Scene 9 The Pastors Study
The Pastor's study after supper. Jacques and his father enter and as they are settling down to work Jacques should begin, very casually, the following conversation. The Pastor is dying to bring up the subject of Gertrude, Jacques wants to change his plans for the holidays but without giving away his real reasons.
Jacques - I thought I might stay here over the holidays; there seems to be such a lot to do and I don't feel very enthusiastic about a long, and probably dreary, walking trip in the mountains.
Pastor - I thought Thomas was counting on you.
J - Oh, not absolutely, and besides he will have no difficulty finding someone else. I can rest here just as well, and I really think I can spend my time better than mountaineering.
P - In fact you have found something much better to occupy you at home.
J - puzzled by the obvious irony in his father's voice You know I have always liked reading better than climbing.
P - Yes, my dear boy, but are not lessons in harmonium playing even more attractive?
J - blushing, puts his hand to his forehead but then very steadily and calmly Do not blame me too much, Father. I did not mean to hide anything from you and you have only forestalled by a little the confession I was preparing to make to you. the Pastor gets up, he is very angry No, you can speak afterwards; let me finish first.
P - seizing his son's arm and shaking it, he is on the verge of uncontrollable anger I would rather never see you again than have you trouble the purity of Gertrude's soul. I don't want your confessions! To abuse infirmity, innocence, candour! What abominable cowardice! I should never have thought you capable of it. And to speak of it with such cold blooded unconcern! Understand me; it is I who have charge of Gertrude and I will not suffer you to speak to her, to touch her, to see her for one single day more.
J - still calm, which only makes his Father worse But, Father, you may be sure that I respect Gertrude as much as you do. You are making a strange mistake if you think there is anything reprehensible - I don't say in my conduct - but in my intentions and in my secret heart. I love Gertrude and respect her as much as I love her. The idea of troubling her, of abusing her innocence is as abominable to me as to you.
How could I ever betray her?
She is life to me, touched by the kiss of an angel.
I must protect her from harm,
As husband and lover, not thief of her virtue.
Father you must understand me
my intentions are clear, we will marry.
Then I shall be as her screen to the world
through which colours may flow
and her eyes give me light in their darkness.
This is the confession I had to make to you, and I have nothing else to confess, believe me.
P - after some thought, stunned by his son's revelation We must sleep on it; tomorrow I will tell you what I think.
J - Tell me at least the you aren't still angry with me?
P - Tomorrow, Jacques leaves reluctantly, when he is out of the door the Pastor says almost under his breath - I must prevent it. '