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THE ground-work oa which I have constructed this Piece, is to be found amongst the Simple Tales of Mrs. Opie, whose productions I have often perused with infinite delight—charmed as much by the elegance of her writing, as the beautiful and pathetic manner by which she excites a most extraordinary degree of interest.
"Love and Duty" is the tale alluded to; but in dramatising the subject, so many alterations were necessary, that I fear its Fair Authoress will be but little obliged by this acknowledgment. Yet should it induce those to search for the original, who as yet have seen but its chequered shadow, I am convinced they will excuse the ambition which tempted me to pluck one flower from a wreath which she has so successfully gathered, and which cannot fade till morality, good sense, and unadulterated taste—with which her works are replete—shall be no more.
To the Performers I am greatly indebted, for their exertions in the representation; and beg they will accept my best acknowledgments. *K.
Count D'Essars Mr. Penson.
Henri ........................................... Mr. J. Smith,
Fripou .......................................... Mr. Fisheh.
Geraldo ........................................ Mr. Raymond.
Carlo iir,nil.,i,riii,iiiii iiii.iiiiiiimn Mr. Dowton.
Jaques Mr. Knight.
Julia .......... Miss E. Bolton.
Brunette .u...„....MM...M.M...L.n..-. Miss Kelly.
Villagers, Sfc. Sec ScEitJt-—Between Biangon and Modena, in tlic Alps, TWENTY YEARS AGO!
A Wood, with a Cottage on one side the Stage, Carlo is seen leading Julia, who appears exhausted.
Car. Cheerly, cheerly, lady! so at last we arc arrived at a couple of square yards of even ground! —Bless my soul, I can't think how I could miss the way.
Jul. Are we near the track? I am Very faint.
Car. Don't faint yet,—we must be near the road now; if so, 'tis but a short league to Modena.
Jul. A league! I shall never reach it.
Car. Rest awhile at the foot of this tree; you'll be better quickly.—Mercy on us, I wish the moon would shine forth again, and light us out of this labyrinth. Well may they talk of her inconstancy, for like most other shining beauties, she only veils herself to mislead those who are fools enough to trust her. Odso! here is the cottage of Old Geraldo, w hose story I was telling when we miss'd the path.
Jul. Is there some hope?
Car. Very little, I'm afraid.—You could not expect much, from the character I gave you of him : tho' naturally humane, they say he's as surly as a house-dog, and has as great an antipathy to strangers.
Jul. There is no other resource.—Knock at the,door—should he refuse admittance, I must even terminate my journey here.
Car. I am almost afraid to rouse him.
Jul. Knock, I say!
Car. I shall, Lady—(knocks at the door)—.'tis now, I fear our only chance— (aside).
Ger. fwithin). Who knocks?
Car. Oh Lord! there he is—his deep ton'd voice makes me shiver more than all the night air we have endur'd. (Here the moon emerges from a cloud, and Brunette appears at the. window —Geraldo sings within).
Julia. From early dawn to setting sun,
I've travell'd o'er the mountains dreary;
And I am faint, and sick, and weary.
By craving mercy in a ditty.
But wipe from sorrow's cheek the tear.
Carlo. our chance is o'er,
We'd better quit his rusty door; I told you to a stranger's cringes, It always creak'd upon its hinges. Julia. Be silent fool!
Carlo. — — I've done! I've done!
Julia. In pity libten to my moan—
Carlo. I've done! I've done!
Car. I thought so; I knew we should not be able to unkennel him. What in the world will become of us! ',
Jul. Truce, Sirrah! I blame myself alone for my credulity: you said you knew the path-way blindfold, and promised faithfully to show it. The recollection of my misplaced confidence stings me more than—
Car. Be not angry, Madam. I am stung to the quick myself—there's not a bramble in the whole forest, but has had a scratch at me; but I had rather be goaded by them than by your displeasure.
Jul. I fear you.
Car. Fear nothing, Madam! though but a poor guide, I am trusty; and I swear to support and protect my charge, while I have vigour in my arm, or a leg to stand on.
Ger. (coming from the Cottage). Who is it at such an hour disturbs Geraldo's solitude?
Ger. Right; it has indeed these twenty years—* what is it you want? Car. Relief!
Ger. Such as I can offer, you are welcome to. Begone! (Gives money).
Car. Pshaw—money! ,
Car. 'Tis useless—money to a couple of travellers starving in a wood, is like a prize in the lottery to a man condemn'd to be hang'd.
Ger. Away, trifler! that path leads to the next village. 'Tis a clear night—you cannot miss the way.
Car. 'Tis true, the moon has come out, and cheer'd us with some rays of hope, and so have