SCENE 1. A solitary spot on the road to Harve. DES
GRIEUX discovered seated by the wayside.
DES GRIEUX. Manon, dearest Manon ! do I see thee herded
with these wretched beings and have no power to aid ! 0 Heaven! merciless
Heaven ! must I then despair ! (He sees Lescaut approaching. ) No, he
comes! (Advancing impetuously to meet Lescaut.) Thy fellows now make
ready; see, the soldiers are yonder; they will soon reach this place. Thy men
are fully armed. They will rescue my Manon and give her back to me! (Lescaut
keeps silence. ) What! Can it not be done? Are all my fond hopes vain! Oh!
Why dost thou keep silence ?
LESCAUT ( With effort). Sir, I have done my best
DES GREUX (anxiously). Go on!
LESCAUT. And grieve to say that all is lost.
DES GRIEUX (piteously). Lost!
LESCAUT. Scarce had the sun shone on the arms of the
soldiers ere all our men fled.
DES GRIEUX. (distracted). 'Tis false! 'Tis false!
Great Heaven hath taken pity on my suffering, and at last comes the hour
expected! In a moment my Manon shall be free.
LESCAUT (sadly). Since I have told the truth.
DES GREUX (lifting his hand to strike), Away!
LESCAUT. Strike, strike, if you will 'Tis soldier's fare.
He's by the King ill-paid ; and then, whatever his worth, the good folks shake
their heads and call him "wretched fellow."
DES GRIEUX (violently). Away !
( Voices of Soldiers are heard in the distance. d Des and Lescaut listen).
SOLDIERS. Captain, riding by,
Dost thou pitying sigh,
As we march left, right?
'Tis not so.
For a gallant bay
Carries thee all day,
And thy heart is light.
DES GRIEUX. Who is that?
LESCAUT (going along the road). Down the road the
are coming, and almost close at hand.
DES GREUX (trying to rush forward).
Manon, Manon ! (Lescaut stops him).
I have only my sword, but let us both boldly attack them.
LESCAUT. Oh, what madness is this !
DES GRIEUX. Come on.
LESCAUT. All will be lost. Take advice. It is better to use
DES GRIEUX. How then?
LESCAUT. For Manon's sake let us go.
DES GRIEUX ( resisting). No, no!
LESCAUT. Manon, you'll see. I promise this.
DES GEIEUX. What, go when her poor weary heart cries
"Come to me? " Oh, no!
LESCAUT. Sir, if you love her, Come.
DES GRIEUX. If I love her? Would I not lose my all ? Would
I not gladly die that she might live?
LESCAUT. Pray, come.
DES GRIEUX. When shall I see her?
LESCAUT. This very instant. ( The Soldiers have
corne nearer. Lescaut draws Des Grieux behind some
SOLDIERS. Captain riding by, etc. ( The Soldiers appear.
DES GEIEUX (behind the bushes). 0 Heaven !
LESCAUT (holding him). Silence ! Let me act. ( To
the Sergeant). Hi, comrade !
DES GRIEUX ( To Lescaut passionately). Am I to see
LESCAUT. And soon I hope to carry her off.
DES GRIEUX (pointing to the Sentry). That Soldier !
LESCAUT. I will attend to him. I know better than to give
away all the money. (He goes off with the sergeant. Soldiers exeunt.
Dragging with them the Women. )
(Manon appears. She comes
down the path as though exhausted by fatigue. )
MANON (with a joyful cry). Ah, Des Grieux !
DES GREUX (with delirious gladness). Oh, Manon,
Manon, Manon! (Checking himself). Thou weepest!
MANON. Yes ; with shame for myself, but with sorrow for
DES GEIEUX (tenderly). Manon, be of good heart, dear
love. Think of the happy hours that remain for us both.
MANON (bitterly). Ah! ! sweet deceiving vision.
DES GRIEUX. No ; those far-away countries, where they would
drag thee now, thou shalt never see. Both together we'll fly to a place of
sweet rest, where trouble may not come. (Ma— non remains silent). Manon,
wilt thou not speak?
MANON (with infinite tenderness). Oh my heart's only
love ; only now do I feel all thy goodness of soul, and, though fallen so low,
Manon craves pity and pardon for all her sins. (Des Grieux tries to
interrupt her. ) No, no; I must speak. Ah! Careless was I and light-hearted
; even in loving thee beyond compare, most ungrateful.
DES GREUX. Love, cease these reproaches.
MANON. Vainly I bid my wicked heart say why by what excess
of madness I have given thee pain on one day of my wasted life.
DES GRIEUX. Enough!
MANON (weeping). With remorse and contempt I am
filled when I think of our love, by my own act destroyed. Ah! ! would that I
could now atone with all my blood for but one of the griefs thou hast endured
through me ! Pardon Manon ! Oh, pardon Manon !
DES GEIEUX (passionately moved). What! speakest thou
of pardon when thy heart to my heart is given back again ?
MANON (with a cry of ecstasy). Ah!
Now in me a pure flame burnt, Love that's free from all
I see a future full of joy !
DES GRIEUX. From its path true
love near turned truth,
Yet, this day of delight
Shall our hearts re-unite.
MANON. Happiness once more is mine. (Pro- foundly moved
and almost inaudible. ) Let us talk of past days of the inn, the coach and
the tree- shaded route; of the letter thou didst write ; of our little table
and thy black robe at St. Sul pice. (With a sad smile.) Ah! how well I
DES GEIEUX. 'Tis a dream of delight. (Joyfully.) Come.
Manon. come: liberty is ours.