By helping me to save another man’s life.
I do not understand.
The Due de Beaumont has been discovered, and is about to be condemned. For reasons of my own, I wish to save his life. There is but one way. You, who are destined to die soon, must be disguised as the Duke, answer to his name, and go to the scaffold in his stead. Consent to do this—and you shall place in your sister’s hands 10,000 francs in gold.
What! That Jacobin of Jacobins, Gouroc, asks a cobbler to save a Duke—?
Why not? The Republic is poor, the Duke is rich. He has been condemned for our glory. But if his secret escape will bring us gold, why not crown the Republic with riches as well as fame? Is not this Patriotism?
Yes, Patriotism to-day! Yesterday and to-morrow—Jesuitism.
Well, your answer. Will you save the Duke?
[After a pause.]
Good! In your cell you’ll find everything for your disguise.
[As howls are heard outside.]
Listen.—That is the voice of fraternity shrieking for fratricide!
By heaven! No cobbler talks as you do!—Who are you? What are you?
A victim—to present madness! An atonement—for past wrongs! A pledge for future progress!—The Abbe de St. Simon.
Ha! As I suspected.
[SOLDIERS are heard approaching.]
Take care!—Hurry to your cell; they are coming for the Duke.
And my sister—?
You shall have the money at your parting.
Thus my death will bring her more than all the years I might have lived to love her. [Exit.
[Entering, followed by GUARDS, and presenting paper to GOUROC.]
An order for the person of Duc de Beaumont.