The Betrothal A Sequel to the Blue Bird; A Fairy Play in Five Acts and Eleven Scenes by Maeterlinck, Maurice

THE BETROTHAL

A SEQUEL TO THE BLUE BIRD

_A Fairy Play in Five Acts and Eleven Scenes_

BY

MAURICE MAETERLINCK

_Translated by_

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS

NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1918

CHARACTERS

(_arranged in the order of their entrance on the stage_)

TYLTYL THE FAIRY BÉRYLUNE MILETTE (the Wood-cutter's Daughter) BELLINE (the Butcher's Daughter) ROSELLE (the Inn-keeper's Daughter) AIMETTE (the Miller's Daughter) JALLINE (the Beggar's Daughter) ROSARELLE (the Mayor's Daughter) JOY (the Veiled Girl, or the White Phantom) DESTINY THE MISER LIGHT SOME USUAL THOUGHTS GRANNY TYL GAFFER TYL THE GREAT MENDICANT THE GREAT PEASANT THE RICH ANCESTOR THE SICK ANCESTOR THE DRUNKEN ANCESTOR THE MURDERER ANCESTOR THE GREAT ANCESTOR OTHER ANCESTORS SOME OF TYLTYL'S "ME'S" VARIOUS CHILDREN IN THE ABODE OF THE CHILDREN THE FIVE LITTLE ONES THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL MUMMY TYL MYTYL DADDY TYL THE NEIGHBOUR

ACT I

_Scene_ 1 _The Wood-cutter's Cottage_.

ACT II

2 _Outside the Door_.

3 _The Miser's Cave_.

4 _A Closet in the Fairy's Palace_.

5 _A Ballroom in the Fairy's Palace_.

ACT III

6 _Before the Curtain representing Rocks_.

7 _The Abode of the Ancestors_.

ACT IV

8 _Before the Curtain representing the Milky Way_.

9 _The Abode of the Children_.

ACT V

10 _Before the Curtain representing the Edge of a Forest_.

11 _The Awakening_.

THE BETROTHAL; OR THE BLUE BIRD CHOOSES

ACT I

SCENE I

_The Wood-cutter's Cottage_

_The cottage-scene in The Blue Bird: the interior of a wood-cutter's cabin, simple and rustic in appearance, but in no way poverty-stricken. A recessed fireplace containing the dying embers of a wood-fire. Kitchen-utensils, a cupboard, a bread-pan, a grandfather's clock, a spinning-wheel, a water-tap, etc. A dog and a cat asleep. A large blue-and-white sugar-loaf. On the wall hangs a round cage containing a blue bird. At the back, two windows with closed shutters. On the left is the front-door, with a big latch to it. A ladder leads up to a loft. But there is only one bed_, TYLTYL'S; _he is now sixteen years of age. It is dark; the scene is lit only by a few moonbeams which filter through the shutters_. TYLTYL _is sound asleep_.

(_A knock at the door_.)

TYLTYL

(_Waking with a start_.) Who's there? (_Another knock_.) Wait till I put on my breeches. The door's bolted. I'll come and open it.

THE FAIRY

(_Behind the door._) Don't trouble, don't trouble!... It's only me!... How do you do? (_The door has opened of its own accord and_ THE FAIRY BÉRYLUNE _enters under the guise of an old woman, as in the first scene of the Blue Bird. At the same time the room is filled with a strange brightness, which remains after the door is closed again_.)

TYLTYL

(_In surprise_.) Who are you?

THE FAIRY

Don't you know me? Why, Tyltyl, it's hardly seven years since we said good-bye to each other!

TYLTYL

(_Bewildered and vainly searching his memory_.) Yes, yes, I remember ... and I know what you mean....

THE FAIRY

Yes, but you don't quite grasp who I am and you don't remember anything at all. You haven't changed, I see: just the same careless, ungrateful, wool-gathering little fellow that you always were!... But you have grown taller and stronger, my lad, and quite handsome! If I were not a fairy, I should never have known you! Yes, really quite handsome!... But are you aware of it? It doesn't seem to have occurred to you!

TYLTYL

We only had one tiny looking-glass in the house, about as big as your hand. Mytyl took it and keeps it in her room.

THE FAIRY

So Mytyl has a room of her own now?

TYLTYL

Yes, she sleeps next door, under the stairs, and I here, in the kitchen. Shall I wake her?

THE FAIRY

(_Growing suddenly and unreasonably angry, as on her former visit_.) There's no need to do anything of the sort!... I have nothing to do with her; her hour has not struck; and, when it does I shall be quite capable of finding her, without being shown the way as though I were blind!... In the meantime, I want nobody's advice....

TYLTYL

(_In dismay_.) But ma'am, I didn't know....

THE FAIRY

That will do.... (_Recovering her temper as suddenly as she lost it_.) By the way, how old are you?

TYLTYL

I shall be sixteen a fortnight after Epiphany.

THE FAIRY

(_Growing angry again_.) A fortnight after Epiphany!... What a way of reckoning!... And here am I without my almanack, having left it with Destiny last time I called on him, fifty years ago!... I don't know where I stand.... However, never mind: I'll make the calculation when we see him, for we shall have to get it exactly right.... And what have you been doing these seven years since we met?

TYLTYL

I have been working in the forest with daddy.

THE FAIRY

That means you've been helping him cut down trees. I don't like that very much. You call that working, do you? Ah, well, men evidently can't live without destroying the last things of beauty that remain on the earth!... So let's talk of something else.... (_Mysteriously_.) Can any one hear us?

TYLTYL

I don't think so.

THE FAIRY

(_Growing angry once more_.) It doesn't matter what you think, but whether you're sure. What I have to say is tremendously important ... and strictly private. Come here, quite close, so that I can whisper it.... Whom are you in love with?

TYLTYL

(_In amazement_.) Whom am I in love with?

THE FAIRY

(_Still cross and quite forgetting the importance of speaking in a low voice_.) Yes, yes! I'm not talking Greek, am I? I want to know if you're in love with any one.

TYLTYL

Yes, certainly; I love everybody: my parents, my friends, my sister, my neighbours, all the people I know.

THE FAIRY

Now oblige me and don't play the fool.... You know perfectly well what I mean.... I'm asking whether there's any one girl among those you meet whom you love more than the rest.

TYLTYL

(_Blushing and considering_.) I don't know....

THE FAIRY

(_Angrier than ever_.) What do you mean; you don't know? Who does know, if you don't? At your age a boy ought to think of nothing else: if he doesn't, he's a booby, a nincompoop and not worth bothering about!... There's nothing to blush at: it's when one's not in love that one should feel ashamed.... You and I are miles away just now from the falsehood of words: we are with the truth of our thoughts, which is a very different thing.... Come, among all the girls you've met....

TYLTYL

(_Timidly_.) I don't meet very many....

THE FAIRY

That's no reason; it's not necessary to meet them by the dozen. Very often it's enough if you come across just one: when you've nobody else, you love that one and are not to be pitied.... But come, among those close by....

TYLTYL

There aren't any close by....

THE FAIRY

There are at the neighbours'.

TYLTYL

There are hardly any neighbours....

THE FAIRY

There are girls in the village, in the town, way back in the forest and in every house. You find them everywhere when your heart's awake.... Which is the prettiest?

TYLTYL

Well, they're all very pretty.

THE FAIRY

How many do you know?

TYLTYL

Four in the village, one in the forest and one by the bridge.

THE FAIRY

Oho! That's not bad, for a beginning!

TYLTYL

We don't see many people here, you know.

THE FAIRY

You're not the baby one would think.... But tell me, between ourselves, do they love you too?

TYLTYL

They haven't told me so; they don't know that I love them.

THE FAIRY

But these are things which it isn't necessary to know or to tell!... You see that at once when you're living in the truth. A look is enough; there's no mistaking it; and the words which people say merely hide the real ones which the heart has spoken.... But I'm in a hurry: would you like me to make them come here?

TYLTYL

(_Terrified_.) Make them come here? They wouldn't want to! They hardly know me. They know I'm poor. They don't know where I live, especially those in the village: they never come this way.... It's an hour's walk from the church to the house; the roads are bad; it's dark....

THE FAIRY

Dear, dear, anything more? Don't let us talk about that. Remember, we've done with untruths. I've only to lift my finger and they'll come....

TYLTYL

But I'm not even sure that they've noticed me at all.

THE FAIRY

Have you looked at them?

TYLTYL

Yes, sometimes....

THE FAIRY

And have they looked back at you?

TYLTYL

Yes, sometimes....

THE FAIRY

Well, that's enough; that's the truth; and one doesn't need anything more. You'll find that's the way people tell each other in the world where I'm going to take you, the world of real things. The rest doesn't matter.... They make no mistake. You'll see, once we are there, how well they know all that has to be known; for what we see is nothing: it is what we do not see that makes the world go round.... And now, watch me!... I'm taking the little green hat out of my bag again!... Do you remember it?

TYLTYL

Yes, but it's bigger....

THE FAIRY

(_Angrily_.) Of course it's bigger! So's your head: they grew up together.... Always making those unnecessary remarks!...

TYLTYL

And the diamond has changed colour. I should call it blue....

THE FAIRY

But, you see, it isn't the diamond! This time we're not concerned with the souls of Bread, Sugar and other simple and unimportant things. We have to choose the great and only love of your life; for each man has only one. If he misses it, he wanders miserably over the face of the earth. The search goes on till he dies, with the great duty unfulfilled which he owes to all those who are within him. But he seldom has an idea of this. He walks along, his eyes shut; seizes some woman whom he chances to meet in the dark; and shows her to his friends as proudly as though the gates of Paradise were opening. He fancies himself alone in the world and imagines that in his own heart all things begin and end.... Which is absurd.... But no more of that! Is everything ready? Put on your hat and turn the sapphire; then they'll come in....

TYLTYL

(_Scared_.) But I'm not dressed!... Wait, wait!... What shall I put on?... Oh, what luck!... There are my Sunday clothes on the chair: my breeches--they're almost new--and my clean shirt!... (_He dresses hurriedly_.)

THE FAIRY

Come, come, have done! All this doesn't matter; they won't mind your clothes.... You're not going to meet a lot of silly children. You won't find them the same as they were in the other life, because this is the real one; and it's the truth in them that you'll see here.

TYLTYL

(_Very uneasy_.) Will they all come in together? There are six of them, at least: I can't remember.... Suppose they started quarrelling and pulling one another's hair?

THE FAIRY

Just the least bit conceited, aren't you?

TYLTYL

No, but I'm afraid of their making a noise, because of daddy.

THE FAIRY

Haven't I told you again and again, we're no longer in the world below!... Can't you feel that the air is much purer and the light quite different?... We are now in a sphere in which men and women don't quarrel or wish one another harm. All of that was merely make-believe and doesn't exist deep down.... If some of them are unhappy because you hesitate in your choice, they will none the less hope on until the end; and they know very well that where there is love there must also be sorrow....

TYLTYL

How will they come in?

THE FAIRY

Upon my word, I don't know. Each of them will do what occurs to her: one will choose the window, another the roof, the wall, the cellar or the chimney ... one or two even will come in by the door; but those are the least interesting: they lack imagination.... However, we shall see when the time comes. We've talked enough; time presses; come, turn the sapphire....

TYLTYL

(_Trying to gain time, in order to conceal his terror_.) Which way round am I to turn it?

THE FAIRY

The same as with the diamond, from right to left.... (_Looking at_ TYLTYL.) Goodness me, how pale you are!... What has come over you? Surely you're not afraid?...

TYLTYL

Not at all, on the contrary.... I always look like this....

THE FAIRY

You needn't be ashamed to admit it: this is a very serious moment; and, if men knew what happened, in this life and all the others, when they made a bad choice, they'd never dare to get married at all.... But what you're trying to do is to put off the dreadful moment; and I'm a goose to be listening to you.... Come, turn the sapphire!

(TYLTYL _turns the sapphire. No sooner has he done so than the cottage is filled with a supernatural light, which invests all things with beauty, purity and a transcendent joy. A window opens noiselessly and a young girl, dressed like a wood-cutter and carrying a hatchet in her hand, steps into the room and runs up and kisses_ TYLTYL.)

THE GIRL

Good evening, Tyltyl!... You called me: here I am!...

TYLTYL

Hullo, it's Milette!... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Milette, my cousin, the daughter of Feltree, the wood-cutter.... We see each other sometimes in the forest.... (_To_ MILETTE.) So you loved me?... You never said so!...

MILETTE

Do people say such things in a life where everything is forbidden? Need they say them?... But I knew at once and from the first that you loved me; and so did I love you.... It was one evening when you went past with your father. You were carrying a bundle of laurel-twigs. You didn't know my name then and said, "Good evening," and looked into my eyes. I answered, "Good night," and cast my eyes down; but I had that look of yours in my heart; and, since then, without leaving home, I've been here very often; but you didn't seem to know....

TYLTYL

No, no, it's I who every evening after sunset used to go to you. I was never at home. Mummy would ask, "What are you thinking of, Tyltyl?" And daddy answered, "He's up in the moon again!" I wasn't in the moon at all, I was with you; but you paid no attention: you were seeing to the fire, or the soup, or the rabbits; you were cutting chips or tying up bundles, as if no one had entered your cottage....

MILETTE

No, I was here and kissing you all the time; but you didn't kiss me....

TYLTYL

I tell you it was I who was always kissing you; I tell you it was you who were never there....

MILETTE

It's funny that we can never see things till we've learnt how to look for them.... But, now that we do know, now that we see, we can really kiss each other....

TYLTYL

(_Eagerly kissing_ MILETTE.) Yes, yes, let's kiss each other again and again till we have no kisses left!... Oh, how wonderful it is!... I never kissed anybody till now; and I'd no idea what it was like!... Oh, how wonderful, how wonderful!... I could kiss you for ever! I could spend my life kissing you!...

MILETTE

And I, I too!... I'd never kissed anybody either: I mean, I'd only kissed daddy and mummy; it's not the same thing at all.... But tell me, Tyltyl, is it true that you love me and only me?... Who is that coming in?

(_Opening the wall, which closes again behind her, enter a second young girl, dressed in a blood-red skirt and bodice. A butcher's knife hangs from her belt_.)

THE SECOND GIRL

(_Rushing up to_ TYLTYL _and kissing him_.) Here I am, Tyltyl darling, here I am!

TYLTYL

(_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Belline, my cousin, the butcher's daughter.... (_To_ BELLINE.) What's the matter with you, Belline dear? You're wet through and quite out of breath!...

BELLINE

I should think I was!... It's a long way from the village to your place!... I didn't even wait to wash my hands.... I was helping daddy to cut up a calf; the moment your thoughts came, I dropped my knife and left everything so as to get here quicker.... I even believe that, while I was there, I cut my finger rather badly; but here it doesn't show.... Daddy hasn't the least idea what has happened; he must be furious. (_Catching sight of_ MILETTE.) How do you do, Milette?

MILETTE

How do you do, Belline?... Do you love him too?

BELLINE

Why, yes, of course!... You're not angry with me?

MILETTE

Not at all, I'm glad.... We'll both of us love him....

BELLINE

How pretty you look this evening, Milette dearest....

MILETTE

No, it's you, Belline: you've never been more beautiful....

TYLTYL

(_To_ THE FAIRY.) They're taking it very well!...

THE FAIRY

Of course they are; they know it's not your fault....

(_At this point, the chimney-recess lights up, opens at the hack and admits a third young girl, dressed like the maid at an inn and carrying a pewter tray under one arm and a bottle under the other_.)

THE THIRD GIRL

(_Enthusiastically, darting at_ TYLTYL.) Here I am, here I am! It's me!... Good evening, everybody; but first a kiss for Tyltyl!...

TYLTYL

Hullo, you too, Roselle?... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Roselle, the daughter of the landlord of the Golden Sun.... (_To_ ROSELLE.) Was there no one at the inn this evening, that you were able to come?

ROSELLE

On the contrary, heaps of people! You can imagine, on Christmas Eve! There were men sitting and drinking on the counter and on all the window-sills. I dropped a tray with twelve glasses on it when you called me. Why, I've still got the tray under this arm and a bottle of the best brandy under the other. It gets in my way when I'm kissing you.... I left them shouting after me, down there, as though I had set the house on fire.... They must be wondering if I'm mad. But I don't care, I was so delighted that you were thinking of me. A sudden happiness came over me.... How are you, Tyltyl dear?... Kiss me again!... You're even handsomer than when I saw you last....

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her_.) And you, dear Roselle, you are prettier than ever; and your cheeks are so soft and cool.... I never dared kiss you before.... When any one else did, I always said to myself, "How happy he must be!"

ROSELLE

The others didn't matter.... But I knew well enough that you didn't dare.... I didn't dare either, though I was dying to kiss you.... Do you remember the first time you came to the inn, six weeks ago? It was on a Sunday morning, after High Mass; you didn't look at anybody; but suddenly, when I came near, your eyes grew so bright and opened so wide....

TYLTYL

And so did yours open wide: they looked like two lakes.

ROSELLE

What were they doing, our eyes? What happened?... I know that, since that day, I think of nothing but you, I do no work, I'm always here; but you came very seldom....

(_Coming down the ladder from the attic, enter a fourth young girl, in rustic clothes, all white with flour_.)

TYLTYL

(_Turning round_.) Who's there? You, Aimette?... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Aimette, another cousin, the miller's daughter....

THE FAIRY

Go on, go on, you're doing very nicely!

AIMETTE

(_A little shyly_.) I came as I was, from the mill. I've not had time to brush myself.

TYLTYL

That doesn't matter. Kiss me all the same. How fresh and rosy you are, underneath all that flour!...

AIMETTE

I shall never dare.... You'd be covered with it....

(_She has hardly finished speaking when, through the other window, enter a fifth young girl, bare-foot, bare-headed, clad in rags and carrying in her hand a wooden bowl with a few halfpence clinking in it. She does not dare come forward_.)

TYLTYL

One more!... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) This is Jalline, the little beggar-girl from the bridge by the Hermitage.

THE FAIRY

Excellent, excellent!... I'd better wake your father and tell him the house won't be big enough; then he can start building at once....

TYLTYL

But it's not my fault. I didn't do it on purpose. One can't help loving them!... How are you, Jalline?... What have you done with your poor old father?

JALLINE

I left him at the bridge.

TYLTYL

What, all alone in the dark! And he blind and a cripple! Isn't that very dangerous?...

JALLINE (_On the verge of tears_.) Yes, I know it's wrong. It was very wrong of me, very. I won't do it again. But I couldn't help it, Tyltyl, really. When you called me, I couldn't stay where I was.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her_.) There, there, don't cry. I'll help you to bring him home.... Do you remember, I did that once before, one evening when I was crossing the bridge and gave you a halfpenny: it was all I had!

JALLINE

I've kept it ever since, Tyltyl. I put it in a box. I shall never lose it.

TYLTYL (_Kissing her again_.) Oh, the sweet smell of lavender and thyme!...

(_This time the door opens slowly. Enter a sixth young girl. She is in evening-dress, with a fur cloak over her shoulders, and carries a fan in her hand_.)

TYLTYL

Who is this?

THE FAIRY

But where do they all come from? At your age too! I should never have believed it!...

TYLTYL

But I didn't know.... (_To_ THE FAIRY.) Why, it's Rosarelle!... The mayor's daughter!... You know, from the great big farm-house, with the three round turrets, at the other end of the village!... What shall I do? She's so proud!...

THE FAIRY

Not a bit; she won't be any prouder than the others. Speak to her and you'll see.

TYLTYL

I'll never dare.... What could I say?

ROSARELLE

(_Coming forward_.) Well, Tyltyl, don't you know me?

TYLTYL

Yes, miss, but I wasn't sure....

ROSARELLE

Miss? What do you mean? That's not my name. My name's Rosarelle; and you know it.... There was a big dinner at my father's, for Christmas. Your thoughts came to fetch me while we were at dessert. I jumped up at once and upset a glass of champagne. They were alarmed and thought I was ill and began to fuss: it was as much as I could do to get away. Still, here I am and I'm going to kiss you.... Do you remember how we used to look at each other when you came to the yard with your bundles of wood?...

TYLTYL

Oh, yes! You were so lovely, I couldn't take my eyes off you.... But you are lovelier than ever to-day.

ROSARELLE

That was the beginning; but I didn't quite realize it till the day you gave me the three little bullfinches which you found in the forest.

TYLTYL

Yes, yes, I remember.... I knew too.... Are they still alive?

ROSARELLE

Two of the little things are dead; but the third is splendid.... I keep him in a gilt cage, by the window; and each time he sings....

THE FAIRY

Come, come, these little confidences are most interesting, but we've no time to lose. Everything must be settled to-night, for an opportunity like this comes only once to a man; and woe to him who lets it slip: he will never have another chance! But what we have to do now is to put our heads together and prepare for the great choice, which is to decide the happiness of two human beings first and of many others after that.

TYLTYL

(_Greatly perturbed_.) Must I make my choice at once and can I only choose one?...

THE FAIRY

Don't distress yourself; it's not your affair; it's not you who'll choose....

TYLTYL

(_Utterly bewildered_.) Not I who'll choose?...

THE FAIRY

Why, no, it doesn't concern you.

TYLTYL

(_Completely stupefied_.) It doesn't concern me?...

THE FAIRY

No, no, I told you so: of course it doesn't.

TYLTYL

(_Failing to understand a word_.) Then I can't love whom I want to?

THE FAIRY

Why, no.... Nobody loves whom he wants to or does what he wants to in this world. You must first of all learn what is wanted by those on whom you depend.

TYLTYL

By those on whom I depend?...

THE FAIRY

Why, yes: your ancestors, to begin with.

TYLTYL

My ancestors?

THE FAIRY

All those who have died before you.

TYLTYL

What business is it of theirs, since they're dead? I don't know them.

THE FAIRY

I dare say not, but they know you.... And then there are all your children.

TYLTYL

My children? What children? I've never had any!

THE FAIRY

Yes, yes, yes, you've had thousands who aren't born yet and who're waiting for the mother whom you're going to give them.

TYLTYL

Then it's they who will choose my bride?

THE FAIRY

Why, of course; that's how things always happen.... But let's have no more talk: we have to make a few preparations for the great journey; it's going to be rather long and tiring.... And first we must get some money: I've none left at home; and my magic wand that brings it me is being repaired a few thousand miles down in the centre of the earth ... don't quite see where we're to get what we want: the expenses will be quite heavy.... (_To_ THE GIRLS.) Has any one of you a few thousand francs on her?

JALLINE

I've only sixpence halfpenny in my bowl, besides Tyltyl's halfpenny, which I can't part with.

ROSELLE

I've seven francs fifty, to-night's takings.

MILETTE

I've nothing at all.

ROSARELLE

I've nothing on me, but grandfather's very rich.

THE FAIRY

That's all right, it's all we need: he can lend us some money.

ROSARELLE

Yes, but he's a miser!

THE FAIRY

No, that's a mistake; there are no misers. Thanks to the sapphire which reveals the heart and essence of things, you will see that he is no more of a miser than you or I and that he will give us whatever we ask. That's the first visit we shall have to pay.... Well, are you all ready? Which way shall we go out?

(_At this point, a trap-door opens, in the middle of the stage, and from it there rises slowly, like a tower, a gigantic shape, twice a man's height. It is square, enormous, imposing and overwhelming; it gives the impression of a mass of granite and of immense, blind, inflexible force. Its face is not seen. It is draped in grey folds that are rigid as rock_.)

THE SHAPE

It's I. You have forgotten me, as usual!...

TYLTYL

(_Not a little frightened_.) Who is this gentleman?

THE FAIRY

He's right, I had forgotten him. It's nobody, it's Destiny. I didn't foresee that the sapphire would make him visible also. He will have to come with us; we can't prevent him; he's entitled to. Give him your hand.

TYLTYL

Will he lead us?

THE FAIRY

That remains to be seen. We must hear what Light says: it's a matter for her.

TYLTYL

Why, of course. Light!... Where is she?... Isn't she going with us?

THE FAIRY

Yes, yes, but she has a great deal to do at the moment.... She wasn't free this evening.... We shall find her at my place, where we shall go straight from your visit to the miser.

TYLTYL

How glad I shall be to see her again!... She was so nice, so sweet, so beautiful, so affectionate and kind!...

THE FAIRY

Come, give Destiny your hand; it's time to start.

(TYLTYL _stretches out his arm to the monster, who grips the boy's little hand and wrist in his huge bronze-coloured hand_.)

TYLTYL

Here you are, sir.... (_Giving a cry_.) Hi!... It's not a hand. It's a steel vice!...

THE FAIRY

It's nothing, you'll get used to it.... Come, is everything ready at last? Nothing more that we've forgotten? Then one, two, three and off we go!...

(_A knock at the door_.)

THE FAIRY

(_Crossly_.) Who's come to disturb us now? Shall we never get out of this hovel?

(_Another knock_.)

TYLTYL

Come in!...

(_A third knock_.)

TYLTYL

Who's there?... Come in, can't you?...

(_The door opens slowly and reveals a female form shrouded in long white veils, like an antique statue. The face, hands, mouth, eyes, hair and eyebrows are lifeless and white as marble. It stands motionless on the threshold_.)

TYLTYL

What is it?

THE FAIRY

Really, I don't know.... It must be one of those whom you've forgotten....

TYLTYL

(_Vainly ransacking his memory_.) I?... I've forgotten nobody.... I've never seen her before.... I can't remember.... (_Going up to_ THE VEILED FORM.) Who are you? (THE VEILED FORM _does not reply_.)

THE FAIRY

It's no use asking her. She can't tell you, she can't come to life till you remember her.

TYLTYL

But I don't. I'm thinking and trying as hard as I can, but I can find nothing.

THE FAIRY

Very well, very well, we shall see later, when everything is cleared up.... As she blocks the path, we must go out by the window.... Come, this way! We have taken our fate in our hands; and things have begun!...

DESTINY

Excuse me, excuse me! It's I who am Fate and it's I who begin and it's I who give orders.... I go first, for it is I who direct everything and I am the only master!...

(_The windows open down to the ground and all go out into the starry night, preceded by_ DESTINY _dragging_ TYLTYL _by the hand_. THE VEILED FORM _follows them slowly, at a distance_.)

CURTAIN

ACT II

SCENE II

_Outside the Door_

_The curtain represents a huge double door surmounted with a flattened arch. The door is old, thick and massive, unyielding, bound and studded with iron bars and nails. In the middle of the door is a formidable lock_.

(_Enter_ THE FAIRY _and_ TYLTYL, _who carries an empty wallet over his shoulder_.)

THE FAIRY

This is the Miser's door.

TYLTYL

Where are my sweethearts?

THE FAIRY

At home, in my palace; they'll wait there for you and will be quite safe.... Be quick and come back soon.

TYLTYL

What about Destiny? I thought he would never leave me again?

THE FAIRY

That's true; it's curious. But it's not our business to run after him; it's his own affair; he's by no means indispensable.

TYLTYL

Are you coming with me to the Miser?

THE FAIRY

No, it's better that you should see him alone.... You're not frightened, are you?

TYLTYL

Not a bit; but I don't quite know what I am to do.

THE FAIRY

It's very simple: when you're in there, you turn the sapphire; and he'll give you anything you want.

TYLTYL

He won't attack me? I've no weapons, you know.

THE FAIRY

On the contrary, he will be delighted to be of service.

TYLTYL

How shall I get in? There's no bell and no knocker. Am I to tap at the door?

THE FAIRY

Do nothing of the sort! That would be giving him a hint; and he would become unmanageable.... But this also is quite simple. I will touch the big lock with my wand; the doors will slide back to right and left; and you will suddenly be on the other side, that is to say, right inside the cave, before he even suspects it. Once there, you can keep quiet in your corner for a moment and watch him playing with his gold, if that amuses you; and it will amuse you, for it's rather curious. Then, when you've had enough, turn the sapphire. Get over there, on the left, against the wall of the arch, so that you can slip into his den at once, without making a noise.... Look out! The door will disappear! And I'll take myself off this way!... (_She touches the great lock with her wand_.)

SCENE III

_The Miser's Cave_

(_The heavy doors open in the middle, slide right and left and disappear in the slips, revealing the whole of_ THE MISER'S _den, an immense cave with low arches in which are piled large sacks bursting with gold, silver and copper coins. The only light comes from a wretched smoking candle_. TYLTYL _hides himself as well as he can in a dark corner_. THE MISER, _an old, hook-nosed man, with a dirty white beard and long, scanty hair, is dressed in a sort of squalid, patched dressing-gown. On the floor is an old carpet, with three sacks bulging with gold at one corner_.)

THE MISER

To-day I shall count the contents of these three sacks all over again. I must have made a mistake in my last reckoning. There are three louis missing. Three louis are sixty francs, which make a considerable difference in a total of six hundred thousand francs. It's quite impossible to sleep with that anxiety on one's mind. Each of these three sacks ought to hold two hundred thousand francs, the first and second in louis of twenty francs and the third in ten-franc pieces. I shall empty them on the carpet first to see what a lovely heap they make.... (_He empties the contents of the first sack on the carpet_.) How they sparkle, how they sparkle!... What a lot of them there are!... When you see the gold spreading itself out, it's impossible to believe that it all could go into one sack!... Let's have another.... This is the sack with the little ten-franc pieces.... (_He empties a second sack_.) They are as lovely as the big ones.... They are younger, that's all, and there are more of them.... Now let's see what the third holds.... (_He empties the third sack. A few gold coins roll of the carpet. He throws himself flat on the floor to catch them_.) Oh, no, oh, no, children!... This won't do!... You mustn't run away like that!... Nothing is allowed to leave this cave!... Trying to hide yourselves, are you? To go where, pray? Don't you know that there's no place like home?... Fancy running away like that from daddy! I should never have thought it of you! This way, children, this way, darlings. This way, my pretty ones! Back to the heap, back to the cradle, then you'll be happy!... (_He picks up a coin which has rolled farther than the rest_.) Don't do it again, you: you're always making off; you're a little torment and you set a bad example. Beg my pardon, or I'll punish you. You shall be the first to be spent; I'll give you to a beggar, do you hear?... (_Kissing it_.) No, no, I'm only pretending.... There, there, don't cry!... I was merely frightening you.... I love you all the same, but don't do it again!... Here, here, here, they're here, in front of me and all around me.... It will take me quite a fortnight to count them all and to weigh them in my scales.... What a lot of them, what a lot of them! And how pretty they are!... I know them every one, I could call them by their names.... They would need a hundred and twenty thousand different names; and each of those names stands for a treasure!... (_He rolls on the carpet amidst the gold_.) I love to see them close!... Oh, what a cosy bed! And what a joy it is to be among one's daughters!... For they are my daughters: I brought them into the world; I have nurtured them, protected them from harm, fondled and pampered them; I know their history, the trouble they've given me, but all is forgotten: they love me, I love them and we shall never part again!... Oh, what a fine thing happiness is!... (_He fills his two hands with the gold, makes it trickle over his heart, on his forehead and in his heard and utters little sighs of pleasure which gradually swell into roars of delight. Suddenly, he shudders, starts and springs up, thinking that he has heard a sound_.) What is it?... Who's there?... (_Reassuring himself_.) No, no, it's nothing ... no one would dare.... (_He sees_ TYLTYL _and gives a shout_.) A thief!... A thief!... A thief!... You here!... You here!... (_With his hands clutching like claws, terrified and terrifying, he rushes upon_ TYLTYL, _who jumps back and quickly turns the sapphire_. THE MISER _stops short. After an inward struggle which seems violent and lasts for some seconds, his hands drop to his sides, his face brightens and loses its hardness. He seems to wake from a bad dream and tries to wipe the memory of it from his forehead. He gazes with astonishment at the gold spread over the carpet, feels and pushes it with his foot, seems not to know what it is and then addresses_ TYLTYL _in a very calm and gentle voice_.)

THE MISER

You must have awakened me.... How did you get here?... What have you come for?...

TYLTYL

I've come to ask you to lend me a little money.... I understand that I want some in order to discover my bride....

THE MISER

Have you anything to put it in?

TYLTYL

I've brought this wallet.

THE MISER

I shall be delighted to fill it for you; but I warn you that gold is very heavy and that you won't be able to carry it away.

TYLTYL

You must put in just what you think fit.

THE MISER

(_Pouring the gold by handfuls into the wallet_.) Help me, will you?... We'll fill it to the brim and see how that does.... We can easily lighten it afterwards, if it's too heavy....

TYLTYL

Oh, you're giving me too much, I don't want all that!... So you're not a miser, as they told me?

THE MISER

I? Not at all. Why should I be?... I have only a few weeks to live and am not in need of anything.... I hardly eat at all; and I drink nothing but water.

TYLTYL

Why were you lying on your gold when I came in, kissing it and calling it by pet names? You seemed to worship it.

THE MISER

Oh, I don't know! It amuses me. When a man grows old, he has to amuse himself as best he can.... But it isn't I who do it. All that is only a sort of dream. I am thinking of something very different.... All men are like that at my age. They are not often where you see them; they are not often doing what they appear to do; and every one lives in one of those dreams which have nothing to do with the truth.... But this is not the moment to explain things to you.... There, your wallet it full. Can you lift it?

TYLTYL

(_Making an effort_.) No, really, it is a bit too heavy.... Let's take some of it out....

THE MISER

(_Emptying part of the wallet_.) I daresay that's better.

TYLTYL

Oh, look here, you're taking it all!... There won't be enough left.... I must put a little of it back....

THE MISER

I say, are you becoming a miser now?

TYLTYL

No, but I don't know that I shall have a chance of coming back again.... Just help me lift the wallet on my shoulder....

THE MISER

(_Helping him with the wallet_.) There you are!

TYLTYL

(_Staggering under the load_.) I say, what a weight gold is!

THE MISER

Don't I know it?... Have you far to go?

TYLTYL

I really can't tell.

THE MISER

What's the weather like outside?

TYLTYL

It was bright sunshine.

THE MISER

One wouldn't think it in here.... Fancy, it's years since I've looked at the sky or the green trees!... But you can't breathe under the weight of your bag, you poor little man!... Come, kiss me good-bye: there's no knowing when we shall meet again.... Thanks for the pleasant time you have given me and especially for waking me up.... I shall make the most of my remaining days....

TYLTYL

Which is the way out?

THE MISER

That way, I suppose.

(TYLTYL _steps forward through the arch. The doors at once slide and close behind him and he is left standing alone, in the dark, in front of the great shut door_.)

TYLTYL

It's dark.... I'm all alone.... Where am I?... Where am I to go?

DESTINY

(_Looming up out of the shadow_.) This way!

TYLTYL

Hullo! You're there, are you? I thought you had deserted me....

DESTINY

(_Grasping his hand_.) I was here all the time.... I never lose sight of you....

TYLTYL

Yes, but, I say, don't walk so fast!... My bag's frightfully heavy.... It would be much kinder of you if you helped me to carry it a little, instead of making me rush along like this....

DESTINY

I am not man's servant.... Forward, forward, forward!...

(_They go out_.)

SCENE IV

_A Closet in the Fairy's Palace_

_A sort of waiting-room or lumber-room containing the principal accessories of the Tales of Mother Goose: Cinderella's pumpkin and glass slipper; Red Ridinghood's cake and bowl; Hop-o'-my-Thumb's pebbles; the Ogre's daughters' golden crowns; the Sleeping Beauty's distaff and snake-tub; the Giant's seven-leagued hoots; Blue Beard's key; the Blue Bird in his silver cage; and, hanging from the wall, Catskin's weather-coloured, moon-coloured and sun-coloured dresses. All these things look rather tawdry in the grey and unbecoming light_. TYLTYL'S _seven little friends are locked up in this room. In the same unsympathetic light they look much less pretty than when they entered the cottage and they seem rather tired, discontented and glum, except_ THE VEILED GIRL, _who stands on one side, motionless, impassive and unrevealing_.

BELLINE

Where have they brought us?

ROSARELLE

I don't know; but I must say that it's not a nice place in which to keep young ladies waiting.

BELLINE

Yes, it looks like a lumber-room where they've stored all the odds and ends and litter of the house.

ROSARELLE

(_Touching the various objects in disgust_.) What's this? A distaff? Bless me, what for?... A pumpkin, a cake, an old bowl and goodness knows what else!... A tub full of dead eels! Gracious, how they smell!... It's all disgracefully kept.... And that lot of old fly-blown, spun-glass dresses!... My dear, how horrible!... What sort of place can this be? A potting-shed, a rag-and-bone shop, a pawn-broker's, or a thieves' kitchen? Whom can it belong to? A receiver of stolen goods? (_Touching the more bizarre dresses_.) Or a Hottentot dressmaker?

BELLINE

There's something of everything ... except a broom and a duster.

ROSARELLE

One wouldn't be enough.

BELLINE

And nothing to sit on but an old wooden bench....

ROSARELLE

But it's carved, my love!...

BELLINE

Yes, carved in dust.

ROSARELLE

Reach me one of those hideous rags and let me wipe it....

BELLINE

(_Eagerly and obsequiously_.) Wait, miss, I'll do that.... (_She takes the moon-coloured dress and dusts the seat with it_.) There, that's a little better; that's at least one corner nearly clean enough to sit on.

ROSARELLE

(_Sitting down_.) I'm tired out!

BELLINE

(_Sitting down beside her_.) So am I; my feet are dreadfully sore.

ROSARELLE

(_Looking around through her lorgnette_.) But what I want to know is where have we got to? My dear, have we fallen into a trap?

BELLINE

The company certainly is a little mixed. There's the miller's daughter, the girl from the inn, the wood-cutter....

ROSARELLE

Or rather, to be accurate, the wood-stealer.... There's even the little beggar-girl from the bridge by the Hermitage, to whom I refused a penny last Sunday.... My dear, you should have heard the insolent way in which she asked for it!...

BELLINE

And what's that white image standing in the corner, the one that never stirs, never speaks and follows us wherever we go?

ROSARELLE

That great lump of clay, that ugly wax-work? That washed-out plaster saint?

BELLINE

She looks very ill.

ROSARELLE

She may have Jewish leprosy or Zanzibar plague or Bombay cholera.... I tell you, we must be careful: that's all very catching....

AIMETTE

(_Coming up to the bench timidly_.) I should like to sit down too, I'm very tired....

ROSARELLE

Mind what you're about, miss!... There's dust enough as it is; I don't want flour into the bargain.

ROSELLE

What's all this, what's all this? Are we turning up our nose at flour now?

ROSARELLE

I wasn't addressing my remarks to you, madam.

ROSELLE

No, but I'm speaking to you. What bread would you eat if you had no flour?

ROSARELLE

You would do better to tell your father to pay the three quarters' rent that's in arrear.

ROSELLE

He'll pay his rent when your horrid old miser of a grandfather has seen to those repairs. We've been asking to have them done these last three years.

BELLINE

Is it the repairs that prevent your father from paying his butcher's bills?

ROSELLE

Does he owe anything at your shop?

BELLINE

It's six months since we saw the colour of his money.

ROSELLE

He's waiting to see the colour of yours at the inn.

BELLINE

Of mine indeed? You can wait a long time before I set foot in your dirty dram-shop.

ROSELLE

Yes, but that father of yours isn't so squeamish when he comes on Sundays and tipples till we have to put him out dead-drunk.

ROSARELLE

Don't answer her, my dear; we are not accustomed to these pot-house brawls.

ROSELLE

As for you, miss, who pretend to be so particular, you just go and ask your father, the mayor, who it was that nibbled the holes, which were not made by rats, in the town's cash-box.

ROSARELLE

(_Springing to her feet, furiously_.) Holes which were not made by rats! What do you mean?

ROSELLE

I mean what every one in the village means!...

ROSARELLE

Mind what you're saying; and say it again if you dare.

ROSELLE

Well, what would you do if I did say it again? You don't frighten me with your airs and graces.

ROSARELLE

Never mind my airs and graces; I'll soon show you what I'll do.

ROSELLE

Well, then, I do say it again.

ROSARELLE

(_Boxing her ears_.) And take that for your answer!...

(_Piercing screams and a general turmoil_. ROSELLE and AIMETTE _make a rush at_ BELLINE _and_ ROSARELLE, _while_ MILETTE _and_ JALLINE _vainly try to separate the combatants_. THE VEILED GIRL _alone remains motionless in her corner, as though she were not present. The others claw one another's faces, tear one another's hair and end by uttering such piercing yells and shrieks that_ TYLTYL, _returning from the_ MISER'S, _hears them from the far end of the palace and comes running up, scared and dismayed. He is bare-headed and only half-dressed and does not understand what is going on_.)

TYLTYL

What is it? What's the matter? What has happened? An accident? Are you hurt? What have you been doing?

THE GIRLS

(_All speaking together_.) It's she!... No, no, it was Rosarelle who began!... I tell you, it was she!... She insulted me!... She boxed my ears!... She dared to talk against my father!... She spoke ill of my mother!... She's lying, she's lying!... She nearly pulled my ear off!... She's driven a hairpin into my cheek!...

(_Enter_ THE FAIRY.)

THE FAIRY

Why, what's the matter?

TYLTYL

(_In bewilderment_.) I don't know, ma'am. I think they must have gone mad. They were so sweet when I left them. I should never have known them!... Look, look, they are quite different!... Rosarelle and Belline's eyes are blazing like furies', Aimette looks so spiteful and Roselle so brazen, Jalline hasn't washed herself and Milette's cheeks are as red as a turkey-cock's.... (_Bursting into tears and hiding his eyes with his arm, like a child crying_.) I can't bear it! Oh, I can't bear it!

THE FAIRY

But, you little silly, it's your own fault!

TYLTYL

My fault?

THE FAIRY

Yes, of course, it's your fault.... And, first, where have you come from? What have you done with your jacket and your green hat?

TYLTYL

Why, ma'am, I was busy dressing; I was putting on the little pair of silk breeches and the jacket embroidered with pearls which you told me I was to wear when I went to see the Ancestors.... Then I heard screams, dropped everything, ran up and found them fighting, tearing out one another's hair and scratching one another's faces....

THE FAIRY

A pretty business!... That will teach you to run after them without your talisman, which reveals the truth.... I call it most incorrect and improper.... Don't you see that you are not seeing them now as they are?...

TYLTYL

I'm not seeing them as they are?... Then how do I see them?...

THE FAIRY

Why, as they are not, that is to say, as you ought never to see them.... It's all so wonderfully simple: anything that's ugly isn't true, never has been true and never will be.

TYLTYL

That's easily said; but you see what you do see.

THE FAIRY

When you see what you do see, you see nothing at all.... I've told you before, it's what you do not see that makes the world go round.... All this doesn't count; it's only a little foam on the surface of the ocean.... But run quickly and fetch the sapphire and we shall once more see deep down into their souls, the truth of their hearts and the well-spring of their life.... Wait, you needn't trouble: I see Light coming; she has brought you your hat.

(_Enter_ LIGHT.)

LIGHT

Good-evening, Tyltyl.

TYLTYL

(_Throwing himself passionately into her arms_.) Oh, Light, Light!... It's my dear Light!... Where were you?... What have you been doing ever since I saw you last?... I have missed you so much and looked for you so often!...

LIGHT

My dear little Tyltyl!... I have never lost sight of you.... I have guided you and counselled you and kissed you very often, without your knowing it.... But we will talk about all this later; to-day we have no time; I have only one night to give you and there is a great deal to be done.

(_Enter_ DESTINY.)

DESTINY

Where is Tyltyl?

TYLTYL

Here. I'm not trying to hide.

DESTINY

And quite right too, for it would be no use; there's no escaping me....

TYLTYL

(_Contemplating him in astonishment_.)

But what's the matter with you?... What has happened to you? You look so much smaller!... You seem to be less tall and less broad.... You're not ill, are you?...

DESTINY

(_Who has indeed shrunk appreciably_.)

I? I never change, I am always the same; I am insuperable, insensible, invulnerable, immutable, inexorable, irresistible, invisible, inflexible and irrevocable!...

TYLTYL

All right, all right, what I said was merely....

THE FAIRY

(_Aside, to_ TYLTYL.) Be quiet, you will only vex him and he will get out of hand.... It is probably being so close to Light that has upset him; they never did agree.... (_Aloud_.) Come, children, it's time.... Put on your hat, Tyltyl, and turn the sapphire; we shall see what happens: sometimes it works upon people's hearts, sometimes on their minds, sometimes on the objects around them and often on all three; one cannot tell before-hand....

(_He turns the sapphire. The closet brightens with a blue and supernatural light which gives beauty and life to everything in the room; the accessories of Mother Goose seem to wake up: the spindle revolves madly and unreels threads of gold and crystal; the pumpkin swells, sways from side to side and lights up; the Blue Bird bursts into song; the snake-tub bubbles and pours forth fruits and flowers; the moon-coloured and sun-coloured dresses wave and glitter; the columns and aisles gleam with precious stones. But the group of_ GIRLS _especially undergoes a radical and wonderful transformation: their features relax, their eyes open wider, smiles blossom on their lips, their frocks become gay and splendid, innocence, gladness, kindness and beauty bloom once more; and_ TYLTYL, _in an ecstasy, clapping his hands, intoxicated with delight, rushes into the midst of them, giving and receiving kisses and not knowing which of them to listen to_.)

TYLTYL

They're themselves again, they're themselves again!... How lovely they are, how lovely they are!... Jalline, Milette my darling, Aimette, Belline darling, Rosarelle, Roselle!... They are all as they were before and I love every one of them!... Let us kiss again, again, again!... Oh, let us kiss for ever!...

(_At this moment_, THE VEILED GIRL, _who has played no part in the transfiguration or in the general ecstasy, staggers in her corner and, without uttering a sound, falls suddenly and unresistingly, like a statue, and lies motionless, stretched on the floor. Silence, terror and consternation, followed by cries and bustle_; THE GIRLS _rush to her assistance and gather eagerly round her_.)

ROSELLE

(_Lifting her up_.) Help me, somebody!

ROSARELLE

She isn't hurt, is she?

ROSELLE

(_Examining her anxiously_.) No, no, I can't see anything.

AIMETTE

(_Stroking her forehead_.) She's breathing, she's sighing.

ROSARELLE

(_Kissing her_.) She has only fainted.... Tell us what you feel.... You're not in pain, dear, are you?

MILETTE

She doesn't answer.

JALLINE

(_Taking one of her hands and stroking it_.) Perhaps she's hungry.

MILETTE

(_Stroking the other hand_.) No, can't you feel? She's cold.

JALLINE

Will you have my cloak?

ROSELLE

No, no, it's not that.... What she wants is a drop of brandy.... I haven't my bottle.... And don't all crowd round her, she's suffocating. She wants air!...

ROSARELLE

(_Supporting her head_.) Have you some water there?... We ought to send for a doctor....

BELLINE

She's as white as marble.... She might be dead....

ROSARELLE

No, no, she's coming to.... I can hear her heart beating....

THE FAIRY

(_Intervening_.) Come, come, it's nothing.... I have practised medicine longer than men have and know a little more about it. Do not be uneasy; there is nothing to fear; I will undertake to cure her.... But we are wasting precious time, the night is passing and we shall get nothing done.... (_To_ THE GIRLS.) Come, dears, go and dress yourselves; your cloaks are waiting for you and everything is ready. Just follow Light; she will advise you.... We will meet in the great ballroom of the palace.... (THE GIRLS _go out, preceded by_ LIGHT. _To_ DESTINY.) You too, Destiny, follow Light; you want another costume. You can't go as you are. One must not be conspicuous, especially at this moment.... (DESTINY _obeys, grudgingly_.) I don't quite know how to dress the fellow. However, Light will think of something: she has more imagination than I.... Let's see to the little patient. She's better.... (_Helping her to rise_.) There, there.... Sit down on this bench.... No?... You prefer to stand up?... As you please: in that case, lean against the column, for the walls will soon disappear.... Now that we are alone, Tyltyl, will you tell me at last, between ourselves, who that girl is?...

TYLTYL

But, ma'am, I don't know at all....

THE FAIRY

You must make an effort.... She can't live unless you remember who she is.... It's a great responsibility.

TYLTYL

But it's not my fault.... I've done what I could; I can't make it out.

THE FAIRY

So much the worse for you. I can't understand it either.... Come, get dressed. Here's the little jacket which Light brought you.... And now, with one stroke of the wand, we will enter the ballroom and see what your little friends have made of themselves. (_She touches the panels of the closet, which disappear_.)

SCENE V

_A Ballroom in the Fairy's Palace_

(_All that remains standing is the columns and aisles forming the portico of an immense, luminous room, which might have been hewn and carved out of a mountain of amber. Under the dazzling arches_ THE SIX GIRLS _move about, arrayed in resplendent, trailing gowns, with their feet encased in gilt sandals, their hair hanging loose and their hands filled with flowers. They joyously beckon to_ TYLTYL, _who, at first dumbfounded, rushes towards them and joins in their games and dances_. THE VEILED GIRL _alone stands on one side, leaning against the column_.)

THE FAIRY

(_Observing_ DESTINY, _draped in a long black cape, with a broad-brimmed Spanish sombrero on his head_.) I say, there's Destiny!... She has dressed him like the villain in a play!... (_Clapping her hands_.) Come, children, it is time to be starting.... All this doesn't count: the real work is about to begin....

CURTAIN

ACT III

SCENE VI

_Before the Curtain representing Rocks_

(_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

TYLTYL

(_Out of breath, dropping on to a boulder_.) They live a long way up, the Ancestors!... Aren't you tired?

LIGHT

No, I was born in the mountains.

TYLTYL

(_Bending over a crevice_.) You're not like Destiny, who has almost given out.... He's still at the bottom of the last precipice, with my little friends.... He stumbles at every step and is limping badly.... They won't be here yet awhile; and I am very glad to have a moment alone with you, before they come, for I have a lot of things to ask you....

LIGHT

Ask me anything you like, dear; I will do my best to answer.

TYLTYL

What do you think of these little friends of mine?... If you had to choose, which would you take?...

LIGHT

I like them all, but it is not for me to choose; no one but yourself can tell which one you love best.

TYLTYL

Ah, that's not so easy!... You see, I love them all!... For instance, I love little Jalline, the beggar's daughter: she is so gentle and sweet, such a darling!...

LIGHT

Yes, she is very attractive: a pretty little creature, with a pure and simple mind....

TYLTYL

But I also love the Mayor's daughter, Rosarelle.... She is really very beautiful, not a bit conceited and much better-educated than the others.... And then think of what she has done: she has left everything to go with me....

LIGHT

Yes, that is the proof of a real love....

TYLTYL

But I also love Roselle, the inn-keeper's daughter, who is a very pretty girl, so healthy and strong and frank and brave and cheerful and amusing: you can't think how kind and affectionate she is....

LIGHT

Yes, she has qualities; and I too find her very sympathetic....

TYLTYL

But I also love the wood-cutter's daughter, Milette.... She has such beautiful eyes and hair!... At first she seems a little awkward, a little shy; but it's quite different when you know her: she is really very playful and full of fun.... And then, have you noticed her mouth and her teeth?

LIGHT

Yes, I've noticed them....

TYLTYL

But I also love Belline, the butcher's daughter.... To begin with, she's my cousin; and one always loves one's cousins. And then there's something about her dark beautiful eyes that frightens me rather. I adore that.... But she's not unkind, not at all.... Have you noticed her smile? One can never tell exactly what it means....

LIGHT

Yes, she has a strange smile....

TYLTYL

But I also love the miller's daughter, Aimette.... To begin with, she's also my cousin.... She keeps her eyes lowered under her long, curling eyelashes; she blushes when you look at her and weeps when you speak to her.... She looks a little silly; well, she's not that at all. She's quite different when you know her a bit.... She's very bright and very jolly and whispers such nice, sweet things to you that you at once want to kiss her....

LIGHT

I can see that the choice will not be easy.

TYLTYL

Which do you think the best?

LIGHT

There are neither better nor worse; each one is as good as the other; and all are good when they suffer or when they love.

TYLTYL

The nuisance is that it seems you mustn't love more than one.... Tell me, though, is that true, or is it only one of the things people say to children just to keep them quiet?

LIGHT

No, it's true. When you love many, that merely shows that you haven't yet found the one whom you were to love.

TYLTYL

But, after all, you, who know everything and see everything, must know better than I and can tell me what I ought to do.

LIGHT

No, dear, that is beyond me, beyond the range of my sight. It is for this very reason that we are going to consult those who do know; and they are near at hand, because it is in you that they live. We seem to be taking a great journey: that is an illusion; we are not going outside yourself and all our adventures are happening within you.... But I hear your little friends. Where is your green hat?

TYLTYL

Here. I took it off because I felt hot.

LIGHT

Put it on again quickly, so that there may be no more misunderstandings, and turn the sapphire.

(_He does so. Forthwith, on every side, all sorts of monsters emerge from the ground and from between the rocks: monsters with more or less human or animal shapes and grotesque, brutish or repulsive faces. They hustle_ TYLTYL, _gather together and dance round him_.)

TYLTYL

(_Terrified_.) Hullo, hullo, what's all this?...

LIGHT

Nothing. You must have turned the sapphire from left to right.

TYLTYL

So I did, I believe; I forgot.... But what do they want with me? They are pushing up against me and snapping at my feet.

LIGHT

They won't hurt you; they are merely your own thoughts, which you sometimes secretly think; now you have set them free and they are showing themselves for an instant as they are.

TYLTYL

What!... Are my thoughts as ugly as that?... I should never have believed it!...

LIGHT

Don't take it so much to heart!... They are not as ugly as some, because you are still innocent and very young.... If you were to see those of other men!... Besides, you have beautiful ones; but they are more reluctant to show themselves.... However, I see the girls coming.... Turn the sapphire from right to left, so that we may get rid of these monsters, whom they must not see....

(_He does so; and the creatures go back into the ground. Enter_ THE SIX GIRLS, _preceded by_ DESTINY _and followed, at a distance, by_ THE WHITE PHANTOM, _who keeps on one side. They surround_ TYLTYL, _overwhelming him with caresses and all speaking at the same time_.)

THE GIRLS

Good-evening, Tyltyl!... We've found you again!... We were so anxious about you!... We couldn't keep up with you.... Aren't you tired?... May we kiss you?... Destiny held us back.... I wanted to run.... He stood in the way.... Aren't you too hot?... Mind you don't catch cold.... Kiss me too!... And me too!... And me too!...

TYLTYL

(_Distributing kisses all round_.) My sweethearts!... What darlings you are, and how happy I feel!... I hope I have not made you walk too fast?... You must forgive me; I am rather in a hurry.... Jalline dear, you haven't hurt your foot, have you?... And you, Rosarelle? You are not used to climbing rocks.... Aimette's hands are cold and Roselle has made herself much too hot....

LIGHT

Come, we will talk about all this later. We must now hasten to the Ancestors, who are waiting for us and would be very much annoyed if we arrived late....

DESTINY

(_Who has grown smaller still and is now hardly taller than a man of average height. He seems very tired and sits huddled on a boulder_.) Not a step farther!...

TYLTYL

Hullo! You've grown a bit smaller again!...

DESTINY

I? I've not changed. I am always the same, I am....

TYLTYL

I know, I know.... It's Light being so near, perhaps....

DESTINY

Light and I have nothing in common.... In any event, I alone am master and I order a halt....

LIGHT

By all means; there is no need to go any farther. We have arrived; we are here without taking another step, at the abode of the Ancestors....

(_The curtain parts and opens upon the next scene_.)

SCENE VII

_The Abode of the Ancestors_

_A large open space, under an Elysian light, which imparts to all things an aspect of ethereal and lasting felicity and unchanging gladness. The back and the two sides of the square are formed of dwelling-places of different periods, some stately, some lowly, but all radiant and a little unreal. In the foreground, on the right, for instance, is the entrance to the cottage of_ TYLTYL'S _grandparents; next comes the gable of a farm-house of older date; then the front of a little eighteenth-century shop; and thus in succession, running from right to left and across the back, a seventeenth-century town-house, a sixteenth-century prison, tavern and hospital, a fifteenth-century mansion; some thirteenth-century hovels, a twelfth-century church, a Gallo-Roman farm and villa, and so on. Intersecting the background at the middle is a street in endless perspective, bordered with the very oldest houses and leading to the huts and caves of primitive mankind. In the foreground are a few stone benches standing under fine trees, laurels, plane-trees or cypresses_.

(TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX GIRLS _come forward, followed at a distance by_ THE WHITE PHANTOM, _who keeps to one side as usual. They have taken but a few steps when_ GAFFER _and_ GRANNY TYL _come hurrying out of their cottage and, with exclamations of delight, throw themselves into_ TYLTYL'S _arms_.)

GRANNY TYL

Tyltyl! Tyltyl!... Gracious, you again!... But this time it's not a surprise. We were expecting you; we were told three days ago.... All the same, though, we're so glad to see you that it's difficult to believe at first.... But how big and strong you've grown, dear! And so good-looking: I should never have known you!... Oh, dear, how nice it is to get a kiss like this now and again!...

GAFFER TYL

Haven't you brought Mytyl this time?...

GRANNY TYL

Of course he hasn't; you know it's not her turn yet.... We know what you're here for, Tyltyl: it's not to see us! You needn't blush!... You young rascal, you scamp!... There, there, you're quite right; and the sooner you set about it the better.... So it's one of these girls they have to choose?

TYLTYL

Yes, Granny, it seems so.

GAFFER TYL

(_Eyeing them like an expert_.) Ho, ho!... And, my word, a very nice lot too! My compliments! I admire your taste.... (_Pointing to_ ROSELLE.) If I were you, I'd choose that one: she's the prettiest and the plumpest.

GRANNY TYL

Hold your tongue; no one's asking your advice: you know you've no say in the matter. We're still too young; we've hardly begun to get cold and haven't had time yet to pick up things.... It takes so long; there's so much to learn!... But the others, especially the oldest, who now are the youngest: it's they who know everything....

TYLTYL

What? The oldest are the youngest in this country?...

GRANNY TYL

Yes, it seems one gets younger as one grows older.... I'm beginning to notice it myself.

TYLTYL

That's odd.... But where on earth are they?... I see nobody....

GAFFER TYL

They'll come very soon.... I wonder they're not here yet.

TYLTYL

Are there many of them?

GRANNY TYL

What do you think! All your ancestors since the world began! There'd be so many that we shouldn't know where to put them!... But we shall only see a few of them. A good many are travelling in other worlds; and, as a fact, some of the oldest are always away. But those who are on the spot choose in the name of all. They always agree; and it seems they very seldom make a mistake.... But here's one coming out of his house. You see the little man shutting up his shop?

(_A spruce_ LITTLE MAN _is seen leaving the eighteenth-century shop_.)

TYLTYL

Who's he?

GRANNY TYL

It's your grandfather's grandfather; he was a grocer at Versailles in the reign of Louis the Fifteenth.

TYLTYL

What funny clothes!

GRANNY TYL

He has put on the things which he wore in his shop.... Here, as a rule, the weather is so mild, the air so warm and balmy, that we've no need to dress ourselves; but you wouldn't be able to see us if we had no clothes; and so, in your honour, we've put on those we used to wear on earth.... It'll be quite amusing: some of them date back ever so far.... Look, there they come, out of the houses they once lived in....

(_Enter from the town-house a_ CITIZEN _of the time of Louis XIV; from the sixteenth-century prison a_ PRISONER _still wearing chains and irons on his feet and hands. His shackles now seem to be light and cause him no inconvenience. He attracts_ TYLTYL'S _attention_.)

TYLTYL

Who is that one? Was he chained up?

GRANNY TYL

Yes, he is one of your ancestors who spent nearly all his life in prison.

TYLTYL

It's not a thing to boast of; he'd have done better to stay at home.

GRANNY TYL

He did nothing wrong. He used to steal bread or other little things which one could eat, to keep his children from starving. He suffered a great deal; we think a lot of him....

(THE ANCESTORS _continue to leave their houses. An imposing and richly-dressed_ MAN _appears on the threshold of the fifteenth-century mansion_.)

TYLTYL

(_Pointing to him_.) And that one?

GAFFER TYL

That one is the richest.... It appears we were very rich at one time, but that didn't last.... However, it doesn't matter here: the only thing that counts, it seems, is what a man has done or thought.... For instance, you see those beggars over there, coming out of the church?

(_Enter from the twelfth-century church some four or five_ BEGGARS, _clad in rags that are pitiful to look at, but idealized by the fairy atmosphere_.)

TYLTYL

Yes, any number of them.

GAFFER TYL

Well, it seems that several generations of us were beggars.... We succeeded one another, father and son, at the same church and in the same doorway. It was very good for us, they say. It taught us patience, resignation, endurance, temperance and the habit of never catching cold.... But do you see the oldest, the one who looks poorest of all?

TYLTYL

The one with the beautiful white beard?

GAFFER TYL

Precisely.... Well, he's the Great Mendicant, the one whom we respect most, first because he has an iron constitution and next because he appears to have thought a very great deal in his corner under the porch.... They say it's he who did most to develop our brains.

TYLTYL

But I don't see any women among them. Where are their wives? Weren't they married?

GRANNY TYL

Of course they were; but there's nothing for us women to do to-day. The men choose the women and the women the men.... When Mytyl comes, it will be our turn.

TYLTYL

Look, there are three more.

(_A diseased_ MAN _comes out of the hospital; another, carrying a bottle and looking rather tipsy, out of the tavern; and, lastly, out of the prison, a third figure, hairy and savage of aspect, brandishing a blood-stained knife_.)

GAFFER TYL

(_Dismayed_.) I don't like this.... It's very tiresome that they should have been told....

TYLTYL

Why, who are they?

GAFFER TYL

An ugly lot, those three: the sick man, the drunkard and the murderer.... They've done us a deal of harm.

TYLTYL

Then there was a murderer in the family?

GAFFER TYL

Of course, as in every family. Fortunately, none of the three has much influence over us. As you see, they are small and sickly; they shrink from century to century and are nothing like as healthy as the others.... But it won't do for them to meddle in your choice.... If the Great Peasant, the Great Mendicant and the Great Ancestor are there, all will go well: the others won't dare to breathe a word; if not, they will try to force their choice upon you and that will be a bad thing for you and for the future of the entire family.

(_Enter from the old farm-house a tall_ PEASANT, _dressed in the mediaeval style. He closes the door carefully and steps forward whittling a switch_.)

GAFFER TYL

Here comes the Great Peasant! That's good, that's good!

TYLTYL

That long, thin fellow?

GAFFER TYL

He certainly isn't fat; but he has great influence. He is one of the mainstays of the family.

(_Next enter from the villa one or two_ GALLO-ROMANS _and then, from the hack of the street, among other_ MEN _of the Stone Age, an exceedingly tall old_ MAN, _dressed in skins and leaning on a heavy club_.)

TYLTYL

Why, we've got right back to savages now!

GAFFER TYL

That's the one!

TYLTYL

Who?

GAFFER TYL

The Great Ancestor!

TYLTYL

What? The one like an ape, with the big stick?

GAFFER TYL

You _must_ be quiet!... Don't treat him with disrespect!... It's a great favour that he's showing you; he doesn't often go out.... Of all our race he's the most important, the greatest, the most respected.... Everything's shaping well: it'll probably be he, the Great Peasant and the Great Mendicant who will put their heads together and choose your bride for you.

TYLTYL

(_Indignantly_.) But I won't have that!... It doesn't concern them!... What do they know about it?... A peasant, a savage and a beggar: what next?

GAFFER TYL

Hold your tongue, I say!... I tell you, they represent all that is best in you and in the whole family. If you obey them, if you submit to their influence, you will be happy and safe.... Mind now! They're coming....

(THE ANCESTORS _have been gradually collecting at the back of the stage. They bow, accost one another, shake hands, exchange compliments. All show affectionate respect to_ THE GREAT PEASANT, THE GREAT MENDICANT _and especially_ THE GREAT ANCESTOR, _gathering around them and listening deferentially to what they say. On the other hand_, THE SICK MAN, THE DRUNKARD _and_ THE MURDERER _are left standing apart, forming a pitiful rear-guard. The group now moves towards the benches in the foreground, where_ TYLTYL _and his companions are gathered_.)

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_Coming forward_.) Good-evening, Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

Good-evening ... sir!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Kiss me first. Don't be afraid. I look rather savage, but it is only a shape which I had to put on in order to make myself visible to you. I had no other handy.... But I am really quite clean and I don't smell bad.

TYLTYL

I never said you did!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

No, but to judge by the grimace you made you weren't quite sure!... (_Sitting down on the middle bench_.) I will sit down here; the Great Mendicant will take his seat on my right and the Great Peasant on my left. They don't smell either.... (THE GREAT MENDICANT _and_ THE GREAT PEASANT _take their seats; the other_ ANCESTORS _stand behind him_.) And I will take you on my knees.... I am glad to hold you in my arms for a moment.... We have known each other so long!

TYLTYL

I don't remember ever seeing you before.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

And yet we have always lived in each other; for you were already living in me when I was on earth; and now I live in you while you are still on that same earth, which we seem to have quitted.... But what do you think of this place of ours?... Let me have the pleasure of showing you over your home.

TYLTYL

My home?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Certainly.... You are at home here.... And a very nice home it is.... Everything you see--this square, that prison, the church, those houses, we who live in them--all this is really only inside yourself.... People rarely see it, they don't even suspect it; but it's true.

TYLTYL

I should never have thought there was so much room inside myself and that it was so large....

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's much larger really; there's a great deal that you don't see.... But that is not what interests us to-day; let us come straight to the point, to the great question that brings you here.... We are going to choose the woman whom you are to love....

TYLTYL

Since you are so kind, there's one thing I should like to ask you....

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Ask me any questions you please.

TYLTYL

How is it that I have not, like other men, the right to choose the woman I love?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

But you have the right to choose and are here for the sole purpose of making that choice.

TYLTYL

No, they tell me that it's you and the others who will make it.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

But I and the others are all you.... You are we, we are you; and it's all the same thing.

TYLTYL

Not for me.... They keep on telling me to hold my tongue, that it's not my business, that it's no concern of mine.... Everybody's allowed to get a word in, except me.... I've had enough, I'm sick and tired of it!... Where do I come in? That's what I want to know!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

You're simply acting as all men act when they think they are doing what they want to do.

TYLTYL

But, after all, dash it, what business is it of yours? I can understand, in a way, that the children I may one day have should claim some right to select their mother; but the rest of you, over here, what difference can it make to you?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Don't you see that it's all the same? Those who have lived in you live in you just as much as those who are going to. There is no difference, it all connects and it's still the same family.

TYLTYL

As you please, but I can't make it out.... And, if I refuse to obey, if I love just for myself, if I take a different girl from the one they want to force on me, what will they do then? What will happen?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Merely this, that the choice you will have made for yourself, without our approval, will not be a real choice; in other words, you will not love the woman whom you thought you loved. You will have made a mistake, you will be unhappy and, at the same time, you will make all of us unhappy, those who came before you as well as those who come after.

TYLTYL

Does that often happen?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Very often, far too often: that is why you see so many unhappy people on earth.

TYLTYL

Well, what am I to do?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Where are your little friends?... Would you mind coming a little nearer, dear ladies?... (_Gazing with attention at_ THE SIX GIRLS, _who come forward and stand in front of him_.) Well, well, you have set us our task, but you have made it very difficult: how is one to select when all are equally beautiful?

THE GREAT MENDICANT

They are really very handsome.

THE GREAT PEASANT

And they appear to be very healthy, very quiet and very hard-working.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Do you recognize the one among them for whom we are waiting?

THE GREAT MENDICANT

Not yet.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's strange, neither do I.... (_To_ THE GREAT PEASANT.) And you?

THE GREAT PEASANT

I can't say that I don't and I can't say that I do.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

It's strange, very strange. And yet we know that the one who will make us happy has arrived and is here among us. We generally recognize her at the first glance.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

I can't understand it.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

(_Standing behind the bench, pointing to_ ROSARELLE.) Isn't it that one?... What's your name, my dear?

ROSARELLE

Rosarelle.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

Who are you?

ROSARELLE

The daughter of the Mayor.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

Are you rich?

ROSARELLE

My father has money, I believe.

THE RICH ANCESTOR

You see? There is no doubt about it.

THE SICK ANCESTOR

(_Pointing to_ AIMETTE.) I say it's that one.

THE DRUNKEN ANCESTOR

(_Taking hold of_ ROSELLE.) This is the one I want.

THE MURDERER ANCESTOR

(_Leaping over the bench and taking hold of_ BELLINE.) And I take this one!

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_Rising, in an authoritative tone_.) Be silent ... and withdraw!... _(With an imperious gesture_.) Begone!... You know that you have lost the right to raise your voice in my presence!...

(_The four dissentient_ ANCESTORS, _addressed in these terms, move away crestfallen_.)

THE OTHER ANCESTORS

(_Grouped behind the bench, clapping their hands_.) Hear! Hear!... Well done!... It's what they deserve!... They have been wrong too often!... They have done too much harm!... They would be the ruin of the family!...

JALLINE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT MENDICANT _and clasping his knees_.) Perhaps I'm the one.... I love him so!

MILETTE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT PEASANT _and clasping his knees_.) If you want to know how much I love him, look at me and see.

AIMETTE

(_Going to_ THE GREAT ANCESTOR _and clasping his knees_.) Can't you see that I have loved him longer than the others? I have loved him since I first set eyes on him. I never dared say so; but I feel that I shall die if you choose another.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

My poor children, it is very sad, but my hands are tied. You will perhaps cry for a few hours; but, if we chose one of you, she would spend her whole life crying, for I do not see among you the one for whom we are waiting.... Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

Yes?

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Have you brought us no one else, besides those we see here?

TYLTYL

No, no one else.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

I see a tall white figure over there, against a tree; who is it?

TYLTYL

I really don't know. She follows us all the time, squeezes in wherever we go, nobody knows her; and we can't get rid of her.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Go and fetch her.

(TYLTYL _fetches_ THE WHITE PHANTOM _and brings her back, holding her by the hand_.)

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Who are you?

TYLTYL

It's no use asking her. She never answers; she can't talk.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

(_To_ THE PHANTOM.) Come nearer, child, and let me lift the veil that covers your face.... (_He removes the veil. The statue's face appears, absolutely white, featureless and devoid of human expression_.) She has no face.... (_To the other_ ANCESTORS _standing around them_.) Do you know her?

THE GREAT PEASANT

She has no expression.

THE GREAT MENDICANT

She has no features.... She is like an unfinished statue.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

What are we to do? It must be she. But who is she? She is not dead, or we should know it.... Come, Tyltyl, make an effort, for everything depends on you. You must remember....

TYLTYL

I have tried my utmost.... Do what I will, I can't remember at all.

THE GREAT ANCESTOR

Listen, it is a serious matter. If we do not succeed in recognizing her, all your life, all your happiness on earth will be nothing more than a phantom like herself.... There is one last resource, one last hope, which is that the children who are to be born of you may discover who she is and that she is to be their mother. They see much farther and deeper than we. But there is no time to lose; for this waiting and this living in suspense are very dangerous for her. We must be quick therefore; we must not waste a moment ... go, my little Tyltyl. You have been very good and patient, very obedient and faithful to your race throughout this ordeal. Take this kiss and farewell.... You too, my dears, let me give you the parting kiss. Do not be too sad; another happiness awaits you. There is more than one kind on that poor misguided earth of yours. You have deserved every happiness that it can give.... Good-bye, my dear daughters; good-bye, good-bye, my son. And we will meet again whenever you wish: you know where to find us and we shall be waiting for you....

(_The Scene grows dark and disappears from view; the Curtain of Rocks closes; and_ TYLTYL, THE GIRLS, LIGHT _and_ DESTINY _are once more alone among the boulders_.)

DESTINY

(_Seizing_ TYLTYL'S _hand_.) This way, this way!... Thanks to me, it went off very well!... I said nothing about it; but it was I who foresaw everything and planned everything; and all that has been done was ordained by me....

(_They all go out_.)

CURTAIN

ACT IV

SCENE VIII

_Before the Curtain representing the Milky Way_

(_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

TYLTYL

Where are we?

LIGHT

Near to the stars and yet within yourself. Before you is the great veil of the Milky Way. Beyond it stretches the region in which your unborn children are waiting to show you the mother whom they have chosen.

TYLTYL

It's a little like the Kingdom of the Future in "The Blue Bird."

LIGHT

Perhaps; and yet not quite the same thing. There it was the whole kingdom, with everybody's children; here it is only a province, in which are no children but yours.

TYLTYL

Have I many?

LIGHT

As many children as you have ancestors, as innumerable and no less infinite. But, as with the Ancestors, we shall see only those who are nearest to you, especially the youngest and smallest.

TYLTYL

Why the smallest?

LIGHT

Because they are nearest to their birth. As this approaches, they grow smaller and younger; so that the youngest, who are the first to be born, can hardly walk or stand.

TYLTYL

And the others? Are there any big ones?

LIGHT

There are children of all sizes, but I do not know that we shall see the biggest, that is to say, those who will be born hundreds or thousands of years hence.... There will not have been time to tell them; they do not keep close to the doors, like the very little ones, but wander far away waiting for their time to come.

TYLTYL

They must find it very tiresome to be kept waiting like that!

LIGHT

Nothing is ever tiresome in infinity. Besides they have to learn here all that they will forget on earth.

TYLTYL

It seems hardly worth while then, to take so much trouble!

LIGHT

Oh, but it is! Something always remains and helps to build up the deep happiness of life.

TYLTYL

Well, so much the better for them! As for me, I shall soon know what I am to do. I hope we shall get through to-day, because, you see, I'd like to have things settled.... But where on earth can they be, those girls of mine and Destiny? (_Looking below him, on the right_.) The poor little dears are up to their knees in the snow. This place is even higher and more difficult to get at than where the Ancestors lived.

LIGHT

(_Looking down_.) They are not very far away.... But you have taken off your hat again; that's a bad habit of yours. Put it on quickly, before they come, and be careful to make no mistake this time, for, if you do, the result may be very unpleasant.

(TYLTYL _puts on his hat and turns the sapphire. Forthwith from the earth and from every side little creatures of different sizes appear, dressed like him and resembling him in nearly every respect. They surround him, rush against him, hustle him and try to drag him, some to the right, others to the left, while he struggles in the midst of them without knowing to which he should give his attention_.)

TYLTYL

(_Distraught_.) Hullo, hullo, what's all this? What does it mean? That sapphire really is becoming impossible!

LIGHT

Don't worry: you'll have turned it the wrong way again. What did you do?

TYLTYL

How can I tell?... This is getting too much for me! Too mixed up, really.... I must have pressed it instead of turning it.

LIGHT

That's what I thought. You have simply released some of your other "You's."

TYLTYL

(_Dumbfounded_.) Some of my other "Me's"?

LIGHT

Yes, what I mean is that you are not alone inside yourself and that....

TYLTYL

(_More and more dumbfounded_.) I am not alone inside myself?...

LIGHT

Why, no, there are a number of other personalities there, more or less like you and all the time trying to get the upper hand.

TYLTYL

No, but really, what else is there inside me? I must be a sort of menagerie or Noah's ark! There's no end to it!

LIGHT

That's true: there would be no end if we had the time to go into it all.... But press the sapphire down now and all will be well.

(TYLTYL _presses the sapphire and all his_ DOUBLES _disappear_.)

TYLTYL

My word! A good riddance!... Well, as you say, they may be the least bit like me, but some of them are very ugly. Particularly a big dark one, who kept on tripping me up and very nearly made me fall.

LIGHT

Of course, there are some of all kinds, as in every man. One must learn to choose the best and avoid the worst.... But here come your little friends.

(_Enter first_ THE WHITE PHANTOM.)

TYLTYL

(_Amazed_.) Hullo!... What's the matter with her?... She seems quite in a hurry to-day and moves like an angel.

(_Enter next_ MILETTE, BELLINE, ROSELLE _and_ ROSARELLE, _followed by_ AIMETTE _and_ Jalline, _who are supporting_ DESTINY _between them. He is now a head shorter than_ TYLTYL, _wears the same tragic costume as before, seems very weary and sinks down on a heap of snow_.)

TYLTYL

(_Going to him, with a certain solicitude_.) Are you ill?

DESTINY

I? Not at all: I am always the same, I am unchangeable.... But when you alone are responsible for everything, when you have to manage everything, direct everything and foresee everything and when nobody helps you (_casting an aggressive eye on_ LIGHT), you are entitled to a moment's rest.... I therefore order a halt. It is decided irrevocably: to-day we go no farther.

LIGHT Admirable! And so it shall be, for we have arrived; and with Destiny's permission, we shall find ourselves, without taking another step, among the children who are awaiting us....

(_The curtain parts and opens upon the next scene_.)

SCENE IX

_The Abode of the Children_

_The immense halls, the lofty vaults, the infinite perspectives of arches and columns of the Kingdom of the Future in "The Blue Bird"; but this time, it being the nuptial hour, everything is of a soft, milky white, gleaming and transparent. The radiant shapes of amber-coloured light bathe in unspeakable gladness all the things that they touch; and everywhere are signs of a deep and unfaltering joy. The boundless horizon stretches towards the veiled white of the Milky Way, the ether quivering with myriads of unknown stars_.

(_When the curtain opens_, TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX GIRLS _are in the foreground, on the right, at the foot of one of the alabaster columns supporting the entrance-arch. They take a few steps into the immense deserted hall, while_ THE WHITE PHANTOM _hides timidly behind the column_.)

TYLTYL

(_A little disappointed_.) There's nobody here!...

LIGHT

I know why it is. There are several doors; as you were all very tired, I chose the one that was nearest. They are probably waiting for us at the principal entrance.

TYLTYL

How shall we let them know?

LIGHT

The atmosphere will do that: here everything is known immediately and every event happens everywhere at the same moment.

TYLTYL

It's a very fine place, this: splendid large rooms and a very high ceiling; lots of light and air....

LIGHT

And it's still always inside yourself.

TYLTYL

What, this is inside me too?

LIGHT

Why, yes; of course it is.

TYLTYL

Very well, then; that's all right. Please step in: you're very welcome. Won't you sit down while you wait?

LIGHT

We shall not have long to wait, for I believe they have seen us.

(A CHILD'S _head appears for an instant between two columns and is then briskly withdrawn, exclaiming_, "This way! This way! They're here!" _Soon after, seven or eight_ CHILDREN _of about twelve years of age, in short white tunics, with bare arms, legs and feet, run up from the back of the hall and stop in front of the visitors. The largest holds out his hand to_ TYLTYL.)

THE CHILD

Good-evening, grandpapa!

TYLTYL

Grandpapa?... Who's that?... Where is he?...

THE CHILD

(_Bursting into laughter_.) Why, it's you!

TYLTYL

(_Dumbfounded_.) I? Am I a grandpapa already?

THE CHILD

Of course you are, eighty times over!... We are the first to arrive. The others are on their way.... (_To the other_ CHILDREN.) He doesn't seem to believe it!

ANOTHER CHILD

You might give us a kiss.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing them all_.) I will! I will!... But how do I come to be a grandpapa?

THE CHILD

Surely it's quite simple: you will be our grandpapa when we are your grandchildren.

TYLTYL

Obviously, that's clear.... So you exist already?

THE CHILD

Naturally, since you yourself exist.... I say, are those the grandmammas you're bringing us?

TYLTYL

Yes; it seems you're to pick out the best one.

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Clapping his hands and dancing for joy_.) Oh, how pretty they are!... (_Throwing himself into_ JALLINE'S _arms_.) I take this one, because she is so soft!...

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Throwing his arms round_ AIMETTE'S _neck_.) And I this one, because she is so sad!...

ANOTHER CHILD

(_Kissing_ ROSELLE.) I choose this one, because's she's always laughing!...

THREE OTHER CHILDREN

(_Each taking one of_ THE GIRLS, _kissing and fondling her and laughing and skipping with delight_.) And I choose this one, because she smells so nice!... I choose this one!... I choose this one!...

THE FIRST CHILD

(_Intervening_.) One moment, one moment, if you please.... This has nothing to do with us; our turn will come. You know that only the smallest have the right to choose who is to be their mother. All we have to do is to help them with our advice and to stop them if they make mistakes; but that's a thing which has never happened yet. They were quite some distance away, at the principal gate, but they won't be long now.

TYLTYL

Here come some bigger ones!

(_Enter a new group of_ CHILDREN, _apparently about fifteen years of age. The oldest goes to_ TYLTYL _and shakes hands with him_.)

THE OLDEST CHILD

Good-evening, great-grandfather!...

TYLTYL

Who's that? I? I'm a great-grandfather now!...

THE OLDEST CHILD

Of course you are!... I am very glad to see you for a minute, for we shall most nicely not have the pleasure of meeting on earth.... Well, I understand that your visit to the Ancestors was not much of a success.

TYLTYL

Let's rather put it that they hadn't quite made up their minds. But how is it that you already know what happened there?

THE OLDEST CHILD

Why, of course we know everything that happens inside you; we're there ourselves. Besides, there's very little that separates us from the Ancestors: our interests are the same and our paths often meet.

THE FIRST CHILD

Look out! Here are the little ones!... I see five coming.... There's only one missing, the littlest....

(_From the back of the halls come five_ LITTLE CHILDREN _holding one another's hands_.)

TYLTYL

Who are those five little ones? They are very sweet.

THE FIRST CHILD

Why, they are your children: two boys and three girls!

TYLTYL

Mine? Shall I have five children?

THE FIRST CHILD

Six, you will have six, for the last little one isn't here yet.... I promise you, the world can do with them, after what people have been up to, down there!...

TYLTYL

But I shall never be able to feed them all!...

(THE FIVE LITTLE ONES, _still holding hands, have stopped in front of_ THE SIX GIRLS _and stand looking at them solemnly, without speaking. By degrees, the halls have become filled with a host of other_ CHILDREN _who gather round_ THE FIVE LITTLE ONES _and watch them. The silence at last becomes irksome and_ TYLTYL _breaks it_.)

TYLTYL

Well, children, aren't you going to kiss your papa?

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_Ordering him with a serious gesture to be silent_.) Mamma first.... Where is she?

TYLTYL

Why, she must be here; she's one of those. You have only to choose.

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_To the one beside him_.) Do you see her?

THE OTHER

(_Shaking his head sadly_.) No.

THE THREE OTHERS

(_In succession_.) No more do I.... No more do I.... No more do I....

JALLINE

(_Rushing forward, catching hold of one of the_ CHILDREN _and kissing him_.) But that's impossible!... Here, look at me?... Don't you see how much I'll love you?...

THE CHILD

Yes, but you're not the one.

ROSELLE

(_Taking another_ CHILD _on her knees_.) And me? Won't you have me for your mamma?

THE CHILD

No, no, it's not you.

ROSARELLE

(_Catching hold of another_ CHILD.) And me? Don't you love me? You'll see how happy we shall be!... We shall have a lovely house full of toys and I shall give you everything you want....

THE CHILD

(_Vainly trying to contain its tears_.) No, no!...

BELLINE

(_Taking_ THE YOUNGEST.) Look here, you seem to know more than the others.... Don't you recognize me?... Are you fond of sweets?...

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

(_Struggling until she lets him go and crying without disguise_.) Let me go! Let me go!

TYLTYL

Here's a pretty business! He's crying!... And the other one as well!... But what do they want?... They're very hard to please....

(THE YOUNGEST CHILD _wipes his eyes and takes the hand of the next, who does the same by his neighbour, until they all hold hands again_.)

THE YOUNGEST CHILD

Come!...

(THE FIVE LITTLE CHILDREN _move away, with staid dignity, and go out on the left_.)

TYLTYL

What's the matter with them? Where are they going?

ONE OF THE BIG CHILDREN

They are going to the other door.

ANOTHER

They are going to fetch the smallest of them all.

ANOTHER

The smaller they are, the more they know.

THE FIRST CHILD

But where is he, the smallest one? Haven't you seen him?

ANOTHER

No, no one has seen him since this morning.... It's strange, for he is always with his little sisters.

TYLTYL

(_Looking at the throng of_ CHILDREN _filling the halls_.) How many there are!

ONE OF THE BIG CHILDREN

It's only one part of the family.

A CHILD

(_Which has been following the progress of_ THE FIVE CHILDREN _with his eyes_.) They are stopping at the third door.

TYLTYL

Who?

THE CHILD

The five little ones.

ANOTHER CHILD

They seem to be looking for something.

THE FIRST CHILD

Let us go and see what they're doing. They know what they know.

OTHER CHILDREN

Yes, yes, let us all go.... They know, they know!

(_A great stir in the crowd of_ CHILDREN. _They all run in the same direction and go out on the left. In a moment the hall is emptied of all except_ TYLTYL, LIGHT, THE SIX GIRLS _and_ DESTINY.)

TYLTYL

Let us go after them too!

(_He goes out, followed by LIGHT and_ THE SIX GIRLS, _with_ DESTINY _bringing up the rear. The only occupant of the stage is_ THE WHITE PHANTOM, _whom everybody has overlooked and who has never left the column on the right against which she has been leaning. The stage remains empty for a moment and then, from the back of the halls, comes a_ CHILD _even smaller than the youngest of the_ FIVE LITTLE ONES. _He walks with resolute step; on reaching the columns in the foreground, he appears to take his bearings, turns his head to right and left and then, suddenly, goes straight to_ THE WHITE PHANTOM, _in front of whom he stops and takes up his stand, contemplating her at length, gravely and silently, with his finger in his mouth. At last he puts out one hand and takes_ THE PHANTOM _by the hem of her dress_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Is it ... really you?

THE PHANTOM

(_Speaking for the first time and struggling to find her voice, which seems to come from far away and to stick in her throat_.) Yes.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

I knew it. Come....

THE PHANTOM

Where to?

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Over here.... I'm going to tell the others....

THE PHANTOM

Not yet.... I can't yet....

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Still dragging her by her dress towards a marble bench which stands between the columns in the foreground_.) Come.... (_He makes her sit down, settles her on the bench, caresses her and kisses her_.) Come ... it's you.... I knew it.... I'm kissing you.... Don't you know how to kiss yet? (THE PHANTOM _shakes her head_.) No?... Like this.... I'll teach you.... (_He kisses and caresses her slowly and deliberately_.) You're no longer cold?

THE PHANTOM

(_Smiling at last_.) No.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Still kissing her_.) You see, that's better already.

(_Under_ THE CHILD'S _kisses and caresses_, THE STATUE _has gradually taken life: the eyes open, the lips flutter, the face begins to colour, the body loses its terrible stiffness, the arms become supple and circle round the_ THE CHILD'S _neck_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Nestling against her_.) You're better, aren't you?... Not sleepy any more?... How good it is, being together!... They're still looking for you, you know.... And it's I who found you!... I knew, I knew....

THE PHANTOM

So did I, so did I.... I was waiting....

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

It's splendid, isn't it?... (_Nestling more closely_.) Oh, such fun!... Do you like it too?

THE PHANTOM

Yes.... Yes, I am happy.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Why aren't you laughing?

THE PHANTOM

Because I am too happy.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

So am I, so am I!... Don't look: I'm going to cry a little, but it doesn't mean anything....

THE PHANTOM

(_Beginning to return his kisses and caresses_.) I'm going to cry too.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Intoxicated with rapture_.) You're kissing me!... Mummy!... Then it's true, then it's true, it is you!... Again, again!... No, not any more: I can't bear it!... Will they understand, will they be able to understand?

THE PHANTOM

Call them, it is time.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Don't cover your face: they wouldn't see it and they wouldn't believe me.... (_Drawing aside the veils_.) Oh, mummy, how lovely you are!... (_Her hair spreads all over her shoulders_.) Oh, mummy, your hair!... What lots of it!... There, that's much better, I can kiss you better so.... (_Listening_.) Listen, they're coming back! They're here!

(THE FIVE LITTLE ONES _come rushing headlong into the hall_.)

THE FIVE LITTLE ONES

Where is she?... Where is she?... Where is she?...

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Standing up on the bench, beside his_ MOTHER, _showing her to the others and dancing with delight_.) Here! Here!... She's here, she's here!... I found her!...

(THE MOTHER _tries to rise and take them in her arms, but they do not give her time. They fling themselves upon her, load her with kisses and caresses, make her sit down again and clamber on her knees, swarming and scrambling over her and all speaking together_.)

THE FIVE LITTLE ONES

It's she!... It's she!... It's mummy!... Where was she?... Did you know her?... I should think so! I should think so!... You too? Yes, I too, I too!... You're taking up all the room!... You're kissing her all the time!... It's not fair, it's my turn!... She's my mummy too!... We looked for you so hard!... We waited for you so long!... She is lovely, isn't she?... She's the loveliest of them all!... There's no one like her!... Tell us, tell us!... What?... I love you! Do you love me?... Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!... What sweet things mummies are!... How delicious it is to kiss!... To think one didn't know!... All for us, all for us!... The only happiness!... You're everything in the world to us, we're everything in the world to you!... I dote on you!... I say, do you know me? I shall be the second.... And I the third.... And I the last!... Kiss me first, I shall have the longest to wait!... She's laughing!... She's happy too!... Answer us, speak to us!... Your arm, I want to feel your arm round my neck!... Mine too, mine too!... Don't go away, whatever you do!... We don't know where we are, we're mad with delight!... We can't wait any longer!...

(_While they are thus kissing and talking, the other_, BIGGER CHILDREN, _those of the future generations, gradually return and fill the halls again. The first arrivals stop behind the group formed by_ THE MOTHER _and_ THE SIX LITTLE ONES; _and whispers are heard and rise from the growing crowd_: "They've found her!... They've found her!.... It's she!... How happy they are!... How beautiful she is!... How kind she looks!... Can we kiss her?... Wait, wait, it's their turn now!... Ours will come!..." TYLTYL, _followed by_ LIGHT, THE SIX GIRLS _and_ DESTINY, _now enters the hall_. THE CHILDREN _fall back to let him pass_. THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL _sees him first, goes to him and, taking him by the hand, leads him to_ THE MOTHER.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Gravely_.) It is she.... I found her....

(THE MOTHER _rises and stands in front of_ TYLTYL.)

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Do you recognize her?

(TYLTYL _hesitates, passes his hand over his forehead, vainly searches his memory_.)

TYLTYL

Not yet.... She's beautiful!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Kiss her; it's she.

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

There is no other.

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

We want no other.

TYLTYL

(_Taking_ THE MOTHER'S _hand_.) Where do you come from?... Who are you?... Where have I seen you before?... I can't remember....

(THE MOTHER _does not reply. Her colour comes and goes, her eyes open and shut, her life fluctuates with the ebb and flow of the memory which she strives to awaken_.)

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

Take care! You're hurting her!

(THE OTHER LITTLE ONES _form a line in front of her as though to defend her_.)

A LITTLE ONE

Go away!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! You sha'n't have her until you know her!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

You sha'n't have any other!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! She shall stay with us till you know!

ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

Go away! We'll wait for you; we shall all be down there!

THE FIRST LITTLE ONE

Go away, go away!... You're hurting her dreadfully!

THE SMALLEST OF THEM ALL

(_Embracing his_ MOTHER.) Come, mummy, come!... He doesn't know yet!...

(_They all gather and press closely round their_ MOTHER, _hurrying and dragging her along and waving good-bye to_ TYLTYL: "See you soon! See you soon again!... Down there, down there!... See you soon!" ...THE MOTHER _turns and gazes fixedly at_ TYLTYL; _then the outlines of the hall darken, lose their colour and distinctness, dissolve and disappear. Only_ TYLTYL, LIGHT, DESTINY _and_ THE SIX GIRLS _remain in front of the Curtain representing the Milky Way_.)

TYLTYL

Well, I'm in a nice mess!... What am I to do?... Is it my fault if I can't remember?...

LIGHT

Don't be afraid. They know what they are saying. You will find her again.... Let us go, quickly!... I am sure that she is waiting for you where you least expect her.

TYLTYL

(_Dreamily_.) She really is beautiful!... I believe they are right.... I believe it's really she....

(_They all go out_.)

CURTAIN

ACT V

SCENE X

_Before the Curtain representing the Edge of a Forest_

(_Enter_ TYLTYL _and_ LIGHT.)

LIGHT

Here we are at last.

TYLTYL

Where?

LIGHT

Why, near your home!... Don't you recognize your forest?

TYLTYL

My forest, my forest?... (_Looking around him_.) Why, so it is!... I've seen those beeches before, somewhere.

LIGHT

That's more than likely, as they're close to the house in which you were born.

TYLTYL

Well, it's about time I did get home. I am tired out.

LIGHT

It has been a fatiguing journey, but not without results.

TYLTYL

Results?... Where?... When we started I was in love with six girls; now we've returned, I love only one; and she's just the one who hasn't come back with me.... But where are those six others and what are they doing? And Destiny too? He was looking very ill....

LIGHT

Here they are.

(_Enter_ THE SIX GIRLS. _The last_, JALLINE, _carries_ DESTINY, _who still wears his cloak and sombrero, but who has shrunk to the dimensions of quite a small child and appears very tired_.)

JALLINE

(_Passing_ DESTINY _to_ MILETTE.) Will you take him for a moment? He's not very big, but dreadfully heavy.

MILETTE

(_Taking him from_ JALLINE'S _arms_.) Come to me, my little Tiny, come; there, don't cry....

DESTINY

(_In a whining baby voice_.) Me? I never cwy!... I'm alwayth the thame!... I'm unthakable, immovable, indefatigable, implacable and inegthowable!...

MILETTE

Yes, yes, Tiny, we know, you're a very good little boy.... (DESTINY _falls asleep in her arms_.) He's gone to sleep!

JALLINE

(_Wrapping him in his cape, with a motherly gesture_.) He's a dear, sweet, obedient little thing, but seems very tired.

LIGHT

Poor little Destiny!... He has no luck!... But we will see to him later.... What we have to do now, my children, is to bid one another good-bye ... and for the last time....

TYLTYL

For the last time!...

LIGHT

Why, yes; we can't spend our whole life travelling! Besides, you are near your homes, since you all of you dwell round the forest. We have learned what we sought and we know what we wanted to know, that man is granted only one love, while the others are merely unfortunate errors that bring sorrow to innumerable lives.... You were all of you about to choose wrongly; and you may rejoice, therefore, even now, when we have to part, that the mistake was discovered before it was too late.... And, more than this, the Fairy has charged me with glad tidings for you all: the one love you have each of you sought is waiting for you by your own fire-side, in your own home, or at least will be there very soon.... So do not linger, but hasten to meet it.... The hour grows late; soon the cocks will be crowing; the birds are beginning to wake. Let us bid one another good-bye, quickly, without regret, without sad thoughts or tears....

MILETTE

(_Handing_ DESTINY _to_ AIMETTE.) Just take him for a minute, while I kiss TYLTYL.... (_Kissing_ TYLTYL.) Good-bye, Tyltyl dear. I must go first. Dad gets up early and there would be awful trouble if he didn't find me in the house. Good-bye. Let me kiss you again.... Be nice to me when we meet: we're neighbours and shall have to spend all our lives in this forest.

TYLTYL

(_Kissing her affectionately_.) Be nice to you, Milette? Of course I will! It's not your fault or mine: we both know that.

MILETTE

Good-bye, good-bye!... I must fly!...

(_She runs out_.)

AIMETTE

(_Handing_ DESTINY _to_ JALLINE.) Take hold of the little man for a second, will you? (_Kissing_ TYLTYL.) Good-bye, Tyltyl.... Don't let us forget each other.... I shall perhaps love somebody else; but I shall never love him as I loved you.

LIGHT

Come, come, you are wasting time.... We shall never have done if we go on like this.... If the cock crows before you return, your parents will know everything; and then they'll be angry.... Just give him a sisterly kiss: that's all that's necessary.... You're not going far; and you'll meet again many a time, in real life, and will like each other the better because of your truer knowledge....

(ROSARELLE _and_ BELLINE _kiss_ TYLTYL _without speaking and go out_. ROSELLE _blows her nose vigorously, dabs at her eyes and stammers_, "My dear Tyltyl! my dear Tyltyl!... He was so nice!... I shall see you again, sha'n't I, I shall see you again?... You shall have the best of everything at the inn!" _Then she rushes out_. JALLINE _alone lingers behind, holding_ DESTINY _in her arms_.)

LIGHT

Well, Jalline, what are you doing here?

JALLINE

I can't go away at once, just like the others!...

LIGHT

But you must, dear Jalline. Not because it is fate, as men say, but because it is the will of those who know everything and who never die.... Good-bye, my little Jalline. You have been very sweet, very loving, very exquisite; and I thought that you would be chosen.... Don't cry, dear. Hand over poor little Destiny to me, I will take care of him; and give Tyltyl a long, long kiss....

JALLINE

(_Hands_ DESTINY _to_ LIGHT _and gives_ TYLTYL _a long kiss_.) Good-bye, Tyltyl.

TYLTYL

Good-bye, Jalline!

(JALLINE _moves away with slow reluctant steps_.)

LIGHT

And, now that we are alone, let me kiss you too.... We shall meet once again to take another and a longer journey....

TYLTYL

Another journey? And a longer one?

LIGHT

The last, the happiest and the most beautiful. But I am not allowed to speak of it yet.... Good-bye, Tyltyl. Remember, dear, that you are not alone in this world and that all that you see in it has neither beginning nor end. With this thought in your heart, letting it grow with your growth, you will always know, whatever may happen, the right thing to say, the right thing to hope for.... And you, Tiny, don't cry like that! Some day we shall begin to understand each other.

DESTINY

(_Half-asleep, tearfully, lisping_.) Me? I never cwy!... I order a thtop!... Forward! Forward! Forward!

(LIGHT _goes out on the left, carrying_ DESTINY _in her arms_. TYLTYL _follows her a little way, waving his hand in farewell; and the Curtain opens on the last scene_.)

SCENE XI

_The Awakening_

_The same scene as in Act I_. TYLTYL _is sound asleep. The light trickles gaily through all the crannies of the closed shutters. The Blue Bird is singing madly in his cage_.

(_A knock at the door_.)

TYLTYL

(_Waking with a start_.) Who's there?

MUMMY TYL

(_Behind the door_.) It's me!... Open the door quickly!... We're expecting a visitor....

TYLTYL

Wait, wait, till I slip on my breeches.... (_Rising and seeing with amazement that he is dressed_.) Hullo, I've gone to bed with my clothes on! How did I come to do that?...

(_He opens the door. Enter_ MUMMY TYL _fussily, carrying a bundle of sticks_.)

MUMMY TYL

Quick, quick!... Help me light the fire and tidy the room.... Go and wake up Mytyl.... They'll be here in a minute.

TYLTYL

(_Doing his best to help her_.) Who's "they"?

MUMMY TYL

Of course, you don't know. Daddy Tyl met them yesterday, but you had gone to bed.... Do open the shutters, I can't see what I'm doing.... (TYLTYL _opens the shutters and the daylight floods the room_.) And call Mytyl, so that she can help me to get things straight.... What a mess!... And the dust! I can't let them see my house like this. (_Enter_ MYTYL.)

TYLTYL

Hullo, there Mytyl is!... But you haven't told me....

MUMMY TYL

(_To_ MYTYL.) The fire's beginning to burn up.... You make the coffee, while I start cleaning.... What's this? More cabbage leaves under the tap!

MYTYL

It's not my fault. Tyltyl promised me....

MUMMY TYL

Well, I never! A nice thing!... It's a blessing that I came to look for myself!... Take the broom, Tyltyl, while I give a rub to the plates and put them away.

TYLTYL

But look here: who's coming? Is it the Shah of Persia or the Emperor of China?

MUMMY TYL

Much better than that. You'll never guess.... Do you remember our neighbour?

MYTYL

What neighbour?

MUMMY TYL

There aren't so many of 'em.... The one with the pretty little pink house, by the road-side, and a garden full of sunflowers and hollyhocks.

TYLTYL

Of course!... And they had a little girl to whom I gave my dove?

MUMMY TYL

That's right.

TYLTYL

They've been gone a long time.

MUMMY TYL

Five or six years, that's all. They went to the town to live with the girl's uncle. He was a widower, with no children of his own, and has died and left them all his money. They told Daddy Tyl they're coming back here for good, going into their nice little house again. It belonged to little Joy's uncle.

TYLTYL

Little Joy?

MUMMY TYL

Yes, yes, you know: that's the little girl's name. They used to call her Jojo when she was small; but her name is Joy. Daddy Tyl met her last night, says that he could hardly believe his eyes, that she's taller than you and beautiful ... well, there! With hair like gold, real gold! That's worth thinking about.... So I want the house tidy and all of us to look decent and respectable.... You can never tell what may happen. We're of good stock too. Your grandfather's father was a pork-butcher.

TYLTYL

It's curious, I didn't meet him.

MUMMY TYL

Whom?

TYLTYL

My grandfather's father.

MUMMY TYL

That's not to be wondered at: he's been dead these fifty-seven years.

TYLTYL

(_Sweeping the floor lustily_.) Perhaps I had better put on my Sunday clothes?

MUMMY TYL

No, you needn't; you're all right as you are. We'll just lay the white tablecloth.... Besides, there's no time now; here they come; I can hear them walking up the path.

(_A knock at the door_. MUMMY TYL _opens it. Enter_ THE NEIGHBOUR _and_ JOY, _followed by_ DADDY TYL, _with his axe on his shoulder_.)

DADDY TYL

(_Calling out from the threshold_.) Here they are! Here they are!

THE NEIGHBOUR

Yes, it's Joy and I, Madame Tyl.... Good-morning, a Merry Christmas and good luck to everybody, as my poor husband used to say when he was alive. I'm glad to see you looking so well.... And these are the children? Don't tell me that this great, big, pretty girl is Mytyl? And can that be Tyltyl, that strapping young fellow who looks so smart?

MUMMY TYL

Yes, yes, Madame Berlingot, they're the sort that keep on shooting up till you don't know where you are. Tyltyl hasn't grown as much as his sister; but he's stronger. There's not a sturdier lad in all the country-side.... But it's your young lady who's beautiful!... She looks the very picture of the blessed saints!... (_Observing_ TYLTYL, _who stands wide-eyed and entranced_.) Now then, Tyltyl, where are your manners? Don't you, know your little playmate? Be civil, say how-do-you-do, shake hands and give her a chair.

DADDY TYL

Before you sit down, would you like to see the cows?

THE NEIGHBOUR

What, do you keep cows now?

DADDY TYL

Why, yes; we've not done so badly either.... Two little cows and a calf.... Little cows are better than big ones; and they only eat half as much.... One of them, the red one, gives us twenty quarts of milk every day.

THE NEIGHBOUR

Then you've put up a cow-house? You hadn't one before.

DADDY TYL

Yes, I ran it up myself, with Tyltyl to help.... (_Leading her towards the door on the left_.) It's this way: we made a good job of it and it's quite worth seeing.

THE NEIGHBOUR

Dear me, yes; I'd like to see it at once.

(_They all go out, except_ TYLTYL _and_ JOY, _who remain standing face to face. As soon as they are gone_, TYLTYL _goes up to_ JOY _and takes her hand_.)

TYLTYL

Is it ... really you?

JOY

Yes, it's I.

TYLTYL

I knew you at once.

JOY

And I you.

TYLTYL

You are even more beautiful than up there.

JOY

You too.

TYLTYL

I say, it's funny that I couldn't remember....

JOY

I hadn't forgotten.

TYLTYL

Oh, how lovely you are!... Let me kiss you.

JOY

You may if you like.

(_They kiss each other awkwardly, but affectionately_.)

TYLTYL

They haven't a suspicion.

JOY

You think that?

TYLTYL

I'm sure of it. They don't know what we know. But the little ones knew.

JOY

What little ones?

TYLTYL

The little ones up there.... They were very clever. They knew you at once.... Were you so very unhappy?

JOY

Why?

TYLTYL

Because I couldn't remember.

JOY

It wasn't your fault.

TYLTYL

I know, but I hated it.... And you were so pale, so dreadfully pale; and you never spoke.... How long had you loved me?

JOY

Ever since I first saw you, when you gave me the Blue Bird.

TYLTYL

So have I, so have I, but I had forgotten.... Never mind: we're going to be tremendously happy, for they've settled it, you see; they want it.

JOY

Do you think they've done it on purpose?

TYLTYL

I'm quite sure; there isn't a doubt.... Everybody wanted it, but especially the little ones, all six of them.

JOY

Oh!

TYLTYL

Yes!... We're going to have six!... I say, do you believe it?

JOY

Six what?

TYLTYL

Why, six children, of course!

JOY

Oh, Tyltyl!

TYLTYL

I know it's a great many; but we'll manage somehow. There's nothing to be afraid of.... What a dream, eh?

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

The loveliest I ever had; and you?

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

I saw you as you are now, just like that. But here, all the same, you are more real and more beautiful.... Oh, I must kiss you again!

(_They kiss each other lingeringly. At that moment_ DADDY TYL _opens the door, with the others behind him_.)

DADDY TYL

(_Catching them in the act_.) Well, I never!... You're getting on, you two!... You're losing no time!

THE NEIGHBOUR

(_Entering with_ MUMMY TYL _and_ MYTYL.) What's the matter?

DADDY TYL

What did I say, when we were looking at the rabbits? These two are made for each other.... They were kissing away like anything!

THE NEIGHBOUR

Joy! Aren't you ashamed?

JOY

But, mummy....

DADDY TYL

Come, come, there's no great harm in it. We did as much, Mummy Tyl and I, when we were young, didn't we, old lady?

MUMMY TYL

We did indeed!... They make such a pretty pair!...

THE NEIGHBOUR

That they do; but Joy is still very young and I'd like to think it over.

DADDY TYL

That's right enough.... He's very young too; but you won't find a better boy in the whole country-side.... He's a strong, healthy lad, with a civil tongue in his head, and he works like a nigger.... Think it over by all means, only, as this is a holiday, there's no harm in their kissing each other; and let's see them do it: it's good for one!... (_Seeing that_ TYLTYL _and_ JOY _do not move, he pushes them close together_.) Well?... Look at them: they don't want to now!

TYLTYL

(_In a whisper, to_ JOY, _as he kisses her_.) It was better when we were by ourselves, wasn't it?

JOY

(_Also whispering_.) Yes, it was!

TYLTYL

They were right, weren't they?

JOY

Who?

TYLTYL

The others.

JOY

Yes.

TYLTYL

Don't say a word to any one: it is our secret, yours and mine....

CURTAIN