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Ang. (Starting wildly from her seat.) Yet speak once more, Kenric! Where is my father? What place conceals him? Osm. Let him not speak! Away with him! (Kenric is forced off by the Africans.)
Osm. (Pares the stage with a furious air, while Angela eyes him with terror; at length he stops, and addresses her.) Nay, stifle not your curses! Why should your tongue be silent when your eye speaks? Is there not written on every feature "Vengeance on the assassin! Justice on my mother's murderer?" But, mark me, Angela! compared to that which soon must be thine, these titles are sweet and lovely. Know'st thou the word parricide, Angela? Know'st thou their pangs who shed the blood of a parent? Those pangs must be thine tomorrow. This long-concealed captive, this newfound father
Ang. Your brother, Osmond! your brother!Surely, you cannot, will not
Osm. Still doubt you, that I both can, and will? Remember Kenric's tale! Remember, though the first blow failed, the second will strike deeper! But from whom must Reginald receive that second? Not from his rival brother; not from his inveterate foe; from his daughter, his unfeeling daughter! 'Tis she, who, refusing me her hand, will place a dagger in mine; 'tis she, whose voice declaring that she hates me, will bid me plunge that dagger in her father s heart.
Ang. Man, man! drive me not mad!
Osm. Then fancy that he lies in some damp, solitary dungeon, writhing in death's agonies, his limbs distorted, his eye-strings breaking, his soul burthened with crimes, his last words curses on his unnatural child, who could have saved him, but would not.
Ang. Horrible, horrible!
Osm. Must Reginald die, or will Angela be mine? Ang. Thine, she will perish first.
Osm. You have pronounced his sentence, and his blood be on your head. Farewell.
Ang. (Detaining him, and throwing herself on her knees.) Hold, hold! Look with pity on a creature whom your cruelty has bowed to the earth, whose heart you have almost broken, whose brain you have almost turned. Mercy, Osmond! Oh! mercy, mercy!
Osm. Lovely, lovely suppliant! Why owe to cold consent what force may this instant give me? It shall be so; and thus-(Attempting to clasp her in his arms, she starts from the ground suddenly, and draws her dagger with a distracted look,)
Ang. Away, approach me not! Dare not to touch me, or this poniard
Osm. Foolish girl! let me but say the word, and thou art disarmed that moment. (Attempting to seize it, his eyes rest upon the hil, and he starts back with horror.) By hell! the very poniard which
Ang. (In an exulting tone.) Ha! hast thou found me, villain? Villain, dost thou know this weapon? Know'st thou whose blood incrusts the point? Murderer! it flowed from the bosom of my mother! Osm. Within, there! help! (Hassan and Alaric enter.) Oh! God in heaven! (He falls senseless into their arms, and they convey him from the chamber; the door is locked after them.
Ang. He faints! Loug may the villain wear thy chains, oblivion! Long be it ere he wakes to commit new crimes! (She remains for some moments prostrate on the ground in silent sorrow. The castle bell strikes one.) Hark! the bell: 'tis the time, which the monk appointed. He will not tarry, Ha! what was that? Methought the sound of
music floated by me. It seemed as some one had struck the guitar. I must have been deceived: it was but fancy. (A plaintive voice sings within, accompanied by a guitar)
Lullaby, lullaby! hush thee, my dear;
Thy father is coming, and soon will be here." Ang. Heavens! The very words which Alice(The folding doors unclose, and the oratory is seen illuminated. In its centre stands tall female figure, her white and flowing garments spotted with blood; her veil is thrown back, and discovers a pale and melancholy countenance; her eyes are lifted upwards, her arms extended towards heaven, and a large wound appears upon her bosom. Angela sinks upon her knees, with her eyes rivetted upon the figure, which, for some moments, remains motionless. At length, the spectre advances slowly to a soft and plaintive strain; she stops opposite Reginald's picture, and gazes upon it in silence. She then turns, approaches Angela, seems to invoke a blessing upon her, points to the picture, and retires to the orat ry. The music ceases. Angela rises with a wild look, and follows the vision, extending her arms towards it. The spectre waves her hand, as bidding her farewell. Instantly the organ's swell is heard; a full chorus of female voices chaunts “Jubilate!" a blaze of light flashes through the oratory, and the folding doors close with a loud noise.)
SCENE I-View of Conway Castle by moonlight. Enter ALLAN and MOTLEY.
Allan. But should the friar's plot have failed
Mot. Failed! and a priest and a petticoat concerned in it! Oh. no! a plot composed of such good ingredients cannot but succeed. Ugh! would I were again seated by the fisher's hearth. The wind blows cruel, sharp and bitter.
Allan. For shame, Gilbert, is not my lord equally exposed to its severity?
Mot. Oh! the flame in his bosom keeps him warm, and in a cold night, love wraps one up better than a blanket; but that not being my situation. the present object of my desires is a blazing wood fire, and Venus would look to me less lovely than a smoking sack posset. Oh! when I was in love I managed matters much better. I always paid my addresses by the fire-side, and contrived to urge my soft suit just at dinner-time; then, how I filled my fair one's ears with fine speeches, while she filled my trencher with roast beef! then, what figures and tropes came out of my mouth, and what dainties and tid-bits went in! Twould have done your heart good to have heard me talk, and seen me eat; and you'd have found it no easy matter to decide whether I'd most wit or appetite.
Allan. And who was the object of this voracious passion?
Mot. A person well calculated to charm both my heart and my stomach; it was a lady of great merit, who did Earl Percy's father the honour to superintend his culinary concerns. i was scarce fifteen when she kindled a flame in my heart while lighting the kitchen are; from that moment I thought on nothing but her. My mornings were passed in composing poems on her beauty; my evenings in reciting them in her ear; for nature had equally denied the fair creature and myself the faculty of reading and writing.
Allan. You were successful, I hope.
Mot. Why, at length, she consented to be mine; when, oh! cruel fortune! taking one night a drop too much-poor dear creature! she never got the
better of it-I wept her loss, and composed an instantly admit you to the castle, and have described elegy upon it. It began thus:
to him the retreat of Reginald. Be he your guide, and hasten-oh! that pang! (He faints; Allan and Edric support him.)
Per. Look to him. He sinks! Bear him to your hut, Edric, and there tend his hurts. (To Saib.) Now on, good fellow, and swiftly. Osmond, despair! I come! [Exit with Saib, Motley, Harold, and Soldiers, over the bridge, while Allan and Edric convey away Kenric, still fainting.
"Baked be the pies to coals,
Burn, roast meat, burn;
Enter EARL PERCY, over the bridge.
Met. In truth, my lord, you venture too near the castle; should you fall into Osmond's power a second time, your next jump may be into a better world.
Per. Oh! there's no danger, Gilbert; my followers are not far off, and will join me at a moment's warning: then fear not for me.
Mot. With all my heart; but permit me to fear for myself. We are now within bow-shot of the castle; "the archers may think proper to amuse us with a proof of their skill; and were I to feel an arrow quivering in my gizzard, probably I should be much more surprised than pleased, Good, my lord, let us back to the fisherman's hut.
Per. Your advice may be wise, Gilbert, but I cannot follow it. See you nothing near yonder tower? Mot. Yes, certainly. Two persons advance towards us; yet they cannot be our friends, for I see neither the lady's petticoat nor the monk's paunch. Per. Still they approach, though slowly: one leans on his companion, and seems to move with pain. Let us retire and observe them.
Mot. Away, sir; I'm at your heels. (They retire.)
Saib. Nay, yet hold up a while. Now we are near the fisher's cottage.
Ken. Good Saib, I needs must stop. Enfeebled by Osmond's tortures, my limbs refuse to bear me further. Here lay me down: then fly to Percy, guide him to the dungeon; and, ere 'tis too late, bid him save the father of Angela.
Per. (To Motley.) Hark! did you hear?
- Ken. Oh! heed not me. Think that on these few
Per. Said he not Reginald? Speak again, stranger. What of Reginald?
Saib. Ha! look up. Kenric. 'Tis Percy's self!
Ken. (Sinking at Percy's feet.) Yes, the guilty, penitent Kenric! Oh! surely 'twas heaven sent you hither. Know, Earl Percy, that Reginald lives, that Angela is his daughter!
Per. Amazement! and is this known to Osmond? Ken. Two hours have scarcely passed since he surprised the secret. Tortures compelled me to avow where Reginald was hidden, and he now is in his brother's power. Fly, then, to his aid. Alas! perhaps at this moment his destruction is completed. Perhaps, even now, Osmond's dagger
Per. Within there! Allan Harold! Quick, Gilbert, sound your horn. (Motley sounds it; it is echoed.)
Enter ALLAN, EDRIC, HAROLD, and Soldiers.
SCENE II.-A vaulted Chamber.
Enter FATHER PHILIP, with a basket on his arm and a torch, conducting ANGELA.
F. Phil. Thanks to St. Francis, we have as yet passed unobserved! Surely, of all travelling companions, fear is the least agreeable: I couldn't be more fatigued, had I run twenty miles without stopping.
Ang. Why this delay? Good father, let us proceed.
F. Phil. Ere I can go further, lady, I must needs stop to take breath, and refresh my spirits with a taste of this cordial. (Taking a bottle from the basket.)
Ang. Oh! not now. Wait till we are safe under Percy's protection, and then drink as you list. But not now, father; in pity, not now. F. Pil. Well, well! be calm, daughter. Oh! these women! these women! they mind no one's comfort but their own. Now, where is the door? Ang. How tedious seems every moment which I pass within these hated walls! Ha! yonder comes a light!
F. Phil. So, so, I've found it at last. spring, a secret door flies open.) Any. It moves this way! By all my fears, 'tis Osmond! In, father, in! Away for heaven's sake! [Exeunt, closing the door after them. Enter OSMOND and HASSAN, with a torch.
still within the castle?
Has. As the silence of the grave.
Osm. Where are your fellows?
Has. Saib guards the traitor Kenric: Muley and Alaric are buried in sleep.
Osm. Their hands have been stained with blood, and yet can they sleep? Call your companions hither. (Hassan offers to leave the torch.) Away with the light, its beams are hatefel. [Exit Hassan.] Yes; this is the place. If Kenric said true, for sixteen years have the vaults beneath me rung with my brother's groans. I dread to unclose the door. How shall I sustain the beams of his eye, when they expiring hate revives! rest on Evelina's murderer? Ha! at that name my Reginald, Reginald! for thee was I sacrificed. Oh! when it strikes a second blow, my poniard shall strike surer!
Enter HASSAN, MULEY, and ALARIC, with torches.
Ala. 'Tis but too certain! doubtless, he has fled to Percy.
Osm. To Percy! Ha! then I must be speedy: my fate hangs on a thread. Friends, I have ever found ye faithful; mark me now. (Opening the private door.) Of these two passages, the left conducts to a long chain of dungeons: in one of these my brother still languishes. Once already have you seen him bleeding beneath my sword; but he yet exists. My fortune, my love, nay, my life, are at stake. Need I say more? (Each half unsheathes his sword.) That gesture speaks me understood. On, then, before; I follow you. (The Africans pass through the private door; Osmond is advancing towards it, when he suddenly starts back.) Ha! Why roll these seas of blood before me? Whose mangled corse do they bear to my feet? Fratricide! Oh! 'tis a dreadful name! Yet how preserve myself and Reginald? It cannot be. We must not breathe the same atmosphere. Fate, thy hand urges me. Fate, thy voice prompts me. Thou hast spoken; I obey. (He follows the Africans; the door is closed after him.)
SCENE III.-A gloomy subterraneous Dungeon, wide and lofty: the upper part of it has, in several places, fallen in, and left large chasms. On one side, are various passages leading to other caverns; on the other, is an iron door with steps leading to it, and a wicket in the middle. REGINALD, pale and emaciated, in coarse garments, his hair hanging wildly about his face, and a chain bound round his body, lies sleeping upon a bed of straw. A lamp, a small basket, and a pitcher, are placed near him. After a few moments he awakes, and extends his arms.
Reg. My child! My Evelina! Oh! fly me not, lovely forms! They are gone, and once more I live to misery. Thou wert kind to me, Sleep! Even now, methought, I sat in my castle-hall: a maid, lovely as the queen of fairies, hung on my knee, and hailed me by that sweet name, "Father!" Yes, I was happy. Yet frown not on me therefore, Darkness; I am thine again, my gloomy bride. Be not incensed, Despair, that I left thee for a moment. I have passed with thee sixteen years. Ah! how many have I still to pass? Yet fly not my bosom quite, sweet Hope! Still speak to me of liberty, of light! Whisper, that once more I shall see the morn break; that again shall my fevered lips drink the pure gale of evening. God! thou knowest that I have borne my sufferings meekly: I have wept for myself, but never cursed my foes; I have sorrowed for thy anger, but never murmured at thy will. Patient have I been; oh! then reward me; let me once again press my daughter in my arms; let me, for one instant, feel again that I clasp to my heart a being who loves me. Speed thou to heaven, prayer of a captive! (He sinks upon a stone, with his hands clasped, and his eyes bent stedfastly upon the flame of the lamp.)
ANGELA and FATHER PHILIP are seen through
the chasms above, passing slowly. Ang. Be cautious, father. Feel you not how the ground trembles beneath us?
F. Phil. Perfectly well; and would give my best breviary to find myself once more on terra-firma. But the outlet cannot be far off: let us proceed. Ang. Look down upon us, blessed angels! Aid us; protect us!
F. Phil. Amen, fair daughter! (They disappear.) Reg. (After a pause.) How wastes my lamp! The hour of Kenric's visit must long be past, and still
he comes not. How, if death's hand hath struck him suddenly! My existence unknown. Away from my fancy, dreadful idea! (Rising, and taking the lamp.) The breaking of my chain permits me to wander at large through the wide precincts of my prison. Haply the late storm, whose pealing thunders were heard even in this abyss, may have rent some friendly chasm: haply some nook yet unexplored. Ah! no, no! my hopes are vain, my search will be fruitless. Despair in these dungeons reigns despotic; she mocks my complaints, rejects my prayers; and, when I sue for freedom, bids me seek it in the grave! Death! oh, death! how welcome wilt thou be to me! [Exit. (The noise is heard of a heavy bar falling; the door opens.)
Enter FATHER PHILIP and ANGELA.
F. Phil. How's this? a door!
Ang. It was barred on the outside.
F. Phil. That we'll forgive, as it wasn't bolted on the in. But I don't recollect-surely I've notAng. What's the matter?
F. Phil. By my faith, daughter, I suspect that I've missed my way.
Ang. Heaven forbid!
F. Phil. Nay, if 'tis so, I sha'n't be the first man who, of two ways, has preferred the wrong. Ang. Provoking! And did I not tell you to choose the right-hand passage?
F. Phil. Truly, did you; and that was the very thing which made me choose the left. Whenever I am in doubt myself, I generally ask a woman's advice. When she's of one way of thinking, I've always found that reason's on the other. In this instance, perhaps, I have been mistaken: but wait here for a moment, and the fact shall be ascertained. [Exit.
Ang. How thick and infectious is the air of this cavern; yet, perhaps, for sixteen years has my poor father breathed none purer. Hark! steps are quick advancing. The friar comes, but why in such confusion?
Re-enter FATHER PHILIP, running.
F. Phil. Help, help! It follows me!
Ang. (Detaining him.) What alarms you? Speak! F. Phil. His ghost, his ghost! Let me go, let me go, let me go! (Struggling to escape from Angela, he falls and extinguishes the torch; then hastily rises, and rushes up the staircase, closing the door after him.)
He's gone. I cannot find the door. Ang. Father, father! Stay, for heaven's sake! Hark! 'twas the clank of chains. A light too! It comes yet nearer! Save me, ye powers! What dreadful form! 'Tis here! I faint with terror. (Sinks almost lifeless against the dungeon's side.)
Re-enter REGINALD with a lamp.
Why did Kenric enter my prison? Haply, when he Reg. (Placing his lamp upon a pile of stones.) heard not my groans at the dungeon door, he thought Oh! when that my woes were relieved by death. will that thought be verified? Thou art dead, and at rest, my wife! Safe in yon skies, no thought of me molests thy quiet. Yet sure I wrong thee. At the hour of death, thy spirit shall stand beside me, shall close mine eyes gently, and murmur, “Die Reginald, and be at peace!"
Ang. Hark! heard I not-pardon, good strangerReg. (Starting wildly from his seat.) 'Tis she, She comes for me! Is the hour at hand, fair vision!
Spirit of Evelina ! lead on, I follow thee. (He extends his arms towards her, staggers a few paces forwards, then sinks exhausted on the ground.)
He faints! perhaps expires! Still, still! See, he revives!
Reg. 'Tis gone! Once more the sport of my bewildered brain. (Starting up.) Powers of bliss! Look, where it moves again! Oh! say, what art thou? If Evelina, speak, oh, speak!
Ang. Ha! named he not Evelina? That look! This dungeon too! the emotions which his voiceIt is, it must be! Father! Oh! Father, father! (Falling upon his bosom.)
Reg. Said you? Meant you? My daughter, my infant, whom I left? Oh! yes, it must be true! My heart, which springs towards you, acknowledges my child. (Embracing her.) But say, how gained you entrance? Has Osmond
Ang. Oh! that name recalls my terrors. Alas! you see in me a fugitive from his violence. Guided by a friendly monk, wkom your approach has frightened from me, I was endeavouring to escape; we missed our way, and chance guided us to this dungeon. But this is not a time for explanation. Answer me. Know you the subterraneous passages belonging to this castle?
Reg. Whose entrance is without the walls. I do. Ang. Then we may yet be saved. Father, we must fly this moment. Percy, the pride of our English youth, waits for me at the Conway's side. Come then, oh! come. Stay not one moment longer. (As she approaches the door, lights appear above.)
Reg. Look, look, my child! The beams of distant torches flash through the gloom.
Osm. (Above.) Hassan, guard you the door. Follow me, my friends. (The lights disappear.) Ang. Osmond's voice! Undone, undone! Oh! my father, he comes to seek you; perhaps, toReg. Hark! they come. The gloom of yonder cavern may awhile conceal you; fly to it; hide yourself: stir not, I charge you.
Ang. What leave you? Oh, no, no! Reg. Dearest, I entreat, I conjure you, fly! not for me.
Ang. Father! Oh, father!
Reg. Farewell! perhaps for ever! (He forces Angela into the cavern, then returns hastily, and throws himself on the bed of straw.) Now, then, to hear my
Enter OSMOND, followed by MULEY and ALARIC, with torches.
Osm. The door unbarred! Softly; my fears were false. Lo! where stretched on the ground, a stone his pillow, he tastes that repose which flies from my bed of down. Wake, Reginald, and arise!
Reg. You here, Osmond? What brings you to this scene of sorrow? Alas! Hope flies while I gaze upon your frowning eye. Have I read its language aright, Osmond?
Osm. Aright, if you have read my hatred. Reg. Have I deserved that hate? See, my brother, the once proud Reginald lies at your feet; for his pride has been humbled by suffering. Hear him adjure you by her ashes, within whose bosom we both have lain, not to stain your hands with the blood of your brother. Kenric has told me that my daughter lives. Restore me to her arms; permit us in obscurity to pass our days together. Then shall my last sigh implore upon your head heaven's forgiveness and Evelina's.
Osm. He melts me in my own despite. It shall be so. (Aside.) Rise, Reginald, and hear me. You
mentioned, even now, your daughter: know, she is in my power; know, also, that I love her. Reg. How!
Osm. She rejects my offers. Your authority can oblige her to accept them. Swear to use it, and this instant will I lead you to her arms. Say will you give the demanded oath?
Reg. I cannot dissemble: Osmond, I never will.
Reg. Would be valueless, if purchased by my daughter's tears; would be loathsome if embittered by my daughter's misery. Osmond, I will not take the oath.
Osm. (Almost choked with passion.) 'Tis enough! (To the Africans.) You know your duty. Drag him to yonder cavern. Let me not see him die.
Reg. (Holding by a fragment of the wall, from which the Africans strive to force him.) Brother, for pity's sake; for your soul's happiness!
Csm. Obey me, slaves. Away!
ANGELA rushes in wildly, from the cavern.
Ang. Hold off! Hurt him not! He is my father! Osm. Angela here!
Reg. Daughter, what means
will sacrifice all to preserve you. Osmond, release Ang. (Embracing him.) You shall live, father. I
my father, and solemnly I swear
God of nature to thee I call! If e'er on Osmond's Reg. Hold, girl; and first hear me. (Kneeling.) bosom a child of mine rest; if e'er she call him husband, who pierced her mother's hapless heart, that moment shall a wound, by my own hand inflictedAng. Hold! Oh, hold! End not your oath. Osm. I burn with rage!
Ang. I swear!
Osm. (Employed with Hassan in retaining Angela. while Reginald defends himself against Muley and Alaric.) Down with him! Wrest the sword from him! (Alaric is wounded and falls; Muley gives back; at the same time, Osmond's party appears above, pursued by Percy's.) Hark! they come! Dastardly villains! Nay, then, my own hand must-Drawing his sword, he rushes upon Reginald, who is disarmed, and beaten upon his knees; when, at the moment that Osmond lifts nis arm to stab him, Evelina's ghost throws herself between them; Osmond starts back, and drops his sword. Angela disengaging herself from Hassan, springs suddenly forwards, and plunges her dagger in Osmond's bosom, who falls with a loud groan, and faints. The ghost vanishes: Angela and Reginald rush into each other's arms.
Ang. Father, thou art mine again!
Enter PERCY, SAIB, HAROLD, &c. pursuing Osmond's party. They all stop, on seeing him bleeding upon the ground.
Per. Hold, my brave friends! See where lies the object of our search.
Ang. Percy! dear Percy!
Ang. My friend, my guardian angel! Come, Percy, come; embrace my father. Father, embrace the protector of your child.
Per. Do I then behold Earl Reginald? Reg. (Embracing him.) The same, brave Percy! Welcome to my heart! Live ever next to it.
Ang. Oh! moment that o'erpays my sufferings. And yet, Percy, that wretched man-he perished by my hand! (Osmond is conveyed away: servants enter with torches.)
Per. But say, fair Angela, what have I to hope? Is my love approved by your noble father? Will Let
Reg. Percy, this is no time to talk of love. me hasten to my expiring brother, and soften with forgiveness the pangs of death.