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SCENE vi PART SECOND
SQ let 'em. I'll make it up with them somehow.— Stie can't be far off now, if we have timed her rightly. (He peers out into the rain and listens.)
I don't quite see how you are going to manage when she does come. Do we go before her towards Soissons when you have greeted her here, or follow in her rear ? Or what do we do ?
Heavens, I know no more than you! Trust to the moment and see what happens. (A silence.) Hark —here she comes ! Good little girl! Up to time!
The distant squashing in the mud of a multitude of hoofs and wheels is succeeded by the appearance of outriders and carriages, horses and horsemen, splashed with sample clays of the districts traversed. The vehicles slow down to the inn. NAPOLEON'S face fires up, and, followed by MURAT, he rushes into the rain towards the coach that is drawn by eight horses, containing the blue-eyed girl. He holds off his hat at the carriage-window.
MARIE LOUISE (shrinking back inside) Ah, Heaven! Two highwaymen are upon us!
THE EQUERRY D'AUDENARDE (simultaneously) The Emperor!
The steps of the coach are hastily lowered, NAPOLEON, dripping, jumps in and embraces her. The startled ARCHDUCHESS, with much blushing and confusion, recognizes him.
MARIE LOUISE (tremulously, as she recovers herself)
You are so much — better looking than your
gortraits—that I hardly knew you! I expected you at oissons. We are not at Soissons yet ?