What test can you propose?
[Seating himself at desk and writing.]
Here is a pass procured at the risk of my life.—I fill it out for George Leblanc.—It will convey you, alone, safely beyond our borders. Here is another. I make this out for George Leblanc and Diane his daughter. This will enable both of you to escape.—These passes have the signatures of the chief of police; I countersign them, thus—a double surety for you, a double risk for me.—Now, Monsieur, either one of these passes is yours, as your daughter may decide, if you will offer her the choice of remaining under my protection, or of leaving France with you.
[Striking a bell.]
The choice is at her will.
Send my daughter here at once.
One word, Monsieur. These passes are at stake, and my life as well. I promise to be bound by the decision of your daughter.—If she decides to remain, you promise to go and leave her here with me?
DUKE. I promise this on one condition. I pledge my honour to put the alternative fairly before her. You must pledge yours to use no word to influence her choice.
I pledge myself to silence.
[Entering pale and anxious.]
You sent for me, Father?
I did. Listen, child. I am about to leave France. By my side there is peril—here is safety. Answer frankly: will you follow me, or remain here under the protection of Monsieur Kauvar?
What can this mean? He could not ask this if he knew the truth.
Father, I do not understand.—What shall I say?
What your heart prompts, child.
Nay, do not hesitate; I will not influence your choice even with a look.
If I shrink from danger, if I stay here, what becomes of you?
I go alone.
Alone to meet your peril?—Then, by the bond of a daughter’s duty, my place is at my father’s side.
[PAUL staggers. The DUKE retires quietly to desk. DIANE speaks aside to PAUL.]
Remember he is old, with none but me to comfort his last days.