Eleven Days of Siege


LEONIE: Well, what news?



MAXIME: Nothing. I just left the prefecture of police, they asked me a thousand questions. I told them all that I knew: that our friend Robert was a little fantastic; that after a lively enough scene, he withdrew to his room; that the same evening his wife found his door locked; that the next day, not seeing him appear, it was decided to break down the door; that the room was empty, and that our friend having left by his private stairway, and that since then, he hasn’t been seen at home, nor at his club, nor on the exchange—and finally that his wife was mortally uneasy.

LEONIE: I really think so!

MAXIME: All that was written swiftly by a bearded gentleman who dismissed me with these words: “That’s fine, sir, we’ll find him—” And I came hastily to give an account of my actions, while Roquefeuille rushed to Chatou to see if he isn’t in his country house.

LEONIE: What an event! this disappearance! this flight!

MAXIME: And now, madame, that I’ve done what friendship demanded of me, will I be permitted not to neglect love completely, and to cause you to notice that we are today, precisely at that famous eleventh day which must never shine for me.

LEONIE: Ah! you really choose your time well! This is the moment when your friend—

MAXIME: Oh! my friend’s reached the age of reason, madame, he knows how to act: household sulking! He wanted to give his wife a lesson; he’s going to return any time soon, fresh and rosy as a school boy who played hooky; but as for me, as for me, madame, it’s eleven days since I last ate! eleven nights since I last slept!

LEONIE: Well! you must begin to make yourself do it!

MAXIME: And I am waiting for this famous delay to expire at last, and which will put you in the absolute necessity of keeping your promise.


MAXIME: Yes, there’s no longer any way to defend yourself! The eleven days have revolved; I’ve foreseen everything, prepared everything to leave you no escape. The banns are published, the Mayor is displaying his scarf, the church is lighting its candles, the organ is playing the prelude, and the swiss guard is making his pike resound.

LEONIE: Ah, well, he will have to wait, the Swiss.

MAXIME: Ah! madame, this isn’t possible.

LEONIE: Why, grasp this bullheadedness?

MAXIME: Ah! yes, grasp it, when one looks at you! And if you would listen to me.

LEONIE: But can I listen to you in the frame of mind I am in? I don’t have my head about me!

MAXIME: Roquefeuille will tell you that it’s an excellent frame of mind to be married in.

LEONIE: And the Panama which is waiting for me and is steaming up?

MAXIME: (aside) And me, too!

LEONIE: Look! don’t talk to me about anything until Robert is found.

MAXIME: And after that?

LEONIE: Ah! after that?

ROQUEFEUILLE: (hurrying in) Well, have you? has he? have they?

LEONIE: Nothing. And you?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Nothing.—And you?

MAXIME: But at Chatou?

ROQUEFEUILLE: I’m coming from there! Nothing! nothing! nothing!

LEONIE: This is terrifying!

ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s sinister!

MAXIME: Why, you are childish with your unease! Why don’t you put him in the newspaper under Lost Articles?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Women would run after him and not wish to return him.

LEONIE: Would you please not joke!

ROQUEFEUILLE: And Madame Maubray?

LEONIE: Ah! you judge! She will be ill over it!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Only one husband and he steals off—

LEONIE: In the midst of all this Mr. Duvernet has the heart to speak to me of marriage.

ROQUEFEUILLE: Hell! This gives him hope of getting away from you too, one day!

MAXIME: But I don’t see—

LEONIE: Not another word! I will consent to forgive you only if you bring your friend back to me.

MAXIME: You are saying?

LEONIE: Begone, march And if you bring him back—honest reward!

MAXIME: Now there’s a hope that gives me wings—I have an idea.


MAXIME: (looking at his watch) Ten o’clock. The marriage is for two o’clock. I’ve got time. (he escapes)

LEONIE: Yes, yes, you’ve got time!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (sitting down) To get married! Ah! yes, he has time. Ah! now there’s a fellow who will know the rope with which to hang himself.

LEONE: It’s she! Laurence!

LAURENCE: (entering) Well?

LEONIE: Well! my poor Laurence, nothing new.


ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s not to be understood!

LAURENCE: Ah! as for me, I understand too well. He knows what we were trying to hide from him—and now he is free, he’s gone, never to return!

LEONIE: Why, no! What an idea!

LAURENCE: Ah! don’t tell me no, I am sure of it! Otherwise, wouldn’t he already have returned, he who was always so scrupulous to return at the agreed time, to spare me any worry? Because he was so good! he was so tender, so sweet sometimes! Ah, it’s over now, it’s really over, go! I’ve lost him and forever!

LEONIE: But I don’t want you to weep like this!

LAURENCE: Now this is what comes from, wanting to trick him instead of telling him everything! Ah! if I’d told him everything!—he loves me so much!—And a few moments before his departure even—Ah! If I had known—It was so easy!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Look, look, dear lady, let’s not be desolated, and let’s find a remedy! You are quite sure he didn’t leave the least little word of information?

LAURENCE: Not one! I’ve looked everywhere!

LEONIE: And since that time, not one letter, not a word to explain his behavior?


ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s incomprehensible! And to say that this is happening to us at the moment of seriously marrying him, and riveting his chain on him! He suspected the ambush, the rogue! A plan so clever, so well executed! I foresaw everything—everything is ready, the mayor is informed, he will wait for us for two hours, after two hours it will be too late: he has an assembly of shareholders he has to preside over, and as he doesn’t pay dividends, he must at least be on time! And the first marriage with which I am occupied is going to fail for the inexplicable absence of the groom! and what groom? A serious groom, tested, guaranteed! a groom passe, a posterior groom! No, no, it’s not possible! he’s going to come! he will come! he’s coming! here he is.

(Therese enters.)

ROQUEFEUILLE: No, this is not him!

THERESE: (a box in her hand) For Madame!

ROQUEFEUILLE: He can’t be in there—

LAURENCE: Who is it from?

THERESE: I don’t know! It was a delivery boy who told me “For Madame Maubray!”

LEONIE: Really, what can it be?

(Therese leaves.)

ROQUEFEUILLE: Will you allow me?—Ah, a jewel box!

LEONIE: A magnificent jewel box!

LAURENCE: What’s it mean?

ROQUEFEUILLE: A jewel box! Ah! that’s still plain enough!


LEONIE: What a splendid necklace!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Necklace? My god it’s big as a river!

LAURENCE: (to Leonie) Do you understand it?

LEONIE: Absolutely not!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Ah, I get it. It’s a gift from friend Maxime to his fiancee!

LAURENCE: That’s possible!

LEONIE: By what right does Mr. Duvernet permit himself to send me diamonds?

ROQUEFEUILLE: My word! by the right diamonds have to present themselves everywhere; anyway, at the situation you are in—

LEONIE: At the situation we are in, Mr. Duvernet is an impertinent! No, this jewel box is not for me, but for Laurence!

LAURENCE: Not at all; there’s a mistake—It’s for you!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Ah! it’s indeed the first time I’ve seen two women send back a jewel!!

(Enter Baptiste hurriedly.)

BAPTISTE: Madame! madame! here he is!

LAURENCE: My husband?

BAPTISTE: The master! It’s the master! He’s getting out of a cab!

LAURENCE: Him! It’s him! Ah! that makes everything all right!

ROQUEFEUILLE: We’ve got him! Don’t let him escape! I am running to city-hall! Which way so as not to meet him?

LAURENCE: By this door!

ROQUEFEUILLE: It won’t be long, the wretch! (he leaves excitedly)

BAPTISTE: (announcing) The master! (he leaves with Therese)

(Robert enters slowly from the back, in English traveling costume, large overcoat, cap, etc.)

LAURENCE: (running to him and kissing him) Ah! my friend, how happy I am to see you!

ROBERT: (very cold, in a slightly English accent) Very happy as well.

LEONIE: (aside) That tone!

LAURENCE: Ah! if you knew how worried I was by your absence!

ROBERT: No reason to be, madame.

LAURENCE: Madame! Here it is three days that you’ve been far from me and instead of kissing me—

ROBERT: Why didn’t you say it right away! With pleasure (kissing her coldly on the face and going to sit down)

LAURENCE: But where are you coming from, my God?

ROBERT: I’m coming from London!

LAURENCE: From London?

LEONIE: He’s frozen himself crossing the Channel!

ROBERT: Ah! Madame Vanvres, pardon me, I didn’t see you. (he bows ceremoniously)


LAURENCE: What were you doing in London, my friend?

ROBERT: Why, first of all paying a visit of politeness to my fellow citizens; because, you know, madame, that I am English, and then to correct, by living with a nation calm and cold, this petulance of character of which I gave you here even, an irritating example!

LAURENCE: Well, there, truly, I prefer you in the French way!

ROBERT: No, madame.

LAURENCE: What do you mean, no?

ROBERT: You’ve made me understand sufficiently that my education was not complete, and that I was lacking a certain polish.

LAURENCE: (wanting to speak) My God!

ROBERT: This English polish!

LEONIE: (impatiently) Ah, indeed, are you going to always talk like this, now?

ROBERT: (coldly) Always!

LAURENCE: And you will always dress like that?

ROBERT: Always!

LEONIE: And always as vibrant?

LAURENCE: As friendly?

ROBERT: Always! (he goes to the chimney, sitting before it holding his legs in the air)

THE TWO WOMEN: (horrified) Oh!

LEONIE: My dear Laurence, my sincere compliments! I see you already strolling the length of Picadilly or on the lawns of Hyde Park with a rose bonnet decorated with a green veil, a gooseberry dress, a yellow scarf on the arm of milord in a raincoat and macintosh. That’s splendid! And if I weren’t French, I would be English!

BAPTISTE: (entering) Madame!

LAURENCE: What is it this time?

BAPTISTE: A bouquet that they just brought for madame.

LEONIE: Who from?

BAPTISTE: Madame asks me—

LAURENCE: On whose behalf—?

BAPTISTE: I don’t know. Here’s the bouquet.

(Baptiste gives the bouquet to Laurence, enveloped in paper.)

LAURENCE: I mustn’t accept.

LEONIE: A bouquet is always accepted.

(Baptiste leaves.)

LAURENCE: But, my husband?

LEONIE: (pointing to Robert who seems to be asleep) Does he think of you?


LEONIE: (pointing to Robert who is drowsing) Here, look!

LAURENCE: (she pulls the bouquet from its envelope and utters a scream) Ah!

LEONIE: A bouquet of orange blossoms.

LAURENCE: Orange blossoms!

LEONIE: In any case, who is it that was able—

MAXIME: (entering) Arrived! Has he arrived?

LAURENCE: Yes, from England.

MAXIME: That’s not possible! I’m coming from the pass-port office, they didn’t issue one to him.

ROBERT: (without budging from his place) Yes! they no longer issue passports to England.

MAXIME: (grabbing his hand) You are breathing then! You feel well! Yes—Let’s go, much better!

LAURENCE: (making him turn towards her) Pardon! Is it you, Mr . Duvernet, who sent us these jewels?

MAXIME: What jewels?

LEONIE: Is it you, Mr. Duvernet who sent us this bouquet?

MAXIME: What jewels? what bouquet?

LAURENCE: (pointing to the jewel box) This one!

LEONIE: (showing him the bouquet) This one!

MAXIME: These diamonds! these flowers!

LEONIE: Perhaps you haven’t noticed what sort of flowers?

MAXIME: Orange buds! (laughing) Ah! ha!

LAURENCE: You are laughing?

MAXIME: I don’t know who sent you this bouquet, but I swear it wasn’t me.

LEONIE: Then who can it be?

ROQUEFEUILLE: (entering rapidly and announcing) It’s me!

LEONIE: What do you mean it’s you?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Eh! by Jove! yes, it’s me! Is Robert ready?

LAURENCE: Ah! You are the author of such mystification?

ROQUEFEUILLE: What mystification?

LEONIE: I ought to have suspected it

ROQUEFEUILLE: (speechless) But what? (Leonie shows him the bouquet)

LEONIE: You have the impertinence to send a bouquet of orange blossoms to me, Madame de Vanvres?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Orange blossoms! to you, again! Thanks! What a joke! I might have understood a carton of oranges!

LEONIE: Then it wasn’t you?

MAXIME: No, I swear.

LAURENCE: (to Roquefeuille) Nor you?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Why, by Jove! let’s move on! Where is Robert?


ROQUEFEUILLE: God forgive me! I think he’s sleeping!

LEONIE: He’s really got the look of it!

ROQUEFEUILLE: He really picked his time well! I’ve just come from city-hall, we don’t have a minute to lose. Wake him up, wake him up! He cannot appear in that outfit before the authorities!

LAURENCE: Why, why not?

ROQUEFEUILLE: (exasperated) Eh! It’s your affair, by Jove! Since this morning, I’ve only gone up and down stairs, and run from the church to the city-hall and the city-hall to the church! The mayor sent me to his vicar, and the assistant who sent me to his beadle. And the cabs and the coachmen and the crowd of brats! Mr.Mayor!—Mr. Mayor! Yes, yes, I’m making fun of you. The Mayor. Try to understand me! go!

MAXIME: Why then, why then! Madame consents. You are consenting then?


MAXIME: Why this marriage! this church, this city-hall! It’s for us! ’ LEONIE: For us!


ROQUEFEUILLE: Heavens, it’s true, he knows nothing about it! Let’s leave him in his error! the unfortunate!

MAXIME: (to Leonie) Ah! Madame! If you consent—A word, a single word!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (making Leonie move) Go get dressed!

MAXIME: As a bride?

LEONIE: Not at all, sir, as a bridesmaid!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Then keep the bouquet so the illusion will be complete!

(Leonie shrugs her shoulders.)

LEONIE: Ah! you are an impertinent! (she leaves)

MAXIME: But I don’t understand a thing! But if it’s not me who is getting married, who’s getting married here?

ROQUEFEUILLE: That doesn’t concern you. (to Laurence) Hurry up, I’m going to keep the mayor patient. (Pointing to Robert) Dress him ! (to Maxime ) Come on, march!

LAURENCE: But my friend—

ROQUEFEUILLE: Black tie—it’s de riguer! A marriage, grand mourning. (He drags Maxime off)

LAURENCE: An hour! I have only an hour and Robert’s sleeping. How to get him out of this costume to put a black suit on? (She approaches him and calls him softly) Robert, my friend, Robert (he snores a bit) Oh!(calling anew) Robert!

ROBERT: Ah! I think by Jove! that I was sleeping! What a rude character I am!

LAURENCE: It’s not a great evil, my friend, especially if you are worn out!

ROBERT: That’s my excuse if I may invoke one!

LAURENCE: Do you need something?

ROBERT: I need my bed. (stretches out on the sofa)

LAURENCE: His bed! (aloud) Don’t you think it would be better to get out of these heavy clothes?

ROBERT: I would, willingly enough, but I will confess to you that I feel myself so at ease in this excellent little sofa that the least movement terrifies me!

LAURENCE: That doesn’t matter! Am I not here?

ROBERT: I don’t wish to abuse.

LAURENCE: On the contrary, it’s a pleasure for me. Between young marrieds, these little efforts, aren’t they a proof of tenderness that one loves to give?

ROBERT: (incredulous) Oh! oh!

LAURENCE: You doubt it? Isn’t your wife your housekeeper?

ROBERT: What you are saying is very nice, my dear Laurence, and I pay you my sincere compliment, if you still see life still lit in the reflections of our honey moon! But—


ROBERT: You are behindhand! the years are slipping by, and what used to appear as a charming game and full of poetry, risks today becoming ridiculous nonsense.

LAURENCE: Am I hearing you?

ROBERT: I astonish you?

LAURENCE: Why, yes, I confess it. And what you are tell me, it’s barely three years—She sits on the cassock near Robert)

ROBERT: (rising abruptly) Pardon me!

LAURENCE: Ah—you are leaving me!

ROBERT: No—but if someone surprised us they would perhaps think we were amorous.

LAURENCE: What of it, my friend?

ROBERT: What of it—that would be a little ridiculous!

LAURENCE: Ridiculous! that you love your wife and that your wife loves you?

ROBERT: Did I say that? In that case, I was expressing myself badly.

LAURENCE: (reanimated) Ah!

ROBERT: I love you, my dear Laurence, I love you reasonably and seriously, as one must love one’s wife, after three years of marriage.

LAURENCE: Meaning love can’t resist three years of marriage, right?

ROBERT: That depends on the regime to which it is submitted, my dear! It closely resembles water that you place on fire. The more hot the fire, the quicker the water is most as steam! Thus, with love—

LAURENCE: Are we there?

ROBERT: Not yet!

LAURENCE: Not yet is full of promises.

ROBERT: But it’s the fate which awaits man crazy enough to believe in eternal youth; let’s not struggle and obey the laws of nature.

LAURENCE: That’s charming! Meaning—

ROBERT: Meaning that the autumn of life, one mustn’t ask for the poetry of spring nor the ardors of summer.

LAURENCE: (troubled) Ah! Robert, how can you say that to me?

ROBERT: What you made me understand, although you didn’t say it to me, three days ago! I thought it over and I saw how wise you were .

LAURENCE: No indeed!

ROBERT: (laughing) Yes, indeed?

LAURENCE: Are you sure of having clearly understood?

ROBERT: Perfectly! Decidedly, you were right! These clothes are heavy! So, I’m going to follow your opinion and change ’em! (goes into his room)

LAURENCE: (alone) He no longer loves me! I no longer suspect it now! You don’t talk like this if you are in love. He no longer loves me.

ROQUEFEUILLE: (entering) Are you ready?

LAURENCE: Not yet!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Let’s not joke; the cabs are following me. I am in a sweat.

LAURENCE: Robert went into his room; he’s going to find his clothes prepared on his bed, with his gloves and his white tie. I hid the other clothes.

ROQUEFEUILLE: Good, good! still a half hour! You know—the mayor—his shareholders. No dividends!he must be on time! I am going to keep him patient, he will make me patient, we will make each other patient.But by Jove if they ever catch me marrying someone!

LAURENCE: Marry us! Ah, no my friend! Robert’s not going to want to marry any more; he no longer loves me!


LAURENCE: Once at city-hall, he’s going to say, “No”!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Not bluntly like that?

LAURENCE: I would never have thought it. But it’s a horrible fear which is coming to me suddenly!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (terrified) Why, no! no indeed! What an idea! Now there’s an idea for goodness sake!

LAURENCE: Hush! he’s coming!

ROQUEFEUILLE: You see clearly, he has his black gloves, his white suit—that is to say—no. Anyway, little matters, he’s dressed, we are saved.

ROBERT: (entering in slippers and robe) There!


ROBERT: The fact is I’m more comfortable this way!

LAURENCE: (stupefied) In a bath robe?

ROBERT: Yes, in a bath robe!

ROQUEFEUILLE: In slippers?

ROBERT: And in slippers. Heavens, you here? Hello I really had enough trouble finding them.

LAURENCE: But, my friend, it’s impossible for you to remain like this!

ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s impractical!

ROBERT: Impractical, why?

LAURENCE: Why, if someone comes to visit?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Yes,—several visits—a herd of visits

ROBERT: I will lock the door.

LAURENCE: You are going to suffocate!

ROQUEFEUILLE: He’s going to suffocate! It’s so hot—

ROBERT: I will open the window!

LAURENCE: That’s impossible

ROQUEFEUILLE: Impossible! It’s so cold

ROBERT: (drily) Impossible! I don’t understand, my dear Laurence, you engage me to leave my traveling clothes for me to rest, I listen to you, I slip into my bathrobe, I slip on my slippers, and you are not satisfied?Truly, what do you want? For me to put on a white tie and black suit?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Why, exactly—There it is—that’s what we want!

ROBERT: You will never persuade me that this is dress for the master of the house. Then, put on a fancy dress and light the lights!

LAURENCE: (aside) What to do, my God!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (to Laurence) And the mayor who’s waiting on pins and needles! You’ve got to reveal—

LAURENCE: Never! That would be risking everything!

ROBERT: Why, what’s the matter with you?


ROQUEFEUILLE: Oh! an idea!—By Jove, yes!


ROQUEFEUILLE: Well, yes, my friend, I’ve lost.

ROBERT: Lost? Lost what?

ROQUEFEUILLE: A wager that I made with these ladies, and that you’ve made me lose!

ROBERT: Explain yourself!

ROQUEFEUILLE: You’ve half guessed it. I wanted to make you leave your traveling clothes, not for a bath robe, but for a black formal. I bet with these ladies to get to that result without letting you know, I lost!

ROBERT: You see! And what was the reason for this masquerade?

ROQUEFEUILLE: They’ll tell you when you are disguised.

ROBERT: No, before, or I won’t disguise myself!

ROQUEFEUILLE: What bullheadedness! Before, so be it! You are the witness to your friend Maxime, who’s getting married in a half-hour at the city-hall of the quarter.

LAURENCE: (low) For goodness sake!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Hush! It was the only way. (low)

ROBERT: He’s getting married?

ROQUEFEUILLE: He’s getting married. Ah! I think so indeed, the character! Everybody gets married, she’s getting married.

LAURENCE: (still hesitant) But—

ROBERT: Madame de Vanvres has agreed with—

ROQUEFEUILLE: No, without enthusiasm!

ROBERT: And it’s in a half hour?

ROQUEFEUILLE: In a half hour!

LAURENCE: (low) My God! you—

ROQUEFEUILLE: (low) I told you it’s the only way!

ROBERT: Why didn’t you tell me sooner, my dear?

LAURENCE: Me! tell you that—

ROQUEFEUILLE: And the bet?

ROBERT: The bet, that’s right! Let’s go! so much the better! there’s our friend Maxime, the happiest of men!


ROBERT: After me?

ROQUEFEUILLE: Come on, quick! this outfit, this tie—

ROBERT: Black, right?

ROQUEFEUILLE: White! wretch.

ROBERT: Do you think a long tie—

ROQUEFEUILLE: White! white! white! A witness is almost a husband!

ROBERT: Don’t worry! In five minutes you will have an irreproachable witness! (goes into his room)

ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s done! (falling into a chair)

LAURENCE: But what are you thinking of? To tell him that Leonie is going to get married?

ROQUEFEUILLE: That was the only means I had.

LAURENCE: But she doesn’t want to.

ROQUEFEUILLE: It’s necessary that she want to.

LAURENCE: But think—

ROQUEFEUILLE: I am not thinking, I am not thinking! Since this morning I haven’t known what I am doing—and you plainly see, because I’ve just married someone—me!


ROQUEFEUILLE: Don’t say but. You’ve driven me mad with your marriage. And, since it is like that, well, yes! I will drag Madame de Vanvres to the altar, I will drag Robert to the altar, and I will drag myself, where we will tell everybody why—

LAURENCE: There’s not a moment to lose! Got to warn Leonie at least!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Warn her, don’t warn her, it’s all the same to me! I am running to the church to make the Swiss patient!

LAURENCE: One moment!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (without listening to her) I suspect the Swiss! (Leonie enters) Ah! Madame de Vanvres!victory! He’s dressing like a groom! Now this is still the most beautiful day of life! By Jove! in that case what is the most ugly? (He leaves)

LEONIE: He’s dressing as a groom?

LAURENCE: Not positively!

LEONIE: What do you mean!

LAURENCE: But it’s the same outfit.

LEONIE: The same costume?

LAURENCE: My dear Leonie! my only, my unique friend! my fate is in your hands!

LEONIE: Speak!

LAURENCE: Then learn—

(Robert enters in full attire.)

ROBERT: (bowing) Madame!

LAURENCE: (aside) For now, it’s over.

ROBERT: (to Leonie) You see I haven’t kept any rancor for your misdeeds towards me?

LEONIE: I see it—in what?

ROBERT: You haven’t noticed this dignified and solemn attire?

LEONIE: In what way, I beg you, is this dignified and solemn attire a proof that you have forgotten my misdeeds?

LAURENCE: (to Leonie) Shut up!

LEONIE: (astonished) Huh?

ROBERT: What! you are still jesting at this supreme moment?

LEONIE: What supreme moment?

ROBERT: Why is there nothing sacred for you about it?

LEONIE: What isn’t sacred?

ROBERT: Ah! for goodness sake, that’s too much. If this is the way you reward your witnesses?

LEONIE: What witness?

LAURENCE: (low) Silence! wretched woman! I didn’t have the time to tell you you are getting married in ten minutes.

LEONIE: (speechless) Me?

MAXIME: (entering) Ah! Robert in black suit!

ROBERT: : Yes, my dear friend, on your account.

MAXIME: On my account?

ROBERT: Are we going to start all over? Word of honor, they are crazy.

LEONIE: (low to Laurence) This passes all bounds, and it a strange abuse—

LAURENCE: Listen to me.

ROBERT: I am the witness for Madame de Vanvres, who you are marrying in ten minutes.

MAXIME: You are saying that—?

ROBERT: Happiness has put your head topsy-turvy.

MAXIME: (to Leonie) Ah! you consent, madame! Joy, shock—

LEONIE: Excuse me, excuse me—


MAXIME: Madame!

ROBERT: What, still hesitations? When you are perfectly decided, you can inform me. (goes into his room)

LEONIE: (to Laurence) Why, you know you are putting me in a frightful position!

LAURENCE: It was the only way to make him put on a black suit !

MAXIME: (astonished) My marriage depends on Robert’s black suit?

LEONIE: Here I am handsomely compromised.

MAXIME: One word, madame and I will return you the honor!

LEONIE: Leave me alone! This is really about you!

LAURENCE: It was necessary! By seeing you consent to your marriage, he will be forced to consent to his.

MAXIME: Who’s he?

LEONIE: This doesn’t concern you! Listen, Laurence, I consent to a compromise, I will accompany you to city-hall, but don’t ask anything more of me!

LAURENCE: That’s not enough!

MAXIME: (repeating without understanding) That’s not enough!

LAURENCE: If you say no, he will say no, too.

MAXIME: (stupefied) He will say no, too!

ROQUEFEUILLE: (entering) Let’s go! let’s go! The mayor’s impatient, and the Swiss wouldn’t listen.

LEONIE: I absolutely must marry Mr. Duvernet.

ROQUEFEUILLE: Two marriages! Very fine. The more fools there are, the more they laugh. Forward march!

MAXIME: Ah, indeed! but whose is the second marriage? Is it yours?

ROQUEFEUILLE: No bad jokes!

MAXIME: Still!

ROQUEFEUILLE: None of your business. Let’s go! move!

LAURENCE: My dear Leonie!

MAXIME: Madame!



ROQUEFEUILLE: Come on, then! what are you doing there?

LEONIE: (giving Maxime her hand) It’s not for you, anyway, sir!

ROQUEFEUILLE: There’s one—now the other!

LAURENCE: Call Robert!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Robert! Robert!

LEONIE: Could he have taken flight?

ROQUEFEUILLE: I don’t have time to wait for him, I am running to the city-hall; all you’ve got is a few minutes! En route! (he leaves)

LEONIE: Let’s go my dear, sir, is happiness paralyzing you? Find this unfindable Robert for us!

MAXIME: (leaving) Robert! Robert!

LAURENCE: (kissing Leonie) Ah! it’s to you that I owe my happiness!

LEONIE: I hope I’ll be able to say as much?

LAURENCE: He loves you! he will make you happy!

LEONIE: May God wish it!

LAURENCE: But Robert! where is Robert? (she leaves—Baptiste and Therese enter) Have you seen my husband?

THERESE: Why, madame—

LAURENCE: At the last moment! Run! Look!

(Maxime enters.)


MAXIME: Nobody!

LEONIE: Nobody!

LAURENCE: It’s fate!

LEONIE: Two o’clock is going to strike!

MAXIME: Robert!


LEONIE: Mr. Maubray!


ROBERT: (entering) Somebody call me?

MAXIME: We’ve got him.

LAURENCE: At last!

LEONIE: Quick, give me your arm and let’s get going!

ROBERT: Here it is!

(Two o’clock strikes.)

LEONIE: Two o’clock!

ALL: Two o’clock

ROQUEFEUILLE: (entering, breathless) Too late!

LAURENCE: It’s all over. (she collapses on the sofa)

ROQUEFEUILLE: The mayor left in a rage. He won’t come back!

MAXIME: And to think I had reached port! (collapsing in an armchair)

LEONIE: Poor Laurence!

(Moment of silence and embarrassment.)

ROBERT: (pulling white gloves out of his pocket, slowly putting them on, approaching Laurence) Miss?

ALL: Huh?

ROBERT: Will Miss Laurence de Croix do me the honor of granting me her hand?

LAURENCE: (rising) Robert—then you knew?

ROBERT: Everything!

LAURENCE: Ah! how I love you! (she falls in his arms)

ROQUEFEUILLE: Bravo! Well played!

MAXIME: If I understand any of this—

LAURENCE: My dear husband—

ROBERT: (smiling) Not yet—

LEONIE: But how did you guess—


ROBERT: (pulling the newspaper from his pocket) This paper that you tried to hide from me, and that Baptiste unearthed for me three days ago, put me on the trail, and the clerk at city-hall to whom Roquefeuille had to reveal everything, informed me of the rest!

ROQUEFEUILLE: And you wanted to take your revenge?

ROBERT: On your mysteries and your secrets!

MAXIME: What mysteries? What secrets?

LAURENCE: So this departure?

ROBERT: Comedy?

LAURENCE: This coldness?

ROBERT: That especially was comedy! Eh, what! little crazy-head, you doubted me for a single moment? You were able to believe that I no longer loved you?

LAURENCE: Forgive!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Very fine! very fine! But with all that, the Mayor—

ROBERT: I was the meeting of shareholders! The mayor is waiting for us!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Still! (to Maxime) Go collect your dividends! (leading him to Madame de Vanvres)

MAXIME: Let’s hope that one day they will explain this to me.

ROQUEFEUILLE: What for, since, as in all comedies it ends in a marriage.

ROBERT: With two marriages.

MAXIME: (taking Leonie’s hand) Mine and?

ROBERT: (taking Laurence’s hand) And mine!

MAXIME: Ah, bah!

ROQUEFEUILLE: Your example profits me—I will do the same—if it’s possible to marry—without taking a wife.


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Copyright © Zvi Har’El
$Date: 2007/12/27 08:12:28 $