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LO V E.
SCENE I.-A Room in Catherine's House.
Enter Nicholas and Chistina, R. Chris. As thou lovest thine ease, Nicholas, restrais. curiosity. It is a steed that runs away with a man, without his knowing it, until it has thrown him. The danger is never found out until the mischief is done. Besides, it is a woman's palfrey, which it befits not a man to ride. What signifies it to thee who comes into the house, whatsoever be the hour, so it is I that let him in ?
Nich. Doubtless, Mistress Christina; yet a knock at the door, at two o'clock in the morning-and the door opening at that hour, to let a man into the house and that man a gay young spark-may make a body wonder, though he have no more than the ordinary stock of curiosity.
Chris. Propriety, Nicholas, belongs to no one hour of the twenty-four, more than 10 any other hour. It was fit that the young spark should come into the house, or I should not have let him in. And now mark what I say to you: Play not the house-dog any more. Do you
mind? Let not your watchfulness interfere with your sleep, else, besides your sleep, it may peril your bed and board; but if thou hearest a knock when thou liest on the weary side of thee, and wakest, draw thy night-cap over thine ears, and turn on the other side ; and so to sleep again-yea, though it be four o'clock in the morning, good Nicholas !
Nich. I shall mind.
Chris. Do so, and thou shalt be wise. Duty, that becomes a busy-body, ever turns itself at last out of doors. Hast thou a good place, friend Nicholas ?
Nich. Not a better in all Germany.
Chris. Do! (Nicholas goes out, L.) My mistress will be discovered at last, well as she disguises herself and plays the man. I wish she had not taken this fancy into her head-it may bring her into trouble. (Catherine sings without, R.) Ha! here she is; returned to her proper Who would believe that this was the spark I let into the house at two o'clock in the morning ?
Enter CATHERINE, R.
Was not Nicholas with you just now?
Chris. Yes, he is only this moment gone. I have just been giving him a lesson. He saw you when you came home last night.
Cath. Hush! secrets should be dumb to very walls ! A chink may change a nation's destinies, “ And where are walls without one-that have doors ? · Voice hath a giant's might, not a dwarf's bulk; “ It passeth where a tiny fly must stop; “Conspiracy that does not lock it out, “Fastens the door in vain." Let's talk in whispers, And then, with mouth to ear. 'T'is strange, Christina, So long I practice this deceit, and still Pass for a thing I am not-ne'er suspected The thing I am—'mongst those who know me best, too. Yet would that all dissemblers meant as fair! I play the cheat for very honesty, To find a worthy heart out, and reward it. “ Far as the poles asunder are two things, "Self-interest and undesigning love : “Yet no two things more like, to see them smile. “He is a conjurer, Christina, then, “ Can tell you which is which !” Shall I be won, Because I'm valued as a money-bag, For that I bring to him who winneth me? No!--sooner matins in a cloister, than Marriage like that in open church! 'Tis hard
To find men out; they are such simple things !
I have scarcely slept !
Cath. And there's a little airy, fairy thing,
Chris. And think you, none did e'er suspect your sex ?
Cath. With the man !
Chris. But of your lovers ?
Cath. Tell me who they are !
But what my betters stoop to, day by day,
Chris. And such a man, methinks, Sir Rupert seems.
Chris. And what of that? He's proud, And seems as jealous of his poverty Almost as you are.
Cath. Yes! He makes no suit : He ever follows me, yet stands aloof, While others lay close siege.
Chris. And of his rivals
you any ?
Chris. Sir Rupert sins not thus.
Cath. What are they?
There, girl! what think you now
for you, fast as the mint
Chris. Sir Rupert ?
Cath. What is that to you? Doar girl, Whoe'er it be, I pray
love him! The Countess flies her hawk to-day : I'll make Essay of mine.
Chris. A most strange lady, she ! A form of flesh and a heart of ice.
Cath. Not so.
A heart, Christina, all possessed of pride-
Chris. Will she ever love?
Cath. No telling how love thrives ! to what it comes !
[They go out, R. SCENE II.-- An Apartment in the Duke's Castle. The COUNTEss discovered, L. C-HUON reading to her, R.
Coun. Give o'er! I hate the poet's argument !
Huon. The peasant, though of humble stock,
Coun. What was that ?
Huon. Not to offend- Rises and comes forward.
Coun. Offend !-No fear of that,
is not alone nobility, Will you not ? Never yet was line so long,