A monologue from the play by Maurice Donnay
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Three Modern Plays from the French. Ed. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1914.
Ah! You would not speak that way if you had seen her; if, like me, you had held her in your arms a miserable child, white and trembling;
if, like me, you had read in her anxious eyes the terror of my fault and the shame of her besmirched love!
You would understand how I have not had the courage–the barbarity–to tell her the cruel truth. Yes, I have promised her everything;
I have pledged my sacred word, because, above and beyond the truth, there is her purity–her tender youth;
because, above everything, there is pity. And since you speak of crime, the real crime would have been to smite, perhaps fatally,
an innocent child–do you understand, innocent? If you don’t think so, tell Madeleine yourself your resolution;
tell her you are going away, and that you will not return. If you have decided that that is your duty, assume all the responsibility of it with her,
and spare me, at least, the torture of a new explanation with my child. Besides, I could not–I have no more strength.
I am going to have her called, and you will speak to her.
[She rings the bell.]