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L'Aiglon
by Edmond Rostand
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THE DUKE.

It must have looked magnificent, my friend. Here on your bosom.

FLAMBEAU.

I?—I never had it.

THE DUKE.

What! After all your modest heroism?

FLAMBEAU.

One had to do far greater deeds to win it.

THE DUKE.

You made no claim?

FLAMBEAU.

The Little Corporal Didn't bestow it; so I hadn't earned it.

THE DUKE.

Then I, who have no power, no throne, no title, I, who am but a memory in a phantom, That Duke of Reichstadt who with helpless grief Can only wander under Austrian trees, Carving an N upon their mossy trunks, Wayfarer, only noticed when I cough; Who have no longer even the little piece Of watered silk so scarlet in my cradle; I, on whose woes they vainly lavish stars, Who only wear two crosses, not the One! I, exiled, prisoner, sick, who may not ride Along the front of pompous regiments Scattering stars among my heroes; yet I hope—I think—the son of such a father— Into whose hands a firmament was given— I think, in spite of shadows and dead days, A little of the star clings to my fingers:— John Seraph Peter Flambeau, I adorn you!

FLAMBEAU.

You!

THE DUKE.

Oh, this ribbon is not real.

FLAMBEAU.

The real Is that we weep in taking. I have wept.

MARMONT.

Besides, it must be legalized in Paris.

THE DUKE.

But how to get to Paris?

FLAMBEAU.

Pack your trunk.

THE DUKE.

Alas!

FLAMBEAU.

No more "Alas." To-day's the Ninth, And if you'd like to be on the Pont-Neuf The Thirtieth—you'll be there if you like— Come to the ball to-morrow given by Nepomuk.

THE DUKE AND MARMONT.

By whom?

FLAMBEAU.

Prince Metternich (Clement Lothair Wenceslas Nepomuk). Come. No more "Alas!"

MARMONT.

You utter dangerous secrets in my presence!

FLAMBEAU.

You'll not betray a plot in which you share.

THE DUKE.

Not Marmont!

MARMONT.

Yes, I'm with you.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

All the same You didn't use much flattery to win me; You gave me quite a warm reception.

FLAMBEAU.

Yes; And won a warm reception for myself.

MARMONT.

Very imprudent.

FLAMBEAU.

True, but then my failing Is ever overdoing things a little. I always add a trifle to my orders And wear a rose-bud when I go to battle: My little joke.

MARMONT.

So if the Camerata Cares to employ me—

THE DUKE.

No! not Marmont!

FLAMBEAU.

Pooh! Let him redeem himself!

THE DUKE.

No!

MARMONT.

I have lists Carefully made, of all the malcontents; Maison, the French Ambassador, is my friend.

FLAMBEAU.

Oh, he can serve us.

THE DUKE.

Compromises! No! I'll not let Marmont consecrate himself!

MARMONT.

When you are crowned, my Lord, I will obey you. Meanwhile I'll go at once to General Maison.

[MARMONT goes out.]

FLAMBEAU.

That venerable rascal's in the right.

THE DUKE.

So be it, then! I'll come. But where's the proof That France still feels herself my Father's widow? Oh, Flambeau, time has passed; the ancient love These worthy people bore us must have died.

FLAMBEAU.

Their love of you, my Lord? Why that's immortal!

[He takes from about his person the various articles mentioned in the following scene.]

THE DUKE.

Why, Flambeau, what is that?

FLAMBEAU.

A pair of braces.

THE DUKE.

Have you gone mad?

FLAMBEAU.

Just look and see what's on 'em!

THE DUKE.

My portrait!

FLAMBEAU.

Worn by quite a decent class.

THE DUKE.

But Flambeau—

FLAMBEAU.

Will you take a pinch of snuff?

THE DUKE.

I—

FLAMBEAU.

On the box a little curly head.

THE DUKE.

'Tis I!

FLAMBEAU.

And what about this handkerchief? Eh! Not so bad, the little King of Rome?

THE DUKE.

But—

FLAMBEAU.

Colored print to paste upon your walls.

THE DUKE.

Again! on horseback!

FLAMBEAU.

Yes, and caracolling. How d'you like this pipe?

THE DUKE.

But tell me, Flambeau—

FLAMBEAU.

You cannot say they haven't drawn you handsome!

THE DUKE.

I—

FLAMBEAU.

A cockade, to tease the government.

THE DUKE.

What's that?

FLAMBEAU.

A medal. Trivial fancy goods.

THE DUKE.

Still I?

FLAMBEAU.

Still you. Look here, what words are ground Upon this tumbler?

THE DUKE.

"Francis, Duke of Reichstadt."

FLAMBEAU.

Of course you can't get on without a plate—

THE DUKE.

A plate?

FLAMBEAU.

A knife, a napkin-ring, an egg-cup. They've made you look so happy on the egg-cup! The table's laid, my Lord: my Lord is served!

THE DUKE.

[With increasing emotion.]

Flambeau—

FLAMBEAU.

On everything. Here's a cravat In which you're woven riding in the clouds; And playing cards of which you're Ace of Spades—

THE DUKE.

Flambeau!

FLAMBEAU.

And Almanacs—

THE DUKE.

Flambeau!

FLAMBEAU.

And everything!

THE DUKE.

Flambeau!

FLAMBEAU.

What, weeping? Take this handkerchief And dry your eyes upon the King of Rome!

[He kneels by the DUKE'S side and wipes his eyes with the handkerchief.]

I bid you strike the iron while it's hot: You've got the people and you've got the Marshals, The King, the King himself, is only King On one condition: that he's Bonapartist. Vainly the Gallic cockerel spreads his wings That, from a distance, he may seem an eagle. We Frenchmen cannot breathe inglorious air; The crown must slip from off a pear-shaped head. The youth of France will rally to your side Merrily shouting songs of Beranger— The street has shuddered and the pavement trembled, And Schoenbrunn's not so pretty as Versailles!

THE DUKE.

I will accept.

[Military music is heard.]

Ha!

FLAMBEAU.

[At the window.]

In the Court of honor The trumpets of the Guard. The Emperor Is coming home.

THE DUKE.

My grandfather! My promise!

[To FLAMBEAU.]

No; before accepting—

FLAMBEAU.

Damn it!

THE DUKE.

Listen! I must make one attempt with him; but if When you are here on guard to-night, you see Something—that you're not used to seeing here— It is a signal! I will fly.

FLAMBEAU.

Latude! What will the signal be?

THE DUKE.

You'll see.

FLAMBEAU.

But if—

[An officer of the Noble Guard enters.]

THE OFFICER.

My Lord—

FLAMBEAU.

[Taking stock of him.]

The beggars! Aren't they gorgeous swells!

THE DUKE.

Well?

THE OFFICER.

As the Emperor passed, they came and said, "O Sire, this is the one day in the week Whereon your Majesty receives his subjects; Many have come from far—" "I'd thought of it," Replied the Emperor, smiling; "and I hope To see them. I'm at Schoenbrunn as a grandfather, I shall be with the Duke from five to six: Let all my children be beside my grandson." May they come up?

THE DUKE.

Yes! open all the doors!

[The OFFICER goes out.]

THE DUKE.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

Now quickly make a bundle of these treasures. I'll look at them at leisure in my room.

FLAMBEAU.

I make the bundle in the handkerchief. But tell me what the signal is to be.

THE DUKE.

Oh, never fear! you will not fail to know it. But—do you hear them? That's the Austrian Hymn.

FLAMBEAU.

My word! It isn't worth the Marseillaise!

THE DUKE.

The Marseillaise—well? have you tied the ends? My father used to say it wore mustachios.

FLAMBEAU.

Their blessed national hymn has scented whiskers.

THE DUKE.

It wouldn't be bad fun to enter France, Thus, with my bundle on my back, on foot.

FLAMBEAU.

How cheerful and how funny you can be! This is the first time I have seen you so.

THE DUKE.

What? Rather young and merry? Thank you, Flambeau.

CURTAIN.



THE THIRD ACT

Scene: The same as in the previous act.

A miscellaneous crowd of men, women and children are discovered on the rising of the curtain. They are being placed in order by an OFFICER.

THE OFFICER.

Line up. Be quiet. Boy, behave yourself. The Emperor enters here; so leave a passage. You, giant Highlander, don't scrape your feet.

A MAN.

Will he pass here?

THE OFFICER.

Yes; and he'll take your papers. Hold your petitions so that he can see them. No tedious twaddle—Ah!—and you're forbidden To kneel when he comes in.

A WOMAN.

Forbidden or not, That won't prevent us—

[The EMPEROR enters quite simply, without being announced. All the people, in spite of the warning, fall on their knees.]

THE EMPEROR.

Rise, my children, rise.

[He passes from one to the other, taking their papers. To a WOMAN.]

Your pension's doubled.

THE WOMAN.

Sire!

THE EMPEROR.

[To a MAN.]

What? What? A team Of oxen? That's expensive!—Granted.

THE MAN.

Father!

THE EMPEROR.

[Reading another paper.]

Granted.

A WOMAN.

Father Franz—

THE EMPEROR.

What, you? All well At home?

THE WOMAN.

Oh, so-so.

THE EMPEROR.

Well, old woman? Well?

THE OLD WOMAN.

Why, don't you see, the wind has killed my chickens.

THE EMPEROR.

Granted.—A vocalist?

THE VOCALIST.

I yodle.

THE EMPEROR.

Come And yodle to the Court at Baden.

THE CHAMBERLAIN.

Name?

THE VOCALIST.

Schnauser.

THE EMPEROR.

A Highlander?

THE HIGHLANDER.

Out yonder My home is, on the mountains, in the skies. I want to be a cabman in Vienna.

THE EMPEROR.

Well, so you shall.

[Taking another paper.]

A wealthy husbandman Begs Franz to give him back his daughter's love Which a Bohemian glass-blower has stolen.

[Handing back the paper.]

You'll wed your child to her Bohemian lover.

THE HUSBANDMAN.

But—

THE EMPEROR.

I'll endow him.

THE CHAMBERLAIN.

Name?

THE HUSBANDMAN.

Johannes Schmoll. I kiss your hands.

THE EMPEROR.

[Taking another paper.]

"A shepherd of the Tyrol, A friendless orphan, robbed of all his land, Driven from his homestead by his father's foes, Yearns for his native woods and skies"—how touching!— "And his paternal meadow." 'Tis restored.

THE CHAMBERLAIN.

What is the shepherd's name, who asks for help?

THE SHEPHERD.

The Duke of Reichstadt! And the meadow's France!

THE EMPEROR.

[To the PETITIONERS.]

Begone!

[All go.]

What's this?

THE DUKE.

It seems if I were only A mountain shepherd or a forester, With nothing to attract your notice, Sire, Save a cock's feather in my huntsman's hat, You would have drawn me to your melting heart.

THE EMPEROR.

But Franz—!

THE DUKE.

Ah, now I know why all your subjects, All those who are unhappy, call themselves Your sons as much as we; but is it just, Sire, is it just, that I, when I'm unhappy, Have less of kinship than the least of these?

THE EMPEROR.

But why just now—for I must scold you, sir— When I was busy with these wretched people— Why come to me just now, and not in private?

THE DUKE.

I wished to find you when your heart was open.

THE EMPEROR.

My heart—my heart!—You're somewhat over-bold!

THE DUKE.

I know that you can do the thing I ask, That I am wretched almost past endurance, And that you are my Grandfather—that's all.

THE EMPEROR.

But there is Europe—England—above all, There's Metternich.

THE DUKE.

You are my Grandfather.

THE EMPEROR.

You don't know half the difficulties.

THE DUKE.

But I am the grandson of your Majesty.

THE EMPEROR.

But—

THE DUKE.

Sire, in whom alone I place my trust, Be Grandfather a little while!

THE EMPEROR.

But I—

THE DUKE.

Just for a moment drop the Emperor.

THE EMPEROR.

Ah, what a coaxing way you always had.

THE DUKE.

You know I cannot bear you when you look Like the great portrait hanging in the throne-room, With the ermine cloak and Golden Fleece upon you; But here, like this, I like you very much. With the dear silver of your floating hair, Your kindly eyes, your simple coat and waistcoat; For now you're just a dear old gentleman, By whom a grandchild might be petted.

THE EMPEROR.

Petted!

THE DUKE.

Are you not bored to see the heavy jowls Of Louis-Philip on the coins of France?

THE EMPEROR.

Hush! hush!

THE DUKE.

Do you adore these podgy Bourbons?

THE EMPEROR.

You are not like your cousins the Archdukes.

THE DUKE.

Indeed?

THE EMPEROR.

Where did you learn your saucy tricks?

THE DUKE.

I learnt them playing in the Tuileries.

THE EMPEROR.

Ah, you come back to that?

THE DUKE.

I wish I could.

THE EMPEROR.

Can you recall those days?

THE DUKE.

Oh, only vaguely.

THE EMPEROR.

Can you recall your father?

THE DUKE.

I remember A man who pressed me hard against a star, And as he pressed I felt with tears of fright The diamond star was stamped upon my heart: Sire, it has stayed there!

THE EMPEROR.

Do I blame you for it?

THE DUKE.

Yes, let the goodness of your nature speak! When I was small you loved me, did you not? You loved to have me with you at your meals, And so we used to dine together—

THE EMPEROR.

Charming.

THE DUKE.

My hair was long, and I was Prince of Parma; And when they punished me you let me off.

THE EMPEROR.

Do you remember how you hated ponies?

THE DUKE.

One day they showed me one as white as snow; I stamped with fury in the riding-school.

THE EMPEROR.

You thought a pony was a deadly insult.

THE DUKE.

I cried with rage: I want a great, big horse!

THE EMPEROR.

And now you want another great, big horse!

THE DUKE.

And how I used to beat my German nurses.

THE EMPEROR.

And how with Colin you would calmly dig Enormous holes about my park—

THE DUKE.

For Crusoe.

THE EMPEROR.

He was Man Friday.

THE DUKE.

And I used to hide. I had a gun, three hatchets and a bow.

THE EMPEROR.

Then you stood sentinel before my door.

THE DUKE.

As a hussar.

THE EMPEROR.

And ladies, coming late, Found this excuse quite natural:—"Oh, Sire, We only stopped to kiss the sentinel!"

THE DUKE.

You loved me then.

THE EMPEROR.

I love you now.

THE DUKE.

Then prove it!

THE EMPEROR.

My Franz! my grandson!

THE DUKE.

Is it true the King Would simply disappear if I appeared?

THE EMPEROR.

Well—

THE DUKE.

Is it true?

THE EMPEROR.

I—

THE DUKE.

Don't tell lies!

THE EMPEROR.

Perhaps!

THE DUKE.

I love you!

THE EMPEROR.

Yes; if you appeared alone, Without a drum, upon the bridge at Strassburg, The King would vanish.

THE DUKE.

I adore you, Grandad!

THE EMPEROR.

I'm stifled!

THE DUKE.

No.

THE EMPEROR.

I should have held my tongue.

THE DUKE.

Besides, the climate of Vienna's bad: I'm ordered Paris—

THE EMPEROR.

Really?

THE DUKE.

For my cough. If I'm to spend a season there, of course I can't stop anywhere but at the Louvre.

THE EMPEROR.

Indeed!

THE DUKE.

And if you liked—

THE EMPEROR.

They've often begged us To wink at your escaping—

THE DUKE.

Wink at once!

THE EMPEROR.

Oh, for all me—

THE DUKE.

There's no one else.

THE EMPEROR.

I'll think.

THE DUKE.

Don't think! Don't think those horrid second thoughts! Consult your feelings only, and your heart, 'Twould be so pretty if an Emperor once Upset all history to spoil his grandson. And then it's something, something rather fine, If you can just remark quite innocently, You know: "My Grandson, Emperor of the French."

THE EMPEROR.

Certainly.

THE DUKE.

And you'll say it! Say you'll say it!

THE EMPEROR.

Well—

THE DUKE.

Speak, Sire!

THE EMPEROR.

Yes, then—Sire!

THE DUKE.

Ah, Sire!

[They salute each other as equals.]

THE EMPEROR.

Sire!

THE DUKE.

Sire!

[A door opens.]

THE EMPEROR.

Metternich. Have no fear; I'll—

THE DUKE.

All is lost!

[Enter METTERNICH.]

THE EMPEROR.

It is my will this child shall reign.

METTERNICH.

Delightful. I'll tell your partisans at once.

THE DUKE.

I feared.

THE EMPEROR.

What should you fear? Am I not master here?

THE DUKE.

Whom will you send me as Ambassador?

METTERNICH.

Delightful.

THE DUKE.

And you'll visit me in state?

THE EMPEROR.

Yes, very likely; when the chambers rise.

METTERNICH.

We'll only ask some trifling guarantees.

THE DUKE.

Ask what you like.

THE EMPEROR.

Well? are you happy?

METTERNICH.

First We'll come to terms on trivial points of detail: Certain seditious groups should be dissolved: Our neighbors must not harbor thunderbolts.

THE DUKE.

Dear grandfather!

METTERNICH.

Ah—then we're very weary Of hearing of the Heroes of July.

THE DUKE.

But—

METTERNICH.

Now the imperialists and radicals Are linked: we'll cut the link; we cannot favor The dangerous modern spirit. We'll expel Lammenais.

THE DUKE.

But—

METTERNICH.

And Chateaubriand. Ah— We'll also put a muzzle on the press.

THE DUKE.

Oh, there's no hurry.

THE EMPEROR.

Pardon me, there is.

THE DUKE.

Pardon me, that's attacking freedom.

THE EMPEROR.

Freedom!

METTERNICH.

Ah—we must have free hand in Italy. Ah—not so much excitement about Poland.

THE DUKE.

Ah? And what else?

METTERNICH.

Well, we shall have to solve The question of the names. You know, the names Of battles, Sire, which you—well—did not win: The Marshals must not wear them.

THE DUKE.

What is that?

THE EMPEROR.

Perhaps—

METTERNICH.

Forgive me; but they must not think They're lords of Austrian places; and you cannot Approve their way of carrying off to France Our villages by means of upstart titles.

THE DUKE.

Grandfather! Grandfather!

THE EMPEROR.

Well—it's evident—

THE DUKE.

Yet you and I were in each other's arms!

[To METTERNICH.]

And have you nothing further to demand?

METTERNICH.

Yes; the suppression of the Tricolor.

THE DUKE.

Your Excellency wishes me to wash The banner based in blood and crowned with heaven— For it was dipped in horrors that bear fruit, And it was bathed in universal hopes!— Your Excellency asks me to efface That gleam of heaven and that stain of blood, And, having nothing but a blank sheet left, To make a shroud for Freedom out of that!

THE EMPEROR.

Freedom again!

THE DUKE.

Upon my father's side I am related closely, Sire, to Freedom.

METTERNICH.

Yes, the Duke's grandsire was the eighteenth Brumaire!

THE DUKE.

Yes, and the Revolution was my granddam!

THE EMPEROR.

Silence!

METTERNICH.

The Emperor a republican! Utopia!—Play the Marseillaise in A On trumpets, while the sentimental flute Sighs "God preserve the Empire" in E flat.

THE DUKE.

The two go very well together, sir, And make a tune that frightens Kings away!

THE EMPEROR.

This to my face? How dare you, sir? How dare you?

THE DUKE.

Ah, now I know what is expected of me!

THE EMPEROR.

What does it mean? What is the matter with him?

THE DUKE.

I am to be an Austrian Archduke On a French throne!

THE EMPEROR.

What has he read or seen?

THE DUKE.

I have seen egg-cups, handkerchiefs, and pipes!

THE EMPEROR.

He's mad! The words he utters are a madman's!

THE DUKE.

Mad to have thought you'd help me to my own.

METTERNICH.

'Tis you alone obstruct your going home.

THE DUKE.

Yes, in a gig instead of on a gun!

THE EMPEROR.

You shall not go at all!

THE DUKE.

A cage?

THE EMPEROR.

We'll see!

THE DUKE.

For all your cages I am still the Eaglet!

THE EMPEROR.

The eagle on my flag has many eaglets: You're one of them: that's all.

THE DUKE.

Oh, gloomy eagle! Sad, double-headed fowl, with heavy eye: Eagle of Austria, cruel bird of night! A glorious eagle of the dawn has passed Athwart thine eyrie, and with ruffled feathers, Raging and terror-stricken, thou beholdest One of thine eaglets sprouting golden plumage!

THE EMPEROR.

My heart was softening: I regret my tears. These books and weapons shall be taken from you. Dietrichstein!

METTERNICH.

He is not in the palace.

THE EMPEROR.

Poor, morbid child, we will suppress whatever Too much reminds you who your father was.

THE DUKE.

Then you must root up every violet, Drive every single bee out of your park!

THE EMPEROR.

Change all the servants!

METTERNICH.

I'll dismiss them all: Otto, Fritz, Hermann, Albrecht—

THE DUKE.

Close the shutters, Lest yonder star remind me of my father's.

THE EMPEROR.

And as for Dietrichstein, I'll sign at once New regulations—

[To METTERNICH.]

Write.

METTERNICH.

Where is the ink?

THE DUKE.

My inkstand's on the table; you may use it.

METTERNICH.

Where? I see nothing!

THE DUKE.

The Minerva's head, In bronze and marble.

METTERNICH.

Still I cannot see it.

THE DUKE.

Then take the other, made of burnished gold, On yonder console—

METTERNICH.

Where?

THE EMPEROR.

What inkstands?

THE DUKE.

Sire, Those which my father left me.

THE EMPEROR.

What do you mean?

THE DUKE.

Yes! in his testament! And there, the pistols, Four pistols of Versailles. Take them away.

THE EMPEROR.

[Bringing his fist down on the table.]

What's this?

THE DUKE.

You must not hit the table, Sire! Now you've knocked down the sword he wore as Consul!

THE EMPEROR.

These things you speak of—

THE DUKE.

Are before my eyes! "They are to be surrendered to my son When he has reached sixteen." Despite the crime Which holds them back, they're mine: I have their soul! The soul of every cross, of every jewel, And all is here: the three mahogany caskets, And all the snuff-boxes, and all the spurs, The golden garter-buckles and the gorgets, I've all! The iron sword, the enamelled sword, The sword in which a never-setting sun Has left its fires imprisoned, so that none May dare to draw it lest the sun leap forth; I have the sword-belts also, all the six!

THE EMPEROR.

Silence!

THE DUKE.

"To be surrendered to my son When he has reached sixteen." Oh, Father, sleep. For I have all; even your uniforms. Oh, yes! To you my uniform looks white— Well, it's not true—it's false—I am pretending! Father, behold, it's blue and red, behold! Colonel? Not so! Lieutenant in your Guard! By the device your soldiers bore I know it, Father, who gave me victories for sisters! 'Twas not in vain you wished me to possess The alarm-clock of King Frederick of Prussia, Which you magnificently stole from Potsdam, For here it is! 'Tis ticking in my brain! It is the clock which wakes me every morning, Drives me exhausted by my midnight toil Back to my narrow table, to my toil, To be more fit by night-fall for the throne!

THE EMPEROR.

The throne! the throne! Oh, never hope again That you may reign in France, you—Upstart's son, Because our nobler blood has made you look Rather more kingly than your father was.

THE DUKE.

Forgive me, but at Dresden, you remember, You all appeared like lackeys of my father.

THE EMPEROR.

A common soldier!

THE DUKE.

He had but to ask And Emperors gave their daughters to this soldier.

THE EMPEROR.

Perhaps. I cannot say. Mine is a widow.

THE DUKE.

Pity I'm here as living evidence!

THE EMPEROR.

Have you forgotten how we loved each other?

THE DUKE.

No! No! My birth is proof that you were beaten! No! you can only hate me; for I am Wagram personified before your eyes!

THE EMPEROR.

Out of my sight! Begone!

[Exit the DUKE.]

The child I loved!

METTERNICH.

Well, Sire, is he to have an empire?

THE EMPEROR.

Never!

METTERNICH.

Do you perceive what I have saved you from?

THE EMPEROR.

Ah! did you hear the monstrous things he said?

METTERNICH.

We must subdue him.

THE EMPEROR.

For his own sake; yes, METTERNICH.

For the world's peace and yours.

THE EMPEROR.

We must subdue him.

METTERNICH.

I'll come and speak to him to-night.

THE EMPEROR.

What grief He gives me!

METTERNICH.

[Trying to lead him away.]

Come.

THE EMPEROR.

You'll speak to-night?

METTERNICH.

This scene Must never be repeated.

THE EMPEROR.

It has hurt me. Unhappy child!

METTERNICH.

[Leading him off.]

Come, Sire.

THE EMPEROR.

[Without.]

The child—

[His voice dies away.]

[The DUKE opens his door very gently, sees they are gone, listens a moment, then enters quickly and places one of Napoleon's little hats on the table.]

THE DUKE.

The signal!

[He returns to his room.]

[FLAMBEAU enters.]

FLAMBEAU.

'Tis time. Well, signal? Are you here?—Perhaps.

[He hunts for it.]

"Flambeau," he said, "you cannot fail to find it." Now, is it high or low, or black or white? Or great or small?

[He sees the hat.]

The Emperor's—! Small and great!

[He goes toward the window.]

Oh, but the Countess watches in the park, And if the signal's here I am to signal:

[He takes out his handkerchief.]

No! This won't do. A white flag makes her ill.

[A servant enters with a reading-lamp, which he carries toward the DUKE'S room.]

THE SERVANT.

The Duke of Reichstadt's reading-lamp.

FLAMBEAU.

[Leaping upon him and seizing the lamp.]

You dolt! It's leaking! It must have fresh air!

[He takes it out on the balcony.]

You wave it three times so: arrange the wick;

[He does as he says and gives the lamp back to the SERVANT.]

That's it. See that?

THE SERVANT.

Oh, aren't you clever?

[He carries the lamp into the DUKE'S room.]

FLAMBEAU.

Rather! To-morrow—flight!

[SEDLINZKY enters.]

SEDLINZKY.

The Duke?

FLAMBEAU.

[Pointing to the room.]

In there.

SEDLINZKY.

Watch here.

FLAMBEAU.

I'm watching.

SEDLINZKY.

Lock!

[He goes out.]

FLAMBEAU.

[Locking the door after him.]

Locked!

SEDLINZKY.

[Without.]

Take the key out.

FLAMBEAU.

Out.

SEDLINZKY.

None but the Emperor has the key. Be careful— Watch.

FLAMBEAU.

As I always do.

[He bends over the key-holes and arranges them carefully.]

And for the night I'll close the eyelids of the key-holes softly.

SEDLINZKY'S VOICE.

Good-night, you Piedmontese.

FLAMBEAU.

Good-night, my Lord.

SEDLINZKY'S VOICE.

Remember! you're on duty.

FLAMBEAU.

I'm on duty.

SEDLINZKY'S VOICE.

Well, that's all right. Good-night.

FLAMBEAU.

Good-night!

[He throws off his livery coat. Puts on the busby, which is standing on the console, and shoulders the musket. He is now in the full accoutrement of a Grenadier of the Guards.]

And thus, Suddenly upright, thin, unliveried, Locked in till dawn, and safe against surprise, Glowering with grizzled brows beneath his busby, Straight in his ancient uniform, his gun Firm in his arm, his hand on his right nipple, The fixed and regulation attitude, Standing thus every night before your threshold, Giving himself a password full of pride, Pleased with a deed that's grave, and yet a jest, A Grenadier at Schoenbrunn stands on guard About the son as once about the Father. 'Tis the last time! You'll never hear of it. 'Tis for myself. A private luxury. I must be mad to do a thing like this For no one's eye, but just to say "By Jove, That's rather good!" At Schoenbrunn! In their teeth! But I'm delighted!—I'm content!

[He hears the noise of a key in the door.]

I'm damned!

[The door opens gently.]

Who can have got the key?

[He retires into the shadow by the DUKE'S door.]

[METTERNICH enters, carrying a large candelabrum.]

METTERNICH.

No, no! This scene Must never be repeated.

FLAMBEAU.

Nepomuk!

METTERNICH.

Yes, I will speak to-night. We are alone.

[As he puts down the candelabrum he sees the hat.]

What's this? I never knew he had one like— Ah! the Archduchess must have sent him this; So there thou art, thou legendary hat! 'Tis many years—Good day!—What sayst thou? What? No, from thy little sable pyramid Twelve years of splendor gaze on me in vain, I do not fear thee now. The leathern tag With which he constantly could take thee off, And so win cheers yet leave thy shape unharmed. With thee he fanned himself after each victory; Thou couldst not fall from his unheeding fingers, But straight a king would stoop to pick thee up. To-day, my friend, thou art a reach-me-down, And if I tossed thee through the casement yonder Where wouldst thou end thy days?

FLAMBEAU.

[To himself.] In a museum!

METTERNICH.

The famous little hat—how very ugly! They called it little—is it really little? No; it is big; enormous; it's the hat A little man puts on to increase his inches. For 'twas a hatter set the legend going: The real Napoleon, after all, was Poupart. Ah, never think my hatred of thee slumbers! 'Twas for thy shape's sake first I hated thee, Thou vampire-bat of bloody battle-fields, Hat that seemed fashioned out of raven's wings. I hated thee for pitilessly soaring Above the fields which witnessed our defeats, Half-circle, seeming on the ruddy sky The orb half-risen of some sable sun! And for thy crown wherein the devil lurks, Thou juggler's hat, laid with a sudden hand Upon a throne, an army, or a nation— When thou wert lifted all had disappeared. I hated thee for the salutes I gave thee, For thy simplicity—mere affectation— Thy insolent joy, thou piece of common beaver Amid the glittering diadems of gold; For staying firmly on his haughty head When I sought flattering epithets to please thee. Conqueror, new, acclaimed, I hated thee! I hate thee now, old, conquered and betrayed! I hate thee for thy haughty shadow, cast Forever on the wall of history; I hate thee for thy Jacobin cockade, Staring upon me like a bloodshot eye; For all the murmurs sounding in thy shell, That huge black shell the waves have left behind Wherein the shuddering listener may hear The rumor of a nation on the march. I hate thee for the pride of France, whose bounds Thou hast enlarged until she scorns the world; For Beranger I hate thee, and Raffet, For all the songs and all the pasquinades, And for the halo of Saint Helena. I hate thee, hate thee. I shall not be happy Until thy clumsy triangle of cloth, Despoiled of its traditions, is again What it should ne'er have ceased to be in France— The headgear of a village constable. I hate—but suddenly—how strange!—the present Sometimes with impish glee will ape the past!— Seeing thy well-known shape before me thus Carries my mind back to a distant day, For it was here he always put thee down When twenty years ago he sojourned here. This room was then the ante-chamber; here, Waiting till graciously he showed himself, Dukes, Princes, Magyars, huddling in a corner, Fixed from afar their humbled eyes upon thee, Like lions, dreading with a helpless fury The tamer's hat forgotten in the cage. 'Twas thus he placed thee, and here lay, as now, Weapons and papers. One might say 'twas he Had tossed thee carelessly upon the map, That this were still his home, this Bonaparte! And that by turning, on the threshold—there— I should behold the Grenadier on—

[He starts on seeing FLAMBEAU standing rigid before the DUKE'S door; he rubs his eyes.]

Ha! No! no! I'm feverish; my tete-a-tete With the old hat plays havoc with my nerves!

[He looks and draws near. FLAMBEAU does not move.]

Or have the moonbeams conjured up a spectre? What is it, then? Let's see—let's see—let's see!

[He strides furiously toward FLAMBEAU.]

Who are you, fellow?

FLAMBEAU.

[Presenting his bayonet.]

Who goes there?

METTERNICH.

[Recoiling.]

The devil!

FLAMBEAU.

[Coldly.]

Pass, devil.

METTERNICH.

[With a forced laugh, coming toward him again.]

Yes,—a very clever jest, But—

FLAMBEAU.

[Presenting his bayonet again.]

Who goes there?

METTERNICH.

[Recoiling.]

But—

FLAMBEAU.

Move and you are dead.

METTERNICH.

But—I—

FLAMBEAU.

Quiet!

METTERNICH.

Let me pass!

FLAMBEAU.

The Emperor sleeps!

METTERNICH.

What!

FLAMBEAU.

Silence!

METTERNICH.

I'm the Austrian Chancellor! I am all-powerful! I'm—

FLAMBEAU.

Shut your mouth!

METTERNICH.

I want to see the Duke of Reichstadt!

FLAMBEAU.

Out!

METTERNICH.

How—out?

FLAMBEAU.

What's Reichstadt? Never heard of Reichstadt! Auerstadt, Elchingen, they're dukes I know. Reichstadt's no duke. There's been no victory there.

METTERNICH.

But, we're at Schoenbrunn!

FLAMBEAU.

I should rather think so! Thanks to our new success we're quartered here; And here we're getting ready at our leisure To give the world another drubbing! See?

METTERNICH.

What's that you say? A new success?

FLAMBEAU.

Colossal!

METTERNICH.

This is July the ninth in Eighteen—

FLAMBEAU.

Nine!

METTERNICH.

Can I be mad?

FLAMBEAU.

Who are you? Where d'you spring from? Why aren't you snug in bed? It's very fishy—

METTERNICH.

I—

FLAMBEAU.

Who let this braggart pass? The Mameluke?

METTERNICH.

The Mameluke?

FLAMBEAU.

All's going to the dogs!

METTERNICH.

But—

FLAMBEAU.

You here in the ante-room at night!

METTERNICH.

But I—

FLAMBEAU.

You calmly cross the Rosa chamber Unchallenged by the sentinel on guard!

METTERNICH.

What?

FLAMBEAU.

When you ventured through the small rotunda, Was there no yatagan to shave your cheek? Were there no sergeants in the white saloon Brewing their punch upon the golden stove? No bristling veterans in the china-room? And in the galleries? The Grenadiers Saw you come strolling as a matter-of-course? A man may cross the oval cabinet And not be turned to mince-meat by Duroc?

METTERNICH.

The Marshal—?

FLAMBEAU.

Is the bulldog turned to lapdog?

METTERNICH.

I come here—

FLAMBEAU.

So the palace is an inn? And when you'd managed all the sentinels, Where were the rest? The porter? Gone to bed? The valet? Absent? And the secretary? Where was he hidden? In his own portfolio?

METTERNICH.

But I—

FLAMBEAU.

Instead of being after you, No doubt the Aide-de-Camp was after women!

METTERNICH.

But—

FLAMBEAU.

And the Moor was saying prayers to Allah? At any rate it's lucky I was here. What discipline! If he looks into this I'll bet my head he'll let the beggars know!

METTERNICH.

I'm going—

FLAMBEAU.

Ah! don't stir! You'll wake him! He's sleeping on his little bed of laurels.

METTERNICH.

[Falling into an arm-chair.]

Was never such a dream! 'Twill make an epic!

[His hand touches the flame of one of the candles.]

Well, but this candle—

FLAMBEAU.

Burns.

METTERNICH.

[Feeling the point of FLAMBEAU'S bayonet.]

This weapon—

FLAMBEAU.

Stings!

METTERNICH.

Then I'm awake! I'm—

FLAMBEAU.

Hold your tongue!

METTERNICH.

And what of Waterloo?

FLAMBEAU.

Of water—what? [Listening.]

The Emperor stirred.

METTERNICH.

The Emperor?

FLAMBEAU.

Oh, my stars! Now you turn whiter than a bugler's horse!

METTERNICH.

It is the Duke of Reichstadt! I'm not scared! It is the Duke! I'm sure of it!

FLAMBEAU.

The Emperor!

[The DUKE enters, with the reading lamp in his hand.]

METTERNICH.

Aha! Tis you! 'Tis you! It is your Highness! Ah, but how glad I am!

THE DUKE.

[Puzzled.] Why are you glad?

METTERNICH.

The joke was played so well, I really thought Another might come out!

FLAMBEAU.

[As if waking from a dream.]

Faith, so did I!

THE DUKE.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

What's this?

FLAMBEAU.

My little joke.

METTERNICH.

[Ringing.]

Help!

THE DUKE.

Fly!

FLAMBEAU.

The window!

THE DUKE.

The sentinel will shoot you!

FLAMBEAU.

If he can.

THE DUKE.

Your livery!

METTERNICH.

[Putting his foot on it.]

No!

FLAMBEAU.

Bah!

[Aside to the DUKE, while METTERNICH rings again.]

I will seek my cavern.

THE DUKE.

But I—

FLAMBEAU.

The ball to-morrow!

THE DUKE.

Are you mad?

FLAMBEAU.

You'll find me.

THE DUKE.

Quiet!

[FLAMBEAU goes out by the window.]

METTERNICH.

If he'd only break His neck—He's singing!

THE DUKE.

[On the balcony.]

Hush!

FLAMBEAU'S VOICE.

My little joke!

[A shot is heard.]

THE DUKE.

Missed!

METTERNICH.

With what ease he finds his way about.

THE DUKE.

He knows it; he has been here once before.

METTERNICH.

[To the LACKEYS who show themselves at the door.]

Too late. Begone. I do not need your help.

[The LACKEYS disappear.]

THE DUKE.

And not a word of this to the police!

METTERNICH.

I never raise a laugh against myself. What's the importance of a veteran's joke? You're not Napoleon?

THE DUKE.

Who has settled that?

METTERNICH.

You have his hat, perhaps, but not his head!

THE DUKE.

Ah, yes, an epigram to damp my ardor. 'Tis not the pin-prick this time, 'tis the lash That drives me headlong toward the wildest dreams. I've not the head, you say? How do you know?

METTERNICH.

[Takes the candelabrum in his hand and leads the DUKE to the cheval glass.]

How do I know? Just glance into this mirror. Look at the sullen sadness of your face, The grim betrayal of your fair complexion, This crushing golden hair—I bid you look!

THE DUKE.

[Struggling to get out of his grasp.]

No!

METTERNICH.

You're environed with a fatal mist!

THE DUKE.

No!

METTERNICH.

Though you know it not, 'tis Germany, 'Tis Spain, for ages dormant in your blood, Make you so haughty, sorrowful, and charming.

THE DUKE.

No! no!

METTERNICH.

Bethink you of your self-distrust! You—reign? Come, come! You would be pale and wan; One of those timid, introspective kings Who are imprisoned lest they abdicate.

THE DUKE.

No, no!

METTERNICH.

Not yours the energetic brow! Yours is the brow of languor and of yearning.

THE DUKE.

[Shaking, passes his left hand across his brow.]

My—brow?

METTERNICH.

And drearily your Highness passes Over an Austrian brow a Spanish hand!

THE DUKE.

My—hand?

METTERNICH.

Observe the frail and tapering fingers Seen fair and jewelled in long lines of portraits!

THE DUKE.

No!

METTERNICH.

And those eyes through which your ancestors Look forth!

THE DUKE.

The eyes—?

METTERNICH.

Ay! note them well! The eyes Wherein how many eyes we've seen before Dream of the fagot, weep for perished squadrons! Dare you, whose conscience is so sensitive, Ascend the throne of France with eyes like those?

THE DUKE.

Ah! but my Father!—

METTERNICH.

Naught of him is in you! Search! Search again! Come closer to the light! He stole our ancient blood to mix with his, That his might grow more ancient. But he stole Only the racial melancholy, and The feebleness, and—

THE DUKE.

I beseech you!

METTERNICH.

Look! Look in the mirror! You turn pale?

THE DUKE.

Enough!

METTERNICH.

And on your lips you recognize the pout As of a doll, of Marie Antoinette, Her whom your France beheaded; for your Father, While stealing glory, stole mishap as well! Nay! raise the chandelier!

[He forces the chandelier into the DUKE'S right hand, and holds him by that wrist.]

THE DUKE.

I am afraid.

METTERNICH.

You cannot gaze into this glass at night, But all your race will gibber at your back! Look—in the gloom—that shade is Mad Johanna, And yonder Thing, that moves so deathly slow, Is the pale sovereign in his crystal coffin.

THE DUKE.

No! 'Tis the radiant pallor of my Father!

METTERNICH.

Yonder, recoiling, Rudolph and his lions!

THE DUKE.

The clash of steeds and weapons! 'Tis the Consul!

METTERNICH.

Lo! in a noisome crypt one fashions gold.

THE DUKE.

He fashions glory on the sands of Egypt.

METTERNICH.

Aha! Here's Charles the Fifth, with hair cropped close, Dying for having sought self-burial!

THE DUKE.

Help! Father!

METTERNICH.

The Escurial! Grisly phantoms And frowning walls!

THE DUKE.

Ah, hither! smiling visions: Compiegne and Malmaison!

METTERNICH.

You see them! see them!

THE DUKE.

Roll, drums of Arcola, and drown his voice!

METTERNICH.

The mirror's teeming!

THE DUKE.

[Twisting his wrist loose, but still holding the chandelier.]

I will shatter it!

METTERNICH.

Others, and others yet, arrive!

THE DUKE.

[Hurling the chandelier into the mirror.]

'Tis shattered! Not one remains! Not one!

METTERNICH.

[Pointing at the DUKE with a terrible gesture.]

Yes!—One!

THE DUKE.

No, no! It is not I! Not I!—My Father!—Help!

CURTAIN.



THE FOURTH ACT

The Park at Schoenbrunn. Ruins of a Roman Arch in the centre, in front of which is a fountain. Entrances on the right and on the left. Towards the right, in front, is a pile of stones, parts of columns, a head of Neptune, a broken urn, the whole covered with ivy and shrubs. Orange-trees in boxes, bearing fruit and blossom, are dotted about, with lamps hanging in their foliage. At the rise of the curtain a gay throng of LORDS and LADIES in dominos and other disguises are moving about the stage.

FIRST MASK.

Who is the clown?

SECOND MASK.

Don't know.

THIRD MASK.

The Cardinal?

FIRST MASK.

Don't know.

SECOND MASK.

The Punchinello?

THIRD MASK.

I don't know.

FOURTH MASK.

It's too delicious.

FIFTH MASK.

All incognito.

THE PUNCHINELLO.

[To a lady in a domino.]

Your ear—

THE DOMINO.

What for?

THE PUNCHINELLO.

Ah, hush! My secret!

FIRST MASK.

Watteau—

THE PUNCHINELLO.

[To another DOMINO.]

Your ear—

FIRST MASK.

Would have delighted in these figures—

THE DOMINO.

[To the PUNCHINELLO.]

What for?

THE PUNCHINELLO.

Ah, hush! My secret!

FIRST MASK.

And these ruins.

ANOTHER MASK.

All is uncertain, tremulous, and vague— Our hearts, the music, moonbeams, and the water.

METTERNICH.

And so, dear Attache of the French Embassy, Here I've contrived half-darkness and half-silence, And yonder in the music and the light The ball—

THE ATTACHE.

It's really—

METTERNICH.

Rather good, I think. This way—

THE ATTACHE.

You condescend to be my guide?

METTERNICH.

Dear friend, I'm prouder of this little ball, Of having mingled all these courtly perfumes With the wild odors of the midnight woods, Than ever of the Congress of Verona. That is the vestiary and the way out So that in leaving you may find at once Your Polish mantle or your overcoat. Lastly, the theatre which I've contrived On yonder bowling-green, near Cupid's fountain, Where, in a set-piece made of natural foliage, Some princely amateurs will play "Michel And"—I don't know—some dainty little piece By a French author: Eugene—what's-his-name?

THE ATTACHE.

And—supper?

METTERNICH.

Here.

THE ATTACHE.

What?

METTERNICH.

Every box will blossom With snowy tablecloths and golden dishes.

THE ATTACHE.

The orange-trees?

METTERNICH.

My own idea. They'll bring All they can find. Under each leafy ball Two couples will be seated, starved and laughing.

THE ATTACHE.

Supper in short at separate orange-trees? Splendid.

METTERNICH.

Why, yes.—And as for grave affairs—

[To a LACKEY.]

Tell them to play no more Slavonic dances—

[To the ATTACHE.]

I do not put them off. Not I. I leave

Ere supper-time to meet the Hospodars— They are awaiting me—

[To a LACKEY.]

Those wreaths are skimpy. My hobby's organizing balls like this; And when the revelry is at its highest Back to the everlasting Eastern Question! I love to rule a people and a ball: The Arbiter of Europe—

THE ATTACHE.

And its elegance!

GENTZ.

Arbiter Elegantiarum!

METTERNICH.

Ah, You're talking Latin; you've been drinking?

GENTZ.

Rum.

METTERNICH.

Fanny has kept you very late at table; Oh, this liaison! you're as good as lost.

GENTZ.

What? I and Fanny? Off.

METTERNICH.

What?

GENTZ.

Off.

METTERNICH.

[Seeing the Prefect of Police.]

Sedlinzky.

SEDLINZKY.

One word.

GENTZ.

[To METTERNICH.]

It's off.

[To a DOMINO.]

'Twas wrong to bring you, Fanny. If they discovered you! What an imprudence! A public dancer!

FANNY.

Oh, I'll dance discreetly.

GENTZ.

They'll find you out. For heaven's sake be clumsy.

METTERNICH.

A plot?

SEDLINZKY.

Yes; for the Duke!—and at this ball!

METTERNICH.

[Lightly.]

Here! you alarm me!

GENTZ.

Be an angel, Fanny, And tell me why you wished to come.

FANNY.

Caprice.

METTERNICH.

I fear the Duke no more. I've killed his pride. And he's in mourning for it. He'll not come.

SEDLINZKY.

But there's a plot!

METTERNICH.

Bah!

SEDLINZKY.

Women—

METTERNICH.

Featherbrains.

SEDLINZKY.

No! Noble ladies.

METTERNICH.

Really?

SEDLINZKY.

Poles and Greeks: Princess Grazalcowitch.

METTERNICH.

Grazalcowitch! That's terrible!

[To a LACKEY.]

Pray let me have a sandwich.

SEDLINZKY.

You laugh?—Hush!—Here they come. They've fled the light And seek a nook to whisper in.

[Enter several DOMINOS.]

ONE OF THE DOMINOS.

My dear, How sweet it is to run a risk for his sake.

SECOND DOMINO.

Let us conspire!

THIRD DOMINO.

His hair's such lovely auburn.

FOURTH DOMINO.

It's like a pretty little halo, dear, Through which a regal crown is dimly seen.

FIFTH DOMINO.

He has a doubly-fascinating charm:— A fair Napoleon! Hamlet dressed in white!

FIRST DOMINO.

Let us conspire!

SECOND DOMINO.

First, I suggest we order A golden bee from Stieger in Vienna.

ANOTHER DOMINO.

Vienna! Why? That would be idiotic! We'll have it made by Odiot in Paris.

FOURTH DOMINO.

I move we always wear with every dress A very striking bunch of violets.

FIRST DOMINO.

That's it, Princess!

ANOTHER DOMINO.

And let us risk returning To Empire fashions.

SECOND DOMINO.

For evening: not for day.

THIRD DOMINO.

Dear, don't forget the horrible short waists.

ALL.

And all the puffs!—and ruches!—Dearest!

METTERNICH.

Ladies—

ALL.

Good heavens!

METTERNICH.

Go on with your delicious plotting. Conspire! conspire! Ha-ha!

[He goes out, laughing heartily.]

FIRST DOMINO.

And now That thanks to idle chatter we've removed Whatever doubts Sedlinzky had aroused, We'll prove that after female Machiavellis The Metternichest Metternich's a baby.

ALL.

Yes!

FIRST DOMINO.

Each remembers what she has to do?

ALL.

Yes!

FIRST DOMINO.

Mingle with the dances.

SEVERAL MASKS.

[Pursuing another.]

He's so funny!

A MASK.

It must be Sandor!

ANOTHER.

No! it's Fuerstenberg!

ANOTHER.

And who's the bear, dancing to Schubert's waltz?

A MASK.

What's sad Elvira's dress? A star?

GENTZ.

A night-light.

A MASK.

Thecla, the hypocrite—?

GENTZ.

Disguised as Truth.

TIBURTIUS.

[Entering with THERESA.]

Not gone to Parma, sister?

THERESA.

No. To-morrow. The Duchess put it off to see this ball.

[Pointing to a Domino who passes at the back accompanied by a Mask.]

She's yonder with Bombelles: the greenish cape.

TIBURTIUS.

I'm glad you're going, for Noblesse oblige; I couldn't stand much more of those asides Between the little Bonaparte and you.

THERESA.

What?

TIBURTIUS.

'Tis our glory that our ancestors Have not been over-prudish with our kings; It is no fall to pick up handkerchiefs When on the handkerchief a lily's broidered. But honor never will accept a rag Which bears the Bonapartist weed and hornet, Woe to the Ogre's brat—!

THERESA.

What!

TIBURTIUS.

If he touched you!

THERESA.

You use expressions, brother—

TIBURTIUS.

They are warnings.

A BEAR.

[Passing with a Chinese woman.]

How do you know I am a diplomat?

THE CHINESE WOMAN.

Why, by the skilful way you hide your claws.

THE ATTACHE.

[Pursuing FANNY.]

Is there no way of knowing who you are? Now, are you English?

FANNY.

Ja.

THE ATTACHE.

Or German?

FANNY.

Oui.

PROKESCH.

[Entering with the DUKE.]

My Lord, is not the ball beyond compare?

THE PUNCHINELLO.

[To a DOMINO.]

Your ear—!

THE DOMINO.

What for?

THE PUNCHINELLO.

My secret! Hush!

[To another DOMINO.]

Your ear!

PROKESCH.

This corner's charming, given up to shadows—

THE CHINESE WOMAN.

[To the BEAR.]

What are you carrying on your arm?

THE BEAR.

My nose-ring.

PROKESCH.

Charming, those scattered blocks, the broken god, The ivied urn, and, in its frame of stone, Yonder the water. It is like—

THE DUKE.

A mirror!

PROKESCH.

What had Prince Metternich to say last night?

[Seeing the DUKE unmask.]

You take your mask off?

THE DUKE.

And, alas, that's all A stone.

PROKESCH.

What for?

THE DUKE.

To cast into the pond— All's vanished. Only circles on the water.

PROKESCH.

You are depressed, and yet to-night the plot Must come to a head if I may trust the symptoms. These lines were slipped into my hand this morning:

[He takes a note out of his pocket.]

"Ask him to be there early, and to wear His uniform beneath a violet cloak."

THE DUKE.

Oh, 'twere too criminal—

PROKESCH.

The note—

THE DUKE.

The note Is from a woman anxious not to miss me. I've taken her advice, for I am here Only for love's adventure.

PROKESCH.

No!

THE DUKE.

That's all.

PROKESCH.

But then—the plot?

THE DUKE.

Oh, 'twere too criminal, Dear country, made of sunshine and of laughter, To raise upon the high seat of thy glory A child of night, misfortune, and the Escurial! What if, when I were seated there, the past, Plunging its yellow hands into my soul, With hideous claws unearthed some ancestor: Some Rudolph or some Philip? Ah! I dread Lest at the humming of Imperial bees The monster sleeping in me should awake.

PROKESCH.

[Laughing.]

Prince, this is madness!

THE DUKE.

[With a shudder and a look which makes PROKESCH start back with horror.]

Madness! Do you think so?

PROKESCH.

Good heavens!

THE DUKE.

Buried in their fastnesses, Cowering in Bohemia or Castile, Each had his madness. What is mine to be? Come! We'll decide! You see I am resigned. 'Tis time to choose—and I have choice enough: My thoughtful forebears left a catalogue! Shall I be melomaniac or astrologer? Catch birds, bend o'er alembics, mumble prayers?

PROKESCH.

Too well I see what Metternich has done!

THE DUKE.

Grandfather, shall I carry on your great Herbarium, where the hellebore is missing? Or shall I, living, play at being dead? Which ancestor will godfather my madness? The living-dead, the alchemist, or bigot? You see, they took their madness rather sadly, But mingled perfumes make a novel scent; My brain, mixed of these gloomy brains, may start Some pretty little madness of its own. Come! What shall my peculiar madness be? By heavens! My instincts, conquered till to-day, Make it quite simple: I'll be mad with love! I'll love and love, and crush, with bitter hate, This Austrian lip under a passionate kiss!

PROKESCH.

Prince!

THE DUKE.

As Don Juan I am all my race! Snarer of hearts, astrologer of eyes; I'll have herbaria full of blighted names, And the philosopher's stone I seek is love!

PROKESCH.

My Lord!

THE DUKE.

Why, if you think of it, dear friend, Napoleon's son, Don Juan, is strict logic. The soul's the same: ever dissatisfied; The same unceasing lust of victory. Oh splendid blood another has corrupted, Who, striving to be Caesar, was not able; Thy energy is not all dead within me. A misbegotten Caesar is Don Juan! Yes, 'tis another way of conquering; Thus I shall know that fever of the heart Which Byron tells us kills whom it devours; And 'tis a way of being still my father. Napoleon or Don Juan!—They're decision, The magic will, and the seductive grace. When to retake a great unfaithful land, Calm and alone, sure of himself and her, The adventurer landed in the Gulf of Juan, He felt Don Juan's thrill; and when Don Juan Pricked a new conquest in his list of loves, Did he not feel the pride of Bonaparte? And, after all, who knows whether 'tis greater To conquer worlds, or be a moment loved? So be it? 'Tis well the legend closes thus, And that this conqueror is the other's son. I'm the fair shadow of the dusky hero, And, as he conquered nations, one by one, So will I conquer women, one by one. Moonbeams shall be my sun of Austerlitz!

PROKESCH.

Ah, silence! for your irony's too bitter.

THE DUKE.

Oh, yes; I know. I hear the spectres crying— Blue-coated spectres torn along the whirlwind— "Well? What about the Imperial tale of triumph? Our toil? our wounds? our glory?—What about The snow, the blood, the history, the dead We left on all the fields of victory? What will you do with these?"—I'll charm the ladies! It's fine, among the people in the Prater, To ride a horse that cost three thousand florins, Which one can christen Jena. Austerlitz Is a sure bait to catch a fair coquette.

PROKESCH.

You'll never have the heart to use it thus.

THE DUKE.

Why, yes; why, yes, my friend. And in my scarf— For 'tis a thing looks well upon a lover— I'll wear a dainty eaglet for a pin. There's music!—Now, O Caesar's son, you're but Mozart's Don Juan! Nay, not even Mozart's! Strauss's! I'll waltz; for now I must become Charming and useless: Austrian fancy-goods! My aunt?—Why—!

PROKESCH.

Oh, not that!

THE DUKE.

I want to see—

[PROKESCH goes out.]

THE DUKE.

How deep the linden's perfume is to-night.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Notice my salver. I'm so proud of it.

THE DUKE.

You represent?

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

The "Chocolate-girl," the famous Picture in Dresden.

THE DUKE.

[Affectedly.] Cha'ming. But your chocolate Must be a nuisance.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

No.

THE DUKE.

Do put it down.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Well, Franz? A little bit in love with life?

THE DUKE.

Glad to be nephew of a pretty aunt.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

And I am glad to have so big a nephew.

THE DUKE.

Too pretty.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

And too big.

THE DUKE.

For such a game.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

What game?

THE DUKE.

The game of tender intimacy.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

I fear your eyes to-night—!

THE DUKE.

But I love yours!

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Ah, now I see! As all the court is masked, Even friendship wears the domino of love.

THE DUKE.

Oh friendship—auntie with a cousin's eyes— Friendship and love are always much too near 'Twixt aunts and nephews, god-sons and god-mothers— Oh! do but smell the fragrance of the lindens!— 'Twixt pretty chocolate-girls and officers, And frontier incidents are bound to happen.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Our friendship's lost its bloom.

THE DUKE.

I dearly love This sentiment one cannot understand, Where all's confused and mingled—

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

No, let be.

[She moves away.]

THE DUKE.

Oh, if you put on airs of an Archduchess—!

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Farewell; you've pained me deeply, Franz.

[She goes.]

THE DUKE.

Ah, bah! Into our friendship I let fall a drop, And friendship turns to troubled love. I'll wait.

[He sees THERESA.]

Why! What is this? How comes it you are here? So you're not hastening toward the skies of Parma? And all this grass? What are you?

THERESA.

"Little Brooklet."

THE DUKE.

Ah, yes, I know. An exile on his rock, My father had a brooklet for his friend To drown the gaoler's voice, and that is why At Schoenbrunn, which is my Saint Helena, My soul must not be left deprived of comfort. Having the gaoler I've the brooklet too.

THERESA.

But you will never stoop to look at me.

THE DUKE.

Because I dreamed of flying from my rock; But that's all over.

THERESA.

How?

THE DUKE.

All hope is gone. I wake from dreams.

THERESA.

You suffer?

THE DUKE.

Little Brooklet Must give her murmuring freshness.

THERESA.

Here it is.

THE DUKE.

What if I trouble its waters?

THERESA.

Trouble them.

THE DUKE.

Come to the little house among the trees— My hunting lodge—to-night!

THERESA.

I am to come—!

THE DUKE.

Say neither yes nor no.—I'll wait—

THERESA.

Alas!

THE DUKE.

Think how unhappy I shall henceforth be! I've lost all hope of playing a great part; I can but weep; I need a heart to weep on. Away!

A MASK.

[Seeing a stout lady dressed as a shepherdess.]

That shepherdess has eaten her flock!

THE BEAR.

If you'll but love me—

THE CHINESE WOMAN.

You will sell your skin?

A DOMINO.

[Passing on GENTZ'S arm.]

The Viscount's here as Doge in grand dalmatic.

GENTZ.

Then is the Baroness the Adriatic.

THE DUKE.

[Who has scribbled a note; to a LACKEY.]

This for my lackeys. I shall not come in. I'm sleeping at the hunting-lodge. Make haste! Let me have word they've read and understood.

THE LACKEY.

Nought else, my Lord?

THE DUKE.

To-morrow the bay mare.

FANNY ELSSLER.

His uniform beneath a—

THE DUKE.

[Turning.]

Violet cloak. Prokesch! I said your note was from a woman!

FANNY.

[Pointing to the ATTACHE, who has followed her.]

Let me get rid of this importunate mask. And I'll come back.

THE DUKE.

I'll wait. 'Tis fate. I yield. I'll love, with stormy April in my heart. I'll love—like these—like all!

BOMBELLES.

[Who has come in with MARIA LOUISA. She sits on the stone bench.]

Was he in love?

MARIA LOUISA.

What! must you still be harping on him?

BOMBELLES.

Yes.

THE DUKE.

My mother and Bombelles—!

BOMBELLES.

Speak!

MARIA LOUISA.

I don't know. He was intimidated in my presence. Even on his throne, beneath his golden laurels, He felt his inequality of birth; And then, to keep a countenance, he'd call me His "Good Louisa." Yes! such shocking taste! For I love sentiment. I am a woman.

BOMBELLES.

And queen of all!

MARIA LOUISA.

A little thing I said When Saint Aulaire came to my room at Blois With news of his disasters, made them furious. I was in bed. My naked foot peeped out, And, lying on the polished wood, as if Thomire had carved it, seemed at once to turn The Medicean bed into an Empire bed. And seeing the Envoy furtively look down, I smiled and said, "You're looking at my foot." And so he was. In spite of all misfortunes, Indeed the man was looking at my foot. Was this coquettish? Well, what of it? Heavens! Where was the crime if I remained a woman? For, after all, amid the crash of France, The beauty of my foot had some importance!

THE DUKE.

Would I could fly! but I am glued to the spot!

BOMBELLES.

What's the grey pebble in your bracelet?

MARIA LOUISA.

That? Ah, I can never see it without tears. That is a fragment—

BOMBELLES.

Of the Pyramids?

MARIA LOUISA.

What nonsense! 'Tis a fragment of the tomb Where Juliet sleeps beside her Romeo— I had this souvenir—

BOMBELLES.

For pity's sake Don't mention Neipperg!

MARIA LOUISA.

If he irritates you, Why speak about the first?

BOMBELLES.

That's different, But did you love him?

MARIA LOUISA.

Whom?

BOMBELLES.

The—first.

MARIA LOUISA.

Again?

BOMBELLES.

So great a man! You must—

MARIA LOUISA.

Oh, as for that, No man is ever loved because he's great. Let's talk of him no more: let's talk of us. Will you like Parma?

BOMBELLES.

Tell me, was he jealous?

MARIA LOUISA.

So much so that he drove away Leroy, Because the poor man-milliner cried out With admiration when he saw my shoulders, While trying on a peplum.

BOMBELLES.

Then Napoleon—

MARIA LOUISA.

Oh, hush!

BOMBELLES.

Would not have liked to hear me say How fair they are? Would not have liked—

MARIA LOUISA.

Bombelles!

BOMBELLES.

To hear me whisper to your Majesty—

THE DUKE.

Father, forgive me for the things I hear!

BOMBELLES.

That you are like our own Arlesian maids But, ah! how much more beautiful!—

MARIA LOUISA.

Oh, Charles!

BOMBELLES.

Would not have liked to see me bend and press—-

THE DUKE.

[Breaking in upon them.]

Not that! I will not have it! I forbid you!— Thank God, I'm saved!

MARIA LOUISA.

Franz!

THE DUKE.

For this cry, this movement Were not my own. Within me still remains A reverence for my mother and her freedom! 'Twas he—'Twas he by whom my soul's possessed, Who sprang upon you with this tragic force! Thank God! I'm saved! The Corsican leapt out!

BOMBELLES.

Sir—!

THE DUKE.

Nothing, sir!

[To MARIA LOUISA.]

My humble duty, Madam! Return to Sala, spend your days in peace. The castle has two wings, as I am told: One is a theatre and one a chapel. Thus dwelling in the middle, you shall feel Evenly balanced 'twixt the world and God. My humble duty!

MARIA LOUISA.

Franz!

THE DUKE.

Why, truly, Madam, It's your prerogative to be mere woman. Go, be a woman in the Sala palace; But tell yourself, Ah! tell yourself—and this Shall be your sad atonement for his glory, Widow who cast aside her widow's weeds!— Tell yourself this: Men only gaze upon you For the immortal fame he robed you in, And only whisper praises of your beauty Because of old he conquered all the world!

MARIA LOUISA.

I'll hear no more! Bombelles, let us begone!

THE DUKE.

Return to Sala. I am saved. Thank God!

MARIA LOUISA.

Farewell!

THE DUKE.

O hands, cold hands within the tomb, Sad hands because the Imperial ring slipped from you, Hands that have held her brow who years ago Shed bitter tears that I was not her son, Hands laid in blessing on my orphaned soul, Weeping I kiss you, hands of Josephine!

MARIA LOUISA.

The Creole! Do you think at Malmaison—?

THE DUKE.

Silence! If it be true, all the more reason! All the more reason why I should be faithful!

[MARIA LOUISA and BOMBELLES go out.] [Enter METTERNICH and SEDLINZKY.]

METTERNICH.

[To SEDLINZKY.]

Yes, yes; I humbled that rebellious child!

[He sees the DUKE.]

You here? And in this uniform? What means?

THE DUKE.

Were we not asked to come here in—disguise?

SEDLINZKY.

The pride your Excellency broke last night Even in its fragments keeps its insolence.

[To the DUKE.]

What are you dreaming of, far from the ball, My little Colonel?

THE DUKE.

Of my Little Corporal!

METTERNICH.

[On the point of breaking out.]

Oh, I—

[Mastering himself.]

But I must go to my despatches. 'Tis all to do again!

[He and SEDLINZKY go out.] [Enter FANNY ELSSLER.]

FANNY.

Prince!

THE DUKE.

No! that woman! I will not—!

FANNY.

[Unmasking.]

Fly?

THE DUKE.

[Recognising her.]

Fanny!

FANNY.

The plot!

THE DUKE.

What's that?

FANNY.

I'm in it. Let me tell you—

THE DUKE.

Ah!

FANNY.

Look innocent. Sit down. Pretend you're very much in love. You on the rock. I on the Neptune's head.

[Speaking to the stone head.]

May I sit down, good Neptune?

THE STONE HEAD.

If you like. Only I warn you, it's all over ants.

FANNY.

Lord! Neptune's talking!

THE DUKE.

[Understanding and remembering.]

Ah! beneath the ivy!

FLAMBEAU.

The entrance to my cavern through an ant-heap.

THE DUKE.

You! Flambeau!

FLAMBEAU.

In the cave of Rob—

MASKS.

Ho hi!

FANNY.

Hush! Masks!

MASKS.

Oh, very funny!

[They pass out.]

FLAMBEAU.

—inson Crusoe!

THE DUKE.

What! Since last night?

FLAMBEAU.

Oh, yes; I smoke my pipe—

THE DUKE.

There in the hole?

FLAMBEAU.

You copied from the beggar Who first invented bearskins, so they say, And had a funny Mameluke called Friday.

THE DUKE.

I cannot find the spot.

FLAMBEAU.

It's on the right. Here, where I blow a cloud out of my pipe.

FANNY.

The small Vesuvius!

THE DUKE.

You must be—

FLAMBEAU.

Uncomfortable. But then—I said you'd find me at the ball.

FANNY.

If they should catch us talking to a smoke!

FLAMBEAU.

Ouch!

THE DUKE.

What's the matter?

FLAMBEAU.

An attack of ants. Since yesterday we've had the bloodiest battles.

FANNY.

But—

FLAMBEAU.

They outnumber me, but I've tobacco, I blow a blast—

THE DUKE.

You bring your heavy guns?

FLAMBEAU.

May I lift up my rock a bit?

THE DUKE.

Yes.

FLAMBEAU.

[Seeing MASKS approaching.]

Nuns!

THE DUKE AND FANNY.

Hush!

FLAMBEAU.

Now I look as if I took the air On the tomb's balcony.

THE DUKE.

And in the moon Beside the urn, uplifting thus the stone, You're rising to the ghostly night-review.

FLAMBEAU.

I'm very hungry.

FANNY.

Hush!

THE DUKE.

[To some SERVANTS who enter bearing dishes.]

What's that you carry?

[The SERVANTS stop. The DUKE takes a little of everything.]

Thank you.

FANNY.

[Stopping them.]

One moment.

[She takes what is left. The SERVANTS pass out.]

THE DUKE.

[Giving FLAMBEAU the cakes.]

Take them.

FLAMBEAU.

Enough. My strength returns.

[To FANNY.]

Explain. We've little time.

FANNY.

[Nervously.]

Well, then—the Countess—she is here—the Countess— That's how my nerve goes when I have to dance— She wears beneath a russet cloak your uniform, With which the Eaglet's turned into a sea-mew. She was already like you in the face, But since she's dyed her sable tresses fair Your glass could not distinguish you from her. So, while they play their "Michel and Christine," You'll change your mantle quickly with your cousin—

THE DUKE.

Put on a mask—!

FANNY.

And disappear like magic!

THE DUKE.

My double takes my place—

FANNY.

And openly Leaves the assembly—

THE DUKE.

Sets me free of spies—

FANNY.

Goes home to Schoenbrunn—

THE DUKE.

Locks the door with care—

FANNY.

Forgets to wake—

THE DUKE.

Till I am miles away. Only—

FANNY.

What "only" is there?

THE DUKE.

Quite a big one. Suppose the false Duke's spoken to?

FANNY.

Impossible. It's all stage-managed like a ballet. Ladies Will flutter round him, keep intruders off, And as a ball from racket flies to racket Hell pass from hand to hand until he's safe.

MASKS.

[Running across at the back.]

Who is the wolf? Wow! Wow! Who is the bear? There! There!

FANNY.

You leave the Gardens—

THE DUKE.

By the Hietzing gate—

FANNY.

No.

THE DUKE.

Where, then?

FANNY.

Listeners. I fan myself. Glance at your humble servant's pretty fan.

THE DUKE.

What for?

FANNY.

I've drawn a sketch-map of the park. Observe the road; it's red; it makes a bend; Do you see? The little squares of white are statues; The little dots of apple-green are trees; Thus you elude the evil-minded spies; Turn to the left; pass by the pheasantry—

THE DUKE.

What are the scratches?

FANNY.

Where the hill goes up. Then you go down again; pass by the Triton And come out Emperor at this little gate. All clearly understood?—I shut my fan.

THE DUKE.

Emperor!

FLAMBEAU.

That's right. Get out your robes and crown! Don't go so fast!

THE DUKE.

What's at the gate?

FANNY.

A cab.

THE DUKE.

A cab?

FANNY.

With spanking horses; have no fear.

THE DUKE.

Where does it take me?

FANNY.

To the rendezvous.

THE DUKE.

Where's that?

FANNY.

Out of your way, but so the Countess Would have it:—Wagram.

THE DUKE.

What a Bonaparte!

FANNY.

Well? Are you pleased?

THE DUKE.

Dear little Tanagra, I'll recompense your zeal—

FANNY.

Ungrateful monster!

THE DUKE.

And Prokesch?

FANNY.

He'll be waiting for you there.

THE DUKE.

The only man whose eye we had to fear— Prince Metternich—has left. All will go well.

FLAMBEAU.

Metternich gone! You never said a word!

THE DUKE.

Well—

FLAMBEAU.

And you let me catch my death, beneath This beastly urn—!

FANNY.

Masks coming!

MASKS.

Sandor! Zichy! It's Thalberg!—Never!—Thalberg is a Turk! It's Cocica!—Not he!—He's fled!—Oh! catch him!

FLAMBEAU.

Gone?

THE DUKE AND FANNY.

Gone.

FLAMBEAU.

[Emerging, dressed as in the previous act.]

Then—

THE DUKE AND FANNY.

Are you mad?

FLAMBEAU.

We'll shut the trap.

THE DUKE.

But if they see you—!

FANNY.

Vanish! This is frightful!

THE DUKE.

What will they say?

FLAMBEAU.

I'll tell you what they'll say—

MASKS.

[Seeing FLAMBEAU.]

And this one! Oh! a veteran of the Empire!

FLAMBEAU.

[To the DUKE.]

Well, there you are, you see! That's what they'll say.

MASKS.

Capital! Capital!

FLAMBEAU.

I take my ease.

A MASK.

[To another.]

Come and admire the veteran!

THE OTHER.

First rate!

THIRD MASK.

Look at his earrings!

FOURTH MASK.

And his bushy eyebrows!

FLAMBEAU.

But how shall I get out without a cloak?

FANNY.

Here's Gentz's ticket: such a handsome mantle.

A MASK.

Hail, Veteran!

FLAMBEAU.

The honor's mine.

[The USHER enters, followed by SERVANTS who push on orange-trees, the boxes laid as tables.]

THE USHER.

Make room!

THE LACKEY.

[Who took the DUKE'S note.]

They understand, my Lord. The hunting-lodge.

FANNY.

What's that?

THE DUKE.

I had forgotten. I gave orders— I was to spend the night there. Warn the Countess. Run! Run and say 'tis thither she must go!

[FANNY goes out quickly.]



A MASK.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

Well, Sergeant? So you served—

FLAMBEAU.

The gr-reat—

SEVERAL MASKS.

[Laughing.]

The gr-reat!

FLAMBEAU.

They didn't laugh when we were quartered on 'em!

EXCLAMATIONS.

A picture by Raffet!—Charlet!—Vernet!

SEVERAL MASKS.

How worn his coat is!—And how singed!—And dusty!— Who's your costumier?—Tell us!

FLAMBEAU.

They are ladies:— The ancient firm of War and Victory Sisters.

A MASK.

That's good.

FLAMBEAU.

It's not the firm you patronize.

FIRST MASK.

I'll swear it's Zichy.

Offering his hand.]

Count, your hand.

FLAMBEAU.

[Blowing a puff of smoke in his face.]

Get out.

FIRST MASK.

[Going out, to the others.]

He's masked his language as he's masked his face.

FLAMBEAU.

[Singing.]

When we marched to Krasnoi, Cold and hungry, too, were we!

A MASK.

He's really excellent. In Russia, old 'un, 'Twas pretty cold?

FLAMBEAU.

Yes; till we gave 'em hell.

[Sings.]

By Jingo, but it keeps you warm Merely to see his uniform!

A MASK.

His uniform wants patching now, though; what?

FLAMBEAU.

So did your breeches when he'd kicked you; what?

SEVERAL.

Ha! Very funny!

FIRST MASK.

Natural.

SECOND MASK.

Exact.

THIRD MASK..

But doubtful taste.

THE USHER.

The comedy's begun!

FANNY.

[To the DUKE.]

I'm back again. The Countess understands.

FLAMBEAU.

[To THERESA.]

Will you accept a veteran's arm?

THERESA.

No.

FLAMBEAU.

Why?

THERESA.

I'm leaving, sir. Apart from that, I'm French, And see no humor in a parody Of heroes whom by chance you conquered.

FLAMBEAU.

You— Ah! I adore you!

[She runs away. Just as she is disappearing the DUKE makes a movement toward her.]

THE DUKE.

Ah!—the tryst.

THERESA.

The tryst—?

THE DUKE.

No—nothing.

[THERESA passes on.]

She must keep it. She must show Whether she would have been sublimely weak, And given herself unthinking—without hope— Only because she saw me sad to-night.

FANNY.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

Watch where they've got to in the comedy.

[FLAMBEAU goes to the entrance of the theatre.]

[To the DUKE.]

The time has come.

FLAMBEAU.

All eyes are running over With grief for Stanislas, the mournful Pole.

FANNY.

Here is the Countess, Duke.

THE DUKE.

My very image! I'm coming toward myself as in a glass.

[The COUNTESS CAMERATA enters, dressed exactly like the DUKE, with the exception of her cloak, which is brown.]

THE COUNTESS.

Well met, Napoleon!

THE DUKE.

And Napoleone!

THE COUNTESS.

I'm very calm—and you?

THE DUKE.

I see the risks You'll run for my sake.

THE COUNTESS.

Not for your sake.

THE DUKE.

Ah?

THE COUNTESS.

No! For the name, the glory, and our blood!

THE DUKE.

You bravely clash your arms, fair Amazon!

THE COUNTESS.

The deed were nothing, were it done for love.

THE DUKE.

Speaking of love, if, when you've taken my place In yonder hunting-lodge, by any chance A woman came—

THE COUNTESS.

Ah! I felt sure of it!

THE DUKE.

Tell her about my flight—and swear to me—

FLAMBEAU.

[At the entrance to the theatre, describing the play.]

The soldier holds his tongue!

THE COUNTESS.

Good.

FLAMBEAU.

Doesn't murmur.

THE DUKE.

Swear you will tell me later if she comes.

THE COUNTESS.

Thinking of hearts, when Empire is at hand!

THE DUKE.

It is because I mount a throne to-morrow I lay such value on a heart to-night. O God! to feel respect in every kiss, Snares in avowals, in embraces dread, And in fair eyes, more dazzled than in love, See laurel-wreaths about me as on coins! I was to pluck my last real love to-night!

FLAMBEAU.

[As before.]

He's telling them about his pocket-book.

THE DUKE.

I would she kept this white and spotless tryst, She who has not yet studied to dissemble; 'Twere well she came, for nevermore, perchance, Whatever later trysts I yet may keep, Shall I be waiting with such eager love, As at the tryst to-night I may not keep.

THE COUNTESS.

I find your Highness very deeply stirred.

THE DUKE.

Less than I shall be if you say "She came."

FLAMBEAU.

[As before.]

We must make haste, for with his eyes turned up, He's singing something to his colonel.

THE COUNTESS.

Change!

FLAMBEAU.

Wait for the signal. Have no fear; I'm watching. Attention! By the magic of my wand!

THE COUNTESS.

Think well! Perhaps you turn him into Caesar!

FLAMBEAU.

That's why my wand is fashioned of a ramrod.

[Noise of people leaving the theatre.]

They're coming! Now!

[The DUKE and the COUNTESS exchange cloaks.]

MASKS AND DOMINOS.

[Entering.]

They've dressed the orange-trees!

ALL.

Oh!

FANNY.

[To the DUKE, pointing to the COUNTESS.]

There's our swarm of women buzzing round him.

LADIES.

[Around the false DUKE.]

Prince!—Duke—! My Lord—! Your Highness—!

GENTZ.

No one else Has any chance to-night!

CRIES.

[From the tables.]

Sandor! Zichy! Mina!

THE DOMINO CALLED MINA.

How did you know me?

A MASK.

By your opal necklace.

ANOTHER MASK.

We'll gather oranges for our dessert.

A LADY.

[To the false DUKE.]

Duke—

MASKS.

Danube sterlets! Caviar from the Volga!

[All are seated.]

GENTZ.

[Rising, glass in hand.]

Ladies and gentlemen—

ALL.

Hear! Hear!

THE DUKE.

Now comes The trying moment.

GENTZ.

I have filled this bumper In honor—

THE DUKE.

She is going—

GENTZ.

Of our friend, Who, having organized the feast, has left us Amid the music, flowers, delicious ices, To toil till dawn dictating his despatches.

FANNY.

How well she imitates your careless stride!

GENTZ.

To the Prince-chancellor, Counsellor, Chamberlain, Ladies and gentlemen, drain brimming glasses! Metternich, Austrian Prince, Grandee of Spain, Duke of Portella, Lord of Daruvar—

FANNY.

She's coming forward! Look how calm she is!

GENTZ.

Knight of Saint Ann—

FANNY.

He helps us with his chatter, And doesn't know it.

GENTZ.

Knight o' the Swedish Seraphs, The Danish Elephant, the Golden Fleece—

FLAMBEAU.

If Nepomuk has one or two more titles—

GENTZ.

Curator of the Fine Arts, Czechish Magnate—

THE DUKE.

She's overdoing it: I move more quickly.

GENTZ.

Bailiff of Malta—

THE DUKE.

Ha! She stops!

GENTZ.

Grand Cross Of Charles the Third, the Falcon, Bear, and Lion— Phew—!

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

[To the LADY seated next to GENTZ.]

He's fainting! Fan him quickly, someone!

GENTZ.

Fellow of all the Academies on earth—!

ALL.

Hurrah!

FLAMBEAU.

And while they clash their glasses, Prince, She's starting—she has started—

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

[To the false DUKE.]

Franz! Not going?

THE DUKE.

All's lost!

FLAMBEAU.

Damnation!

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

[To the false DUKE.]

Wait!

THE DUKE.

The Archduchess Knew nothing of the plot—

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

You grieved me, Franz; Just now you—

[She recognises the COUNTESS.]

Ah!

THE DUKE.

All's lost.

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

But—

[Offering her hand to the COUNTESS.]

Well, good-night.

THE COUNTESS.

Ah, Madam—How—?

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Why don't you kiss my hand?

[The COUNTESS goes out.]

A MASK.

The Duke already gone?

ANOTHER.

He's whimsical.

THE DUKE.

[Meaningly, to the ARCHDUCHESS.]

Your hand—as to the Duke?

THE ARCHDUCHESS.

Yes, gentle mask.

GENTZ.

And now—

SEVERAL.

Again?

GENTZ.

One word—-

VOICES.

Oh, go ahead!

GENTZ.

I wanted to complete my little toast, But while the Duke was here I couldn't name The proudest title Metternich can boast of; But now we're rid of him, I have the honor:— Ladies and gentlemen, here's the destroyer Of Bonaparte!

ALL.

Hurrah!—To the Destroyer!

THE DUKE.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

What are you doing?

FLAMBEAU.

[Who is pouring his wine into his gun-barrel.]

Lest it might go off!

A MASK.

This Bonaparte—

SECOND MASK.

Wasn't marble.

THIRD MASK.

Stucco.

THE DUKE.

What!

FLAMBEAU.

Have a care! An Empire is at stake!

A MASK.

Much overpraised—

FLAMBEAU.

Take care!

TIBURTIUS.

A middling soldier, But then he rode a camel while in Egypt; What more do you want?

A MASK.

Gentz imitates him.

FLAMBEAU.

Lord!

ANOTHER MASK.

Do it!

FLAMBEAU.

[To the DUKE.]

Remember, you're not here at all!

GENTZ.

[Arranging his hair, and striking the conventional attitude.]

Curl—eye—hand—There!

FLAMBEAU.

Old fool!

THE DUKE.

He mocks him, yet Even the mockery's great, for it evokes him.

TIBURTIUS.

You know he used to tumble off his horse?

FLAMBEAU.

That's what the Ultras always said about him.

A MASK.

His talk was poor.

FLAMBEAU.

Go on!

THE DUKE.

Oh, that's the rule. What could these worms and insects talk about If they had not the eagle to abuse?

TIBURTIUS.

His name was not Napoleon at all.

FLAMBEAU.

What!

TIBURTIUS.

That was manufactured. It's so simple! You want to make a sounding name—

FLAMBEAU.

You idiot!

TIBURTIUS.

Which shall creep into history by and by: Take three bright, simple vowels: Na—po—le— And add a nasal sound: On—

A MASK.

Wonderful!

TIBURTIUS.

Yes: Na—po—le, the lightning; On, the thunder.

FLAMBEAU.

That's all!

A MASK.

What was his name?

TIBURTIUS.

What? Don't you know?

A MASK.

Why, no.

TIBURTIUS.

His name was Nicholas.

FLAMBEAU.

[Bursting out.]

Be damned!

SEVERAL MASKS.

[Laughing.]

Bravo the Veteran!

GENTZ.

[To FLAMBEAU.]

Nicholas!—Have a quail.

FLAMBEAU.

[Taking the dish.]

But Nicholas was good at winning battles.

A MASK.

And what a funny court he scraped together!

SECOND MASK.

If you talked titles, pedigrees, precedence, There wasn't a soul who had a word to say.

FLAMBEAU.

Wasn't Cambronne at Court to say the word?

A MASK.

But—in war—

FLAMBEAU.

Oh—!

SECOND MASK.

What did he do?

ANOTHER MASK.

Why, wrote reports.

A MASK.

And always stood about on distant hills.

FLAMBEAU.

By God—!

THE DUKE.

Hush!

TIBURTIUS.

Once a ball was good enough To wound him in the foot at Ratisbon: Enough to make a subject for a picture.

FLAMBEAU.

[To the DUKE.]

Be calm—!

THE DUKE.

Be calm—!

FLAMBEAU.

Just take away this knife.

TIBURTIUS.

In short—

THE DUKE.

He'd best be careful what he says.

FLAMBEAU.

You must put up with it!

THE DUKE.

Not for an Empire!

TIBURTIUS.

In short this hero was—

FLAMBEAU.

Take care! Take care!

TIBURTIUS.

He was a coward.

THE DUKE.

Oh!

THE FRENCH ATTACHE.

No! That's a lie!

ALL.

Eh? What?

TIBURTIUS.

What's that?

ALL.

Who spoke?

GENTZ.

I love a quarrel!

FLAMBEAU.

Aha! Thank God, there was a man among them!

TIBURTIUS.

Who dared—?

THE ATTACHE.

I dared, sir!

GENTZ.

He's the Attache Of the French Embassy.

TIBURTIUS.

You challenge me! You represent the King, sir!

GENTZ.

Quite amusing!

THE ATTACHE.

The King is not in question, but my country. You are insulting France, when you insult The man she loved through many glorious years.

TIBURTIUS.

Buonaparte—

THE ATTACHE.

Please say Bonaparte.

TIBURTIUS.

Well, Bonaparte—

THE ATTACHE.

The Emperor!

TIBURTIUS.

Your card?

FLAMBEAU.

[Who has disappeared for a moment, and has come back cloaked.]

Come! I've got Gentz's cloak. It's lined with fur.

[TIBURTIUS and the ATTACHE have exchanged cards. TIBURTIUS steps forward and nervously lights a cigar.]

TIBURTIUS.

[To a LACKEY.]

A light.

THE LACKEY.

You hate the Corsican?

TIBURTIUS.

What's that?

THE LACKEY.

Your sister loves his son. Would you surprise them?

TIBURTIUS.

When?

THE LACKEY.

Now.

TIBURTIUS.

Where?

THE LACKEY.

Where I know—

TIBURTIUS.

Wait for me here. Austria shall be relieved.

THE DUKE.

[Placing his hand on the ATTACHE'S shoulder.]

I thank you, sir.

THE ATTACHE.

[Turning.]

What for, sir?

THE DUKE.

Hush.

THE ATTACHE.

The Duke!

THE DUKE.

A plot.

THE ATTACHE.

Amazement!

THE DUKE.

I've nothing but my secret. Now it's yours. We meet to-night at Wagram. Be there.

THE ATTACHE.

I!

THE DUKE.

Are you not one of us?

THE ATTACHE.

I am the King's.

THE DUKE.

But you're to fight a duel for my Father. And so we're somewhat brothers. Fare-you-well.

THE ATTACHE.

You hope to win me?

THE DUKE.

I am sure to win you. Did not my Sire win Philippe de Segur?

THE ATTACHE.

To-morrow I return to France. I warn you—

THE DUKE.

You are a future Marshal of the Empire.

THE ATTACHE.

I warn you, if my regiment meets yours I shall not hesitate to fire.

THE DUKE.

Of course not. Shake hands before we cut each other's throats.

THE ATTACHE.

If you have any messages for Paris, I get there on the fourth; I should be happy—

THE DUKE.

I hope to be there, sir, ahead of you.

THE ATTACHE.

Yet, if I reach the—kingdom—ere you come?

THE DUKE.

Salute for me the Column of Vendome!

CURTAIN.



THE FIFTH ACT

The battle-field of Wagram. Night. A small hill running off toward the left. A sign-post stands on the hill.

The DUKE is standing on the summit of the hill gazing across the battle-field. PROKESCH and FLAMBEAU are talking together in undertones near the front.

FLAMBEAU.

WAGRAM!

THE DUKE.

[Dreaming.]

"My son shall reign—a mighty sovereign—"

FLAMBEAU.

Capital bit of country for the harvest.

THE DUKE.

"His task to foster whatsoe'er is good."

FLAMBEAU.

What solemn prayer is he reciting?

PROKESCH.

Hush!

THE DUKE.

"Complete my work, and not avenge my death— All patriots—"

[To PROKESCH.]

The horses?

PROKESCH.

No, not yet.

THE DUKE.

"He would but ape me, if he made great wars—"

PROKESCH.

He is rehearsing all his Father's counsels.

FLAMBEAU.

Hush!

THE DUKE.

"He shall scorn all parties—"

[To PROKESCH.]

Well? The horses.

PROKESCH.

Too soon, my Lord.

THE DUKE.

Like an impatient lover I've come too early to my tryst with France.

[He takes a few strides and finds himself in front of a sign-post.]

Their sign-post! Is it true that I shall move Unhindered by their hideous black and yellow? How good to read upon the gleaming white "Road to Saint Cloud" instead of "Grosshofen." Grosshofen? Now I think of it, I ordered My regiment to Grosshofen at dawn.

FLAMBEAU.

What!

THE DUKE.

Yes; I gave the order yesterday, Before I knew.

FLAMBEAU.

We shall be far away.

[An old man comes out of the cottage.]

THE DUKE.

Who's that?

FLAMBEAU.

He's ours. His hut our meeting-place. Old soldier. Shows the battle-field to strangers.

THE OLD MAN.

There—on the left—

FLAMBEAU.

No, thanks. I know it.

THE DUKE.

Why Does he serve us?

THE OLD MAN.

I was dying yonder; The great Napoleon passed—

THE DUKE.

He always rode Over a battle-field.

THE OLD MAN.

The Emperor stopped And had me cared for by his leach—

THE DUKE.

Ivan.

THE OLD MAN.

So, if his son is weary of Vienna, I'll help him go.—My arm—before his eyes!

FLAMBEAU.

It isn't everybody has the honor Of having limbs off in Napoleon's presence.

THE OLD MAN.

'Twas war-time; so we fought.

FLAMBEAU.

We died.

THE OLD MAN.

We died.

FLAMBEAU.

We marched.

THE OLD MAN.

We marched.

FLAMBEAU.

We fired into the haze.

THE OLD MAN.

We fired.

FLAMBEAU.

Some grimy officer rode up. And roared, "We've conquered!"

THE OLD MAN.

So he roared to us.

FLAMBEAU.

What?—So he did.

[Pointing to the DUKE.]

Suppose he heard!

THE DUKE.

I hear.

THE OLD MAN.

Bah! My geraniums flourish.

FLAMBEAU.

Shouldn't wonder. For on this spot eleven drummer-boys—

THE DUKE.

Eleven drummer-boys—?

FLAMBEAU.

I see them now! Eleven bullet-heads, as like as peas, Between the flapping of their foolish ears, Who marched, they knew not whence, nor why, nor whither, But gayly marched and rolled their rataplan! We used to chaff them, for their funny ways Made them the darlings of the sutler's wife. But when they beat the charge like little rabbits— Eleven drums with two-and-twenty sticks— They set our bayonets thrilling with their thunder; The quivering zigzags seemed to cry aloud, "Our lightning's not in vain!"—Well, on this spot, A brazen devil hiccoughed fire and steel And took them in the flank; yes! all the eleven! But, by the Lord! you should have seen the woman! She gathered up her apron like a gleaner, And madly gleaned the little ebony drumsticks.

[He clears his throat.]

Only to speak of it gives me a cold—!

[He picks a red geranium.]

Here's how to make a mere geranium A ribbon of the Legion: keep one petal. What? You look well upon my velvet lining?

[To the DUKE.]

Is this what you bestowed upon me, Sire?

THE DUKE.

I gave a phantom—

FLAMBEAU.

And I wear a flower!

THE DUKE.

[Seeing the conspirators enter.]

Those shadows—?

MARMONT.

Friends.

THE DUKE.

[Turning.]

Marmont?

MARMONT.

Good luck, my Lord!

THE DUKE.

Why do the others stand so far away?

MARMONT.

Because they fear they may disturb your Highness, And, Sire, you are already Emperor!

THE DUKE.

The word strikes strangely on my wondering ear— The Emperor! What Emperor is here? This youth of twenty on the throne? As through a casement now myself I see Pass down the shouting street; 'tis good to be Young, and the first Napoleon's son! All Notre Dame invades my dreaming soul, I see the incense, hear the organ roll, A nation offers up a prayer! God! what great causes may be served by kings! How they can love! Achieve what righteous things! Prokesch, the Future shows too fair! O France, who with thy blood didst write our name, With happy days I will repay the fame; I come, triumphant in my pride. Sun on my flags; the air with shouts is rent. The Champs Elysees, with their chestnut scent, Waft me fair welcome as I ride.

FLAMBEAU.

The women stand on chairs to see your face, Each the fair symbol of Parisian grace, The guns in wreaths of flowers are dressed; Fierce Paris madly hails your sovereignship.

THE DUKE.

It were like kissing France upon the lip If Paris took me to her breast.

FLAMBEAU.

And you will hear the sufferer's complaint; Do you not feel your hand already faint Signing so many an amnesty?

THE DUKE.

The lies they've told me make the truth more dear, Oh, Freedom, Freedom, thou hast nought to fear From one so late from bonds set free! What can I do to foster noble aims? Treviso, Montebello, these are names Their sons inherit without fear, But other names are glorious, and since My Father would have made Corneille a Prince I'll make our Victor Hugo Peer! I'll do—I'll do—I'll be the poor man's shield! The heroic savour, rising from this field, Gives me a foretaste of my home; Wagram! 'Twas well I hither came to drain The stirrup-cup upon thy glorious plain! Oh, my beloved France!—I come—! Ah—!

FLAMBEAU.

What is it?

THE DUKE.

Nothing.

PROKESCH.

You are suffering!

THE DUKE.

Yes, to the marrow, but a gallop cures me. Stars twinkle in the skies like golden rowels. Here are the steeds, and we're to ride to France! Embrace me, friend!

PROKESCH.

Emotion strangles me.

THE DUKE.

Brother!

PROKESCH.

My Lord!

THE DUKE.

Ah, hush!—The saddle-girth!— Oh, it's delicious to escape on horseback Through such a night, in dancing-pumps!

PROKESCH.

[To MARMONT, pointing to the Conspirators.]

Those youths— Why have they come?

MARMONT.

Why, that the world may know They also were conspirators!

THE DUKE.

A whip!

A CONSPIRATOR.

[Introducing himself to the DUKE.]

The Viscount of Otranto—

THE DUKE.

Fouche's son!

FLAMBEAU.

[To the DUKE.]

No matter now.

[Arranging the horse.]

The stirrup long?

THE DUKE.

No; short.

SECOND CONSPIRATOR.

[Bending low to the DUKE.]

Goubeaux, the Countess Camerata's agent. Your humble servant Goubeaux—

THE DUKE.

Very well.

GOUBEAUX.

[Bowing once more.]

The Countess's chief agent.

THIRD CONSPIRATOR.

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