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Ferd. What, then, you won't tell me?
Isaac. Yes, yes, I will; I'll tell you all, upon my soul—but why need you listen, sword in hand ?
Ferd. Why, there. [Puts up.] Now.
Isaac. Why then, I believe they are gone to—that is, my friend Carlos told me, he had left Donna Clara - dear Ferdinand, keep your hands off—at the convent of St. Catharine.
Ferd. St. Catharine!
Isaac. Yes; and that Antonio was to come to her there.
Ferd. Is this the truth?
Ferd. Well, coward, take your life. 'Tis that false, dishonourable Antonio who shall feel my vengeance.
Isaac. Ay, ay, kill him-cut his throat, and wel
Ferd. But, for Clara-infamy on her! she is not worth my resentment.
Isaac. No more she is, my dear brother-in-law.l'faith, I would not be angry about her-she is not worth it, indeed.
Ferd. 'Tis false! she is worth the enmity of princes.
Isaac. True, true, so she is; and I pity you exceedingly for having lost her.
Ferd. 'Sdeath, you rascal! how durst you talk of pitying me?
Isaac. Oh, dear brother-in-law, I beg pardon: I don't pity you in the least, upon my soul.
Ferd. Get hence, fool, and provoke me no further; nothing but your insignificance saves you.
Isaac. l' faith, then, my insignificance is the best friend I have. I'm going, dear Ferdinana. What a cursed hot-headed bully it is!
[Exeunt. SCENE III.—The Garden of the Convent.
Enter Louisa and CLARA. Louisa. And you really wish my brother may not find you out ?
Clara. Why else have I concealed myself under this disguise?
Louisa. Why, perhaps, because the dress becomes you; for you certainly don't intend to be a nun for life.
Clara. If, indeed, Ferdinand had not offended me so last night.
Louisa. Come, come; it was his fear of losing you made him so rash.
Clara. Well, you may think me cruel-but I swear, if he were here this instant, I believe I should forgive him.
By him we love offended,
How soon our anger flies!
Behold him, and it dies.
Last night, your roving brother,
Enraged, I bade depart,
Deserved to lose my heart.
Yet, were he now before me,
In spite of injured pride,
Before my tongue could chide.
Louisa. I protest, Clara, I shall begin to think you are seriously resolved to enter on your probation.
Clara. And, seriously, I very much doubt whether the character of a man would not become me best.
Louisa. Why, to be sure, the character of a nun is a very becoming one at a masquerade; but no pretty woman, in her senses, ever thought of taking the veil for above a night.
Clara. Yonder I see your Antonio is returned. I shal) only interrupt you. Ah, Louisa, with what happy eagerness you turn to look for him! [Exit.
Ant. Well, my Louisa, any news since I left you ?
Louisa. None—the messenger is not yet returned from my father.
Ant. Well, I confess, I do not perceive what we are to expect from him.
Louisa. I shall be easier, however, in having made the trial. I do not doubt your sincerity, Antonio; but there is a chilling air around poverty, that often kills affection, that was not nursed in it. If we would make love our household god, we had best secure him a comfortable roof.
Nor wit thou the fond boast disown,
To reign the partner of a throne.
And by that hand, I've press'd to mine,
By Heav'ns, I would not part with thine!
Who own what kingdoms could not buy?
In serving thee, a monarch I.
And rich in love's exhaustless mine,
Enter Maid with a letter.
Ant. My dearest Louisa, you may be assured, that it contains nothing but threats and reproaches.
Louisa. Let us see, however.- [Reads.] 'Dearest daughter, make your lover happy: you have my full consent to marry as your whim has chosen; but be
sore come home, and sup with your affectionate father.'
Ant. You jest, Louisa !
Ant. 'Tis so, by Heavens! Sure there must be some mistake; but that's none of our business.--Now, Louisa , you have no excuse for delay.
Louisa. Shall we not then return, and thank my father?
Ant. But first let the priest put it out of his power to recall his word.—I'll fly to procure one.
Louisa. Nay, if you part with me again, perhaps you may lose me,
Ant. Come, then—there is a friar of a neighbouring convent who is my friend. You have already been diverted by the manners of a nunnery: let us see whether there is less hypocrisy among the holy fathers.
Louisa. I'm afraid not, Antonio—for in religion, as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere.
[Exeunt. Enter CLARA.
Clara. So, yonder they go, as happy as a mutual and confessed affection can make them, while I am left in solitude. Heigho! love may perhaps excuse the rashness of an elopement from one's friend, but I am sure, nothing but the presence of the man we love can support it. Ha! What do I see! Ferdinand, as I live! How could he gain admission ? By potent gold, I suppose, as Antonio did. How eager and disturbed he seems! He shall not know me as yet.
[Draws her veil. Enter FERDINAND. Ferd. Yes, those were certainly they: my information was right.
(Going Clara. (Stops him.] Pray, Signior, what is your business here?
Ferd. No matter- no matter! Oh, they stop. [Looks out.] Yes, that is the perfidious Clara, indeed!
Clara. So, a jealous error. I'm glad to see him so moved.
(A side. Ferd. Her disguise can't conceal her. No, no; I know her too well.
Clara. Wonderful discernment! But, Signior
Ferd. Be quiet, good nun! don't tease me. By Heavens, she leans upon his arm,-hangs fondly on it! O woman! woman!
Clara. But, Signior, who is it you want?
Ferd. Not you, not you; so pr’ythee don't tease me. Yet, pray stay. Gentle nun, was it not Donna Clara d’Almanza just parted from you?
Clara. Clara d’Almanza, Signior, is not yet out of the garden.
Ferd. Ay, ay; I knew I was right. And pray, is not that gentleman, now at the porch with her, Antonio d'Ercilla?
Clara. It is indeed, Signior.
Ferd. So, so; now but one question more. Can you
inform me for what purpose they have gone away? Clara. They are gone to be married, I believe.
Ferd. Very well:-enough. Now if I don't mar their wedding!
[Éxit. Clara. [Unveils.] I thought jealousy had made lovers quick-sighted; but it has made mine blind. Louisa's story accounts to me for this error, and I am glad to find I have power enough over him to make him so unhappy. But why should not I be present at his surprise when undeceived? When he's through the porch, I'll follow him; and, perhaps, Louisa shall not singly be a bride.
Adieu, thou dreary pile, where never dies