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ELVIRA;

OR,

THE WORST NOT ALWAYS TRUE.*

ACT I.

SCENE I.-The Room in the Inn.

Enter DON FERNANDO, and at another door his servant FABIO, both in riding clothes.

Don Fernando. Have you not been with him Fabio, and given him

The note?

Fabio. I found him newly got out of his bed;
He seem'd much satisfied, though much surpriz'd,
With your arrival; and as soon as possibly
He can get ready, he'll be with you here.

He says he hopes some good occasion brings you
To Valencia, and that he shall not be
At quiet till he know it. 'Twas not fit
For me without your orders, to give him

Any more light than what your ticket did.

Don Fernando. 'Tis well: go now and see if Donna Elvira

Be stirring yet, for I would gladly have her

A witness, even at first, to what shall pass
Betwixt my

friend and me in her concernments: If she be still asleep, Fabio, make bold

To knock, and wake her, w' have no time to lose.
O here she comes-Wait you Don Julio. [Exit Fabio.
Enter DONNA ELVIRA.

Elvira. Ah, can you think my cares and sleep consistent?

*The errors Dodsley committed, and Reed allowed to remain in the course of this play, were very numerous : it has been thought worth while to point out only a few of them in the notes. C.

1

Slumber and tears have sometimes met in dreams;
But hearts with such a weight as mine oppress'd,
Find still the heaviest sleep too light a guest.

Don Fernando. Madam, though such least pity do
deserve,

Who by their own unsteadiness have drawn
Misfortune on themselves; yet truly, Elvira,
Such is my sense of yours, and my compassion,
To see a lady of your quality

Brought to such sad extremes in what is dearest,
As makes me even forget my own resentments,
Granting to pity the whole place of love,
And at that rate I'll serve you. Yet thus far
You must allow the eruption of a heart
So highly injur'd, as to tell you frankly,
"Tis to comply with my own principles
Of honour now, without the least relation
To former passion, or to former favours.

Elvira. Those you have found a ready way to cancel;
Your sullen silence, during all our journey,

Might well have spar'd you these superfluous words;
That had sufficiently instructed me

What

power mere appearances have had, Without examination, to destroy,

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With an umbrageous nature, all that love
Was ever able on the solid'st grounds
To found and to establish. Yet, methinks,
A man that boasts such principles of honour,
And of such force to sway him in his actions,
In spite of all resentments, should reflect,
That honour does oblige to a suspense,
At least of judgment, when surprising chances,
Yet unenquired into, tempt gallant men
To prejudicial thoughts of those, with whom
They had settled friendship upon virtuous grounds.
But 'tis from Heav'n, I see, and not from you,
Elvira must expect her vindication;
And until then submit to th' hardest fate,
That ever can befal a generous spirit,
Of being oblig'd by him that injures her.

Don Fernando. Nay, speak, Elvira, speak; you have

me attentive:

[With a kind of scornful accent.

It were a wonder worthy of your wit,

To make me trust my ears before my eyes.

Elvira. Those are the witnesses indeed, Fernando, To whose true testimony's false inference You owe my moderation and my silence, And that I leave it to the Gods and time, To make appear both to the world and you, The maxim false, that still the worst proves true.

Enter FABIO.

Fabio. Don Julio is without.

Don Fernando. Wait on him in

And now, Elvira,

[Exit Fabio.

If you'll be pleas'd to rest yourself awhile
Within that closet, you may hear what passes
Betwixt my. friend and me, until such time
As I by some discourse having prevented
Too great surprize, you shall think fit t'appear.
He is the man, (as I have often told you,
During my happy days) for whom alone
I have no reserves; and 'tis to his assistance
That I must owe the means of serving you,
In the concernments of your safety and honour:
And therefore, madam, 't will be no offence,
I hope to trust him with the true occasion
That brings me hither, to employ his friendship;
Observing that respect in the relation,

Which I shall always pay you.

Elvira [retiring as into the closet.] There needs no management in the relation:

I am indifferent what others think,

Since those who ought t' have thought the best, have

fail'd me:

Sir, I obey, resign'd up to your conduct,

Till mistress of my own..

[Exit.

Enter DON JULIO: Don Fernando and he embrace.

Don Julio. My joy to have my dear Fernando here So unexpectedly, as great as 'tis,.

VOL. XII.

K

Cannot make Julio unsensible

Of th' injury you have done him, t' have alighted
And pass'd a night within Valencia,

At any

other place than at his house: Donna Blanca herself will scarce forgive it, When she shall know it.

Don Fernando. I hope she's well.

Don Julio. She is so, thanks to Heaven;

But I must bid you expect a chiding from her.

Don Fernando. You both might well accuse me of a

failure,

Did not th' occasion of my coming hither

Bring with it an excuse, alas! too just,
As you will quickly find.

Don Julio. Nay, then you raise disquiet; ease me
quickly,

By telling me what 'tis: of this be sure,

Heart, hand, and fortune, are entirely your's

At all essays.

Don Fernando. [After pausing a while.] It is not new
t' ye, that I was a lover,

Engaged in all the passion that e'er beauty,
In heighth of its perfection, could produce;
And that confirm'd by reason, from her wit,
Her quality and most unblemish'd conduct;
Nor was there more to justify my love,
Than to persuade my happiness in her
Just correspondence to it, by all the ways
Of honorable admission, that might serve
To make esteem transcend the pitch of love.

Don Julio. Of all this I have not only had knowledge, But great participation in your joys;

Than which I thought nothing more permanent,

Since founded on such virtue as Elvira's.

Don Fernando. Ah, Julio, how fond a creature is the

man

That founds his bliss upon a woman's firmness!
Even that Elvira, when I thought myself
Securest in my happiness, nothing wanting
To make her mine, but those exterior forms,

Without which men of honour, that pretend
In way of marriage, would be loth to find
Greater concession, where the love is greatest;
As I was sitting with her, late at night,
By usual admittance to her chamber,

As two whose hearts in wedlock-bands were join'd,
And seem'd above all other care, but how
Best to disguise things to a wayward father,
Till time and art might compass his consent;
A sudden noise was heard in th' inner room
Belonging to her chamber: she starts up
In manifest disorder, and runs in,
Desiring me to stay till she had seen
What caus'd it. I impatient, follow,
As fearing for her, had it been her father:
My head no sooner was within the room,
But straight I spy'd, behind a curtam shrinking,
A godly gallant, but not known to me.

Don Julio. Heavens! what can this be?

Don Fernando. You will not think that there, and at that hour,

I stay'd to ask his name. He, ready as I
To make his sword th' expresser of his mind,
We soon determin'd what we sought: I hurt
But slightly in the arm, he fell as slain,
Run through the body: what Elvira did,
My rage allow'd me not to mark; but straight
I got away, more wounded to the heart

Than he I left for dead.

Don Julio. Prodigious accident! where can it end?

Don Fernando. I got safe home, where carefully conceal'd,

I sought by Fabio's diligence to learn

Who my slain rival was, and what became
Of my unhappy mistress, and what course
Don Pedro de Mendoza took, to right
The honour of his house.

Don Julio. You long'd not more
To know it then, than I do now.

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