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Full Online Book HomePlaysMacaire: A Melodramatic Farce In Three Acts - ACT III _ SCENE I TO SCENE IV
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Macaire: A Melodramatic Farce In Three Acts - ACT III _ SCENE I TO SCENE IV Post by :brajlata Category :Plays Author :Robert Louis Stevenson Date :April 2012 Read :2129

Click below to download : Macaire: A Melodramatic Farce In Three Acts - ACT III _ SCENE I TO SCENE IV (Format : PDF)

Macaire: A Melodramatic Farce In Three Acts - ACT III _ SCENE I TO SCENE IV

SCENE I

MACAIRE, BERTRAND

As the curtain rises, the stage is dark and empty. Enter MACAIRE, L. U. E., with lantern. He looks about.

MACAIRE (CALLING OFF). S'st!

BERTRAND (ENTERING L. U. E.). It's creeping dark.

MACAIRE. Blinding dark; and a good job.

BERTRAND. Macaire, I'm cold; my very hair's cold.

MACAIRE. Work, work will warm you: to your keys.

BERTRAND. No, Macaire, it's a horror. You not kill him; let's have no bloodshed.

MACAIRE. None: it spoils your clothes. Now, see: you have keys and you have experience; up that stair, and pick me the lock of that man's door. Pick me the lock of that man's door.

BERTRAND. May I take the light?

MACAIRE. You may not. Go. (BERTRAND MOUNTS THE STAIRS, AND IS SEEN PICKING THE LOCK OF NUMBER THIRTEEN.) The earth spins eastward, and the day is at the door. Yet half an hour of covert, and the sun will be afoot, the discoverer, the great policeman. Yet, half an hour of night, the good, hiding, practicable night; and lo! at a touch the gas-jet of the universe turned on; and up with the sun gets the providence of honest people, puts off his night-cap, throws up his window, stares out of house - and the rogue must skulk again till dusk. Yet half an hour and, Macaire, you shall be safe and rich. If yon fool - my fool - would but miscarry, if the dolt within would hear and leap upon him, I could intervene, kill both, by heaven - both! - cry murder with the best, and at one stroke reap honour and gold. For, Bertrand dead -

BERTRAND (FROM ABOVE). S'st, Macaire!

MACAIRE. Is it done, dear boy? Come down. (BERTRAND DESCENDS.) Sit down beside this light: this is your ring of safety, budge not beyond - the night is crowded with hobgoblins. See ghosts and tremble like a jelly if you must; but remember men are my concern; and at the creak of a man's foot, hist! (SHARPENING HIS KNIFE UPON HIS SLEEVE.) What is a knife? A plain man's sword.

BERTRAND. Not the knife, Macaire; O, not the knife!

MACAIRE. My name is Self-Defence. (HE GOES UPSTAIRS AND ENTERS NUMBER THIRTEEN.)

BERTRAND. He's in. I hear a board creak. What a night, what a night! Will he hear him? O Lord, my poor Macaire! I hear nothing, nothing. The night's as empty as a dream: he must hear him; he cannot help but hear him; and then - O Macaire, Macaire, come back to me. It's death, and it's death, and it's death. Red, red: a corpse. Macaire to kill, Macaire to die? I'd rather starve, I'd rather perish, than either: I'm not fit, I'm not fit, for either! Why, how's this? I want to cry. (A STROKE, AND GROAN FROM ABOVE.) God Almighty, one of them's gone! (HE FALLS WITH HIS HEAD ON TABLE, R. MACAIRE APPEARS AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, DESCENDS, COMES AIRILY FORWARD AND TOUCHES HIM ON THE SHOULDER. BERTRAND, WITH A CRY, TURNS AND FALLS UPON HIS NECK.) O, O, and I thought I had lost him. (DAY BREAKING.)

MACAIRE. The contrary, dear boy. (HE PRODUCES NOTES.)

BERTRAND. What was it like?

MACAIRE. Like? Nothing. A little blood, a dead man.

BERTRAND. Blood! . . . Dead! HE FALLS AT TABLE SOBBING. MACAIRE DIVIDES THE NOTES INTO TWO PARTS; ON THE SMALLER HE WIPES THE BLOODY KNIFE, AND FOLDING THE STAINS INWARD, THRUSTS THE NOTES INTO BERTRAND'S FACE.)

MACAIRE. What is life without the pleasures of the table!

BERTRAND (TAKING AND POCKETING NOTES). Macaire, I can't get over it.

MACAIRE. My mark is the frontier, and at top speed. Don't hang your jaw at me. Up, up, at the double; pick me that cash-box; and let's get the damned house fairly cleared.

BERTRAND. I can't. Did he bleed much?

MACAIRE. Bleed? Must I bleed you? To work, or I'm dangerous.

BERTRAND. It's all right, Macaire; I'm going.

MACAIRE. Better so: an old friend is nearly sacred. (FULL DAYLIGHT: LIGHTS UP. MACAIRE BLOWS OUT LANTERN.)

BERTRAND. Where's the key?

MACAIRE. Key? I tell you to pick it.

BERTRAND (WITH THE BOX). But it's a patent lock. Where is the key? You had it.

MACAIRE. Will you pick that lock?

BERTRAND. I can't: it's a patent. Where's the key?

MACAIRE. If you will have it, I put it back in that old ass's pocket.

BERTRAND. Bitten, I think. (MACAIRE DANCING MAD.)


SCENE II

To these, DUMONT

DUMONT. Ah, friends, up so early? Catching the worm, catching the worm?

MACAIRE. Good-morning, good-morning! } SITTING ON THE TABLE

BERTRAND. Early birds, early birds. } DISSEMBLING BOX.

DUMONT. By the way, very remarkable thing: I found the key.

MACAIRE. No!

BERTRAND. O!

DUMONT. Perhaps a still more remarkable thing: it was my key that had the twisted handle.

MACAIRE. I told you so.

DUMONT. Now, what we have to do is to get the cash-box. Hallo! what's that your sitting on?

BERTRAND. Nothing.

MACAIRE. The table! I beg your pardon.

DUMONT. Why, it's my cash-box!

MACAIRE. Why, so it is!

DUMONT. It's very singular.

MACAIRE. Diabolishly singular.

BERTRAND. Early worms, early worms!

DUMONT (BLOWING IN KEY). Well, I suppose you are still willing to begone?

MACAIRE. More than willing, my dear soul: pressed, I may say, for time; for though it had quite escaped my memory, I have an appointment in Turin with a lady of title.

DUMONT (AT BOX). It's very odd. (BLOWS ITS KEY.) It's a singular thing (BLOWING), key won't turn. It's a patent. Some one must have tampered with the lock (BLOWING). It's strangely singular, it's singularly singular! I've shown this key to commercial gentlemen all the way from Paris: they never saw a better key! (MORE BUSINESS). Well (GIVING IT UP AND LOOKING REPROACHFULLY ON KEY), that's pretty singular.

MACAIRE. Let me try. (HE TRIES, AND FLINGS DOWN THE KEY WITH A CURSE.) Bitten.

BERTRAND. Sold again.

DUMONT (PICKING UP KEY). It's a patent key.

MACAIRE (TO BERTRAND). The game's up: we must save the swag. (TO DUMONT.) Sir, since your key, on which I invoke the blight of Egypt, has once more defaulted, my feelings are unequal to a repetition of yesterday's distress, and I shall simply pad the hoof. From Turin you shall receive the address of my banker, and may prosperity attend your ventures. (TO BERTRAND.) Now, boy! (TO DUMONT.) Embrace my fatherless child! farewell! (MACAIRE AND BERTRAND TURN TO GO OFF AND ARE MET IN THE DOOR BY THE GENDARMES.)


SCENE III

To these, the BRIGADIER and GENDARMES

BRIGADIER. Let no man leave the house.

MACAIRE. Bitten. } ASIDE.

BERTRAND. Sold again. }

DUMONT. Welcome, old friend!

BRIGADIER. It is not the friend that comes; it is the Brigadier. Summon your guests: I must investigate their passports. I am in pursuit of a notorious malefactor, Robert Macaire.

DUMONT. But I was led to believe that both Macaire and his accomplice had been arrested and condemned.

BRIGADIER. They were, but they have once more escaped for the moment, and justice is indefatigable. (HE SITS AT TABLE R.) Dumont, a bottle of white wine.

MACAIRE (TO DUMONT). My excellent friend, I will discharge your commission, and return with all speed. (GOING.)

BRIGADIER. Halt!

MACAIRE (RETURNING: AS IF HE SAW BRIGADIER FOR THE FIRST TIME). Ha? a member of the force? Charmed, I'm sure. But you misconceive me: I return at once, and my friend remains behind to answer for me.

BRIGADIER. Justice is insensible to friendship. I shall deal with you in due time. Dumont, that bottle.

MACAIRE. Sir, my friend and I, who are students of character, would grasp the opportunity to share and - may one add? - to pay the bottle. Dumont, three!

BERTRAND. For God's sake! (ENTER ALINE AND MAIDS.)

MACAIRE. My friend is an author: so, in a humbler way, am I. Your knowledge of the criminal classes naturally tempts one to pursue so interesting an acquaintance.

BRIGADIER. Justice is impartial. Gentlemen, your health.

MACAIRE. Will not these brave fellows join us?

BRIGADIER. They are on duty; but what matters?

MACAIRE. My dear sir, what is duty? duty is my eye.

BRIGADIER (SOLEMNLY). And Betty Martin. (GENDARMES SIT AT TABLE.)

MACAIRE (TO BERTRAND). Dear friend, sit down.

BERTRAND (SITTING DOWN). O Lord!

BRIGADIER (TO MACAIRE). You seem to be a gentleman of considerable intelligence.

MACAIRE. I fear, sir, you flatter. One has lived, one has loved, and one remembers: that is all. One's LIVES OF CELEBRATED CRIMINALS has met with a certain success, and one is ever in quest of fresh material.

DUMONT. By the way, a singular thing about my patent key.

BRIGADIER. This gentleman is speaking.

MACAIRE. Excellent Dumont! he means no harm. This Macaire is not personally known to you?

BRIGADIER. Are you connected with justice?

MACAIRE. Ah, sir, justice is a point above a poor author.

BRIGADIER (WITH GLASS). Justice is the very devil.

MACAIRE. My dear sir, my friend and I, I regret to say, have an appointment in Lyons, or I could spend my life in this society. Charge your glasses: one hour to madness and to joy! What is to-morrow? the enemy of to-day. Wine? the bath of life. One moment: I find I have forgotten my watch. (HE MAKES FOR THE DOOR.)

BRIGADIER. Halt!

MACAIRE. Sir, what is this jest?

BRIGADIER. Sentry at the door. Your passports.

MACAIRE. My good man, with all the pleasure in life. (Gives papers. THE BRIGADIER PUTS ON SPECTACLES, AND EXAMINES THEM.)

BERTRAND (RISING, AND PASSING ROUND TO MACAIRE'S OTHER SIDE). It's life and death: they must soon find it.

MACAIRE (ASIDE). Don't I know? My heart's like fire in my body.

BRIGADIER. Your name is?

MACAIRE. It is; one's name is not unknown.

BRIGADIER. Justice exacts your name.

MACAIRE. Henri-Frederic de Latour de Main de la Tonnerre de Brest.

BRIGADIER. Your profession?

MACAIRE. Gentleman.

BRIGADIER. No, but what is your trade?

MACAIRE. I am an analytical chymist.

BRIGADIER. Justice is inscrutable. Your papers are in order. (TO BERTRAND.) Now, sir, and yours?

BERTRAND. I feel kind of ill.

MACAIRE. Bertrand, this gentleman addresses you. He is not one of us; in other scenes, in the gay and giddy world of fashion, one is his superior. But to-day he represents the majesty of law; and as a citizen it is one's pride to do him honour.

BRIGADIER. Those are my sentiments.

BERTRAND. I beg your pardon, I - (GIVES PAPERS.)

BRIGADIER. Your name?

BERTRAND. Napoleon.

BRIGADIER. What? In your passport it is written Bertrand.

BERTRAND. It's this way: I was born Bertrand, and then I took the name of Napoleon, and I mostly always call myself either Napoleon or Bertrand.

BRIGADIER. The truth is always best. Your profession?

BERTRAND. I am an orphan.

BRIGADIER. What the devil! (TO MACAIRE.) Is your friend an idiot?

MACAIRE. Pardon me, he is a poet.

BRIGADIER. Poetry is a great hindrance to the ends of justice. Well, take your papers.

MACAIRE. Then we may go?


SCENE IV

To these, CHARLES, who is seen on the gallery, going to the door of Number Thirteen. Afterwards all the characters but the NOTARY and the MARQUIS

BRIGADIER. One glass more. (BERTRAND TOUCHES MACAIRE, AND POINTS TO CHARLES, WHO ENTERS NUMBER THIRTEEN).

MACAIRE. No more, no more, no more.

BRIGADIER (RISING AND TAKING MACAIRE BY THE ARM). I stipulate!

MACAIRE. Engagement in Turin!

BRIGADIER. Turin?

MACAIRE. Lyons, Lyons!

BERTRAND. For God's sake.

BRIGADIER. Well, good-bye!

MACAIRE. Good-bye, good -

CHARLES (FROM WITHIN). Murder! Help! (APPEARING.) Help here! The Marquis is murdered.

BRIGADIER. Stand to the door. A man up there. (A GENDARME HURRIES UP STAIRCASE INTO NUMBER THIRTEEN, CHARLES FOLLOWING HIM.

ENTER ON BOTH SIDES OF GALLERY THE REMAINING CHARACTERS OF THE PIECE, EXCEPT THE NOTARY AND THE MARQUIS.)

MACAIRE. Bitten, by God! } ASIDE.

BERTRAND. Lost! }

BRIGADIER (TO DUMONT). John Paul Dumont, I arrest you.

DUMONT. Do your duty, officer. I can answer for myself and my own people.

BRIGADIER. Yes, but these strangers?

DUMONT. They are strangers to me.

MACAIRE. I am an honest man: I stand upon my rights: search me; or search this person, of whom I know too little. (SMITING HIS BROW.) By heaven, I see it all! This morning - (TO BERTRAND.) How, sir, did you dare to flaunt your booty in my very face? (TO BRIGADIER.) He showed me notes; he was up ere day; search him, and you'll find. There stands the murderer.

BERTRAND. O, Macaire! (HE IS SEIZED AND SEARCHED AND THE NOTES ARE FOUND.)

BRIGADIER. There is blood upon the notes. Handcuffs. (MACAIRE EDGING TOWARDS THE DOOR.)

BERTRAND. Macaire, you may as well take the bundle. (MACAIRE IS STOPPED BY SENTRY, AND COMES FRONT, R.)

CHARLES (RE-APPEARING). Stop, I know the truth. (HE COMES DOWN.) Brigadier, my father is not dead. He is not even dangerously hurt. He has spoken. There is the would-be assassin.

MACAIRE. Hell! (HE DARTS ACROSS TO THE STAIRCASE, AND TURNS ON THE SECOND STEP, FLASHING OUT THE KNIFE.) Back, hounds! (HE SPRINGS UP THE STAIR, AND CONFRONTS THEM FROM THE TOP.) Fools, I am Robert Macaire! (AS MACAIRE TURNS TO FLEE, HE IS MET BY THE GENDARME COMING OUT OF NUMBER THIRTEEN; HE STANDS AN INSTANT CHECKED, IS SHOT FROM THE STAGE, AND FALLS HEADLONG BACKWARD DOWN THE STAIR. BERTRAND, WITH A CRY, BREAKS FROM THE GENDARMES, KNEELS AT HIS SIDE, AND RAISES HIS HEAD.)

BERTRAND. Macaire, Macaire, forgive me. I didn't blab; you know I didn't blab.

MACAIRE. Sold again, old boy. Sold for the last time; at least, the last time this side death. Death - what is death? (HE DIES.)

CURTAIN


(THE END)
William Ernest Henley and Robert Louis Stevenson's play: Macaire: A Melodramatic Farce in Three Acts

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