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Shut out by Alpine hills from the rude world,
Pauline. My own dear love!
Melnotte. A palace lifting to eternal summer Its marble walls, from out a glossy bower Of coolest foliage musical with birds Whose songs should syllable thy name! At noon We sit beneath the arching vines, and wonder Why earth could be unhappy, while the Heavens Still left us youth and love! We'd have no
Becomes immortal; while the perfumed light
Upon the honey of thy eloquent tongue!
Melnotte [bitterly.] Oh, false one!
It is the Prince thou lovest, not the man;
That is not love!
Enter BEAUSEANT and GLAVIS from house, L.S.E. Melnotte. Release me from my oath,—I will not
marry her! Beauseant. Then thou art perjured. Melnotte. No, I was not in my senses when I swore to thee to marry her! I was blind to all but her scorn!-deaf to all but my passion and my rage! Give me back my poverty and my honor.
Beauseant. It is too late,-you must marry her-and this day! I have a story already coined, and sure to pass current. This Damas suspects thee, he will set the police to work; thou wilt be detected--Pauline will despise and execrate thee. Thou wilt be sent to the common jail as a swindler.
Beauseant. And in the heat of the girl's resentment (you know of what resentment is capable) and the parents' shame, she will be induced to marry the first that offers-even, perhaps, your humble servant.
Melnotte. You! No! that were worse--for thou hast no mercy! I will marry her--I will keep my oath. Quick, then, with the damnable invention thou art hatching;-quick, if thou wouldst not have me strangle thee or myself.
Glavis. What a tiger! Too fierce for a Prince! he ought to have been the Grand Turk.
Beauseant. Enough-I will dispatch; be prepared. [Exeunt BEAUSEANT and GLAVIS into house, L. S. E.
Enter DAMAS, from the house, L. S. E., with two swords.
Damas. Now then, sir, the ladies are no longer your excuse. I have brought you a couple of dictionaries: let us see if your highness can find out the Latin for bilbo.
Melnotté. Away, sir! I am in no humor for jesting.
Damas. I see you understand something of the grammar; you decline the noun substantive "small sword" with great ease; but that won't do-you must take a lesson in parsing.
Damas. Sir, a man who calls me a fool insults the lady who bore me; there's no escape for you |---fight you shall, or—
Melnotte. [L.] Oh, enough, enough!-take your ground. [They fight; DAMAS is disarmed.MELNOTTE takes up the sword and returns it to DAMAS respectfully.] A just punishment to the brave soldier who robs the state of its best property-the sole right to his valor and his life!
Damas. [R.] Sir, you fence exceedingly well; you must be a man of honor-I don't care a jot whether you are a Prince; but a man who has carte and tierce at his fingers' ends must be a gentleman.
Melnotte. [aside.] Gentleman! Ay, I was a gentleman before I turned conspirator; for honest men are the gentlemen of Nature! Colonel, they tell me you rose from the ranks.
Damas. I did.
Melnotte. And in two years?
Damas. It is true; that's no wonder in our army at present. Why, the oldest General in the service is scarcely thirty, and we have some of two-and-twenty.
Damas. Yes; in the French army, now-a-days, your good husband is too mercantile in these matpromotion is not a matter of purchase. We are ters. Monsieur Deschappelles, you hear his highall heroes because we may be all Generals. We ness; we can arrange the settlements by proxy,— have no fear of the cypress, because we may all 'tis the way with people of quality. hope for the laurel. Mons. Deschap. But
Melnotte. A General at two-and-twenty! [Turn-¦ ing away]-Sir, I may ask you a favor one of these days.
Damas. Sir, I shall be proud to grant it. It is astonishing how much I like a man after I've fought with him. [Hides the swords, R.
Enter MADAME and BEAUSEANT from house,
Beauseant. Yes, Prince; read this letter, just received from my friend at Paris, one of the Directory; they are very suspicious of Princes, and your family take part with the Austrians. Knowing that I introduced your highness at Lyons, my friend writes to me to say that you must quit the town immediately or you will be arrested, thrown into prison,-perhaps guillotined! Fly! I will order horses to your carriage instantly. Fly to Marseilles; there you can take ship to Leghorn.
Madame Deschap. And what's to become of Pauline? Am I not to be a mother to a Princess, after all?
Enter PAULINE and M. DESCHAPPELLES from house, L. S. E.
Pauline [throwing herself into MELNOTTE'S arms.] You must leave us!-Leave Pauline! Beauseant. Not a moment is to be wasted. Mons. Deschap. I will go to the magistrates, and inquire—
Beauseant. Then he is lost; the magistrates, hearing he is suspected, will order his arrest. Madame Deschap. And shall I not be Princess Dowager?
Beauseant. Why not? There is only one thing to be done:-send for the priest-let the marriage take place at once, and the Prince carry home a bride!
Melnotte. Impossible! [Aside.] Villain! I! know not what I say.
Madame Deschap. What, lose my child? Beauseant. And gain a Princess. Madame Deschap. Oh, Monsieur Beauseant, you are so very kind, it must be so,-we ought not to be selfish, my daughter's happiness is at stake. She will go away, too, in a coach and six!
Pauline. Thou art here still-I cannot part from thee, my heart will break.
Melnotte. But thou wilt not consent to this hasty union,-thou wilt not wed an outcast,-a fugitive.
Pauline. Ah! If thou art in danger, who should share it but Pauline!
Melnotte [aside.] Distraction!--If the earth could swallow me!
Mons. Deschap. Gently!-gently! The settlements the contracts-my daughter's dowry! Melnotte. The dowry! I am not base enough for that; no, not one farthing!
Beauseant [to MADAME.] Noble fellow! Really,
Madame Deschap. Hold your tongue! Don't expose yourself!
Beauseant. I will bring the priest in a trice. Go in, all of you, and prepare; the carriage shall be at the door before the ceremony is over.
Madame Deschap. Be sure there are six horses, Beauseant! You are very good to have forgiven us for refusing you; but, you see-a Prince!
Beauseant. And such a Prince! Madame, I cannot blush at the success of so illustrious a rival. -[Aside.] Now will I follow them to the village -enjoy my triumph, and to-morrow-in the hour of thy shame and grief, I think, proud girl, thou wilt prefer even these arms to those of the gardener's son. [Exit BEAUSEANT. Madame Deschap. Come, Monsieur Deschappelles-give your arm to her highness that is to be.
Mons. Deschap. I don't like doing business in such a hurry-'tis not the way with the house of Deschappelles & Co.
Madame Deschap. There now-you fancy you are in the counting-house--don't you?
[Pushes him to PAULINE. Melnotte. Stay, stay, Pauline-one word. Have you no scruple-no fear? Speak-it is not yet too late.
mine. Triumph or danger-joy or sorrow—I am Pauline. When I loved thee, thy fate became by thy side.
Damas. Well, well, Prince, thou art a lucky man to be so loved. She is a good little girl in Ispite of her foibles-make her as happy as if she were not to be a Princess. [Slapping him on the shoulder.] Come, sir, I wish you joy-youngtender-lovely; zounds, I envy you!
Melnotte. [who has stood apart in gloomy abstraction.] Do YOU ?*
SCENE I.-The Exterior of the Golden Lion-Time, twilight. The moon rises during the scene.
Enter LANDLord and his Daughter from the inn, L. D. F.
Landlord. Ha! ha! ha! Well, I never shall get over it. Our Claude is a Prince with a vengeance now. His carriage breaks down at my inn-ha! ha!
Janet. And what airs the young lady gives herself! "Is this the best room you have, young woman?" with such a toss of the head!
Landlord. Well, get in, Janet, get in and see to the supper; the servants must sup before they go back. [Exeunt LANDLORD and JANET, L. D. F.
*On the stage the following lines are added:
"Do you? Wise judges are we of each other.
If hearts had audible language, you would hear
Enter BEAUSEANT and GLAVIS, R.
Beauseant. You see our Princess is lodged at last one stage more, and she'll be at her journey's end-the beautiful palace at the foot of the Alps!-ha! ha!
Glavis. Faith, I pity the poor Pauline-especially if she's going to sup at the Golden Lion. [Makes a wry face.] I shall never forget that cursed ragout.
Enter MELNOTTE from the inn, L. D. F. Beauseant. Your servant, my Prince; you reigned most worthily. I condole with you on your abdication. I am afraid that your highness' retinue are not very faithful servants. I think they will quit you at the moment of your fall-'tis the fate of greatness; but you are welcome to your fine clothes-also the diamond snuff-box, which Louis the XIV gave to your great-greatgrandmother.
Glavis. And the ring with which your grandfather, the Doge of Venice, married the Adriatic. Melnotte. Have I kept my oath, gentlemen? Say have I kept my oath?
Beauseant. Most religiously.
Melnotte. Then you have done with me and mine-away with you!
Beauseant. How, knave?
my mother's house; there, at least, none can insult her agony-gloat upon her shame! There alone must she learn what a villain she has sworn to love. [As he turns to the door,
Enter PAULINE from the inn, L. D. F. Pauline.
Ah, my Lord, what a place! I never saw such rude people. They stare and wink so. I think the very sight of a Prince, though he travels incognito, turns their honest heads. What a pity the carriage should break down in such a spot!-you are not well-the drops stand on your brow-your hand is feverish.
Melnotte. Nay, it is but a passing spasm; the
airPauline. Is not the soft air of your native south— [Pause. How pale he is indeed thou art not well. Where are our people? I will call them. Melnotte. Hold! I-I am well!
Pauline. Thou art!-Ah! now I know it. Thou fanciest, my kind Lord-I know thou dostThou fanciest these rude walls, these rustic gossips,
Brick'd floors, sour wine, coarse viands, vex Pauline;
And so they might; but thou art by my side,
Enter LANDLORD from D. F., the servants peeping
Melnotte. Look you, our bond is over. Proud conquerors that we are, we have won the victory over a simple girl-compromised her honor-embittered her life-blasted, in their very blossoms, all the flowers of her youth. This is your triumph, it is my shame! [Turns to BEAUSEANT.] Enjoy that triumph, but not in my sight. I was her betrayer-I am her protector! Cross but her path-one word of scorn, one look of insult-nay, but one quiver of that mocking lip, and I will One's servants are so vain!-nay, let it not teach thee that bitter word thou hast graven eter-Chafe thee, sweet Prince !—a few short days, and nally in this heart-Repentance!
Beauseant. His highness is most grandiloquent.
Melnotte. Highness me no more! Remorse has made me a new being. you! There is danger in me-away! Glavis [aside.] He's an awkward deal with; come away, Beauseant.
Beware! Away with
Beauseant. I know the respect due to rank. Adieu, my Prince. Any commands at Lyons! Yet hold-I promised you 200 louis on your wedding-day; here they are.
Melnotte [dashing the purse to the ground.] I gave you revenge, I did not sell it. Take up your silver, Judas; take it. Aye, it is fit you should learn to stoop.
Beauseant. You will beg my pardon for this some day. [Aside to GLAVIS.] Come to my chateau-I shall return hither to-morrow to learn how Pauline likes her new dignity.
Melnotte. Are you not gone yet? Beauseant. Your highness' most obedient, most faithful
Glavis. And most humble servants.
[Exeunt BEAUSEANT and GLAVIS, R. Melnotte. Thank heaven I had no weapon, or I should have slain them. Wretch what can I say where turn? On all sides mockery—the very boors within-[Laughter from the inn.] S'death, if even in this short absence the exposure should have chanced! I will call her. We will go hence. I have already sent one I can trust to
[Exit LANDLORD, laughing. Pauline. How could they have learn'd thy rank?
Shall see-thy palace by its lake of silver, And-nay, nay, spendthrift, is thy wealth of smiles
Already drained, or dost thou play the miser? Melnotte. Thine eyes would call up smiles in deserts, fair one!
Let us escape these rustics. Close at hand
Pauline. What, thou! methought
SCENE II. MELNOTTE'S Cottage. WIDOW bustling about. A table spread for supper. Widow. So, I think that looks very neat. He sent me a line so blotted that I can scarcely read it, to say he would be here almost immediately. She must have loved him well indeed, to have forgotten his birth; for though he was introduced to her in disguise, he is too honorable not to have revealed to her the artifice which her love only could forgive. Well, I do not wonder at it; for though my son is not a Prince, he ought to be one, and that's almost as good. [Knock at the D. in F. Ah! here they are.
Enter MELNOTTE and PAULINE from D. in F. Widow. Oh, my boy, the pride of my heart!welcome, welcome! I beg pardon, ma'am, but I do love him so!
Pauline. Good woman, I really—Why, Prince, what is this?-does the old woman know you? Oh! I guess you have done her some service; another proof of your kind heart, is it not?
Melnotte. Of my kind heart, aye. Pauline. So, you know the Prince? Widno. Know him, madame?—ah, I begin to fear it is you who know him not!
Pauline. Do you think she is mad? Can we stay here, my Lord? I think there is something very wild about her.
Melnotte. Madame, I-no, I cannot tell her! My knees knock together: what a coward is a man who has lost his honor! Speak to herspeak to her [to his mother]—tell her that-oh, Heaven, that I were dead!
Pauline. How confused he looks!-this strange place this woman-what can it mean? I half suspect-Who are you, madame?-who are you? can't you speak? are you struck dumb?
Widow. Claude, you have not deceived her -ah, shame upon you! I thought that, before you went to the altar she was to have known all? Pauline. All! what? My blood freezes in my veins!
Widow. Poor lady!-dare I tell her, Claude? [MELNOTTE makes a sign of assent.] Know you not then, madame, that this young man is of poor though honest parents? Know you not that you are wedded to my son, Claude Melnotte?
Pauline. Your son! hold! hold! do not speak to me. [Approaches MELNOTTE, and lays her hand on his arm.] Is this a jest? Is it? I know it is: only speak-one word-one look-one smile. I cannot believe-I who loved thee so-I cannot believe that thou art such a -No, I will not wrong thee by a harsh word; speak!
Melnotte. Leave us; have pity on her, on me; leave us.
Widow. Oh, Claude! that I should live to see thee bowed by shame! thee of whom I was so proud! [Exit WIDOW, by the staircase, R. U. E. Pauline. Her son! her son! Melnotte. Now, lady, hear me. Pauline. Hear thee!
Aye, speak. Her son! have fiends a parent?
That thou may'st silence curses. Speak!
Thy curse would blast me less than thy forgive
Pauline [laughing wildly.] "This is thy palace whence the perfumed light
Steals through the mists of alabaster lamps,
The shadows seen in sleep? It is too real.
That thou shouldst crush me thus?
Angels have fallen ere thy time; by pride-
And a revengeful heart had power upon thee;
Have stoop'd from their high sphere! how Love, like Death,
Levels all ranks, and lays the shepherd's crook
From those twin jailers of a daring heart-
A midnight student o'er the dreams of sages,
Of the dear starlight of thy haunting eyes!
Pauline. Has he a magic to exorcise hate? Melnotte. At last, in one mad hour, I dared to pour
The thoughts that burst their channels into song,
The name-appended by the burning heart
That very hour-when passion, turned to wrath,
SCENE I.— The Cottage as before - MELNOTTE seated before a table-writing implements, etc. -Day breaking.
Melnotte. Hush, hush!--she sleeps at last!— thank Heaven, for awhile she forgets even that I live! Her sobs, which have gone to my heart the whole long desolate night, have ceased!-all calm
For their revenge! Thou hadst trampled on the all still! I will go now; I will send this letter worm,
It turned and stung thee!
Pauline. Love, sir, hath no sting.
What was the slight of a poor, powerless girl,
I will not tell thee of the throes, the struggles,
[Approaching her with great emotion, and about to take her hand.]
Pauline. No, touch me not!
I know my fate. You are, by law, my tyrant;
Toil, drudge; do what thou wilt; but touch me not;
Let my wrongs make me sacred!
Do not fear me.
Thou dost not know me, madame: at the altar
Here, at thy feet, I lay a husband's rights.
A bond of fraud-is, by the laws of France,
Heaven left some remnant of the angel still
WIDOW comes down stairs, R. U. E.
To the poor chamber where the sleep of virtue
E'en villains dared to mar! Now, lady, now,
Melnotte. Hush! hush! for mercy's sake
[WIDOW ascends the stairs, R. U. E. Melnotte [sinking down.] All angels bless and guard her!
to Pauline's father-when he arrives, I will place in his hands my own consent to the divorce, and then, O France! my country! accept among thy protectors, thy defenders - the peasant's son! Our country is less proud than custom, and does not refuse the blood, the heart, the right hand of the poor man!
WIDOW comes down stairs, R. U. E.
Widow. My son, thou hast acted ill, but sin brings its own punishment. In the hour of thy remorse, it is not for a mother to reproach thee.
Melnotte. What is past is past. There is a future left to all men who have the virtue to repent and the energy to atone. Thou shalt be proud of thy son, yet; meanwhile remember this poor lady has been grievously injured. For the sake of thy son's conscience, respect, honor, bear with her. If she weep, console; if she chide, be silent! "Tis but a little while more; I shall send an express fast as horse can speed to her father. Farewell! I shall return shortly.
Widow. It is the only course left to thee; thou wert led astray, but thou art not hardened. Thy heart is right still, as ever it was, when in thy most ambitious hopes, thou wert never ashamed of thy poor mother!
Melnotte. Ashamed of thee! No, if I yet endure, yet live, yet hope, it is only because I would not die till I have redeemed the noble heritage I have lost-the heritage I took unstained from thee and my dead father-a proud conscience and an honest name. I shall win them back yet; Heaven bless you. [Exit D. in F.
Widow. My dear Claude! how my heart bleeds for him.
PAULINE looks down from above, and, after a pause, descends.
Pauline. Not here! he spares me that pain at least! so far he is considerate-yet the place seems
still more desolate without him. Oh that I could hate him! the gardener's son! and yet how nobly he-no-no-no, I will not be so mean a thing as to forgive him!
Widow. Good morning, madame; I would have waited on you if I had known you were stirring. Pauline. It is no matter, ma'am; your son's wife ought to wait on herself.
Widow. My son's wife! Let not that thought vex you, madame-he tells me that you will have your divorce. And I hope I shall live to see him smile again. There are maidens in this village, young and fair, madame, who may yet console him. Pauline. I dare say-they are very welcome; and when the divorce is got, he will marry again. I am sure I hope so. [Weeps.
Widow. He could have married the richest girl in the province, if he had pleased it; but his head was turned, poor child! he could think of nothing but you. [Weeps.