Cyrano has just gotten word that he’s to meet with Roxane, his cousin and love, tomorrow morning. Suddenly, a group enters the Hotel hall: Cuigy, Brissaille, and Ligniere, who’s very drunk. Cyrano recognizes Ligniere, and asks what has happened. Ligniere, who can barely speak, produces a letter, and explains that the letter warns that Ligniere will be attacked by a hundred men that night. Ligniere begs to stay at Cyrano’s home for a night to avoid being attacked. Cyrano, emboldened by the news of Roxane, agrees to shelter Ligniere for the night, and boasts that he could take on the hundred men with ease.
Cyrano can be sarcastic and snarky with Ligniere, but he’s so overjoyed to be meeting with Roxane tomorrow that he feels invincible, and decides to help Ligniere defend himself from a multitude of enemies. There’s something heavily chivalric and medieval about Cyrano’s behavior in this scene: the love of a beautiful woman acts as a kind of tonic, compelling Cyrano to fight harder and be braver in battle.
Cyrano marches Ligniere out of the Hotel, prepared to fight any opponent. As he walks into the night, followed by a group of eager observers, he takes in the view of Paris: the Seine (the primary river of Paris) and the dark, shadowy houses.
The first act of the play ends on a note of suspense: Cyrano is about to fight a great battle on Ligniere’s behalf, and he’s also looking forward to his meeting with Roxane. The two events are connected, of course, as Cyrano’s anticipation of Roxane’s love has inspired him to fight.