[Entering in the midst of the howls, then clapping his hands to his ears.]
Oh, that I were deaf! Then I’d escape the shriek of my wife, and the roar of this cursed tribunal condemning poor devils to death.
Aye, that’s right! Howl on, hyenas! I could howl, too, yesterday, as well as the worst of ye. But I can’t now; no, not since the arrest of the poor old Duke. There he lies, in yonder cell, and here am I quartered as a witness against him—and that villain Gouroc has done all this!
[Enter GOUROC quietly in the background.]
Curse him! He rules me with a rod of red-hot iron! I wish I had him here now! By the gods! I’d take courage for once; I’d tackle him with my tongue—like my wife. I’d say—
Well, Citizen,—you’d say—?
The devil take you!
What would you say?
That’s lucky!—I have much for you to say before the day is done. The trial of the Duke will soon begin. When asked who gave you the order for the Duke’s arrest, you must swear that it was Paul Kauvar who did so.
Why, Lord help me! ’Twas you who gave me the order, and forced me to carry it, too.
Possibly; but, in spite of that, my name must not be mentioned in the affair, to any one, do you hear?
Alas, I do!
And will swear as I command?
[With sudden resolution.]
Do you care to save your head?
Of course! What could I do without it?
If you refuse to attest as I have dictated, I will declare you guilty of treason in trying to conceal the presence of the Duke in Paris. Such a declaration from me is sure perdition to you. How say you now: will you swear?
I will swear.