Cyrano de Bergerac Act 4
The Royal guards have besieged Arras, but find themselves besieged from behind by another group of Spanish Soldiers. Their encampment is trapped between. Carbon, Le Bret, and Christian are there, as well as other Sentries and Guards. All the men are starving and tired, and they don't know how much longer they can hold out. There is a series of musket shots near their walls. They guards start to arm themselves, fearing an attack - Carbon tells them it's just Cyrano, running through the battlefield. Once he's inside safely, Carbon tells Cyrano that it's insane for him to risk his life just to mail a letter every day. Cyrano responds that he promised He then goes to his tent to write another letter. The sun comes up, and the men begin to wake, complaining about their hunger. Carbon tries to lure Cyrano from his tent so that he can rally the troops. Finally Cyrano comes out, and asks the soldiers what their complaints are. No matter what they say, he crafts a witty response to shut them up. He reminds them that it's better to die in the field of battle than in a sick bed The men still complain about their hunger. Cyrano singles one of them out - a musician, and tells him to play a tune on his fife:
"Cyrano: There. There is our soul. The same reed, the same fingers which have piped us into combat, call us softly home, in our thoughts. This is no longer the shrill call to attack, it is every shepherd who ever inhabited our land, whispering his sheep to fold. Listen. It is your hillside, your earth, your forest - your younger brother, suntanned under his red woolen cap. It is the green solitude of nights you spent beside the Sordogne. Listen my countrymen. It is our country calling." Act 4, pg. 113
After Cyrano finishes speaking, all the men are somber, tears in their eyes. Carbon worries they've been softened. Cyrano replies that they've been reminded of what they're fighting for - after a drum roll, they're all ready to fight. A guard announces that De Guiche is coming. The men talk about him resentfully, sick of his haughty attitude and pretension. Cyrano tells everyone to relax. They do. De Guiche arrives, and is sickened that the Royal Guard doesn't have more respect for him. He tries to have them disciplined, but Carbon reminds him that the Royal Guard is made up of noblemen, all volunteers - they don't have to follow orders except in battle. De Guiche tries to inspire the troops with a heroic tale - he lost control of his horse, and was headed for enemy camp, so he jumped off his horse and threw away the white scarf that identified his rank. He then snuck back into camp. Cyrano reminds De Guiche that Henry the 4th rode into the enemy ranks, and would never have given up his white plume. "De Guiche: Nevertheless, I saved the day! Cyrano: You saved your life. At the expense of your honour." Act 4, pg. 116 Cyrano asks for the white scarf, saying that if De Guiche doesn't have the guts, he'll be happy to lead the troops into battle. De Guiche reminds Cyrano that the enemy has the scarf - no one could get it back. Cyrano takes the scarf out of his pocket. He offers it to De Guiche.
De Guiche glares at the Guards, then takes the scarf and waves it over the top of the battlements. He explains that he has a traitor in the Spanish ranks, and that he had to signal him with a white flag. De Guiche explains his plan: A number of troops have snuck away to get the food, supplies and reinforcements that the French army needs, but their flank has been left unguarded. De Guiche's traitor can arrange for the Spanish attack to strike a certain regiment, and De Guiche has just signaled them to attack the Royal Guards. He tells Carbon that the Royal Guard will have to hold off the Spaniards for an entire day. They will probably all be killed. Cyrano suggests that De Guiche is just trying to get revenge on him. De Guiche admits that he is - he's tired of the Royal Guards showing him up, and he hopes they're all killed.
The Guards prepare for battle. Cyrano walks over to Christian, who is staring off into space. He tells Cyrano that he wishes he had more time - that he could say goodbye to Roxane. Cyrano tells Christian that he's anticipated this, and that he'd just finished writing Christian's farewell letter. Christian reads the letter, and notices that it's smudged with tears. Cyrano explains that to make the letter more believable as a farewell, he had to cry on it. Christian is suddenly suspicious - he takes the letter and reads it again. A Sentinel announces that a Carriage is coming over the battlefield. The driver says it's bearing a message from the King. De Guiche prepares himself. As the carriage arrives, the driver climbs down - it's Ragueneau, in disguise. Everyone salutes the carriage, and Roxane steps out. De Guiche is confused. Isn't she bringing a message from the King? She says she does, "From the King of Kings - Love" Act 4, pg. 121 They ask how she got there - Roxane responds that all she did was have the carriage move slowly through the enemy ranks. When someone tried to stop her, she just told them that she was on her way to visit her lover, and they let her through. Christian is happy to see her, but insists that she must leave, as does everyone else. They tell her that the regiment is going to be sacrificed. She announces that she's willing to die as long as it's along with her husband.
"De Guiche: No! I never intended-
Roxane: Oh, don't take it so hard. I drove into this madness. Every woman needs a little madness in her life.
Cyrano: Remarkable. You're as casual about death as if it were the theatre.
Roxane: I am your cousin, Monsieur de Bergerac." Act 4, Page 123
Roxane tells De Guiche to leave. He offers to take her with him, but she refuses. De Guiche leaves, knowing the attack will come soon. Carbon introduces Roxane to all the soldiers, and she gives them her handkerchief to use as a banner. Roxane then announces that her coachman is Ragueneau, and they've brought food enough for everyone. While the men feast, Cyrano tries to take Christian aside to talk before he talks to Roxane, but Roxane has Christian help her hand out the food. Le Bret announces that De Guiche is coming back. They quickly hide all the food. De Guiche tells them that he can only spare one cannon to defend themselves. He asks Roxane to come away with him, and when she refuses, he announces that he will be staying to fight as well. The other Guards begin to respect De Guiche a little. Carbon organizes the troops, getting them ready for the coming battle. Cyrano takes Christian aside, and explains to him that there were many more letters than he knew about. Christian thought there were only letters when the mail came through, but Cyrano tells Christian that he's been sneaking out behind enemy lines, sending off two letters every day. Cyrano tries to claim that he was doing it on Christian's behalf, but Christian has figured out that Cyrano loves Roxane as well. Before they can talk, Roxane comes down to talk to Christian, and Cyrano runs to his tent. Christian asks why Roxane came to the front, she replies that it was because of his letters. She tells him that she truly loved him ever since that night he spoke to her from under the balcony. Christian nearly breaks down as he realizes that Roxane doesn't really love him, she loves the poet who wrote the letters and spoke to her on the balcony. Christian tells her that he preferred it when they loved each other from afar, but Roxane says it's much better now that she's seen into his soul, and she would love him even if he were horribly ugly. Christian tries to hide his heartbreak. He asks Roxane to comfort the men, and then he goes to speak to Cyrano:
Cyrano: What now? You look as pale as death.
Christian: She doesn't love me.
Christian: She loves you.
Christian: She told me, 'I love only your soul.'
Christian: You are the soul she loves. And you love her too.
Christian: I know you do.
Cyrano: Yes, I do.
Cyrano: More than that.
Christian: Tell her.
Christian: Why not?
Cyrano: Tell her? With this face?
Christian: She said, 'If you were ugly, I would only love you more.'
Cyrano: She said that?
Christian: Yes." Act 4, pg. 133-4
Christian demands that Cyrano tell her and they let her decide who she loves. Cyrano refuses. Christian wants to know why Cyrano thinks that his ugliness means he should be unhappy. Cyrano asks Christian why he thinks that his lack of wit means he shouldn't be loved. Christian can't bear to be half a man any more, he leaves, telling Cyrano to talk to Roxane while he's gone. Roxane comes to talk to Cyrano, after Christian tells her that he has a secret. Cyrano asks her if it's true, that she would love Christian even if he was a freak. She assures him that she would. He's about to tell her when Le Bret rushes in and whispers something to Cyrano. Roxane asks what the secret is. Cyrano tells her that the secret was that Christian was always the bravest soldier. Roxane realizes that Christian has just been killed. She breaks down in tears, repeating his name. The Guards fire at the approaching troops. Cyrano goes to the dying Christian and tells him that Roxane knows everything, and that she chose him. Christian dies.
As the battle grows more fierce, Roxane finds Cyrano's farewell letter in Christian's pocket. She reads it, and then faints. De Guiche announces that the reinforcements have arrived. The Spanish forces try to surrender, but the Guards refuse. Cyrano tells De Guiche to take Roxane to safety. Roxane, De Guiche, and Ragueneau leave. The battle turns against the Guards. Carbon stumbles in, mortally wounded. Cyrano rallies his troops around Roxane's handkerchief stuck atop a lance. Spanish Soldiers and Musketeers climb on top of the ramparts and fire into the camp, killing many of the Guards. The Spanish troops flood into the camp, and engage the remaining Royal Guards in hand-to-hand combat.