Do you remember the old days—before this reign of terror darkened all our lives—the sunny room in my father’s chateau, where you taught me to paint the flowers we had gathered—oh! so gaily!—from the quaintest corners of the garden?
Ah! those were ideal days.—You, almost a child—a girl just blooming into womanhood, like those rosebuds in your hair.
Oh, how happy I was!—So happy, earth seemed heaven! So happy, sorrow seemed almost a myth!—I little dreamed that I would ever drink the bitterest dregs of that black cup.—The Revolution rushed upon us—and then, oh then!—
[Hides her face on PAUL’S breast.
Then we parted, I thought forever.
You came no longer. The sunshine lost its smile—the flowers faded.
And yet, amidst the fearful tumult of these distracted times, we met once more.
Oh, my God! That meeting! I see the frightful scene again! My father there before me—old—helpless, dragged from his own house by a horde of brutal beasts.—I, shrieking, fighting vainly at his side—amidst their mocking laughs and jeers. Ah! I can hear them now—yes, and high above their hideous jests, rings out a clarion voice—’tis yours—silencing this crowd of curs!—With what sublime audacity you claim my father as your cousin, saving him and me, by the coolness of your courage!—Paul, from that hour you were more than man to me; you were a God, a hero, my father’s Saviour!
Better than all that now—your lover—guardian—husband.
[Embraces her, then staggers.
Paul—what is it?
Nothing,—fatigue from last night’s bitter work.
[DIANE brings wine and offers it. He puts it away.]
No—one kiss from you will give me more
strength than all the wine in
[She kisses him.
Heaven knows you need more than human strength.
Aye, Titan strength, to stem the tide of madness that overflows the mind of France! Ah, Diane! if it were not for your dear love, I fear my mind would falter at the task before me.