A monologue from Act II
by: Jules Lemaître
|NOTE: Translated from the French by Barrett H. Clark, this version of The Pardon was published in 1914 by Henry Holt & Company in the anthology Three Modern Plays From the French. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
GEORGES: It's easy enough for you to talk. Forgive her, I've
done that! But forget--I cannot. You see, I simply cannot! Why,
at times she makes me feel very tenderly toward her with her
great sorrow and that little air of submission--she's young and
not bad-looking. I kiss and pet her like the pretty child she
is--but the moment she is in my arms, it's just as if a burning
flame shot through me. I say to myself, "She is comparing!"
and then I cast her off brutally, or else I press her more closely
as if I wanted to hurt her. And then she is afraid, and doesn't
understand what I mean. At bottom, I believe I hate her. That's
because I have loved her too deeply. -- I can't tell you what
she has been to me. I was quite a student, I had done a good
deal of traveling, and had seen some of life, even; met all kinds
of women. But I had never before really been in love; she was
the first. I sought in her a final rest, a haven for life. In
her, I centered all the tenderness of which I was capable, every
thought, my whole ambition; I worked in order that she might
be proud of me, and become rich. It was for her sake that I was
proud of my successes. -- You have no idea how seriously I took
marriage. [Pause.] I was a fool, wasn't I?