Jean Paul Sartre (1905 - 1980) No Exit (3)

INEZ: Fair? You know, I don't regret a thing; still, I'm not so very keen on telling you the story.
GARCIN: That's all right..... So you got sick of him?
INEZ: Quite gradually. All sorts of little things got on my nerves. For instance, he made a noise when he was drinking-- a sort of gurgle. Trifles like that. He was rather pathetic really. Vulnerable. Why are you smiling?
GARCIN: Because I, anyhow, am not vulnerable.
INEZ: Don't be too sure... I crept inside her skin, she saw the world through my eyes. When she left him, I had her on my hands. We shared a bed-sitting-room at the other end of the town.
GARCIN: And then?
INEZ: Then that tram did its job. I used to remind her every day: "Yes, my pet, we killed him between us." I'm rather cruel, really.
GARCIN: So am I.
INEZ: No, you're not cruel. It's something else.
INEZ: I'll tell you later. When I say I'm cruel, I mean I can't get on without making people suffer. Like a live coal. A livek coal in others' hearts. When I'm alone I flicker out. For six months I flamed away in her heart, till there was nothing but a cinder. One night she got up and turned on the gas while I was asleep. Then she crept back into bed. So now you know.
GARCIN: Well! Well!
INEZ: Yes? What's in your mind?
GARCIN: Nothing. Only that it's not a pretty story
INEZ: Obviously. But what matter?
GARCIN: As you say, what matter? Your turn. What have you done.
ESTELLE: As I told you, I haven't a notion. I rack my brain, but it's no use.
GARCIN: Right. Then we'll give you a hand. That fellow with the smashed face, who was he?
ESTELLE: Who-- who do you mean?
INEZ: You know quite well. The man you were so scared of seeing when you came in.
ESTELLE: Oh, him! A friend of mine.
GARCIN: Why were you afraid of him?
ESTELLE: That's my business, Mr. Garcin.
INEZ: Did he shoot himself on your account?
ESTELLE: Of course not. How absurd you are!
GARCIN: Then why should you have been so scared? He blew his brains out, didn't he? That's how his face got smashed.
ESTELLE: Don't! Please don't go on.
GARCIN: Because of you. Because of you.
He shot himself because of you.
ESTELLE: Leave me alone! It's -- it's not fair, bullying me like that. I want to go! I want to go!
GARCIN: Go if you can. Personally, I ask for nothing better. Unfortunately the door's locked.
ESTELLE: You're hateful, both of you.
INEZ: Hateful? Yes, that's the word. Now get on with it. That fellow who killed himself on your account-- you were his mistress, eh?
GARCIN: Of course she was. And he wanted to have her to himself alone. That's so, isn't it?
INEZ: He danced the tango like a professional, but he was poor as a church mouse-- that's right, isn't it?
GARCIN: Was he poor or not? Give a straight answer.
ESTELLE: Yes, he was poor.
GARCIN: And then you had your reputation to keep up. One day he came and implored you to run away with him, and you laughed in his face.
INEZ: That's it. You laughed at him. And so he killed himself.
ESTELLE: DId you use to look at Florence in that way?
INEZ: Yes.
ESTELLE: You've got it all wrong, you two. He wanted me to have a baby. So there!
GARCIN: And you didn't want one?
ESTELLE: I certainly didn't. But the baby came, worse luck. I went to Switzerland for five months. No one knew anything. It was a girl. Roger was with me when she was born. It pleased him no end, having a daughter. It didn't please me!
GARCIN: And then?
ESTELLE: There was a balcony overlooking the lake. I brought a big stone. He could see what I was up to and he kept on shouting: "Estelle, for God's sake, don't!" I hated him then. He saw it all. He was leaning over the balcony and he saw the rings spreading on the water--
GARCIN: Yes? And then?
ESTELLE: That's all. I came back to Paris-- and he did as he wished.
GARCIN: You mean he blew his brains out?
ESTELLE: It was absurd of him, really, my husband never suspected anything. Oh, how I loathe you!
GARCIN: Nothing doing. Tears don't flow in this place.
ESTELLE: I'm a coward. A coward! If you knew how I hate you!
INEZ: Poor child! So the hearing's over. But there's no need to look like a hanging judge.
GARCIN: A hanging judge? I'd give a lot to be able to see myself in a glass. How hot it is! (Takes off coat.) Oh, sorry! (Puts it on again.)
ESTELLE: Don't bother. You can stay in your shirt-sleeves. As things are--
GARCIN: Just so. You mustn't be angry with me, Estelle.
ESTELLE: I'm not angry with you.
INEZ: And what about me? Are you angry with me?
INEZ: Well, Mr. Garcin, now you have us in the nude all right. Do your understand things any better for that?
GARCIN: I wonder. Yes, perhaps a trifle better. And now I suppose we start trying to help each other.
INEZ: I don't need help.
GARCIN: Inez, they've laid their snare damned cunningly-- like a cobweb. If you make any movement, if you raise your hand to fan yourself, Estelle and I feel a little tug. Alone, none of us can save himself or herslf; we're linked together inextricably. So you can take your choice. Hullo? What's happening?
INEZ: They've let it. The windows are wide open, a man is sitting on my bed. MY bed, if you please! They've let it, let it! Step in, step in, make yourself at home, you brute! Ah, there's a woman, too. She's going up to him, putting her hands on his shoulders...Damn it, why don't they turn the lights on? It's getting dark. Now he's going to kiss her. But that's my room, MY room! Pitch-dark now. I can't see anything, but I hear them whispering, whispering. Is he going to make love to her on MY bed?What's that she said? That it's noon and the sun is shining? I must be going blind. Blacked out. I can't see or hear a thing. So I'm done with the earth, it seems. No more alibis for m! I feel so empty, desiccated-- really dead at last. All of me's here, in this room. What were you saying? Something about helping me, wasn't it?
  GARCIN: Yes.
INEZ: Helping me to do what?
GARCIN: To defeat their devilish tricks.
INEZ: And what do you expect me to do in return?
GARCIN: To help ME. It only needs a little effort, Inez; just a spark of human feeling.
INEZ: Human feeling. That's beyond my range. I'm rotten to the core.
GARCIN: And how about me? All the same, suppose we try?
INEZ: It's no use. I'm all dried up. I can't give and I can't receive. How could I help you? A dead twig, ready for the burning. Florence was fair, a natural blonde.
GARCIN: Do your realize that this young woman's fated to be your torturer?
INEZ: Perhaps I've guessed it.
GARCIN: It's through her they'll get you. I, of course, I'm different-- aloof. I take no notice of her. Suppose you had a try--
INEZ: Yes?
GARCIN: It's a trap. They're watching you, to see if you'll fall into it.
INEZ: I know. And you're another trap. Do you think they haven't foreknown every word you say? And of course there's a whole nest of pitfalls that we can't see. Everything here's a booby-trap. But what do I care? I'm a pitfall, too. For her, obviously. And perhaps I'll catch her.
GARCIN: You won't catch anything. We're chasing after each other, round and round in a vicious circle, like the horses on a roundabout. That's part of their plan, of course... Drop it, Inez. Open your hands and let go of everything. Or else you'll bring disaster on all three of us.
INEZ: Do I look the sort of person who lets go? I know what's coming to me. I'm going to burn, and it's to last forever. Yes, I KNOW everything. But do you think I'll let go? I'll catch her, she'll see you through my eyes, as Florence saw that other man. What's the good of trying to enlist my sympathy? I assure you I know everything, and I can't feel sorry even for myself. A trap! Don't I know it, and that I'm in a trap myself, up to the neck, and there's nothing to be done about it? ANd if it suits their book, so much the better!
GARCIN: Well, I, anyhow, can feel sorry for you, too. Look at me, we're naked, naked right through, and I can see into your heart. That's one link between us. Do you think I'd want to hurt you? I don't regret anything, I'm dried up, too. But for you I can still feel pity.
INEZ: Don't. I hate being pawed about. And keep your pity for yourself. Don't forget, Garcin, that there are traps for you, too, in this room. ALl nicely set for you. You'd do better to watch your own interests. But, if you will elave us in peace, this child and me, I'll see I don't do you any harm.
GARCIN: Very well.
ESTELLE: Please, Garcin.
GARCIN: What do you want of me?
ESTELLE: You can help ME, anyhow.
GARCIN: If you want help, apply to her.
ESTELLE: I implore you, Garcin-- you gave me your promise, didn't you? Help me quick. I don't want to be left alone. Olga's taken him to a cabaret.
INEZ: Taken whom?
ESTELLE: Peter....Oh, now they're dancing together.
INEZ: Who's Peter?
ESTELLE: Such a silly boy. He called me his glancing stream-- just fancy! He was terribly in love with me... She's persuaded him to come out with her tonight.
INEZ: Do you love him?
ESTELLE: They're sitting down now. She's puffing like a grampus. What a fool the girl is to insist on dancing! But I dare say she does it to reduce...No, of course I don't love him. He's only eighteen, and I'm not a baby-snatcher.
INEZ: Then why bother about them? What difference does it make?
ESTELLE: He belonged to me.
INEZ: Nothing on earth belongs to you any more.
ESTELLE: I tell you he was mine. All mine.
INEZ: Yes, he was yours-- once. But now---try to make him hear, try to touch him. Olga can touch him, talk to him as much as she likes. That's so, isn't it? She can squeeze his hands, rub herself against him--
ESTELLE: Yes, look! She's pressing her great fat chest against him, puffing and blowing his his face. But, my poor little lamb, can't you see how ridiculous she is? Why don't you laugh at her? Oh, once I'd have only had to glance at them and she'd have slunk away. Is there really nothing, nothing left of me?
INEZ: Nothing whatever. Nothing of you's left on earth-- not even a shadow. All you own is here. Would you like that paper-knife? Or that ornament on the mantelpiece? That blue sofa's yours. And I, my dear, am yours forever.
ESTELLE: You mine! That's good! Well, which of you two would dare to call me his glancing stream, his crystal girl? You know too much about me, you know I'm rotten through and through... Peter, dear, think of me, fix your thoughts on me, and save me. All the time you're thinking "my glancing stream, his crystal girl," I'm only half here. I'm only half wicked, and half of me is down there with you, clean and bright and crystal-clear as running water...Oh, just look at her face, all scarlet, like a tomato. No, it's absurd, we've laughed at her together, you and I, often and often... What's that tune? -- I always loved it. Yes, the "St. Louis Blues"....All right, dance away, dance away. Garcin, I wish you could see her, you'd die of laughing.Only--she'll never know I SEE her. Yes, I see you, Olga, with your hair all anyhow, and you do look like a dope, my dear. Oh, now you're treading on his toes. It's a scream! Hurry up! Quicker! Quicker! He's dragging her along, bundling her round and round-- it's too ghastly! He always said I was so light, he loved to dance with me. I tell you, Olga, I can see you. No, she doesn't care, she's dancing through my gaze. What's that? What's that you said? "Our poor dear Estelle"? Oh, don't be such a humbug! You didn't even shed a tear at the funeral...And she has the nerve to talk to him about her poor dear friend Estelle! How dare she discuss me with Peter? Now then, keep time. She never could dance and talk at once. Oh, what's that? No, no. Don't tell him. Please, please don't tell him. You can keep him, do what you like with him, but please don't tell him about-- that! All right. You can have him now. Isn't it FOUL, Garcin? She's told him everything, about Roger, my trip to Switzerland, the baby. "Poor Estelle wasn't exactly--" "No, I wasn't exactly--- True enough. He's looking grave, shaking his head, but he doesn't seem so much surprised, not what one would expect. Keep him then-- I won't haggle with you over his long eyelashes, his pretty girlish face. They're yours for the asking. His glancing stream, his crystal. Well, the crystal's shattered into bits. "Poor Estelle!" Dance, dance, dance. On with it. But do keep time. One, two. One, two. How I'd love to go down to earth for just a moment, and dance with him again. The music's growing fainter. They've turned down the lights, as they do for a tango. Why are they playing so softly? Louder, please. I can't hear. It's so far away, so far away. I--I can't hear a sound. All over. It's the end. The earth has left me. Don't turn from me-- please. Take me in your arms.
INEZ: Now then, Garcin!
GARCIN: It's to her you should say that.
ESTELLE: Don't turn away. You're a man, aren't you, and surely I'm not a fright as all that! Everyone says I've lovely hair and after all, a man killed himself on my account. You have to look at something, and there's nothing here to see except the sofas and that awful ornament and the table. Surely I'm better to look at that an lot of stupid furniture. Listen! I've dropped out of their heart like a little sparrow fallen from its nest. So gather me up, dear, fold me to your heart--and you'll see how nice I can be.
GARCIN: I tell you it's to that lady you should speak.
ESTELLE: To her? But she doesn't count, she's a woman.
INEZ: Oh, I don't count? Is that what you think? But, my poor little fallen nestling, you've been sheltering in my heart for ages, though you didn't realize it. Don't be afraid; I'll keep looking at you for ever and ever, without a flutter of my eyelids, and you'll live in my gaze like a mote in a sunbeam.
ESTELLE: A sunbeam indeed! Don't talk such rubbish! You've tried that trick already, and you should know it doesn't work.
INEZ: Estelle! My glancing stream! My crystal!
ESTELLE: YOUR crystal? It's grotesque. Do you think you can fool me with that sort of talk? Everyone know by now what I did to my baby. The crystal's shattered, but I don't care. I'm just a hollow dummy, all that's left of me is the outside--but it's not for you.

Come to me, Estelle. You shall be whatever you like: a glancing stream, a muddy stream. And deep down in my eyes you'll see yourself just as you want to be.
ESTELLE: Oh, leave me in peace. You haven't any eyes. Oh, damn it, isn't there anything I can do to get rid of you? I've an idea. (Spits in Garcin's face.) There!
INEZ: Garcin, you shall pay for this.
GARCIN: So it's a man you need?


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