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

Produced by David Starner, Leah Moser and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. PAUL KAUVAR; OR, ANARCHY STEELE MACKAYE (1844-1894) When one realizes the sociological purpose behind Steele Mackaye’s “Paul Kauvar; or, Anarchy,” it is interesting to note how inefficient the old form of drama was to carry anything more than the formal romantic fervour. Compared
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Produced by David Starner, Leah Moser and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

PAUL KAUVAR; OR, ANARCHY

[Illustration: STEELE MACKAYE]

STEELE MACKAYE

(1844-1894)

When one realizes the sociological purpose behind Steele Mackaye’s “Paul Kauvar; or, Anarchy,” it is interesting to note how inefficient the old form of drama was to carry anything more than the formal romantic fervour. Compared with John Galsworthy’s treatment in “Strife” and “Justice,” it makes one glad that realism came and washed away all the obscuring claptrap of that period. Daly, Boucicault, and their generation were held firmly in its grip; they could not get away from it, and they were justified in their loyalty to it by the insistent claim “The Two Orphans” and “The Lady of Lyons” had upon the public. All the more credit, therefore, that Bronson Howard, David Belasco, and James A. Herne escaped it; had the latter completely freed himself of melodrama, his plays would be better known to-day, better capable of revival, because of the true greatness of their simple realistic patches.

But where Mackaye vitalized the old style was in the vigour of his treatment. He loved the large scene, the mob movement; and he worked with a big brush. As Nym Crinkle, the popular New York _World_ dramatic critic of the day, wrote: “Whatever else he may be, [he] is not a ‘lisping hawthorne bud’! He doesn’t embroider such napkins as the ‘Abbe Constantin’, and he can’t arrange such waxworks as ‘Elaine’. He can’t stereoscope an emotion, but he can incarnate it if you give him people enough.”

Mackaye’s mind was large, resourceful, daring–both in the opinions it upheld, and the practical theatrical innovations it introduced into the theatre, like the double stage for the little Madison Square playhouse, in New York, which was the precursor of such modern paraphernalia as came later with the foreign revolving stages. He always stood on the threshold of modernism, advocating those principles which were to fructify in the decades to follow him. Such pioneer spirit was evident in his ardent advocacy of Delsarte methods of acting; his own work as an actor was coloured and influenced by the master whose pupil he became in the early years of his career. When one recalls the methods of Wallack, and his shy approach toward anything which was “natural,” it seems very advanced to hear Mackaye echoing the Delsarte philosophy. This advocacy was nowhere better demonstrated than when, at a breakfast given him at the New York Lotos Club, he talked on the rationale of art for two hours, and held spell-bound the attention of Longfellow, Bryant, Louis Agassiz, James J. Fields, E.P. Whipple, Edwin Booth and others. He once said:

A man to be a true actor must not only possess the power to portray vividly the emotions which in any given situation would be natural to himself, but he must study the character of the man whom he impersonates, and then act as that man would act in a like situation.

Mackaye’s devotion to Delsarte was manifest in the many practical ways he aided his teacher; he was rewarded by being left most of his master’s manuscripts. This passionate interest in the technique of acting not only enriched his own work, but, in 1872, prompted him to open a Delsarte house (the St. James Theatre), and later interested him in a school of acting. Mackaye studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Conservatoire, in Paris, having as an instructor at the latter institution M. Regnier. On his way back to America, Tom Taylor persuaded him to attempt _Hamlet_ in London, at the Crystal Palace. This essayal met with success. It also opened the way for collaboration with Tom Taylor in the writing of “Arkwright’s Wife” and “Clancarty,” and with Charles Reade of “Jealousy.” At this time also he commenced a dramatization of George Eliot’s “Silas Marner.”

There were no half-way measures about Mackaye; things of the theatre and principles of the theatre caught and held his interest. At the very last of his life, while he was at work on his “Spectatorus,” which foreran the American idea of a Hippodrome, and which might have, in years to come, happily housed his son Percy’s “Caliban,” he was at the same time attempting to combine with it an educational aspect which would lift it above the mere spectacular. The symbolical notes which he handed his son–who was then a mere boy–for the writing of a Chorus, show the profound approach he took to all his work. Such seriousness is one of the consuming traits of Percy, whose sense of humour is probably better developed than that of his father, and whose sway of literary expression is fuller.

For none of Steele Mackaye’s dramas were written with any idea of being read. They were all constructed by one fully alive to the theatre and its demands. In view of this, it is surprising how well “Paul Kauvar” flows in type. The minor editorial changes made for this edition by Mr. Percy Mackaye are based on several manuscripts, and the result is the first authentic text of the play. Steele Mackaye was always gripped in fascination by mob psychology, always eager to write of the Reign of Terror. The version here used is the mature one, given its premiere at Buffalo, New York, May 30, 1887. But Mr. Percy Mackaye is authority for the statement that while his father was studying with Delsarte, in Paris, he became enamoured of the Revolution, and there are two manuscripts extant, “The Denouncer” and “The Terror,” which indicate that he was chipping away at his theme very early in life. He recast these sketches in the summer of 1875, while at Brattleborough, Vt., where he had a cottage on the Bliss Farm, familiar now to Rudyard Kipling lovers because of the fact that here, too, Kipling wrote, at a later day.

The years 1875 and 1887 are the mileposts between which stretched a long period of successful play-writing by Steele Mackaye. By ’75, he had already written “Marriage” (1872), “Arkwright’s Wife” (1873) and “Clancarty” (1874). There followed quickly “Rose Michel” (1875, in collaboration), “Queen and Woman” (1876, an adaptation from Hugo), “Won at Last” (1877), “Through the Dark” (1878), “An Iron Will” (1879, later to be called “Hazel Kirke,” 1880), “A Fool’s Errand” (1881, an adaptation), “Dakolar” (1884), “In Spite of All” (1885), and “Rienzi” (1886). Then came the present play, followed by “A Noble Rogue” (1888) and “Money Mad,” modelled after Hugo.

In correspondence with Mr. Percy Mackaye, it is significant to hear him insisting on his father’s change in sociological bearing having taken place while writing “Paul Kauvar.” Timeliness was given to its initial presentment through the fact that at the moment some Chicago anarchists had been on trial, and were condemned to death. Writing of the incident, William Dean Howells recalls that:

At the house of Judge Pryor, in 1887, several of us came together in sympathy with your father, who was trying–or had vainly tried–to get the United States Supreme Court to grant the Chicago anarchists a new trial. With your father I believed that the men had been convicted on an unjust ruling, and condemned for their opinions, not for a proven crime. I remember your father’s wrathful fervour, and the instances he alledged of police brutality. [Letter to Mr. Percy Mackaye.]

In a published interview, Mackaye expressed his concern for the case; but he likewise was reticent about making theatre capital out of it. He is reported to have said:

The play was first called “Paul Kauvar; or, Anarchy.” Then I thought “Anarchy” would be the best title, and under that I produced it in Buffalo. After its production, the Chicago anarchists were hanged, and, to avoid a possible charge of trading on that event, I went back to my first title. Later, however, the subtitle, “Anarchy,” was gradually reduced to smaller lettering and finally dropped.

The success of the play on its first night was a double triumph, for twelve hundred leading citizens had signed an invitation to have it given in Mackaye’s native city, and the evening was a kind of public testimony to his position. This was one of the rare instances of an American dramatist receiving such recognition. Mackaye assumed the title-role, and, supporting him were Frederick de Belleville, Eben Plympton, Sidney Drew, Julian Mitchell, May Irwin, and Genevieve Lytton. Commenting on the occasion, the Buffalo _Courier_ said:

It was not as a playwright alone that his friends honour Mr. Mackaye. It may be said of him with strict justice that he is one of the few men of our day who have brought to the much-abused theatre the intelligence, the skill, the learning and the genius that it so much needs in an era of speculators and buffoons. He has always been able and willing to take the pen or the rostrum, whether at Harvard or at Steinway Hall, to expound the principles upon which he has so assiduously worked for the past fifteen years.

Mackaye had chosen his theme in the same spirit that Judge Conrad had selected “Jack Cade.” He wished to measure the danger of liberty, but he did so indirectly, for the play does not abound in long philosophical flights of definition and warning. He himself confessed that the subject was defined only once, in these words, spoken by the hero to the woman he loves, when she is pleading with him to flee from France. He silences her by saying:

“I must stay to war with beasts who bring disgrace upon our noble cause. The torch of liberty, which should light mankind to progress, when left in madmen’s hands, kindles that blaze of anarchy whose only end is ashes.”

This indicates very distinctly that Mackaye’s stand for the Chicago anarchists was not due to sympathy with their political monomania, but rather championed justice which, only when rightly used, will stem the tide of overwrought minds. With the execution of these men, he believed the cause of anarchy would be strengthened by the general impression gained of their martyrdom. His attitude was widely discussed, and “Paul Kauvar” became a visible demonstration of anarchy gone mad.

Of the component elements in his play, Mackaye left a full record. It is worth preserving as indication of his motive. In an interview he said:

For many years I have devoted myself to the mechanical, as well as the artistic side of the theatre, in the hope that by improving stage mechanism I might help to develop the artistic ensemble essential to high art results in the theatre. To this end I have made numerous inventions, and designed and built several theatres. [The Madison Square and the Lyceum Theatres.]

In this work I have been almost daily in contact with labourers and mechanics of every kind, and this contact stirred in me a very deep and sincere sympathy with these classes of men. I was led to realize the greatness of obligation under which the whole world is placed by the industry, ability and devotion to duty which characterizes by far the larger portion of the working classes.

At the same time, through relations intimate and confidential, I became conscious that certain foreign ideas–the natural outgrowth of excessive poverty and despotism in the Old World–were insinuating themselves into the hearts and minds of American labourers to an extent perilous to their own prosperity and to the very life of the republic.

In this country political corruption and the grasping spirit of corporations are constantly affording the demagogue or the dreamer opportunity to preach the destruction of civil order with great plausibility, giving scope to reckless theorists who have so often, in the world’s history, baffled the endeavours of the rational and patient liberalists of their day.

This excited in me an ardent desire to do what little I could as a dramatist to counteract what seemed to me the poisonous influences of these hidden forces: to write a play which might throw some light on the goal of destruction to which these influences inevitably lead, whenever the agitation between capital and labour accepts the leadership of anarchism.

The time chosen by me was that of the Terror in France, 1793-94, during which the noble fruits of the French Revolution came near to annihilation, thanks to the supremacy, for a time, of a small band of anarchical men who, in the name of liberty, invoked the tyranny of terror.

The hero of my play, _Paul Kauvar_, has for his prototype Camille Desmoulins, one of the most conspicuous and sincere sons of liberty of his day, who–in spite of his magnificent devotion to freedom–when he dared oppose the Jacobins, was beheaded at the guillotine–a martyr to national, as distinct from personal, liberty.

The typical anarchist in my play is portrayed in _Carrac_, whose prototype was Thomas Carier, sent into La Vendee as a representative of the Jacobin convention. It was this man who, without process of law, guillotined or destroyed most horribly over one hundred thousand innocent men, women, and children–in the name of liberty. He it was who invented the “republican marriage”–the drowned bodies of whose naked victims dammed the river Loire, and rendered its water pestilential.

The _Duc de Beaumont_ portrays a type of the true noblesse of France–proud, fearless, often unjust, never ignoble.

_Gouroc_ depicts the intriguing type of noblesse whose egotism and cruelty engendered the tyranny of the monarchy, and justified its destruction.

The prototype of General Delaroche was the brave and generous _Henri de la Rochejacquelin_, young leader of the royalists in La Vendee.

By the interplay of these types, I have sought to emphasize what is truly heroic in the struggle which must ensue in all times between men and classes possessed of differing ideas. Especially it is the purpose of my play to remind the American masses, by the history of the past, not to assist foreign influences to repeat that history on this continent in the future.

A sound attitude, and one supported now (1920) daily in the conservative press, whenever I.W.W. and Bolshevist demonstrations shake the country! But “Paul Kauvar” is, to-day, not the kind of drama to drive home the lesson; fashions have changed.

On December 24, 1887, “Paul Kauvar” opened at the New York Standard Theatre, with Joseph Haworth and Annie Robe, and thereafter started on a stage career whose history is long and varied. It reached London, May 12, 1890, under the management of Augustus Harris, at the Drury Lane, with William Terriss and Jessie Millward heading the cast.

Nym Crinkle liked “Paul Kauvar” because of its vigourous masculinity. To him there was in it the “scintillant iron,” “the strong arm, ruddy at times with the tongues of promethean fire.” It is a big canvas, avowedly romantic. “It is,” he wrote, after the play had been running in New York some months, “a work of great propulsive power, of genuine creative ingenuity, of massive dramatic effectiveness.” On that account it is well worth the preserving and the reading.

NEW NATIONAL THEATRE.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

W.H. RAPLEY. Manager.

* * * * *

SATURDAY EVENING,… MAY 5th, 1888,

Grand Production for the Benefit of

The Statue of Washington,
to be presented by

The United States to the Republic of France, of the latest and greatest New York success.

PAUL KAUVAR, by STEELE MACKAYE.

* * * * *

THIS PERFORMANCE IS GIVEN UNDER THE AUSPICES OF

=The President and Mrs. Cleveland=,

THE FOLLOWING DISTINGUISHED COMMITTEE OF LADIES:

MRS. NATHAN APPLETON, MRS. SENATOR J.P. JONES, MISS FLORENCE BAYARD, MRS. SENATOR PALMER, MRS. SECRETARY FAIRCHILD, MRS. SECRETARY ENDICOTT, MRS. DON M. DICKINSOX, MRS. JUSTICE FIELD, MRS. SENATOR SHERMAN, MRS. SENATOR STANFORD, MRS. SENATOR HEARST, MRS. SENATOR STOCKBRIDGE, MRS. SENATOR MANDERSON, MRS. SENATOR WALTHALL, MRS. F.M.D. SWEAT, MRS. S.V. WHITE, and MRS. WASHINGTON McLEAN;

And the Following Executive Committee of Ladies and Gentlemen:

MRS. SENATOR JOHN P. JONES, REPRESENTATIVE H.H. BINGHAM, MRS. SENATOR THOMAS W. PALMER, MR. M.P. HANDY, MISS FLORENCE BAYARD, MR. F.A. RICHARDSON, SENATOR W.B. ALLISON, MR. W. STILSON HUTCHINS, SENATOR J.D. CAMERON, MR. D.R. McKEE, SENATOR JOHN T. MORGAN, MR. JAMES R. YOUNG, REPRESENTATIVE J.J. HEMPHILL, MR. W.F. O’BRIEN, and COL. THOMAS P. OCHILTREE.

THIS PROCUTION IS A TRIBUTE TO THE CAUSE FREELY OFFERED BY

=MR. HENRY G. MINER=,

=STEELE MACKAYE=,

And the Following Volunteer Cast.

GENTLEMEN:

PAUL KAUVAR STEELE MACKAYE HONORE ALBERT MAXIME, Duc de Beaumont FREDERIC DE BELLEVILLE MARQUIS DE VAUX, alias GOUROC, one of the public accusers of the Revolutionary Tribunal WILTON LACKAYE GENERAL DELAROCHE, Commander of the Royalist Forces in La Vendee NESTOR LENNON GENERAL KLETERRE, Commander of the Republican Forces in La Vendee M.B. SNYDER COL. LA HOGUE, on the staff of General Delaroche LESLIE ALLEN DODOLPHE POTIN, an usher of the Revolutionary Tribunal; afterwards sergeant in the Battalion of the Bonnets Rouges SIDNEY DREW CARRAC, a typical Anarchist and a Republican Representative in La Vendee GEO. FAWCETT BOURDOTTE, a “Sans Culottes” EDWARD COLEMAN GOUJON, a Corporal in the Battalion of the Bonnets Rouges E.M. HURD TABOOZE, an officer of Gens d’Armes J.F. WENTWORTH FIRST ORDERLY E.R. SPENCER SECOND ORDERLY A.S. PALMER FIRST SANS CULOTTES RUFUS WILLIAM SECOND SANS CULOTTES R.S. McBRIDE

LADIES:

DIANE DE BEAUMONT, daughter of the Duke Miss CARRIE TURNER NANETTE POTIN Miss HELEN MAR SCARLOTTE Miss LIZZIE RECHELLE

AND THE FOLLOWING TRAINED AUXILIARIES:

LADIES.

Miss Bunee. Miss Moore. Miss Becks. Miss Marshall. Miss Pierson. Miss Maguire. Miss Forster. Miss Gianetti. Miss Frozar. Miss Hughes. Miss Weltars. Mrs. Hughes. Miss Weeks. Miss Naylor. Miss Lavard. Miss Hearn. Miss Smith. Mrs. Boware. Miss Arnold. Mrs. Lack

GENTLEMEN.

Mart Townsend. Wm. Sharkey. Chas. Belmont. T. Mitchell. Henry Schaffer. Wm. Brown. H. Marks. B. Fisher. W.W. Waters. Geo. Masten. C.M. Mackay. Chas. Nuger. Geo. Turner. Frank Comstock. T. Jarvis. H. Frees. F. Daley. Wm. Chambers. S. Sullivan. J. Smith. F. King. F. Reynolds. E. Russell. Daniel Charles. R. Ryan. S.B. Caruth. J. Godfrey. S. Rosenthal. J. Sheehan. J. Sawyer. G.B. Merton. A. Goldsmith. R. Mansfield. G. Shaffer. P. Berger. Jas. O’Brien. Rufus Williams. C. Bird. J.J. Blake. Wm. Mack. Benj. Blons. H. Hamill. Chas. Marshall. C. Brady. John Kenny. W. Sullivan. H. Gordon. G. Harvey. Ben. Sharwood. F. Medina. M. Brickner. C. King. Al. Young. Ed. Ryerson. L.T. McDermott. J. Macarthy. Chas. Norman. E. Morrison. F. Allen.
Geo. Hopper. F. Blake. J. Harris.

* * * * *

Charles Haslam Business Manager of “Paul Kauvar” Company Jere. Stevens Stage Manager Ralph Welles Assistant Stage Manager John Ginsinger Master Mechanic of Miner’s Newark Theatre Charles W. Helnert Assistant Master Mechanic of Miner’s Newark Theatre Joseph Logan Master Mechanic of “Paul Kauvar” Company Harry Cashion Chief Flyman of H.C. Miner’s Newark Theatre Charles Dunlap Master of Properties of Miner’s Newark Theatre Ed. Lawrence Master of Properties of “Paul Kauvar” Company A.C.E. Sturgis Chief Electrician of Miner’s Newark Theatre William Maston Assistant Electrician of Miner’s Newark Theatre Charles L’Orange Musical Director of Miner’s Newark Theatre * * * * *

The Tableau of the “Dream” in the First Act represents

“THE TYRANNY OF TERROR.”

SCENE–FRANCE. TIME. 1794.

ACT I.–THE TERROR. Scene–The interior of the study of Paul Kauvar.

ACT II.–THE INHUMANITY OF MAN. Scene–Prison of the Conciergerie adjoining the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris.

ACT III.–THE CONFESSION. Scene–The Grand Hall of the Chateau of Delaroche in La Vendee.

ACT IV.–ON PAROLE. Scene–Same as Act III.

Three minutes will elapse between Acts IV. and V.

ACT V.–“‘TWIXT LOVE AND HONOR.” Scene–Same as Act IV.

The Tableau which concludes this performance, and rivals in power and beauty the famous dream scene of the first act, represents allegorically

“THE CONQUEST OF EVIL.”

It is a poetic picture, full of deep thought and careful study. The central figure is that of the Angel of Conquest, with one foot upon the prostrate fiend Anarchy, holding high that irresistible weapon of progress, the Sword of Light. The fiend carries in his hands the Torch and Flag of Anarchy, and with these is about to sink into the Abyss of Darkness.

* * * * *

PAUL KAUVAR;

OR,

ANARCHY

_A PLAY IN FIVE ACTS_

_By_ STEELE MACKAYE

1915, by Harold Steele Mackaye

1919, by Harold Steele Mackaye

[The Editor wishes to thank Mrs. Steele Mackaye and Mr. Percy Mackaye for their permission to include “Paul Kauvar” in the present Collection. All rights are fully secured, and proceedings will immediately be taken against anyone attempting to infringe them.]

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MEN.

PAUL KAUVAR, _Age 30.–President of the Revolutionary Section of Fraternity. Afterwards Captain on_ GENERAL KLEBER’S _staff_.

HENRI DE LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN, _Age 22. Commander of the Royalist forces in la Vendee_.

GENERAL KLEBER, _In command of the Republican forces in la Vendee_.

HONORE ALBERT MAXIME, DUC DE BEAUMONT, _Age 65. Cousin of_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.

GOUROC, _alias_ MARQUIS DE VAUX, _Of the Jacobin Club, and one of the Public Accusers of the Revolutionary Tribunal_.

COLONEL LA HOGUE, _On the staff of_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.

MARDOCHE, _alias the_ ABBE DE ST. SIMON.

JEAN LITAIS, _A peasant of Brittany–formerly a servant of the_ DUC DE BEAUMONT. _Then for a time turnkey in the prison of the Republic_.

ARISTIDES, _alias_ DODOLPHE POTIN, _An usher of the Revolutionary Tribunal, afterward Sergeant in the Battalion of the Bonnet Rouge_.

CARRAC, _Republican Representative in Vendee_.

GOUJON, _Private in the Battalion of the Bonnet Rouge_.

BOURDOTTE, _Sans Culotte_.

TABOOZE, _An officer of the gens d’armes_.

ORDERLIES, _On the Staff of_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.

WOMEN.

DIANE DE BEAUMONT, _Daughter of the Duke_.

NANETTE POTIN, _Wife of_ ARISTIDES.

DENISE DUBOIS, _Foster-sister of_ LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN _and fiancee of_ JEAN LITAIS.

_Soldiers, Peasants, “Sans Culottes”, Turnkeys, &c_.

SCENE. _France_.

TIME. _1794_.

Under the title of “ANARCHY,” the play was first performed at Buffalo, New York, May 30, 1887, at the Academy of Music. The following was the cast:

PAUL KAUVAR Steele MacKaye. GENERAL LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN Eben Plympton. DUC DE BEAUMONT Frederick de Belleville. MARQUIS DE VAUX, _alias_ GOUROC Henry Lee. ABBE DE ST. SIMON John A. Lane. COLONEL LA HOGUE H.B. Bradley.
CARRAC M.B. Snyder.
ARISTIDES POTIN Sidney Drew. JEAN LITAIS B.T. Ringgold.
GENERAL KLEBER Jerome Stevens. BOURDOTTE Julian Mitchell.
GOUJON Edward M. Hurd. DIANE DE BEAUMONT Genevieve Lytton. NANETTE POTIN May Irwin.
DENISE Marie Hartley. SCARLOTTE Maud Hosford.
ALINE Alice Hamilton.

Cast of the first New York performance, December 24, 1887, the Standard Theatre. The name was changed to “Paul Kauvar”.

PAUL KAUVAR Mr. Joseph Haworth. HONORE ALBERT MAXIME Mr. Edwin Varrey. MARQUIS DE VAUX, _alias_ GOUROC Mr. Wilton Lackaye. GENERAL DELAROCHE Mr. Nestor Lennon. THE ABBE DE ST. SIMON Mr. B.F. Horning. GENERAL KLETERRE Mr. Jerome Stevens. COLONEL LA HOGUE Mr. Leslie Allen. DODOLPHE POTIN, _alias_ ARISTIDES Mr. Sidney Drew. CARRAC Mr. George D. Fawcett. BOURDOTTE Mr. Edward Coleman. GOUJON Mr. Edward M. Hurd. TABOOZE Mr. Charles Mitchell. FIRST ORDERLY Mr. E.R. Spencer. SECOND ORDERLY Mr. A.E. Lohman. FIRST SANS CULOTTE Mr. Fred Clifton. SECOND SANS CULOTTE Mr. C.H. Wentworth. DIANE DE BEAUMONT Miss Annie Robe. NANETTE POTIN Miss Louise Rial. SCARLOTTE Miss Lillie Eldridge.

PAUL KAUVAR

ACT I.

TIME. _The Terror_. 1794.

SCENE. _Paris. Study of_ PAUL KAUVAR’S _apartment_.

_The decorating is in the classic style of the painter David. Old-fashioned escritoire with chair. Folding doors across corner up stage. Window, with table beneath it. Fireplace, with picture of_ PAUL KAUVAR _over it, and fire on andirons. Doors at the right and left of stage.

At the Rise of Curtain_, NANETTE _crosses to fireplace and shovels ashes into a pail_. POTIN _is heard outside, singing, in loud and discordant tones, “La Marseillaise.”_

NANETTE.

[_Starting up angrily_.]

There’s that lazy man of mine, singing, while I work.

[_Crosses to folding doors, flings them open and shouts roughly_.]

Dodolphe!–Dodolphe Potin!

POTIN.

[_Meekly, outside_.]

Aye, aye!

NANETTE.

I want you!

POTIN.

[_Outside_.]

Aye, aye!

NANETTE.

Hurry up!–Do you hear?

POTIN.

[_Appearing_.]

I could hear your sweet voice if I were deaf as Justice.

NANETTE.

Fool! Justice is blind, not deaf.

POTIN.

True! That’s why you always get the better of me, dear. Justice listens too much and looks too little.

NANETTE.

Bah!

[_Pointing to pail_.]

Take that rubbish to the cellar.

POTIN.

[_Crosses, lifts pail, and looks into it_.]

Ashes!–Heigho! Every fire has its ashes.

NANETTE.

Aye–and the fire that warms a man’s home may burn his house down!–Mark you that, Citizen.

POTIN.

Oh, I see! You mean a wife, who should be a comfort, often proves a curse.

NANETTE.

I mean, Citizen Potin, that in days of revolution, husbands are easily suppressed.

POTIN.

[_Starting_.]

Take care! A word against the Revolution is treason and sure death.

NANETTE.

Bah! Better death, than a life of terror like that in France to-day.

POTIN.

[_Terrified_.]

Good heavens, Nanette! Fewer words than these have guillotined our betters! Can you never hold your tongue?

NANETTE.

Never!–while I have a truth to tell.

POTIN.

Tell the truth! Good Lord, that’s fatal.

NANETTE.

Aye, for in these noble days of liberty we are only free to lie.

POTIN.

[_Turning away in disgust_.]

Damn it! I must run or be ruined.

[_Starts to go, but, in passing window, recoils with a cry of dismay_.]

Sacristie!–See!–See there!

[_Points out of window_.

NANETTE.

[_Contemptuously looking out of window_.]

What now?

POTIN.

There goes the Phantom!

NANETTE.

[_Starting_.]

The dumb girl of the guillotine!

POTIN.

Who glides like a phantom through the streets, without home, friend, or occupation.

NANETTE.

[_With horror_.]

Except to stand by the scaffold, and count the heads that fall from the guillotine.

POTIN.

They say that calamity overtakes everyone she follows: that it’s disaster to stand in her way, and sure death to notice her.

NANETTE.

Aye, even those who think themselves too great to believe in God, have faith in the fatal power of this pale child. My God! look there!

POTIN.

Good Lord!–It’s Mademoiselle Diane! She’s crossing the street in front of the Phantom.

NANETTE.

Aye!–Go.–Hurry Mademoiselle here, before she has a chance to heed this messenger of misery.

POTIN.

[_Going hurriedly_.]

Goddess of Reason, save us all!

[_Exit_.

NANETTE.

Goddess of Reason!–A fine deity for days as mad as these:

[_Crossing to mantel and looking at_ KAUVAR’S _picture_.]

Ah, Citizen Kauvar!–Patriot!–Revolutionist!–Bold son of Liberty, as you are!–You’d love this age of terror less if it brought death to Mademoiselle Diane.–Yes, I’ve watched ye, sturdy citizen, and in spite of your stern devotion to the Republic, I suspect you carry another idol in your heart.

DIANE

[_Outside, laughing_.]

All right, Citizen,–I’ll not forget; though the poor crazed girl is not half as harmful as her saner neighbours.

NANETTE.

Ah! Here she comes–Diane Leblanc,–a ray of sunlight in this prison men call Paris.

DIANE.

[_Entering with flowers_.]

Ah, Nanette! Quick! Water and a vase. See!

NANETTE.

What–flowers?

[_Brings vase_.

DIANE.

Yes, they bloom even in this reign of terror.

[_Putting flowers in vase_.]

But you see these fragile beauties are sinless, and therefore know no fear.–Is my father in his room?

NANETTE.

No. He went away an hour ago.

DIANE.

Gone an hour, and not returned? That makes me anxious!–Is Citizen Kauvar at home?

NANETTE.

Not yet! He’s been away all night.

DIANE.

Good heavens!–Nanette–can anything have happened?

NANETTE.

Yes, what happens every day. Innocence is slaughtered!

DIANE.

But he–Citizen Kauvar–?

NANETTE.

Has doubtless fought all night to stop the useless flow of noble blood.

DIANE.

Yes, he is brave, merciful.

NANETTE.

Ah! He was one of the fiercest champions of Freedom when the people first arose; but now I think he’d give his life to still the tempest he did so much to rouse.

DIANE.

He will return sad and worn; we must do our best to cheer him when he comes.

NANETTE.

One look–one smile of yours will banish every thought of sorrow from his tired brain.

DIANE.

Hush, Nanette;–you must not talk like that.

A VOICE.

[_Outside_.]

Nanette!–Diane!

NANETTE.

[_Startled_.]

What’s that?

DIANE.

[_Frightened_.]

My father!

DUKE.

[_Entering wildly_.]

My child! Diane!–Where is she?

DIANE.

[_Rushing to him_.]

Here!–Safe in your dear arms!

DUKE.

[_Embracing her_.]

Thank God!

[_Turning to NANETTE_.]

My good Nanette, leave us alone awhile.

NANETTE.

[_Going_.]

All right, Citizen.

DUKE.

And warn us when anyone is coming.

NANETTE.

[_At the door_.]

Don’t fear! I’ll stand good guard.

[_Exit_.

DIANE.

Father, why are you so moved?

DUKE.

But now, the mob seized some poor young girl they found without protection in the street. I heard of this and fearing for your life, I hurried here in awful agony of mind. Ah! Diane, this dread of peril to you is worse than the worst of deaths to me.

DIANE.

Take heart, dear father! Does not Paul Kauvar, strong and true, stand between us and danger!

DUKE.

Yes; but ’tis hard that I, a peer of France, should owe my daughter’s life to a peasant’s son–a workman!

DIANE.

A, workman with a brush so potent that the noblest born do honour to his art. What would have been our fate but for his devotion?

DUKE.

He’s a plebeian–a Republican! The sense of my obligation to him–the enemy of my race–is almost unendurable. Ah, but for you I should long since have braved the scaffold and buried humiliation in the grave.

NANETTE.

[_Hurrying in_.]

Take care!–A committee from the Section is on its way upstairs.

DIANE.

[_In fear_.]

A committee coming here? How strange!

NANETTE.

No, not strange! Treachery is at every door. They are coming. Quick!–To your work!

[_The_ DUKE _sits at the desk and pretends to write_. DIANE _sits at table and takes up sewing_. NANETTE _dusts. Knock is heard outside_. NANETTE _answers roughly_.]

Come in!

_Enter_ GOUROC, POTIN, GOUJON _and two_ SANS CULOTTES.

GOUROC.

Health and fraternity, Citizens! We come for Paul Kauvar, President of our Section.

NANETTE.

[_Gruffly_.]

He’s not at home.

GOUROC.

Ah, indeed!

[_Sitting_.]

Then we will await him here.

[_All sit in silence_.

NANETTE.

[_Aside, in irritation_.]

Oh, the impudence of these men! How my nails ache to get at their ugly faces! [_Crossing_.]

How often have I told you that this apartment is not a public office?

POTIN.

But, my precious angel–

NANETTE.

Bah! Religion is abolished, and angels are suppressed! I wish friends were too!

POTIN.

[_Laughing_.]

Talk of the rack! What is it to a woman’s tongue?

NANETTE.

What know you of a woman’s tongue?

POTIN.

Enough to damn me, if knowledge were a crime.

NANETTE.

[_To_ GOUROC.]

Come, Citizen, there’s no use waiting. President Kauvar don’t do business at home; you’ve no rights here.

GOUROC.

[_Rising sternly_.]

The patriot has unlimited rights, woman. He may dare all–violate all, in his zeal for the Republic.

NANETTE.

Well, then, dare my dusting.

[_Strikes brush into her hand and sends dust all over_ GOUROC.]

GOUROC.

[_Moving off, sputtering_.]

Who is this, Citizen Potin?

POTIN.

[_Proudly_.]

My wife, Citizen Gouroc.

GOUROC.

Who taught her manners?

POTIN.

The Goddess of Liberty, a rough and ready teacher.

GOUROC.

Who teaches with sharp tools.

NANETTE.

Aye–tools so sharp they often cut the fools that use them. Mark that.

GOUROC.

[_Crossing to_ DIANE.]

You are the wife of President Kauvar, I suppose?

[DIANE _starts up and stares. The_ DUKE _rises and advances with stern hauteur. At sight of_ GOUROC, _he starts, and surveys him with amazement_.]

Well, old man, are you mad, or do you know me?

DUKE.

[_Significantly_.]

I think we have met before.

GOUROC.

Yes, and may meet again. Permit me to introduce myself. I am Citizen Gouroc, of the Jacobin Club, and one of the Public Accusers of the Revolutionary Tribunal.

[DIANE _draws close to_ NANETTE.]

Now, who are you?

DUKE.

I am George Leblanc, private secretary to Paul Kauvar.

GOUROC.

Ah, indeed!–His private secretary? Then I can do my business with you. It is said that two aristocrats in disguise are lurking about this house.

[_All start_.]

I must communicate with you in secret, Citizen.

[_Turning to_ DIANE.]

Are you the daughter of this old man?

DIANE.

I am his daughter, Diane Leblanc.

GOUROC.

You remain.

[_To_ SANS CULOTTES.]

You, Comrades, wait across the street;

[_Exeunt_ SANS CULOTTES.]

and you, Citizen Potin, take your wife, leave the room, and wait within call. You understand?

POTIN.

I do, Citizen. When the Republic commands, I obey.

[_Exit, with_ NANETTE.

GOUROC.

[_Bowing with great politeness_.]

Monsieur le Duc de Beaumont.

[DIANE _starts_.]

DUKE.

[_Turning with contempt_.]

Monsieur le Marquis de Vaux.

DIANE

[_Amazed_.]

This–the Marquis de Vaux?

GOUROC.

You are surprised to see me in this garb. I am equally surprised to find you the guests of Citizen Kauvar, President of the Republican Section of Fraternity.

DUKE.

Not quite as strange as discovering the dainty Marquis de Vaux a Public Accuser and the servile slave of the guillotine.

GOUROC.

Reserve your contempt till you understand the meaning of my presence here. I come to warn you against your host.

DIANE.

[_Haughtily_.]

How, sir! You suspect the loyalty of Monsieur Kauvar?

GOUROC.

What if he has trapped you here only to betray you?

DIANE.

That’s impossible, sir! Monsieur Kauvar is the soul of honour and devotion.

DUKE.

Besides, his head is surety for ours. The discovery that he had sheltered us would entail his own death.

GOUROC.

Precisely! And what if the sense of that danger had prompted a denunciation, while there still was some merit in it?

[_The_ DUKE _starts_. DIANE _turns aside with scorn_.]

One thing is certain: an anonymous denunciation of you, describing your disguise and your retreat, has been made to our club.

DIANE.

[_Clasping her father_.]

What!–Discovered and denounced?

GOUROC.

As Public Accuser, the denunciation fell first into my hands. I have risked my life by withholding it from the Tribunal until your safety is assured.

DUKE.

[_Giving_ GOUROC _his hand_.]

Pardon, Marquis, that I did not realize before the motives of your course.

GOUROC.

Grant me, then, the privilege of saving you.

DUKE.

We will. You belong to our own race; we may trust you.

GOUROC.

Then prepare for sudden and secret flight.

DIANE.

[_Starting_.]

Flight! Where can we be safer than under our present host’s protection?

GOUROC.

Under mine, Mademoiselle. Kauvar is a man of the people. To him such words as loyalty, truth and honour are but empty puffs of air.

DIANE.

[_Proudly and passionately_.]

On whose lips is there meaning purer, or prouder, than on Paul Kauvar’s?

DUKE.

[_With haughty surprise_.]

Mademoiselle! When you speak so warmly, you forget the distance that separates you from one of his rank.

[_Cries in the distance of_ “To the Guillotine!” _with the roll of muffled drums_.

DIANE.

[_In solemn voice_.]

Nay, father, listen!–Do we need more to remind us of the nearness of the protected to the protector?

[_The_ DUKE _listens with bowed head_. GOUROC _goes to window_.

DUKE.

[_To_ GOUROC, _as drums draw near_.]

Is it the patrol?

GOUROC.

[_Solemnly_.]

No. Tis the guard of the death-cart, with to-day’s load for the guillotine.

DIANE.

[_Hiding her face_.]

This constant agitation is torture.

GOUROC.

You can easily escape it, Mademoiselle. Accept the refuge I offer you.

DUKE.

We will, Marquis, at once. Come to my room, and we will complete our plans.

[_To_ DIANE.]

My child, prepare to leave this house to-night, in haste and in secret.

[_Exit with_ GOUROC.

DIANE.

Fly from this house to-night?–No! I will not go! And yet I must, or tell my father the secret I have kept from him so long.

PAUL.

[_Outside_.]

I am not at home to anyone. I will not brook intrusion here.

NANETTE.

[_Outside_.]

I’ll keep out all I can.

DIANE.

Paul is coming!–How can I tell him we must part?

[PAUL _enters_. DIANE _turns quickly toward him_.

PAUL.

[_Absorbed in documents he is carrying. Crossing slowly to desk, he lays the papers down and, turning, sees_ DIANE.]

Diane! Thank heaven you’re alone!

[DIANE _checks him by a warning gesture; crosses quickly to the door, listens a moment, then slowly approaches_ PAUL, _looking back anxiously_.]

Have you no word of welcome for a very weary friend?

DIANE.

[_Throwing herself with nervous impetuosity into his arms_.]

Ah, Paul! God bless and keep you!

PAUL.

God blessed me beyond measure, when he made your heart my own.

DIANE.

[_Leading him with nervous intensity to a chair_.]

Sit here–sit here!

[_She sits beside him_.]

Let me look at your face, and listen to your voice, while I can–while I can!

PAUL.

How strangely you say this!

DIANE.

Do you remember the old days–before this reign of terror darkened all our lives–the sunny room in my father’s chateau, where you taught me to paint the flowers we had gathered–oh! so gaily!–from the quaintest corners of the garden?

PAUL.

Ah! those were ideal days.–You, almost a child–a girl just blooming into womanhood, like those rosebuds in your hair.

DIANE.

Oh, how happy I was!–So happy, earth seemed heaven! So happy, sorrow seemed almost a myth!–I little dreamed that I would ever drink the bitterest dregs of that black cup.–The Revolution rushed upon us–and then, oh then!–

[_Hides her face on_ PAUL’S _breast_.

PAUL.

Then we parted, I thought forever.

DIANE.

You came no longer. The sunshine lost its smile–the flowers faded.

PAUL.

And yet, amidst the fearful tumult of these distracted times, we met once more.

DIANE.

[_Starting up_.]

Oh, my God! That meeting! I see the frightful scene again! My father there before me–old–helpless, dragged from his own house by a horde of brutal beasts.–I, shrieking, fighting vainly at his side–amidst their mocking laughs and jeers. Ah! I can hear them now–yes, and high above their hideous jests, rings out a clarion voice–’tis yours–silencing this crowd of curs!–With what sublime audacity you claim my father as your cousin, saving him and me, by the coolness of your courage!–Paul, from that hour you were more than man to me; you were a God, a hero, my father’s Saviour!

PAUL.

[_Rising_.]

Better than all that now–your lover–guardian–husband.

[_Embraces her, then staggers_.

DIANE.

Paul–what is it?

PAUL.

Nothing,–fatigue from last night’s bitter work.

[DIANE _brings wine and offers it. He puts it away_.]

No–one kiss from you will give me more strength than all the wine in France.

[_She kisses him_.

DIANE.

Heaven knows you need more than human strength.

PAUL.

Aye, Titan strength, to stem the tide of madness that overflows the mind of France! Ah, Diane! if it were not for your dear love, I fear my mind would falter at the task before me.

DIANE.

Oh, Paul! Why undertake this task?–Why not fly to peace in other lands?

PAUL.

Fly!–Desert France in the hour of her agony?–In the awful travail which gives birth to a new and nobler era for mankind?–No, no! I love you more than life, but my Country–ah, that is mother, sister, wife, and child!

DIANE

But Paul–

PAUL.

Hush, sweetheart, you must not make the struggle harder! The infant age is threatened with miscarriage!–The torch of Liberty, which should light mankind to progress, if left in madmen’s hands, kindles that blaze of Anarchy whose only end is ashes.

DIANE.

[_Suddenly starting_.]

Hush! Listen! What is that?

PAUL.

[_After listening_.]

Nothing, foolish child.

[_He is about to embrace her_.

DIANE.

[_Turning sadly away_.]

Nay, we are too rash! We forget the dangers that environ us.

PAUL.

Would we could forget the weak concealment that makes cowards of us both!–Oh, that something would happen to make us end this living lie!

DIANE.

[_Solemnly_.]

Perhaps that something has happened, Paul. We have been warned that we’re no longer safe beneath this roof.

PAUL.

[_Amazed_.]

Warned!–By whom?

DIANE.

What matter by whom?–Enough that we’ve been told the Civil Guard may search the house this very day.

PAUL.

[_With sudden resolution_.]

I am glad of it. Thank fate that something forces us to tell your father you are mine.

DIANE.

Nay, Paul–I cannot, dare not tell him that!

PAUL.

Then leave the task to me.

DIANE.

‘Twould be but to win his curse. You little dream the deathless pride that’s rooted in his heart! To wrench out that pride would break the heart that holds it.

PAUL.

[_Bitterly_.]

Then let it break! I, too, am proud, Diane, proud as all are proud to be who owe their manhood to their God and not to the favour of a king!–If your father scorns the sacred work of heaven’s hand, then he is only fit for scorn himself.

DIANE.

Oh, Paul! Be charitable!

PAUL.

Charitable! To what?–Your father’s pride in the race from which he springs–the race whose iron rule for centuries stamped shame on honest labour–crowned infamy with honour–made gods of profligates and dogs of workingmen–ruining their wives–insulting their mothers–debasing their daughters, and sowing the seeds of madness in their veins?–Ah, Diane! when I face your father, ’tis not your husband who should blush for his race.

DIANE.

My father’s race is mine.–I forgot its glories, and atoned its wrongs in marrying you!–But I love, revere, my father still, and have hoped each day that he would come to love you for your saving care of me–and grow content to take you as a son.

PAUL.

Who knows–perhaps he will.

DIANE.

[_Sadly_.]

Ah, no! The more you do for me, the more his pride revolts, till now I dare not tell him of our marriage.

PAUL.

Diane–listen. The time has come when you must choose between us. I staked my life in saving yours, and his! He loves but little if he hesitates to keep the precious life I saved unmarred by sorrow.

DIANE. Well, then, so be it! Have your will! But oh, seek first his blessing for our love, before you tell him of our secret marriage.

PAUL.

My love for you will teach me tenderness for him. Go now and send him here.

[_Kissing her_.]

Courage! All may yet be well.

[_Exit_ DIANE. PAUL _sits at desk wearily_.]

Hateful humiliation!–to stoop in pleading for that already mine! But patience, Paul Kauvar; he is the father of the woman you adore.

DUKE.

[_Entering and advancing to_ PAUL.]

One word before we part, good friend. I thought to leave this house without farewell, but I cannot be so cruel. I have learned that this is no longer a safe retreat. I am forced to seek one safer.

PAUL.

And where will you find one, Monsieur?

DUKE. I shall best serve you by keeping that a secret.

PAUL.

And does your daughter go with you?

DUKE.

Could you think that I would leave her here?

PAUL.

Certainly, Monsieur. If to stay seemed less perilous than to go. Why not let me replace you for awhile?

DUKE.

You guard my daughter here alone?

PAUL.

In my character of cousin to Diane Leblanc, gossip has already united us by even a closer tie.

DUKE.

To my infinite annoyance, sir.

PAUL.

Monsieur le Duc, in times like these, Madame Kauvar would be far safer than Mademoiselle de Beaumont.

DUKE.

[_With quiet hauteur_.]

There are some means of safety forbidden to my rank, sir.–Pardon me if I must say that what you suggest is one of them.

PAUL.

What if I dared to love your daughter, to hope that you would grant me the right to guard her as my wife?

DUKE.

Seriously?

PAUL.

Seriously!

DUKE.

[_Shrugging his shoulders_.]

This is another of the many insanities of the times.

PAUL.

[_Haughtily_.]

Suppose I had reason to believe that your daughter would consent?

DUKE.

[_Sternly_.]

One moment, Monsieur! Your first proposition involves but madness,–your last implies dishonour.

PAUL.

[_Indignantly_.]

Dishonour!

[_Checking himself_.]

Monsieur, honesty is honoured now, even though it be not allied to an empty title. Tis not a crest, but character, that measures manhood in this modern age. Therefore I do not fear to tell you–

[DUKE _turns quickly_. PAUL _hesitates_.]

that I love your daughter.

DUKE.

[_With terrible contempt_.]

And you take this time to declare it! When you have burdened me with obligations that leave me powerless at your feet?–when I must see in the demand for the daughter’s hand, a possible bargain for the father’s life.

[PAUL _turns fiercely. The_ DUKE _checks him_.]

No more, sir! Happily I have two securities against dishonour: my child’s sense of what is due to herself–my own scorn of life purchased at such a price.

PAUL.

Perhaps your daughter may not deem the protection of my name so great a degradation as yourself.–Dare you put her to the test?

DUKE.

What test can you propose?

PAUL.

[_Seating himself at desk and writing_.]

Here is a pass procured at the risk of my life.–I fill it out for George Leblanc.–It will convey you, alone, safely beyond our borders. Here is another. I make this out for George Leblanc and Diane his daughter. This will enable both of you to escape.–These passes have the signatures of the chief of police; I countersign them, thus–a double surety for you, a double risk for me.–Now, Monsieur, either one of these passes is yours, as your daughter may decide, if you will offer her the choice of remaining under my protection, or of leaving France with you.

DUKE.

[_Striking a bell_.]

The choice is at her will.

[_Enter_ NANETTE.]

Send my daughter here at once.

[_Exit_ NANETTE.

PAUL.

One word, Monsieur. These passes are at stake, and my life as well. I promise to be bound by the decision of your daughter.–If she decides to remain, you promise to go and leave her here with me?

DUKE. I promise this on one condition. I pledge my honour to put the alternative fairly before her. You must pledge yours to use no word to influence her choice.

PAUL.

I pledge myself to silence.

DIANE.

[_Entering pale and anxious_.]

You sent for me, Father?

DUKE.

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