The Children of Captain Grant

Act II

Scene III. The Yacht "Duncan".

The stage represents the dining room of the yacht “Duncan.” Sumptuous furniture, wainscoting in precious woods. Arm chairs and divans. Nautical instruments. In the middle a serving table. To the right and left numbered cabins opening on the dining hall. Cabins 2 and 3 are on the same side on the left. At the rear, a rich staircase with a double, golden ramp which leads on deck, and which permits one of the yacht’s masts to be seen and its rigging. The ward room of the Duncan must reproduce all the luxury of English yachts.
Bob, alone is dressed as a woman, still and is occupied shaving before a mirror. His face is entirely covered with shaving cream and he’s shaving his right cheek.

Bob: Quick! Quick! That’s what presses! I have to play with the razor under pain of betraying my sex! Oh! Elmira! It’s you who reduced me to this cruel extremity. If you hadn’t pushed me into the sea, I wouldn’t have dragged you into the waves with me. You would still exist, Elmira! I wouldn’t be devoured by remorse, and condemned to shave myself every two days! (shaving with frenzy) Ah! I won’t be completely at peace until I’ve put my foot on dry land somewhere! Good—one side is shaved! Now to the other. (begins to shave his left cheek) If Lady Arabella saw me in such a later—what a crisis! (a bell rings) Son of a sea-horse! It’s she! And I’ve only one side done!

Arabella: (emerging from Cabin #__) Well! Rebecca?

Bob: I’m here, I’m here, Milady.

(Bob hides his razor and presents himself so that only the shaved cheek can be seen and not the lathered side.)

Arabella: I rang, my girl.

Bob: I was running. I was in the process of twisting the windlass. Yie! And of arranging milady’s trunks. They’ve been placed in her cabin—in #4, yesterday evening, when we embarked.

Arabella: That’s fine. (passing to the other side) Have you seen Robert and Mary this morning?

Bob: (changing position to hide the lather on his face) Brother and sister are above, on deck leaning on the bulwarks.

Arabella: Bulwarks?

Bob: It’s a nautical term my cousin Mulray taught me.

Arabella: Very good. Has my paper arrived?

Bob: Paper?

Arabella: Yes. The Illustrated London News.

Bob: Milady expects to receive her newspaper—in the middle of the ocean?

Arabella: That’s true. I was forgetting. (going up) I am going above to take the air. Ah! (coming back down on the unshaven side of Bob) I feel a little giddy! Give me your arm to the staircase.

Bob: (turning to the other side) My—my arm? Here, Milady, here. (offers it to her)

Arabella: No—not that one; the other one.

(Arabella moves to his unshaven side.)

Bob: Here, here, Milady.

Arabella: But, why are you changing sides like this?

Bob: Wh—why, milady? (at this moment a loud bell) Ah, they are ringing, milady, they are ringing. (pointing to Cabin #3) One would say it is coming from this cabin.

Arabella: But that cabin cannot be occupied! Aren’t my nephew and Captain Wilson on the bridge?

Bob: On the contrary, I saw them there. (a new and more violent ringing than the first. (heading toward cabin number 3) I have to see! I have

(Bob rapidly wipes his cheek.)

Arabella: Just think of it, Rebecca! If someone of the male sex were found there?

Bob: (forgetting) That wouldn’t bother me much!

Arabella: (shocked) Huh? What?

Bob: (getting uneasy) No, I meant to say—that it wouldn’t please me. (aside) Satanic shirts! I keep forgetting that Mistress Rebecca is in there.

(Third ringing—and the door of cabin 3 opens. A head peers out with a night cap on. This head wears glasses that are never put in the eyes but on the nose.)

Arabella: great God! What’s that?

(Arabella feels to the other side of the room.)

Paganel: (in a bath robe/dressing gown) Waiter! Waiter!

Bob: A man!

Paganel: (emerging from the cabin) Well—service is given in a very funny way on this steamboat! They make you pay enough for the passage.

Arabella: Who is this monster?

Paganel: (noticing Arabella) Ah, passengers. (raises his cotton night cap and bows) Madame. (to Bob) Miss.

Bob: (curtsying) Sir!

Paganel: I ask your pardon for presenting myself in this gear! Imagine, ladies, that I rang three times, called twice, and that no one servant bothered himself. I pay my compliments to the Cunard Company! I would have done better to take a French Transatlantic.

Arabella: (to Bob) But, this gentleman is mad. We must inform the authorities.

Paganel: It’s like last night! Impossible to sleep! I arrived yesterday evening at Glasgow, exhausted by thirty hours of voyage. I went to bed. What do I hear in the cabin next to number 2? (points to the cabin)

Arabella: (aside) Mine! What did this gentleman hear?

Paganel: Formidable snoring, ladies!

Arabella: (scandalized) Snoring.

Paganel: There’s no doubt about it, it was an old gentleman.

Arabella: An old gentleman! (carried away) But it’s I, sir, who occupy this cabin!

Paganel: What, Madame! The old gentleman was you! (confused)

Arabella: Snoring! Ah! ah! Rebecca? I feel ill. Salts, my flask! Snoring!

Paganel: Pardon, a thousand pardons, madame—from the moment it’s a question of you—it wasn’t snoring—it was sighing—very tender sighing.

Arabella: Ah! ah! my nervous attack! My nervous attack!

Bob: Her nervous attach! She’s having her nervous attack. (slaps Arabella’s hands)

Paganel: Her—her attack! What to do?

Bob: Quick—a glass of water and pour vinegar on this handkerchief.

Paganel: Here, here, miss!

(Paganel pours water from a carafe on his handkerchief.)

Paganel: Let her breathe this. (handing the handkerchief)

Bob: Something to drink now, something to drink.

Paganel: To drink? Yes! right away. (pours the flask of vinegar in a cup) Make her drink this! Poor lady! And I am the cause. Arabella (drinking) Yuck! Fie! Horror! What’s this?

Paganel: Water! A glass of fresh water that I poured for you, beautiful lady.

Arabella: Why, it’s vinegar.

Bob: It’s the flask of vinegar.

Paganel: It’s the flask! Heavens! Ah! Pardon, a thousand pardons, Madame! It’s a distraction.

(The clock sounds on deck.)

Bob: Good! The lunch clock.

Paganel: The devil! I’ve only got time to finish dressing! Deign to excuse me, madame, I affirm what I want to say: sighs—mere sighs—where did I put my night-cap? (noticing it on a chair where a woman’s hat is also seen) Ah! there it is. (going to take it and turning to Arabella) Simple sighs, madame. (takes the woman’s hat without looking and bows) Madame, I have indeed the honor

Arabella: My hat! That’s my hat, sir.

Paganel: Your? Goodness, it’s true. (placing it down) That makes two distractions! That’s astonishing, Madame, as for me, I never get distracted! They were sighs, madame, tender sighs. (goes back into his cabin)

Arabella: But, who is this man?

(Glenorvan enters.)

Arabella: Ah! my nephew!

Glenorvan: My dear aunt, Robert and Mary, not yet being ready, beg you to dine without them.

Arabella: Fine, fine. Tell me, Glenorvan, why didn’t you forewarn me that you were bringing a stranger, that you lodged him precisely in the cabin next to mine? How shocking this is. (pointing to the cabin) That one there!

Glenorvan: I don’t understand.

Wilson: A stranger in this cabin?

Arabella: Ask Rebecca! He’s a horrible man.

Bob: Horrible! It’s quite true!

Glenorvan: Some intruder, no question! We are indeed going to see.

(Glenorvan heads towards cabin #3. Paganel appears in travel costume.)

Paganel: (gaily) Ah! ah! The passengers are gathering for lunch! That’s lucky! But here, it’s like a table d’hote! Each for himself. The best place and the choicest tidbits. Eh! Eh!

(Paganel tours around the table and at last chooses his place next to Arabella.)

Arabella: (indignant) Begone! Begone!

Paganel: (aside) The Snorer.

Glenorvan: (to Wilson) Ah, indeed! Will you explain to me, Captain?

Paganel: The Captain

Wilson: Why, milord, I don’t know. I don’t understand.

Paganel: It’s necessary that I pay my respects to him. (going to Wilson) Captain, allow me to shake your hand. Yesterday evening the fog was so thick that I didn’t even notice you. The porter placed my luggage in this cabin and I nestled in it, that I had retained hurriedly, on board the Scotia! Captain Barton, I am very happy to enter into relations with you.

Glenorvan: (aside) Great! He’s a passenger who mistook his ship!

Paganel: But let’s not make these ladies wait. (offers his arm to Arabella) Deign to accept, Madame.

Arabella: (avoiding him, proudly) I am not accepting anything from you, sir.

Paganel: (aside) Not polite, the snorer!

Glenorvan: (aside) This brave gentleman has the manner of a proud character! Look, Wilson, let’s present ourselves. We must at least know with whom we are dealing!

Wilson: (to Paganel) Sir, will you allow me to present to you, his Lordship—Lord Glenorvan?

Paganel: (bowing) Ah! milord, enchanted to make your acquaintance.

Arabella: (aside) As for me, I am not enchanted to have made his!

Paganel: (confidentially) I warn you, Milord, that we have here (pointing to Arabella) a traveling companion—of a very annoying—nervosity. Glenorvan (smiling) She’s my aunt, sir!

Paganel: Huh? Your— (aside) The Devil!

Glenorvan: (presenting Arabella to him) Lady Arabella Glenorvan.

Paganel: Milady, certainly—I—I am (pointing to Bob) Miss is your daughter, no doubt? Fine bearing.

Arabella: My—my daughter! My chamber-maid, sir!

Paganel: (aside) I don’t have a lucky tongue today.

Glenorvan: But, you, sir—?

Paganel: Ah! Milord, I ask your pardon for presenting myself but, at sea one can be more easy about etiquette!

Glenorvan: To whom have I the honor of speaking, sir?

Paganel: Jacques-Eliaun—Jean-Marie-Paganel.

Glenorvan: Paganel! You are Mr. Paganel?

Paganel: Perpetual Secretary of the Paris Geographic Society, corresponding member of the societies of Bombay, Leipzig, London, Pelerateuig, and who is headed to India to gather there the works of the great travelers.

Glenorvan: Mr. Paganel, I can only congratulate myself on meeting on board one of the most distinguished scientists of France. (aside to Wilson) And the most distracted of men!

Wilson: Everything’s explained then.

Arabella: (to Glenorvan) Is he going to dine with us?

Glenorvan: (low) My dear auntie, he must be dying of hunger. Let him regain his strength before informing him of where he is and where he’s going.

(All except Bob take their places around the table. Paganel finds himself next to Arabella who is furious.)

Glenorvan: And now, Mr. Paganel, would you allow me to address a question to you?

Paganel: Why, of course! 20 questions, milord, 30 questions—as many questions as you like.

Glenorvan: Once arrived in India, have you chosen Calcutta as the point of departure for your travels?

Paganel: Yes, milord! I will launch myself from Calcutta to see India. My most beautiful dream is going to be realized in the country of elephants and thugs.

Arabella: (holding out her glass) Sugar. I’d like some sugar in my tea.

Paganel: Here, milady, here. Conceive, milord (pouring salt in Arabella’s tea as he speaks)

Arabella: Why, that’s salt, sir, that’s salt!

Paganel: Ah, pardon! Ah, yes, it’s salt. Yet another distraction! It’s astounding. I who never get dis—

Glenorvan: (passing the sugar bowl) Here’s the sugar.

Paganel: Thanks, I don’t take any.

Glenorvan: It’s for my aunt!

(Paganel pours the sugar bowl into Arabella’s cup.)

Arabella: What are you doing?

Paganel: I am desolated, madame, but it won’t come out! It’s broken! (to Glenorvan) I am entrusted, Milord, with fulfilling an important mission. It’s a question of running along the northeast base of the Himalayas and determining at last if the Irrawady is joined at Bramapouitra in the north east of Assain.

Arabella: (aside) What terrifying words this geographer has in his mouth.

Glenorvan: Mr. Paganel, I don’t wish to prolong your mistake any longer! Know that you are turning your back on the Indian peninsula.

Paganel: Huh? What? You mean the Scotia?

Wilson: This ship is not the Scotia!

Paganel: It’s not the Scotia?

Wilson: It’s the Duncan, the pleasure yacht of his Lordship, Lord Glenorvan.

Paganel: (uttering a scream) The Duncan! A pleasure yacht! Oh, great God! Stop—then—stop—the bell—the bell— (pulls forcefully on one of the long tresses hanging from Arabella’s back) Stop! Stop!

Arabella: (uttering a scream) Ah! the wretch. Those are my tresses, sir!

Paganel: Receive my excuses. I too was saying to myself—they don’t ring!

(All rise from the table.)

Paganel: (running like a mad man) But I have to stop the Duncan. They’ve got to land me.

Arabella: (beside herself) Yes, debark him—and then throw him into the sea.

Glenorvan: Arabella! Auntie! (to Paganel) Sir, it’s impossible to debark you.

Wilson: We’re more than a hundred miles from the coast.

Paganel: In that case, a canoe! A canoe! Let them row me to land.

Wilson: Calm down.

Paganel: The Duncan! And where’s the Duncan going?

Glenorvan: To South America.

Paganel: (tearing his hair) South America! What will the Paris Geographic Society say? To take one ship for another! To awaken on route to South American, when I thought I was leaving for the Indies! Ah, it’s enough to make you tear (continues to tear his hair)

Bob: (to Paganel) Take care, sir, you don’t have much already!

Paganel: (to Glenorvan) It’s true! Ah! What an idea! Milord, there’s a way to fix everything.

Glenorvan: What way is that?

Paganel: India’s a fine country! It affords travelers marvelous surprises! Wells the steersman need only give a turn of the wheel, and the Duncan just as easily heads towards Calcutta as—since it’s a pleasure voyage!

Robert: (entering with Mary) A pleasure trip.

Glenorvan: Sir, the Duncan is en route to seek poor castaways.

Paganel: Castaways?

Mary: Castaways of the Britannia, sir, and among them—

Robert: And among them both our father and brother!

Mary: We as the children of Captain Grant—

Paganel: Captain Grant! That heroic sailor who is rushing to discover the South Pole?

Robert: Himself.

Glenorvan: You understand, sir, we don’t have the right to lose an hour.

Mulray: (entering from the rear) Captain!

Wilson: What’s wrong?

Mulray: A ship is in sight, heading straight for us!

Wilson: What ship is it?

Mulray: The Saint Laurent, a transatlantic en route to France.

Paganel: Milord, this is an act of heaven! You are going to have me transferred.

Glenorvan: As you please, sir.

Arabella: (to Bob) I won’t be the one to regret this geographer!

Bob: (aside) It suits me well enough!

Wilson: (to Mulray) Make the liner a signal that we wish to communicate with it.

Mulray: Right, Captain.

Paganel: At the same time, my friend, make them take up my luggage which is placed in that cabin. (points to cabin #9, in which Arabella’s luggage has been provisionally placed)

(Mulray leaves and sailors come to remove the trunks as the conversation continues.)

Mulray: yes, sir.

Paganel: (to Glenorvan) Good! I’m saved! Milord, above all, allow me to say to you that’s it’s a noble action, going in search of castaways. It’s great, it’s generous—it’s—but may I know how you’ve been led to fly to the rescue of these unfortunates?

Glenorvan: By our finding a document at sea.

Paganel: A document! Why it’s an envoy from Providence!

Glenorvan: That’s the way we looked at it.

Paganel: Could I see this document? It interests me to the highest degree.

Glenorvan: Nothing could be simpler.

(Glenorvan gives the document to Paganel.)

Paganel: Ah! this note is really in bad condition! The sea did not respect it?

Robert: Why, yes, sir! You can still read it very well!

Paganel: Indeed, there remain some words. (reading) Captain Grant and his son—Bal—Austral—Britannia—at 37 longitude—agen—help—they are lost! (speaking) 37 degrees latitude—the longitude is unfortunately lacking! But in that case, where are you going to direct your search?

Glenorvan: Precisely on the 37th parallel—south.

Paganel: Fine—very fine—but I think wait a bit—yes—yes—ah! my friends—gang—there’s a fragmentary line that clarifies this document completely.

Glenorvan: Which one?

Robert: Speak—speak, sir!

Mary: Sir, it’s a question of our father.

Arabella: (to Paganel who is absorbed in this thoughts) Why, speak, won’t you? This is giving us emotions! This geographer will be the death of me!

Paganel: Yes, there’s not the least doubt! G o - go - n - ce - nie gonie. The Duncan needn’t take the trouble of following the entire 37th parallel! Gonie! It’s evident that the Britannia was lost off the cost of Gonia. It’s lacking “Pater”! It’s in Patagonia you must search for the castaways.

Glenorvan: Yes—yes—he’s right! It cannot be more clear! In Patagonia! And we didn’t understand. Ah! sir, meeting you on board the Duncan is truly providential!

Paganel: And this document is so explicit that I will be able to find them with my eyes completely closed.

Wilson: Still, if Captain Grant lost his ship on the coast of Patagonia, why hasn’t he been able to repatriate himself yet, by reaching Buenos Aires or Montevideo?

Paganel: And if he was made a prisoner by the indigenous, sir? If he was taken into the interior of the land, as happened to one of my compatriots who remained 32 years in the hands of the Patagins! Yes, the shipwreck took place on the coast situated on the east of Patagonia. Taken captive, the shipwrecks crossed the Cordilleras. They have sealed the hell of Antero and come down in the Pampas to stop at the foot _________ forts that the great rivers bathe. It’s there, that’s where they are, that’s where they are waiting for us, that’s where they are calling us! I hear them! I see them, I see them! Hope friends, hope we are racing to you! we are racing to—

Mary: (weeping) Ah! sir, sir!

Paganel: I was already in Patagonia! Courage, Miss, courage. You will see them again!

Robert: But, if as you say, they were taken in the interior, how were they able to throw this bottle into the sea?

Paganel: How? Nothing could be simpler, my friend. Wasn’t Captain Grant able to throw this bottle into a stream and that stream took it to the ocean?

Mary: That’s true, sir.

Glenorvan: Decidedly, Mr. Paganel is right. There’s no possible objection.

Mulray: (entering) We are in communication with the Saint Laurent.

Paganel: Fine! Put my luggage on board.

Robert: What—you still intend to leave—to leave us?

Paganel: Surely.

Robert: Come off it! Are you capable of doing it?

Paganel: Yes, I am capable of it.

Mary: My brother’s right, sir. You affirmed that you would go to the place of shipwreck, eyes shut! For pity, do not abandon us, and do not leave us, sir!

Paganel: Miss—certainly—I would—but it’s imposs—

Robert: I beg you, sir, I entreat you! (grasping Paganel by his coat) Anyway, I won’t let you go.

Paganel: What! What, young man!

Robert: No, sir, no, no! I’m attaching myself to you!

Paganel: But my mission, children, my mission

Robert: You are an honest man, sir, and your first mission is to help the unfortunate—who are dying, perhaps!

Paganel: (to Glenorvan) What he says is true enough.

Glenorvan: Yes, certainly, and the Brampouton can wait.

Robert: It will wait, sir.

Paganel: (hesitating) It’s certain that it won’t go anywhere—the Brampouton.

Glenorvan: Consider, also that in this work you will have the right to associate the name of France with that of England, and what is much finer—to put science in the service of humanity!

Arabella: (moved) Ah! How well said that is—to the degree that I, who do not care for your company—well, I ask you to remain, Mr. Geographer.

Paganel: Certainly, milady, an invitation so graciously formulated—

Glenorvan: Believe me, sir, let Providence act. It sent us this document and we embarked. It threw you aboard the Duncan—and you shan’t leave.

All: Yes, sir, yes!

Paganel: Well?

Mulray: (shouting through his bullhorn) The Saint Lawrence is going to continue on its journey.

Paganel: Well, let the Saint Laurent leave us alone!

All: Ah! you are staying.

Paganel: I am staying, and I reply to you we are going to things promptly.

(A whistle indicates the departure of the Saint Laurent.)

Mary: Ah, sir, accept all the gratitude of the castaways.

Robert: Your hand Mr. Paganel. (grasps it) No, better than that. (jumps on his neck)

Paganel: (shaken) What a rough little man! He’s a young lion!

Arabella: (moved, going to Paganel) Sir, I pardon you—for the salt poured in my tea, for the vinegar I drank. Continue to act as you are doing. I will forgive you for the rest.

Paganel: Thanks a lot, milord— (catching himself) Milady. Ah, great God!

Arabella: (starting) What’s wrong?

Paganel: My luggage has been put on the Saint Laurent and it’s gone.

Arabella: Ah! (gaily) Now that’s really a distraction. Ah! ah! ah!

Paganel: (running to Cabin #3) Eh! no, God be thanked. There they are.

Wilson: Then whose did we just carry up?

Bob: (going to Cabin #4) Ah! Lord God! They took them from here on a sign from Mr. Paganel.

Wilson: And they were—

Bob: Lady Arabella’s luggage!

Arabella: (swooning) Ah! my luggage! My luggage! Now here I am without clothes and without linen. My luggage! He had them carried off. (rising abruptly and going to Paganel) I withdraw my forgiveness, sir, and I promise you a Carribes hatred!

Paganel: What an unfortunate distraction I’ve had. I, who never get distracted.


Scene IV. The Hill of Anturo.

The stage represents a peak in the Cordilleras of South America. To the left, climbable mountains. To the right, a high rock which dominates the stage. In the back, a picturesque heap of mountains.
The characters, Glenorvan, Paganel, Robert and Mulray, are dressed in ponchos and traditional costumes of the land. Glenorvan carries a rifle in a bandolier. All arrive from the right and stop.

Muleteer: Here’s the peak of Anturo, which allows travelers to pass from the other side of the chain.

Paganel: Yes, at 6000 feet in the air? Huh, my dear companions, what a picturesque country it is here, formed by the border of Patagonia and the Argentine Republic.

Glenorvan: So picturesque, Mr. Paganel, that I am almost regretting that Lady Arabella and Mary Grant wanted to follow us on this voyage. They were made to remain aboard the Duncan which is going to wait for us on the Western littoral. That must have spared them many exhaustions.

Paganel: No question, but they wanted to be there when we find the castaways of the Britannia and that’s quite natural.

Glenorvan: Until now heaven has not granted them that joy! Here we are almost reading the occidental side of Patagonia and nothing! Not one clue can put us on the track of the shipwrecks!

Paganel: All is not yet said and in the 100,000’s which remain to the cross—

Muleteer: Silence!

Glenorvan: What’s the matter?

Muleteer: Wait.

(The Muleteer rests his ear against the ground. A dull rumbling is heard.)

Paganel: What is it? Could it by chance be—?

Muleteer: Just now, didn’t you see a band of Guanagues fleeing?

Paganel: Pursued no doubt by some savage animals?

Muleteer: That’s not it.

Glenorvan: Then what is it?

(New rumblings.)

Muleteer: I hear a dull rumbling. Here, under our feet. Perhaps it’s the announcement of an earthquake.

Glenorvan: In that case, let’s try to reach the other side of the mountain.

All: Before—

Glenorvan: (to Muleteer) But as I think of it, we’ve left our little troop at a quarter of a mile—encamped, with the purpose of exploring this peak. Is there any danger for Lady Arabella and Miss grant?

Muleteer: No! Your companions are indeed sheltered there! The peril is here!

Mulray: If your Lordship cares to believe me, we will hasten to see if this pass of Anturo is free.

Glenorvan: Lead the mules.

Muleteer: The peak of Anturo can only be crossed on foot.

Paganel: It’s only an affair of two or three miles.

Glenorvan: But from the other side?

Muleteer: You will find horses to cross the Pampas. Only in passing this chain, beware of avalanches or earthquakes! These subterranean tremblings, I repeat to you, are not a good omen.

Paganel: These cataclysms are the beauty of this country. Here the mountains move as if by enchantment. As for me, I would not be sorry to see an earthquake.

Muleteer: May heaven protect you from it, sir, and if I have advice to give you, pass quickly, once you are entered into the pass, and speak only in low voices! The least noise can provoke an avalanche.

Glenorvan: In that case, no distractions, Mr. Paganel.

Paganel: Distractions! Me? I never have any.

Glenorvan: (to Muleteer) You can guide us to the summit of the pass?

Muleteer: That’s outside our agreement, but there’s danger. I’ll remain with you.

Glenorvan: Fine! Your time and your trouble will be amply paid.

(New rumblings.)

Muleteer: In that case, follow me. (stopping) Listen! Those rumblings are spreading through the chain! Perhaps it will be prudent to postpone—

Glenorvan: We haven’t the time to be so prudent, my friend. En route!

(All, Muleteer in the lead, scale the rocks on the left.)

Paganel: Useless for this Muleteer to talk. This is charming!

Muleteer: I am going to assure myself of the condition of this path. Wait here!

(As soon as Glenorvan and his companions reach the top of the rock, a terrible noise can be heard. The slope that the travelers are climbing suddenly collapses and they are hurled into the abyss at the foot of the slope.)

Mulray: What a clubbing, Mr. Geographer!

Paganel: Here I am, my friend, don’t be uneasy. I am not wounded—but I’ve lost my spectacles. (looking around him) Where are they then?

Glenorvan: (reappearing) None of us injured? Well, and Robert? Where is Robert?

Paganel: I don’t see him.

Glenorvan: (calling) Robert!

All: Robert! Robert!

Glenorvan: He’s not answering, and then, in this precipice into which we ourselves were thrown, I don’t see him.

Paganel: Perhaps the unlucky child rolled to the bottom.

Mulray: Wait, I am going to go down there.

Muleteer: A few yards from here the slope is too steep for it to be possible. Stop, if you slip, it’s death.

Glenorvan: Anyway, I’m going there!

Mulray: Milord, you don’t have the right to expose yourself. I’m going there. But I have a wife and child down there—I have nothing more to say to you! Goodbye.

(Mulray descends the gulf. New rumblings are heard.)

Muleteer: Listen! The noise is increasing. The ground is shaking under our feet, more violently still! We must flee. Go back down in haste.

Glenorvan: Flee without having found Robert—never!

Mary: Robert—find Robert you said. Where is my brother.

Glenorvan: Miss, Robert—

(A huge bird appears at the left and descends obliquely into the abyss.)

Mary: (very agitated) Yes, yes. I heard your shouts repeated by the echo of these mountains? And I ran and I ask you again: Where is Robert? Where is he? Where is my brother?

Glenorvan: Like us, no doubt, he was hurled into this abyss.

Mary: (going to look) There! My brother! My brother! Ah! I want to die with him.

Glenorvan: We will save him, Miss Mary. We will save him! Mulray has descended to search for him.

Mary: No! Let me! Let me.

(The bird reappears holding Robert in its claws—rising slowly.)

Mary: Ah! look, there! There—Robert!

Glenorvan: Great God!

(Glenorvan seizes his rifle and aims at the bird.)

Mary: (on her knees) My God! Have pity! Have pity!

(A Patagonian, in national costume appears at the right at the summit of a rock and shoulders his long carbine. The shot fires, and the bird, still holding Robert, slowly falls behind the rock. Glenorvan goes down into the gulf to search for Robert.)

Mary: Have you had compassion, My God; or must a last despair tear apart my heard? Robert! Robert!

(Glenorvan reappears carrying a fainted Robert in his arms and places him on the rock at the right.)

Mary: Look, look, that livid pallor, and his eyes remain shut. My brother! My brother!

(Mary raises Robert’s head and covers it with kisses and tears.)

Paganel: Wait, Miss Mary, wait! I have Lady Arabella’s flask, which through distraction, I took for my snuff box. (making Robert breathe the flask) Look, look—his cheeks are beginning to show some color!

Mary: (with joy) Yes, yes—

Glenorvan: He’s coming to.

Robert: Mary—Sis—Ah! What a dream. (in a weak voice) What a terrible dream.

Mary: (pointing to the Patagonian) Robert, there’s the man you owe your life to!

Thalcare: No! the great spirit supported my arm and directed my weapon.

Robert: (holding out his hand to Thalcare) My friend, my saviour, who are you?

Thalcare: Thalcare! Born in this land, I have often escorted travelers through the defiles of our mountains.

Paganel: A Patagonian! I will have seen a real Patagonian.

Glenorvan: Friend, what do you ask for having saved this child? We are searching for his father, a prisoner of one of your tribes.

Thalcare: There are no prisoners amongst us.

Glenorvan: What! A year ago, wasn’t there a shipwreck on your coast?

Thalcare: No shipwreck has taken place on our shores. No castaways are among my people.

Mary: My God! In that case all hope is lost!

Robert: Remember, friend, remember. It’s my father and my brother that my sister and I are seeking!

Thalcare: Down there, in Valparaiso, perhaps some news can be found?

Robert: (to Glenorvan) To Valparaiso, milord.

Glenorvan: We are going to go there, Robert, and if we don’t find new clues, we will start out all over to accomplish our mission! (to Thalcare) Friend, you can be useful, you can gather information which might escape us. Will you come with us to Valparaiso?

Thalcare: (looking at Robert) To there and even further if necessary. The child called me his saviour! (placing his hand on Robert’s shoulder) He’s almost my child to me. I won’t leave him until the day I’ve delivered him into the arms of his true father!

Glenorvan: Come on, let’s continue on our way.

(New rumblings more violent than before.)

Muleteer: It’s too late! Don’t anyone budge!


Scene V. The Earthquake.

The rumblings increase yet more, and ones sees the tops of mountains collapse on every side. Heaven is on fire. A violent storm bursts. Night comes on. All the characters in consternation fall on their knees and huddle against each other.


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Translation and Adaptation Copyright © 2005 by Frank J. Morlock
Copyright © Zvi Har’El
$Date: 2007/12/27 08:12:28 $