페이지 이미지

A man's qualities cannot come out all at once. I wish you would teach me a little how to lay a cloth.

Blanch. You are well qualified for your office, truly, not to know that.

Sam. To say truth, we had little practice that way at home. We stood not upon forms; we had sometimes no cloth for a dinner

Blanch. And sometimes no dinner for a cloth.
Sam. Just so. We had little order in our family.
Blanch. Well, I will instruct you.

Sam. That's kind. I will be grateful. They tell me I have learned nothing but wickedness yet; but I will instruct you in anything I know, in return.

Blanch. There, I have no mind to become your scholar. But be steady in your service, and you may outlive your beggary, and grow into respect.

(Exit, R. Sam. Nay, an' riches rain upon me, respect will grow, of course. I never knew a rich man yet who wanted followers to pull off their caps to him.

A traveller stopped at a widow's gate :
She kept an inn, and he wanted to bait,

But the landlady slighted her guest.
For when Nature was making an ugly race,
She certainly moulded the traveller's face,

As a sample for all the rest.
The chambermaid's sides they were ready to crack,
When she saw his queer nose and the hump at his back,

(A hump isn't handsome, no doubt);
And, though 'tis confessed that the prejudice goes
Very strongly in favour of wearing a nose,

Yet a nose shouldn't look like a snout.
A bag full of gold on the table he laid ;
'T had a wondrous effect on the widow and maid,

And they quickly grew marvellous civil.
The money immediately altered the case ;
They were charmed with his hump, and his snout, and his face,

Though he still might have frightened the devil.
He paid like a prince, gave the widow a smack,
Then flopped on his horse at the door like a sack;

While the landlady, touching the chink,
Cried, “Sir, should you travel this country again,
I heartily hope that the sweetest of men
Will stop at the widow's to drink."

[Exit, L.

Scene IV:--The Library as before.

WILFORD discovered. Wil. I would Sir Edward were come. The dread of a fearful encounter is often as terrible as the encounter itself. Eh ! he's coming! No! The old wainscot cracks, and frightens me out of my wits; and I verily believe, the great folio dropped on my head just row from the shelf, on purpose to increase my terrors. Enter Sir Edward MORTIMER, R. door, which he locks after

him— Wilford turns round on hearing him shut it. [Aside, L. c.] What's that ? 'Tis he himself !—Mercy on me! he has locked the door! What is going to become of me!

Sir E. Wilford, is no one in the picture-gallery?

Wil. No-not a soul, sir-not a human soul;
None within hearing, if I were to bawl
Ever so loud.

Sir E. (Pointing to L.] Lock yonder door.
Wil. The door, sir !
Sir E. [Sitting, R. c.] Do as I bid you.

Wil. What, sir, lock {Mortimer waves his hand. I shall, sir.

[Goes to the door, L., and locks it. His face has little anger in it, neither ; 'Tis rather marked with sorrow and distress. Sir E. Wilford, approach me.

What am I to say For aiming at your

life? Do you not scorn me, Despise me for it?

Wil. I!-Oh, sir

Sir E. You must;
For I am singled from the herd of men,
A vile, heart-broken wretch !

Wil. Indeed, indeed, sir,
You deeply wrong yourself. Your equals' love,
The poor man's prayer, the orphan's tear of gratitude,
All follow you ; and I-I owe you all-
I am most bound to bless you!

Sir E. Mark me, Wilford.
I know the value of the orphan's tear,
The poor man's prayer, respect from the respected;

this day

I feel, to merit these, and to obtain them,
Is to taste here below that thrilling cordial,
Which the remunerating angel draws
From the eternal fountain of delight,
To pour on blessed souls that enter heaven.
I feel this—I! How must my nature, then,
Revolt at him who seeks to stain his hand
In human blood ? And yet, it seems,
I sought your life. Oh, I have suffered madness!
None know my tortures—pangs; but I can end them,
End them as far as appertains to thee.
I have resolved it: hell-born struggles tear me;
But I have pondered on't, and I must trust thee.

Wil. Your confidence shall not be
Sir E. You must swear.
Wil. Swear, sir! Will nothing but an oath, then-
Sir E. (Rising and seizing Wilford's arm.] Listen:
May all the ills that wait on frail humanity
Be doubled on your head, if you disclose
My fatal secret! May your body turn
Most lazar-like and loathsome, and your mind
More loathsome than your body! May those fiends,
Who strangle babes for very wantonness,
Shrink back, and shudder at your monstrous crimes,
And, shrinking, curse you! Palsies strike your youth;
And the sharp terrors of a guilty mind
Poison your aged days; while all your nights,
As on the earth you lay your houseless head,
Out-horror horror! May you quit the world
Abhorred, self-hated, hopeless for the next,
Your life a burthen, and your death a fear!

Wil. For mercy's sake, forbear! you terrify me.
Sir E. Hope this may fall upon thee; swear thou

hopest it,
By every attribute which heaven, earth, hell,
Can lend, to bind and strengthen conjuration,
If thou betray'st me!

Wil. (Hesitating) Well—I-
Sir E. No retreating.
Wil. (After a pause.) I swear, by all the ties that bind

a man,
Divine or human, never to divulge !

Sir E. Remember, you have sought this secret-yes,
Extorted it. I have not thrust it on you.
'Tis big with danger to you; and to me,
While I prepare to speak, torment unutterable.
Know, Wilford, that-Damnation !

Wil. Dearest sir,
Collect yourself; this shakes you horribly.
You had this trembling, it is scarce a week,
At Madam Helen's.

Sir E. There it is. Her uncle
Wil. Her uncle !

Sir E. Him. She knows it not-none know it :
You are the first ordained to hear me say,
I am-his murderer!

Wil. Oh, Heaven !
Sir E. His assassin !
Wil. What! you that-mur-the murder I am

choked! Sir E. Honour-thou blood-stained god! at whose red

altar Sit war and homicide, oh! to what madness Will insult drive thy votaries ! By Heaven! In the world's range there does not breathe a man, Whose brutal nature I more strove to soothe, With long forbearance, kindness, courtesy, Than his who fell by me. But he disgraced me, Stained me!-Oh, death and shame! the world looked on, And saw this sinewy savage strike me down; Rain blows upon me, drag me to and fro On the base earth, like carrion. Desperation, In every fibre of my frame, cried vengeance ! I left the room, which he had quitted. Chance, (Curse on the chance !) while boiling with my wrongs, Thrust me against him, darkling, in the street. I stabbed him to the heart; and my oppressor Rolled lifeless at my foot !

[Crosses to L. Wil. Oh, mercy on me! How could this deed be covered ?

Sir E. Would you think it ? E'en at the moment when I


the blow, Butchered a fellow-creature in the dark, I had all good men's love. But my disgrace,

And my opponent's death thus linked with it,
Demanded notice of the magistracy.
They summoned me, as friend would summon friend,
To acts of import and communication.
We met; and 'twas resolved, to stifle rumour,
To put me on my trial. No accuser,
No evidence appeared, to urge it on:
'Twas meant to clear my fame. How clear it, then ?
How cover it? you say. Why, by a lie-
Guilt's offspring and its guard! I taught this breast,
Which truth once made her throne, to forge a lie-
This tongue to utter it; rounded a tale,
Smooth as a seraph's song from Satan's mouth ;
So well compacted, that the o'er-thronged court
Disturbed cool Justice in her judgment-seat,
By shouting “ Innocence !” ere I had finished.
The court enlarged me; and the giddy rabble
Bore me in triumph home. Ay, look upon me! !
I know thy sight aches at me.

Wil. Heaven forgive me!
It may be wrong: indeed, I pity you.

Sir E. I disdain all pity-
I ask no consolation! Idle boy!
Think'st thou that this compulsive confidence
Was given to move thy pity ? Love of fame
(For still I cling to it) has urged me thus
To quash the curious mischief in its birth :
Hurt honour, in an evil, cursed hour,
Drove me to murder-lying ;-'twould again!
My honesty--sweet peace of mind-all, all
Are bartered for a name. I will maintain it !
Should slander whisper o'er my sepulchre,
And my soul's agency survive in death,
I could embody it with heaven's lightning,
And the hot shaft of my insulted spirit
Should strike the blaster of my memory
Dead in the church-yard! Boy, I would not kill thee :
Thy rashness and discernment threatened danger;
To check them, there was no way left but this,
Save one-your death. You shall not be my victim,
Wil. My death !- What! take my life--my life, to


« 이전계속 »