[To LA ROCHEJACQUELEIN.]
By what authority, Monsieur, am I arrested?
By mine. I am your father.
My marriage has set me free of parental rule. I claim the right to fly from those who have defamed my noble husband. General, command your soldiers to release me!
No!—You shall not go.
What will prevent me?
The force of your own honour.
Honour commands me to return to my husband’s friends.
Honour commands you to keep your word with me.
[DIANE starts and turns away.]
You promised, if I saved your father, and you were free, you’d be my wife.—I have done my part, you must do yours.
[Passionately, to GOUROC.]
Now I understand your joy when you read of the beheadal of the man who took my father’s place!—You knew he was my husband.
You planned his death to free and force me to this marriage.
I did not learn that you were his wife till he was going to the guillotine.—Then he told me all, confiding you to my care. I promised him I’d shield you from all peril.—I but keep my word with him, in asking you to keep your word with me.
So you would wed the widow of a Sans Culotte?
Your husband was my friend; I knew and honoured him.
Ah, you believe, then, that Potin lied when he declared he got the warrant for the Duke’s arrest from Paul Kauvar?
I now believe that your husband was the victim of a trick.
Then swear—before those who have heard the dead defamed—swear that you believe my husband was innocent of infamy.
[With deep sincerity.]
As I hope for mercy from my God, I believe that Paul Kauvar was guiltless of dishonour.