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Full Online Book HomePlaysPamela Giraud: A Play In Five Acts - Act 1 - Scene 1
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Pamela Giraud: A Play In Five Acts - Act 1 - Scene 1 Post by :ronamo Category :Plays Author :Honore De Balzac Date :May 2012 Read :732

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Pamela Giraud: A Play In Five Acts - Act 1 - Scene 1

ACT I - SCENE FIRST

SCENE FIRST

(Setting is an attic and workshop of an artificial flower-maker. It is poorly lighted by means of a candle placed on the work-table. The ceiling slopes abruptly at the back allowing space to conceal a man. On the right is a door, on the left a fireplace. Pamela is discovered at work, and Joseph Binet is seated near her.)

Pamela, Joseph Binet and later Jules Rousseau.


PAMELA. Monsieur Joseph Binet!

JOSEPH. Mademoiselle Pamela Giraud!

PAMELA. I plainly see that you wish me to hate you.

JOSEPH. The idea! What? And this is the beginning of our love--Hate me!

PAMELA. Oh, come! Let us talk sensibly.

JOSEPH. You do not wish, then, that I should express how much I love you?

PAMELA. Ah! I may as well tell you plainly, since you compel me to do so, that I do not wish to become the wife of an upholsterer's apprentice.

JOSEPH. Is it necessary to become an emperor, or something like that, in order to marry a flower-maker?

PAMELA. No. But it is necessary to be loved, and I don't love you in any way whatever.

JOSEPH. In any way! I thought there was only one way of loving.

PAMELA. So there is, but there are many ways of not loving. You can be my friend, without my loving you.

JOSEPH. Oh!

PAMELA. I can look upon you with indifference--

JOSEPH. Ah!

PAMELA. You can be odious to me! And at this moment you weary me, which is worse!

JOSEPH. I weary her! I who would cut myself into fine pieces to do all that she wishes!

PAMELA. If you would do what I wish, you would not remain here.

JOSEPH. And if I go away--Will you love me a little?

PAMELA. Yes, for the only time I like you is when you are away!

JOSEPH. And if I never came back?

PAMELA. I should be delighted.

JOSEPH. Zounds! Why should I, senior apprentice with M. Morel, instead of aiming at setting up business for myself, fall in love with this young lady? It is folly! It certainly hinders me in my career; and yet I dream of her--I am infatuated with her. Suppose my uncle knew it!--But she is not the only woman in Paris, and, after all, Mlle. Pamela Giraud, who are you that you should be so high and mighty?

PAMELA. I am the daughter of a poor ruined tailor, now become a porter. I gain my own living--if working night and day can be called living--and it is with difficulty that I snatch a little holiday to gather lilacs in the Pres-Saint-Gervais; and I certainly recognize that the senior apprentice of M. Morel is altogether too good for me. I do not wish to enter a family which believes that it would thus form a mesalliance. The Binets indeed!

JOSEPH. But what has happened to you in the last eight or ten days, my dear little pet of a Pamela? Up to ten days ago I used to come and cut out your flowers for you, I used to make the stalks for the roses, and the hearts for the violets; we used to talk together, we sometimes used to go to the play, and have a good cry there--and I was "good Joseph," "my little Joseph"--a Joseph in fact of the right stuff to make your husband. All of a sudden--Pshaw! I became of no account.

PAMELA. Now you must really go away. Here you are neither in the street, nor in your own house.

JOSEPH. Very well, I'll be off, mademoiselle--yes, I'll go away! I'll have a talk in the porter's lodge with your mother; she does not ask anything better than my entrance into the family, not she; she won't change her mind!

PAMELA. All right! Instead of entering her family, enter her lodge, the porter's lodge, M. Joseph! Go and talk with my mother, go on!-- (Exit Joseph.) Perhaps he'll keep their attention so that M. Adolph can get up stairs without being seen. Adolph Durand! What a pretty name! There is half a romance in it! And what a handsome young man! For the last fifteen days he has absolutely persecuted me. I knew that I was rather pretty; but I never believed I was all he called me. He must be an artist, or a government official! Whatever he is, I can't help liking him; he is so aristocratic! But what if his appearance were deceitful, and there were anything wrong about him!--For the letter which he has just sent me has an air of mystery about it-- (She draws a letter from her bosom and reads it) "Expect me this evening. I wish to see you alone, and, if possible, to enter unnoticed by any one; my life is in danger, and oh! if you only knew what a terrible misfortune threatens me! Adolph Durand." He writes in pencil. His life is in danger--Ah! How anxious I feel!

JOSEPH. (returning) Just as I was going down stairs, I said to myself: "Why should Pamela"

(Jules' head appears at the window.)

PAMELA. Ah!

JOSEPH. What's the matter?

(Jules disappears.)

PAMELA. I thought I saw--I mean--I thought I heard a sound overhead. Just go into the garret. Some one perhaps has hidden there. You are not afraid, are you?

JOSEPH. No.

PAMELA. Very well! Go up and search! Otherwise I shall be frightened for the whole night.

JOSEPH. I will go at once. I will climb over the roof if you like.

(He passes through a narrow door that leads to the garret.)

PAMELA. (follows him) Be quick! (Jules enters.) Ah! sir, what trouble you are giving me!

JULES. It is to save my life, and perhaps you will never regret it. You know how much I love you!

(He kisses her hand.)

PAMELA. I know that you have told me so; but you treat me--

JULES. As my deliverer.

PAMELA. You wrote to me--and your letter has filled me with trouble--I know neither who you are--

JOSEPH. (from the outer room) Mademoiselle, I am in the garret. I have looked over the whole roof.

JULES. He is coming back--Where can I hide?

PAMELA. But you must not stay here!

JULES. You wish to ruin me, Pamela!

PAMELA. Look, hide yourself there!

(She points to the cranny under the sloping roof.)

JOSEPH. (returning) Are you alone, mademoiselle?

PAMELA. No; for are not you here?

JOSEPH. I heard something like the voice of a man. The voice came from below.

PAMELA. Nonsense, more likely it came from above--Look down the staircase--

JOSEPH. Oh! But I am sure--

PAMELA. Nonsense. Leave me, sir; I wish to be alone.

JOSEPH. Alone, with a man's voice?

PAMELA. I suppose you don't believe me?

JOSEPH. But I heard it plain enough.

PAMELA. You heard nothing.

JOSEPH. Ah! Pamela!

PAMELA. If you prefer to believe the sounds which you say reached your ears, rather than the words I speak, you would make a very bad husband. That is quite sufficient for me.

JOSEPH. That doesn't prove that I did not hear--

PAMELA. Since I can't convince you, you can believe what you like. Yes! you did hear a voice, the voice of a young man, who is in love with me, and who does whatever I wish--He disappears when he is asked, and comes when he is wanted. And now what are you waiting for? Do you think that while he is here, your presence can be anything but disagreeable to us? Go and ask my father and mother what his name is. He must have told them when he came up stairs--he, and the voice you heard.

JOSEPH. Mlle. Pamela, forgive a poor youth who is mad with love. It is not only my heart that I have lost, but my head also, when I think of you. I know that you are just as good as you are beautiful, I know that you have in your soul more treasures of sweetness than you ever show, and so I know that you are right, and were I to hear ten voices, were I to see ten men here, I would care nothing about it. But one--

PAMELA. Well, what of it?

JOSEPH. A single one--that is what wounds me. But I must be off; it seems funny that I should have said all that to you. I know quite well that there is no one here but you. Till we meet again, Mlle. Pamela; I am going--I trust you.

PAMELA. (aside) He evidently does not feel quite sure.

JOSEPH. (aside) There is some one here! I will run down and tell the whole matter to her father and mother. (Aloud) Adieu, Mlle. Pamela. (Exit.)

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