Flor. (with energy.) Yet, sir, those years must not, shall not pass forgotten. Deeds of generous charity have made them sacred, and an orphan's blessing wafts their eulogy to heaven—he casts himself at De Valmont's feet). Friend! protector! more than parent! the beings who had called me into life denied my claim, and you performed the duties nature had renounced. Ah! sir, I am thoughtless, volatile, my manners wild—but, from my inmost soul, I love, I reverence, I bless my benefactor!
De Val. Rise young man! your virtues have repaid my cares. Here let us dismiss the past, and advert to the future. Geraldine is my heiress; my niece and my vassals must receive the same master: both are objects of my care, and I would confide them only to a man of honor. Florian! let Geraldine become your wife—be you hereafter the protector of my people.
Flor. Merciful powers! what is it that I hear? I?—the child of accident and mystery: a wretched foundling: I?
De Val. Young man, your sentiments and your actions have proved themselves the legitimate offspring of honor, and I require no pedigree for limbs and features. Fortune forbade you to inherit a name, but she has granted you a prouder boast: you have founded one. Common men vaunt of the actions of their forefathers, but the superior spirit declares his own! Nay, no reply—I never form or break a resolution lightly. I know your heart: I am acquainted with Geraldine's; they beat responsive to each other—your passion has my consent: your marriage shall receive my blessing. Farewell. [He exits suddenly, and prevents Florian by his action from any reply.]
Flor. Heard I aright? Yes, he pronounced it—"Geraldine is thine." Earth's gross substantial touch is felt no more: I mount in air, and rest on sunbeams! Oh! if I dream now—royal Mab! abuse me ever with thy dear deceits; for in serious wakeful hours, truth ne'er can touch my senses with a joy so bright. O! I could sing, dance, laugh, shout; and yet methinks, had I a woman's privilege, I'd rather weep; for tears are pleasure's oracles as well as grief's.
L'Ec. So, Captain! you are well encountered. I have sad forebodings that our shining course of arms is threatened with eclipse. If I may use the boldness to advise, we shall strike our tents, and file off in quick march without beat of drum. Our laurels are in more danger here than in the midst of the enemy's lines.
Flor. How now! my doughty 'squire: what may be our present jeopardy?
L'Ec. Ah! captain, the sex—the dear seductive sex; this house is the modern Capua, and we are the Hannibals of France, toying away our severe virtues amid its voluptuousness. One damsel throws forward the prettiest ancle in anatomy, and cries, "Mr. L'Eclair, I'm your's for a Waltz": a second languishes upon me from large blue melting eyes, and whispers, "Mr. L'Eclair, will you take a stroll by moonlight in the grove?" while a third, in all the ripe round plumpness of uneasy health, calls the modest blood to my fingers' ends, by requesting me "to adjust some error in the pinning of her 'kerchief." O! captain, captain, heros are but men, men but flesh, and flesh is but weakness; therefore, let us briefly put on a Parthian valor, and strive to conquer by a flight!
Flor. Knave! prate of deserting these dear precious scenes again, and I'll finish your career myself by a coup-de-main. No, no; change churlish dreams and braving trumpets to mellifluous flutes. I am to be married. Varlet, wish me joy.
L'Ec. Certainly, captain, I do wish you joy; when a man has once determined upon matrimony he acts wisely to collect the congratulations of his friends beforehand, for heaven only knows, whether there may be any opportunity for them afterwards. May I take the freedom to inquire the lady?
Flor. 'Tis she—L'Eclair, 'tis she, the only she, the peerless, priceless Geraldine.
L'Ec. "Peerless" I grant the lady, but as to her being "priceless," I should think for my own poor particular, that when I bartered my liberty for a comely bedfellow, I was paying full value for my goods, besides a swinging overcharge for the fashion of the make.
Flor. Tush! man, 'tis not by form or feature I compute my prize. Geraldine's mind, not her beauty, is the magnet of my love. The graces are the fugitive handmaids of youth, and dress their charge with flowers as fleeting as they are fair; but the virtues faithfully o'erwatch the couch of age, and when the flaunting rose has wither'd, twine the cheerful evergreen, crowning true lovers freshly to the last! [Exit.
L'Ec. "True lovers!" well, now I love Love, myself, particularly when 'tis mix'd with brandy! like the loves of the landlady of Lisle, and the bandy-legg'd captain.[*]
A landlady of France, she loved an officer, 'tis said, And this officer he dearly loved her brandy, oh! Sigh'd she, "I love this officer, although his nose is red, And his legs are what his regiment call bandy, oh!"
But when the bandy officer was order'd to the coast; How she tore her lovely locks that look'd so sandy, oh! "Adieu my soul!" said she, "if you write, pray pay the post, But before we part, let's take a drop of brandy, oh!"
She fill'd him out a bumper, just before he left the town, And another for herself, so neat and handy, oh! So they kept their spirits up, by their pouring spirits down, For love is, like the cholic, cured with brandy, oh!
"Take a bottle on't," said she, "for you're going into camp; In your tent, you know, my love, 'twill be the dandy, oh!" "You're right," says he, "my life! for a tent is very damp; And 'tis better, with my tent, to take some brandy, oh!"
[Footnote: For this speech, and the song that follows, the author is indebted to the pen of George Colman, Esq.]
SCENE II.—The Cottage.
Enter Monica and Bertrand.
Mon. In truth, sir, I have told you every circumstance I know concerning my poor lodger. But wherefore so particular in your inquiries?
Bert. Trust me, I have important motives for my curiosity. Seventeen years ago, I think you said: and in the woods near Albi?
Mon. Ay, ay, I was accurate both in time and place.
Bert. Every incident concurs. Gracious heaven! should it prove—my good woman, I suspect this unfortunate person is known to me; bring me directly to the sight of her!
Mon. Hold! sir, I must know you better first. I fear me, this poor creature has been hardly dealt with; who knows, but you may be her enemy?
Bert. No, no, her friend; her firm and faithful friend: suspence distracts me: lead me to her presence instantly!
Mon. Well, well, truly, sir! you look and speak like an honest gentleman; but tho' I consent, I doubt whether my lodger will receive you; her mind is ill at ease for visitors. All last night I overheard her pacing up and down her chamber, moaning piteously and talking to herself; towards day-break, all became quiet, then I peeped thro' the crevice of her door and saw that she was writing. I never knew her write before, I knocked for admittance, but she prayed me not to interrupt her for another hour.
Bert. Does she still keep her chamber?
Mon. She has not quitted it this morning—hark! I think I hear her stir, (goes to the stair-foot and looks up) ay! her door now stands open, place yourself just here, and you may view her plainly without being seen yourself; her face is turned towards us, but her eyes are fixed upon a writing in her hands.
[Bertrand looks for a moment to satisfy his doubts, then rushes forward and casts himself upon his knee transportedly.]
Bert. She lives! Eternal mercy! thanks! thanks!
Mon. Holy St. Dennis! the sight of her has strangely moved you: collect yourself, I pray, she comes towards us.
Bert. Oh! let me cast myself before her feet!
Mon. (restraining him) Hold, sir! whatever be your business, I beseech you to refrain a little, I must prepare her for your appearance, her spirits cannot brook surprise, back! back!
[Bertrand withdraws, and Eugenia descends the stair with a folded paper in her hand—she appears to struggle with emotion, and running towards Monica, casts her arms passionately around her.]
Eug. My kind mother! this is perhaps our last embrace; we must part.
Mon. Part! my child! what mean you?
Eug. Ah! it is my fate, my cruel unrelenting fate that drives me from you, from the last shelter and the only friend I yet retain on earth.
Mon. Explain yourself; I cannot comprehend.
Eug. Mother! I have an enemy, a dreadful one. Seventeen years have veil'd me from his hate in vain: those years have wasted the victim's form, but the persecutor's heart remains unchanged: my retreat is discovered: the wretches who were here last night too surely recognized me; soon they may return, and force me; oh! thought of horror. No, no, here I dare not stay.
Mon. My poor innocent! whither would you go?
Eug. To the woods and caves from which you rescued me. Mother, the wilderness must be my home again. I fly to wolves and vultures to escape from man! Receive this paper, 'tis the written memoir of my wretched life; read it when I am gone: my head burned and my hand trembled while I traced those characters: yet 'tis a faithful history. Mother! I dare not thank your charity, but heaven will remember it hereafter: bestow upon me one embrace, and then let me depart in silence.
(Monica gives a sign to Bertrand to advance.)
Mon. Yet hold some moments; a stranger has been inquiring here this morning who describes himself your friend.
Eug. Ah! no, no: the tomb long since has covered all my friends; 'tis some wily agent of my foe! Ah! forbid him mother; let him not approach me.
Mon. 'Tis too late; he is already in the house.
(Monica points, and Eugenia's eyes following her direction, rest upon the prostrate figure of Bertrand, who has placed himself in a posture of supplication, and concealed his face with his hands.)
Eug. (gazing intensely with apprehension.) Speak! you kneel and still are silent. Ah! what would you require of me?
Bert. (uncovering his face without raising his eyes) Pardon! pardon!
Eug. (shrieking and flying) Ah! Bertrand.
Bert. (catching her mantle) Stay! angel of mercy, stay and hear me. He that was your scourge now yields himself your slave: a wretched penitent despairing man lies humbled in the dust before you, and implores for pardon.
Eug. (pauses—presses her crucifix to her lips, and then replies with fervor.) Yes! charity and peace to all! Nay, heaven forgive thee, sinful man, I never will accuse thee at its bar.
Bert. Angel! my actions better than my prayers may plead with heaven for mercy: the cruel wrongs that I have offered, yet in part may be atoned—lady, I come to serve and save you.
Eug. Ah! to what fresh terrors am I yet devoted?
Bert. Might we converse without a witness? in your ear only dare I breathe my purpose.
Mon. Nay, I will not be an eaves-dropper: my child you do not fear this person now? I'll leave you with him—nay, 'tis best—perchance he comes indeed with service. My blessings go with you, stranger, if you mean her fairly, but if you wrong or play her false, a widow's curse fall heavy on your death-bed. [Exit up the staircase.
(A pause of mutual agitation.)
Eug. Speak! man of terrors—say what has the persecuted and undone Eugenia yet to dread?
Bert. The baron Longueville—
Eug. That fiend!
Bert. He now is in the neighbourhood; as yet he dreams not that you live: but accident this very hour might betray you to his knowledge. Lady! I possess the means. O blessed chance! to shield you from his malice.
Eug. And wilt thou; O! wilt thou, Bertrand, at last extend a pitying arm to raise the wretch, thy former hate had stricken to the ground? I have been despoiled of fortune, fame, and health: my brain has been distracted by thy cruelty: yet now preserve me from this worst extreme of fate: let me not die the slave of Longueville, all my injuries, all my sufferings are forgotten, and this one gracious act shall win thy pardon for a thousand sins.
Bert. Lady! my o'er weighed conscience heaves impatiently to cast its load. (sinks on his knee) Lo! at your injured feet I kneel, and solemnly pronounce a vow, the tyrant Longueville shall mar your peace no more.
[The cottage-door silently opens, and Sanguine looks in—he makes a sign to Longueville who follows, and they glide to the further end of the cottage unperceived; where they remain in anxious observation of the characters in front.]
Eug. Rise! your penitence wears nature's stamp, and I believe it honest.
Bert. Oh! lady, your words redeem me from despair: but say, to ease a heart that aches with wonder: say, by what prodigy you 'scaped the flames of that tremendous night, when all believed you perished?
Eug. (shuddering.) Ah! what hast thou said? my dream of confidence dissolves, and now I turn from thee again with horror! Again I view thy murderous poniard reared to strike! Again my wounded infant shrieks upon my bosom, and the fiery gulf yawns redly at my feet! begone? begone! for now I hate thee!
Bert. Ah, not to me—to Longueville ascribe the horrors of that night. (Aside) What shall I say? I dare not own to her that De Valmont lives. Hear me, lady; scarce was your lord's untimely fall reported, when the cruel Longueville in secret plotted to remove his infant heir, the only bar that held him from a rich succession; by hellish means he won me to his cause: his hand it was that oped the castle gates at midnight to the foe, and when the fierce Huguenots rushed shouting through the halls, still his hand it was that fired the chamber where you slept in peace: to save your child you rushed distracted to the rampart's edge; just as I followed to complete my prey, a falling turret crossed my path, and presently the general fabric sank in ruin.
Eug. A wayward destiny that night was mine; at once both saved and lost! a hidden passage dug beneath the rampart, twining through many a cavern'd maze, at distance opened to the woods. I reached the secret entrance of that pass, just as the turret fell and screened me from pursuit. Concealing darkness wrapt my flying steps: the roar of death sank far behind, and ere the dawn, in safety with my child, I gained the forest.
Bert. Your child! eternal powers! the infant then escaped my blow.
Eug. Thy dagger's point twice scarred his innocent hand, but failed to reach the life. (Bertrand gesticulates his transport) A sanguine cross indelibly remained; but nature and his mother's tears assuaged the pain. Charitable foresters, ignorant of our rank, relieved our wants and changed our robes for rustic weeds; thus disguised, my infant in my arms, on foot I travelled far and long, seeking ever by the loneliest paths, to reach my sovereign's court, and at the throne of power implore for justice.
Bert. O! does the infant yet survive? Speak, lady! bless me with those words—he lives.
Eug. No, Bertrand, no; fortune but mocked me with a moment's hope to curse me deeper still through ages of despair. In vain I snatched my darling boy from poniard and from flame: when way-lost in the wilderness, but for a moment did I quit my treasure, the mazes of the wood ensnared my step: the fever of my body rushed upon my brain: I wandered, never to return; while my forsaken infant—he perished, Bertrand. Ah! my brain begins to burn afresh! mark me, he perished terribly: inquire not further.
Bert. (deeply affected.) Thou suffering excellence! be witness heaven! the monster that I was, no longer has a life; thy tears have drowned it quite, and now it strangely melts in pity and remorse. Come, lady, let me bestow thee in a safe retreat: the hoarded wages of my sinful youth, I'll use as offerings to redeem thy peace: far hence in foreign lands a certain refuge waits our flight, and there secure from Longueville—
[The Baron suddenly stands before them in the centre: Eugenia shrieks and Bertrand stands aghast and trembles.]
Bert. Undone forever?
Long. (furiously to Sanguine) Guard well the door—let not a creature enter or depart.
[Sanguine advances by his direction. Eugenia flies by the stairs to the upper chamber. Longueville, after a short pause of indecisive passion, draws a poniard and seizes upon Bertrand.]
Bert. Strike! yes, deep in this guilty bosom, strike at once, and rid me of despair.
Long. Thou double traitor! thy perjuries now meet their just reward. Tremble at impending death.
Bert. No; I have not feared to live in vice, and will not shrink at least to die for virtue.
Long. (throwing him off.) No; I will not take the wretched forfeit: thou'rt spared from hate, not pity; I gave thee back thy life, but I will study punishments, to make the boon a curse unutterable.
Bert. Tyrant, I defy thy vengeance to increase my torments; the innocent, I pledged myself to save, already stands devoted to destruction, and the measure of my anguish and despair is full.
Long. (to Sanguine) Sanguine, ascend the stair, and force that wretched woman to my presence.
Bert. Hold, hold, my lord! recal those threatning words. O God! what damning crime is in your thoughts? pause—yet for a moment, pause, ere you barter to the fiend your soul for ages. Omnipotence hath interposed with miracles and still preserved you from the guilt you sought, your conscience yet is undefiled with blood.
Long. Away! my purpose is resolved.
Bert. Will you then reject the mercy Heaven extends? (kneels and catching his cloak.) Hear me, my lord; nay, for your own eternal being, hear me; as you now deal with this afflicted innocent, even so, hereafter, shall the God of judgment deal with you.
Long. I brave the peril, (call aloud) hasten, Sanguine, produce my victim.
Bert. (Desperately.) Cover me mountains! hide me from the sun! (He casts himself upon the ground.)
(Sanguine returns precipitately from above.)
Sang. My lord, one fatal moment has undone your scheme, the female has escaped.
Long. Villain! escaped.
Bert. (raising himself in frantic joy.) Ha!
Sang. I found the casement of the upper chamber open, some twisted linen fastened to the bar, nearly reached to the ground without, and proved the method of her flight; a beldame who must have aided her escape, remains alone above, (turning towards the window,) ha! I catch a female figure darting through the trees at a distance; she runs with lightning speed,—now—she turns towards the castle.
Long. Distraction! if she gains the castle, I am lost forever; pursue! pursue!
[Longueville and Sanguine rush out.
Bert. (Vehemently.) Guardians of innocence, direct her steps! [He follows them.
SCENE III.—A Gallery in the Chateau.
Enter Rosabelle followed by Gaspard.
Gasp. Ha! young mistress Rosabelle, whither so fast I pray? 'faith, damsel, you are fleet of foot.
Ros. Yet my steps are heavier than my heart, for that's all feather, ready for any flight in fancy's hemisphere; give thought but breath, and 'twere blown in a second to the moon or the antipodes, wilt along with me, Gaspard?
Gasp. What, to the moon or the antipodes? Alack! damsel, I should prove but a sorry travelling companion upon either road; no, no, youth is for night; but age for falls.
Ros. Wilt turn a waltz anon, and be my partner in the dance?
Gasp. Hey! madcap, have we dances toward?
Ros. Ay! upon the terrace presently, all the world will assemble there; the lady Geraldine and myself for beauty; and then for rank, we shall have the count himself, and the baron, and the chevalier, and—
Gasp. Out upon you, magpie; would you delude the old man with fables? his lordship, the count, among revellers! truly a pleasant jest; I have been his watchful servant these twenty years, and never knew him to abide the sight or sound of pleasures.
Ros. Then I can acquaint you, he proposes on this day to regale both his eyes and his ears with a novelty; I heard him promise lady Geraldine to join the pastimes on the terrace.
Gasp. Oh! the blest tidings: damsel, thy tongue has made a boy of me again.
Ros. Now charity forefend, for so should I bring thee to thy second childhood.
Gasp. Ah! would you fleer me! his lordship among revellers! oh! the blest prodigy! well, well, I give no promise, mark; but should a certain damsel lack a partner, adod. I know not—sixty-live shows with an ill-grace in a rigadoon, but for a minuet: well, well, St. Vitus strengthen me, and I accept thy challenge. [Exit.
Ros. Go thy ways, thou antique gallantry; thy pledge shall never be endangered by my claim; I'm for a brisker partner in every dance through life, I promise thee.
On the banks of the Rhine, at the sun-setting hour, Oh! meet me, and greet me, my true love, I pray! Or feasting, or sleeping, in hall, or in bower, To the Rhine-bank, oh! true love, rise up and away!
On that bank, an old willow dejectedly grieves And drops from each leaf, for love's falsehoods, a tear; Go! rivals, and gather the willow's pale leaves, For falsehood ne'er cross'd between me and my dear.
SCENE IV.—The Castle Gardens decorated for a Fete, and crowded with Dancers and Musicians: a lofty Terrace crosses the extremity of the Stage, from which Village-Girls advance, scattering flowers before Geraldine, who is led by Florian to an open Temple between the Side-scenes, containing three Seats.
Ger. (Pointing to the centre seat) There is our hero's seat of triumph: nay, my commands are absolute, and you have no appeal, I reserve this for my uncle, he will join us presently.
(They seat themselves—a ballet immediately commences—boys, habited as warriors, pay homage before Florian, and hang military trophies round his seat. Girls enter, as wood-nymphs, &c. who surprise and disarm the warriors, then remove the trophies, and replace them with garlands. The warriors and nymphs join in a general dance—Suddenly a piercing shriek is heard: the action of the scene abruptly stops, and Eugenia, entering from the top of the stage, rushes distractedly between the groups of dancers, and casts herself at the feet of Geraldine.)
Eug. Save me! save me!
Ger. Ah! what wretched supplicant is this?
Flor. By heavens! the very woman who yesternight preserved my life.
Longueville enters in pursuit.
Long. (Advancing rapidly, with instant self-command) Dear friends! Heaven has this hour appointed me the agent of its grace. I have discovered in this wretched woman, the long-lost wife of an ancient friend, at Baden; lend your assistance to secure her person 'till I can apprise the husband of this unexpected meeting.
Eug. No, no, I have no husband—they have murdered him; he would betray—destroy me. (catching Geraldine's robe) Oh! you, whose looks are heavenly-soft, to you I plead: protect me from this fiend.
Ger. How earnestly she grasps my hand, indeed—indeed her agony seems genuine.
Long. You are deceived, she utters nought but madness, her mind has been for years incurably diseased; come, away! away!
(He seizes violently upon Eugenia to force her with him, she clings to Geraldine in anguish.)
Eug. Forsake me not! I have no protector to invoke but you.
Ger. Forbear, my lord, I cannot find that wildness you proclaim; forbear, and recollect the rights of hospitality never yet were violated at my uncle's gate. Lady, dismiss your fears, here sorrow ever meets a ready shelter, for here resides the Count De Valmont.
Ger. The excellent, the suffering Count De Valmont.
Eug. (starting up with recurring insanity.) Ha! ha! ha! come to the altar,—my love waits for me, weave me a bridal crown!
Long. (triumphantly.) Behold! can you doubt me now?
Ger. Too painfully I am convinced; miserable being! Ah! remove her hence, before my uncle joins us; so terrible an object would inexpressibly afflict him.
Flor. Yes, yes; remove her hence! but O! I charge you treat her with the tenderest care.
Long. (eagerly to his people.) Advance! bear her to my pavilion! mark! to my pavilion on the river-bank!
(The men seize upon Eugenia—the Count appears at the same moment advancing from the extremity of the Terrace.)
De Val. My friends! I come to join your pleasures.
Eug. (struggling violently.) Hark! he calls me to his arms—unhand me! nay, then oh! cruel, cruel, cruel.
(Overcome by her exertions, she sinks into a swoon and falls in the arms of the two men. Longueville rapidly draw her veil across to conceal her features from the Count as he advances.)
Long. Away with her this instant!
[He turns quickly toward the Terrace and catches De Valmont's arm as he descends to prevent his approach—then turns imperatively to the men.]
Long. Quick! Quick! away!
De Valmont pauses in surprize: Longueville maintains his restraining attitude. Florian and Geraldine join to arrest his steps: the bravos withdraw the insensible and unresisting Eugenia upon the opposite side: The various characters dispose themselves into a picture, and the curtain falls upon the Scene.
End of act II.
SCENE I.—The Steward's Room, Gaspard and L'Eclair discovered drinking, the latter half-intoxicated.
Gas. Adod! a very masterpiece of the military art? Why this Turenne must be a famous captain. I'll drink his health, (drinks) Odso! where did we leave the enemy? Oh! the Bavarians were just driven across the Neckar, and had destroyed the bridge. Well, and then what did our troops?
L'Ecl. They clashed after them thro' the river like a pack of otters.
Gasp. Hold; you said just now the river wasn't fordable.
L'Ecl. Did I? Pshaw, I only meant, it wasn't fordable to the enemy: no, poor devils! they couldn't ford it certainly; but as to our hussars: whew! such fellows as they would get thro' any thing, were it ever so deep to the bottom. (takes the flask from Gaspard and drinks).
Gasp. O! the rare hussars! Now this is a conversation just to my heart's content. I dearly love to hear of battles and sieges. The household are all retired to rest, and my room is private; so here we may sit peaceably, and talk about war for the remainder of the night.
L'Ec. Bravo! agreed: we'll make a night of it; but harkye, is not this room of yours built in a queer sort of a circular shape?
Gasp. No; a most perfect square.
L'Ec. Well, I never studied mathematics; but, for a perfect square, methinks it has the oddest trick of turning round with its company I ever witnessed.
Ros. Here's a display of profligacy! So, gentlemen, are these your morals? Methinks you place a special example before the household; drinking and carousing thus after midnight, when all decent persons ought to be at rest within their beds.
Gasp. Marry now, my malapert lady! How comes it you are found abroad at these wild hours?
Ros. I have always important motives for my conduct. A strange female waits at the castle-gate, who clamors for admittance; she seems in deep distress, refuses to accept denial or excuse, and demands to speak with the person of first consequence in the family. Now, Mr. Gaspard, as you happen to be steward—
Gasp. (rises pompously) I am of course the personage required. You say a female?
Ros. Yes; she waits for you in heavy trouble at the gate.
Gasp. I fly. Gallantry invites, and I obey the call. Good Mr. L'Eclair, I cast myself upon your courtesy for this abrupt departure:
'Tis woman tempts from friendship, war, and wine— My fault is human—my excuse divine! [Exit.
Ros. In sooth, the old gentleman has not forgotten his manners in his cups; but as to you, sir, (to L'Eclair) how stupidly you sit—have you nothing to say for yourself?
L'Ec. (rising and reeling towards her). Much, very much— love—midnight—all snug and private.
Ros. Mercy O me! the wretch is certainly intoxicated; how wickedly his eyes begin to twinkle. Why, Scapegrace, I'm sure you're not sober.
L'Ec. Don't say so, pray don't, you wound my delicacy. O! Rosabelle! beautiful but misjudging Rosabelle! I am unfortunate, but not criminal. This morning I beheld only one Rosabelle, and yet I was undone; now I seem to behold two Rosabelles; ergo, I either see double, or am doubly undone. There's logic for you. Now, could a man who wasn't sober, talk logic? only answer me that.
Ros. What shall I do with him? If I leave him here, he'll drink himself into a fever. I must e'en coax him. L'Eclair, come, come, my dear L'Eclair, let me prevail upon you to go to bed; I'm going to bed myself.
L'Ec. O! fy, that's too broad; I blush for you; would you delude my innocence?
Ros. The profligate monster! I delude!
L'Ec. Well, I yield to fate: stars! veil your chaste heads, and thou. O! little candle, hide thy wick! behold the lamb submitting to the sacrifice. (Reels to embrace her.)
Ros. Why, you heathen monster! how dare you talk to me about lambs and sacrifices? ah! if you stir another step, I'll alarm the family! I can scream, sir!
L'Ec. I know you can; but pray, don't, somebody might hear you, and that would be very disappointing, recollect I have a character to lose.
Ros. And have not I a character too, Sir?
L'Ec. Hush! hush! Let's drops the subject.
Ros. How now, sirrah! have you any thing to say against my character?
L'Ec. Oh! no, I never speak ill of the dead.
Ros. Why, you vile insinuating, but I shall preserve my temper though you have lost your manners: well, assuredly of all objects in creation, the most pitiable is a man in liquor.
L'Ec. There's an exception—a man in love.
DUETT.—Rosabelle and L'Eclair.
Ros. The precept of Bacchus to man proves a curse, The head it confounds, and the heart it bewitches.
L'Ec. I'm sure, the example of Cupid is worse, For he walks abroad without shirt, drawers, or breeches.
Ros. Pshaw! Cupid, you dolt, has rich garments enough.
L'Ec. Nay, his wardrobe's confin'd to a plain suit of buff.
Ros. 'Twas Bacchus taught men to drown reason in cans.
L'Ec. 'Twas Cupid taught ladies the first use of fans.
Ros. How diff'rent the garland, their votaries twine,— How genteel is the myrtle—how vulgar the vine!
L'Ec. Of myrtle or vine I pretend not to know, But a fig-leaf I think would be most apropos: [Exeunt.
SCENE II.—The Count's Chamber—De Valmont is discovered gazing in profound meditation upon a miniature picture.
De Val. Eugenia! Now of the angel race, and hous'd in Heaven! Forgive, dear saint! these blameful eyes that flow With human love, and mourn thy blessedness. O! ye strange powers! with what excelling truth Has Art's small hand here mimic'd mightiest Nature! What cheeks are these! could Death e'er crop such roses? Eyes! star-bright twins! fair glasses to fair thoughts, Where, as by truest oracles confest, The godlike soul reveals itself in glory. Your glances thrill me! amber-twinkling threads! Half bound by grace, half loos'd by winds, how strays This shining ringlet o'er this clear white breast! Like the pale sunshine streaking wintry snows! These lips have life—yea! very breath; a sweet Warm spirit stirs thru' the cleft ruby now! They move—they smile—they speak. Soft! soft! sweet heavens! I'll gaze no more; there's witchcraft in this skill, And my abus'd weak brain may madden soon!
(conceals the picture in his bosom)
The spell is hidden, still th' illusion works: O! in my heart Eugenia art thou trac'd— There—there—thou livest—speakest—yet art mortal. Strong memory triumphs over death and time, In all my circling blood—each vein—each pulse Wherever life is, ever there art thou.
(Gaspard speaks without.)
Gasp. Go, go; his lordship may not be disturb'd.
Mon. (without) Away! I have a cause that must be heard.
De Val. How now! voices in the anti-room! Ho!
Gasp. Alack! that folk will be so troublesome: my good lord! here's a strange woman; truly a most obstinate spirit, who craves vehemently to be heard, on matters (so she reports) of much importance to your lordship.
De Val. Nay, in the morning be it; not at this hour.
Gasp. I told her so; my very words; but truly, her grief seems to have craz'd her reason.
De Val. How! is she unhappy then? her sorrows be her passport here; admit her instantly: where should the afflicted heart prefer a prayer, if kindred wretchedness deny its sympathy?
(Gaspard introduces Monica.)
Mon. So! you are seen at last, my lord! men say your heart is good; grant Heaven! I find it so; but ah! perhaps it is too late. Yes, yes; I fear it: the dove is in the vulture's grip already.
De Val. Woman! what strange distraction's this? Give me a knowledge of your griefs with method.
Mon. I will, I will, but anguish stifles me; O! my lord, my lord, this is your castle, and here she fled for shelter, yet cruel hearts refused her prayer. I have been told by your people that the baron's pavilion on the river-bank is made her prison; she will be murdered there: oh! my lord, gracious lord, save her, save her!
(She throws herself passionately at his feet.)
De Val. Rise; attempt composure, your words are riddles to me.
Gasp. My lord! 'tis of the poor lunatic she speaks; she whom the baron has confined: this woman claims her as her charge.
De Val.I saw the person not, but heard in brief her story from the baron; rest, good woman, rest; my kinsman is her friend.
Mon. No, no, he is a monster thirsting for her blood: here, here, I have read his character.
(Producing Eugenia's MSS.)
De Val. Beware! you offend me; grief yields no privilege to slander.
Mon. I am not a slanderer, indeed, indeed, I am not; here are proofs: your lordship, I find, is called the Count De Valmont; had you not once a relation of the same title, who fell in battle with the Huguenots eighteen years ago!
De Val. Never.
Mon. Yet 'twas the same title: ay, here 'tis written: "in forcing the passage of the Durance."
De Val. How! 'tis of myself assuredly you read; I was reported falsely in that very action to have fallen; and for a time my death was credited through France.
Mon. Ah! my lord! my lord! O! it rushes on my heart—nay, give but a moment; speak; were you once wedded to a lady named Eugenia?
De Val. Woman! ah, name beloved!—wherefore that torturing question?
Mon. Yes, yes; it is—it must be so—I cannot, here—read—this!— (giving the scroll).
De Val. Eternal Powers! Eugenia's well-known character! when and whence did you procure this writing?
Mon. This very morning, from her own hand, my lord, Eugenia lives to bless and to be blessed again.
(De Valmont starts as if stricken to the center, for a moment his features express amazement, then incredulity, and lastly indignation.)
De Val. Begone! thou wretched woman, lest I forget thy sex, and kill thee for thy cruelty.
Mon. Nay, let me die, but not be doubted: read, read, and let your eyes assure your soul of joy!
(The Count faintly staggers back into a seat, and then fastens his eyes upon the scroll with a frenzied earnestness.)
Gasp. Woman! if you have spoken falsely, my noble master's heart will break at once.
Mon. By the great issue, let my words be judged!
De Val. (reading) "The chamber burst in flames, I snatched my infant from its slumber, I heard the voice of Longueville direct our murder, ruffians rushed towards us to perform his bidding." (starting forward with uncontrolable fury) Oh! God of wrath and vengeance! hear thou a husband's and a father's prayer! strike the pale villain! oh! with thy hottest lightning blast him dead! a curse, a tenfold curse o'erwhelm his death-bed! Traitor! thou shalt not 'scape, this hand shall rend thy heart-strings, I'll smite thee home.
(In the delirium of his passion he draws his sword, and strikes with it as at an ideal combatant, his bodily powers forsake him in the effort, he reels, and falls convulsed into Gaspard's arms.)
Gasp. Help! help! death is on him, help there swiftly!
(Geraldine rushes in, followed by domestics.)
Ger. Whence these cries? ah Heavens! what killing sight is this? uncle, uncle, speak to me, 'tis Geraldine that calls.
Enter Florian from the opposite side.
Flor. My patron! ha! convulsed! dying. Eternal Mercy spare his sacred life!
Ger. Nay, bend him forward, his eyes unclose again—he sees—he knows us.
(The Count in silence draws a hand from Geraldine and Florian within his own, and presses them together to his heart.)
Flor. How fares it, sir? bless us with your voice.
De Val. Ah! Ah! (he grasps the scroll and points to it emphatically, but cannot articulate.)
Flor. O! for a knowledge of your gracious pleasure, speak sir, pronounce one word.
De Val. (very faintly and with effort.) Longueville: ah fly, preserve— (again his accents fail him, he seems to collect all his remaining strength for one short effort, and a second time just articulates) —Longueville! (he relapses into insensibility.)
Flor. Enough! I comprehend your will; nay, bear him gently in, I'll to the river-bank and seek the Baron!
(Geraldine, &c. bear the count off on one side, Florian rushes away by the opposite.)
SCENE III.—A rugged Cliff that overhangs the River.
Enter Longueville and Sanguine.
Long. Tardy, neglectful slave! still does he loiter?
Sang. Nay, return to the pavilion; the signal soon must greet us: you bade Lenoire to sound his bugle when he reached the bank.
Long. Ay, thrice the blast should be repeated; still must I listen for those notes of destiny in vain? hark! here you nothing now?
Sang. Only the rising tide that murmurs hoarsly as it frets and chafes against the bank below us.
Long. Is midnight passed?
Sang. Long since: just as we crossed the glen the monastery chime swang heavy with the knell of yesterday.
Long. A guiltless end that flighted yesterday hath reached. O! that the morrow found as clear a tomb! When the next midnight tolls, Eugenia, thou wilt rest in blessedness, whilst thy murderer— Ah! what charmed couch shall bring the sweet forgetful slumber at that hour to me? Midnight, the welcome sabbath of unstained souls, O, to the murderer thou art terrible—silence and darkness that with the innocent make blessed time, to him bring curses, for then through sealed ears and close-veiled eyes, strange sounds and sights will steal their way, that in the hum and glare of day-light dare not stir: then o'er the wretch's forehead ooze cold beads of dew—in feverish, brain-sick dreams, with starts and groans: on beds of seeming down he feels the griding rack, and finds himself a hell more fierce, than fiends can show hereafter.
Sang. How now, my lord? unmanned by conscience? Nay, then, let Eugenia live.
Long. Not for an angel's birthright! think'st thou I would deign to breathe on wretched sufferance? No, no; her death is necessary to my honor and my peace. Come on! my hand may falter, but my heart's resolved; 'tis sworn, inexorably sworn: Eugenia dies. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV.—The river-bank—the Rhine flows across the stage at distance—on one side a pavilion extends obliquely, through the lower windows of which lights appear—nearly opposite is a small bower of lattice-work.—The moon at full, has just risen above the German bank, and pours its radiance upon the water. Bertrand is discovered watching the pavilion.
Bert. I watch in vain; all means of access to the prisoner are debarred: her chamber now is dark and silent: still tapers glare and voices murmur from the hall beneath: the baron and Sanguine are there: 'tis against life these midnight plotters stir. Oh! that this heart might bleed to its last guilty drop in ransom for Eugenia! Soft! does not the dashing of a distant oar disturb the silence of the tide? Yes; just where the moonlight gleams a boat now crosses rapidly; it rows towards this bank; it pauses now in stillness—what may this mean? the hour so late, the spot so unfrequented and remote. (A bugle is sounded three times) Ha! a bugle sounded thrice! too sure the omen of some fatal deed. I will not quit this spot—no, Eugenia, I will preserve or perish with thee! Soft, the pavilion opens. Bower, receive me to thy friendly shades! watch with me blessed spirits.
(He retires into the bower fronting the pavilion. Longueville advances cautiously from the pavilion.)
Long. 'Twas the signal! the boat has reached the bank, Ho! Lenoire! advance: no eye observes thy step.
Enter Lenoire along the bank by an entrance between the bower and the river.
Len. All is prepared: your orders are fulfiled.
Long. Laggard! too many precious moments have been wasted in their execution: the moon has risen high, and casts a brightness round scarce feebler than the day: your course may be observed.
Len. Dismiss that fear: nothing that lives hath voice or motion: now, not e'en the solitary fisher spreads his nets upon the stream.
Long. Where have you left the boat?
Len. Under the bank in shade, fastened to the roots of yon tall willow.
Long. Sanguine shall accompany you; then when you reach the middle of the current—
Len. Ay, where it flows deep and strong; Eugenia's funeral rites are few and brief.
Long. To-morrow, I shall report she has been conveyed in safety to her friends upon the German bank—thus all inquiry stands forever barred.
[Bertrand, who watches from the bower, clasps his hands in despair and groans aloud.]
Long. Ha! what sound was that?
Len. (looking cautiously round.) Some tree moaning to the blast—no more.
Long. Now then! yet hold! wherefore come you not masked? some of the peasantry may chance to stir ere you return, and I should wish your persons were unmarked by any.
Len. I left a mask within the boat; this flowing mantle will conceal my dress—trust me both form and feature shall effectually be hid.
(Bertrand makes a gesticulation of hope towards the pavilion, then glides silently round the angle of the bower, and starts along the bank.)
Long. 'Tis well! (to the pavilion.) Ho! Sanguine! lead forth your charge: despatch, Lenoire! return to the boat, and row it swiftly hither! Away!
She comes! Ill-starred Eugenia! fate chides the lingering echo of thy step, yet but a moment and 'tis hushed forever.
_Sanguine_ leads _Eugenia_ from the pavilion._
Eug. Ah! whither do you lead me? Speak, in pity—nay, nay, I prithee force me not; this is a savage hour, and I must fear your purpose, speak, whither would you hurry me? Ah! Longueville! now then I read my answer—'tis to death—to murder!
Long. Lady, you misjudge my purpose—true, that once I proved myself your foe, perhaps a kindless one; time and pity have extinguished hate. Across the Rhine, upon the German bank, a safe asylum is provided, where peace shall gild the evening of your life, and cure the memory of its early woes; 'tis necessary you should cross the river before dawn; a boat is now in readiness to bear you over.
Eug. No, no, I find a language in your eye more certain than your lip—murder—midnight murder is its direful theme. Thou wretched man! rather for thee than for myself I kneel. Pause, Longueville! raise but thine eye to yon clear world, thick-sown with shining wonders—think, that throughout the boundless beauteous space, an omnipresent, and all-conscious spirit is; think, that within his awful eye-beam, now thy actions pass, and presently before his throne must wait for judgment; think, that whene'er he touched the veriest worm, that crawls on this base sphere, with life, mighty his will encompassed it with safety! then, tremble, creature as thou art, to spurn his law by whom thou wert created, nor quench with impious hand, that gifted spark Omnipotence hath once ordained to glow.
Long. Lady, already I have said, your auguries wrong me (the noise of a combat sounds from the bank.) Ha! the crash of swords! Sanguine! fly to the spot. Lenoire, I fear me, is in danger.
Confusion to my hopes! what ill-beamed planet rules the hour? Eugenia, return to the pavilion.
Eug. Not, while succour seems so nigh, help! help!
Long. Dare but repeat that cry, by heavens! this very moment is your last. (draws a dagger.) Nay, nay, you strive in vain,—away!
[Longueville forces Eugenia into the pavilion, then drags a bar across the door.
What cursed step has wandered on these banks to thwart my ripe design? Perdition to the meddling slave! his life shall pay the forfeit of his rashness.
Sang. My lord, the combatants, whoe'er they were, had vanished ere I reached the spot; close to the water's edge the turf was stained with blood, and already to a distance from the bank, Lenoire had rowed away the boat; I called aloud, but he increased his speed, and gave no answer.
Lon. 'Sdeath! some prying hind has stolen on our plans; doubtless Lenoire has been assailed and for a while avoids the bank, fearful of further ambush; follow me to search yon winding path; if the villian have received a wound, traces of blood will guide us to his haunt,—vengeance direct our steps! [Exit, with Sanguine.
[Eugenia appears at the lower windows through a grating.]
Eug. Fond, trusting heart! art thou again deceived? does the great thunder sleep, and are the heavens still patient of a murderer's crimes; yes, yes, the sounds have ceased, and now a dreadful stillness sits upon the night; the tomb seems imaged in the hour. Hope in the breathless pause forsakes my breast forever.
Flor. Ha! lights still burning—fortunately then he has not retired to rest,—baron! baron! [Runs to the door.
Eug. (Shrieks.) Ah! the voice of succour—turn, turn in pity—snatch me from despair—preserve me from the grave.
[Involuntarily he withdraws the bar, and Eugenia darting forth, clings wildly round him.]
Flor. Unhappy woman! whence these transports?
Eug. Swear to preserve me, swear not to yield me to the murderer's dagger; no, no, you have a human heart; am I not safe with you?
Flor. My honor and my manhood both are pledges for your safety: but who is the enemy you dread!
Eug. Longueville; he seeks my life: nay, nay, I am not mad, indeed I am not; turn not from me: look with compassion on a desolate, devoted creature, whom man conspires to wrong, and Heaven forgets to aid.
Flor. Appease these agonies; by my eternal hope, I swear, whatever the danger, or the foe that threatens, I will defend you with my life from injury.
Eug. A wretch's blessing crown thee for the generous vow! oh! let my soul dissolve and gush in tears upon this gracious hand!
[Eugenia enthusiastically clasps Florian's hand, and covers it with tears and caresses; suddenly a new impulse appears to direct her actions: she rubs the back of the hand she has seized with strange earnestness, and a tremor pervades her entire frame.]
Flor. Why do you fasten thus your looks upon my hand: what moves your wonder?
Eug. (tremblingly.) This scar, this deep, deep scar, that with a crimson cross o'erseams your hand; speak, how gained you first this dreadful mark?
Flor. From infancy I recollect the stamp, its cause remains unknown.
Eug. Who were your parents?
Flor. Alas! that knowledge never blessed my heart. I am a foundling: eighteen years since, in a forest at the foot of the Cevennes—
Eug. Ah! did watchful angels then—yes, yes, twice the dagger struck! 'tis nature's holy proof!
Flor. Merciful heavens! you then possess the secret of my birth: woman! woman! pronounce my parents' name, and I will worship you.
Eug. Your parents! ah! they were, ah! ah!
[She attempts to enfold him with her arms, but faints as he receives the embrace.]
Flor. Speak! I conjure you, speak! breathe but their sacred name! she hears me not, and nature struggles at my heart in vain!
Enter Longueville and Sanguine at distance.
Long. The lurking knave, whate'er his aim, has fled beyond our search, and all is now secure. Has Lenoire return'd your signal to approach the bank?
Sang. He rows towards us now—nay, look—the boat draws close.
Long. Then to our last decisive deed!
[Passing to the pavilion he beholds the characters in front, and starts.]
Ha! confusion and despair! Eugenia rescued, and in Florian's arms!
Flor. Help, baron!—swiftly help!—aid me to preserve a dying woman!
Long. Florian! by what wild chance at such unwonted hour I find you on this spot, admits not of inquiry now—but for this fair impostor, resign her to my care—with me her safety is at once assured.
Flor. Pardon me, Longueville; whate'er the laws of courtesy demand, I yield—but to this female's fate my soul is newly bound by ties so strange and strong, that even your displeasure must not part us.
[The alarum-bell tolls from the castle.]
Long. Ha! the castle is alarmed—look out, Sanguine:—what means this tumult?
Sang. My lord! the glare of numerous torches wavers through the grove—this way the crowd directs its course.
Long. Distraction! —Florian, beware my just resentment, and instantly resign this woman! (Attempting to force her from him.)
Flor. Never!—my word stands pledged for her protection, and only with my life will I desert my honor.
Long. Hell!—ho! Lenoire! —Lenoire!
[He rushes furiously to the bank, and motions to the boat.]
Eug. (just recovering.) Stay, blessed vision!— (recognizing Florian) ah! 'twas real—I fold him to my heart, and am blessed at last.
[The boat, rowed by a man enveloped in a mantle and a masque, at that instant gains the bank.]
Long. (triumphantly) Ha! the boat arrives!—now then presumptuous boy! receive the chastisement you dare provoke.
[He draws and rushes upon Florian, who disengages himself from Eugenia and stands upon the defence.]
Flor. In the just cause I would not shrink before a giant's arm! (they engage.)
Eug. (frantic) Inhuman Longueville!—forbear! forbear!
[While Florian encounters Longueville, Sanguine suddenly darts upon Eugenia, who is too enfeebled to resist; by the action of a moment he transports her from her protector's side to the Baron's. Florian's position is next to the audience, so that Longueville's sword now equally intercepts him from Eugenia and from the river.]
Long. (Perceiving his advantage) Away!—drag—her to the boat—be mine the task to curb her champion's valor.
Flor. Hold! dastard—unless thou art dead to every sense of manhood—hold!
Long. Boy! I triumph, and deride thy baffled spleen.
[Sanguine lifts Eugenia into the boat, and the masque receives her.]
Eug. (from the boat) Great nature! speed my dying words! —Thou dear-lov'd youth! thy mother blesses thee—long-lost—late-found— behold! she struggles now to bless her child—and now she dies content!
Flor. Eternal Providence! what words were those? —Longueville! —Barbarian! —Fiend!
[He rushes madly upon the Baron, who parries the assault; then in an agony casts himself before his feet.]
Oh! if thou art human, hold! —I kneel—I fall thy slave—spurn me—trample on my neck—take my life—but O! respect and spare my parent!
Sang. (from the boat) Decide, my lord; the crowd approach, already they o'erlook the bank.
Long. 'Twere vain to pause—I founder upon either course—nay then, revenge shall brighten ruin; swift! plunge your poniards in Eugenia's bosom! let me behold my victim perish, and then commit me to my fate!
Flor. (starting up in desperation) Monster!
Long. They come—obey me, slaves!
[Sanguine draws Eugenia back, and the Masque lifts a dagger over her.]
Sang. We are prepared.
Sang. Comrade! strike!
Masque. Ay! to the heart!
[The Masque rapidly darts his arm across Eugenia's figure and plunges the dagger into Sanguine, who reels beneath the blow and falls into the stream.
(triumphantly) Eugenia is preserved!
[With one arm he supports the lady, and with the other snatches away the masque and discovers the features of Bertrand.
Long. Bertrand—perfidious slave! eternal palsies strike thy arm!
[Gaspard, Monica, Domestics, &c. with torches, enter at the moment and surround the baron, whose surprise bereaves him of power to resist.]
Flor. Secure the villain, yet forbear his life—Mother! Mysterious blessing—ah! yield her to my arms—my heart!
[Bertrand resigns Eugenia to Florian's embrace.]
Eug. My boy, my only one—Bertrand! life is thy gift, and now indeed I bless thee for the boon.
Bert. I swore to save you, I have kept my oath, unseen I watched, unknown I ventured in your cause—your forgiveness half relieves my soul, and now I dare to pray for heaven's!
Enter De Valmont, supported by Geraldine and Domestics.
De Val. Ah! 'tis she, dear worshipp'd form; she lives—she lives.
Eug. Ah! shield me—Florian, yon phantom shape—death surely hovers near—
De Val. Nay, fly me not, Eugenia! tis thy lord, thy living lord, thy once beloved De Valmont calls: thou dear divorced-one bless these outstretch'd arms—I kneel and woo thee for my bride again!
[Florian leads Eugenia trembling and uncertain to the Count, he catches her irresolute hand.]
Eug. Indeed, my wedded lord! —I wept for a dear warrior once; and did the sword forbear so just a heart?—ah! chide not love, joy kills as well as grief—
[She sinks gradually into his embrace, and he supports her on his breast in speechless tenderness.]
Long. Detested sight! well, well, curses are weak revenge, and I'll disdain their use.
Flor. Remove the monster to some sure confinement. The Count hereafter shall pronounce his punishment.
Long. Already I endure my heaviest curse. I view the objects of my hatred crown'd with joy. Come! to a dungeon!—darkness is welcome, since it hides me from exulting foes! [Exit.
Ger. (advancing with tenderness.) Florian!—friend—ah! yet a dearer name—you rob me of a birth-right, still I must greet my new-found kinsman.
Flor. Geraldine! what means my love?
De Val. Florian! Heaven mysteriously o'er-watch'd thy hour of peril, and led a father through the desert, unconsciously to succour and redeem his child.
Flor. Ha! De Valmont's glorious blood then circles in these veins! —My parent, my preserver! Ha! twice has existence been my father's gift.
De Val. My pride thus long in humbleness!—my forest-prize! my foundling boy!—thou had'st my blessing ere I knew thy claim. Eugenia, greet our mutual image. Ah! wilt thou weep, sweet love. Thou bendest o'er his forehead e'en as a lily, brimming with clear dews, that stoops in beauteous sorrow to embathe its neighbouring bud. Thro' many a storm of perilous and marring cares o'erborne, our long-benighted loves at last encounter on a sun-bright course, and reach the haven of domestic peace.
Thus Judah's pilgrim—one whose steps in vain Climb sky-crown'd rocks—o'erpace the burning plain, Just when his soul despairs—his spirits faint, Achieves the threshold of his long-sought Saint: The desert's danger—storms and ruffian-bands— All sink forgotten as the shrine expands— Feet cure their toil that touch the hallow'd floors— He rests his staff—kneels, trembles, and adores!
* * * * * * * * *
Errors and Inconsistencies: The Foundling
Spellings were changed only when there was an unambiguous error, or the word occurred elsewhere with the expected spelling. Variation between "Flo." and "Flor." is as in the original. Names in stage directions were inconsistently italicized; they have been silently regularized. Missing or invisible periods have been silently supplied.
Unchanged: anti-room [both occurrences use this spelling] did'nt [both occurrences are in this form] I could as soon compose an almanac as and a clue [error for "find a clue"?] For falsehood ne'er cross'd between me and my dear. [inconsistent indendation in original] I led the unfortune to my dwelling [error for "unfortunate"?]
Corrections: to be disconcerted by a hail-stone [to de disconcerted] Bert. (pursuing her with his eye deliriously) [Bart.] Mon. She has not quitted it this morning [Lon.] and solemnly pronounce a vow [solemny] SCENE III.—A Gallery in the Chateau. [Scene III.] presses her crucifix to her lips [pressess] she clings to Geraldine in anguish. [he clings] catches De Valmont's arm as he descends [decends] a most obstinate spirit [obsinate] the dove is in the vulture's grip already [gripe] Len. All is prepared: your orders are fulfilled. [fulfiled] [Exit Lenoire. [Lenoir]
_Punctuation:_ I don't want a husband [dont] wouldst thou find happiness [woulds't] _1st Br._ Sanguine! [printed "1st. _Br._"] vibrate on the memory forever. [, for .] SCENE II.—_The Cottage._ [invisible dash] How she tore her lovely locks that look'd so sandy, oh! [? for !] you said just now the river wasn't fordable [was'nt] amazement, then incredulity, and lastly indignation._) [period after close parenthesis] instantly resign this woman! [? for !]