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Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: Paul Kauvar; or, Anarchy by Steele Mackaye

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Who is he?

PAUL.

The man they call a traitor--Paul Kauvar.

GOUROC.

[_Suppressing a smile of surprise_.]

You?

PAUL.

Yes. When safely out of France, tell them of my fate. My death may
convince them I loved too deeply to betray.

[_A bell begins to toll_.

A VOICE.

[_In the distance_.]

Hubert, Marquis de Ferrand,--Mardoche, alias the Abbe de St. Simon--

GOUROC.

They're calling the condemned; there's not an instant to be lost.

[_Crossing to cell_.]

In this cell there hangs an old man's coat and wig, kept here to
disguise the spies connected with the prison. Luckily they'll serve
your purpose well.

[_Opening cell door_.]

Quick!--Get ready to answer when the Duke is called.

PAUL.

Tell my wife I died for love of her, and honour.

[_Exit_.

GOUROC.

[_In exultation_.]

Thank luck!--This man's death clears my path, and saves the money I
meant to pay the Abbe.

_Enter_ DIANE _and_ NANETTE.

DIANE.

Where is he? I must see him once again!--Paul! Paul!

[_Starting at sight of_ GOUROC.]

Who's there?

GOUROC.

Tis I! Here to save your father.

THE VOICE.

[_Outside_.]

Comte de Vigny,--Andre de la Roche--

GOUROC.

That's the last call of the condemned.--Your father's name stands next
upon the roll.

DIANE.

Save him!--Save him!

GOUROC.

Obey me instantly, or all is lost; hide quickly in this cell! Trust to
me and wait.

DIANE.

[_Going with_ NANETTE _into a cell_.]

God deal with you as you now deal with me!

[_Exit_.

_Tramp of_ GUARDS _outside_.

GOUROC.

[_Crossing to cell and calling_.]

Kauvar!--Be quick!--stand ready. By heaven!--A close shave!

OFFICER _and_ GUARDS _enter_.

OFFICER.

[_Advancing_.]

Honore Albert Maxime, Duc de Beaumont, you are called to the
guillotine.

[PAUL _comes forth in silence_.]

Fall in.--Forward, march!

[_As the_ GUARDS _start with_ PAUL, DIANE _rushes in with a cry of
agony_.

DIANE.

Father!--Father!--We have been deceived!

[DIANE _rushes into_ PAUL'S _arms; he embraces her passionately_.
GUARDS _force them apart and go out with_ PAUL.]

[_Held back by_ GOUROC _and_ NANETTE, DIANE _shrieks_.]

Father--father!

DUKE.

[_Entering_.]

Diane!--What is it?

DIANE.

[_Turning in amazement and joy_.]

What!--You are there?

GOUROC.

Yes, saved by me.

DIANE.

And he--? Who was he they dragged away?

GOUROC.

A man condemned to die--whom I disguised--to take your father's place.

DIANE.

[_Falling on her knees_.]

O God! Spare this man all pain in death--and give him life eternal!

CURTAIN.

ACT III.

SCENE. _Headquarters of Royalists in Vendee. Interior of hall in old
chateau. Fireplace; large doorways with staircase leading to terrace,
overlooking Granville; Faubourg de Calvaire in middle ground. Doors
from hall. Bay window with large table covered with papers, maps, etc.
Charts near table and fireplace_.

DISCOVERED: SENTINEL _on terrace_; LA HOGUE _seated at the table busy
with papers_.

_At rise of curtain--drums and fifes heard in distance_.

DENISE _enters, goes to terrace, gazes anxiously, then turns and
crosses quickly to_ LA HOGUE.

DENISE.

[_Shouting loudly_.]

Monsieur La Hogue!

LA HOGUE.

[_Gruffly_.]

Well?

DENISE.

Do you hear?

LA HOGUE.

[_Impatiently_.]

Hear what?

DENISE.

The drums and piccolos yonder.

LA HOGUE.

[_Listening_.]

I can hear nothing.

[_Drums, etc., sound more loud_.

DENISE.

But listen now, it grows louder--up from Ville d'Avranches.

LA HOGUE.

[_Starting up_.]

D'Avranches?--Ha! Re-inforcements for the Kings' army! None too soon!

[_Drums, etc., cease_.]

[_Enter an_ ORDERLY, _who presents papers_. LA HOGUE _takes papers,
reads, and exclaims_.] The Count de Parame with recruits!

[_To the_ ORDERLY.]

Tell your Colonel to report here instantly! General de la
Rochejacquelein [_Enter_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.] is indignant at his
delay, and--

LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.

[_To_ LA HOGUE.]

Gently, old friend! La Rochejacquelein will speak for himself.

[_To_ ORDERLY.]

Ask the Count to honour me with his presence here as speedily as
possible.

[_Exit_ ORDERLY.]

Now these re-inforcements have arrived, we'll give these rebels
battle.

LA HOGUE.

At last, thank God! And we're ready for the fight.

[_Pointing_.]

In the Faubourg de Calvaire there's hardly a house but harbours a
detachment of our men.

LA ROCHE.

With that village in our hands we'll bring Granville town to terms.
To-night we will assault the place at every point.

LA HOGUE.

[_Reverently_.]

And God in mercy aid King Louis' men!

LA ROCHE _and_ DENISE. [_Together_.]

Amen!

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ LA HOGUE.]

Await the Count upon the terrace, and take him to my private room. But
no roughness to the Colonel--try to be charming for a change.

LA HOGUE.

Bah! Leave charmers to women,--only fighters win at war!

[_Exit_.

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ DENISE.]

How long since you have heard from Jean Litais?

DENISE.

Not since he, my lover, went to Paris to aid the Duc de Beaumont to
escape.

LA ROCHE.

This fiendish reign of terror has prevented me from hearing of the
Duke till now.

DENISE.

And you have heard--?

LA ROCHE.

The worst of news! Among some papers captured in a skirmish, I found
this journal, [_Producing paper_.] printed at Paris some three months
ago. It contains a list of those beheaded the preceding day.--See this
name I've underlined.

DENISE.

[_Reading_.]

"The Duc de Beaumont."

_Enter a MAN from panel in wall up stage_.

LA ROCHE.

Guillotined at night, upon the tenth of last October.

DENISE.

My God! If Jean has failed to save the Duke, he must be dead himself!

THE MAN.

[_Advancing_.]

Not yet!

LA ROCHE.

[_Turning quickly_.]

Who's this?

DENISE.

It's Jean!--

[_Rushing into his arms_.]

My Jean returned!

LA ROCHE.

Litais!--Is it really you?

JEAN.

Every bit of me, my lord.

DENISE.

Thank heaven!

LA ROCHE.

How did you pass the guard?

JEAN.

Faith, I know every corner of the old chateau. No guard could bar
my way while I'd such news to bring! The Duke and his daughter are
here--in the park.

LA ROCHE.

Alive and safe--?

JEAN.

As you are!--Grant me a guard to bring them through our lines.

LA ROCHE.

[_Strikes a bell_.]

[_Enter_ ORDERLY, _who salutes_.]

See that Monsieur and his friends have safe passage through our lines.

ORDERLY _crosses stage and stands at door_.

JEAN.

In an instant we'll return.--Come, Denise; you shall see your old
master once again.

DENISE.

And never let you leave my side while I have life to love you.

[_Exeunt_ DENISE, JEAN _and_ ORDERLY, _who salutes_ GUARD _before
departing. Tumult in distance_.]

LA HOGUE.

[_Entering_.]

The Count is here and anxious for the fight.

[LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN, _listening, pays no attention_. LA HOGUE _speaks
impatiently_.]

Do you hear?

LA ROCHE.

Yes, I hear a tumult yonder! Can it be mutiny--revolt?

[_Enter_ SECOND ORDERLY. _He presents paper to_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN,
_who reads it aloud_.]

"Have captured Jacobin soldiers. The peasants demand their lives.
Shall I surrender them or hold them at your pleasure? La Val--Captain
of King's Guards."

[_To_ LA HOGUE _eagerly_.]

We may obtain information from these fellows. See La Val at once,
command him to guard his prisoners with his life, and send them here
to me.

LA HOGUE.

But the Count is awaiting orders for to-night's attack.

LA ROCHE.

[_Going_.]

While you see La Val, I'll see the Count.

[_Exit_.

LA HOGUE.

[_To_ ORDERLY.]

To Captain La Val!

[_Exit quickly with_ ORDERLY.

SENTINEL.

[_Outside_.]

Who goes there?

JEAN.

[_Outside_.]

A friend!

SENTINEL.

[_Outside_.]

Advance with countersign.

ORDERLY _advances, salutes the_ SENTINEL, _whispers in his ear, then
steps back against balustrade of terrace as characters enter.--When
characters are on,_ ORDERLY _salutes_ SENTINEL, _who returns salute_.
ORDERLY _goes out_. SENTINEL _about faces and disappears_.

_Enter_ JEAN, DENISE, GOUROC, NANETTE, DUKE, AND DIANE.

JEAN.

[_To the_ DUKE.]

You're safe at last, Monsieur, among your friends.

DIANE.

[_Grasping_ JEAN'S _hand_.]

Thanks to your devotion.

DENISE.

[_To the_ DUKE.]

I will announce your coming to the General.

[_Exit_.

NANETTE.

[_To_ DIANE.]

Here, child, be seated, and taste comfort once again.

[DIANE _sits near the fire; the_ DUKE _and_ GOUROC _at table_.]

Now try to smile a bit.

DIANE.

I have forgotten how.

[_Calling_.]

Jean!

JEAN.

[_Crossing to_ DIANE.]

Yes, Madame?

DIANE.

Hush! Do not let my father hear you call me Madame.

[_Converses aside with_ JEAN.

GOUROC.

[_Taking a newspaper from table_.]

Strange!--a Paris journal, dated the day after our escape.

DUKE.

[_Taking the paper_.]

There may be some notice of our flight.

[_Reads_.

JEAN.

[_To_ DIANE.]

Will you never confess your marriage to Kauvar?

DIANE.

Never!--Unless he finds us with evidence of innocence none can
question.

JEAN.

He will! We can trust the wit of his deep love for that.

DIANE.

So you believe him innocent?

JEAN.

As innocent as my own sweetheart, dear Denise.

[DIANE _weeps_.]

What--tears, Madame?

DIANE.

Tears of triumph--that your heart echoes mine! Ah, Jean, we two,
alone, of all the world, believe he's not a traitor.

DUKE.

Here's a list of martyrs slaughtered the day that we escaped.

GOUROC.

[_Taking the paper_.]

And here's a name underlined with ink.

[_Starting up with great joy_.]

By heaven, your own!--See!--In the list of fallen heads--the Duc de
Beaumont!

[_The_ DUKE _takes paper_.

DIANE.

[_Coming toward_ GOUROC.]

You speak of the man who took my father's place, as though you exulted
in his death!--Was he an enemy of yours?

GOUROC.

I rejoice that the man's disguise was not discovered--for the report
of your father's death prevented our pursuit.

DUKE.

[_Joyfully to_ GOUROC.]

You remember the Abbe de St. Simon?

GOUROC.

Yes. He was condemned to die with you.

DUKE.

This journal says that he escaped from the death-cart as it rumbled to
the scaffold through the crowd.

GOUROC.

[_Starting, and with great emphasis_.]

Impossible!

DUKE.

[_Holding out the paper_.]

See for yourself!

[GOUROC _takes paper eagerly_.

LA ROCHE.

[_Entering, with a cry of joy_.]

Duke!

DUKE.

[_Holding out his arms_.]

Henri!

LA ROCHE.

[_Embracing the_ DUKE.]

In days of misery, a moment such as this is sweet indeed. But how did
you escape? I saw your name among the guillotined.

DUKE.

[_Turning to_ GOUROC.]

This gentleman wrought a way for our deliverance!--Monsieur le Marquis
de Vaux.

LA ROCHE.

[_Grasping_ GOUROC'S _hand_.]

Monsieur--the King's friends are all your debtors.

GOUROC.

Nay, sir, the debt is mine. Tis a privilege to save such precious
lives.

DUKE.

[_Presenting_ DIANE.]

Here's a lass you played with, years ago.

LA ROCHE.

What!--My little cousin--grown so stately and so sad! Mademoiselle, I
claim a kinsman's right to kiss away these shadows.

DIANE.

And I yield the right with pleasure, cousin Henri.

LA ROCHE.

[_Kisses her_.]

Good cheer, sweet cousin! You are now protected by the soldiers of the
King, who--God willing--will punish those who brought this shadow to
your face.

GOUROC.

That may not prove an easy task! Granville is overrun with rebels, who
are urged to most atrocious crimes by Carrac.

LA ROCHE.

Yes--Thomas Carrac--a brutal monster, reeking with loyal blood; a
loathsome anarchist, who glories in the vilest deeds.

GOUROC.

Ravishing without remorse the daughters of our race.

LA ROCHE.

If we could capture wretches such as he, it might end our civil war.

DIANE.

Is he so hard to take?

LA ROCHE.

Yes. Reptiles are worse to overcome than lions. They bite unseen, and
escape by crawling. This Carrac is brave in words, but too craven
to face fighting in the field. Our soldiers rarely reach these civil
sinners.

DUKE.

Let us forget them here. For now we will task your hospitality for a
time.

LA ROCHE.

I swear I have not felt the poverty that war entails till now. My
old chateau has been dismantled--this hall alone is habitable. I feel
ashamed to offer you such shabby quarters.

DUKE.

Nay, cousin, a bed of stones with friends is better than a bed of down
with those we do not love.

DENISE.

[_Entering, speaks to_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.]

A couch and fire are ready in the room that was your mother's.

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ DIANE.]

Where doubtless you'll be glad to take some rest.

DIANE.

I confess the need, Monsieur.

LA ROCHE.

Denise, show the way.

[DENISE _crosses to the door_.

DIANE.

[_At the door_.]

Till to-night, kind friends.

LA ROCHE.

Till then, good rest.

[DIANE _courtesies and goes out with_ NANETTE.]

Gentlemen, I pray you, make yourselves at home; important business
claims my time.--I'll rejoin you within an hour.

DUKE.

We're here to help, not mar the cause; command us in all ways.

LA ROCHE.

Presently!--Till then the poor old house is yours.

[_Exit_.

[_Exit_ JEAN.

DUKE.

[_Sitting near the fire_.]

At last, praise God! We're out of reach of traitors!

GOUROC.

Not yet!--The rebel hosts have gathered here at Granville in great
force. They may rout the royal army, and capture all of us.

DUKE.

No, not all, for I shall die first, fighting in the ranks.

GOUROC.

But Diane, your daughter--?

DUKE.

Must take the chances of a soldier's child.

GOUROC.

You forget her peril from this scoundrel, Carrac.--Why not put her
safely out of the reach of such a brute?

DUKE.

How?

GOUROC.

There are vessels here by which we can escape to England.

DUKE.

I fly no further. I owe the King and country service here.

GOUROC.

Then let Diane go with me to friends in London. When I've found for
her safe asylum, I'll return to do my duty at your side.

DUKE.

The daughter of a peer of France could hardly go so far without
protection worthy of her rank.

GOUROC.

That she can secure as a Marquise, and my wife.

[_The_ DUKE _turns quickly in surprise_.]

I know, dear Duke, that you are richer, nobler than myself, but then
the love I bear your daughter, together with the dangers that surround
her life and honour here--

DUKE.

Say no more!--There's nothing that would ease my mind so much as to
see Diane your wife.

GOUROC.

Then plead my cause with her.

DUKE.

I'll more than plead.--Her perils urge me to command this marriage.

GOUROC.

Then do not lose a moment; the attack begins to-night. Before our army
strikes, she and I, as man and wife, should sail for England.

NANETTE.

[_Entering_.]

Monsieur, your daughter desires a word with you--[_Glancing at_
GOUROC.] alone.

DUKE.

Say I'll see her here at once.

[_Exit_ NANETTE.]

I'll broach this marriage to my child without delay.

GOUROC.

[_Going_.]

I'll be at hand in case you call me.

[_Exit_.

DUKE.

[_Alone_.]

This alliance secures Diane from peril. The Marquis is young,
noble,--has saved her life, and has a claim on it. She must marry
while there's time to get away.

[_Enter_ DIANE.]

Now, dear child, what is it?

DIANE.

Father, I loathe this useless life of mine! I long for
action--danger--anything that stirs the blood, and brings oblivion.

DUKE.

Oblivion!--Nay, Diane, I have something happier to suggest than that.
Time and circumstance commend to you a marriage. We owe our lives to
the wisdom of a man who seeks your hand to-day.

DIANE.

The Marquis?--[_After a pause_.] I cannot marry, for I do not love
him.

DUKE.

Then 'tis time you did.

DIANE.

No more, I beg of you.--It is impossible!

DUKE.

Impossible! When prompted by the wisdom of a father's love? When your
escape from peril and my peace of mind demand it?

DIANE.

I cannot argue.

DUKE.

Then at least explain.

DIANE.

Alas, I dare not.

DUKE.

You fear mere frankness with your truest friend?

[DIANE _sinks into a chair and hides her face. The_ DUKE _looks at her
with suspicion_.]

By heaven! You hide your face as though to speak implied dishonour.

DIANE.

No, no! It is not that!

DUKE.

Then why torture me with this concealment? Have I been cruel, or
faithless as a father?

DIANE.

Never!

DUKE.

Then I claim a father's sacred right to confidence. Give me one good
reason why you refuse the man to whom we owe our lives?

DIANE.

I love another.

DUKE.

[_Starting_.]

Another!

[_After a pause_.]

His name--?

DIANE.

What matter, since we shall never meet again?

DUKE.

I understand at last!--'Tis Paul Kauvar!

[DIANE _bows her head_.]

So! The saviour of your father's life is scorned for his betrayer! No
wonder that you blush to own it! This makes my course more clear. The
safest cure for this disgraceful love will be your marriage.

DIANE.

That cannot be!

DUKE.

[_Going_.]

I say it shall!

DIANE.

[_Startled_.]

Where are you going?

DUKE.

To seek the priest! Delay is dangerous! You wed to-day and sail
to-night for England.

DIANE.

No, no! Have pity! I have no right to marry.

DUKE.

[_In horror_.]

No right?

DIANE.

[_Falling at his feet_.]

I am a wife already.

DUKE.

His wife?--You, my flesh and blood, a traitor's wife!--Oh God! What
have I done to merit such a blow as this?

DIANE.

Father,--forgive! Hear me!

DUKE.

[_Flinging her off, rushes to the door_.]

Henri, Marquis--here! All of you!

[_Enter_ LA HOGUE, LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN, GOUROC, JEAN _and_ DENISE.]

[_To_ LA ROCHE.]

Call your guards! Drag this woman away! Fling her to these rebel
dogs--for she is one of them!

GOUROC.

What has she done?

DUKE.

Deceived a father's love! Become the mate of my betrayer.

[_Turning on_ DIANE.]

Degraded remnant of my race!--Go! Back to your own, wife of a Sans
Culotte!

GOUROC.

[_Stepping between them_.]

Stay! There must be some mistake!

DUKE.

No! She has confessed that she's the wife of Paul Kauvar.

GOUROC.

That cannot be, for Paul Kauvar is dead.

DUKE.

Dead? How do you know that?

GOUROC.

Because he, disguised, took your place on the guillotine.

DIANE.

[_Rising_.]

My God!

DUKE.

What! I owe my life to him?

GOUROC.

He died to atone his treachery to you.

DIANE.

Traitors do not die to save their victims! His life was noble! His
death sublime!

[_To the_ DUKE.]

You have foully wronged the man who bravely met a martyr's death for
you!--have scorned and spurned me from your side, because I was his
wife. You have disowned me--I now disown you!

[_Turning, she goes swiftly up the steps to the terrace_.

LA ROCHE.

Where are you going?

DIANE.

Back to the Sans Culottes!

DUKE.

Diane!--Daughter!

DIANE.

No! Not your daughter--but his wife! No longer Diane de Beaumont--but,
thank God,--Diane Kauvar!

CURTAIN.

ACT IV.

SCENE. _Same as Act III_.--DUKE _discovered seated in attitude of
despair_.--GOUROC _standing near mantel_.--LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN _enters
sadly_.

DUKE.

[_Rising anxiously_.]

What news?

LA ROCHE.

None.

[_The_ DUKE _sinks back into chair_.

GOUROC.

Then she has positively escaped?

LA ROCHE.

While we stood dazed with horror at her words--she vanished. Our
soldiers have searched, but can find no trace of her.

DUKE.

[_Starting up_.]

I will find her!

LA ROCHE.

[_Barring his way_.]

This is madness.

DUKE.

Let me pass!

LA ROCHE.

Hear me!

DUKE.

While I listen, she is lost!--An army shall not stop me.

[_Breaks from him towards door_.

DENISE.

[_Entering joyfully_.]

She is found!

ALL.

Found?

DENISE.

Yes. Jean tracked her,--they are bringing her here.

JEAN.

[_Entering_.]

General, I have not failed.

LA ROCHE.

[_Grasping his hand_.]

You never do.

LA HOGUE _enters first, followed by two_ GUARDS, _whom he directs
to the entrance at top of steps_.--DIANE _enters, followed by two_
GUARDS.

DIANE.

[_To_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.]

By what authority, Monsieur, am I arrested?

DUKE.

By mine. I am your father.

DIANE.

My marriage has set me free of parental rule. I claim the right to fly
from those who have defamed my noble husband. General, command your
soldiers to release me!

GOUROC.

No!--You shall not go.

DIANE.

What will prevent me?

GOUROC.

The force of your own honour.

DIANE.

Honour commands me to return to my husband's friends.

GOUROC.

Honour commands you to keep your word with me.

[DIANE _starts and turns away_.]

You promised, if I saved your father, and you were free, you'd be my
wife.--I have done my part, you must do yours.

DIANE.

[_Passionately, to_ GOUROC.]

Now I understand your joy when you read of the beheadal of the man who
took my father's place!--You knew he was my husband.

GOUROC.

I did.

DIANE.

You planned his death to free and force me to this marriage.

GOUROC.

I did not learn that you were his wife till he was going to the
guillotine.--Then he told me all, confiding you to my care. I promised
him I'd shield you from all peril.--I but keep my word with him, in
asking you to keep your word with me.

DIANE.

So you would wed the widow of a Sans Culotte?

GOUROC.

Your husband was my friend; I knew and honoured him.

DIANE.

Ah, you believe, then, that Potin lied when he declared he got the
warrant for the Duke's arrest from Paul Kauvar?

GOUROC.

I now believe that your husband was the victim of a trick.

DIANE.

Then swear--before those who have heard the dead defamed--swear that
you believe my husband was innocent of infamy.

GOUROC.

[_With deep sincerity_.]

As I hope for mercy from my God, I believe that Paul Kauvar was
guiltless of dishonour.

DIANE.

[_Impressed with his sincerity_.]

Then his widow swears to keep her word with you.

[_She extends her hand to_ GOUROC.

LA HOGUE _crosses, up steps, to_ GUARDS, _and directs them silently to
exit.--They about-face, and go out_.

GOUROC.

[_Aside, triumphantly kissing_ DIANE'S _hand_.]

At last!

[_Howls of execration outside_.]

What is that?

LA ROCHE.

The mob howling at some captured rebels.

[_Enter_ ORDERLY, _who presents paper_.]

[_Reading paper_, LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN _speaks to_ ORDERLY.]

Conduct the prisoner here.

[_Exit_ ORDERLY.]

[_Turning to_ DIANE.]

Cousin, I must ask you to retire. We have secret business to transact.

DUKE.

[_Giving_ DIANE _his arm_.]

We will await you in my daughter's room.

[_To_ GOUROC.]

Marquis, we can complete the plans for your marriage and escape to
England.

[_Exeunt_ DIANE, DUKE, JEAN, DENISE _and_ GOUROC.

GOUROC.

[_Aside, as he goes out_.]

Now I know that I shall triumph!

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ LA HOGUE.]

When and where were these prisoners secured?

LA HOGUE.

At dawn this morning, in the centre of the Faubourg. They fought like
fiends! Their leader is a veritable lion.--Though overcome by numbers,
he don't seem conquered in the least!--Hang my hide! I cannot help but
like him!

[_Howls renewed outside_.

ORDERLY.

[_Entering_.]

The prisoner is here, General.

LA ROCHE.

Bring him in.

[ORDERLY _beckons.--Yells outside_. GUARDS _enter and form on terrace
behind entrance.--Enter_ PRISONER, _who strides haughtily in_.]

[_To_ ORDERLY.]

Retire and guard the doors.

[ORDERLY _right-faces_.--GUARD _goes of with_ ORDERLY.]

[_Politely to_ PRISONER.]

I see, sir, you're an officer.

PRISONER.

Yes.--Captain of Volunteers in the ranks of the Republic.

LA ROCHE.

To what corps do you belong?

PRISONER.

Kleber's--who waits upon the banks of the river to cut off your
retreat.

LA ROCHE.

[_Smiling_.]

We do not propose to retreat, but to advance.

PRISONER.

Before another day you will be driven, routed, into the heart of
Vendee.

LA ROCHE.

If boasting wins, your side will doubtless better ours.

PRISONER.

If blows win--your side is sure to fail. You've not a regiment that's
trained better than a pack of boys!

LA HOGUE.

I wish he were a liar, but he isn't.

LA ROCHE.

Our boys struck hard enough, it seems, to capture you.

PRISONER.

We were ten, surprised by a battalion, and yet it cost you nearly
fifty of your friends to take but ten of us.

LA HOGUE.

There he goes again riddling us with facts.

LA ROCHE.

Sir,--you know there is no quarter given to traitors found in arms
against the King.

PRISONER.

France has no sovereign but the people.--It is you who are the
traitors.

LA ROCHE.

Answer civilly and I may show you mercy.

PRISONER.

I neither ask, nor accept mercy. I have done my best to deal a
crushing blow to you.--So call your guards, and shoot me without more
waste of words.

LA ROCHE.

I see that you are brave.

PRISONER.

Brave? Because I'm not afraid to die?

[_Laughs bitterly_.]

Bah! It takes more courage sometimes to consent to live.

LA ROCHE.

You are young, a Frenchman, and--though misled--a credit to your
country. If you'll give me some excuse, I swear I'd rather spare your
life.

PRISONER.

[_Laughing_.]

Thank you, General; but frankly, I'd rather give you some excuse to
take it.

_Tremendous explosion heard in the distance. Then a second explosion.
The Faubourg in middle ground is blown up and is seen to burn into a
blaze_.

LA ROCHE.

My God!--See!--The Faubourg!

PRISONER.

[_Triumphantly_.]

Blown up and burning!--In an hour the houses that were to shelter your
attack on our defenses will be gone, and you will have to fight our
forces in the open field.--That means defeat for you.

LA HOGUE.

Sacristi! Gag this rogue, or we'll be whipped before we fight.

LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN _writes hastily, and strikes a bell. Enter GOUROC,
who starts and goes out again with a gesture of menace towards the_
PRISONER. _Enter_ ORDERLY.

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ ORDERLY.]

Despatch these orders instantly, and send a guard with loaded muskets
here at once.

[_Exit_ ORDERLY.]

[_Turning despondently to_ LA HOGUE.]

I fear this is a death-blow to our plans to-night.

PRISONER.

A death-blow dealt by me!--You'd better kill me quickly before I do
more damage.

LA ROCHE.

You are right, sir; I should be faithless to my King if I showed you
mercy now.

PRISONER.

Bravo! Mercy to enemies is as base as cruelty to friends.

LA HOGUE.

Damn me! There's no fun in killing such a fool--he seems to like it!

[_Enter_ ORDERLY _with_ GUARDS.

LA ROCHE.

[_To_ ORDERLY.]

Take the prisoner outside and shoot him there at once.

[GUARD _crosses to_ PRISONER.]

Have you any last request?

PRISONER.

But one.--You have shown me the kindness of an honest-hearted man.
War has made us enemies, but, in the presence of the peace of death,
I would like to feel that as Frenchmen we are friends, and ask one
parting grasp from you.

LA ROCHE.

[_Grasps his hand_.]

With all my heart!--May we meet like this above.

LA HOGUE.

[_With emotion_.]

Curse these youngsters, they make me snivel like a fool.

[_He blows his nose furiously.

The_ PRISONER _bows, takes his place in the platoon of_ GUARDS, _who
begin to march off. When they are on the terrace_, LA HOGUE _suddenly
cries out_.

LA HOGUE.

Halt!--

[ORDERLY _about-faces and waits for orders_.]

You have not given us your name.

PRISONER.

I prefer to let it die with me.

LA HOGUE.

Hang it, sir! Courage is glorious even in a rebel rascal like
yourself.

LA ROCHE.

Some friend may be glad to know how fearlessly you met your fate.

PRISONER.

The only ears I'd care to reach would rather never hear my name again.

LA HOGUE.

But curse your stubbornness! I want to know your name myself. Can't
you be civil as well as brave?

PRISONER.

[_Laughing_.]

Well, then, to please your gentle highness, I must give it. I am
Captain on the Staff of General Kleber--Captain Kauvar.

LA ROCHE _and_ LA HOGUE.

[_Starting_.]

Kauvar?

PAUL.

Yes--Captain Paul Kauvar.

LA ROCHE.

[_Turning amazed to_ LA HOGUE.]

What do you think of this?

LA HOGUE.

That if I had a regiment of Paul Kauvar's, I'd conquer Europe.

LA ROCHE.

My cousin's husband was guillotined. There's some mistake.

[_To_ GUARD.]

Leave the prisoner, and wait outside for orders.

PAUL.

[_Stopping the_ GUARD.]

Stay!--

[ORDERLY _waits for further orders_.]

[_To_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.]

General, I beg of you to spare me further waiting.--Make an end of
this.

LA ROCHE.

When I have questioned you again.

PAUL.

I shall refuse to answer further questions.

LA ROCHE.

I may find a way to break your silence.

PAUL.

I swear you cannot do it.

LA ROCHE.

[_Motions_ GUARDS _to go_.]

[ORDERLY _about-faces, goes on to terrace_. GUARDS _then march off_.]

We shall see! You've given a name that's not your own.

[PAUL _starts, but remains silent_.]

Paul Kauvar was guillotined the night of the ninth of May.

[PAUL _turns, amazed but silent_.]

He died to save my kinsman, the Duc de Beaumont.

[PAUL, _about to speak, checks himself_.]

He was the husband of my cousin.

PAUL.

[_Exploding_.]

Diane--your cousin?

LA ROCHE.

Ha! I thought I'd make you speak.

PAUL.

[_Eagerly_.]

You know her?--She has escaped?--Is safe?--alive?--happy?

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