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The Hunchback by James Sheridan Knowles

Part 2 out of 3

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Wal. You're right.

Julia. His rank and wealth are roots to doubt;
And while they lasted, still the weed would grow,
Howe'er you plucked it. No! That's o'er--that's done.
Was never lady wronged so foul as I! [Weeps.]

Wal. Thou'rt to be pitied.

Julia. [Aroused.] Pitied! Not so bad
As that.

Wal. Indeed thou art, to love the man
That spurns thee!

Julia. Love him! Love! If hate could find
A word more harsh than its own name, I'd take it,
To speak the love I bear him! [Weeps.]

Wal. Write thy own name,
And show him how near akin thy hate's to hate.

Julia. [Writes.] 'Tis done!

Wal. 'Tis well! I'll come to you anon! [Goes out.]

Julia. [Alone.] I'm glad 'tis done! I'm very glad 'tis done!
I've done the thing I ought. From my disgrace
This lord shall lift me 'bove the reach of scorn -
That idly wags its tongue, where wealth and state
Need only beckon to have crowds to laud!
Then how the tables change! The hand he spurned
His betters take! Let me remember that!
I'll grace my rank! I will! I'll carry it
As I was born to it! I warrant none
Shall say it fits me not:- but, one and all
Confess I wear it bravely, as I ought!
And he shall hear it! Ay, and he shall see it!
I will roll by him in an equipage
Would mortgage his estate--but he shall own
His slight of me was my advancement! Love me!
He never loved me! if he had, he ne'er
Had given me up! Love's not a spider's web
But fit to mesh a fly--that you can break
By only blowing on't! He never loved me!
He knows not what love is!--or, if he does,
He has not been o'erchary of his peace!
And that he'll find when I'm another's wife,
Lost!--lost to him for ever! Tears again!
Why should I weep for him? Who make their woes.
Deserve them! What have I to do with tears?

[Enter HELEN.]

Helen. News, Julia, news!

Julia. What! is't about Sir Thomas?

Helen. Sir Thomas, say you? He's no more Sir Thomas!
That cousin lives, as heir to whom, his wealth
And title came to him.

Julia. Was he not dead?

Helen. No more than I am dead.

Julia. I would 'twere not so.

Helen. What say you, Julia?

Julia. Nothing!

Helen. I could kiss
That cousin! couldn't you, Julia?

Julia. Wherefore?

Helen. Why
For coming back to life again, as 'twere
Upon his cousin to revenge you.

Julia. Helen!

Helen. Indeed 'tis true. With what a sorry grace
The gentleman will bear himself without
His title! Master Clifford! Have you not
Some token to return him? Some love-letter?
Some brooch? Some pin? Some anything? I'll be
Your messenger, for nothing but the pleasure
Of calling him plain "Master Clifford."

Julia. Helen!

Helen. Or has he aught of thine? Write to him, Julia,
Demanding it! Do, Julia, if you love me;
And I'll direct it in a schoolboy's hand,
As round as I can write, "To Master Clifford."

Julia. Helen!

Helen. I'll think of fifty thousand ways
To mortify him! I've a twentieth cousin,
A care-for-nought, at mischief. Him I'll set,
With twenty other madcaps like himself,
To walk the streets the traitor most frequents
And give him salutation as he passes -
"How do you, Master Clifford?"

Julia. [Highly incensed.] Helen!

Helen. Bless me!

Julia. I hate you, Helen!

[Enter MODUS.]

Mod. Joy for you, fair lady!
Our baronet is now plain gentleman -
And hardly that, not master of the means
To bear himself as such. The kinsman lives
Whose only rumoured death gave wealth to him,
And title. A hard creditor he proves,
Who keeps strict reckoning--will have interest.
As well as principal. A ruined man
Is now Sir Thomas Clifford!

Helen. I'm glad on't.

Mod. And so am I,
A scurvy trick it was
He served you, madam. Use a lady so!
I merely bore with him. I never liked him.

Helen. No more did I. No, never could I think
He looked his title.

Mod. No, nor acted it.
If rightly they report, he ne'er disbursed
To entertain his friends, 'tis broadly said,
A hundred pounds in the year! He was most poor
In the appointments of a man of rank,
Possessing wealth like his. His horses, hacks!
His gentleman, a footman! and his footman,
A groom! The sports that men of quality
And spirit countenance, he kept aloof from,
From scruple of economy, not taste, -
As racing and the like. In brief, he lacked
Those shining points that, more than name, denote
High breeding; and, moreover, was a man
Of very shallow learning.

Julia. Silence, sir!
For shame!

Helen. Why, Julia!

Julia. Speak not to me! Poor!
Most poor! I tell you, sir, he was the making
Of fifty gentlemen--each one of whom
Were more than peer for thee! His title, sir,
Lent him no grace he did not pay it back!
Though it had been the highest of the high,
He would have looked it, felt it, acted it,
As thou couldst ne'er have done! When found you out
You liked him not? It was not ere to-day!
Or that base spirit I must reckon yours
Which smiles where it would scowl--can stoop to hate
And fear to show it! He was your better, sir,
And is!--Ay, is! though stripped of rank and wealth,
His nature's 'bove or fortune's love or spite,
To blazon or to blurr it! [Retires.]

Mod. [To HELEN.] I was told
Much to disparage him--I know not wherefore.

Helen. And so was I, and know as much the cause.

[Enter MASTER WALTER, with parchments.]

Wal. Joy, my Julia!
Impatient love has foresight! Lo you here
The marriage deeds filled up, except a blank
To write your jointure. What you will, my girl!
Is this a lover? Look! Three thousand pounds
Per annum for your private charges! Ha!
There's pin-money! Is this a lover? Mark
What acres, forests, tenements, are taxed
For your revenue; and so set apart,
That finger cannot touch them, save thine own.
Is this a lover? What good fortune's thine!
Thou dost not speak; but, 'tis the way with joy!
With richest heart, it has the poorest tongue!

Mod. What great good fortune's this you speak of, sir?

Wal. A coronet, Master Modus! You behold
The wife elect, sir, of no less a man
Than the new Earl of Rochdale--heir of him
That's recently deceased.

Helen. My dearest Julia,
Much joy to you!

Mod. All good attend you, madam!

Wal. This letter brings excuses from his lordship,
Whose absence it accounts for. He repairs
To his estate in Lancashire, and thither
We follow.

Julia. When, sir?

Wal. Now. This very hour.

Julia. This very hour! O cruel, fatal haste!

Wal. "O cruel, fatal haste!" What meanest thou?
Have I done wrong to do thy bidding, then?
I have done no more. Thou wast an offcast bride,
And wouldst be an affianced one--thou art so!
Thou'dst have the slight that marked thee out for scorn,
Converted to a means of gracing thee -
It is so! If our wishes come too soon,
What can make sure of welcome? In my zeal
To win thee thine, thou know'st, at any time
I'd play the steed, whose will to serve his lord,
With his last breath gives his last bound for him!
Since only noon have I despatched what well
Had kept a brace of clerks, and more, on foot -
And then, perhaps, had been to do again! -
Not finished sure, complete--the compact firm,
As fate itself had sealed it!

Julia. Give you thanks!
Though 'twere my death! my death!

Wal. Thy death! indeed,
For happiness like this, one well might die!
Take thy lord's letter! Well?

[Enter THOMAS, with a letter.]

Thos. This letter, sir,
The gentleman that served Sir Thomas Clifford -
Or him that was Sir Thomas--gave to me
For Mistress Julia.

Julia. Give it me!

[Throwing away the one she holds.]

Wal. [Snatching it.] For what?
Wouldst read it? He's a bankrupt! stripped of title,
House, chattels, lands, and all! A naked bankrupt,
With neither purse, nor trust! Wouldst read his letter?
A beggar! Yea, a very beggar!--fasts, unless
He dines on alms! How durst he send thee a letter!
A fellow cut on this hand, and on that;
Bows and is cut again, and bows again!
Who pays you fifty smiles for half a one, -
And that given grudgingly! To you a letter!
I burst with choler! Thus I treat his letter!

[Tears and throws it on the ground.]

So! I was wrong to let him ruffle me;
He is not worth the spending anger on!
I prithee, Master Modus, use despatch,
And presently make ready for our ride.
You, Helen, to my Julia look--a change
Of dresses will suffice. She must have new ones,
Matches for her new state! Haste, friends. My Julia!
Why stand you poring there upon the ground?
Time flies. Your rise astounds you? Never heed -
You'll play my lady countess like a queen!

[They go out.]


SCENE I.--A Room in the Earl of Rochdale's

[Eater HELEN.]

Helen. I'm weary wandering from room to room;
A castle after all is but a house -
The dullest one when lacking company.
Were I at home, I could be company
Unto myself. I see not Master Walter,
He's ever with his ward. I see not her.
By Master Walter's will she bides alone.
My father stops in town. I can't see him.
My cousin makes his books his company.
I'll go to bed and sleep. No--I'll stay up
And plague my cousin into making love!
For, that he loves me, shrewdly I suspect.
How dull he is that hath not sense to see
What lies before him, and he'd like to find!
I'll change my treatment of him. Cross him, where
Before I used to humour him. He comes,
Poring upon a book. What's that you read?

[Enter MODUS.]

Mod. Latin, sweet cousin.

Helen. 'Tis a naughty tongue,
I fear, and teaches men to lie.

Mod. To lie!

Helen. You study it. You call your cousin sweet,
And treat her as you would a crab. As sour
'Twould seem you think her, as you covet her!
Why how the monster stares, and looks about!
You construe Latin, and can't construe that!

Mod. I never studied women.

Helen. No; nor men.
Else would you better know their ways: nor read
In presence of a lady. [Strikes the book from his hand.]

Mod. Right you say,
And well you served me, cousin, so to strike
The volume from my hand. I own my fault;
So please you--may I pick it up again?
I'll put it in my pocket!

Helen. Pick it up.
He fears me as I were his grandmother!
What is the book?

Mod. 'Tis Ovid's Art of Love.

Helen. That Ovid was a fool!

Mod. In what?

Helen. In that:
To call that thing an art, which art is none.

Mod. And is not love an art?

Helen. Are you a fool,
As well as Ovid? Love an art! No art
But taketh time and pains to learn. Love comes
With neither! Is't to hoard such grain as that,
You went to college? Better stay at home,
And study homely English.

Mod. Nay, you know not
The argument.

Helen. I don't? I know it better
Than ever Ovid did! The face--the form -
The heart--the mind we fancy, cousin; that's
The argument! Why, cousin, you know nothing.
Suppose a lady were in love with thee:
Couldst thou by Ovid, cousin, find it out?
Couldst find it out, wast thou in love thyself?
Could Ovid, cousin, teach thee to make love?
I could, that never read him! You begin
With melancholy; then to sadness; then
To sickness; then to dying--but not die!
She would not let thee, were she of my mind!
She'd take compassion on thee. Then for hope;
From hope to confidence; from confidence
To boldness;--then you'd speak; at first entreat;
Then urge; then flout; then argue; then enforce;
Make prisoner of her hand; besiege her waist;
Threaten her lips with storming; keep thy word
And carry her! My sampler 'gainst thy Ovid!
Why cousin, are you frightened, that you stand
As you were stricken dumb? The case is clear,
You are no soldier. You'll ne'er win a battle.
You care too much for blows!

Mod. You wrong me there,
At school I was the champion of my form;
And since I went to college -

Helen. That for college!

Mod. Nay, hear me!

Helen. Well? What, since you went to college?
You know what men are set down for, who boast
Of their own bravery! Go on, brave cousin:
What, since you went to college? Was there not
One Quentin Halworth there? You know there was,
And that he was your master!

Mod. He my master!
Thrice was he worsted by me.

Helen. Still was he
Your master.

Mod. He allowed I had the best!
Allowed it, mark me! nor to me alone,
But twenty I could name.

Helen. And mastered you
At last! Confess it, cousin, 'tis the truth!
A proctor's daughter you did both affect -
Look at me and deny it! Of the twain
She more affected you;--I've caught you now,
Bold cousin! Mark you? opportunity
On opportunity she gave you, sir -
Deny it if you can!--but though to others,
When you discoursed of her, you were a flame;
To her you were a wick that would not light,
Though held in the very fire! And so he won her -
Won her, because he wooed her like a man.
For all your cuffings, cuffing you again
With most usurious interest. Now, sir,
Protest that you are valiant!

Mod. Cousin Helen!

Helen. Well, sir?

Mod. The tale is all a forgery!

Helen. A forgery!

Mod. From first to last; ne'er spoke I
To a proctor's daughter while I was at college.

Helen. 'Twas a scrivener's then--or somebody's.
But what concerns it whose?
Enough, you loved her!
And, shame upon you, let another take her!

Mod. Cousin, I'll tell you, if you'll only hear me,
I loved no woman while I was at college -
Save one, and her I fancied ere I went there.

Helen. Indeed! Now I'll retreat, if he's advancing.
Comes he not on! O what a stock's the man!
Well, cousin?

Mod. Well! What more wouldst have me say?
I think I've said enough.

Helen. And so think I.
I did but jest with you. You are not angry?
Shake hands! Why, cousin, do you squeeze me so?

Mod. [Letting her go.] I swear I squeezed you not.

Helen. You did not?

Mod. No. I'll die if I did!

Helen. Why then you did not, cousin,
So let's shake hands again -
[He takes her hand as before.] O go and now
Read Ovid! Cousin, will you tell me one thing:
Wore lovers ruffs in Master Ovid's time?
Behoved him teach them, then, to put them on; -
And that you have to learn. Hold up your head!
Why, cousin, how you blush! Plague on the ruff!
I cannot give't a set. You're blushing still!
Why do you blush, dear cousin? So!--'twill beat me!
I'll give it up.

Mod. Nay, prithee, don't--try on!

Helen. And if I do, I fear you'll think me bold.

Mod. For what?

Helen. To trust my face so near to thine.

Mod. I know not what you mean.

Helen. I'm glad you don't!
Cousin, I own right well behaved you are,
Most marvellously well behaved! They've bred
You well at college. With another man
My lips would be in danger! Hang the ruff!

Mod. Nay, give it up, nor plague thyself, dear cousin.

Helen. Dear fool! [Throws the ruff on the ground.]
I swear the ruff is good for just
As little as its master! There!--'Tis spoiled -
You'll have to get another! Hie for it,
And wear it in the fashion of a wisp,
Ere I adjust it for thee! Farewell, cousin!
You'd need to study Ovid's Art of Love.

[HELEN goes out.]

Mod. [Solus.] Went she in anger! I will follow her, -
No, I will not! Heigho! I love my cousin!
O would that she loved me! Why did she taunt me
With backwardness in love? What could she mean?
Sees she I love her, and so laughs at me,
Because I lack the front to woo her? Nay,
I'll woo her then! Her lips shall be in danger,
When next she trusts them near me! Looked she at me
To-day as never did she look before!
A bold heart, Master Modus! 'Tis a saying
A faint one never won fair lady yet!
I'll woo my cousin, come what will on't. Yes:

[Begins reading again, throws down the book.]

Hang Ovid's Art of Love! I'll woo my cousin!

[Goes out.]

SCENE II.--The Banqueting-room in the Earl of Rochdale's Mansion.


Wal. This is the banqueting-room. Thou seest as far
It leaves the last behind, as that excels
The former ones. All is proportion here
And harmony! Observe! The massy pillars
May well look proud to bear the gilded dome.
You mark those full-length portraits? They're the heads,
The stately heads, of his ancestral line.
Here o'er the feast they haply still preside!
Mark those medallions! Stand they forth or not
In bold and fair relief? Is not this brave?

Julia. [Abstractedly.] It is.

Wal. It should be so. To cheer the blood
That flows in noble veins is made the feast
That gladdens here! You see this drapery?
'Tis richest velvet! Fringe and tassels, gold!
Is not this costly?

Julia. Yes.

Wal. And chaste, the while?
Both chaste and costly?

Julia. Yes.

Wal. Come hither! There's a mirror for you. See!
One sheet from floor to ceiling! Look into it,
Salute its mistress! Dost not know her?

Julia. [Sighing deeply.] Yes.

Wal. And sighest thou to know her? Wait until
To-morrow, when the banquet shall be spread
In the fair hall; the guests--already bid,
Around it; here, her lord; and there, herself;
Presiding o'er the cheer that hails him bridegroom,
And her the happy bride! Dost hear me?

Julia. [Sighing still more deeply.] Yes.

Wal. These are the day-rooms only, we have seen.
For public and domestic uses kept.
I'll show you now the lodging-rooms.

[Goes, then turns and observes JULIA standing perfectly abstracted.]

You're tired.
Let it be till after dinner, then. Yet one
I'd like thee much to see--the bridal chamber.

[JULIA starts, crosses her hands upon her breast, and looks

I see you're tired: yet it is worth the viewing,
If only for the tapestry which shows
The needle like the pencil glows with life;

[Brings down chairs--they sit.]

The story's of a page who loved the dame
He served--a princess!--Love's a heedless thing!
That never takes account of obstacles;
Makes plains of mountains, rivulets of seas,
That part it from its wish. So proved the page,
Who from a state so lowly, looked so high, -
But love's a greater lackwit still than this.
Say it aspires--that's gain! Love stoops--that's loss!
You know what comes. The princess loved the page.
Shall I go on, or here leave off?

Julia. Go on.

Wal. Each side of the chamber shows a different stage
Of this fond page, and fonder lady's love. {2}
First--no, it is not that.

Julia. Oh, recollect!

Wal. And yet it is.

Julia. No doubt it is. What is 't?

Wal. He holds to her a salver, with a cup;
His cheeks more mantling with his passion than
The cup with the ruby wine. She heeds him not,
For too great heed of him:- but seems to hold
Debate betwixt her passion and her pride -
That's like to lose the day. You read it in
Her vacant eye, knit brow, and parted lips,
Which speak a heart too busy all within
To note what's done without. Like you the tale?

Julia. I list to every word.

Wal. The next side paints
The page upon his knee. He has told his tale;
And found that when he lost his heart, he played
No losing game: but won a richer one!
There may you read in him, how love would seem
Most humble when most bold,--you question which
Appears to kiss her hand--his breath, or lips!
In her you read how wholly lost is she
Who trusts her heart to love. Shall I give o'er?

Julia. Nay, tell it to the end. Is't melancholy?

Wal. To answer that, would mar the story.

Julia. Right.

Wal. The third side now we come to.

Julia. What shows that?

Wal. The page and princess still. But stands her sire
Between them. Stern he grasps his daughter's arm,
Whose eyes like fountains play; while through her tears
Her passion shines, as through the fountain drops
The sun! His minions crowd around the page!
They drag him to a dungeon.

Julia. Hapless youth!

Wal. Hapless indeed, that's twice a captive! heart
And body both in bonds. But that's the chain,
Which balance cannot weigh, rule measure, touch
Define the texture of, or eye detect,
That's forged by the subtle craft of love!
No need to tell you that he wears it. Such
The cunning of the hand that plied the loom,
You've but to mark the straining of his eye,
To feel the coil yourself!

Julia. I feel't without!
You've finished with the third side; now the fourth!

Wal. It brings us to a dungeon, then.

Julia. The page,
The thrall of love, more than the dungeon's thrall,
Is there?

Wal. He is. He lies in fetters.

Julia. Hard!
Hard as the steel, the hands that put them on.

Wal. Some one unrivets them!

Julia. The princess? 'Tis!

Wal. It is another page.

Julia. It is herself!

Wal. Her skin is fair; and his is berry-brown.
His locks are raven black; and hers are gold.

Julia. Love's cunning of disguises! spite of locks,
Skin, vesture,--it is she, and only she
What will not constant woman do for love
That's loved with constancy! Set her the task,
Virtue approving, that will baffle her!
O'ertax her stooping, patience, courage, wit!
My life upon it, 'tis the princess' self,
Transformed into a page!

Wal. The dungeon door
Stands open, and you see beyond -

Julia. Her father!

Wal. No; a steed.

Julia. [Starting up.] O, welcome steed,
My heart bounds at the thought of thee! Thou comest
To bear the page from bonds to liberty.
What else?

Wal. [Rising.] The story's told.

Julia. Too briefly told;
O happy princess, that had wealth and state
To lay them down for love! Whose constant love
Appearances approved, not falsified!
A winner in thy loss, as well as gain.

Wal. Weighs love so much?

Julia. What would you weigh 'gainst love
That's true? Tell me with what you'd turn the scale?
Yea, make the index waver? Wealth? A feather!
Rank? Tinsel against bullion in the balance!
The love of kindred? That to set 'gainst love!
Friendship comes nearest to't; but put it in,
Friendship will kick the beam!--weigh nothing 'gainst it!
Weigh love against the world!
Yet are they happy that have naught to say to it.

Wal. And such a one art thou. Who wisely wed,
Wed happily. The love thou speak'st of,
A flower is only, that its season has,
Which they must look to see the withering of,
Who pleasure in its budding and its bloom!
But wisdom is the constant evergreen
Which lives the whole year through! Be that, your flower!

[Enter a Servant.]


Serv. My lord's secretary is without.
He brings a letter for her ladyship,
And craves admittance to her.

Wal. Show him in.

Julia. No.

Wal. Thou must see him. To show slight to him,
Were slighting him that sent him. Show him in!

[Servant goes out.]

Some errand proper for thy private ear,
Besides the letter he may bring. What mean
This paleness and this trembling? Mark me, Julia!
If, from these nuptials, which thyself invited -
Which at thy seeking came--thou wouldst be freed,
Thou hast gone too far! Receding were disgrace,
Sooner than see thee suffer which, the hearts
That love thee most would wish thee dead! Reflect!
Take thought! collect thyself! With dignity
Receive thy bridegroom's messenger! for sure
As dawns to-morrow's sun, to-morrow night
Sees thee a wedded bride!

[Goes out.]

Julia. [Alone.] A wedded bride!
Is it a dream? Is it a phantasm? 'Tis
Too horrible for reality! for aught else
Too palpable! O would it were a dream!
How would I bless the sun that waked me from it!
I perish! Like some desperate mariner
Impatient of a strange and hostile land,
Who rashly hoists his sail and puts to sea,
And being fast on reefs and quicksands borne,
Essays in vain once more to make the land,
Whence wind and current drive him; I'm wrecked
By mine own act! What! no escape? no hope?
None! I must e'en abide these hated nuptials!
Hated!--Ah! own it, and then curse thyself!
That madest the bane thou loathest--for the love
Thou bear'st to one who never can be thine!
Yes--love! Deceive thyself no longer. False
To say 'tis pity for his fall--respect,
Engendered by a hollow world's disdain,
Which hoots whom fickle fortune cheers no more!
'Tis none of these; 'tis love--and if not love,
Why then idolatry! Ay, that's the name
To speak the broadest, deepest, strongest passion,
That ever woman's heart was borne away by!
He comes! Thou'dst play the lady,--play it now!

[Enter a Servant, conducting CLIFFORD, plainly attired as the EARL
OF ROCHDALE'S Secretary.]

Servant. His lordship's secretary.

[Servant goes out.]

Julia. Speaks he not? Or does he wait for orders to unfold
His business? Stopped his business till I spoke,
I'd hold my peace for ever!

[CLIFFORD kneels; presenting a letter.]

Does he kneel?
A lady am I to my heart's content!
Could he unmake me that which claims his knee,
I'd kneel to him--I would! I would!--Your will?

Clif. This letter from my lord.

Julia. O fate! Who speaks?

Clif. The secretary of my lord.

Julia. I breathe!
I could have sworn 'twas he!

[Makes an effort to look at him, but is unable.]

So like the voice -
I dare not look, lest there the form should stand!
How came he by that voice? 'Tis Clifford's voice,
If ever Clifford spoke! My fears come back -
Clifford the secretary of my lord!
Fortune hath freaks, but none so mad as that!
It cannot be!--It should not be!--A look,
And all were set at rest.

[Tries to look at him again, but cannot.]

So strong my fears,
Dread to confirm them takes away the power
To try and end them! Come the worst, I'll look.

[She tries again; and again is unequal to the task.]

I'd sink before him if I met his eye!

Clif. Will't please your ladyship to take the letter?
Julia. There Clifford speaks again! Not Clifford's heart
Could more make Clifford's voice! Not Clifford's tongue
And lips more frame it into Clifford's speech!
A question, and 'tis over! Know I you?

Clif. Reverse of fortune, lady, changes friends;
It turns them into strangers. What I am
I have not always been!

Julia. Could I not name you?

Clif. If your disdain for one, perhaps too bold
When hollow fortune called him favourite, -
Now by her fickleness perforce reduced
To take an humble tone, would suffer you -

Julia. I might?

Clif. You might!

Julia. Oh, Clifford! is it you?

Clif. Your answer to my lord.

[Gives the letter.]

Julia. Your lord!

[Mechanically taking it.]

Clif. Wilt write it?
Or, will it please you send a verbal one?
I'll bear it faithfully.

Julia. You'll bear it?

Clif. Madam,
Your pardon, but my haste is somewhat urgent.
My lord's impatient, and to use despatch
Were his repeated orders.

Julia. Orders? Well,
I'll read the letter, sir. 'Tis right you mind
His lordship's orders. They are paramount!
Nothing should supersede them!--stand beside them!
They merit all your care, and have it! Fit,
Most fit, they should! Give me the letter, sir.

Clif. You have it, madam.

Julia. So! How poor a thing
I look! so lost, while he is all himself!
Have I no pride?

[She rings, the Servant enters.]

Paper, and pen, and ink!
If he can freeze, 'tis time that I grow cold!
I'll read the letter.

[Opens it, and holds it as about to read it.]

Mind his orders! So!
Quickly he fits his habits to his fortunes!
He serves my lord with all his will! His heart's
In his vocation. So! Is this the letter?
'Tis upside down--and here I'm poring on't!
Most fit I let him see me play the fool!
Shame! Let me be myself!

[A Servant enters with materials for writing.]

A table, sir,
And chair.

[The Servant brings a table and chair, and goes out. She sits a
while, vacantly gazing on the letter--then looks at CLIFFORD.]

How plainly shows his humble suit!
It fits not him that wears it! I have wronged him!
He can't be happy--does not look it!--is not.
That eye which reads the ground is argument
Enough! He loves me. There I let him stand,
And I am sitting!

[Rises, takes a chair, and approaches CLIFFORD.]

Pray you take a chair.

[He bows, as acknowledging and declining the honour. She looks at
him a while.]

Clifford, why don't you speak to me?

[She weeps.]

Clif. I trust
You're happy.

Julia. Happy! Very, very happy!
You see I weep, I am so happy! Tears
Are signs, you know, of naught but happiness!
When first I saw you, little did I look
To be so happy!--Clifford!

Clif. Madam?

Julia. Madam!
I call thee Clifford, and thou call'st me madam!

Clif. Such the address my duty stints me to.
Thou art the wife elect of a proud Earl,
Whose humble secretary, sole, am I.

Julia. Most right! I had forgot! I thank you, sir,
For so reminding me; and give you joy,
That what, I see, had been a burthen to you,
Is fairly off your hands.

Clif. A burthen to me!
Mean you yourself? Are you that burthen, Julia?
Say that the sun's a burthen to the earth!
Say that the blood's a burthen to the heart!
Say health's a burthen, peace, contentment, joy,
Fame, riches, honours! everything that man
Desires, and gives the name of blessing to
E'en such a burthen, Julia were to me,
Had fortune let me wear her.

Julia. [Aside.] On the brink
Of what a precipice I'm standing! Back,
Back! while the faculty remains to do't!
A minute longer, not the whirlpool's self
More sure to suck me down! One effort! There!

[She returns to her seat, recovers her self-possession, takes up the
letter, and reads.]

To wed to-morrow night! Wed whom? A man
Whom I can never love! I should before
Have thought of that. To-morrow night! This hour
To-morrow! How I tremble! Happy bands
To which my heart such freezing welcome gives,
As sends an ague through me! At what means
Will not the desperate snatch! What's honour's price?
Nor friends, nor lovers,--no, nor life itself!
Clifford! This moment leave me!

[CLIFFORD retires up the stage out of JULIA'S sight.]

Is he gone?
O docile lover! Do his mistress' wish
That went against his own! Do it so soon
Ere well 'twas uttered! No good-bye to her!
No word! no look! 'Twas best that he so went!
Alas, the strait of her, who owns that best,
Which last she'd wish were done? What's left me now?
To weep! To weep!

[Leans her head upon her arm, which rests upon the desk,--her other
arm hanging listlessly at her side. CLIFFORD comes down the stage,
looks a moment at her, approaches her, and kneeling, takes her

Clif. My Julia!

Julia. Here again!
Up! up! By all thy hopes of Heaven, go hence!
To stay's perdition to me! Look you, Clifford!
Were there a grave where thou art kneeling now,
I'd walk into 't, and be inearthed alive,
Ere taint should touch my name! Should some one come
And see thee kneeling thus! Let go my hand!
Remember, Clifford, I'm a promised bride -
And take thy arm away! It has no right
To clasp my waist! Judge you so poorly of me,
As think I'll suffer this? My honour, sir!

[She breaks from him, quitting her seat.]

I'm glad you've forced me to respect myself -
You'll find that I can do so!

Clif. I was bold -
Forgetful of your station and my own;
There was a time I held your hand unchid!
There was a time I might have clasped your waist -
I had forgot that time was past and gone!
I pray you, pardon me!

Julia. [Softened.] I do so, Clifford.

Clif. I shall no more offend.

Julia. Make sure of that.
No longer is it fit thou keep'st thy post
In's lordship's household. Give it up! A day -
An hour remain not in it!

Clif. Wherefore?

Julia. Live
In the same house with me, and I another's?
Put miles, put leagues between us! The same land
Should not contain us. Oceans should divide us -
With barriers of constant tempests--such
As mariners durst not tempt! O Clifford!
Rash was the act so light that gave me up,
That stung a woman's pride, and drove her mad -
Till in her frenzy she destroyed her peace!
Oh, it was rashly done! Had you reproved -
Expostulated,--had you reasoned with me -
Tried to find out what was indeed my heart, -
I would have shown it--you'd have seen it. All
Had been as naught can ever be again!

Clif. Lovest thou me, Julia?

Julia. Dost thou ask me, Clifford?

Clif. These nuptials may be shunned! -

Julia. With honour?

Clif. Yes!

Julia. Then take me!--Stop--hear me, and take me then!
Let not thy passion be my counsellor!
Deal with me, Clifford, as my brother. Be
The jealous guardian of my spotless name!
Scan thou my cause as 'twere thy sister's. Let
Thy scrutiny o'erlook no point of it, -
Nor turn it over once, but many a time:-
That flaw, speck--yea,--the shade of one,--a soil
So slight, not one out of a thousand eyes
Could find it out, may not escape thee; then
Say if these nuptials can be shunned with honour!

Clif. They can.

Julia. Then take me, Clifford! [They embrace.]

Wal. [Entering.] Ha! What's this?
Ha! treason! What! my baronet that was,
My secretary now? Your servant, sir!
Is't thus you do the pleasure of your lord, -
That for your service feeds you, clothes you, pays you!
Or takest thou but the name of his dependent?
What's here?--a letter. Fifty crowns to one
A forgery! I'm wrong. It is his hand.
This proves thee double traitor!

Clif. Traitor!

Julia. Nay,
Control thy wrath, good Master Walter! Do -
And I'll persuade him to go hence -

[MASTER WALTER retires up the stage.] I see
For me thou bearest this, and thank thee, Clifford!
As thou hast truly shown thy heart to me,
So truly I to thee have opened mine!
Time flies! To-morrow! If thy love can find
A way, such as thou saidst, for my enlargement
By any means thou canst, apprise me of it;
And, soon as shown, I'll take it.

Wal. Is he gone?

Julia. He is this moment. If thou covetest me,
Win me, and wear me! May I trust thee? Oh!
If that's thy soul, that's looking through thine eyes,
Thou lovest me, and I may!--I sicken, lest
I never see thee more

Clif. As life is mine,
The ring that on thy wedding-finger goes
No hand but mine shall place there!

Wal. Lingers he?

Julia. For my sake, now away! And yet a word.
By all thy hopes most dear, be true to me!
Go now!--yet stay! Clifford, while you are here,
I'm like a bark distressed and compassless,
That by a beacon steers; when you're away,
That bark alone and tossing miles at sea!
Now go! Farewell! My compass--beacon--land!
When shall my eyes be blessed with thee again!

Clif. Farewell! [Goes out.]

Julia. Art gone? All's chance--all's care--all's darkness.

[Is led off by MASTER WALTER.]


SCENE I.--An Apartment in the Earl of Rochdale's.

[Enter HELEN and FATHOM.]

Fath. The long and short of it is this--if she marries this lord,
she'll break her heart! I wish you could see her, madam. Poor

Helen. How looks she, prithee?

Fath. Marry, for all the world like a dripping-wet cambric
handkerchief! She has no colour nor strength in her; and does
nothing but weep--poor lady!

Helen. Tell me again what said she to thee?

Fath. She offered me all she was mistress of to take the letter to
Master Clifford. She drew her purse from her pocket--the ring from
her finger--she took her very earrings out of her ears--but I was
forbidden, and refused. And now I'm sorry for it! Poor lady!

Helen. Thou shouldst be sorry. Thou hast a hard heart, Fathom.

Fath. I, madam! My heart is as soft as a woman's. You should have
seen me when I came out of her chamber--poor lady!

Helen. Did you cry?

Fath. No; but I was as near it as possible. I a hard heart! I
would do anything to serve her, poor sweet lady!

Helen. Will you take her letter, asks she you again?

Fath. No--I am forbid.

Helen. Will you help Master Clifford to an interview with her?

Fath. No--Master Walter would find it out.

Helen. Will you contrive to get me into her chamber?

Fath. No--you would be sure to bring me into mischief.

Helen. Go to! You would do nothing to serve her. You a soft
heart! You have no heart at all! You feel not for her!

Fath. But I tell you I do--and good right I have to feel for her.
I have been in love myself.

Helen. With your dinner!

Fath. I would it had been! My pain would soon have been over, and
at little cost. A fortune I squandered upon her!--trinkets--
trimmings--treatings--what swallowed up the revenue of a whole year!
Wasn't I in love? Six months I courted her, and a dozen crowns all
but one did I disburse for her in that time! Wasn't I in love? An
hostler--a tapster--and a constable, courted her at the same time,
and I offered to cudgel the whole three of them for her! Wasn't I
in love?

Helen. You are a valiant man, Fathom.

Fath. Am not I? Walks not the earth the man I am afraid of.

Helen. Fear you not Master Walter?

Fath. No.

Helen. You do!

Fath. I don't!

Helen. I'll prove it to you. You see him breaking your young
mistress's heart, and have not the manhood to stand by her.

Fath. What could I do for her?

Helen. Let her out of prison. It were the act of a man.

Fath. That man am I!

Helen. Well said, brave Fathom!

Fath. But my place!

Helen. I'll provide thee with a better one.

Fath. 'Tis a capital place! So little to do, and so much to get
for't. Six pounds in the year; two suits of livery; shoes and
stockings, and a famous larder. He'd be a bold man that would put
such a place in jeopardy. My place, madam, my place!

Helen. I tell thee I'll provide thee with a better place. Thou
shalt have less to do, and more to get. Now, Fathom, hast thou
courage to stand by thy mistress?

Fath. I have!

Helen. That's right.

Fath. I'll let my lady out.

[Enter MASTER WALTER unperceived.]

Helen. That's right. When, Fathom?

Fath. To-night.

Helen. She is to be married to-night.

Fath. This evening, then. Master Walter is now in the library, the
key is on the outside, and I'll lock him in.

Helen. Excellent! You'll do it?

Fath. Rely upon it. How he'll stare when he finds himself a
prisoner, and my young lady at liberty!

Helen. Most excellent! You'll be sure to do it?

Fath. Depend upon me! When Fathom undertakes a thing, he defies
fire and water -

Wal. [Coming forward.] Fathom!

Fath. Sir!

Wal. Assemble straight the servants.

Fath. Yes, sir!

Wal. Mind,
And have them in the hall when I come down.

Fath. Yes, sir!

Wal. And see you do not stir a step,
But where I order you.

Fath. Not an inch, sir!

Wal. See that you don't--away! So, my fair mistress,

[FATHOM goes out.]

What's this you have been plotting? An escape
For mistress Julia?

Helen. I avow it.

Wal. Do you?

Helen. Yes; and moreover to your face I tell you,
Most hardly do you use her!

Wal. Verily!

Helen. I wonder where's her spirit! Had she mine
She would not take 't so easily. Do you mean
To force this marriage on her?

Wal. With your leave.

Helen. You laugh.

Wal. Without it, then. I don't laugh now.

Helen. If I were she, I'd find a way to escape.

Wal. What would you do?

Helen. I'd leap out of the window!

Wal. Your window should be barred.

Helen. I'd cheat you still! -
I'd hang myself ere I'd be forced to marry!

Wal. Well said! You shall be married, then, tonight.

Helen. Married to-night!

Wal. As sure as I have said it.

Helen. Two words to that. Pray who's to be my bridegroom?

Wal. A daughter's husband is her father's choice.

Helen. My father's daughter ne'er shall wed such husband!

Wal. Indeed!

Helen. I'll pick a husband for myself.

Wal. Indeed!

Helen. Indeed, sir; and indeed again!

Wal. Go dress you for the marriage ceremony.

Helen. But, Master Walter, what is it you mean?

[Enter MODUS.]

Wal. Here comes your cousin;--he shall be your bridesman!
The thought's a sudden one,--that will excuse
Defect in your appointments. A plain dress, -
So 'tis of white,--will do.

Helen. I'll dress in black.
I'll quit the castle.

Wal. That you shall not do.
Its doors are guarded by my lord's domestics,
Its avenues--its grounds. What you must do,
Do with a good grace! In an hour, or less,
Your father will be here. Make up your mind
To take with thankfulness the man he gives you.
Now, [Aside] if they find not out how beat their hearts,
I have no skill, not I, in feeling pulses.

[Goes out.]

Helen. Why, cousin Modus! What! will you stand by
And see me forced to marry? Cousin Modus!
Have you not got a tongue? Have you not eyes?
Do you not see I'm very--very ill,
And not a chair in all the corridor?

Mod. I'll find one in the study.

Helen. Hang the study!

Mod. My room's at hand. I'll fetch one thence.

Helen. You shan't
I'd faint ere you came back!

Mod. What shall I do?

Helen. Why don't you offer to support me? Well?
Give me your arm--be quick! [MODUS offers his arm.]
Is that the way
To help a lady when she's like to faint?
I'll drop unless you catch me! [MODUS supports her.]
That will do.
I'm better now--[MODUS offers to leave her] don't leave me! Is one
Because one's better? Hold my hand. Keep so.
I'll soon recover so you move not. Loves he -


Which I'll be sworn he does, he'll own it now.
Well, cousin Modus?

Mod. Well, sweet cousin!

Helen. Well?
You heard what Master Walter said?

Mod. I did.

Helen. And would you have me marry? Can't you speak?
Say yes or no.

Mod. No, cousin!

Helen. Bravely said!
And why, my gallant cousin?

Mod. Why?

Helen. Ay, why? -
Women, you know, are fond of reasons--why
Would you not have me marry? How you blush!
Is it because you do not know the reason?
You mind me of a story of a cousin
Who once her cousin such a question asked.
He had not been to college, though--for books,
Had passed his time in reading ladies' eyes.
Which he could construe marvellously well,
Though writ in language all symbolical.
Thus stood they once together, on a day -
As we stand now--discoursed as we discourse, -
But with this difference,--fifty gentle words
He spoke to her, for one she spoke to him! -
What a dear cousin! Well, as I did say,
As now I questioned thee, she questioned him.
And what was his reply? To think of it
Sets my heart beating--'twas so kind a one!
So like a cousin's answer--a dear cousin!
A gentle, honest, gallant, loving cousin!
What did he say?--A man might find it out,
Though never read he Ovid's Art of Love -
What did he say? He'd marry her himself!
How stupid are you, cousin! Let me go!

Mod. You are not well yet?

Helen. Yes.

Mod. I'm sure you're not.

Helen. I'm sure I am.

Mod. Nay, let me hold you, cousin! I like it.

Helen. Do you? I would wager you
You could not tell me why you like it. Well?
You see how true I know you! How you stare!
What see you in my face to wonder at?

Mod. A pair of eyes!

Helen. At last he'll find his tongue--[Aside.]
And saw you ne'er a pair of eyes before?

Mod. Not such a pair.

Helen. And why?

Mod. They are so bright!
You have a Grecian nose.

Helen. Indeed.

Mod. Indeed!

Helen. What kind of mouth have I?

Mod. A handsome one. I never saw so sweet a pair of lips!
I ne'er saw lips at all till now, dear cousin!

Helen. Cousin, I'm well,--you need not hold me now.
Do you not hear? I tell you I am well!
I need your arm no longer--take 't away!
So tight it locks me, 'tis with pain I breathe!
Let me go, cousin! Wherefore do you hold
Your face so close to mine? What do you mean?

Mod. You've questioned me, and now I'll question you.

Helen. What would you learn?

Mod. The use of lips.

Helen. To speak.

Mod. Naught else?

Helen. How bold my modest cousin grows!
Why, other use know you?

Mod. I do!

Helen. Indeed!
You're wondrous wise? And pray what is it?

Mod. This! [Attempts to kiss her.]

Helen. Soft! my hand thanks you, cousin--for my lips
I keep them for a husband!--Nay, stand off!
I'll not be held in manacles again!
Why do you follow me?

Mod. I love you, cousin!

Helen. O cousin, say you so! That's passing strange!
Falls out most crossly--is a dire mishap -
A thing to sigh for, weep for, languish for,
And die for!

Mod. Die for!

Helen, Yes, with laughter, cousin,
For, cousin, I love you!

Mod. And you'll be mine?

Helen. I will.

Mod. Your hand upon it.

Helen. Hand and heart.
Hie to thy dressing-room, and I'll to mine -
Attire thee for the altar--so will I.
Whoe'er may claim me, thou'rt the man shall have me.
Away! Despatch! But hark you, ere you go,
Ne'er brag of reading Ovid's Art of Love!

Mod. And cousin! stop--one little word with you!

[She returns, he snatches a kiss--They go out severally.]

SCENE II.--Julia's Chamber.

[Enter JULIA.]

Julia. No word from him, and evening now set in!
He cannot play me false! His messenger
Is dogged--or letter intercepted. I'm
Beset with spies!--No rescue!--No escape! -
The hour at hand that brings my bridegroom home!
No relative to aid me! friend to counsel me.

[A knock at the door.]

Come in.

[Enter two Female Attendants.]

Your will?

First Attendant. Your toilet waits, my lady;
'Tis time you dress.

Julia. 'Tis time I die! [A peal of bells.] What's that?

First Attendant. Your wedding bells, my lady.

Julia. Merrily
They ring my knell!
[Second Attendant presents an open case.]
And pray you what are these?

Second Attendant. Your wedding jewels.

Julia. Set them by.

Second Attendant. Indeed.
Was ne'er a braver set! A necklace, brooch,
And earrings all of brilliants, with a hoop
To guard your wedding ring.

Julia. 'Twould need a guard
That lacks a heart to keep it!

Second Attendant. Here's a heart
Suspended from the necklace--one huge diamond
Imbedded in a host of smaller ones!
Oh! how it sparkles!

Julia. Show it me! Bright heart,
Thy lustre, should I wear thee, will be false, -
For thou the emblem art of love and truth, -
From her that wears thee unto him that gives thee.
Back to thy case! Better thou ne'er shouldst leave it -
Better thy gems a thousand fathoms deep
In their native mine again, than grace my neck,
And lend thy fair face to palm off a lie!

First Attendant. Will't please you dress?

Julia. Ah! in infected clothes
New from a pest-house! Leave me! If I dress,
I dress alone! O for a friend! Time gallops!

[Attendants go out.]

He that should guard me is mine enemy!
Constrains me to abide the fatal die,
My rashness, not my reason cast! He comes,
That will exact the forfeit!--Must I pay it? -
E'en at the cost of utter bankruptcy!
What's to be done? Pronounce the vow that parts
My body from my soul! To what it loathes
Links that, while this is linked to what it loves!
Condemned to such perdition! What's to be done?
Stand at the altar in an hour from this!
An hour thence seated at his board--a wife
Thence!--frenzy's in the thought! What's to be done?


Wal. What! run the waves so high? Not ready yet!
Your lord will soon be here! The guests collect.

Julia. Show me some way to 'scape these nuptials! Do it!
Some opening for avoidance or escape, -
Or to thy charge I'll lay a broken heart!
It may be, broken vows, and blasted honour,
Or else a mind distraught!

Wal. What's this?

Julia. The strait
I'm fallen into my patience cannot bear.
It frights my reason--warps my sense of virtue!
Religion!--changes me into a thing
I look at with abhorring!

Wal. Listen to me.

Julia. Listen to me! If this contract
Thou holdest me to--abide thou the result!
Answer to heaven for what I suffer!--act!
Prepare thyself for such calamity
To fall on me, and those whose evil stars
Have linked them with me, as no past mishap,
However rare, and marvellously sad
Can parallel! lay thy account to live
A smileless life, die an unpitied death -
Abhorred, abandoned of thy kind,--as one
Who had the guarding of a young maid's peace, -
Looked on and saw her rashly peril it;
And when she saw her danger, and confessed
Her fault, compelled her to complete her ruin!

Wal. Hast done?

Julia. Another moment, and I have.
Be warned! Beware how you abandon me
To myself! I'm young, rash, inexperienced! tempted
By most insufferable misery!
Bold, desperate, and reckless! Thou hast age
Experience, wisdom, and collectedness, -
Power, freedom,--everything that I have not,
Yet want, as none e'er wanted! Thou canst save me,
Thou oughtst! thou must! I tell thee at his feet
I'll fall a corse--ere mount his bridal bed!
So choose betwixt my rescue and my grave; -
And quickly too! The hour of sacrifice
Is near! Anon the immolating priest
Will summon me! Devise some speedy means
To cheat the altar of its victim. Do it!
Nor leave the task to me!

Wal. Hast done?

Julia. I have.

Wal. Then list to me--and silently, if not
With patience.--[Brings chairs for himself and her.]
How I watched thee from thy childhood
I'll not recall to thee. Thy father's wisdom -
Whose humble instrument I was--directed
Your nonage should be passed in privacy,
From your apt mind that far outstripped your years,
Fearing the taint of an infected world; -
For, in the rich grounds, weeds once taking root,
Grow strong as flowers. He might be right or wrong!
I thought him right; and therefore did his bidding.
Most certainly he loved you--so did I;
Ay! well as I had been myself your father!

[His hand is resting upon his knee, JULIA attempts to take it--he
withdraws it--looks at her--she hangs her head.]

Well; you may take my hand! I need not say
How fast you grew in knowledge, and in goodness, -
That hope could scarce enjoy its golden dreams
So soon fulfilment realised them all!
Enough. You came to womanhood. Your heart,
Pure as the leaf of the consummate bud,
That's new unfolded by the smiling sun,
And ne'er knew blight nor canker!

[JULIA attempts to place her other hand on his shoulder--he leans
from her--looks at her--she hangs her head again.]

Put it there!
Where left I off? I know! When a good woman
Is fitly mated, she grows doubly good,
How good soe'er before! I found the man
I thought a match for thee; and, soon as found,
Proposed him to thee. 'Twas your father's will,
Occasion offering, you should be married
Soon as you reached to womanhood.--You liked
My choice, accepted him.--We came to town;
Where, by important matter summoned thence,
I left you an affianced bride!

Julia. You did!
You did! [Leans her head upon her hand and weeps.]

Wal. Nay, check thy tears! Let judgment now,
Not passion, be awake. On my return,
I found thee--what? I'll not describe the thing
I found thee then! I'll not describe my pangs
To see thee such a thing! The engineer
Who lays the last stone of his sea-built tower,
It cost him years and years of toil to raise -
And, smiling at it, tells the winds and waves
To roar and whistle now--but, in a night,
Beholds the tempest sporting in its place -
May look aghast, as I did!

Julia. [Falling on her knees.] Pardon me!
Forgive me! pity me!

Wal. Resume thy seat. [Raises her.]
I pity thee; perhaps not thee alone
It fits to sue for pardon.

Julia. Me alone!
None other!

Wal. But to vindicate myself,
I name thy lover's stern desertion of thee.
What wast thou then with wounded pride? A thing
To leap into a torrent! throw itself
From a precipice! rush into a fire! I saw
Thy madness--knew to thwart it were to chafe it -
And humoured it to take that course, I thought,
Adopted, least 'twould rue!

Julia. 'Twas wisely done.

Wal. At least 'twas for the best.

Julia. To blame thee for it
Was adding shame to shame! But Master Walter,
These nuptials!--must they needs go on?

Servant. [Entering.] More guests

Wal. Attend to them. [Servant goes out.]

Julia. Dear Master Walter!
Is there no way to escape these nuptials?

Wal. Know'st not
What with these nuptials comes? Hast thou forgot?

Julia. What?

Wal. Nothing!--I did tell thee of a thing.

Julia. What was it?

Wal. To forget it was a fault!
Look back and think.

Julia. I can't remember it.

Wal. Fathers, make straws your children! Nature's nothing,
Blood nothing! Once in other veins it runs,
It no more yearneth for the parent flood,
Than doth the stream that from the source disparts.
Talk not of love instinctive--what you call so
Is but the brat of custom! Your own flesh
By habit cleaves to you--without,
Hath no adhesion. [Aside.] So; you have forgot
You have a father, and are here to meet him!

Julia. I'll not deny it.

Wal. You should blush for't.

Julia. No!
No! no: hear, Master Walter! what's a father
That you've not been to me? Nay, turn not from me,
For at the name a holy awe I own,
That now almost inclines my knee to earth!
But thou to me, except a father's name,
Hast all the father been: the care--the love -
The guidance--the protection of a father.
Canst wonder, then, if like thy child I feel, -
And feeling so, that father's claim forget
Whom ne'er I knew save by the name of one?
Oh, turn to me, and do not chide me! or
If thou wilt chide, chide on! but turn to me!

Wal. [Struggling with emotion.] My Julia!
[Embraces her.]

Julia. Now, dear Master Walter, hear me!
Is there no way to 'scape these nuptials?

Wal. Julia,
A promise made admits not of release,
Save by consent or forfeiture of those
Who hold it--so it should be pondered well
Before we let it go. Ere man should say
I broke the word I had the power to keep,
I'd lose the life I had the power to part with!
Remember, Julia, thou and I to-day
Must, to thy father, of thy training render
A strict account. While honour's left to us,
We have something--nothing, having all but that.
Now for thy last act of obedience, Julia!
Present thyself before thy bridegroom! [She assents.] Good!
My Julia's now herself! Show him thy heart,
And to his honour leave't to set thee free
Or hold thee bound. Thy father will be by!

SCENE III.--The Banqueting' Room.


Heart. Thanks, Master Walter! Ne'er was child more bent
To do her father's will, you'll own, than mine:
Yet never one more froward.

Wal. All runs fair -
Fair may all end! To-day you'll learn the cause
That took me out of town. But soft a while, -
Here comes the bridegroom, with his friends, and here
The all-obedient bride.

[Enter on one hand JULIA, and on the other hand LORD ROCHDALE with
LORD TINSEL and friends--afterwards CLIFFORD.]

Roch. Is she not fair?

Tin. She'll do. Your servant, lady! Master Walter,
We're glad to see you. Sirs, you're welcome all.
What wait they for? Are we to wed or not?
We're ready--why don't they present the bride?
I hope they know she is to wed an earl.

Roch. Should I speak first?

Tin. Not for your coronet!
I, as your friend, may make the first advance.
We've come here to be married. Where's the bride?

Wal. There stands she, lord; if 'tis her will to wed,
His lordship's free to take her.

Tin. Not a step!
I, as your friend, may lead her to your lordship.
Fair lady, by your leave.

Julia. No! not to you.

Tin. I ask your hand to give it to his lordship.

Julia. Nor to his lordship--save he will accept
My hand without my heart! but I'll present
My knee to him, and, by his lofty rank,
Implore him now to do a lofty deed
Will lift its stately head above his rank, -
Assert him nobler yet in worth than name, -
And, in the place of an unwilling bride,
Unto a willing debt or make him lord, -
Whose thanks shall be his vassals, night and day
That still shall wait upon him!

Tin. What means this?

Julia. What is't behoves a wife to bring her lord?

Wal. A whole heart, and a true one.

Julia. I have none!
Not half a heart--the fraction of a heart!
Am I a woman it befits to wed?

Wal. Why, where's thy heart?

Julia. Gone--out of my keeping!
Lost, past recovery: right and title to it -
And all given up! and he that's owner on't,
So fit to wear it, were it fifty hearts,
I'd give it to him all!

Wal. Thou dost not mean
His lordship's secretary?

Julia. Yes. Away
Disguises! in that secretary know
The master of the heart, of which the poor,
Unvalued, empty casket, at your feet -
Its jewel gone--I now despairing throw!


Of his lord's bride he's lord! lord paramount!
To whom her virgin homage first she paid, -
'Gainst whom rebelled in frowardness alone,
Nor knew herself how loyal to him, till
Another claimed her duty--then awoke
To sense of all she owed him--all his worth -
And all her undeservings!

Tin. Lady, we came not here to treat of hearts, -
But marriage; which, so please you, is with us
A simple joining, by the priest, of hands.
A ring's put on, a prayer or two is said;
You're man and wife,--and nothing more! For hearts,
We oftener do without, than with them, lady!

Clif. So does not wed this lady!

Tin. Who are you?

Clif. I'm secretary to the Earl of Rochdale.

Tin. My lord!

Roch. I know him not -

Tin. I know him now -
Your lordship's rival! Once Sir Thomas Clifford.

Clif. Yes, and the bridegroom of that lady then,
Then loved her--loves her still!

Julia. Was loved by her -
Though then she knew it not!--is loved by her,
As now she knows, and all the world may know!

Tin. We can't be laughed at. We are here to wed,
And shall fulfil our contract.

Julia. Clifford!

Clif. Julia!
You will not give your hand?

[A pause. JULIA seems utterly lost.]

Wal. You have forgot
Again. You have a father!

Julia. Bring him now, -
To see thy Julia justify thy training,
And lay her life down to redeem her word!

Wal. And so redeems her all! Is it your will,
My lord, these nuptials should go on?

Roch. It is.

Wal. Then is it mine they stop!

Tin. I told your lordship
You should not keep a Hunchback for your agent.

Wal. Thought like my father, my good lord, who said
He would not have a Hunchback for his son -
So do I pardon you the savage slight.
My lord, that I am not as straight as you,
Was blemish neither of my thought nor will,
My head nor heart. It was no act of mine. -
Yet did it curdle Nature's kindly milk
E'en where 'tis richest--in a parent's breast -
To cast me out to heartless fosterage,
Nor heartless always, as it proved--and give
My portion to another! the same blood -
But I'll be sworn, in vein, my lord, and soul -
Although his trunk did swerve no more than yours -
Not half so straight as I.

Tin. Upon my life
You've got a modest agent, Rochdale! Now
He'll prove himself descended--mark my words -
From some small gentleman

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