Jean Paul Sartre (1905 - 1980) No Exit (4)

ESTELLE: Not any man. You.
  GARCIN: No humbug now. Any man would do your business. As I happen to be here, you want me. Right! Mind, I'm not your sort at all, really; I'm not a young nincompoop and I don't dance the tango.
ESTELLE: I'll take you as you are. And perhaps I shall change you.
GARCIN: I doubt it. I shan't pay much attention; I've other things to think about.
ESTELLE: What things?
GARCIN: They wouldn't interest you.
ESTELLE: I'll sit on your sofa and wait for you to take some notice of me. I promise not to bother you at all.
INEZ: That's right, fawn on him, like the silly bitch you are. Grovel and cringe! And he hasn't even good looks to commend him!
ESTELLE: Don't listen to her. She has no eyes, no ears. She's-- nothing.
GARCIN: I'll give you what I can. It doesn't amount to much. I shan't love you; I know you too well.
ESTELLE: Do you want me, anyhow?
ESTELLE: I ask no more.
GARCIN: In that case--
INEZ: Estelle! Garcin! You must be going crazy. You're not alone. I'm here too.
GARCIN: Of course-- but what does it matter?
INEZ: Under my eyes? You couldn't-- couldn't do it.
ESTELLE: Why not? I often undressed with my maid looking on.
INEZ: Let her alone. Don't paw her with your dirty man's hands.
GARCIN: Take care. I'm no gentleman, and I'd have no compunction about striking a woman.
INEZ: But you promised me; you promised. I'm only asking you to keep your word.
GARCIN: Why should I, considering you were the first to break our agreement?
INEZ: Very well, have it your own way. I'm the weaker party, one against two. But don't forget I'm here, and watching. I shan't take my eyes off you, Garcin; when you're kissing her, you'll feel them boring into you. Yes, have it your own way, make love and get it over. We're in hell; my turn will come.
GARCIN: Now then. Your lips. Give me your lips.
Really! Didn't I tell you not to pay attention to her?
GARCIN: You've got it wrong. It's Gomez; he's back in the press-room. They've shut the windows; it must be winter down there. Six months since I--Well, I warned you I'd be absent-minded sometimes, didn't I? They're shivering, they've kept their coats on. Funny they should feel the cold like that, when I'm feeling so hot. Ah, this time he's talking about me.
ESTELLE: Is it going to last long? You might at least tell me what he's saying.
Nothing. Nothing worth repeating. He's a swine, that's all. A god-damned bloody swine. Let's come back to-- to ourselves. Are you going to love me?
ESTELLE: I wonder now!
GARCIN: Will you trust me?
ESTELLE: What a quaint thing to ask! Considering you'll be under my eyes all the time, and I don't think I've much to fear from Inez, so far as you're concerned.
GARCIN: Obviously. I was thinking of another kind of trust. Talk away, talk away, you swine. I'm not there to defend myself. Estelle, you MUST give me your trust.
ESTELLE: Oh, what a nuisance you are! I'm giving you my mouth, my arms, my whole body-- and everything could be so simple...My trust! I haven't any to give, I'm afraid, and you're making me terribly embarrassed. You must have something pretty ghastly on your conscience to make such a fuss about my trusting you.
GARCIN: They shot me.
ESTELLE: I know. Because you refused to fight. Well, why shouldn't you?
GARCIN: I--I didn't exactly refuse. I must say he talks well, he makes out a good case against me, but he never says what I should have done instead. Should I have gone to the general and said: "General, I decline to fight"? A mug's game; they'd have promptly locked me up. But I wanted to show my colors, my true colors, do you understand? I wasn't going to be silenced. So I--I took the train.... They caught me at the frontier.
ESTELLE: Where were you trying to go?
GARCIN: To Mexico. I meant to launch a pacifist newspaper down there. Well, why don't you speak?
ESTELLE: What could I say? You acted quite rightly, as you didn't want to fight. But, darling, how on earth can I guess what you want me to answer?
INEZ: Can't you guess? Well, I can. He wants you to tell him that he bolted like a lion. For "bolt" he did, and that's what biting him.
GARCIN: "Bolted," "went away,"-- we won't quarrel over words.
ESTELLE: But you had to run away. If you'd stayed they'd have sent you to jail, wouldn't they?
GARCIN: Of course. Well, Estelle, am I a coward?
ESTELLE: How can I say? Don't be so unreasonable, darling. I can't put myself in your skin. You must decide that for yourself.
GARCIN: I can't decide.
ESTELLE: Anyway, you must remember. You must have had reasons for acting as you did.
GARCIN: I had.
GARCIN: But were they the real reasons?
ESTELLE: You've a twisted mind, that's your trouble. Plaguing yourself over such trifles!
GARCIN: I'd thought it all out, and I wanted to make a stand. But was that my real motive?
INEZ: Exactly. That's the question. Was that your real motive? No doubt you argued it out with yourself, you weighed the pros and cons, you found good reasons for what you did. But fear and hatred and all the dirty little instincts one keeps dark--- they're motives too. So carry on, Mr. Garcin, and try to be honest with yourself-- for once.
GARCIN: Do I really need you to tell me that? Day and night I paced my cell, from the window to the door, from the door to the window. I pried into my heart, I sleuthed myself like a detective. By the end of it I felt as if I'd given my whole life to introspection. But always I harked back to the one thing certain--- that I had acted as I did, I'd taken that train to the frontier. But why? Why?Finally I thought: My death will settle it. If I face death courageously, I'll prove I am no coward.
INEZ: And how did you face death?
GARCIN: Miserably. Rottenly. Oh, it was only a physical lapse--- that might happen to anyone; I'm not ashamed of it. Only everything's been left in suspense forever. Come here, Estelle. Look at me. I want to feel someone looking at me while they're talking about me on earth... I like green eyes.
INEZ: Green eyes! Just hark to him! And you, Estelle, do you like cowards?
ESTELLE: If you knew how little I care! Coward or hero, it's all one-- provided he kisses well.
GARCIN: There they are, slumped in their chairs, sucking at their cigars. Bored they look. Half-asleep. They're thinking:"Garcin's a coward." But only vaguely, dreamily. One's got to think of something. "That chap Garcin was a coward." That's what they've decided, those dear friends of mine. In six months'time they'll be saying: "Cowardly as that skunk Garcin." You're lucky, you two; no one on earth is giving you another thought. But I--I'm long in dying.
INEZ: What about your wife, Garcin?
GARCIN: Oh, didn't I tell you? She's dead.
INEZ: Dead?
GARCIN: Yes, she died just now. About two months ago.
INEZ: Of grief?
GARCIN: What else should she die of? So all is for the best, you see; the war's over, my wife's dead, and I've carved out my place in history.
ESTELLE: My poor darling! Look at me. Please look. Touch me. Touch me. There! Keep your hand there. No, don't move. Why trouble what those men are thinking? They'll die off one by one. Forget them. There's only me, now.
GARCIN: But THEY won't forget me, not they! They'll die, but others will come after them to carry on the legend. I've left my fate in their hands.
ESTELLE: You think too much, that's your trouble.
GARCIN: What else is there to do now? I was a man of action once... Oh, if only I could be with them again, for just one day--I'd fling their lie in their teeth. But I'm locked out; they're passing judgment on my life without troubling about me, and they're right, because I'm dead. Dead and done with. A back number.
ESTELLE: Garcin.
GARCIN: Still there? Now listen! I want you to do me a service. No, don't shrink away. I know it must seem strange to you, having someone asking you for help; you're not used to that. But if you'll make the effort, if you'll only WILL it hard enough, I dare say we can really love each other. Look at it this way. A thousand of them are proclaiming I'm a coward; but what do numbers matter? If there's someone, just one person, to say quite positively I did not run away, that I'm not the sort who runs away, that I'm brave and decent and the rest of it-- well, that one person's faith would save me. Will you have that faith in me? Then I shall love you and cherish you for ever. Estelle-- will you?
ESTELLE: Oh, you dear silly man, do you think I could love a coward?
GARCIN: But just now you said--
ESTELLE: I was only teashing you. I like men, my dear, who're real men, with tough skin and strong hands. You haven't a coward's chin, or a coward's mouth, or a coward's voice, or a coward's hair. And it's for your mouth, your hair, your voice, I love.
GARCIN: Do you mean this? REALLY mean it?
ESTELLE: Shall I swear it?
GARCIN: Then I snap my fingers at them all, those below and those in here. Estelle, we shall climb out of hell. (Inez laughs.) What's that?
INEZ: But she doesn't mean a word of what she says. How can you be such a simpleton? "Estelle, am I a coward?" As if she cared a damn either way.
ESTELLE: Inez, how dare you? Don't listen to her. If you want me to have faith in you, you must begin by trusting me.
INEZ: That's right! That's right! Trust away! She wants a man-- that far you can trust her-- she wants a man's arm round her waist, a man's smell, a man's eyes glowing with desire. And that's all she wants. She'd assure you you were God Almighty if she thought it would give you pleasure.
GARCIN: Estelle, is it true? Answer me. Is it true?
ESTELLE: What do you expect me to say? Don't you realize how maddening it is to have to answer questions one can't make head or tail of? You do make things difficult...Anyhow, I'd love you just the same, even if you were a coward. Isn't that enough?
GARCIN: You disgust me, both of you.
ESTELLE: What are you up to?
GARCIN: I'm going.
INEZ: You won't get far. The door is locked.
GARCIN: I'll MAKE them open it.
ESTELLE: Please! Please!
INEZ: Don't worry, my pet. The bell doesn't work.
GARCIN: I tell you they shall open. I can't endure it any longer, I'm through with you both. Go away.(to Estelle) You're even fouler than she. I won't let myself get bogged in your eyes. You're soft and slimy. Ugh! Like an octopus. Like a quagmire.
ESTELLE: I beg you, oh, I beg you not to leave me. I'll promise not to speak again, I won't trouble you in any way-- but don't go. I daren't be left alone with Inez, now she's shown her claws.
GARCIN: Look after yourself. I never asked you to come here.
ESTELLE: Oh, how mean you are! Yes, it's quite true you're a coward.
INEZ: Well, my little sparrow fallen from the nest, I hope you're satisfied now. You spat in my face-- playing up to him, of course-- and we had a tiff on his accound. But he's going, and a good riddance it will be. We two women will have the place to ourselves.
ESTELLE: You won't gain anything. If that door opens, I'm going too.
INEZ: Where?
ESTELLE: I don't care where. As far from you as I can.
GARCIN: Open the door! Open,blast you! I'll endure anything, your red-hot tongs and molten lead, your racks and prongs and garrotes-- all your fiendish gadgets, everything that burns and flays and tears-- I'll put up with any torture you impose. Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough. Now will you open? (THE DOOR FLIES OPEN: a long silence.)
INEZ: Well, Garcin? You're free to go.
GARCIN: Now I wonder why that door opened.
INEZ: What are you waiting for? Hurry up and go.
GARCIN: I shall not go.
INEZ: And you, Estelle? So what? Which shall it be? Which of the three of us will leave? The barrier's down, why are we waiting? But what a situation! It's a scream! We're inseparables!
ESTELLE: Inseparables? Garcin, come and lend a hand. Quickly. We'll push her out and slam the door on her. That'll teach her a lesson.
INEZ: (Struggling with Inez) Estelle, I beg you, let me stay. I won't go, I won't go! Not into the passage.
Let go of her.
ESTELLE: You're crazy. She hates you.
GARCIN: It's because of her I'm staying here.
INEZ: Because of me? All right, shut the door. It's ten times hotter here since it opened. Because of me, you said?
GARCIN: Yes. YOU, anyhow, know what it means to be a coward.
INEZ: Yes, I know.
GARCIN: And you know what wickedness is, and shame, and fear. There were days when you peered into yourself, into the secret places of your heart, and hwat you saw there made you faint with horror. And then, next day, you didn't know what to make of it, you couldn't interpret the horror you had glimpsted the day before. Yes, you know what evil costs. And when you say I'm a coward, you know from experience what that means. Is that so?
INEZ: Yes.
GARCIN: So it's you whom I have to convince; you are of my kind. Did you suppose I meant to go? No, I couldn't leave you here, gloating over my defeat, with all those thoughts about me running in your head.
INEZ: Do you really wish to convince me?
GARCIN: THat's the one and only thing I wish for now. I can't hear them any longer, you know. Probably that means they're through with me. For good and all. The curtain's down, nothing of me is left on earth-- not even the name of coward. So, Inez, we're alone. Only you two remain to give a thought to me. She- she doesn't count. It's you who matter; you who hate me. If you'll have faith in me I'm saved.
INEZ: It won't be easy. Have a look at me. I'm a hard-headed woman.
GARCIN: I'll give you all the time that's needed.
INEZ: Yes, we've lots of time in hand. ALL time.
GARCIN: Listen! Each man has an aim in life, a leading motive; that's so, isn't it? Well, I didn't give a damn for wealth, or for love. I aimed at being a real man. A tough, as they say. I staked everything on the same horse... Can one possibly be a coward when one's deliberately courted danger at every turn? And can judge a life by a single action?
INEZ: Why not? For thirty years you dreamt you were a hero, and condoned a thousand petty lapses--because a hero, of course, can do no wrong. An easy method, obviously. Then a day came when you were up against it, the red light of real danger-- and you took the train to Mexico.
GARCIN: I "dreamt," you say. It was no dream. When I chose the hardest path, I made my choice deliberately. A man is what he wills himself to be.
INEZ: Prove it. Prove it was no dream.It's what one does, and nothing else, that shows the stuff one's made of.
GARCIN: I died too soon. I wasn't allowed time to--to do my deeds.
INEZ: One always dies too soon-- or too late. And yet one's whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are-- your life, and nothing else.
GARCIN: What a poisonous woman you are! With an answer for everything.
INEZ: Now then! Don't lose heart. It shouldn't be so hard, convincing me. Pull yourself together , man, rake up some arguments. Ah, wasn't I right when I said you were vulnerable? Now you're going to pay the price, and what a price! You're a coward, Garcin, because I wish it! I wish it-- do you hear?-- I wish it. And yet, just look at me, see how weak I am, a mere breath on the air, a gaze observing you, a formless thought that thinks you. Ah, they're open now, those big hands, those coarse, man's hands! But what do you hope to do? You can't throttle thoughts with hands. So you've no choice, you must convince me, and you're at my mercy.
ESTELLE: Garcin!
ESTELLE: Revenge yourself.
ESTELLE: Kiss me, darling---then you'll hear her squeal.
GARCIN: That's true, Inez. I'm at your mercy, but you're at mine as well.
INEZ: Oh, you coward, you weakling, running to women to console you!
ESTELLE: That's right, Inez. Squeal away.
INEZ: What a lovely pair you make! If you could see his big paw splayed out on your back, rucking up your skin and creasing the silk. Be careful, though! He's perspiring, his hand will leave a blue stain on your dress.
ESTELLE: Squeal away, Inez, squeal away!...Hug me tight, darling; tighter still---that'll finish her off, and a good thing too!
INEZ: Yes, Garcin, she's right. Carry on with it, press her to you till you feel your bodies melting into each other; a lump of warm, throbbing flesh... Loe's a grand solace, isn't it, my friend? Deep and dark as sleep. But I'll see you don't sleep.
ESTELLE: Don't listen to her. Press your lips to my mouth. Oh, I'm yours, yours, yours.
INEZ: Well, what are you waiting for? Do as you're told. What a lovely scene: coward Garcin holding baby-killer Estelle in his manly arms! Make your stakes, everyone. Will coward Garcin kiss the lady, or won't he dare? What's the betting? I'm watching you, everybody's watching, I'm a crowd all by myself. Do you hear the crowd? Do you hear them muttering, Garcin? "Coward!Coward!" ---that's what they're saying...It's no use trying to escape, I'll never let you go. What do you hope to get from her silly lips? Forgetfulness? But I shan't forget you, not I! "It's I you must convince." So come to me. I'm waiting. Come along, now...Look how obedient he is, like a well-trained dog who comes when his mistress calls. You can't hold him, and you never will.
GARCIN: Will night never come?
INEZ: Never.
GARCIN: You will always see me?
GARCIN: This bronze. Yes, now's the moment; I'm looking at this thing on the mantelpiece, and I understand that I'm in hell. I tell you, everything's been thoughtout beforehand. They knew I'd stand at the fireplace stroking this thing of bronze, with all those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales!There's no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS--OTHER PEOPLE!
ESTELLE: My darling! Please-
GARCIN: No, let me be. She is between us. I cannot love you when she's watching.
ESTELLE: Right! In that case, I'll stop her watching. (She picks up the PAPER knife and stabs Inez several times.)
INEZ: But, you crazy creature, what do you think you're doing? You know quite well I'm dead.
INEZ: Dead! Dead! Dead! Knives, poison, ropes--useless. It has happened already, do you understand? Once and for all. SO here we are, forever.
ESTELLE: Forever. My God, how funny! Forever.
GARCIN: For ever, and ever, and ever.
  (A long silence.)
GARCIN: Well, well, let's get on with it...


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