by Edmond Rostand
A Representation at the Hotel de Bourgogne.
The hall of the Hotel de Bourgogne, in 1640. A sort of tennis-court arranged and decorated for a theatrical performance.
The hall is oblong and seen obliquely, so that one of its sides forms the back of the right foreground, and meeting the left background makes an angle with the stage, which is partly visible.
On both sides of the stage are benches. The curtain is composed of two tapestries which can be drawn aside. Above a harlequin’s mantle are the royal arms. There are broad steps from the stage to the hall; on either side of these steps are the places for the violinists. Footlights.
Two rows, one over the other, of side galleries: the highest divided into boxes. No seats in the pit of the hall, which is the real stage of the theater; at the back of the pit, i.e., on the right foreground, some benches forming steps, and underneath, a staircase which leads to the upper seats. An improvised buffet ornamented with little lusters, vases, glasses, plates of tarts, cakes, bottles, etc.
The entrance to the theater is in the center of the background, under the gallery of the boxes. A large door, half open to let in the spectators. On the panels of this door, in different corners, and over the buffet, red placards bearing the words, ‘La Clorise.’
At the rising of the curtain the hall is in semi-darkness, and still empty. The lusters are lowered in the middle of the pit ready to be lighted.
The public, arriving by degrees. Troopers, burghers, lackeys, pages, a pickpocket, the doorkeeper, etc., followed by the marquises. Cuigy, Brissaille, the buffet-girl, the violinists, etc.
(A confusion of loud voices is heard outside the door. A trooper enters hastily.)
THE DOORKEEPER (following him):
Hollo! You there! Your money!
I enter gratis.
Why? I am of the King’s Household Cavalry, ‘faith!
THE DOORKEEPER (to another trooper who enters):
I pay nothing.
I am a musketeer.
FIRST TROOPER (to the second):
The play will not begin till two. The pit is empty. Come, a bout with the
foils to pass the time.
(They fence with the foils they have brought.)
A LACKEY (entering):
Pst. . .Flanquin. . .!
ANOTHER (already there):
Champagne?. . .
THE FIRST (showing him cards and dice which he takes from his doublet):
See, here be cards and dice.
(He seats himself on the floor):
THE SECOND (doing the same):
Good; I am with you, villain!
FIRST LACKEY (taking from his pocket a candle-end, which he lights, and sticks on the floor):
I made free to provide myself with light at my master’s expense!
A GUARDSMAN (to a shop-girl who advances):
‘Twas prettily done to come before the lights were lit!
(He takes her round the waist.)
ONE OF THE FENCERS (receiving a thrust):
ONE OF THE CARD-PLAYERS:
THE GUARDSMAN (following the girl):
THE SHOP-GIRL (struggling to free herself):
THE GUARDSMAN (drawing her to a dark corner):
No fear! No one can see!
A MAN (sitting on the ground with others, who have brought their provisions):
By coming early, one can eat in comfort.
A BURGHER (conducting his son):
Let us sit here, son.
A MAN (taking a bottle from under his cloak,
and also seating himself on the floor):
A tippler may well quaff his Burgundy
in the Burgundy Hotel!
THE BURGHER (to his son):
‘Faith! A man might think he had fallen in a bad house here!
(He points with his cane to the drunkard):
What with topers!
(One of the fencers in breaking off, jostles him):
(He stumbles into the midst of the card-players):
THE GUARDSMAN (behind him, still teasing the shop-girl):
Come, one kiss!
THE BURGHER (hurriedly pulling his son away):
By all the holies! And this, my boy, is the theater where they played
THE YOUNG MAN:
Ay, and Corneille!
A TROOP OF PAGES (hand-in-hand, enter dancing the farandole, and singing):
Tra’ a la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lere. . .
THE DOORKEEPER (sternly, to the pages):
You pages there, none of your tricks!. . .
FIRST PAGE (with an air of wounded dignity):
Oh, sir!–such a suspicion!. . .
(Briskly, to the second page, the moment the doorkeeper’s back is turned):
Have you string?
Ay, and a fish-hook with it.
We can angle for wigs, then, up there i’ th’ gallery.
A PICKPOCKET (gathering about him some evil-looking youths):
Hark ye, young cut-purses, lend an ear, while I give you your first lesson
SECOND PAGE (calling up to others in the top galleries):
You there! Have you peashooters?
THIRD PAGE (from above):
Ay, have we, and peas withal!
(He blows, and peppers them with peas.)
THE YOUNG MAN (to his father):
What piece do they give us?
THE YOUNG MAN:
Who may the author be?
Master Balthazar Baro. It is a play!. . .
(He goes arm-in-arm with his son.)
THE PICKPOCKET (to his pupils):
Have a care, above all, of the lace knee-ruffles–cut them off!
A SPECTATOR (to another, showing him a corner in the gallery):
I was up there, the first night of the ‘Cid.’
THE PICKPOCKET (making with his fingers the gesture of filching):
Thus for watches–
THE BURGHER (coming down again with his son):
Ah! You shall presently see some renowned actors. . .
THE PICKPOCKET (making the gestures of one who pulls something stealthily, with little jerks):
Thus for handkerchiefs–
Montfleury. . .
SOME ONE (shouting from the upper gallery):
Light up, below there!
. . .Bellerose, L’Epy, La Beaupre, Jodelet!
A PAGE (in the pit):
Here comes the buffet-girl!
THE BUFFET-GIRL (taking her place behind the buffet):
Oranges, milk, raspberry-water, cedar bitters!
(A hubbub outside the door is heard.)
A FALSETTO VOICE:
Make place, brutes!
A LACKEY (astonished):
The Marquises!–in the pit?. . .
Oh! only for a minute or two!
(Enter a band of young marquises.)
A MARQUIS (seeing that the hall is half empty):
What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woolen-drapers!
Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!–Oh, fie!
(Recognizing some other gentlemen who have entered a little before him):