Sivut kuvina

near. I shall see her once again; I shall see her, on whom


soul doats.- Is this the language of an inkuwajured 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 resolute: it cannot now be otherwise. Let me speak solemnly, yet mildly; 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 !


Mrs H. (Advances slowly, and in a tremour. CounTess attempts to support her.] Leave me now, I besecch you. [Approaches the STRANGER, who, with averted countenance, and in extreme agitation, awaits her address.] My lord!

Stra. [With gentle tremulous utterance, and face still turned away.] What would you with me, Adelaide ?

Mrs H.[Much agitated.] No-for Heaven's sake! I was not prepared for this-Adelaide !—No, no. For Heaven's sake!Harsh tones alone are suited to a culprit's ear.

Stra. [Endeavouring to give his voice firmness.] Well, madam!

Mrs H. Oh! if you will ease my heart, if you will spare and pity me, use reproaches.

Stra. Reproaches! Here they are; here on my sallow cheek- here in


hollow eye-here in my faded form. These reproaches I could not spare you,

Mrs H. Were I a hardened sinner, this forbearance would be charity : but I am a suffering penitent, and it overpowers me. Alas! then I must be the herald of my own shame. For, where shall I find peace, till I have eased my soul by my confession ! Stra. No confession, madam. I release



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 cuirse my memory.

Stra. [Moved.] No, I do not curse you. I shall never curse you.

Mrs H. [Agitated.] 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 chuse another another wife; in whose chaste arms, may Heaven protect your hours in biiss! This


will be necessary

for the

purpose ; it contains a written acknowledgment of my guilt.

[Offers it, trembling. Stra. [Tearing it] Perish the record for ever No, Adelaide, 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-nevernever will another fill Adelaide's place here.

Mrs. H. [Trembling.] Then nothing now remains but that one sad, hard, just word-farewell!

Stra. Stay a moment. For some months we have, without knowing 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 you 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

nature. 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 in. jured.

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 you ever should be in want of any thing, I may

be the first and only person in the world, to whom you will make application.

Mrs II. I promise it, my lord.

Stra. Avd now I may, at least, desire you to take back what is your own-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 I pronounced the oath of eternal fidelity. It is broken. This locket you gave me on my birth-day-That was a happy day! We had a country feast-How cheerful we all werelThis bracelet I received after my William 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. Stra. [Aside.] I must go. My soul and pride will hold no longer. [Turning towards her.] Fare. well!



Mrs H. Oh! but one minute more; an answer to but one more question.-Feel for a mother's heart! Are my children still alive?

Stra. Yes, they are alive.
Mrs H. And well?
Stra. Yes, they are well.

Afrs H. Heaven be praised! William must be much grown.

Stra. I believe so.

Mrs H. What! have you not seen them? - And little Amelia, is she still your favourite? [The 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 kneels-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 Baron, who at a little distance

have listened to the whole conversation with the warmest sympathy, exchange signals. Baron goes into the Hut, and soon ?with FRANCIS and the Children. He gives GIRL to the CounTess, who places herself, behind the STRANGER. He himself walks with the Boy behind Mrs HalLER.

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.

Oh! Oh! Stra.

[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 awaygaze at each other-spread their arms, and rush into an embrace. The CHILDREN run, and cling round their Parents. The Curtain falls.


« EdellinenJatka »