Sir Philip. Ah! ruin!—Within there!—Fly to Sir Abel Handy—Tell him to desist! order his people, on the peril of their lives, to leave the Castle instantly! Away!
Handy, jun. Sir Philip Blandford, your conduct compels me to be serious.
Sir Philip. Oh, forbear! forbear!
Handy, jun. Excuse me, sir,—an alliance, it seems, is intended between our families, founded on ambition and interest. I wish it, sir, to be formed on a nobler basis, ingenuous friendship and mutual confidence. That confidence being withheld, I must here pause; for I should hesitate in calling that man father, who refuses me the name of friend.
Sir Philip. [Aside.] Ah! how shall I act?
Handy, jun. Is my demand unreasonable?
Sir Philip. Strictly just—But oh!—you know not what you ask—Do you not pity me?
Handy, jun. I do.
Sir Philip. Why then seek to change it into hate?
Handy, jun. Confidence seldom generates hate—Mistrust always.
Sir Philip. Most true.
Handy, jun. I am not impelled by curiosity to ask your friendship. I scorn so mean a motive. Believe me, sir, the folly and levity of my character proceed merely from the effervescence of my heart—you will find its substance warm, steady, and sincere.
Sir Philip. I believe it from my soul.—Yes, you shall hear my story; I will lay before your view the agony, with which this wretched bosom is loaded.
Handy, jun. I am proud of your confidence, and am prepared to receive it.
Sir Philip. Not here—let me lead you to the eastern part of the castle, my young friend—mark me: This is no common trust I repose in you; for I place my life in your hands.
Handy, jun. And the pledge I give for its security is, what alone gives value to life, my honour. [Exeunt.
A gloomy Gallery in the Castle—in the centre a strongly barred door.—The gallery hung with portraits.
HENRY discovered examining a particular portrait, which occupies a conspicuous situation in the gallery.
Henry. Whenever curiosity has led me to this gallery, that portrait has attracted my attention—the features are peculiarly interesting. One of the house of Blandford—Blandford—-my name—perhaps my father. To remain longer ignorant of my birth, I feel impossible. There is a point when patience ceases to be a virtue—Hush! I hear footsteps—Ah! Sir Philip and another in close conversation. Shall I avoid them?—No—Shall I conceal myself, and observe them?—Curse on the base suggestion!—No—
Enter SIR PHILIP and HANDY, jun.
Sir Philip. That chamber contains the mystery.
Henry. [Aside.] Ah!
Sir Philip. [Turning round.] Observe that portrait. [Seeing HENRY—starts.] Who's there?
Handy, jun. [To HENRY.] Sir, we wish to be private.
Henry. My being here, sir, was merely the effect of accident. I scorn intrusion. [Bows.] But the important words are spoken—that chamber contains the mystery. [Aside.—Exit.
Handy, jun. Who is that youth?
Sir Philip. You there behold his father—my brother—[Weeps.]—I've not beheld that face these twenty years.—Let me again peruse its lineaments. [In an agony of grief.] Oh, God! how I loved that man!—
Handy, jun. Be composed.
Sir Philip. I will endeavour. Now listen to my story.
Handy, jun. You rivet my attention.
Sir Philip. While we were boys, my father died intestate. So I, as elder born, became the sole possessor of his fortune; but the moment the law gave me power, I divided, in equal portions, his large possessions, one of which I with joy presented to my brother.
Handy, jun. It was noble.
Sir Philip. [With suppressed agony.] You shall now hear, sir, how I was rewarded. Chance placed in my view a young woman of superior personal charms; my heart was captivated—Fortune she possessed not—but mine was ample. She blessed me by consenting to our union, and my brother approved my choice.
Handy, jun. How enviable your situation!
Sir Philip. Oh! [Sighing deeply.] On the evening previous to my intended marriage, with a mind serene as the departing sun, whose morning beam was to light me to happiness, I sauntered to a favourite tree, where, lover-like, I had marked the name of my destined bride, and, with every nerve braced to the tone of ecstasy, I was wounding the bark with a deeper impression of the name—when, oh, God!——
Handy, jun. Pray proceed.
Sir Philip. When the loved offspring of my mother, and the woman my soul adored—the only two beings on earth, who had wound themselves round my heart by every tie dear to the soul of man, placed themselves before me; I heard him—even now the sound is in my ears, and drives me to madness—I heard him breathe vows of love, which she answered with burning kisses—He pitied his poor brother, and told her he had prepared a vessel to bear her for ever from me.—They were about to depart, when the burning fever in my heart rushed upon my brain—Picture the young tiger, when first his savage nature rouses him to vengeance—the knife was in my gripe—I sprang upon them—with one hand I tore the faithless woman from his damned embrace, and with the other—stabbed my brother to the heart.
Handy, jun. The wretched woman——
Sir Philip. Was secretly conveyed here—even to that chamber.—She proved pregnant, and in giving birth to a son, paid the forfeit of her perjury by death. My task being ended, yours begins.
Handy, jun. Mine!
Sir Philip. Yes, that chamber contains evidence of my shame; the fatal instrument, with other guilty proofs, lie there concealed—can you wonder I dread to visit the scene of horror—can you wonder I implore you, in mercy, to save me from the task? Oh! my friend, enter the chamber, bury in endless night those instruments of blood, and I will kneel and worship you.
Handy, jun. I will.
Sir Philip. [Weeps.] Will you? [Embraces him.] I am unused to kindness from man, and it affects me. Oh! can you press to your guiltless heart that bloodstained hand!
Handy, jun. Sir Philip, let men without faults condemn—I must pity you. [Exeunt HANDY, jun. leading SIR PHILIP.
ACT THE FIFTH.
A wooded view of the country.
Enter SUSAN ASHFIELD, who looks about with anxiety, and then comes forward.
Susan. I fear my conduct is very imprudent.—Has not Mr. Handy told me he is engaged to another? But 'tis hard for the heart to forego, without one struggle, its only hope of happiness; and, conscious of my honour, what have I to fear? Perhaps he may repent of his unkindness to me—at least I'll put his passion to the proof; if he be worthy of my love, happiness is for ever mine; if not, I'll tear him from my breast, though from the wound my life's blood should follow. Ah! he comes—I feel I am a coward, and my poor alarmed heart trembles at its approaching trial—pardon me, female delicacy, if for a moment I seem to pass thy sacred limits. [Retires up the stage.
Enter HANDY, jun.
Handy, jun. By Heavens! the misfortunes of Sir Philip Blandford weigh so heavily on my spirits, that—but confusion to melancholy! I am come here to meet an angel, who will, in a moment, drive away the blue devils like mist before the sun. Let me again read the dear words; [Reading a letter.] "I confess, I love you still;" [Kisses the letter.] but I dare not believe their truth till her sweet lips confirm it. Ah! she's there—Susan, my angel! a thousand thanks. A life of love can alone repay the joy your letter gave me.
Susan. Do you not despise me?
Handy, jun. No; love you more than ever.
Susan. Oh! Robert, this is the very crisis of my fate.——From this moment we meet with honour, or we meet no more. If we must part, perhaps, when you lead your happy bride to church, you may stumble over your Susan's grave. Well, be it so.
Handy, jun. Away with such sombre thoughts!
Susan. Tell me my doom—yet hold—you are wild, impetuous—you do not give your heart fair play—therefore promise me (perhaps 'tis the last favour I shall ask), that before you determine whether our love shall die or live with honour, you will remain here alone a few moments, and that you will give those moments to reflection.
Handy, jun. I do—I will.
Susan. With a throbbing heart I will wait at a little distance. May virtuous love and sacred honour direct his thoughts! [Aside.—Exit.
Handy, jun. Yes, I will reflect, that I am the most fortunate fellow in England. She loves me still—what is the consequence?—that love will triumph—that she will be mine—mine without the degradation of marriage—love, pride, all gratified—how I shall be envied when I triumphantly pass the circles of fashion! One will cry, "Who is that angel?"—another, "Happy fellow!" then Susan will smile around—will she smile? oh yes—she will be all gaiety—mingle with the votaries of pleasure, and—what! Susan Ashfield the companion of licentious women!—Damnation!—no! I wrong her—she would not—she would rather shun society—she would be melancholy—melancholy! [Sighs, and looks at his watch.]—would the time were over!—Pshaw! I think of it too seriously—'Tis false—I do not.—Should her virtue yield to love, would not remorse affect her health? should I not behold that lovely form sicken and decay—perhaps die?—die! then what am I?—a villain, loaded with her parents' curses and my own.—Let me fly from the dreadful thought.—But how fly from it?—[Calmly.]—By placing before my imagination a picture of more honourable lineaments.—I make her my wife.—Ah! then she would smile on me—there's rapture in the thought;—instead of vice producing decay, I behold virtue emblazoning beauty; instead of Susan on the bed of death, I behold her giving to my hopes a dear pledge of our mutual love. She places it in my arms—down her father's honest face runs a tear—but 'tis the tear of joy. Oh, this will be luxury! paradise!—Come, Susan!—come, my love, my soul—my wife.
Enter SUSAN—she at first hesitates—on hearing the word wife, she springs into his arms.
Susan. Is it possible?
Handy, jun. Yes, those charms have conquered.
Susan. Oh! no; do not so disgrace the victory you have gained—'tis your own virtue that has triumphed.
Handy, jun. My Susan! how true it is that fools alone are vicious. But let us fly to my father, and obtain his consent. On recollection, that may not be quite so easy. His arrangements with Sir Philip Blandford are—are—not mine, so there's an end of that. And Sir Philip, by misfortune, knows how to appreciate happiness. Then poor Miss Blandford—upon my soul I feel for her.
Susan. [Ironically.] Come, don't make yourself miserable. If my suspicions be true, she'll not break her heart for your loss.
Handy, jun. Nay, don't say so; she will be unhappy.
Ash. [Without.] There he is. Dame, shall I shoot at un?
Susan. My father's voice.
Ash. Then I'll leather un wi' my stick.
Enter ASHFIELD and DAME.
Ash. What do thee do here with my Sue, eh?
Handy, jun. With your Sue!—she's mine—mine by a husband's right.
Ash. Husband! what, thee Sue's husband?
Handy, jun. I soon shall be.
Ash. But how tho'?—What! faith and troth?—What! like as I married Dame?
Handy, jun. Yes.
Ash. What! axed three times!
Handy, jun. Yes; and from this moment I'll maintain, that the real temple of love is a parish church—Cupid is a chubby curate—his torch is the sexton's lantern—and the according paean of the spheres is the profound nasal thorough bass of the clerk's Amen.
Ash. Huzza! only to think now—my blessing go with you, my children!
Dame. And mine.
Ash. And Heaven's blessing too. Ecod, I believe now, as thy feyther zays, thee canst do every thing!
Handy, jun. No; for there is one thing I cannot do—injure the innocence of woman.
Ash. Drabbit it! I shall walk in the road all day to zee Sue ride by in her own coach.
Susan. You must ride with me, father.
Dame. I say, Tummas, what will Mrs. Grundy say then?
Ash. I do hope thee will not be asham'd of thy feyther in laa, wool ye?
Handy, jun. No; for then I must also be ashamed of myself, which I am resolved not to be again.
Enter SIR ABEL HANDY.
Sir Abel. Heyday, Bob! why an't you gallanting your intended bride? but you are never where you ought to be.
Handy, jun. Nay, sir, by your own confession I am where I ought to be.
Sir Abel. No! you ought to be at the Castle—Sir Philip is there, and Miss Blandford is there, and Lady Handy is there, and therefore—
Handy, jun. You are not there. In one word, I shall not marry Miss Blandford.
Sir Abel. Indeed! who told you so?
Handy, jun. One who never lies—and, therefore, one I am determined to make a friend of—my conscience.
Sir Abel. But zounds! sir, what excuse have you?
Handy, jun. [Taking SUSAN'S hand.] A very fair one, sir—is not she?
Sir Abel. Why, yes, sir, I can't deny it—but, 'sdeath, sir, this overturns my best plan!
Handy, jun. No, sir; for a parent's best plan is his son's happiness, and that it will establish. Come, give us your consent. Consider how we admire all your wonderful inventions.
Sir Abel. No, not my plough, Bob—but 'tis a devilish clever plough.
Handy, jun. I dare say it is. Come, sir, consent, and perhaps, in our turn, we may invent something that may please you.
Sir Abel. He! he! he! well—but hold—what's the use of my consent without my wife's—bless you! I dare no more approve, without—
Gerald. Health to this worthy company!
Sir Abel. The same to you, sir.
Handy, jun. Who have we here, I wonder?
Gerald. I wish to speak with Sir Abel Handy.
Sir Abel. I am the person.
Gerald. You are married?
Sir Abel. Damn it! he sees it in my face.—Yes, I have that happiness.
Gerald. Is it a happiness?
Sir Abel. To say the truth—why do you ask?
Gerald. I want answers, not questions—and depend on't 'tis your interest to answer me.
Handy, jun. An extraordinary fellow this!
Gerald. Would it break your heart to part with her!
Sir Abel. Who are you, sir, that——
Gerald. Answers—I want answers—would it break your heart, I ask?
Sir Abel. Why, not absolutely, I hope. Time, and philosophy, and——
Gerald. I understand—what sum of money wou'd you give to the man, who would dissolve your marriage contract?
Handy, jun. He means something, sir.
Sir Abel. Do you think so, Bob?
Gerald. Would you give a thousand pounds?
Sir Abel. No!
Handy, jun. No!
Sir Abel. No; I would not give one; but I would give five thousand pounds.
Gerald. Generously offered—a bargain—I'll do it.
Sir Abel. But, an't you deceiving me?
Gerald. What should I gain by that?
Sir Abel. Tell me your name?
Gerald. Time will tell that.
Lady H. [Without.] Sir Abel, where are you?
Gerald. That's your wife's voice—I know it.
Sir Abel. So do I.
Gerald. I'll wait without—Cry, "Hem!" when you want me.
Sir Abel. Then you need not go far— [Exit GERALD.
I dare not believe it—I should go out of my wits—and then if he fail, what a pickle I shall be in! Here she is.
Enter LADY HANDY.
Lady H. So, sir, I have found you at last?
Handy, jun. My honoured mamma, you have just come in time to give your consent to my marriage with my sweet Susan.
Lady H. And do you imagine I will agree to such degradation?
Ash. Do'e, Lady Nelly, do'e be kind hearted to the young loviers.—Remember how I used to let thee zit up all night a sweethearting.
Lady H. Silence! and have you dared to consent? [To SIR ABEL.
Sir Abel. Oh, no, my Lady!
Handy, jun. Sir, you had better cry—"Hem."
Sir Abel. I think it's time, Bob—Hem!
Handy, jun. Hem!
Lady H. What do you mean by—Hem!
Sir Abel. Only, my dear, something troublesome I want to get rid of—Hem!
There he is—never was so frightened in all my life.
Lady H. [Shrieks and exclaims.] Gerald!
Lady H. An't you dead, Gerald? Twenty years away and not dead?
Gerald. No, wife.
Sir Abel. Wife! did you say, wife?
Sir Abel. Say it again.
Gerald. She is my wife.
Sir Abel. Once more.
Gerald. My lawful, wedded wife.
Sir Abel. Oh, my dear fellow!—Oh, my dear boy! Oh, my dear girl!—[Embraces GERALD and the rest.] Oh, my dear! [Running to MRS. GERALD.] No—yes, now she an't my wife, I will—well—how will you have the five thousand? Will you have it in cash, or in bank notes—or stocks, or India bonds, or lands, or patents, or——
Gerald. No—land will do—I wish to kill my own mutton.
Sir Abel. Sir, you shall kill all the sheep in Hampshire.
Gerald. Sir Abel, you have lost five thousand pounds, and with it, properly managed, an excellent wife, who, though I cannot condescend to take again as mine—you may depend on't shall never trouble you. Come! this way [Beckoning to MRS. GERALD.]—important events now call on me, and prevent my staying longer with this company. Sir Abel, we shall meet soon. Nay, come, you know I'm not used to trifle; Come, come—[She reluctantly, but obediently, crosses the stage, and runs off—GERALD follows.]
Sir Abel. [Imitating.] Come, come—That's a damn'd clever fellow! Joy, joy, my boy! Here, here, your hands—The first use I make of liberty, is to give happiness—I wish I had more imitators—Well, what will you do? [Walks about exultingly.] Where will you go? I'll go any where you like—Will you go to Bath, or Brighton, or Petersburgh, or Jerusalem, or Seringapatam? all the same to me—we single fellows—we rove about—nobody cares about us—we care for nobody.
Handy, jun. I must to the Castle, father.
Sir Abel. Have with you Bob. [Singing.] "I'll sip every flower—I'll change every hour."—[Beckoning.]—Come, come—[Exeunt SIR ABEL, HANDY, jun. and SUSAN. SUSAN kisses her hand to ASHFIELD and DAME.]
Ash. Bless her! how nicely she do trip it away with the gentry!
Dame. And then, Tummas, think of the wedding.
Ash. [Reflecting.] I declare I shall be just the zame as ever—may be I may buy a smartish bridle, or a zilver backy stopper, or the like o' that.
Dame. [Apart.] And, then, when we come out of church, Mrs. Grundy will be standing about there—
Ash. I shall shake hands agreeably wi' all my friends. [Apart.]
Dame. [Apart.] Then I just look at her in this manner.
Ash. [Apart.] How dost do, Peter—Ah, Dick,—glad to zee thee wi' all my zoul. [Bows towards the centre of the stage.]
Dame. [Apart.] Then, with a kind of half curt'sy, I shall—[She advances to the centre also, and their heads meet.]
Ash. What an wold fool thee be'st, Dame—Come along, and behave pratty, do'e. [Exeunt.
The same as act fourth, scene third.
Enter HANDY, jun. with caution, bearing a light, and a large key.
Handy, jun. Now to fulfil my promise with Sir Philip Blandford—by—entering that chamber, and removing—'Tis rather awful—I don't half like it, somehow, every thing is so cursedly still. What's that? I thought I heard something—no—why, 'sdeath, I am not afraid—no—I'm quite su—su—sure of that—only every thing is so cursedly hush, and—[A flash of light, and a tremendous explosion takes place.] What the devil's that? [Trembling.] I swear I hear some one—lamenting—who's there?
Enter SIR ABEL HANDY.
Sir Abel. [Trembling.] Bob!
Handy, jun. Have you seen any thing!
Sir Abel. Oh, my dear boy!
Handy, jun. Damn it, don't frighten one—
Sir Abel. Such an accident! Mercy on us!
Handy, jun. Speak!
Sir Abel. I was mixing the ingredients of my grand substitute for gunpowder, when somehow it blew up, and set the curtains on fire, and—
Handy, jun. Curtains! zounds, the room's in a blaze.
Sir Abel. Don't say so, Bob.
Handy, jun. What's to be done? Where's your famous preparation for extinguishing flames?
Sir Abel. It is not mixed.
Handy, jun. Where's your fire escape?
Sir Abel. It is not fixed.
Handy, jun. Where's your patent fire engine?
Sir Abel. 'Tis on the road.
Handy, jun. Well, you are never at a loss.
Sir Abel. Never.
Handy, jun. What's to be done?
Sir Abel. I don't know. I say, Bob, I have it—perhaps it will go out of itself!
Handy, jun. Go out! it increases every minute—Let us run for assistance—Let us alarm the family. [Exit.
Sir Abel. Yes—dear me! dear me!
Servant. [Without.] Here, John! Thomas! some villain has set fire to the Castle. If you catch the rascal, throw him into the flames. [SIR ABEL runs off, and the alarm bell rings.
The Garden of the Castle—The effects of the fire shown on the foliage and scenery.
Enter HENRY, meeting EVERGREEN.
Henry. The Castle in flames! What occasioned it?
Everg. Alas! I know not!
Henry. Are the family in safety?
Everg. Sir Philip is.
Henry. And his daughter?
Everg. Poor lady! I just now beheld her looking with agony from that window!
Henry. Ah! Emma in danger!—Farewell!
Everg. [Holding him.] Are you mad? the great staircase is in flames.
Henry. I care not! Should we meet no more, tell Sir Philip I died for his daughter!
Everg. Yet reflect.
Henry. Old man, do not cling to me thus—'Sdeath! men will encounter peril to ruin a woman, and shall I hesitate when it is to save one? [Exit.
Everg. Brave, generous boy! Heaven preserve thee!
Enter SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD.
Sir Philip. Emma, my child, where art thou?
Everg. I fear, sir, the Castle will be destroyed.
Sir Philip. My child! my child! where is she? speak!
Everg. Alas! she remains in the Castle!
Sir Philip. Ah; then will I die with her! [Going.
Everg. Hold, dear master! if human power can preserve her, she is safe—The bravest, noblest of men has flown to her assistance.
Sir Philip. Heaven reward him with its choicest blessings!
Everg. 'Tis Henry.
Sir Philip. Henry! Heaven will reward him—I will reward him!
Everg. Then be happy; Look, sir!
Sir Philip. Ah! dare I trust my eyes!
Everg. He bears her safe in his arms.
Sir Philip. Bountiful Creator, accept my thanks!
Enter HENRY, bearing EMMA in his arms.
Henry. There is your daughter.
Sir Philip. My child! my Emma, revive!
Henry. [Apart.] Aye—now to unfold the mystery—The avenue to the eastern wing is still passable—the chamber not yet in flames—the present moment lost, and all is closed for ever. I will be satisfied, or perish. [Exit.
Miss B. Am I restor'd to my dear father's arms?
Sir Philip. Yes, only blessing of my life! In future thy wishes shall be mine—thy happiness my joy.
Enter HANDY, jun. and SUSAN.
Handy, jun. My dear friend safe! and the lovely Emma in his arms! Then let the bonfire blaze.
Sir Philip. But, Emma, where is your Henry? I wish to be just to him—I wish to thank him.
Miss B. He has withdrawn, to avoid our gratitude.—
Everg. No—he again rushed into the Castle, exclaiming, "I will penetrate that chamber, or perish in the attempt."
Sir Philip. Then all is discovered.
Handy, jun. Hush, for Heaven's sake collect yourself!
Enter HENRY, in great agitation.
Miss B. Ah! [Shrieks.] Thank Heaven, he's safe! What urged you, Henry, again to venture in the Castle?
Henry. Fate! the desperate attempt of a desperate man!
Sir Philip. Ah!
Henry. Yes; the mystery is developed. In vain the massy bars, cemented with their cankerous rust, opposed my entrance—in vain the heated suffocating damps enveloped me—in vain the hungry flames flashed their vengeance round me! What could oppose a man struggling to know his fate? I forced the doors, a firebrand was my guide, and among many evidences of blood and guilt, I found—these! [Produces a knife and bloody cloth.]
Sir Philip. [Starts with horror, then, with solemnity.] It is accomplished! Just Heaven, I bend to thy decree!—Blood must be paid by blood! Henry, that knife aimed by this fatal hand, murdered thy father!
Henry. Ah! [Grasping the knife.]
Miss B. [Placing herself between him and her father.] Henry! [He drops his hand.] Oh, believe him not! 'Twas madness! I've heard him talk thus wildly in his dreams! We are all friends! None will repeat his words—I'm sure none will! My heart will break!—Oh, Henry! will you destroy my father?
Henry. Would I were in my grave!
Sir Philip. Ah, Gerald here! How vain concealment! Well, come you to give evidence of my shame?
Gerald. I come to announce one, who for many years has watched each action of your life.
Sir Philip. Who?
Sir Philip. I shall then behold the man who has so long avoided me——
Gerald. But ever has been near you—he is here.
Enter MORRINGTON, wrapped up in his cloak.
Sir Philip. Well, behold your victim in his last stage of human wretchedness! Come you to insult me;
[MORRINGTON clasps his hands together, and hides his face.]
Ah! can even you pity me? Speak—still silent—still mysterious—Well, let me employ what remains of life, in thinking of hereafter—[Addressing Heaven.] Oh, my brother! we soon shall meet again—And let me hope, that, stripped of those passions which make men devils, I may receive the heavenly balm of thy forgiveness, as I, from my inmost soul, do pardon thee.
[MORRINGTON becomes convulsed with agony, and falls into GERALD'S arms.]
Ah! what means that agony? He faints! give him air!
[They throw open his cloak and hat.]
[Starts.] Angels of mercy! my brother! 'tis he! he lives! Henry, support your father!
Henry. [Running to MORRINGTON.] Ah, my father! he revives!
Sir Philip. Hush!
[MORRINGTON recovers—seeing his brother, covers his face with shame, then falls at his feet.]
Mor. Crawling in the dust, behold a repentant wretch!—
Sir Philip. [Indignantly.] My brother Morrington!
Mor. Turn not away—in mercy hear me!
Sir Philip. Speak!
Mor. After the dreadful hour that parted us, agonized with remorse, I was about to punish home what your arm had left unaccomplished; when some angel whispered—"Punishment is life, not death—Live and atone!"
Sir Philip. Oh! go on!
Mor. I flew to you—I found you surrounded by sharpers—What was to be done? I became Morrington! littered with villains! practised the arts of devils! braved the assassin's steel! possessed myself of your large estates—lived hateful to myself, detested by mankind—to do what? to save an injured brother from destruction, and lay his fortune at his feet! [Places parchments before SIR PHILIP.]
Sir Philip. Ah! is it possible!
Mor. Oh, is that atonement? No—By me you first beheld her mother! 'Twas I that gave her fortune! Is that atonement? No—But my Henry has saved that angel's life—Kneel with me, my boy—lift up thy innocent hands, with those of thy guilty father, and beg for mercy from that injured saint. [HENRY kneels with him.]
Sir Philip. O God! How infinite are thy mercies! Henry, forgive me—Emma, plead for me—There—There. [Joining their hands.]
Henry. But my father——
Sir Philip. [Approaching.] Charles!
Sir Philip. Brother, I forgive thee.
Mor. Then let me die—blest, most blest!
Sir Philip. No, no. [Striking his breast.] Here—I want thee here—Raise him to my heart.
[They raise MORRINGTON—in the effort to embrace, he falls into their arms exhausted.]
Again! [They sink into each other's arms.]
Handy, jun. [Comes forward.] If forgiveness be an attribute which ennobles our nature, may we not hope to find pardon for our errors—here?
[The Curtain falls.]
[Transcriber's Note: The following corrections have been made to the original text.
In Act I, Scene III, a missing period has been added to the sentence "I pressed forward, but they avoided me."
In Act II, Scene I, a missing quotation mark has been added to the sentence, "Were you at Lady Overall's?"
In Act II, Scene III, the attribution of the line "What! mayn't I lather un a bit?" has been corrected from Susan to Ashfield.
In Act IV, Scene I, a comma has been changed to a period in the sentence "That is the boy."]