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Rowling , Hardcover. But I am compelled to tell you the truth, cruel as it is; beyond doubt the duke has placed Fernand in some compromising situation, so as to make it impossible for him to retrieve his position in the world to which you belong. The young man you saw cannot be your son. The Duchess Ah, you never knew Fernand! But I knew him, and in whatever place he is, his life has an influence on mine.
I have seen him a thousand times —. The Duchess Fernand has the blood of the Montsorels and the Vaudreys in his veins. The place to which he was born he is able to take; everything gives way before him wherever he appears. If he became a soldier, he is to-day a colonel. My son is proud, he is handsome, people like him!
I am sure he is beloved. Do not contradict me, dear aunt; Fernand still lives; if not, then the duke has broken faith, and I know he values too highly the virtues of his race to disgrace them. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey But are not honor and a husband's vengeance dearer to him than his faith as a gentleman? The Duchess I know it too well! The doubt cast upon his child's legitimacy has almost crazed him. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey You are wrong there. The duke has a warm heart, and a cool head; in all matters that concern the sentiments on which they live, men of that temper act promptly in carrying out their ideas.
The Duchess But, dear aunt, do you know at what price he has granted me the life of Fernand? Haven't I paid dearly for the assurance that his days were not to be shortened? If I had persisted in maintaining my innocence I should have brought certain death upon him; I have sacrificed my good name to save my son.
Any mother would have done as much. You were taking care of my property here; I was alone in a foreign land, and was the prey of ill-health, fever, and with none to counsel me, and I lost my head; for since that time it has constantly occurred to me that the duke would never have carried out his threats. In making the sacrifice I did, I knew that Fernand would be poor and destitute, without a name, and dwelling in an unknown land; but I knew also that his life would be safe, and that some day I should recover him, even if I had to search the whole world over!
I felt so cheerful as I came in that I forgot to give you the certificate of Fernand's birth, which the Spanish ambassador's wife has at last obtained for me; carry it about with you until you can place it in the hands of your confessor. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey The duke must certainly have learnt the measures you have taken in this matter, and woe be to your son!
Since his return he has been very busy, and is still busy about something. The Duchess If I shake off the disgrace with which he has tried to cover me, if I give up shedding tears in silence, be assured that nothing can bend me from my purpose. I am no longer in Spain or England, at the mercy of a diplomat crafty as a tiger, who during the whole time of our emigration was reading the thoughts of my heart's inmost recesses, and with invisible spies surrounding my life as by a network of steel; turning my secrets into jailers, and keeping me prisoner in the most horrible of prisons, an open house!
I am in France, I have found you once more, I hold my place at court, I can speak my mind there; I shall learn what has become of the Vicomte de Langeac, I should prove that since the Tenth of August 2 we have never met, I shall inform the king of the crime committed by a father against a son who is the heir of two noble houses.
I am a woman, I am Duchesse de Montsorel, I am a mother! We are rich, we have a virtuous priest for an adviser; right is on our side, and if I have demanded the certificate of my son's birth —. The Duchess Since when have you ventured to enter my apartment without previously sending me word and asking my leave? The Duke Since you broke the agreement we made.
You swore to take no steps to find this — your son. This was the sole condition on which I promised to let him live. The Duchess And is it not much more honorable to violate such an oath, than to remain faithful to all others? The Duke Of course you think so, Mademoiselle de Vaudrey. And what would not I give to share your opinion! The duchess has had twenty years in which to prove to me her innocence.
The Duke Madame, unless you hand me this certificate, your Fernand will have serious cause for alarm. As soon as you returned to France you secured the document, and are trying to employ it as a weapon against me. You desire to obtain for your son a fortune and a name which do not belong to him; to secure his admission into a family, whose race has up to my time been kept pure by wives of stainless reputation, a family which has never formed a single mesalliance —.
The Duke Be careful what you say, for you waken in me terrible memories. And your last word shows me that you will not shrink from causing a scandal that will overwhelm all of us with shame. Shall we air in public courts past occurrences which will show that I am not free from reproach, while you are infamous? He turns to Mademoiselle de Vaudrey She cannot have told you everything, dear aunt? She was in love with Viscount Langeac; I knew it, and respected her love; I was so young! The viscount came to me; being without hope of inheriting a fortune, and the last representative of his house, he unselfishly offered to give up Louise de Vaudrey.
I trusted in their mutual generosity, and accepted her as a pure woman from his hands. I would have given my life for her, and I have proved it! The wretched man performed prodigies of valor on the Tenth of August, and called down upon himself the rage of the mob; I put him under the protection of some of my people; he was, however, discovered and taken to the Abbaye. As soon as I learned his predicament, I gave into the hands of a certain Boulard all the money I had collected for our flight! I induced Boulard to join the Septembrists in order to save the viscount from death; I procured his escape!
To the duchess He paid me back well, did he not? I was young, madly in love, impetuous, yet I never crushed the boy! You have to-day made me the same requital for my pity, as your lover made for my trust in him. Well — things remain just as they were twenty years ago excepting that the time for pity is past. And I will repeat what I said to you then: Forget your son, and he shall live.
The Duchess Ah — if you take my grief for a sign of remorse, I will again protest to you, I am innocent! Langeac never betrayed your confidence; it was not for his king alone he went to his death, and from the fatal day on which he bade me farewell and surrendered me to you, I have never seen him again. The Duchess The trouble is that you do not know me. You will no longer answer for my son's safety? Indeed — but you had better look after your own son. Albert is a guarantee for the life of Fernand. If you keep watch on my proceedings, I shall set a watch on yours; if you rely upon the police of the realm, I have resources of my own, and the assistance of God.
If you deal a blow at Fernand, beware of what may happen to Albert. A blow for a blow! The Duchess You are more a gentleman than your son; when he flies into a rage he begs no one's pardon, not he! The Duke aside Has her resignation up to this time been nothing but a pretence? Has she been waiting for the present opportunity to speak?
Women who are guided by the advice of bigots travel underground, like volcanic fires, and only reveal themselves when they break out. She knows my secret, I have lost sight of her son , and my defeat is imminent. Louise, you love the child you have never seen, and hate him who is before your eyes.
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Mademoiselle de Vaudrey The calm way in which your husband remarks your aversion for your son is astonishing. The Duchess A bad mother? She reflects. I cannot make up my mind to forfeit your affection. She draws her aunt to her side. Albert is not my son. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Can a stranger have usurped the place, the name, the title, the property of the real child?
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The Duchess No, not a stranger, but his son. After the fatal night on which Fernand was carried off from me, an eternal separation between the duke and myself took place. The wife in me was as cruelly outraged as the mother. But still I purchased from him peace of mind. The Duchess I allowed the duke to present this Albert, child of a Spanish courtesan, as if he were mine.
The duke desired an heir. Amid the confusion wrought in Spain by the French Revolution the trick escaped notice. Are you surprised that my blood boils at the sight of this strange woman's child occupying the place of the lawful heir? Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Now I can deeply sympathize with your hopes; ah! But what is the matter with you? The Duchess He is, I fear, ruined; for I have brought him under the notice of his father, who will — But stay, something must be done!
I must find out where he lives, and warn him not to come here to-morrow morning. The Duchess Neither of us can leave the house to-morrow without being noticed. We must forestall the duke by bribing my chambermaid. The Duchess If Raoul is the son disclaimed by his father, the child over whom I have mourned for the last twenty years, I must show them what a wife, a mother, who has been wrongly accused, can do! AUTHOR'S PREFACE It is difficult for the playwright to put himself, five days after the first presentation of his piece, in the situation in which he felt himself on the morning after the event; but it is still more difficult to write a preface to Vautrin , to which every one has written his own.
Must the author explain his work? Its only possible commentator is M. Frederick Lemaitre. A room in the house of the Duc de Montsorel. So you have been waiting for me! How very good of you! Mademoiselle de Vaudrey What is the matter, Louise? Knowing you as I do, it makes me alarmed. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Have you come upon any traces of your lost son? The Duchess He is found! Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Impossible! When you find out your error it will add to your anguish. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Suppose you were overheard!
Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Yet what slight warrant you had for your elation! Mademoiselle de Vaudrey You must have betrayed yourself! Mademoiselle de Vaudrey And was the duke present? Felicite entering the room His grace the duke has come in with his lordship the marquis. The Duchess While you fear the effect of despair for me, I fear that of overwhelming joy. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey watching the duchess go out If she should be deceived, she might lose her senses.
The Duchess re-entering the room Fernand, dear aunt, calls himself Raoul de Frescas.
Vautrin: A Drama in Five Acts - Honore De Balzac - Google книги
Felicite Her grace the duchess dismissed me early. Mademoiselle de Vaudrey Has my niece given you no orders for the morning? Felicite None, madame. Joseph and Vautrin. Vautrin wears a tan-colored overcoat, trimmed with fur, over the black evening dress of a foreign diplomatic minister. Joseph That blasted girl! We would have been down in our luck if she had seen us. A play never enacted or printed. A noteworthy date in French history, August 10, ; the day of the storming of the Tuileries.