The Count de Guiche arrives back at the camp and sees his men, who are trying to disguise the fact that they’ve been drinking a lot of wine. The cadets laugh and snigger at de Guiche, claiming that they’re “excited” by the prospect of a battle. De Guiche says that he’s brought a cannon to the camp, which the troops should use in battle. He asks Roxane if she’s planning to stay or leave, and Roxane replies that she’ll stay. De Guiche promises to stay on the battlefield as well, defending Roxane from danger. The cadets, impressed, agree to give de Guiche something to eat. They “discover” the food and wine they were eating, and offer some to de Guiche. De Guiche, who’s beginning to speak in the Gascon accent of the cadets, proudly says that he’ll eat only after fighting. The cadets laugh and cheer for de Guiche.
Here Rostand gives de Guiche new layers, making him less of a one-note villain and more of a potentially sympathetic character. De Guiche may not be as brave as Cyrano, but he’s clearly still in love with Roxane and willing to endanger his life to protect her from harm. (Because of his rank and nobility, he otherwise wouldn’t have had to be involved in the actual fighting.) The soldiers, impressed with de Guiche’s promises, reward him with the food and wine that only a few minutes ago they weren’t going to share with him. De Guiche also symbolically embraces a more democratic perspective by switching from a haughty tone of voice to a Gascon accent—acting like one of the troops instead of someone superior and aloof.
Captain Carbon runs into the camp and explains that pikemen (soldiers bearing long spears) have arrived to reinforce the cadets’ defense. De Guiche leads Roxane to the pikemen. While Roxane is away, Cyrano tells Christian to be careful while talking to Roxane—if Roxane talks about his letters, he must not look surprised. Cyrano explains that he’s sent Roxane many letters—some of which Christian didn’t know about—in Christian’s name. Cyrano has sent Roxane two letters a day since going off to fight.
Amidst all the suffering of war, Cyrano hasn’t been able to contain the full extent of his love for Roxane, and he even wrote her additional letters without telling Christian. This is an important detail, because it suggests that Cyrano can’t “share” all of his love for Roxane with Christian—Cyrano’s love is still something private and precious to him, and most of it has been kept a secret even from Christian, his “partner.”