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The Hunchback by James Sheridan Knowles

Part 3 out of 3

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Wal. And so you thought,
Where Nature played the churl, it would be fit
That fortune played it too. You would have had
My lord absolve me of my agency!
Fair lord, the flaw did cost me fifty times -
A hundred times my agency:- but all's
Recovered. Look, my lord, a testament
To make a pension of his lordship's rent-roll!
It is my father's, and was left by him,
In case his heir should die without a son,
Then to be opened. Heaven did send a son
To bless the heir. Heaven took its gift away,
He died--his father died. And Master Walter -
The unsightly agent of his lordship there -
The Hunchback whom your lordship would have stripped
Of his agency--is now the Earl of Rochdale!

Tin. We've made a small mistake here. Never mind,
'Tis nothing in a lord.

Julia. The Earl of Rochdale!

Wal. And what of that? Thou know'st not half my greatness!
A prouder title, Julia, have I yet,
Sooner than part with which I'd give that up,
And be again plain Master Walter. What!
Dost thou not apprehend me? Yes, thou dost!
Command thyself; don't gasp. My pupil--daughter!
Come to thy father's heart!

[JULIA rushes into his arms.]

[Enter FATHOM.]

Fath. Thievery! Elopement--escape--arrest!

Wal. What's the matter?

Fath. Mistress Helen is running away with Master Modus--Master
Modus is running away with Mistress Helen--but we have caught them,
secured them, and here they come, to receive the reward of their

[Enter HELEN and MODUS, followed by Servants.]

Helen. I'll ne'er wed man, if not my cousin Modus.

Mod. Nor woman I, save cousin Helen's she.

Wal. [To MASTER HEARTWELL.] A daughter, have you, and a nephew,
Without their match in duty! Let them marry.
For you, sir, who to-day have lost an earldom,
Yet would have shared that earldom with my child -
My only one--content yourself with prospect
Of the succession; it must fall to you,
And fit yourself to grace it. Ape not those
Who rank by pride. The man of simplest bearing
Is yet a lord, when he's a lord indeed!

Tin. The paradox is obsolete. Ne'er heed!
Learn from his book, and practise out of mine!

Wal. Sir Thomas Clifford, take my daughter's hand!
If now you know the master of her heart!
Give it, my Julia! You suspect, I see,
And rightly, there has been some masking here.
Content thee, daughter, thou shalt know anon,
How jealousy of my mis-shapen back
Made me mistrustful of a child's affections -
Who doubted e'en a wife's--so that I dropped
The title of thy father, lest thy duty
Should pay the debt thy love could solve alone.
All this and more, that to thy friends and thee
Pertains, at fitting time thou shalt be told.
But now thy nuptials wait--the happy close
Of thy hard trial--wholesome, though severe!
The world won't cheat thee now--thy heart is proved; -
Thou know'st thy peace by finding out its bane,
And ne'er will act from reckless impulse more!


{1} The other play, The Love-Chase, is released in a separated

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