Cyrano de Bergerac
The Post occupied by the Company of Carbon de Castel-Jaloux at the Siege of
Arras. (IV. stage directions)
DE GUICHE (To the Cadets)
I can afford
Your little hates. My conduct under fire
Is well known. It was only yesterday
I drove the Count de Bucquoi from Bapaume,
Pouring my men down like an avalanche,
I myself led the charge –
CYRANO (Without looking up from his book.)
And your white scarf?
DE GUICHE (Surprised and gratified)
You heard that episode? Yes – rallying
My men for the third time, I found myself
Carried among a crowd of fugitives
Into the enemy’s lines. I was in danger
Of being shot or captured; but I thought
Quickly – took off and flung away the scarf
That marked my military rank – and so
Being inconspicuous, escaped among
My own force, rallied them, returned again
And won the day!... (IV. 139-154)
Did you come through?
Why, through the Spanish lines
THE FIRST CADET
They let you pass? –
What did you say?
How did you manage?
Yes, that must have been
No – I simply drove along.
Now and then some hidalgo scowled at me
And I smiled back – my best smile; whereupon,
The Spaniards being (without prejudice
To the French) the most polished gentleman
In the world – I passed!
Certainly that smile
Should be a passport? Did they never ask
Your errand or your destination?
Frequently! Then I drooped my eyes and said:
"I have a lover…" Whereupon, the Spaniard
With an air of ferocious dignity
Would close the carriage door – with such a gesture
As any king might envy, wave aside
The muskets that were leveled at my breast,
Fall back three paces, equally superb
In grace and gloom, draw himself up, thrust forth
A spur under his cloak, sweeping the air
With his long plumes, bow very low, and say:
"Pass, Senorita!" (IV. 250-272)