that
overhangs the water that gives us light. Do not step back. It was
time.... Do not turn too abruptly. I was dazzled....

ALLADINE.

[_Turning and looking at the blue water that illuminates them_.]
Oh!...

PALOMIDES.

It is as if the sky had flowed hither....

ALLADINE.

It is full of moveless flowers....

PALOMIDES.

It is full of moveless flowers and strange.... Hast thou seen the
largest there that blooms beneath the others? It seems to live a
cadenced life.... And the water ... Is it water?... It seems more
beautiful, more pure, more blue than all the water in the world....

ALLADINE.

I dare not look upon it longer....

PALOMIDES.

See how about us all is luminous.... The light dares hesitate no
longer, and we kiss each other in the vestibules of heaven.... Seest
thou the precious stones that gem the vaults, drunken with life, that
seem to smile on us; and the thousands and thousands of glowing blue
roses that climb along the pillars?...

ALLADINE.

Oh!... I heard!...

PALOMIDES.

What?

ALLADINE.

Some one striking the rocks....

PALOMIDES.

No, no; it is the golden gates of a new Paradise, that open in our
souls and sing upon their hinges!...

ALLADINE.

Listen.... again, again!...

PALOMIDES (_with voice suddenly changed_).

Yes; it is there.... It is at the bottom of the bluest vaults....

ALLADINE.

They are coming to....

PALOMIDES.

I hear the sound of iron on the rock.... They have walled up the door
or cannot open it.... It is the picks grating against the stone....
His soul has told him we were happy....

    [A silence; then a stone is detached at the very end of the vault,
    and a ray of daylight breaks into the cavern.]

ALLADINE.

Oh!...

PALOMIDES.

It is another light....

    [Motionless and anxious, they watch other stones detach themselves
    slowly in an insufferable light, and fall one by one; while the
    light, entering in more and more resistless floods, reveals to
    them little by little the gloom of the cavern they had thought
    marvellous. The miraculous lake becomes wan and sinister; the
    precious stones about them are extinguished, and the glowing roses
    appear as the stains and rotten rubbish that they are. At last,
    the whole side of rock falls abruptly into the crypt. The sunlight
    enters, dazzling. Calls and songs are heard without. Alladine and
    Palomides recoil.]

PALOMIDES.

Where are we?

ALLADINE (_embracing him_).

I love thee still, Palomides....

PALOMIDES.

I love thee too, my Alladine....

ALLADINE.

They come....

PALOMIDES.

[_Looking behind him as they still recoil_.] Have a care....

ALLADINE.

No, no; have no more care....

PALOMIDES (_looking at her_).

Alladine?

ALLADINE.

Yes ...

    [They still recoil before the invasion of light or peril, until
    they lose their footing; and they fall and disappear behind the
    rock that overhangs the underground and now gloomy water.--A
    silence. Astolaine and the sisters of Palomides enter the crypt.]

ASTOLAINE.

Where are they?

ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

Palomides!...

ASTOLAINE.

Alladine! Alladine!...

ANOTHER SISTER.

Palomides!... It is we!...

THIRD SISTER.

Fear nothing; we are alone!...

ASTOLAINE.

Come! come! we have come to rescue you!...

FOURTH SISTER.

Ablamore has fled....

FIFTH SISTER.

He is no longer in the palace....

SIXTH SISTER.

They do not answer....

ASTOLAINE.

I heard the water stirred!... This way, this way!

[_They run to the rock that overlooks the underground_.]

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

They are there!...

ANOTHER SISTER.

Yes, yes; at the very bottom of the black water.... They embrace.

THIRD SISTER.

They are dead.

FOURTH SISTER.

No, no; they are alive! they are alive!... See....

THE OTHER SISTERS.

Help! help!... Call!...

ASTOLAINE.

They make no effort to save themselves!...




ACT FIFTH.

    [A corridor, so long that its furthest arches seem to lose
    themselves in a kind of indoor horizon. The sisters of Palomides
    wait before one of the innumerable closed doors that open into
    this corridor. They seem to be guarding it. A little further down,
    on the opposite side, Astolaine and the Physician converse before
    another door, also closed.]


ASTOLAINE.

[_To the Physician._] Nothing has ever happened until now in this
palace, where all things have seemed to be asleep since my sisters
died; and my poor old father, pursued by a strange restlessness, has
fretted without reason at this calm, which seems, for all that,
the least dangerous form of happiness. Some time ago,--his reason
beginning to totter even then,--he went up to the top of a high tower;
and as he stretched his arms out timidly toward the forests and toward
the sea, he said to me--smiling a little fearfully at his words, as if
to disarm my incredulous smile--that he called about us events which
had long been hidden beneath the horizon. They have come, alas! sooner
and more in number than he expected, and a few days have sufficed for
them to reign in his stead. He has been their first victim. He fled
to the meadows, singing, all in tears, the evening when he had little
Alladine and luckless Palomides taken down into the crypts. He has
not since been seen. I have had search made everywhere throughout the
country and even on the sea. He has not been found. At least, I had
hoped to save those he made suffer unwittingly, for he has always been
the tenderest of men and the best of fathers; but there, too, I think
I came too late. I do not know what happened. They have not spoken
yet. They doubtless must have thought, hearing the sound of the iron
and seeing all at once the light again, that my father had regretted
the kind of surcease he had granted them, and that some one came to
bring them death. Or else they slipped as they drew back, upon
the rock that overhangs the lake; and so must have fallen through
heedlessness. But the water is not deep in that spot, and we succeeded
in saving them without difficulty. To-day it is you alone who can do
the rest.
                             [THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES _have drawn nearer._


THE PHYSICIAN.

They are both ailing with the same disease, and it is a disease I do
not know.--But I have little hope left. They were seized perhaps
with the cold of the underground waters; or else those waters may be
poisonous. The decomposed body of Alladine's lamb was found there.--I
will come back to-night.--Meanwhile they must have silence.... The
level of life is very low in their hearts.... Do not go into their
rooms and do not speak to them, for the least word, in the state they
are in, might cause their death.... They must succeed in forgetting
one another.                                                       [_Exit._

ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

I see that he will die.

ASTOLAINE.

No, no.... Do not weep;... one does not die so, at his age....

ANOTHER SISTER.

But why is your father angry without reason at my poor brother?

THIRD SISTER.

I think your father loved Alladine.

ASTOLAINE.

Do not speak so of it.... He thought I suffered. He thought to have
done good, and he did evil unwittingly.... That often happens to
us.... It is my fault, perhaps.... I recall it to-day.... One night I
was asleep. I was weeping in a dream.... We have little courage when
we dream. I waked.... He was beside my bed, looking at me.... Perhaps
he was deceived....

FOURTH SISTER (_running_).

Alladine has stirred a little in her room....

ASTOLAINE.

Go to the door ... listen.... Perhaps it was the nurse rising....

FIFTH SISTER (_listening at the door_).

No, no; I hear the nurse walking.... There is another noise.

SIXTH SISTER (_also running_).

I think Palomides has moved too; I hear the murmur of a voice
seeking....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

[_Very feebly, within the room._] Palomides!...

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

She is calling him!...

ASTOLAINE.

Let us be careful!... Go, go in front of the door, that Palomides may
not hear....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

Palomides!

ASTOLAINE.

My God! My God! Silence that voice!... Palomides will die of it if he
hear it!...

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

[_Very feebly, within the other room_.] Alladine!...

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

He answers!...

ASTOLAINE.

Three among you remain here,... and we will go to the other door. Come,
come quickly. We will surround them. We will try to defend them....
Lie back against the doors.... Perhaps they will hear no longer....

ONE OF THE SISTERS.

I shall go into Alladine's room....

SECOND SISTER.

Yes, yes; prevent her from crying out again.

THIRD SISTER.

She is already cause of all this evil....

ASTOLAINE.

Do not go in, or I go in to Palomides.... She also had a right to
life; and she has done nought but to live.... But that we cannot
stifle in their passage their deadly words!... We are without help, my
poor sisters, my poor sisters, and hands cannot stop souls!...

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

Palomides, is it thou?

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Where art thou, Alladine?

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

Is it thou whom I hear far from me making moan?

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Is it thou whom I hear calling, and see thee not?

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

One would believe thy voice had lost the last of hope....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

One would believe that thine had crossed the winds of death....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

It goes hard with thy voice to pierce into my room....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

And I no longer hear thy voice as of old time.

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

I have been woe for thee!...

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

They have divided us, but I do love thee ever....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

I have been woe for thee.... Art then still suffering?

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

No; I no longer suffer, but I =fain= would see thee....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

We shall not see each other more; the doors are shut....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Thy voice would make one say thou lovedst me no more....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

Yes, yes; I love thee still, but it is mournful now....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Whither is thy face turned? I hardly understand thee....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

We seem to be an hundred leagues from one another....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

I try to rise in vain; my spirit is too heavy....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

I too would come,--I too--but still my head falls back....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Thou seemest almost to speak in tears despite thyself....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

No; I wept long ago; it is no longer tears....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

There's something in thy thoughts thou dost not tell me of....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

They were not precious stones....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

And the flowers were not real....

ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

They rave....

ASTOLAINE.

No, no; they know what they are saying....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

It was the light that had no pity on us....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Where goest thou, Alladine? Thou'rt being borne away....

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

I have no more regret to lose the light o' the sun....

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Yes, yes; we shall behold the sweet green things again!...

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

I have lost desire to live....

[_A silence; then more and more faintly:_]

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Alladine!...

THE VOICE OF ALLADINE.

Palomides!...

THE VOICE OF PALOMIDES.

Alla ... dine!...

    [A silence.--Astolaine and the sisters of Palomides listen, in
    anguish. Then the nurse opens, from the inside, the door of
    Palomides' room, appears on the sill, makes a sign, and all enter
    the room. The door doses behind them. A new silence. A little
    afterwards, the door of Alladine's room opens in its turn; the
    other nurse comes out in like manner, looks about in the corridor,
    and, seeing no one, re-enters the room, leaving the door wide
    open.]


[CURTAIN.]




Home.

_To Mademoiselle Sara de Swart._




Persons.

IN THE GARDEN.

THE OLD MAN.
THE STRANGER.
MARTHA     } _granddaughters of the old man._
AND MARY,  }
A PEASANT.
THE CROWD.

IN THE HOUSE

THE FATHER,       }
THE MOTHER,       } _Silent characters._
THE TWO DAUGHTERS,}
THE CHILD,        }




Home.

       *       *       *       *       *

    [An old garden, planted with willows. At the back, a house in
    which three windows on the ground-floor are lighted. A family,
    sitting up under the lamp, is seen rather distinctly. The
    father is seated by the fireside. The mother, one elbow on the
    table, is staring into space. Two young girls, clad in white,
    embroider, dream, and smile in the quiet of the room. A
    child lies asleep with his head under the mother's left arm.
    Whenever one of them rises, walks, or makes a gesture, his
    movements seem to be grave, slow, rare, and, as it were,
    spiritualized by the distance, the light, and the vague veil
    of the windows. The old man and the stranger enter the garden
    cautiously.]


THE OLD MAN.

We are in the part of the garden behind the house. They never come
here. The doors are on the other side.--They are closed, and the
shutters are up. But there are no shutters on this side, and I saw
a light.... Yes; they are sitting up still under the lamp. It is
fortunate they have not heard us; the mother or the young girls would
have come out, perhaps, and then what should we have done?...

THE STRANGER.

What are we going to do?

THE OLD MAN.

I should like to see, first, if they are all in the room. Yes, I see
the father sitting in the chimney-corner. He waits, with his hands on
his knees;... the mother is resting her elbow on the table.

THE STRANGER.

She is looking at us....

THE OLD MAN.

No; she doesn't know where she is looking: her eyes do not wink. She
cannot see us; we are in the shade of great trees. But do not go any
nearer.... The two sisters of the dead girl are in the room too. They
are embroidering slowly; and the little child is asleep. It is nine
by the clock in the corner.... They suspect nothing, and they do not
speak.

THE STRANGER.

If one could draw the father's attention, and make him some sign? He
has turned his head this way. Would you like me to knock at one of the
windows? One of them ought to be told before the others....

THE OLD MAN.

I don't know which one to choose.... We must take great
precautions.... The father is old and ailing.... So is the mother; and
the sisters are too young.... And they all loved her with such love as
will never be again.... I never saw a happier household.... No, no, do
not go near the window; that would be worse than anything else....
It is better to announce it as simply as possible,--as if it were an
ordinary event,--and not to look too sad; for otherwise their grief
will wish to be greater than yours and will know of nothing more that
it can do.... Let us go on the other side of the garden. We will knock
at the door and go in as if nothing had happened. I will go in first:
they will not be surprised to see me; I come sometimes in the evening,
to bring them flowers or fruit, and pass a few hours with them.

THE STRANGER.

Why must I go with you? Go alone; I will wait till I am called....
They have never seen me.... I am only a passer-by; I am a stranger....

THE OLD MAN.

It is better not to be alone. A sorrow that one does not bring alone
is not so unmixed nor so heavy.... I was thinking of that as we were
coming here.... If I go in alone, I shall have to be speaking from the
first minute; in a few words they will know everything, and I shall
have nothing more to say; and I am afraid of the silence following the
last words that announce a woe.... It is then the heart is rent.... If
we go in together, I shall tell them, for example, after going a long
way about, "She was found so.... She was floating in the river, and
her hands were clasped."...

THE STRANGER.

Her hands were not clasped; her arms were hanging down along her body.

THE OLD MAN.

You see, one speaks in spite of oneself.... And the sorrow is lost in
the details;... but otherwise, if I go in alone, at the first words,
knowing them as I do, it would be dreadful, and God knows what might
happen.... But if we speak in turn, they will listen to us and not
think to look the ill news in the face.... Do not forget the mother
will be there, and that her life hangs by a thread.... It is good that
the first wave break on some unnecessary words.... There should be a
little talking around the unhappy, and they should have people about
them.... The most indifferent bear unwittingly a part of the grief....
So, without noise or effort, it divides, like air or light....

THE STRANGER.

Your clothes are wet through; they are dripping on the flagstones.

THE OLD MAN.

It is only the bottom of my cloak that dipped in the water.--You seem
to be cold. Your chest is covered with earth.... I did not notice it
on the road on account of the darkness....

THE STRANGER.

I went into the water up to my waist.

THE OLD MAN.

Was it long after you found her when I came?

THE STRANGER.

A few minutes, barely. I was going toward the village; it was already
late, and the bank was getting dark. I was walking with my eyes
fixed on the river because it was lighter than the road, when I saw
something strange a step or two from a clump of reeds.... I drew near
and made out her hair, which had risen almost in a circle above her
head, and whirled round, so, in the current.

[_In the room, the two young girls turn their heads toward the
window._]

THE OLD MAN.

Did you see the two sisters' hair quiver on their shoulders?

THE STRANGER.

They turned their heads this way.... They simply turned their heads.
Perhaps I spoke too loud. [_The two young girls resume their former
position._] But they are already looking no longer.... I went into the
water up to my waist and I was able to take her by the hand and
pull her without effort to the shore.... She was as beautiful as her
sisters are.

THE OLD MAN.

She was perhaps more beautiful.... I do not know why I have lost all
courage....

THE STRANGER.

What courage are you talking of? We have done all man could do.... She
was dead more than an hour ago....

THE OLD MAN.

She was alive this morning!... I met her coming out of church.... She
told me she was going away; she was going to see her grandmother on
the other side of the river where you found her.... She did not know
when I should see her again.... She must have been on the point of
asking me something; then she dared not and left me abruptly. But I
think of it now.... And I saw nothing!... She smiled as they smile who
choose to be silent, or who are afraid they will not be understood....
She seemed hardly to hope.... Her eyes were not clear and hardly
looked at me....

THE STRANGER.

Some peasants told me they had seen her wandering on the river-bank
until nightfall.... They thought she was looking for flowers.... It
may be that her death....

THE OLD MAN.

We cannot tell.... What is there we can tell?... She was perhaps of
those who do not wish to speak, and every one of us bears in himself
more than one reason for no longer living.... We cannot see in the
soul as we see in that room. They are all like that.... They only say
trite things; and no one suspects aught.... You live for months by
some one who is no longer of this world and whose soul can bend no
longer; you answer without thinking; and you see what happens.... They
look like motionless dolls, and, oh, the events that take place in
their souls!... They do not know themselves what they are.... She
would have lived as the rest live.... She would have said up to her
death: "Monsieur, Madame, we shall have rain this morning," or else,
"We are going to breakfast; we shall be thirteen at table," or else:
"The fruits are not yet ripe." They speak with a smile of the flowers
that have fallen, and weep in the dark.... An angel even would not see
what should be seen; and man only understands when it is too late....
Yesterday evening she was there, under the lamp like her sisters,
and you would not see them as they should be seen, if this had not
occurred.... I seem to see her now for the first time.... Something
must be added to common life before we can understand it.... They are
beside you day and night, and you perceive them only at the moment
when they depart forever.... And yet the strange little soul she must
have had; the poor, naive, exhaustless little soul she had, my son,
if she said what she must have said, if she did what she mast have
done!...

THE STRANGER.

Just now they are smiling in silence in the room....

THE OLD MAN.

They are at peace.... They did not expect her to-night....

THE STRANGER.

They smile without stirring;... and see, the father is putting his
finger on his lips....

THE OLD MAN.

He is calling attention to the child asleep on its mother's heart....

THE STRANGER.

She dares not raise her eyes lest she disturb its sleep....

THE OLD MAN.

They are no longer working.... A great silence reigns....

THE STRANGER.

They have let fell the skein of white silk....

THE OLD MAN.

They are watching the child....

THE STRANGER.

They do not know that others are watching them....

THE OLD MAN.

We are watched too....

THE STRANGER.

They have lifted their eyes....

THE OLD MAN.

And yet they can see nothing....

THE STRANGER.

They seem happy; and yet nobody knows what may be--....

THE OLD MAN.

They think themselves in safety.... They have shut the doors; and
the windows have iron bars.... They have mended the walls of the old
house; they have put bolts upon the oaken doors.... They have foreseen
all that could be foreseen....

THE STRANGER.

We must end by telling them.... Some one might come and let them know
abruptly.... There was a crowd of peasants in the meadow where the
dead girl was found.... If one of them knocked at the door...

THE OLD MAN.

Martha and Mary are beside the poor dead child. The peasants were to
make a litter of leaves; and I told the elder to come warn us in all
haste, the moment they began their march. Let us wait till she comes;
she will go in with me.... We should not have looked on them so.... I
thought it would be only to knock upon the door; to go in simply, find
a phrase or two, and tell.... But I have seen them live too long under
their lamp....

_Enter_ MARY.

MARY.

They are coming, grandfather.

THE OLD MAN.

Is It you?--Where are they?

MARY.

They are at the foot of the last hills.

THE OLD MAN.

They will come in silence?

MARY.

I told them to pray in a low voice. Martha is with them....

THE OLD MAN.

Are they many?

MARY.

The whole village is about the bearers. They had brought lights. I
told them to put them out....

THE OLD MAN.

Which way are they coming?

MARY.

They are coming by the footpaths. They are walking slowly....

THE OLD MAN.

It is time....

MARY.

You have told them, grandfather?

THE OLD MAN.

You see plainly we have told them nothing.... They are waiting still
under the lamp.... Look, my child, look! You will see something of
life....

MARY.

Oh, how at peace they seem!... You would say I saw them in a dream....

THE STRANGER.

Take care, I saw both sisters give a start....

THE OLD MAN.

They are getting up....

THE STRANGER.

I think they are coming to the windows....

    [At this moment, one of the two sisters of whom they speak draws
    near the first window, the other near the third, and, pressing
    their hands at the same time against the panes, look a long while
    into the darkness.]

THE OLD MAN.

No one comes to the window in the middle....

MARY.

They are looking.... They are listening....

THE OLD MAN.

The elder smiles at what she does not see.

THE STRANGER.

And the other has eyes full of fearfulness....

THE OLD MAN.

Take care; we do not know how far the soul extends about men....

[_A long silence_, MARY _cowers against the old man's breast and
kisses him._]

MARY.

Grandfather!...

THE OLD MAN.

Do not weep, my child.... We shall have our turn....
                                                              [_A silence._

THE STRANGER.

They are looking a long while....

THE OLD MAN.

They might look a hundred thousand years and not perceive anything,
the poor little sisters.... The night is too dark.... They are looking
this way; and it is from that way the misfortune is coming....

THE STRANGER.

It is fortunate they look this way.... I do not know what that is
coming toward us, over by the meadows.

MARY.

I think it is the crowd.... They are so far away you can hardly make
them out....

THE STRANGER.

They follow the undulations of the path.... Now they appear again on a
hillside in the moonlight....

MARY.

Oh, how many they seem!... They had already run up from the suburbs of
the city when I came.... They are going a long way around....

THE OLD MAN.

They will come in spite of all; I see them too.... They are on the
march across the meadow lands.... They seem so small you hardly make
them out among the grasses.... They look like children playing in
the moonlight; and if the girls should see them, they would not
understand.... In vain they turn their backs; those yonder draw near
with every step they take, and the sorrow has been growing these two
hours already. They cannot hinder it from growing; and they that bear
it there no longer can arrest it.... It is their master too, and they
must serve it.... It has its end and follows its own road.... It
is unwearying and has but one idea.... Needs must they lend their
strength. They are sad, but they come.... They have pity, but they
must go forward....

MARY.

The elder smiles no longer, grandfather....

THE STRANGER.

They leave the windows....

MARY.

They kiss their mother....

THE STRANGER.

The elder has caressed the curls of the child without waking him....

MARY.

Oh! the father wants to be kissed too....

THE STRANGER.

And now silence....

MARY.

They come back beside the mother....

THE STRANGER.

And the father follows the great pendulum of the clock with his
eyes....

MARY.

You would say they were praying without knowing what they did....

THE STRANGER.

You would say that they were listening to their souls....
                                                              [_A silence._

MARY.

Grandfather, don't tell them to-night!...

THE OLD MAN.

You see, you too lose courage.... I knew well that we must not look. I
am nearly eighty-three years old, and this is the first time the sight
of life has struck me. I do not know why everything they do seems so
strange and grave to me.... They wait for night quite simply, under
their lamp, as we might have been waiting under ours; and yet I seem
to see them from the height of another world, because I know a little
truth which they do not know yet.... Is it that, my children? Tell me,
then, why you are pale, too? Is there something else, perhaps,
that cannot be told and causes us to weep? I did not know there was
anything so sad in life, nor that it frightened those who looked upon
it.... And nothing can have occurred that I should be afraid to see
them so at peace.... They have too much confidence in this world....
There they are, separated from the enemy by a poor window.... They
think nothing will happen because they have shut the door, and do not
know that something is always happening in our souls, and that the
world does not end at the doors of our houses.... They are so sure of
their little life and do not suspect how many others know more of
it than they; and that I, poor old man,--I hold here, two steps from
their door, all their little happiness, like a sick bird, in my old
hands I do not dare to open....

MARY.

Have pity, grandfather....

THE OLD MAN.

We have pity on them, my child, but no one has pity on us....

MARY.

Tell them to-morrow, grandfather; tell them when it is light.... They
will not be so sorrowful....

THE OLD MAN.

Perhaps you are right, my child.... It would be better to leave all
this in the night. And the light is sweet to sorrow.... But what would
they say to us to-morrow? Misfortune renders jealous; they whom it
strikes, wish to be told before strangers; they do not like to have it
left in the hands of those they do not know.... We should look as if
we had stolen something....

THE STRANGER.

There is no more time, besides; I hear the murmur of prayers
already....

MARY.

There they are.... They are passing behind the hedges....

_Enter_ MARTHA.

MARTHA.

Here I am. I have brought them this far. I have told them to wait on
the road. [_Cries of children heard._] Ah! the children are crying
again.... I forbade their coming.... But they wanted to see too, and
the mothers would not obey.... I will go tell them.... No; they are
silent.--Is everything ready?--I have brought the little ring that was
found on her.... I have some fruit, too, for the child.... I laid her
out myself on the litter. She looks as if she were asleep.... I had
a good deal of trouble; her hair would not obey.... I had some
marguerites plucked.... It is sad, there were no other flowers....
What are you doing here? Why are you not by them?... [_She looks at
the windows._] They do not weep?... They ... you have not told them?

THE OLD MAN.

Martha, Martha, there is too much life in your soul; you cannot
understand....

MARTHA.

Why should I not understand?... [_After a silence and in a tone of
very grave reproach._] You cannot have done that, grandfather....

THE OLD MAN.

Martha, you do not know....

MARTHA.

_I_ will tell them.

THE OLD MAN.

Stay here, my child, and look at them a moment.

MARTHA.

Oh, how unhappy they are!... They can wait no longer.

THE OLD MAN.

Why?

MARTHA.

I do not know;... it is no longer possible!...

THE OLD MAN.

Come here, my child....

MARTHA.

How patient they are!

THE OLD MAN.

Come here, my child....

MARTHA.

[_Turning._] Where are you, grandfather? I am so unhappy I cannot see
you any more.... I do not know what to do myself any more....

THE OLD MAN.

Do not look at them any more; till they know all....

MARTHA.

I will go in with you....

THE OLD MAN.

No, Martha, stay here.... Sit beside your sister, on this old stone
bench, against the wall of the house, and do not look.... You are too
young; you never could forget.... You cannot know what a face is like
at the moment when death passes before its eyes.... There will
be cries, perhaps.... Do not turn round.... Perhaps there will be
nothing.... Above all, do not turn if you hear nothing.... One does
not know the course of grief beforehand.... A few little deep-rooted
sobs, and that is all, usually.... I do not know myself what I may
do when I shall hear them.... That belongs no longer to this life....
Kiss me, my child, before I go away....

    [The murmur of prayers has gradually drawn nearer. Part of the
    crowd invades the garden. Dull steps heard, running, and low
    voices speaking.]

THE STRANGER (_to the crowd_).

Stay here;... do not go near the windows.... Where is she?...

A PEASANT.

Who?

THE STRANGER.

The rest ... the bearers?...

THE PEASANT.

They are coming by the walk that leads to the door.

    [The old man goes away. Martha and Mary are seated on the bench,
    with their backs turned to the windows. Murmurs in the crowd.]

THE STRANGER.

S--t!... Do not speak.

[_The elder of the two sisters rises and goes to bolt the door...._]

MARTHA.

She opens it?

THE STRANGER.

On the contrary, she is shutting it.
                                                              [_A silence._

MARTHA.

Grandfather has not entered?

THE STRANGER.

No.... She returns and sits down by her mother.... The others do not
stir, and the child sleeps all the time....
                                                              [_A silence._

MARTHA.

Sister, give me your hands....

MARY.

Martha!...
                                [_They embrace and give each other a kiss._

THE STRANGER.

He must have knocked.... They have all raised their heads at the same
time;... they look at each other....

MARTHA.

Oh! oh! my poor little sister!... I shall cry too!...
                          [_She stifles her sobs on her sister's shoulder._

THE STRANGER.

He must be knocking again.... The father looks at the clock. He rises.

MARTHA.

Sister, sister, I want to go in too.... They cannot be alone any
longer....

MARY.

Martha! Martha!...
                                                     [_She holds her back._

THE STRANGER.

The father is at the door.... He draws the bolts.... He opens the door
prudently....

MARTHA.

Oh!... you do not see the...

THE STRANGER.

What?

MARTHA.

Those who bear....

THE STRANGER.

He hardly opens it.... I can only see a corner of the lawn; and the
fountain.... He does not let go the door;... he steps back.... He
looks as if he were saying: "Ah, it's you!"... He raises his arms....
He shuts the door again carefully.... Your grandfather has come into
the room....

    [The crowd has drawn nearer the windows. Martha and Mary half rise
    at first, then draw near also, clasping each other tightly. The
    old man is seen advancing into the room. The two sisters of the
    dead girl rise; the mother rises as well, after laying the child
    carefully in the armchair she has just abandoned; in such a way
    that from without the little one may be seen asleep, with his head
    hanging a little to one side, in the centre of the room. The
    mother advances to meet the old man and extends her hand to him,
    but draws it back before he has had time to take it. One of the
    young girls offers to take off the visitor's cloak and the other
    brings forward a chair for him; but the old man makes a slight
    gesture of refusal. The father smiles with a surprised look. The
    old man looks toward the windows.]

THE STRANGER.

He dares not tell them.... He has looked at us....
                                                    [_Rumors in the crowd._

THE STRANGER.

S ... t!...

    [The old man, seeing their faces at the windows, has quickly
    turned his eyes away. As one of the young girls continues to offer
    him the same armchair, he ends by sitting down and passes his
    right hand across his forehead several times.]

THE STRANGER.

He sits down....

    [The other people in the room sit down also, while the father
    talks volubly. At last the old man opens his mouth, and the tone
    of his voice seems to attract attention. But the father interrupts
    him. The old man begins to speak again, and little by little the
    others become motionless. All at once, the mother starts and
    rises.]

MARTHA.

Oh! the mother is going to understand!...

    [She turns away and hides her face in her hands. New murmurs in
    the crowd. They elbow each other. Children cry to be lifted up, so
    that they may see too. Most of the mothers obey.]

THE STRANGER.

S ... t!... He has not told them yet....

    [The mother is seen to question the old man in anguish. He says a
    few words more; then abruptly all the rest rise too and seem to
    question him. He makes a slow sign of affirmation with his head.]

THE STRANGER.

He has told them.... He has told them all at once!...

VOICES IN THE CROWD.

He has told them!... He has told them!...

THE STRANGER.

You hear nothing....

    [The old man rises too, and, without turning, points with his
    finger to the door behind him. The mother, the father, and the two
    young girls throw themselves on this door, which the father cannot
    at once succeed in opening. The old man tries to prevent the
    mother from going out.]

VOICES IN THE CROWD.

They are going out! They are going out!...

    [Jostling in the garden. All rush to the other side of the house
    and disappear, with the exception of the stranger, who remains at
    the windows. In the room, both sides of the folding-door at last
    open; all go out at the same time. Beyond can be seen a starry
    sky, the lawn and the fountain in the moonlight, while in the
    middle of the abandoned room the child continues to sleep
    peacefully in the armchair.--Silence.]

THE STRANGER.

The child has not waked!...
                                                       [_He goes out also._


[CURTAIN.]









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