|THE DUKE The signal!|
[He returns to his room.]
[Flambeau, an old soldier of Napoleons, enters wearing the Austrian livery.]
| FlambeauTis time. Well, signal? Are you here?Perhaps.|
[He hunts for it.]
|Flambeau, he said, you cannot fail to find it.|
|Now, is it high or low, or black or white?|
|Or great or small?|
[He sees the hat.]
| The Emperors! Small and great!|
[He goes toward the window.]
|Oh, but the Countess watches in the park,|
|And if the signals here I am to signal:|
[He takes out his handkerchief.]
|No! This wont do. A white flag makes her ill.|
[A Servant enters with a reading-lamp, which he carries toward the Dukes room.]
| The ServantThe Duke of Reichstadts reading-lamp.|
Flambeau [leaping upon him and seizing the lamp] You dolt!
|Its leaking! It must have fresh air!|
[He takes it out on the balcony.]
|You wave it three times so: arrange the wick;|
[He does as he says and gives the lamp back to the Servant.]
|Thats it. See that?|
The Servant Oh, arent you clever?
[He carries the lamp into the Dukes room.]
| SedlinzkyThe Duke?|
Flambeau [pointing to the room] In there.
Sedlinzky Watch here.
Flambeau [locking the door after him] Locked!
Sedlinzky [without] Take the key out.
| SedlinzkyNone but the Emperor has the key. Be careful|
| FlambeauAs I always do.|
[He bends over the keyholes and arranges them carefully.] And for the night
|Ill close the eyelids of the keyholes softly.|
| Sedlinzkys VoiceGood-night, you Piedmontese.|
Flambeau Good-night, my Lord.
| Sedlinzkys VoiceRemember! youre on duty.|
Flambeau Im on duty.
| Sedlinzkys VoiceWell, thats all right. Good-night.|
[He throws off his livery coat. Puts on the busby, which is standing on the console, and shoulders the musket. He is now in the full accoutrement of a Grenadier of the Guards.] And thus,
|Suddenly upright, thin, unliveried,|
|Locked in till dawn, and safe against surprise,|
|Glowering with grizzled brows beneath his busby,|| 25|
|Straight in his ancient uniform, his gun|
|Firm in his arm, his hand on his right nipple,|
|The fixed and regulation attitude,|
|Standing thus every night before your threshold|
|Giving himself a password full of pride,|| 30|
|Pleased with a deed thats grave, and yet a jest,|
|A Grenadier at Schönbrunn stands on guard|
|About the son as once about the Father.|
|Tis the last time! Youll never hear of it.|
|Tis for myself. A private luxury.|| 35|
|I must be mad to do a thing like this|
|For no ones eye, but just to say By Jove,|
|Thats rather good! At Schönbrunn! In their teeth!|
|But Im delighted!Im content!|
[He hears the noise of a key in the door.] Im damned!
[The door opens gently.]
|Who can have got the key?|
[He retires into the shadow by the Dukes door.] Metternich No, no! This scene
[Metternich enters, carrying a large candelabrum.]
|Must never be repeated.|
| MetternichYes, I will speak to-night. We are alone.|
[As he puts down the candelabrum he sees the hat.]
|Whats this? I never knew he had one like|
|Ah! the Archduchess must have sent him this;|
|So there thou art, thou legendary hat!|| 45|
|Tis many yearsGood day!What sayst thou? What?|
|No, from thy little sable pyramid|
|Twelve years of splendor gaze on me in vain.|
|I do not fear thee now.|
|The leathern tag|| 50|
|With which he constantly could take thee off,|
|And so win cheers yet leave thy shape unharmed.|
|With thee he fanned himself after each victory;|
|Thou couldst not fall from his unheeding fingers,|
|But straight a king would stoop to pick thee up.|| 55|
|To-day, my friend, thou art a reach-me-down,|
|And if I tossed thee through the casement yonder|
|Where wouldst thou end thy days?|
Flambeau [to himself] In a museum!
| MetternichThe famous little hathow very ugly!|
|They called it littleis it really little?|| 60|
|No; it is big; enormous; its the hat|
|A little man puts on to increase his inches.|
|For twas a hat set the legend going:|
|The real Napoleon, after all, was Poupart.|
|Ah, never think my hatred of thee slumbers!|| 65|
|Twas for thy shapes sake first I hated thee.|
|Thou vampire-hat of bloody battlefields,|
|Hat that seemed fashioned out of ravens wings.|
|I hated thee for pitilessly soaring|
|Above the fields which witnessed our defeats,|| 70|
|Half-circle, seeming on the ruddy sky|
|The orb half-risen of some sable sun!|
|And for thy crown wherein the devil lurks,|
|Thou jugglers hat, laid with a sudden hand|
|Upon a throne, an army, or a nation|| 75|
|When thou wert lifted all had disappeared.|
|I hated thee for the salutes I gave thee,|
|For thy simplicitymere affectation|
|Thy insolent joy, thou piece of common beaver|
|Amid the glittering diadems of gold;|| 80|
|For staying firmly on his haughty head|
|When I sought flattering epithets to please thee.|
|Conqueror, new, acclaimed, I hated thee!|
|I hate thee now, old, conquered and betrayed!|
|I hate thee for thy haughty shadow, cast|| 85|
|Forever on the wall of history;|
|I hate thee for thy Jacobin cockade,|
|Staring upon me like a bloodshot eye;|
|For all the murmurs sounding in thy shell,|
|That huge black shell the waves have left behind|| 90|
|Wherein the shuddering listener may hear|
|The rumor of a nation on the march.|
|I hate thee for the pride of France, whose bounds|
|Thou hast enlarged until she scorns the world,|
|For Béranger I hate thee, and Raffet,|| 95|
|For all the songs and all the pasquinades,|
|And for the halo of Saint Helena.|
|I hate thee, hate thee. I shall not be happy|
|Until thy clumsy triangle of cloth,|
|Despoiled of its traditions, is again|| 100|
|What it should neer have ceased to be in France|
|The headgear of a village constable.|
|I hatebut suddenlyhow strange!the present|
|Sometimes with impish glee will ape the past!|
|Seeing thy well-known shape before me thus|| 105|
|Carries my mind back to a distant day,|
|For it was here he always put thee down|
|When twenty years ago he sojourned here.|
|This room was then the ante-chamber; here,|
|Waiting till graciously he showed himself,|| 110|
|Dukes, Princes, Magyars, huddling in a corner,|
|Fixed from afar their humbled eyes upon thee,|
|Like lions, dreading with a helpless fury|
|The tamers hat forgotten in the cage.|
|Twas thus he placed thee, and here lay, as now,|| 115|
|Weapons and papers. One might say twas he|
|Had tossed thee carelessly upon the map,|
|That this were still his home, this Bonaparte!|
|And that by turning, on the thresholdthere|
|I should behold the Grenadier on|
[He starts on seeing Flambeau standing rigid before the Dukes door; he rubs his eyes.] Ha!
|No! no! Im not feverish; my tête-à-tête|
|With the old hat plays havoc with my nerves!|
[He looks and draws near. Flambeau does not move.]
|Or have the moonbeams conjured up a spectre?|
|What is it, then? Lets seelets seelets see!|
[He strides furiously toward Flambeau.]
|Who are you, fellow?|
Flambeau [presenting his bayonet] Who goes there?
Metternich [recoiling] The devil!
| Flambeau [coldly]Pass, devil.|
| Metternich [with a forced laugh, coming toward him again] Yes,a very clever jest,|
Flambeau [presenting his bayonet again] Who goes there?
Metternich [recoiling] But
Flambeau Move and you are dead.
Metternich Let me pass!
Flambeau The Emperor sleeps!
Metternich Im the Austrian Chancellor!
|I am all-powerful! Im|
Flambeau Shut your mouth!
| MetternichI want to see the Duke of Reichstadt!|
Flambeau Whats Reichstadt? Never heard of Reichstadt!
|Auerstadt, Elchingen, theyre dukes I know.|
|Reichstadts no duke. Theres been no victory there.|| 135|
| MetternichBut, were at Schönbrunn!|
Flambeau I should rather think so!
|Thanks to our new success were quartered here;|
|And here were getting ready at our leisure|
|To give the world another drubbing! See?|
| MetternichWhats that you say? A new success?|
| MetternichThis is July the ninth in Eighteen|
| MetternichCan I be mad?|
Flambeau Who are you? Where dyou spring from?
|Why arent you snug in bed? Its very fishy|
Flambeau Who let this braggart pass? The Mameluke?
| MetternichThe Mameluke?|
Flambeau Alls going to the dogs!
Flambeau You here in the ante-room at night!
| MetternichBut I|
Flambeau You calmly cross the Rosa chamber
|Unchallenged by the sentinel on guard!|
Flambeau When you ventured through the small rotunda,
|Was there no yatagan to shave your cheek,|| 150|
|Were there no sergeants in the white saloon|
|Brewing their punch upon the golden stove?|
|No bristling veterans in the china room?|
|And in the galleries? The Grenadiers|
|Saw you come strolling as a matter-of-course?|| 155|
|A man may cross the oval cabinet|
|And not be turned to mince-meat by Duroc?|
| MetternichThe Marshal?|
Flambeau Is the bulldog turned to lapdog?
| MetternichI come here|
Flambeau So the palace is an inn?
|And when youd managed all the sentinels,|| 160|
|Where were the rest? The porter? Gone to bed?|
|The valet? Absent? And the secretary?|
|Where was he hidden? In his own portfolio?|
| MetternichBut I|
Flambeau Instead of being after you,
|No doubt the Aide-de-Camp was after women!|| 165|
Flambeau And the Moor was saying prayers to Allah?
|At any rate its lucky I was here.|
|What discipline! If he looks into this|
|Ill bet my head hell let the beggars know!|
| MetternichIm going|
Flambeau Ah! dont stir! Youll wake him!
|Hes sleeping on his little bed of laurels.|
| Metternich [falling into an armchair.]Was never such a dream! Twill make an epic!|
[His hand touches the flame of one of the candles.]
|Well, but this candle|
Metternich [feeling the point of Flambeaus bayonet] This weapon
| MetternichThen Im awake! Im|
Flambeau Hold your tongue!
| MetternichAnd what of Waterloo?|
Flambeau Of waterwhat?
|The Emperor stirred.|
Metternich The Emperor?
Flambeau Oh, my stars!
|Now you turn whiter than a buglers horse!|
| MetternichIt is the Duke of Reichstadt! Im not scared!|
|It is the Duke! Im sure of it!|
Flambeau The Emperor!
[The Duke enters, with the reading-lamp in his hand.]
| MetternichAha! Tis you! Tis you! It is your Highness!|| 180|
|Ah, but how glad I am!|
The Duke [puzzled] Why are you glad?
| MetternichThe joke was played so well, I really thought|
|Another might come out!|
Flambeau [as if waking from a dream] Faith, so did I!
| The Duke [to Flambeau]Whats this?|
Flambeau My little joke.
Metternich [ringing] Help!
The Duke Fly!
Flambeau The window!
| The DukeThe sentinel will shoot you!|
Flambeau If he can.
| The DukeYour livery!|
Metternich [putting his foot on it] No!
[Aside to the Duke, while Metternich rings again.] I will seek my cavern.
| The DukeBut I|
Flambeau The ball to-morrow!
The Duke Are you mad?
Flambeau Youll find me.
| The DukeQuiet!|
[Flambeau goes out by the window.] Metternich If hed only break
|His neckHes singing!|
The Duke [on the balcony] Hush!
Flambeaus Voice My little joke!
[A shot is heard.]
| The DukeMissed!|| 190|
| MetternichWith what ease he finds his way about.|
| The DukeHe knows it; he has been here once before.|
| Metternich [to the lackeys who show themselves at the door]Too late. Begone! I do not need your help.|
[The lackeys disappear.]
| The DukeAnd not a word of this to the police!|
| MetternichI never raise a laugh against myself.|| 195|
|Whats the importance of a veterans joke?|
|Youre not Napoleon.|
The Duke Who has settled that?
| MetternichYou have his hat, perhaps, but not his head!|
| The DukeAh, yes, an epigram to damp my ardor.|
|Tis not the pin-prick this time, tis the lash|| 200|
|That drives me headlong toward the wildest dreams.|
|Ive not the head, you say? How do you know?|
| Metternich [takes the candelabrum in his hand and leads the Duke to the cheval glass]How do I know? Just glance into this mirror.|
|Look at the sullen sadness of your face,|
|The grim betrayal of your fair complexion,|| 205|
|This crushing golden hairI bid you look!|
| The Duke [struggling to get out of his grasp]No!|
Metternich Youre environed with a fatal mist!
| The DukeNo!|
Metternich Though you know it not, tis Germany,
|Tis Spain, for ages dormant in your blood,|
|Make you so haughty, sorrowful, and charming.|| 210|
| The DukeNo! no!|
Metternich Bethink you of your self-distrust!
|Youreign? Come, come! You would be pale and wan;|
|One of those timid, introspective kings|
|Who are imprisoned lest they abdicate.|
| The DukeNo, no!|
Metternich Not yours the energetic brow!
|Yours is the brow of languor and of yearning.|
| The Duke [shaking, passes his left hand across his brow]Mybrow?|
Metternich And drearily your Highness passes
|Over an Austrian brow a Spanish hand!|
| The DukeNo!|
Metternich And those eyes through which your ancestors
The Duke The eyes?
Metternich Ay! note them well! The eyes
|Wherein how many eyes weve seen before|
|Dream of the fagot, weep for perished squadrons!|
|Dare you, whose conscience is so sensitive,|
|Ascend the throne of France with eyes like those?|
| The DukeAh! but my Father!|
Metternich Naught of him is in you!
|Search! Search again! Come closer to the light!|
|He stole our ancient blood to mix with his,|
|That his might grow more ancient. But he stole|
|Only the racial melancholy, and|
|The feebleness, and|
The Duke I beseech you!
|Look in the mirror! You turn pale?|
The Duke Enough!
| MetternichAnd on your lips you recognize the pout|
|As of a doll, of Marie Antoinette,|
|Her whom your France beheaded; for your Father,|
|While stealing glory, stole mishap as well!|| 235|
|Nay! raise the chandelier!|
[He forces the chandelier into the Dukes right hand, and holds him by that wrist.] The Duke I am afraid.
| MetternichYou cannot gaze into this glass at night,|
|But all your race will gibber at your back!|
|Lookin the gloomthat shade is Mad Johanna,|
|And yonder Thing, that moves so deathly slow,|| 240|
|Is the pale sovereign in his crystal coffin.|
| The DukeNo! Tis the radiant pallor of my Father!|
| MetternichYonder, recoiling, Rudolph and his lions!|
| The DukeThe clash of steeds and weapons! Tis the Consul!|
| MetternichLo! in a noisome crypt one fashions gold.|| 245|
| The DukeHe fashions glory on the sands of Egypt.|
| MetternichAha! Heres Charles the Fifth, with hair cropped close,|
|Dying for having sought self-burial!|
The Duke Help!
Metternich The Escurial! Grisly phantoms
|And frowning walls!|
The Duke Ah, hither! smiling visions:
|Compiègne and Malmaison!|
Metternich You see them! see them!
| The DukeRoll, drums of Arcola, and drown his voice!|
| MetternichThe mirrors teeming!|
The Duke [twisting his wrist loose, but still holding the chandelier] I will shatter it!
| MetternichOthers, and others yet, arrive!|
| The Duke [hurling the chandelier into the mirror] Tis shattered!|| 255|
|Not one remains! Not one!|
Metternich [pointing at the Duke with a terrible gesture] Yes!One!
The Duke No, no!
|It is not I! Not I!My Father!Help!|