The Twins - Victor Hugo - ebook
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In 1838 Hugo began a play entitled Les Jumeaux (The Twins), but halfway through the third act he relinquished it, and the drama remained unfinished. It was finally published in 1889, as a fragment, after his death. The MS. was broken off with the words, "Interrompu le 28 Aout par la maladie "; and the illness was no doubt that weakness of the eyes by which Hugo for several years was troubled.

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The Twins

 

VICTOR HUGO

 

 

 

 

 

The Twins, V. Hugo

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9

Deutschland

 

ISBN: 9783849651145

 

English translation by George Burnham Ives (1856 – 1930)

 

Cover Design: based on an artwork by Ablakok - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41579854

 

www.jazzybee-verlag.de

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS:

 

PREFACE.. 1

DRAMATlS PERSONAE.. 2

ACT FIRST.. 3

ACT SECOND... 33

ACT THIRD... 48

NOTES. 60

THE TWINS

 

PREFACE

 

The drama contained in the following pages, which was written in 1839, between Ruy Blas and the Burgraves, unfortunately, was never completed. The author wrote but two complete acts; the third is unfinished.

Indeed it may well be said that the first two acts as well are unfinished. The first act, which contains nearly nine hundred lines, would necessarily have been abridged and condensed by the poet. Victor Hugo had a habit of beginning one of his works by giving a free rein to his inexhaustible imagination; the result was a superabundance of minute details and of minor developments of the plot, which he would afterward revise, simplifying, rectifying, modifying. We have here only the first sketch, something analogous to the “first proof” of one of Rembrandt's eaux-fortes, which many a connoisseur prefers to the final impression; in them we surprise genius at work, and look on at the creation of a chef-d'oeuvre.

 

 

DRAMATlS PERSONAE

 

THE KING

THE MASK

COMTE JEAN DE CRÉQUI

CARDINAL MAZARIN

GUILLOT-GORJU

TAGUS

COMTE DE BUSSY

DUC DE CHAULNE

COMTE DE BRÉZÉ

VICOMTE D’EMBRuN

MASTER BENOIT TREVoUX, Lieutenant of Police

M. DE LA FERTÉ-IRLAN

CHANDENIER

A CITIZEN

A CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD

A JAILER

THE QUEEN MOTHER

ALIX DE PONTHIEU

DAME CLAUDE

Citizens, Peasants, Soldiers, Police

 

 

ACT FIRST

 

A small deserted square near the Porte Bussy. Two or three narrow streets lead into the square. In the background, above the roofs, can be seen the three spires of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

As the curtain rises two men are standing near the front of the stage; one of them, Guillot-Gorju, is just completing the task of dressing the other in a costume like his own; that is to say in the fantastic, ragged costume of the comedians of Callot. The other has already donned the yellow stockings, shoes of exaggerated proportions, doublet and short-clothes of old black silk. The costumes and accessories of the two men are exactly alike, so much so that they might easily be mistaken for each other. On the ground are the clothes taken off by the one assuming the disguise-—clothes of sober hue, but of rich material.

A few steps away another man, also dressed as a Merry-Andrew, is putting the finishing touches to a juggler’s booth, constructed of poles set up in the interstices of the pavement, covered with pieces of straw mattings and odds and ends of damask and other old cloths; outside the booth is a platform upon trestles, and inside, a table with glasses, a card-table, a large drum, two dilapidated chairs, and a valise filled with drugs and phials.

At one side is a small hand-cart. During the first three scenes citizens pass back and forth across the stage at the rear.

 

SCENE I

 

GUILLOT-GORJU, THE MAN, TAGUS, at work on the booth.

 

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Agreed. And now you are transformed.

(He examines with satisfaction the man whom he is assisting to disguise himself.) In sooth you do resemble me! 't is marvelous.

THE MAN.

Dost think so? When will the lady come?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Toward twilight.

THE MAN.

Is she young?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Oh, yes! You 'll think yourself in luck.

(Mysteriously.)

When all is quiet, about eight o'clock at night, (He points to the farthest corner of the square.) you’ll hear three blows in yon dark corner.

(He strikes the palm of his hand three times.)

Thus.—Then you must say aloud: GOD ALONE IS MASTER. COMPIÈGNE AND PIERREFONDs. With that she will appear.

THE MAN.

Above all, keep my secret!

GUILLOT-GORJU (protesting with a gesture).

Ah! my friend, rely on me!

THE MAN.

Thou dost not know her name?

GUILLOT-GORJU (continuing to perform the functions of a valet-de-chambre).

I know it not.

(He points to a hovel at the right.)

In front of yonder hovel once, at night, and with no light, I saw her.

THE MAN.

'T is a daring scheme!

GUILLOT-GORJU.

The lady’s of high rank

THE MAN.

What motive has she?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

At that age? Mon Dieu! wherever God may lead us, we do seek occasion to display the generous impulses with which our hearts are filled; we long to show our zeal in every way, and so we seize on any pretext in default of motives. The first passing breeze removes our thin disguise. Do not alarm her, do not raise her veil.

THE MAN.

Knows she the prisoner's name?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Oh, no! Beside the queen and cardinal that awe-inspiring name is known to no one.

THE MAN.

Friend, how came she to apply to you for this affair?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

We are renowned for managing escapes. For us, high walls and bolts and bars are but child’s play. Schomberg I set free from the Bastile, the Admiral of Castile from Vincennes, Gif from the temple, and Lescur from the old château of Amiens. We never lack accomplices! Thieves, gipsies, we have friends even among the Jesuits.

THE MAN.

I may employ thee if aught comes of the affair. And so, the lady unsuspectingly will tell me all her plans, believing that she speaks with thee?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

I think so.

THE MAN (handing him a purse which he takes from the clothes lying on the ground).

Here are the hundred louis.

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Thanks, my captain.

THE MAN.

Oh! the letter stolen from the queen's courier.

(Guillot-Gorju hands him a letter which he examines, then carefully bestows in his pocket.)

How didst thou do it, pray?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

'T is very simple and as clear as daylight. Yesterday Tagus and I went out to take the air upon the road to Spain. A gentleman rode by and halted at the Croix-de-Berny. Tagus is no fool; he said to me: “He stops to take a drink; it's very hot.” The man in fact sat down beside the church. Thereon did Tagus make a hole in his valise, whence came the letter out with divers ducats. If we had been seen, ’t was a hard case; but luckily the man set off again without suspicion.

THE MAN (aside).

On what trifling accidents the fate of empires depends!

(Aloud.)

Thinkst thou that yonder citizens assembled on the square will readily take me for thee?

GUILLOT-GORJU (handing him a surtout of old black velvet, and a great cloak of yellow mohair).

Pardieu! Put on my Algiers coat and mohair cape. You have, as I have, a black beard and wig. Your height and bearing are the same, and your melodious voice. Talk loud and shout, and they will be deceived.

THE MAN (putting on the surtout and cape).

But what of thy man Tagus?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

'T is his instinct to see everything and say naught. Tagus will follow blindly where you choose to lead. Croix-Dieu! Yon courtiers know full well the art of training men like dogs.

THE MAN.

Retz could not talk more shrewdly. God, who dost govern us, Almighty God! of what avail to live in caves, if man doth sink as low in every point, in every sense, among thieves as among courtiers?

(To Guillot-Gorju.)

Before all things do not betray me, and return anon

GUILLOT-GORJU (with theatrical emphasis).

My doublet ne'er concealed a traitor's skin

 

THE MAN (smiling).

In truth thy doublet doth conceal the skin but sparingly.

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Fear naught!

(He picks up from the ground underneath the rags an old broken, dilapidated felt hat, adorned with a yellow plume, and presents it to the man, with a majestic air.)

Your lordship's hat.

(Calling Tagus, who has been at work on the booth throughout the scene.) Tagus! Behold thy master!

(Tagus bows.)

 Obey, be docile. He is another I.

(He dismisses Tagus with a gesture.) (To the man.)

And do you set your mind at rest. However, I will not conceal from you that I am going hence. For men of our profession Paris is becoming hot.

THE MAN.

Damnation! Can it be, Gorju, that thou dost stop half-way on such a glorious road?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

The gentry at the Châtelet do make themselves ridiculous. Oh! by the way, are you a chiromancist?

THE MAN.

Just a little. 'T is a noble art.

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Aye, very noble, very ancient too. The art of reading in the hand what the soul hides. It often happens that great ladies—very great —come hither to consult me on the future.

THE MAN (astonished).

Often?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Very often.

THE MAN.

In the street?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

Upon this very spot.

THE MAN.

In broad daylight?

GUILLOT-GORJU.

They drop their veils. I draw the curtain close.

(He points to a hideous rag hanging on the poles.)

And then I improvise.

THE MAN.

Come on! I’ll make the trial.

GUILLOT-GORJU (pointing to the valise filled with phials).

Here are the elixirs.

(He opens the table drawer.)

And ink and paper if you choose to write a word or two.

(He picks up the clothes left by the man upon the floor, and makes a bundle of them which he puts under his arm, after selecting an ample brown cloak in which he envelops himself. He also puts on the man’s new felt hat with waving plumes.)

The hour is near at hand at which the citizens will pass. I go. Ah! now I think of it, I ought to give you warning. With my name you have a chance of being hanged, my noble lord.

THE MAN.

Indeed? And you with mine, my friend, of being decollated.

GUILLOT-GORJU.

In that case, God guard you!

THE MAN.

As thou seest, he has quite a task. Goodnight, (Exit Guillot-Gorju. Left by himself the man sits down upon a block of stone, takes from his pocket the letter handed him by Guillot-Gorju, and reads it with apparent attention which soon changes to deep abstraction. Tagus meanwhile is putting the phials in order and sewing together the old rags that make the walls of the booth.)

 

SCENE II

 

THE MAN (alone, with his eyes fixed upon the letter).

A fleet in Gascony; an army in Piedmont; agents at Madrid.

(Raising his head.)

The queen has projects brewing in her mind.

(Musing.)

But this young girl a star outside her sphere, what part has she in this tenebrous affair? This Mazarin is good for naught save to pollute whatever he doth touch. No, naught save that How well these kings do choose their ministers! If anywhere, in some mean hovel, there exists a black-souled varlet, dreaming of the red barrette of a cardinal, a cheating knave, who licks at first the hand he'll bite anon, false priest, false noble, with a dastard's heart, who forces king and people to pass through his sieve, whose mind is no more than a potent menstruum, if such a man there be, ’t is he they seek, Bourbons as well as Valois! To sustain the people with just laws, to give vitality to everything, to throne and kingdom, they give o‘er the state to him, from top to bottom, from the palace to the hovel, and make a chef de cuisine of a poisoner!

(Musing, with his eyes upon the letter.)

If we succeed, certes, we may obtain from Spain Franche-Comté, without war, without a single battle.

(He continues his perusal of the letter with an air of abstraction. Enter at the back of the stage the Duc de Chaulne and the Comte de Bussy, talking together in low tones, with an air of mystery; they do not see the man and are not seen by him)

 

SCENE III

 

DUC DE CHAULNE, COMTE DE BUSSY, both in street costume. In a corner of the stage, THE MAN. TAGUS, still in the booth.

 

COMTE DE BUSSY.

Oh! ”t is a curious tale, upon my word. It was two years before the king was born.

DUC DE CHAULNE.

In thirty-six?

COMTE DE BUSSY.

E’en so. There is near Compiègne an old château built to deceive some stern duenna or some jealous husband, in a lover's interest, so cunningly the artist multiplied mysterious passages and secret doors, to give free play to subterranean intrigues!

DUC DE CHAULNE.

I know the place, my friend! Plessis-les-Rois. A ruined manor-house, deep-hidden in the woods, which, so 't is said, communicates with the château of Compiègne by a long passage underground, constructed during the last reign, then filled, and then by Mazarin reopened. The queen and he, alone, have access to the passage. There, by virtue of a dispensation got from Rome, the secret marriage that doth bind her to that man was celebrated. 'T is deserted, so that they can talk there undisturbed. Sometimes, they say, they hie them there to quarrel.

COMTE DE BUSSY.