Owe whom nothing?
[The tramp of SOLDIERS is heard outside.
Hark!—The Guard!—Take care!
Enter the DUKE, with GUARD and POTIN.
[Contemptuously to PAUL.]
You here, traitor?
[Aside to the DUKE.]
You must not call him that. He did not betray. The proof is this—that he has come to save you.
And so make my debt to him a means of reaching you;—but I would not accept my life from hands unclean with treachery.
There’s not a drop of traitor’s blood within my veins!
Yet you signed the warrant for my arrest.
Then another hand than mine—unknown to me—filled in your name.
Plausible trickster!—We have here double proof that you are guilty.
[Enter GOUROC in background.]
The evidence of the man to whom you gave the warrant, commanding him to take it to the Guard.
There’s no such man alive—or dead!
[POTIN comes forward sullenly.]
Repeat what you swore in court.—From whom did you receive the warrant for my arrest?
[After a struggle.]
I received it from—
[Aside to POTIN.]
Take care!—If I denounce—you die!
Well, sir, we are waiting.
I received it—[Pointing at PAUL.] from him.
[PAUL recoils with horror. DIANE, with cry of agony, hides her face upon her father’s breast.
[Crossing to POTIN.]
Potin, look at me.—On your word hangs the honour of your old and steadfast friend! Look in my eyes, and, in the name of your own salvation, speak nothing but the truth.