“But you heard him, dear madame. We all heard him.”
The others made chorus, whilst Scaramouche smiled at him, and patted his shoulder.
“Up, man, a little courage. Did you not say that fortune awaits us? And have we not now the wherewithal to constrain fortune? Burgundy, then, to... to toast ‘Les Fourberies de Scaramouche.’”
And M. Binet, who was not blind to the force of the idea, yielded, took courage, and got drunk with the rest.
Diligent search among the many scenarios of the improvisers which have survived their day, has failed to bring to light the scenario of “Les Fourberies de Scaramouche,” upon which we are told the fortunes of the Binet troupe came to be soundly established. They played it for the first time at Maure in the following week, with Andre-Louis — who was known by now as Scaramouche to all the company, and to the public alike — in the title-role. If he had acquitted himself well as Figaro-Scaramouche, he excelled himself in the new piece, the scenario of which would appear to be very much the better of the two.
After Maure came Pipriac, where four performances were given, two of each of the scenarios that now formed the backbone of the Binet repertoire. In both Scaramouche, who was beginning to find himself, materially improved his performances. So smoothly now did the two pieces run that Scaramouche actually suggested to Binet that after Fougeray, which they were to visit in the following week, they should tempt fortune in a real theatre in the important town of Redon. The notion terrified Binet at first, but coming to think of it, and his ambition being fanned by Andre-Louis, he ended by allowing himself to succumb to the temptation.
It seemed to Andre-Louis in those days that he had found his real metier, and not only was he beginning to like it, but actually to look forward to a career as actor-author that might indeed lead him in the end to that Mecca of all comedians, the Comedie Francaise. And there were other possibilities. From the writing of skeleton scenarios for improvisers, he might presently pass to writing plays of dialogue, plays in the proper sense of the word, after the manner of Chenier, Eglantine, and Beaumarchais.
The fact that he dreamed such dreams shows us how very kindly he had taken to the profession into which Chance and M. Binet between them had conspired to thrust him. That he had real talent both as author and as actor I do not doubt, and I am persuaded that had things fallen out differently he would have won for himself a lasting place among French dramatists, and thus fully have realized that dream of his.
Now, dream though it was, he did not neglect the practical side of it.
“You realize,” he told M. Binet, “that I have it in my power to make your fortune for you.”