Les Marchands de gloire ("Merchants of Glory")

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Five-act satirical play. In collaboration with Paul Nivoix.
First performance at Théâtre de la Madeleine,
Paris (April 15th, 1925).

First Edition

Paris, l'Illustration, 1926.

Main initial performers

Constant Rémy - Bachelet
André Berley - Berlureau
Pierre Renoir - André Bachelet
Mlle Maxa - Germaine Bachelet
Suzy Prim - Yvonne Bachelet

Summary

Edouard Bachele, humble civil servant in a provincial prefecture, makes use of his glorious son, who heroically died at war during the Battle of Verdun, to fulfill the hopes he has been cherishing since youth.
Elected as chairman of the Heros' Parents Society, then as member of parliament, his ambition is growing constantly, until the day his son comes back. The son, left amnesic in a German hospital, has just recovered his memory. He is not the hero he is believed to be, the whole story was a misunderstanding. To Bachelet, as a member of parliament campaigning for a position as minister, such a comeback is not as gleeful as it should be...

"The primary virtue of a hero is to be dead and buried. And buried rather twice than once."
(Berlureau – Les Marchands de Gloire – "Merchants of Glory")

BACHELET (serious).
Ferdinand, there is no point in going further up when you know you will fall from higher up. (He points to his son). He wants an immediate resurrection!

BERLUREAU
Careful! No joking! This is not the right moment!
Are you going to tell me that you're not comfortable in Boulouris?
A twelve-room house, an unrestricted view! A warden who is an exceptional bowls player, what more could you possibly need?

HENRI
I want to thank you for your welcome, but I can not stay in Boulouris for the rest of my life, and I am tired of hiding like a culprit. And finally I do not see why my father should be compelled to resign.

BERLUREAU
But, my dear friend, he would not only collapse under boos, but his decline might lead to the failure of the entire department!
(To Bachelet.) Bougrillot might well decide to ask for our election to be cancelled, claiming that our campaign was based on deception! Left-wing papers are going to lap it up! And even if we managed to hang on, we would lose all credit with the House! Think it over before you decide to trigger such a scandal!

HENRI
Is it really a scandal to come back from war with three wounds, two mentions, a Military Cross, a military medal and the Legion of Honor?

BERLUREAU
The last two were given to you on a posthumous basis, don't forget that!

YVONNE
Do you think he is no longer entitled to them?

BERLUREAU
I can hardly imagine a living man wearing posthumous decorations!
(To Henri) My dear young man, I have the unpleasant impression that you think you are in a good position because you had a ceremonious funeral. You have read reports on it in papers, showing beautiful pictures of the memorial and the large marble medallion representing your profile. But, should you come back to life, I am afraid your decorations shall be taken back and given to poor Pernette and the medallion shall be replaced.
I am afraid so! Sergeant Bachelet enjoyed a lordly fame, an impressive moral position. But if he comes out of the graveyard, he is dead! A resurrection today would be both a parricide and a suicide. The suicide of a glorious dead man! Indeed, Sir."