L'Aiglon by Edmond Rostand

L'Aiglon

A Play in Six Acts

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subjects: Plays, Playscripts

Description

L’Aiglon is a play in six acts based on the life of Napoleon’s son, Napoleon II of France, Duke of Reichstadt. The title comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for ‘eaglet’ (a young eagle). The title role was created by Sarah Bernhardt in the play’s premiere on 15 March 1900 at the Théàtre Sarah Bernhardt.


138 pages, with a reading time of ~4.25 hours (34,577 words), and first published in 1900. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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Excerpt

At Baden, near Vienna, in 1830.

The drawing-room of the villa occupied by MARIA LOUISA. The walls are painted al fresco in bright colors. The frieze is decorated with a design of sphinxes.

At the back, between two other windows, a window reaching to the ground and forming the entrance from the garden. Beyond, the balustrade of the terrace leading into the garden; a glimpse of lindens and pine-trees. A magnificent day in the beginning of September. Empire furniture of lemonwood decorated with bronze. A large china stove in the centre of the wall on the left. In front of it a door. On the right, two doors. The first leads to the apartments of MARIA LOUISA. In front of the window on the left at the back an Erard piano of the period, and a harp. A big table on the right, and against the right wall a small table with shelves filled with books. On the left, facing the audience, a Récamier couch, and a large stand for candlesticks. A great many flowers in vases. Framed engravings on the walls representing the members of the Imperial Family of Austria. A portrait of the Emperor Francis.

At the rise of the curtain a group of elegant ladies is discovered at the further end of the room. Two of them are seated at the piano, with their backs to the audience, playing a duet. Another is at the harp. They are playing at sight, amid much laughter and many interruptions. A lackey ushers in a modestly dressed young girl who is accompanied by an officer of the Austrian Cavalry. Seeing that no one notices their entrance, these two remain standing a moment in a corner. The COUNT DE BOMBELLES comes in from the door on the right and goes toward the piano. He sees the young girl, and stops, with a smile.

THE LADIES.

[Surrounding the piano, laughing, and all talking at the same time.]

She misses all the flats!–It’s scandalous!– I’ll take the bass!–Loud pedal!–One! Two!–Harp!

BOMBELLES.

[To THERESA.]

What! You!

THERESA.

      Good-day, my Lord Bombelles!

A LADY.

[At the piano.] Mi, sol.

THERESA.

I enter on my readership–

ANOTHER LADY.

[At the piano.] The flats!

THERESA.

It’s thanks to you.

BOMBELLES.

My dear Theresa! Nothing! You are my relative, and you are French.

THERESA.

[Presenting the officer.]

Tiburtius–

BOMBELLES.

        Ah, your brother!

[_He gives him his hand and pushes forward a
 chair for_ THERESA.]

                           Take a seat.

THERESA.

I’m very nervous.

BOMBELLES.

[With a smile.] Heavens! What about?

THERESA.

To venture near the persons of the two The Emperor left!

BOMBELLES.

              Oh, is that all, my child?

TIBURTIUS.

Our people hated Bonaparte of old–

THERESA.

Yes–but to see–

BOMBELLES.

               His widow?

THERESA.

And perhaps His son?

BOMBELLES.

     Assuredly.

THERESA.

Why, it would mean I’d never thought or read, and was not French, Nor born in recent years, if I could stand Unmoved so near them. Is she lovely?

BOMBELLES.

                                  Who?

THERESA.

Her Majesty of Parma?

BOMBELLES.

                  Why--

THERESA.

She’s sad And that itself is beauty.

BOMBELLES.

But I’m puzzled. Surely you’ve seen her?

THERESA.

                    No.

TIBURTIUS.

                        We've just come in.

BOMBELLES.

Yes, but–

TIBURTIUS.

We feared we might disturb these ladies Whose laughter sings new gamuts to the piano.

THERESA.

Here in my corner I await her notice.

BOMBELLES.

What? Why, it’s she who’s playing bass this moment!

THERESA.

The Emp–?

BOMBELLES.

        I'll go and tell her.

[_He goes to the piano and whispers to one of the
  ladies who are playing._]

MARIA LOUISA.

[Turning.] Ah! this child– Quite a pathetic story–yes–you told me: A brother–

BOMBELLES.

           Father exiled. Son an exile.

TIBURTIUS.

The Austrian uniform is to my taste; And then there’s fox-hunting, which I adore.

MARIA LOUISA.

[To THERESA.]

So that’s the rascal whose extravagance Eats up your little fortune?

THERESA.

                         Oh!--my brother--

MARIA LOUISA.

The wretch has ruined you, but you forgive him! Theresa de Loget, I think you’re charming!

[_She takes_ THERESA _by both hands and makes her
 sit beside her on the couch._]

[BOMBELLES and TIBURTIUS _retire to the back._]

Now you’re among my ladies. I may boast I’m not unpleasant; rather sad at times Since–

THERESA.

    I am grieved beyond the power of words.

MARIA LOUISA.

Yes, to be sure. It was a grievous loss. That lovely soul was little known!

THERESA.

                               Oh, surely!

MARIA LOUISA.