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Countess. Heaven be with you.
[Exit Bar. S. Countess. Come, my friend, come into the a ir, till he returns with hope and consolation.
Mrs. H. Oh! my heart, how art thou afflicted! My husband! My little ones! Past joys and future fears. Oh! dearest madam, there are moments in which we live years! moments which steal the roses from the cheeks of health, and plough deep furrows in the brow of youth.
Countess. Banish these sad reflections. Come, let us walk. The sun will set soon; let nature's beauties dissipate anxiety.
Mrs. H. Alas!-Yes, the setting sun is a proper scene for me.
Countess. Never forget, a morning will succeed.
[Exeunt. SCENE II-The Skirts of a park, lodge, &c., as before.
Enter BARON STEINFORT.
Baron S. On earth there is but one such pair; they shall not be parted. Yet what I have undertaken is not so easy as I at first hoped. What can I answer when he asks me, whether I would persuade him to renounce his character, and become the derision of society? For he is right: a faithless wife is a dishonour; and to forgive her, is to share her shame. What, though Adelaide may be an exception; a young deluded girl, who has so long and so sincerely repented, yet what cares an unfeeling world for this? The world! he has quitted it. 'Tis evident he loves her still; and, upon this assurance, builds my sanguine heart the hope of a happy termination to an honest enterprize.
Fra. Come along, my pretty ones-come.
Fra. No, we shall be there directly now.
Will. Is that my father?
Baron S. It darts like lightning through my brain. A word with you. I know you love your master. Strange things have happened here: your master has found his wife again.
Fra. Indeed! Glad to hear it.
Baron S. Mrs. Haller
Fra. Is she his wife?
Still more glad to hear it. Baron S. But he is determined to go from her. Fra. Oh!
Baron S. We must try to prevent it
Stra. That you may make fools believe. Hear further: she knows, too, that I am not a common sort of man; that my heart is not to be attacked in the usual way; she, therefore, framed a deepconcerted plan. She played a charitable part; but in such a way, that it always reached my ears; she played a pious, modest, reserved part, in order to excite my curiosity; and, at last, to-day, she plays the prude: she refuses my forgiveness, in hopes, by this generous device, to extort it from my compassion.
Enter FRANCIS, with two children, WILLIAM and tonishment! This is a weakness only to be parBaron. S. Charles, I have listened to you with asAMELIA.
doned in a man who has so often been deceived by the world. Your wife has expressly and steadfastly declared, that she will not accept your forgiveness, even if you yourself were weak enough to offer it.
Baron S. Hide yourself with them in that hut; before a quarter of an hour is passed, you shall know more.
Fra. ButBaron S. No more questions, I entreat you. Time is precious.
fails, the innocent smiles of these his own children will surely find the way to his heart. (Taps at the lodge door, and the STRANGER comes out.) Charles, I wish you joy.
Stra. Of what?
Fra. Well, well! questions are not much in my way. Come, children.
Will. Why, I thought you told me I should see my father?
Fra. So you shall, my dear. Come, moppets.
Baron S. You have found her again.
Stra. Shew a bankrupt the treasure which he once possessed, and then congratulate him on the amount!
Baron S. Why not, if it be in your power to retrieve the whole?
[Goes into the hut with the children. Baron S. Excellent! I promise myself much from this little artifice. If the mild look of the mother
Stra. I understand you: you are a negociator from my wife. It won't avail.
Baron S. Learn to know your wife better.
I am a messenger from her; but without power to
Stra. Psha! I am not to be caught.
Stra. Steinfort, let me explain all this. I have
Baron S. The unexpected appearance of the chil- our, must be capable of a second crime. dren may perhaps assist us.
Fra. How so?
Stra. What, then, has brought you hither? Baron S. More than one reason. First, I am come in my own name, as your friend and comrade, to conjure you solemnly not to spurn this creature from you; for, by my soul, you will not find her equal.
Stra. Give yourself no further trouble.
Baron S. Be candid, Charles: you love her still.
Stra. Alas! yes.
Baron S. Her sincere repentance has long since obliterated her crime.
Stra. Sir, a wife once induced to forfeit her hon
Baron S. Not so, Charles. Ask your heart what portion of the blame may be your own.
Baron S. Yours. Who told you to marry & thoughtless, inexperienced girl? One scarce expects established principles at five-and-twenty in a man, yet you require them in a girl at sixteen! But of this no more. She has erred; she has repented; and, during three years, her conduct has been so far above reproach, that even the piercing eye of calumny has not discovered a speck upon this radiant orb.
Stra. Now, were I to believe all this, (and I confess that would willingly believe it,) yet can she never again be mine. Oh! what a feast would it be for the painted dolls and vermin of the world, when I appeared among them with my runaway
wife upon my arm! what mocking, whispering, | heaven protect your hours in bliss. This paper pointing! Never, never, never! will be necessary for the purpose; it contains a written acknowledgement of my guilt. (Offers it trembling.)
Baron S. Enough! As a friend I have done my duty : I now appear as Adelaide's ambassador. She requests one moment's conversation: she wishes once again to see you, and never more! You cannot deny her this only, this last request. Stra. Oh! I understand this too: she thinks my firmness will be melted by her tears: she is mistaken. She may come.
Stra. Tearing it.) Perish the record for ever! No, Adeleide; you only have possessed my heart; and. I am not ashamed to own it, you alone will reign there for ever. Your own sensations of virtue, your resolute honour, forbid you to profit by my weakness; and even if-Now, by heaven this is beneath a man!-But never, never will another fill Adelaide's place here.
Baron S. She will come, to make you feel how much you mistake her. I go for her.
Mrs. H. Then nothing now remains but that one sad, hard, just word farewell!
Stra. Another word.
Baron S. Another word!
Stra. Give her this paper and these jewels; they belong to her. (Presenting them.)
Baron S. That you may do yourself. Stra. The last anxious moment of my life draws near. I shall see her once again; I shall see her on whom my soul dotes. Is this the language of an injured husband? What is this principle which we call honour? Is it a feeling of the heart, or a quibble in the brain? I must be ressolute: it cannot now be otherwise. Let me speak solemnly, yet mild: and beware that nothing of reproach escape my lips. Yes, her penitence is real. She shall not be obliged to live in mean dependence: she shall be mistress of herself, she shall (Looks round, and shudders.) Ha they come. Awake, insulted pride! protect me, injured honour!
Enter MRS. HALLER, COUNTESS WINTERSEN, and BARON STEINFORT.
Mrs. H. (Advances slowly, and in a tremor: the Countess attempts to support her.) Leave me now, I beseech you. (Approaches the Stranger, who, with averted countenance, and in extreme agitation, awaits her address.) My lord!
Stra. No confession, madam: I release you from every humiliation. I perceive you feel that we must part for ever.
Mrs. H. I know it; nor come I here to supplicate your pardon; nor has my heart contained a ray of hope that you would grant it. All I dare ask is, that you will not curse my memory.
Stra. No; I do not curse you: I shall never curse you.
Mrs. H. From the conviction that I am unworthy of your name, I have, during three years abandoned it. But this is not enough: you must have that redress which will enable you to choose another-another wife; in whose chaste arms may
Stra. Stay a moment. For some months we have, without knowing it, lived near each other. I have learnt much good of you: you have a heart open to the wants of your fellow-creatures. I am happy that it is so: you shall not be without the power of gratifying your benevolence. I know you have a spirit that must shrink from a state of obligation. This paper, to which the whole remnant of my fortune is pledged, secures your independence, Adelaide; and let the only recommendation of the gift be, that it will administer to you the means of indulging in charity, the divine propensity of your
Mrs. H. Never! To the labour of my hands alone will I owe my sustenance. A morsel of bread, moistened with the tear of penitence, will suffice my wishes, and exceed my merits. It would be an additional reproach to think that I served myself, or even others from the bounty of a man whom I had so deeply injured.
Stra. Take it, madam; take it.
Mrs. H. I have deserved this. But I throw myself upon your generosity: have compassion on me!
Stra. (Aside.) Villain! of what a woman hast thou robbed me! (Puts up the paper.) Well, madam, I respect your sentiments, and withdraw my request; but on condition, that if ever you shall be in want of anything, I may be the first and only person in the world to whom you will make application.
Mrs. H. I promise it, my lord.
Stra. And now I may, at least, desire you to take back what is your -your jewels. (Gives
her the casket.)
Mrs. H. (Opens it in violent agitation, and her tears burst upon it.) How well do I recollect the sweet evening when you gave me these! That evening my father joined our hands, and joyfully 1 pronounced the oath of eternal fidelity: it is broken This locket you gave me on my birthday: that was a happy day. We had a country feast: how cheerful we all were! This bracelet I received after my William was born!-No! take them, take them! I cannot keep these, unless you wish that the sight of them should be an incessant reproach to my almost broken heart. (Gives them back.)
Countess, who places herself behind the Stranger; he himself walks with the boy behind Mrs. Haller.)
Stranger, who is in violent agitation throughout this scene, remains in silent contention between honour and affection.) Oh! let me behold them once again! let me once more kiss the features of their father in his babes, and I will kneel to you, and part with them for ever. (She kneel, and he raises her.)
Stra. Willingly, Adelaide! This very night: I expect the children every minute. They have been brought up near this spot. I have already sent my servant for them: he might, ere this time, have returned. I pledge my word to send them to the castle, as soon as they arrive; there, if you please, they may remain till day-break to-morrow, then they must go with me. (The Countess and Bar. S., who, at a little distance, hare listened to the whole conrersation with the warmest sympathy, exchange signals. Baron S. goes into the hut, and soon returns with FRANCIS and the children: he gives the girl to the i
Mrs. H. In this world, then, we have no more to say-(Seizing his hand.)-Forget a wretch, who never will forget you: and when my penance shall have broken my heart; when we again meet in a better world
Stra. There, Adelaide, you may be mine again. Mrs. H. and Stra. Oh! oh! (Parting. But, as they are going, she encounters the boy, and he the girl)
Children. Dear father! dear mother!
[They press the children in their arms with speechless affection; then tear themselves away, gaze at each other, spread their arms, and rush into an embrace. The Children run, and cling round their parents.-Exeunt.
A TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS.-BY THOMAS OTWAY.
Bel.-"I'M SACRIFICED! I'M SOLD! BETRAY'D TO SHAME!"-Actiii, scene 1.
My lord, my lord! I'm not that abject wretch You think me. Patience! where's the distance throws
Me back so far, but I may boldly speak
The honour of my house, you've done me wrong.
By all men's eyes, a youth of expectation;
I treated, trusted you, and thought you mine:
In right, though proud oppression will not hear me? When, in requital of my best endeavours,
Pri. Have you not wrong'd me?
Jaf. Could my nature e'er
Have brook'd injustice, or the doing wrongs, I need not now thus low have bent myself, To gain a hearing from a cruel father. Wrong'd you?
Pri. Yes, wrong'd me! In the nicest point,
You treacherously practis'd to undo me; Seduc'd the weakness of my age's darling, My only child, and stole her from my bosom. Oh, Belvidera!
Jaf. 'Tis to me you owe her;
Childless you had been else, and in the grave Your name extinct; no more Priuli heard of.
You may remember, scarce five years are past,
Pri. You stole her from me; like a thief you stole
At dead of night! that cursed hour you chose
May all your joys in her prove false, like mine:
Your days and nights bitter and grievous; stiil
But's happier than me: for I have known
Pri. Home, and be humble; study to retrench;
Reduce the glitt'ring trappings of thy wife
Home, home, I say.
Jaf. Yes, if my heart would let me-
Pier. My friend, good morrow;
Jaf. Half of your curse you have bestow'd in How fares the honest partner of my heart?
Heav'n has already crown'd our faithful loves
And happier than his father.
Pri. Rather live,
To bait thee for his bread, and din your ears
Pri. Twould, by heav'n!
Jaf. Would I were in my grave!
Pri. And she, too, with thee:
What, melancholy? not a word to spare me?
Call'd honesty, good footing in the world.
Cut-throats reward; each man would kill his
Himself; none would be paid or hang'd for murder.
For, living here, you're but my curst remembran- Honesty! 'twas a cheat invented first cers,
I once was happy.
Jaf. You use me thus, because you know my soul
My life feeds on her, therefore thus you treat me.
But I might send her back to you with contumely,
Jaf Indeed, my lord I dare not.
My heart that awes me, is too much my master: Three years are past, since first our vows were plighted,
During which time, the world must bear me
I've treated Belvidera like your daughter,
Because (though hopeless e'er to win your nature)
Pri. No more.
Jaf. Yes, all: and then adieu for ever.
To bind the hands of bold, deserving rogues,
Like wit, much talk'd of, not to be defin'd:
He that pretends to most, too, has least share in't,
Pier. So, indeed, men think me;
A fine, gay, bold-fac'd villain, as thou seest me.
Yet, Jaffier, for all this, I'm a villain,
Jaf. A villain!
Pier. Yes, a most notorious villain;
There's not a wretch that lives on common charity, They say, by them our hands are free from fetters;