General, the enemy are upon us!
[Excitedly to LA HOGUE.]
Quick!—To arms!—We must rouse and lead our men!
But Diane—my wife?
[Handing a paper.]
Read, and remember, whatever be my fate, you are on parole.
[He rushes off with LA HOGUE.
The crash of firearms increases.
“Dear Henri:—The town is burning,
my daughter in peril. I see
Diane embarked for England, and join you on the field.—Duc de
Beaumont.”—Gone!—No! I will find her, and fly with her myself.
[Noise of battle outside.—PAUL is about to go, but stops.]
No, no! My God!—She’s lost to
me again! I cannot go to seek her, for
I’m a prisoner on parole!
[He falls prostrate on the stairs.
SCENE. Same as Act IV—one hour later. Noise of battle in distance.—PAUL discovered looking on and listening in excitement.—Noise increases and sounds nearer.
Ah!—The enemy weakens!—gives way!—falls back!—The Royalists fly!—The Republic wins!—Progress triumphs!
[The noise of battle grows louder, but the cries of triumph from Republicans decrease, then die away.—PAUL checks his joy and speaks in changed tones.]
And I—I have no part in this glorious play—because I’m on parole.
[Walking up and down excitedly.]
What torture!—to be here; with heart aflame, and limbs all free; to see the fight, and yet be bound to idleness by an oath, as much a prisoner as though in fetters at the bottom of a cell!
[Changing his whole manner.]
And Diane—where is she? But now within my reach—almost in my arms—naught between us but a promise, a mere breath—that breath as strong as adamantine walls to part us!
[Entering, sees PAUL and cries out.]
My wife!—Where is she?