LA COMTESSE. Ne parlons pas de cela!... (Passant pres de Montrichard.) Eh bien! baron?
MONTRICHARD. J’ai perdu ... madame la comtesse. Je suis vaincu.
LA COMTESSE, avec emotion. Vous n’etes pas le seul! (Affectant la gaiete.) Que voulez-vous, baron? pour gagner, il ne suffit pas de bien jouer!
MONTRICHARD. Il faut avoir pour soi les as et les rois.
LA COMTESSE, a part, regardant Henri. Le roi surtout!... dans les batailles de dames!
#Bataille de Dames#, adapted by Charles Reade to the English stage as “The Ladies’ Battle,” might signify also “a game of checkers,” and “a battle of the queens” at cards, to which there is an allusion in the closing speech of the play.
[Footnote 1: #salon d’ete#, summer parlor, which of course implies a mansion of some elegance.]
[Footnote 2: #plan#. French playwrights divide the stage into three or four lateral divisions called plans, and corresponding to similarly designated side-scenes, or pans coupes, between which are passages called coulisses; but those speaking from the coulisses, or addressing persons supposed to be in or behind them, are said to speak a la cantonade. The rear of the stage is called fond, and to this actors are said to remonter while they descendre toward the premier plan, nearest the footlights. These are all the stage terms used in this play that present any difficulty.]
ACT I. SCENE 1.
[Footnote 3: #madame#. French and German usage requires that a title of courtesy be prefixed to designations of adult relatives of the person addressed, as, e.g., madame votre mere, monsieur votre frere, mademoiselle votre soeur; but Charles, as valet, should have said, madame la comtesse alone. The reader should note that from the first his speeches show a refinement which to Leonie seems a surprising presumption. The disguised noble is too courteous to act a menial part successfully.]
[Footnote 4: The letter begins with allusion to the troubles at Lyons, in the environs of which the action is placed. This is the chief city on the Rhone, and was in 1817 the centre of a region seething with political intrigue against the recently restored Bourbon monarchy. That summer a rising had been sternly suppressed, and twenty-eight persons executed by General Canuel, who was recalled in the autumn (cp. p.14, line 24, and p.12, line 14); but there is no accuracy in details. The last lines of the letter allude to the dissatisfaction of the royalists, who had passed their youth in exile, with the studious moderation and cautious prudence of the new king, who gradually fell under the influence of clerical reactionaries, while many nobles would have preferred a return to the gallant fetes of the ancien regime.]