Expressions

A I, S I: a historical tête-à-tête

By DARRIUS ESTIGOY
Staff Writer

Lights up on d’Eon.

D’Eon:

The Seven Years’ war is over,
It’s seventeen-sixty-three.
Peace Treaty’s gotta be signed;
Who else is there but me?

The name is Chevalier d’Eon,
Of minor aristocracy.
A fresh up-and-comer,
Good friend to the monarchy.

They sent me off to London,
To aid negotiations.
But just one detail they don’t know:
I am a secret agent.

A spy for the French monarchy –
Le Secret du Roi –
Infiltrating Britain,
From inside, I will gnaw.

Negotiation comes,
Negotiation goes.
As for the New World,
We’ve been foreclosed.

The problem is tremendous;
War is expensive.
Without our colonies,
There’s no money to give.

The only real solution,
I think you will agree,
Is for a French invasion,
Both by land and by sea.

Who could be the best scout?
Me, the French courtier!
I’ll find out where and when
To sneak in with no delay.

My plan of action’s perfect:
Work as an ambassador,
While doubling in secret
As King Louis’ troubadour.

What could go wrong?
There’s no deficiency.
When France is found successful,
All praise will go to me.

Enter Guerchy.

Guerchy:

Thank who? Thank you?
Why would they do such a thing?
You were not even made ambassador to the king.

D’Eon:

What you say? What you mean?
I am the ambassador!
Explain yourself, Guerchy,
Before I kick you out the door!

Guerchy:

“What” yourself, d’Eon,
Don’t let your temper flare.
Unless you forgot, I am your superior, sir.

D’Eon:

My superior? As far as I know,
I have worked alone
For the better part of a year.
Now you make yourself known?

Guerchy:

So what if I’m late?
It is the French fashion.
Now that I’m here, it’s time to take action.

I am the true ambassador,
Don’t make yourself too haughty.
All in France know you’ve been far too naughty.

You have expensive tastes,
Shop on expensive streets,
Import enough wine for the entire French fleet.

Now your reign has ended,
Goodbye false ambassador,
Now a secretary and nothing more.

D’Eon:

Nothing more? Excusez-moi,
At least I have the skill,
While what you harbor, Guerchy,
Is incompetence distilled!

You have no real experience,
How worthless is your name!
How could anyone choose you
When all you bring is shame?

Guerchy:

Stop this talk, d’Eon,
Unless you want a fight.
Complain to the king, he’ll decide who’s right.

D’Eon:

Mon dieu! Maybe I will –
Just watch it, Guerchy,
When the king writes back
And the ambassador’s me.

Guerchy leaves in disgust.

How unfair the world’s become!
How crooked my life will be!
One day I am on top
And the next I’m under he?

That idiot, that fool,
So obviously inapt.
How could he dictate policy
When he cannot read a map?

How could the king do this?
Make me a secretary?
That is a woman’s job!
Completely unfitting me!

Do they suspect something?
Am I not loyal?
They must not know, je suis
Un espion pour les royals.

Surely there’s been some mistake,
I am still in the king’s favor.
This is a trick for the British,
He has not forgot my labors.

I am fierce with the sword,
Let’s see how the pen cuts.
I’ll write them some letters
And show them my strut.

Lights out.

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