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Pamela Giraud   By: (1799-1850)

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by Honore de Balzac

Presented for the First Time at Paris at the Theatre de la Gaite, September 26, 1843


General de Verby Dupre, a lawyer Rousseau, a wealthy merchant Jules Rousseau, his son Joseph Binet Giraud, a porter Chief of Special Police Antoine, servant to the Rousseaus

Pamela Giraud Madame du Brocard, a widow; aunt of Jules Rousseau Madame Rousseau Madame Giraud Justine, chambermaid to Madame Rousseau

Sheriff Magistrate Police Officers Gendarmes

SCENE: Paris

TIME: During the Napoleonic plots under Louis XVIII. (1815 1824)




(Setting is an attic and workshop of an artificial flower maker. It is poorly lighted by means of a candle placed on the work table. The ceiling slopes abruptly at the back allowing space to conceal a man. On the right is a door, on the left a fireplace. Pamela is discovered at work, and Joseph Binet is seated near her.)

Pamela, Joseph Binet and later Jules Rousseau.

Pamela Monsieur Joseph Binet!

Joseph Mademoiselle Pamela Giraud!

Pamela I plainly see that you wish me to hate you.

Joseph The idea! What? And this is the beginning of our love Hate me!

Pamela Oh, come! Let us talk sensibly.

Joseph You do not wish, then, that I should express how much I love you?

Pamela Ah! I may as well tell you plainly, since you compel me to do so, that I do not wish to become the wife of an upholsterer's apprentice.

Joseph Is it necessary to become an emperor, or something like that, in order to marry a flower maker?

Pamela No. But it is necessary to be loved, and I don't love you in any way whatever.

Joseph In any way! I thought there was only one way of loving.

Pamela So there is, but there are many ways of not loving. You can be my friend, without my loving you.

Joseph Oh!

Pamela I can look upon you with indifference

Joseph Ah!

Pamela You can be odious to me! And at this moment you weary me, which is worse!

Joseph I weary her! I who would cut myself into fine pieces to do all that she wishes!

Pamela If you would do what I wish, you would not remain here.

Joseph And if I go away Will you love me a little?

Pamela Yes, for the only time I like you is when you are away!

Joseph And if I never came back?

Pamela I should be delighted.

Joseph Zounds! Why should I, senior apprentice with M. Morel, instead of aiming at setting up business for myself, fall in love with this young lady? It is folly! It certainly hinders me in my career; and yet I dream of her I am infatuated with her. Suppose my uncle knew it! But she is not the only woman in Paris, and, after all, Mlle. Pamela Giraud, who are you that you should be so high and mighty?

Pamela I am the daughter of a poor ruined tailor, now become a porter. I gain my own living if working night and day can be called living and it is with difficulty that I snatch a little holiday to gather lilacs in the Pres Saint Gervais; and I certainly recognize that the senior apprentice of M. Morel is altogether too good for me. I do not wish to enter a family which believes that it would thus form a mesalliance. The Binets indeed!

Joseph But what has happened to you in the last eight or ten days, my dear little pet of a Pamela? Up to ten days ago I used to come and cut out your flowers for you, I used to make the stalks for the roses, and the hearts for the violets; we used to talk together, we sometimes used to go to the play, and have a good cry there and I was "good Joseph," "my little Joseph" a Joseph in fact of the right stuff to make your husband. All of a sudden Pshaw! I became of no account.

Pamela Now you must really go away. Here you are neither in the street, nor in your own house... Continue reading book >>

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