Jean Paul Sartre (1905 - 1980) No Exit (2)

ESTELLE: So it was all fixed up beforehand?
INEZ: Yes. And they've put us together deliberately.
ESTELLE: Then it's not mere chance that you precisely are sitting opposite me? But what can be the idea behind it?
INEZ: Ask me another! I only know they're waiting.
ESTELLE: I never could bear the idea of anyone's expecting something from me. It always made me want to do just the opposite.
INEZ: Well, do it. Do it if you can. You don't even know what they expect.
ESTELLE: It's outrageous! So something's coming to me from you two? Something nasty, I suppose. There are some faces that tell me everything at once. Yours don't convey anything.
GARCIN: Look here! Why are we together? You've given us quite enough hints, you may as well come out with it.
INEZ: But I know nothing, absolutely nothing about it. I'm as much in the dark as you are.
GARCIN: We've got to know.
INEZ: If only each of us had the guts to tell--
GARCIN: Tell what?
INEZ: Estelle!
INEZ: What have you done? I mean, why have they sent you here?
ESTELLE: That's just it. I haven't a notion, not the foggiest. In fact, I'm wondering if there hasn't been some ghastly mistake. Don't smile. Just think of the number of people who-who become absentees every day. There must be thousands and thousands, and probably they're sorted out by-- by understrappers, you know what I mean. Stupid employees who don't know their job. So they're bound to make mistakes sometimes... Do stop smiling. Why don't you speak? If they made a mistake in my case, they may have done the same about you. And you, too. Anyhow, isn't it better to think we've got here by mistake?
INEZ: Is that all you have to tell me?
ESTELLE: What else should I tell? I've nothing to hide. I lost my parents when I was a kid, and I had my young brother to bring up. We were terribly poor and when an old friend of my people asked me to marry him I said yes. He was very well off, and quite nice. My brother was a very delicate child and needed all sorts of attention, so really that was the right thing for me to do, don't you agree? My husband was old enough to be my father, but for six years we had a happy married life. Then two years ago I met the man I was fated to love. We knew it the moment we set eyes on each other. He asked me to run away with him, and I refused. Then I got pneumonia and it finished me. That's the whole story. No doubt, by certain standards, I did wrong to sacrifice my youth to a man nearly three times my age. Do you think that could be called a sin?
GARCIN: Certainly not. And now, tell me, do you think it's a crime to stand by one's principles?
ESTELLE: Of course not. Surely no one could blame a man for that!
GARCIN: Wait a bit! I ran a pacifist newspaper. Then war broke out. What was I to do? Everyone was watching me, wondering: "Will he dare?" Well, I dared. I folded my arms and they shot me. Had I done anything wrong?
ESTELLE: Wrong? On the contrary. You were--
INEZ: --a hero! And how about your wife, Mr. Garcin?
GARCIN: That's simple. I'd rescued her from-- from the gutter.
ESTELLE: You see! You see!
INEZ: Yes, I see. Look here! What' s the point of play-acting, trying to throw dust in each other's eyes? We're all tarred with the same brush.
ESTELLE: How dare you!
INEZ: Yes, we are criminals-- murderers-- all three of us. We're in hell, my pets; they never make mistakes, and people aren't damned for nothing.
ESTELLE: Stop! For heaven's sake--
INEZ: In hell! Damned souls-- that's us, all three!
ESTELLE: Keep quiet! I forbid you to use such disgusting words.
INEZ: A damned soul-- that's you, my little plaster saint. And ditto our friend there, the noble pacifist. We've had our hour of pleasure, haven't we? There have been people who burned their lives out for our sakes-- and we chuckled over it. So now we have to pay the reckoning.
GARCIN: Will you keep your mouth shut, damn it!
INEZ: Well, well! Ah, I understand now. I know why they've put us three together.
GARCIN: I advise you to-- to think twice before you say any more.
INEZ: Wait! You'll see how simple it is. Childishly simple. Obviously there aren't any physical torments-- you agree, don't you? And yet we're in hell. And no one else will come here. We'll stay in this room together, the three of us, for ever and ever...In short, there's someone absent here, the official torturer.
GARCIN: I'd noticed that.
INEZ: It's obvious what they're after-- an economy of man-power-- or devil-power, if you prefer. The same idea as in the cafeteria, where customers serve themselves.
ESTELLE: Whatever do you mean?
INEZ: I mean that each of us will act as torturer of the two others.
GARCIN: No, I shall never be your torturer. I wish neither of you any harm, and I've no concern with you. None at all. So the solution's easy enough; each of us stays put in his or her corner and takes no notice of the others. You here, you here, and I there. Like soldiers at our posts. Also, we mustn't speak. Not one word. That won't be difficult; each of us has plenty of material for self-communings. I think I could stay ten thousand years with only my thoughts for compnay.
ESTELLE: Have I got to keep silent, too?
GARCIN: Yes. And that way we--we'll work out our salvation. Looking into ourselves, never raising our heads. Agreed?
INEZ: Agreed.
ESTELLE: I agree.
GARCIN: Then--good-by.
(Inez sings to herself while Estelle has been plying her powder-puff and lipstick. She looks round for a mirror, fumbles in her bag, then turns toward Garcin.
ESTELLE: Excuse me, have you a glass? Any sort of glass, a pocket-mirror will do. (Garcin remains silent.) Even if you won't speak to me, you might lend me a glass.
INEZ: Don't worry. I've a glass in my bag. It's gone! They must have taken it from me at the entrance.
ESTELLE: How tiresome! (Estelle shuts her eyes and sways, as if about to faint. Inez runs forward and holds her up.)
INEZ: What's the matter?
ESTELLE: I feel so queer. Don't you ever get taken that way? When I can't see myself I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist. I pat myself just to make sure, but it doesn't help much.
INEZ: You're lucky. I'm always conscious of myself-- in my mind. Painfully conscious.
ESTELLE: Ah yes, in your mind. But everything that goes on in one's head is so vague, isn't it? It makes one want to sleep. I've six big mirrors in my bedroom. There they are. I can see them. But they don't see me. They're reflecting the carpet, the settee, the window-- but how empty it is, a glass in which I'm absent! When I talked to people I always made sure there was one near by in which I could see myself. Iwatched myself talking. And somehow it kept me alert, seeing myself as the others saw me...Oh dear! My lipstick! I'm sure I've put it on all crooked. No, I can't do wihtout a looking-glass for ever and ever. I simply can't.
INEZ: Suppose I try to be your glass? Come and pay me a visit, dear. Here's a place for you on my sofa.
ESTELLE: But--(points to Garcin)
INEZ: Oh, he doesn't count.
ESTELLE: But we're going to --to hurt each other. You said it yourself.
INEZ: Do I look as if I wanted to hurt you?
ESTELLE: One never can tell.
INEZ: Much more likely YOU'LL hurt ME. Still, what does it matter? If I've got to suffer, it may as well be at your hands, your pretty hands. Sit down. Come closer. Closer. Look into my eyes. What do you see?
ESTELLE :Oh, I'm there! But so tiny I can't see myself properly.
INEZ: But I can. Every inch of you. Now ask me questions. I'll be as candid as any looking-glass.
ESTELLE: Please, Mr. Garcin. Sure our chatter isn't boring you?
INEZ: Don't worry about him. As I said, he doesn't count. We're by ourselves...Ask away.
ESTELLE: Are my lips all right?
INEZ: Show! No, they're a bit smudgy.
ESTELLE: I thought as much. Luckily no one's seen me. I'll try again.
INEZ: That's better. No. Follow the line of your lips. Wait!! I'll guide your hand. There. That's quite good.
ESTELLE: As good as when I came in?
INEZ: Far better. Crueler. Your mouth looks quite diabolical that way.
ESTELLE: Good gracious! And you say you like it! How maddening, not being able to see for myself! You're quite sure, Miss Serrano, that it's all right now?
INEZ: Won't you call me Inez?
ESTELLE: Are you sure it looks all right?
You're lovely, Estelle.
ESTELLE: But how can I rely upon your taste? Is it the same as my taste? Oh, how sickening it all is, enough to drive one crazy!
INEZ: I HAVE your taste, my dear, because I like you so much. Look at me. No, straight. Now smile. I'm not so ugly, either. Am I not nicer than your glass?
ESTELLE: Oh, I don't know. Your scare me rather. My reflection in the glass never did that; of course, I knew it so well. Like something I had tamed...I'm going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.
INEZ: And why shouldn't you "tame"me? Listen! I want you to call me Inez. We must be great friends.
ESTELLE: I don't make friends with women very easily.
INEZ: Not with postal clerks, you mean? Hullo, what's that-- that nasty red spot at the bottom of your cheek? A pimple?
A pimple? Oh, how simply foul! Where!
INEZ: There...You know the way the catch larks-- with a mirror? I'm your lark-mirror, my dear, and you can't escape me...There isn't any pimple, not a trace of one. So what about it? Suppose the mirror started telling lies? Or suppose I covered my eyes--as he is doing-- and refused to look at you, all that loveliness of yours would be wasted on the desert air. No, don't be afraid, I can't help looking at you. I shan't turn my eyes away. And I'll be nice to you, ever so nice. Only you must be nice to me, too.
Are you really-- attracted by me?
INEZ: Very much indeed.
ESTELLE: But I wish he'd notice me too.
INEZ: Of course! Because he's a MAN! You've won. But look at her, damn it! Don't pretend. You haven't missed a word of what we've said.
GARCIN: Quite so; not a word. I stuck my fingers in my ears, but your voices thudded in my brain. Silly chatter. Now will you leave me in peace, you two? I'm not interested in you.
INEZ: Not in me, perhaps--but how about this child? Aren't you interested in her? Oh, I saw through your game; you got on your high horse just to impress her.
GARCIN: I asked you to leave me in peace. There's someone talking about me in the newspaper office and I want to listen. And, if it'll make you any happier, let me tell you that I've no use for the "child," as you call her.
ESTELLE: Thanks.
GARCIN: Oh, I didn't mean it rudely.
ESTELLE: You cad!
GARCIN: So that's that. You know I begged you not to speak.
ESTELLE: It's her fault; she started. I didn't ask anything of her and she came and offered me her-her glass.
INEZ: So you say. But all the time you were making up to him, trying every trick to catch his attention.
ESTELLE: Well, why shouldn't I?
GARCIN: You're crazy, both of you. Don't you see where this is leading us? For pity's sake, keep your mouths shut. Now let's all sit down again quite quietly; we'll look at the floor and each must try to forget the others are there.
INEZ: To forget about the others? How utterly absurd! I feel you there, in every pore. Your silence clamors in my ears. You can nail up your mouth, cut your tongue out-- but you can't prevent your being there. Can you stop your thoughts? I hear them ticking away like a clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, and I'm certain you hear mine. It's all very well skulking on your sofa, but you're everywhere, and every sound comes to me soiled because you've intercepted it on its way. Why, you've even stolen my face; you know it and I don't ! And what about her, about Estelle? You've stolen her from me, too; if she and I were alone do you suppose she'd treat me as she does? No, take your hands from your face, I won't leave you in peace-- that would suit your book too well. You'd go on sitting there, in a sort of trance, like a yogi, and even if I didn't see her I'd feel it in my bones-- that she was making every sound, even the rustle of her dress, for your benefit, throwing you smiles you didn't see.... Well, I won't stand for that, I prefer to choose my hell; I prefer to look you in the eyes and fight it out face to face.
GARCIN: Have it your own way. I suppose we were bound to come to this; they knew what they were about, and we're easy game. If they'd put me in a room with men-- men can keep their mouths shut. But it's no use wanting the impossible. So I attract you, little girl? (Fondles her.) It seems you were making eyes at me?
ESTELLE:   Don't touch me.
GARCIN: Why not? We might, anyhow, be natural... Do you know, I used to be mad about women? And some were fond of me. So we may as well stop posing, we've nothing to lose. Why trouble about politeness, and decorum, and the rest of it? We're between ourselves. And presently we shall be naked as -- as newborn babes.
ESTELLE: Oh, let me be!
GARCIN: As newborn babes. Well, I'd warned you, anyhow. I asked so little of you, nothing but peace and a little silence. I'd put my fingers in my ears. Gomez was spouting away as usual, standing in the center of the room, with all the pressmen listening. In their shirt-sleeves. I tried to hear, but it wasn't easy. Things on earth move so quickly, you know. Couldn't you have held your tongues? Now it's over, he's stopped talking, and what he thinks of me has gone back into his head. Well, we've got to see it through somehow...Naked as we were born. So much the better; I want to know whom I have to deal with.
INEZ: You know already. There's nothing more to learn.
GARCIN: You're wrong. So long as each of us hasn't made a clean breast of it-- why they've damned him or her-- we know nothing. Nothing that counts. You, young lady, you shall begin. Why? Tell us why. If you are frank, if we bring our specters into the open, it may save us from disaster. So- out with it! Why?
ESTELLE: I tell you I haven't a notion. They wouldn't tell me why.
GARCIN: That's so. They wouldn't tell me, either. But I've a pretty good idea... Perhaps you're shy of speaking first? RIght. I'll lead off. I'm not a very estimable person.
INEZ: No need to tell us that. We know you were a deserter.
GARCIN: Let that be. It's only a side-issue. I'm here because I treated my wife abominably. That's all. For five years. Naturally, she's suffering still. There she is: the moment I mention her, I see her. It's Gomez who interests me, and it's she I see. Where's Gomez got to? For five years. There! They've given her back my things; she's sitting by the window, with my coat on her knees. The coat with the twelve bullet-holes. The blood's like rust; a brown ring round each hole. It's quite a museum-piece, that coat; scarred with history. And I used to wear it, fancy! ... Now, can't you shed a tear, my love! Surely you'll squeeze one out-- at last? No? You can't manage it? ... Night after night I came home blind drunk, stinking of wine and women. She'd sat up for me, of course. But she never cried, never uttered a word of reproach. Only her eyes spoke. Big, tragic eyes. I don't regret anything. I must pay the price, but I shan't whine.... It's snowing in the street. Won't you cry, confound you? That woman was a born martyr, you know; a victim by vocation.
INEZ: Why did you hurt her like that?
GARCIN: It was so easy. A wored was enough to make her flinch. Like a sensitive-plant. But never, never a reproach. I'm fond of teasing. I watched and waited. But no, not a tear, not a protest. I'd picked her up out of the gutter, you understand...Now she's stroking the coat. Her eyes are shut and she's feeling with her fingeres for the bullet-holes. What are you after? What do you expect? I tell you I regret nothing. The truth is, she admired me too much. Does that mean anything to you?
INEZ: No. Nobody admired me.
GARCIN: So much the better. So much the better for you. I suppose all this trikes you as very vague. Well, here's something hou can get your teeth into. I brought a half-caste girl to stay in our house. My wife slept upstairs; she must have heard-- everything. She was an early riser and, as I and the girl stayed in bed late, she served us our morning coffee.
INEZ: You brute!
GARCIN: Yes, a brute, if you like. But a well-beloved brute. (Far-away look comes to his eyes.) No, it's nothing. Only Gomez, and he's not talking about me... What were you saying? Yes, a brute. Certainly. Else why should I be here? Your turn.
INEZ: Well, I was what some people down there called " a damned bitch." Damned already. So it's no surprise, being here.
Is that all you have to say?

No. There was that affair with Florence. A dead men's tale. With three corpses to it. He to start with; the she and I. So there's no oneleft. I've nothing to worry about; it was a aclean sweep. Only that room. I see it now and then. Empty, with the doors locked.... No, they've just unlocked them. "To Let." It's to let; there's a notice on the door. that's -- too ridiculous.
GARCIN: Three. Three deaths, you said?
INEZ: Three.
GARCIN: One man and two women?
INEZ: Yes.
GARCIN: Well, well. Did he kill himself?
INEZ: He? No, he hadn't the guts for that. Still, he'd every reason; we led him a dog's life. As a matter of fact, he was run over by a tram. A silly sort of end... I was living with them; he was my cousin.
GARCIN: Was Florence fair?


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