Part 6 out of 16
Ha-ha! Delightful. And, then nextly, Spain?
I lighted on some letters at Berlin,
Wherein King Carlos offered to attack me.
A Bourbon, minded thus, so near as Spain,
Is dangerous stuff. He must be seen to soon! . . .
A draft, then, of our treaty being penned,
We will peruse it later. If King George
Will not, upon the terms there offered him,
Conclude a ready peace, he can be forced.
Trumpet yourself as France's firm ally,
And Austria will fain to do the same:
England, left nude to such joint harassment,
ALEXANDER (with naive enthusiasm)
It is a great alliance!
Would it were one in blood as well as brain--
Of family hopes, and sweet domestic bliss!
Ah--is it to my sister you refer?
The launching of a lineal progeny
Has been much pressed upon me, much, of late,
For reasons which I will not dwell on now.
Staid counsellors, my brother Joseph, too,
Urge that I loose the Empress by divorce,
And re-wive promptly for the country's good.
Princesses even have been named for me!--
However this, to-day, is premature,
And 'twixt ourselves alone. . . .
The Queen of Prussia must ere long be here:
Berthier escorts her. And the King, too, comes.
She's one whom you admire?
ALEXANDER (reddening ingenuously)
Yes. . . . Formerly
I had--did feel that some faint fascination
Vaguely adorned her form. And, to be plain,
Certain reports have been calumnious,
And wronged an honest woman.
As I knew!
But she is wearing thready: why, her years
Must be full one-and-thirty, if she's one.
No, sire. She's twenty-nine. If traits teach more
It means that cruel memory gnaws at her
As fair inciter to that fatal war
Which broke her to the dust! . . . I do confess
(Since now we speak on't) that this sacrifice
Prussia is doomed to, still disquiets me.
Unhappy King! When I recall the oaths
Sworn him upon great Frederick's sepulchre,
And--and my promises to his sad Queen,
It pricks me that his realm and revenues
Should be stript down to the mere half they were!
Believe me, 'tis but my regard for you
Which lets me leave him that! Far easier 'twere
To leave him none at all.
[He rises and goes to the window.]
But here they are.
No; it's the Queen alone, with Berthier
As I directed. Then the King will follow.
Let me, sire, urge your courtesy to bestow
Some gentle words on her?
Ay, ay; I will.
[Enter QUEEN LOUISA OF PRUSSIA on the arm of BERTHIER. She
appears in majestic garments and with a smile on her lips, so
that her still great beauty is impressive. But her eyes bear
traces of tears. She accepts NAPOLEON'S attentions with the
stormily sad air of a wounded beauty. Whilst she is being
received the KING arrives. He is a plain, shy, honest-faced,
awkward man, with a wrecked and solitary look. His manner to
NAPOLEON is, nevertheless, dignified, and even stiff.
The company move into the inner half of the room, where the
tables are, and the folding-doors being shut, they seat themselves
at dinner, the QUEEN taking a place between NAPOLEON and ALEXANDER.]
Madame, I love magnificent attire;
But in the present instance can but note
That each bright knot and jewel less adorns
The brighter wearer than the wearer it!
QUEEN (with a sigh)
You praise one, sire, whom now the wanton world
Has learnt to cease from praising! But such words
From such a quarter are of worth no less.
Of worth as candour, madame; not as gauge.
Your reach in rarity outsoars my scope.
Yet, do you know, a troop of my hussars,
That last October day, nigh captured you?
Nay! Never a single Frenchman did I see.
Not less it was that you exposed yourself,
And should have been protected. But at Weimar,
Had you but sought me, 'twould have bettered you.
I had no zeal to meet you, sire, alas!
NAPOLEON (after a silence)
And how at Memel do you sport with time?
Sport? I!--I pore on musty chronicles,
And muse on usurpations long forgot,
And other historied dramas of high wrong!
Why con not annals of your own rich age?
They treasure acts well fit for pondering.
I am reminded too much of my age
By having had to live in it. May Heaven
Defend me now, and my wan ghost anon,
From conning it again!
Too grievous, this, for one who is yet a queen!
No; I have cause for vials more of grief.--
Prussia was blind in blazoning her power
Against the Mage of Earth! . . .
The embers of great Frederick's deeds inflamed her:
His glories swelled her to her ruining.
Too well has she been punished! (Emotion stops her.)
ALEXANDER (in a low voice, looking anxiously at her)
Say not so.
You speak as all were lost. Things are not thus!
Such desperation has unreason in it,
And bleeds the hearts that crave to comfort you.
NAPOLEON (to the King)
I trust the treaty, further pondered, sire,
I am a luckless man;
And muster strength to bear my lucklessness
Without vain hope of consolations now.
One thing, at least, I trust I have shown you, sire
That _I_ provoked not this calamity!
At Anspach first my feud with you began--
Anspach, my Eden, violated and shamed
By blushless tramplings of your legions there!
It's rather late, methinks, to talk thus now.
KING (with more choler)
Never too late for truth and plainspeaking!
To your ally, the Tsar, I must refer you.
He was it, and not I, who tempted you
To push for war, when Eylau must have shown
Your every profit to have lain in peace.--
He can indemn; yes, much or small; and may.
KING (with a head-shake)
I would make up, would well make up, my mind
To half my kingdom's loss, could in such limb
But Magdeburg not lie. Dear Magdeburg,
Place of my heart-hold; THAT I would retain!
Our words take not such pattern as is wont
To grace occasions of festivity.
[He turns brusquely from the King. The banquet proceeds with a
more general conversation. When finished a toast is proposed:
"The Freedom of the Seas," and drunk with enthusiasm.]
Another hit at England and her tubs!
I hear harsh echoes from her chalky chines.
SPIRIT OF THE PITIES
O heed not England now! Still read the Queen.
One grieves to see her spend her pretty spells
Upon the man who has so injured her.
[They rise from table, and the folding-doors being opened they pass
into the adjoining room.
Here are now assembled MURAT, TALLEYRAND, KOURAKIN, KALKREUTH,
BERTHIER, BESSIERES, CAULAINCOURT, LABANOFF, BENNIGSEN, and others.
NAPOLEON having spoken a few words here and there resumes his
conversation with QUEEN LOUISA, and parenthetically offers snuff
to the COUNTESS VOSS, her lady-in-waiting. TALLEYRAND, who has
observed NAPOLEON'S growing interest in the QUEEN, contrives to
get near him.]
TALLEYRAND (in a whisper)
Sire, is it possible that you can bend
To let one woman's fairness filch from you
All the resplendent fortune that attends
The grandest victory of your grand career?
[The QUEEN'S quick eye observes and flashes at the whisper, and
she obtains a word with the minister.]
I should infer, dear Monsieur Talleyrand,
Only two persons in the world regret
My having come to Tilsit.
Can any!--who may such sad rascals be?
You, and myself, Prince. (Gravely.) Yes! myself and you.
[TALLEYRAND'S face becomes impassive, and he does not reply.
Soon the QUEEN prepares to leave, and NAPOLEON rejoins her.]
NAPOLEON (taking a rose from a vase)
Dear Queen, do pray accept this little token
As souvenir of me before you go?
[He offers her the rose, with his hand on his heart. She
hesitates, but accepts it.]
QUEEN (impulsively, with waiting tears)
Let Magdeburg come with it, sire! O yes!
NAPOLEON (with sudden frigidity)
It is for you to take what I can give.
And I give this--no more.(15)
[She turns her head to hide her emotion, and withdraws. NAPOLEON
steps up to her, and offers his arm. She takes it silently, and
he perceives the tears on her cheeks. They cross towards the ante-
room, away from the other guests.]
Still weeping, dearest lady! Why is this?
QUEEN (seizing his hand and pressing it)
Your speeches darn the tearings of your sword!--
Between us two, as man and woman now,
Is't even possible you question why!
O why did not the Greatest of the Age--
Of future ages--of the ages past,
This one time win a woman's worship--yea,
For all her little life!
Know you, my Fair
That I--ay, I--in this deserve your pity.--
Some force within me, baffling mine intent,
Harries me onward, whether I will or no.
My star, my star is what's to blame--not I.
It is unswervable!
Then now, alas!
My duty's done as mother, wife, and queen.--
I'll say no more--but that my heart is broken!
[Exeunt NAPOLEON, QUEEN, and LADY-IN-WAITING.]
SPIRIT OF THE YEARS
He spoke thus at the Bridge of Lodi. Strange,
He's of the few in Europe who discern
The working of the Will.
SPIRIT OF THE PITIES
If that be so,
Better for Europe lacked he such discerning!
[NAPOLEON returns to the room and joins TALLEYRAND.]
NAPOLEON (aside to his minister)
My God, it was touch-and-go that time, Talleyrand! She was within
an ace of getting over me. As she stepped into the carriage she
said in her pretty way, "O I have been cruelly deceived by you!"
And when she sank down inside, not knowing I heard, she burst into
sobs fit to move a statue. The Devil take me if I hadn't a good
mind to stop the horses, jump in, give her a good kissing, and
agree to all she wanted. Ha-ha, well; a miss is as good as a mile.
Had she come sooner with those sweet, beseeching blue eyes of hers,
who knows what might not have happened! But she didn't come sooner,
and I have kept in my right mind.
[The RUSSIAN EMPEROR, the KING OF PRUSSIA, and other guests advance
to bid adieu. They depart severally. When they are gone NAPOLEON
turns to TALLEYRAND.]
Adhere, then, to the treaty as it stands:
Change not therein a single article,
But write it fair forthwith.
[Exeunt NAPOLEON, TALLEYRAND, and other ministers and officers in
SHADE OF THE EARTH
Some surly voice afar I heard now
Of an enisled Britannic quality;
Wots any of the cause?
Perchance I do!
Britain is roused, in her slow, stolid style,
By Bonaparte's pronouncement at Berlin
Against her cargoes, commerce, life itself;
And now from out her water citadel
Blows counterblasting "Orders." Rumours tell.
"From havens of fierce France and her allies,
With poor or precious freight of merchandize
Whoso adventures, England pounds as prize!"
Thereat Napoleon names her, furiously,
Curst Oligarch, Arch-pirate of the sea,
Who shall lack room to live while liveth he!
CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)
And peoples are enmeshed in new calamity!
[Curtain of Evening Shades.]
THE PYRENEES AND VALLEYS ADJOINING
[The view is from upper air, immediately over the region that
lies between Bayonne on the north, Pampeluna on the south, and
San Sebastian on the west, including a portion of the Cantabrian
mountains. The month is February, and snow covers not only the
peaks but the lower slopes. The roads over the passes are well
At various elevations multitudes of NAPOLEON'S soldiery, to the
number of about thirty thousand, are discerned in a creeping
progress across the frontier from the French to the Spanish side.
The thin long columns serpentine along the roads, but are sometimes
broken, while at others they disappear altogether behind vertical
rocks and overhanging woods. The heavy guns and the whitey-brown
tilts of the baggage-waggons seem the largest objects in the
procession, which are dragged laboriously up the incline to the
watershed, their lumbering being audible as high as the clouds.
Simultaneously the river Bidassoa, in a valley to the west, is
being crossed by a train of artillery and another thirty thousand
men, all forming part of the same systematic advance.
Along the great highway through Biscay the wondering native
carters draw their sheep-skinned ox-teams aside, to let the
regiments pass, and stray groups of peaceable field-workers
in Navarre look inquiringly at the marching and prancing
Time passes, and the various northern strongholds are approached
by these legions. Their governors emerge at a summons, and when
seeming explanations have been given the unwelcome comers are
The chief places to which entrance is thus obtained are Pampeluna
and San Sebastian at the front of the scene, and far away towards
the shining horizon of the Mediterranean, Figueras, and Barcelona.
Dumb Show concludes as the mountain mists close over.
ARANJUEZ, NEAR MADRID. A ROOM IN THE PALACE OF GODOY, THE "PRINCE
[A private chamber is disclosed, richly furnished with paintings,
vases, mirrors, silk hangings, gilded lounges, and several lutes
of rare workmanship. The hour is midnight, the room being lit
by screened candelabra. In the centre at the back of the scene
is a large window heavily curtained.
GODOY and the QUEEN MARIA LUISA are dallying on a sofa. THE
PRINCE OF PEACE is a fine handsome man in middle life, with
curled hair and a mien of easy good-nature. The QUEEN is older,
but looks younger in the dim light, from the lavish use of
beautifying arts. She has pronounced features, dark eyes, low
brows, black hair bound by a jewelled bandeau, and brought forward
in curls over her forehead and temples, long heavy ear-rings, an
open bodice, and sleeves puffed at the shoulders. A cloak and
other mufflers lie on a chair beside her.]
The life-guards still insist, Love, that the King
Shall not leave Aranjuez.
Let them insist.
Whether we stay, or whether we depart,
Napoleon soon draws hither with his host!
He says he comes pacifically. . . . But no!
Dearest, we must away to Andalusia,
Thence to America when time shall serve.
I hold seven thousand men to cover us,
And ships in Cadiz port. But then--the Prince
Flatly declines to go. He lauds the French
As true deliverers.
Go Fernando MUST! . . .
O my sweet friend, that we--our sole two selves--
Could but escape and leave the rest to fate,
And in a western bower dream out our days!--
For the King's glass can run but briefly now,
Shattered and shaken as his vigour is.--
But ah--your love burns not in singleness!
Why, dear, caress Josefa Tudo still?
She does not solve her soul in yours as I.
And why those others even more than her? . . .
How little own I in thee!
Such must be.
I cannot quite forsake them. Don't forget
The same scope has been yours in former years.
Yes, Love; I know. I yield! You cannot leave them;
But if you ever would bethink yourself
How long I have been yours, how truly all
Those other pleasures were my desperate shifts
To soften sorrow at your absences,
You would be faithful to me!
True, my dear.--
Yet I do passably keep troth with you,
And fond you with fair regularity;--
A week beside you, and a week away.
Such is not schemed without some risk and strain.--
And you agreed Josefa should be mine,
And, too, Thereza without jealousy! (A noise is heard without.)
Ah, what means that?
[He jumps up from her side and crosses the room to a window,
where he lifts the curtain cautiously. The Queen follows him
with a scared look.
A riot can it be?
Let me put these out ere they notice them;
They think me at the Royal Palace yonder.
[He hastily extinguishes the candles except one taper, which
he places in a recess, so that the room is in shade. He then
draws back the curtains, and she joins him at the window, where,
enclosing her with his arm, he and she look out together.
In front of the house a guard of hussars is stationed, beyond
them spreading the Plaza or Square. On the other side rises in
the lamplight the white front of the Royal Palace. On the flank
of the Palace is a wall enclosing gardens, bowered alleys, and
orange groves, and in the wall a small door.
A mixed multitude of soldiery and populace fills the space in
front of the King's Palace, and they shout and address each other
vehemently. During a lull in their vociferations is heard the
peaceful purl of the Tagus over a cascade in the Palace grounds.]
Lingering, we've risked too long our chance of flight!
The Paris Terror will repeat it here.
Not for myself I fear. No, no; for thee! (She clings to him.)
If they should hurt you, it would murder me
By heart-bleedings and stabs intolerable!
GODOY (kissing her)
The first thought now is how to get you back
Within the Palace walls. Why would you risk
To come here on a night so critical?
I could not help it--nay, I WOULD not help!
Rather than starve my soul I venture all.--
Our last love-night--last, maybe, of long years,
Why do you chide me now?
Dear Queen, I do not:
I shape these sharp regrets but for your sake.
Hence you must go, somehow, and quickly too.
They think not yet of you in threatening thus,
But of me solely. . . . Where does your lady wait?
Below. One servant with her. They are true,
And can be let know all. But you--but you! (Uproar continues.)
I can escape. Now call them. All three cloak
And veil as when you came.
[They retreat into the room. QUEEN MARIA LUISA'S lady-in-waiting
and servant are summoned. Enter both. All three then muffle
themselves up, and GODOY prepares to conduct the QUEEN downstairs.]
Nay, now! I will not have it. We are safe;
Think of yourself. Can you get out behind?
I judge so--when I have done what's needful here.--
The mob knows not the bye-door--slip across;
Thence around sideways.--All's clear there as yet.
[The QUEEN, her lady-in-waiting, and the servant go out
GODOY looks again from the window. The mob is some way off, the
immediate front being for the moment nearly free of loiterers; and
the three muffled figures are visible, crossing without hindrance
towards the door in the wall of the Palace Gardens. The instant
they reach it a sentinel springs up, challenging them.]
Ah--now they are doomed! My God, why did she come!
[A parley takes place. Something, apparently a bribe, is handed
to the sentinel, and the three are allowed to slip in, the QUEEN
having obviously been unrecognized. He breathes his relief.]
Now for the others. Then--ah, then Heaven knows!
[He sounds a bell and a servant enters.
Where is the Countess of Castillofiel?
She's looking for you, Prince.
Find her at once.
Ah--here she is.--That's well.--Go watch the Plaza (to servant).
[GODOY'S mistress, the DONA JOSEFA TUDO, enters. She is a young
and beautiful woman, the vivacity of whose large dark eyes is
now clouded. She is wrapped up for flight. The servant goes out.]
I should have joined you sooner, but I knew
The Queen was fondling with you. She must needs
Come hampering you this night of all the rest,
As if not gorged with you at other times!
Don't, pretty one! needless it is in you,
Being so well aware who holds my love.--
I could not check her coming, since she would.
You well know how the old thing is, and how
I am compelled to let her have her mind!
[He kisses her repeatedly.]
But look, the mob is swelling! Pouring in
By thousands from Madrid--and all afoot.
Will they not come on hither from the King's?
Not just yet, maybe. You should have sooner fled!
The coach is waiting and the baggage packed. (He again peers out.)
Yes, there the coach is; and the clamourers near,
Led by Montijo, if I see aright.
Yes, they cry "Uncle Peter!"--that means him.
There will be time yet. Now I'll take you down
So far as I may venture.
[They leave the room. In a few minutes GODOY, having taken her
down, re-enters and again looks out. JOSEFA'S coach is moving
off with a small escort of GODOY'S guards of honour. A sudden
yelling begins, and the crowd rushes up and stops the vehicle.
An altercation ensues.]
Uncle Peter, it is the Favourite carrying off Prince Fernando.
JOSEFA (putting her head out of the coach)
Silence their uproar, please, Senor Count of Montijo! It is a lady
only, the Countess of Castillofiel.
Let her pass, let her pass, friends! It is only that pretty wench
of his, Pepa Tudo, who calls herself a Countess. Our titles are
put to comical uses these days. We shall catch the cock-bird
[The DONA JOSEFA'S carriage is allowed to pass on, as a shout
from some who have remained before the Royal Palace attracts the
attention of the multitude, which surges back thither.]
CROWD (nearing the Palace)
Call out the King and the Prince. Long live the King! He shall not
go. Hola! He is gone! Let us see him! He shall abandon Godoy!
[The clamour before the Royal Palace still increasing, a figure
emerges upon a balcony, whom GODOY recognizes by the lamplight
to be FERNANDO, Prince of Asturias. He can be seen waving his
hand. The mob grows suddenly silent.]
FERNANDO (in a shaken voice)
Citizens! the King my father is in the palace with the Queen. He
has been much tried to-day.
Promise, Prince, that he shall not leave us. Promise!
I do. I promise in his name. He has mistaken you, thinking you
wanted his head. He knows better now.
The villain Godoy misrepresented us to him! Throw out the Prince
He is not here, my friends.
Then the King shall announce to us that he has dismissed him! Let
us see him. The King; the King!
[FERNANDO goes in. KING CARLOS comes out reluctantly, and bows
to their cheering. He produces a paper with a trembling hand.
"As it is the wish of the people---"
Speak up, your Majesty!
KING (more loudly)
"As it is the wish of the people, I release Don Manuel Godoy, Prince
of Peace, from the posts of Generalissimo of the Army and Grand
Admiral of the Fleet, and give him leave to withdraw whither he
Citizens, to-morrow the decree is to be posted in Madrid.
Huzza! Long life to the King, and death to Godoy!
[KING CARLOS disappears from the balcony, and the populace,
still increasing in numbers, look towards GODOY'S mansion, as
if deliberating how to attack it. GODOY retreats from the
window into the room, and gazing round him starts. A pale,
worn, but placid lady, in a sombre though elegant robe, stands
here in the gloom. She is THEREZA OF BOURBON, the Princess of
It is only your unhappy wife, Manuel. She will not hurt you!
GODOY (shrugging his shoulders)
Nor with THEY hurt YOU! Why did you not stay in the Royal Palace?
You would have been more comfortable there.
I don't recognize why you should specially value my comfort. You
have saved you real wives. How can it matter what happens to
your titular one?
Much, dear. I always play fair. But it being your blest privilege
not to need my saving I was left free to practise it on those who
did. (Mob heard approaching.) Would that I were in no more danger
[He again peers out. His guard of hussars stands firmly in front
of the mansion; but the life-guards from the adjoining barracks,
who have joined the people, endeavour to break the hussars of
GODOY. A shot is fired, GODOY'S guard yields, and the gate and
door are battered in.
Murder him! murder him! Death to Manuel Godoy!
[They are heard rushing onto the court and house.]
Go, I beseech you! You can do nothing for me, and I pray you to
save yourself! The heap of mats in the lumber-room will hide you!
[GODOY hastes to a jib-door concealed by sham bookshelves, presses
the spring of it, returns, kisses her, and then slips out.
His wife sits down with her back against the jib-door, and fans
herself. She hears the crowd trampling up the stairs, but she
does not move, and in a moment people burst in. The leaders are
armed with stakes, daggers, and various improvised weapons, and
some guards in undress appear with halberds.]
FIRST CITIZEN (peering into the dim light)
Where is he? Murder him! (Noticing the Princess.) Come, where
The Prince of Peace is gone. I know not wither.
Who is this lady?
Manuel Godoy's Princess.
Princess, a thousand pardons grant us!--you
An injured wife--an injured people we!
Common misfortune makes us more than kin.
No single hair of yours shall suffer harm.
[The PRINCESS bows.]
But this, Senora, is no place for you,
For we mean mischief here! Yet first will grant
Safe conduct for you to the Palace gates,
Or elsewhere, as you wish
My wish is nought.
Do what you will with me. But he's not here.
[Several of them form an escort, and accompany her from the room
and out of the house. Those remaining, now a great throng, begin
searching the room, and in bands invade other parts of the mansion.]
SOME CITIZENS (returning)
It is no use searching. She said he was not here, and she's a woman
FIRST CITIZEN (drily)
She's his wife.
[They begin knocking the furniture to pieces, tearing down the
hangings, trampling on the musical instruments, and kicking holes
through the paintings they have unhung from the walls. These,
with clocks, vases, carvings, and other movables, they throw out
of the window, till the chamber is a scene of utter wreck and
desolation. In the rout a musical box is swept off a table, and
starts playing a serenade as it falls on the floor. Enter the
COUNT OF MONTIJO.]
Stop, friends; stop this! There is no sense in it--
It shows but useless spite! I have much to say:
The French Ambassador, de Beauharnais,
Has come, and sought the King. And next Murat,
With thirty thousand men, half cavalry,
Is closing in upon our doomed Madrid!
I know not what he means, this Bonaparte;
He makes pretence to gain us Portugal,
But what want we with her? 'Tis like as not
His aim's to noose us vassals all to him!
The King will abdicate, and shortly too,
As those will live to see who live not long.--
We have saved our nation from the Favourite,
But who is going to save us from our Friend?
[The mob desists dubiously and goes out; the musical box upon
the floor plays on, the taper burns to its socket, and the room
becomes wrapt in the shades of night.]
LONDON: THE MARCHIONESS OF SALISBURY'S
[A large reception-room is disclosed, arranged for a conversazione.
It is an evening in summer following, and at present the chamber is
empty and in gloom. At one end is an elaborate device, representing
Britannia offering her assistance to Spain, and at the other a
figure of Time crowning the Spanish Patriots' flag with laurel.]
SPIRIT OF THE YEARS
O clarionists of human welterings,
Relate how Europe's madding movement brings
This easeful haunt into the path of palpitating things!
The Spanish King has bowed unto the Fate
Which bade him abdicate:
The sensual Queen, whose passionate caprice
Has held her chambering with "the Prince of Peace,"
And wrought the Bourbon's fall,
Holds to her Love in all;
And Bonaparte has ruled that his and he
Henceforth displace the Bourbon dynasty.
The Spanish people, handled in such sort,
As chattels of a Court,
Dream dreams of England. Messengers are sent
In secret to the assembled Parliament,
In faith that England's hand
Will stouten them to stand,
And crown a cause which, hold they, bond and free
Must advocate enthusiastically.
SPIRIT OF THE YEARS
So the Will heaves through Space, and moulds the times,
With mortals for Its fingers! We shall see
Again men's passions, virtues, visions, crimes,
The purposive, unmotived, dominant Thing
Which sways in brooding dark their wayfaring!
[The reception room is lighted up, and the hostess comes in. There
arrive Ambassadors and their wives, the Dukes and Duchesses of
RUTLAND and SOMERSET, the Marquis and Marchioness of STAFFORD,
the Earls of STAIR, WESTMORELAND, GOWER, ESSEX, Viscounts and
Viscountesses CRANLEY and MORPETH, Viscount MELBOURNE, Lord and
Lady KINNAIRD, Baron de ROLLE, Lady CHARLES GRENVILLE, the Ladies
CAVENDISH, Mr. and Mrs. THOMAS HOPE, MR. GUNNING, MRS. FITZHERBERT,
and many other notable personages. Lastly, she goes to the door
to welcome severally the PRINCE OF WALES, the PRINCES OF FRANCE,
and the PRINCESS CASTELCICALA.]
LADY SALISBURY (to the Prince of Wales)
I am sorry to say, sir, that the Spanish Patriots are not yet
arrived. I doubt not but that they have been delayed by their
ignorance of the town, and will soon be here.
PRINCE OF WALES
No hurry whatever, my dear hostess. Gad, we've enough to talk about!
I understand that the arrangement between our ministers and these
noblemen will include the liberation of Spanish prisoners in this
country, and the providing 'em with arms, to go back and fight for
It will be a blessed event if they do check the career of this
infamous Corsican. I have just heard that that poor foreigner
Guillet de la Gevrilliere, who proposed to Mr. Fox to assassinate
him, died a miserable death a few days ago the Bicetre--probably
by torture, though nobody knows. Really one almost wishes Mr. Fox
had---. O here they are!
[Enter the Spanish Viscount de MATEROSA, and DON DIEGO de la VEGA.
They are introduced by CAPTAIN HILL and MR. BAGOT, who escort them.
LADY SALISBURY presents them to the PRINCE and others.]
PRINCE OF WALES
By gad, Viscount, we were just talking of 'ee. You had some
adventures in getting to this country?
MATEROSA (assisted by Bagot as interpreter)
Sir, it has indeed been a trying experience for us. But here we
are, impressed by a deep sense of gratitude for the signal marks of
attachment your country has shown us.
PRINCE OF WALES
You represent, practically, the Spanish people?
We are immediately deputed, sir,
By the Assembly of Asturias,
More sailing soon from other provinces.
We bring official writings, charging us
To clinch and solder Treaties with this realm
That may promote our cause against the foe.
Nextly a letter to your gracious King;
Also a Proclamation, soon to sound
And swell the pulse of the Peninsula,
Declaring that the act by which King Carlos
And his son Prince Fernando cede the throne
To whomsoever Napoleon may appoint,
Being an act of cheatery, not of choice,
Unfetters us from our allegiant oath.
The usurpation began, I suppose, with the divisions in the Royal
Yes, madam, and the protection they foolishly requested from the
Emperor; and their timid intent of flying secretly helped it on.
It was an opportunity he had been awaiting for years.
All brought about by this man Godoy, Prince of Peace!
PRINCE OF WALES
Dash my wig, mighty much you know about it, Maria! Why, sure,
Boney thought to himself, "This Spain is a pretty place; 'twill
just suit me as an extra acre or two; so here goes."
DON DIEGO (aside to Bagot)
This lady is the Princess of Wales?
Hsh! no, Senor. The Princess lives at large at Kensington and
other places, and has parties of her own, and doesn't keep house
with her husband. This lady is--well, really his wife, you know,
in the opinion of many; but---
Ah! Ladies a little mixed, as they were at our Court! She's the
Pepa Tudo to THIS Prince of Peace?
O no--not exactly that, Senor.
Ya, ya. Good. I'll be careful, my friend. You are not saints in
England more than we are in Spain!
We are not. Only you sin with naked faces, and we with masks on.
DUCHESS OF RUTLAND
It was understood that Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias, was to marry
a French princess, and so unite the countries peacefully?
It was. And our credulous prince was tempted to meet Napoleon at
Bayonne. Also the poor simple King, and the infatuated Queen, and
DUCHESS OF RUTLAND
Then Godoy escaped from Aranjuez?
Yes, by hiding in the garret. Then they all threw themselves
upon Napoleon's protection. In his presence the Queen swore
that the King was not Fernando's father! Altogether they form
a queer little menagerie. What will happen to them nobody knows.
PRINCE OF WALES
And do you wish us to send an army at once?
What we most want, sir, are arms and ammunition. But we leave the
English Ministry to co-operate in its own wise way, anyhow, so as
to sustain us in resenting these insults from the Tyrant of the
DUCHESS OF RUTLAND (to the Prince of Wales)
What sort of aid shall we send, sir?
PRINCE OF WALES
We are going to vote fifty millions, I hear. We'll whack him,
and preserve your noble country for 'ee, Senor Viscount. The
debate thereon is to come off to-morrow. It will be the finest
thing the Commons have had since Pitt's time. Sheridan, who is
open to it, says he and Canning are to be absolutely unanimous;
and, by God, like the parties in his "Critic," when Government
and Opposition do agree, their unanimity is wonderful! Viscount
Materosa, you and your friends must be in the Gallery. O, dammy,
Sir, we are already pledged to be there.
PRINCE OF WALES
And hark ye, Senor Viscount. You will then learn what a mighty
fine thing a debate in the English Parliament is! No Continental
humbug there. Not but that the Court has a trouble to keep 'em
in their places sometimes; and I would it had been one in the
Lords instead. However, Sheridan says he has been learning his
speech these two days, and has hunted his father's dictionary
through for some stunning long words.--Now, Maria (to Mrs.
Fitzherbert), I am going home.
At last, then, England will take her place in the forefront of
this mortal struggle, and in pure disinterestedness fight with
all her strength for the European deliverance. God defend the
[The Prince of Wales leaves, and the other guests begin to
SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)
Leave this glib throng to its conjecturing,
And let four burdened weeks uncover what they bring!
The said Debate, to wit; its close in deed;
Till England stands enlisted for the Patriots' needs.
And transports in the docks gulp down their freight
Of buckled fighting-flesh, and gale-bound, watch and wait.
Till gracious zephyrs shoulder on their sails
To where the brine of Biscay moans its tragic tales.
Bear we, too, south, as we were swallow-vanned,
And mark the game now played there by the Master-hand!
[The reception-chamber is shut over by the night without, and
the point of view rapidly recedes south, London and its streets
and lights diminishing till they are lost in the distance, and
its noises being succeeded by the babble of the Channel and
MADRID AND ITS ENVIRONS
[The view is from the housetops of the city on a dusty evening
in this July, following a day of suffocating heat. The sunburnt
roofs, warm ochreous walls, and blue shadows of the capital,
wear their usual aspect except for a few feeble attempts at
Gazers gather in the central streets, and particularly in the
Puerta del Sol. They show curiosity, but no enthusiasm. Patrols
of French soldiery move up and down in front of the people, and
seem to awe them into quietude.
There is a discharge of artillery in the outskirts, and the church
bells begin ringing; but the peals dwindle away to a melancholy
jangle, and then to silence. Simultaneously, on the northern
horizon of the arid, unenclosed, and treeless plain swept by the
eye around the city, a cloud of dust arises, and a Royal procession
is seen nearing. It means the new king, JOSEPH BONAPARTE.
He comes on, escorted by a clanking guard of four thousand Italian
troops, and the brilliant royal carriage is followed by a hundred
coaches bearing his suite. As the procession enters the city many
houses reveal themselves to be closed, many citizens leave the
route and walk elsewhere, while may of those who remain turn their
backs upon the spectacle.
KING JOSEPH proceeds thus through the Plaza Oriente to the granite-
walled Royal Palace, where he alights and is received by some of
the nobility, the French generals who are in occupation there, and
some clergy. Heralds emerge from the Palace, and hasten to divers
points in the city, where trumpets are blown and the Proclamation
of JOSEPH as KING OF SPAIN is read in a loud voice. It is received
The sunsets, and the curtain falls.
THE OPEN SEA BETWEEN THE ENGLISH COASTS AND THE SPANISH PENINSULA
[From high aloft, in the same July weather, and facing east, the
vision swoops over the ocean and its coast-lines, from Cork
Harbour on the extreme left, to Mondego Bay, Portugal, on the
extreme right. Land's End and the Scilly Isles, Ushant and Cape
Finisterre, are projecting features along the middle distance
of the picture, and the English Channel recedes endwise as a
tapering avenue near the centre.]
Four groups of moth-like transport ships are discovered silently
skimming this wide liquid plain. The first group, to the right,
is just vanishing behind Cape Mondego to enter Mondego Bay; the
second, in the midst, has come out from Plymouth Sound, and is
preparing to stand down Channel; the third is clearing St. Helen's
point for the same course; and the fourth, much further up Channel,
is obviously to follow on considerably in the rear of the two
preceding. A south-east wind is blowing strong, and, according to
the part of their course reached, they either sail direct with the
wind on their larboard quarter, or labour forward by tacking in
SPIRIT OF THE PITIES
What are these fleets that cross the sea
From British ports and bays
To coasts that glister southwardly
Behind the dog-day haze?
They are the shipped battalions sent
To bar the bold Belligerent
Who stalks the Dancers' Land.
Within these hulls, like sheep a-pen,
Are packed in thousands fighting-men
And colonels in command.
The fleet that leans each aery fin
Far south, where Mondego mouths in,
Bears Wellesley and his aides therein,
And Hill, and Crauford too;
With Torrens, Ferguson, and Fane,
And majors, captains, clerks, in train,
And those grim needs that appertain--
The surgeons--not a few!
To them add twelve thousand souls
In linesmen that the list enrolls,
Borne onward by those sheeted poles
As war's red retinue!
The fleet that clears St. Helen's shore
Holds Burrard, Hope, ill-omened Moore,
Clinton and Paget; while
The transports that pertain to those
Count six-score sail, whose planks enclose
Ten thousand rank and file.
The third-sent ships, from Plymouth Sound,
With Acland, Anstruther, impound
Souls to six thousand strong.
While those, the fourth fleet, that we see
Far back, are lined with cavalry,
And guns of girth, wheeled heavily
To roll the routes along.
SPIRIT OF THE YEARS
Enough, and more, of inventories and names!
Many will fail; many earn doubtful fames.
Await the fruitage of their acts and aims.
DUMB SHOW (continuing)
In the spacious scene visible the far-separated groups of
transports, convoyed by battleships, float on before the wind
almost imperceptibly, like preened duck-feathers across a pond.
The southernmost expedition, under SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY, soon
comes to anchor within the Bay of Mondego aforesaid, and the
soldiery are indefinitely discernible landing upon the beach
from boats. Simultaneously the division commanded by MOORE, as
yet in the Chops of the channel, is seen to be beaten back by
contrary winds. It gallantly puts to sea again, and being joined
by the division under ANSTRUTHER that has set out from Plymouth,
labours round Ushant, and stands to the south in the track of
WELLESLEY. The rearward transports do the same.
A moving stratum of summer cloud beneath the point of view covers
up the spectacle like an awning.
ST. CLOUD. THE BOUDOIR OF JOSEPHINE
[It is the dusk of evening in the latter summer of this year,
and from the windows at the back of the stage, which are still
uncurtained, can be seen the EMPRESS with NAPOLEON and some
ladies and officers of the Court playing Catch-me-if-you-can by
torchlight on the lawn. The moving torches throw bizarre lights
and shadows into the apartment, where only a remote candle or two
Enter JOSEPHINE and NAPOLEON together, somewhat out of breath.
With careless suppleness she slides down on a couch and fans
herself. Now that the candle-rays reach her they show her mellow
complexion, her velvety eyes with long lashes, mouth with pointed
corners and excessive mobility beneath its _duvet_, and curls of
dark hair pressed down upon the temples by a gold band.
The EMPEROR drops into a seat near her, and they remain in silence
till he jumps up, knocks over some nicknacks with his elbow, and
begins walking about the boudoir.]
NAPOLEON (with sudden gloom)
These mindless games are very well, my friend;
But ours to-night marks, not improbably,
The last we play together.
Can you say it!
Why raise that ghastly nightmare on me now,
When, for a moment, my poor brain had dreams
Denied it all the earlier anxious day?
Things that verge nigh, my simple Josephine,
Are not shoved off by wilful winking at.
Better quiz evils with too strained an eye
Than have them leap from disregarded lairs.
Maybe 'tis true, and you shall have it so!--
Yet there's no joy save sorrow waived awhile.
Ha, ha! That's like you. Well, each day by day
I get sour news. Each hour since we returned
From this queer Spanish business at Bayonne,
I have had nothing else; and hence by brooding.
But all went well throughout our touring-time?
Not so--behind the scenes. Our arms a Baylen
Have been smirched badly. Twenty thousand shamed
All through Dupont's ill-luck! The selfsame day
My brother Joseph's progress to Madrid
Was glorious as a sodden rocket's fizz!
Since when his letters creak with querulousness.
"Napoleon el chico" 'tis they call him--
"Napoleon the Little," so he says.
Then notice Austria. Much looks louring there,
And her sly new regard for England grows.
The English, next, have shipped an army down
To Mondego, under one Wellesley,
A man from India, and his march is south
To Lisbon, by Vimiero. On he'll go
And do the devil's mischief ere he is met
By unaware Junot, and chevyed back
To English fogs and fumes!
My dearest one,
You have mused on worse reports with better grace
Full many and many a time. Ah--there is more! . . .
I know; I know!
NAPOLEON (kicking away a stool)
There is, of course; that worm
Time ever keeps in hand for gnawing me!--
The question of my dynasty--which bites
Closer and closer as the years wheel on.
Of course it's that! For nothing else could hang
My lord on tenterhooks through nights and days;--
Or rather, not the question, but the tongues
That keep the question stirring. Nought recked you
Of throne-succession or dynastic lines
When gloriously engaged in Italy!
I was your fairy then: they labelled me
Your Lady of Victories; and much I joyed,
Till dangerous ones drew near and daily sowed
These choking tares within your fecund brain,--
Making me tremble if a panel crack,
Or mouse but cheep, or silent leaf sail down,
And murdering my melodious hours with dreads
That my late happiness, and my late hope,
Will oversoon be knelled!
NAPOLEON (genially nearing her)
But years have passed since first we talked of it,
And now, with loss of dear Hortense's son
Who won me as my own, it looms forth more.
And selfish 'tis in my good Josephine
To blind her vision to the weal of France,
And this great Empire's solidarity.
The grandeur of your sacrifice would gild
Your life's whole shape.
Were I as coarse a wife
As I am limned in English caricature--
(Those cruel effigies they draw of me!)--
You could not speak more aridly.
You know, my comrade, how I love you still
Were there a long-notorious dislike
Betwixt us, reason might be in your dreads
But all earth knows our conjugality.
There's not a bourgeois couple in the land
Who, should dire duty rule their severance,
Could part with scanter scandal than could we.
Nevertheless there's one.
A scandal? What?
Madame Walewska! How could you pretend
When, after Jena, I'd have come to you,
"The weather was so wild, the roads so rough,
That no one of my sex and delicate nerve
Could hope to face the dangers and fatigues."
Yes--so you wrote me, dear. They hurt not her!
She was a week's adventure--not worth words!
I say 'tis France.--I have held out for years
Against the constant pressure brought on me
To null this sterile marriage.
JOSEPHINE (bursting into sobs)
Me you blame!
But how know you that you are not the culprit?
I have reason so to know--if I must say.
The Polish lady you have chosen to name
Has proved the fault not mine. (JOSEPHINE sobs more violently.)
Don't cry, my cherished;
It is not really amiable of you,
Or prudent, my good little Josephine,
With so much in the balance.
What may not happen! Wait a--little longer!
NAPOLEON (playfully pinching her arm)
O come, now, my adored! Haven't I already!
Nature's a dial whose shade no hand puts back,
Trick as we may! My friend, you are forty-three
This very year in the world-- (JOSEPHINE breaks out sobbing again.)
And in vain it is
To think of waiting longer; pitiful
To dream of coaxing shy fecundity
To an unlikely freak by physicking
With superstitious drugs and quackeries
That work you harm, not good. The fact being so,
I have looked it squarely down--against my heart!
Solicitations voiced repeatedly
At length have shown the soundness of their shape,
And left me no denial. You, at times,
My dear one, have been used to handle it.
My brother Joseph, years back, frankly gave
His honest view that something should be done;
And he, you well know, shows no ill tinct
In his regard of you.
And what princess?
For wiving with? No thought was given to that,
She shapes as vaguely as the Veiled--
It's Alexander's sister, I'm full sure!--
But why this craze for home-made manikins
And lineage mere of flesh? You have said yourself
It mattered not. Great Caesar, you declared,
Sank sonless to his rest; was greater deemed
Even for the isolation. Frederick
Saw, too, no heir. It is the fate of such,
Often, to be denied the common hope
As fine for fulness in the rarer gifts
That Nature yields them. O my husband long,
Will you not purge your soul to value best
That high heredity from brain to brain
Which supersedes mere sequence of blood,
That often vary more from sire to son
Than between furthest strangers! . . .
Napoleon's offspring in his like must lie;
The second of his line be he who shows
Napoleon's soul in later bodiment,
The household father happening as he may!
NAPOLEON (smilingly wiping her eyes)
Little guessed I my dear would prove her rammed
With such a charge of apt philosophy
When tutoring me gay arts in earlier times!
She who at home coquetted through the years
In which I vainly penned her wishful words
To come and comfort me in Italy,
Might, faith, have urged it then effectually!
But never would you stir from Paris joys, (With some bitterness.)
And so, when arguments like this could move me,
I heard them not; and get them only now
When their weight dully falls. But I have said
'Tis not for me, but France--Good-bye an hour. (Kissing her.)
I must dictate some letters. This new move
Of England on Madrid may mean some trouble.
Come, dwell not gloomily on this cold need
Of waiving private joy for policy.
We are but thistle-globes on Heaven's high gales,
And whither blown, or when, or how, or why,
Can choose us not at all! . . .
I'll come to you anon, dear: staunch Roustan
Will light me in.
[Exit NAPOLEON. The scene shuts in shadow.]
[A village among the hills of Portugal, about fifty miles north
of Lisbon. Around it are disclosed, as ten on Sunday morning
strikes, a blue army of fourteen thousand men in isolated columns,
and red army of eighteen thousand in line formation, drawn up in
order of battle. The blue army is a French one under JUNOT; the
other an English one under SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY--portion of that
The August sun glares on the shaven faces, white gaiters, and
white cross-belts of the English, who are to fight for their
lives while sweating under a quarter-hundredweight in knapsack
and pouches, and with firelocks heavy as putlogs. They occupy
a group of heights, but their position is one of great danger,
the land abruptly terminating two miles behind their backs in
lofty cliffs overhanging the Atlantic. The French occupy the
valleys in the English front, and this distinction between the
two forces strikes the eye--the red army is accompanied by scarce
any cavalry, while the blue is strong in that area.]
The battle is begun with alternate moves that match each other like
those of a chess opening. JUNOT makes an oblique attack by moving
a division to his right; WELLESLEY moves several brigades to his
left to balance it.
A column of six thousand French then climbs the hill against the
English centre, and drives in those who are planted there. The
English artillery checks its adversaries, and the infantry recover
and charge the baffled French down the slopes. Meanwhile the
latter's cavalry and artillery are attacking the village itself,
and, rushing on a few squadrons of English dragoons stationed there,
cut them to pieces. A dust is raised by this ado, and moans of men
and shrieks of horses are heard. Close by the carnage the little
Maceira stream continues to trickle unconcernedly to the sea.
On the English left five thousand French infantry, having ascended
to the ridge and maintained a stinging musket-fire as sharply
returned, are driven down by the bayonets of six English regiments.
Thereafter a brigade of the French, the northernmost, finding that
the others have pursued to the bottom and are resting after the
effort, surprise them and bayonet them back to their original summit.
The see-saw is continued by the recovery of the English, who again
drive their assailants down.
The French army pauses stultified, till, the columns uniting, they
fall back toward the opposite hills. The English, seeing that their
chance has come, are about to pursue and settle the fortunes of the
day. But a messenger dispatched from a distant group is marked
riding up to the large-nosed man with a telescope and an Indian
sword who, his staff around him, has been directing the English
movements. He seems astonished at the message, appears to resent
it, and pauses with a gloomy look. But he sends countermands to his
generals, and the pursuit ends abortively.
The French retreat without further molestation by a circuitous march
into the great road to Torres Vedras by which they came, leaving
nearly two thousand dead and wounded on the slopes they have quitted.
Dumb Show ends and the curtain draws.
SPAIN. A ROAD NEAR ASTORGA
[The eye of the spectator rakes the road from the interior of a
cellar which opens upon it, and forms the basement of a deserted
house, the roof doors, and shutters of which have been pulled down
and burnt for bivouac fires. The season is the beginning of
January, and the country is covered with a sticky snow. The road
itself is intermittently encumbered with heavy traffic, the surface
being churned to a yellow mud that lies half knee-deep, and at the
numerous holes in the track forming still deeper quagmires.
In the gloom of the cellar are heaps of damp straw, in which
ragged figures are lying half-buried, many of the men in the
uniform of English regiments, and the women and children in clouts
of all descriptions, some being nearly naked. At the back of the
cellar is revealed, through a burst door, an inner vault, where
are discernible some wooden-hooped wine-casks; in one sticks a
gimlet, and the broaching-cork of another has been driven in.
The wine runs into pitchers, washing-basins, shards, chamber-
vessels, and other extemporized receptacles. Most of the inmates
are drunk; some to insensibility.
So far as the characters are doing anything they are contemplating
almost incessant traffic outside, passing in one direction. It
includes a medley of stragglers from the Marquis of ROMANA'S
Spanish forces and the retreating English army under SIR JOHN
MOORE--to which the concealed deserters belong.]
Now he's one of the Eighty-first, and I'd gladly let that poor blade
know that we've all that man can wish for here--good wine and buxom
women. But if I do, we shan't have room for ourselves--hey?
[He signifies a man limping past with neither fire-lock nor
knapsack. Where the discarded knapsack has rubbed for weeks
against his shoulder-blades the jacket and shirt are fretted
away, leaving his skin exposed.]
He may be the Eighty-firsht, or th' Eighty-second; but what I say is,
without fear of contradiction, I wish to the Lord I was back in old
Bristol again. I'd sooner have a nipperkin of our own real "Bristol
milk" than a mash-tub full of this barbarian wine!
'Tis like thee to be ungrateful, after putting away such a skinful
on't. I am as much Bristol as thee, but would as soon be here as
there. There ain't near such willing women, that are strict
respectable too, there as hereabout, and no open cellars.-- As
there's many a slip in this country I'll have the rest of my
[He crawls on his elbows to one of the barrels, and turning on his
back lets the wine run down his throat.]
FORTH DESERTER (to a fifth, who is snoring)
Don't treat us to such a snoaching there, mate. Here's some more
coming, and they'll sight us if we don't mind!
[Enter without a straggling flock of military objects, some with
fragments of shoes on, others bare-footed, many of the latter's
feet bleeding. The arms and waists of some are clutched by women
as tattered and bare-footed as themselves. They pass on.
The Retreat continues. More of ROMANA'S Spanish limp along in
disorder; then enters a miscellaneous group of English cavalry
soldiers, some on foot, some mounted, the rearmost of the latter
bestriding a shoeless foundered creature whose neck is vertebrae
and mane only. While passing it falls from exhaustion; the trooper
extricates himself and pistols the animal through the head. He
and the rest pass on.]
FIRST DESERTER (a new plashing of feet being heard)
Here's something more in order, or I am much mistaken. He cranes
out.) Yes, a sergeant of the Forty-third, and what's left of their
second battalion. And, by God, not far behind I see shining helmets.
'Tis a whole squadron of French dragoons!
[Enter the sergeant. He has a racking cough, but endeavours, by
stiffening himself up, to hide how it is wasting away his life.
He halts, and looks back, till the remains of the Forty-third are
abreast, to the number of some three hundred, about half of whom
are crippled invalids, the other half being presentable and armed
Now show yer nerve, and be men. If you die to-day you won't have to
die to-morrow. Fall in! (The miscellany falls in.) All invalids and
men without arms march ahead as well as they can. Quick--maw-w-w-ch!
(Exeunt invalids, etc.) Now! Tention! Shoulder-r-r--fawlocks! (Order
[The sergeant hastily forms these into platoons, who prime and load,
and seem preternaturally changed from what they were into alert
Enter French dragoons at the left-back of the scene. The rear
platoon of the Forty-third turns, fires, and proceeds. The next
platoon covering them does the same. This is repeated several