Say I am busy—busy—[Striking his breast.] breaking the heart of a traitor to France!
A welcome message.—I sha’n’t forget it.
Wife gone!—Home desolated!—Naught left but the haunting memory of joy forever lost!—Ah, I am weary, heart-broken—helpless!
[He sinks into the chair at desk, and buries his face in his arms. Slowly the light dims to darkness. At back, the stage is transformed into a TABLEAU OF KAUVAR’S DREAM OF ANARCHY.
Mysterious music accompanies the Dream, which consists of a tableau of the guillotine in the Place de la Revolution, in Paris, by moonlight.
Here is seen the scaffold, with its ghastly paraphernalia, surrounded by ferocious_ SANS CULOTTES, and GENS D’ARMES. Amidst them is an old hag.
The death-cart, with its load of victims, is seen in the foreground—the entrance to the garden with the palace of the Tuilleries in the background.
The_ HEADSMAN stands ready, near the knife of the guillotine.
From the death-cart_ DIANE glides on and slowly goes up the scaffold steps.
As she reaches the top, she is seized roughly by the_ HEADSMAN.
At this moment PAUL starts with a cry of agony from his chair—and at his shriek, the whole Tableau of the Dream instantly disappears.
[Starting up wildly.]
No, no!—My life for hers!—My life for hers!
[Waking, as the Dream disappears, he looks about dazed and bewildered; then bursts into hysterical laughter.]
A dream!—Thank God, a dream!—Only a horrible dream!
[Suddenly stops short in horror.]
How dark and still the house is. My God!—Something
happened!—What is it?
[Shrieks with terror.]
[Entering with lamp.]
What’s the matter?
Diane—Mademoiselle Diane, where is she?
[Appearing, dressed to go away.]
[Makes a spontaneous movement toward her, then checks himself and turns to NANETTE.]
[NANETTE goes silently away. PAUL speaks to DIANE hoarsely.]
Where are you going?