’Tis useless to intimidate the witness. He will not prove himself a perjurer, and condemn himself to death, even to please so dear a friend as you.
My God!—There is some wicked plot!
Yes—and you’re the plotter.
[PAUL falls prostrate into chair near table. Supporting DIANE to the door of his cell, the DUKE pauses and speaks.]
Paul Kauvar, we shall never meet again.—Remember my last words.—Beggars, thieves, assassins may escape perdition; but neither here, nor hereafter, is there any hope for Judas.
[Exit, supporting DIANE.
[NANETTE follows the DUKE off. POTIN goes into the opposite cell. GOUROC crosses to PAUL.
How’s this, old Comrade? I thought you were antique in the mastery of your emotions.—A man of iron—firm as flint!
Agony is fire that melts the mettle of the hardest man.
But why should you—a Jacobin—care for this old Duke?
I loved his daughter—she became my wife.
What! Diane de Beaumont is your wife?
Yes—has been my wife in secret—for six months.
So I have a double task! To save her—and kill her husband.
The same old story, Comrade, and as usual a woman mars the plot! You were a patriot, till love enmeshed you in his magic web; then you became the weakest of mankind—a husband. I am sorry, very sorry; but Paul—my friend—if I can serve you now, I beg of you command me.
Yes, you can serve me. You have been my friend—be more!
Your sorrow seems so deep, I swear I think I’d serve it—even at the cost of conscience! Speak then, without fear.
Help me to save the father of my wife!—See! This key opens yonder door; to-night, at any moment, you may hear three knocks.—That signal will be given by a man who will conduct you safely out of France.
A man that you can trust?