A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate The Stronger Passions of the Mind, Volume One/Count Basil Act 2
ACT II.—SCENE I.
A Room of State. The Duke of Mantua, Basil, Rosinberg, and a numher of Courtiers, Attendants, &c. The Duke and Basil appear talking together on the front of the Stage.
Duke. But our opinions differ widely there;
From the position of the rival armies,
I cannot think they'll join in battle soon.
Bas. I am indeed beholden to your highness,
But tho' unwillingly, we must depart.
The foes are near, the time is critical;
A soldier's reputation is too fine
To be exposed e'en to the smallest cloud.
Duke. An untried soldier's is; but yours, my lord,
Nurs'd with the bloody show'rs of many a field,
And brightest sunshine of successful fortune,
A plant of such a hardy stem hath grown,
E'en Envy's sharpest blasts assail it not.
But after all, by the bless'd holy Cross!
I feel too warm an interest in the cause
To stay your progress here a single hour,
Did I not know your soldiers are fatigu'd,
And two days' rest would but renew their strength.
Bas. Your highness will be pleas'd to pardon me;
My troops are not o'ermarch'd, and one day's rest
Is all our needs require.
Duke.Ah! hadst thou come
Unfetter'd with the duties of command,
I then had well retain'd thee for my guest,
With claims too strong, too sacred for denial;
Thy noble sire my fellow-soldier was,
Together many a rough campaign we serv'd;
I lov'd him well, and much it pleases me
A son of his beneath my roof to see.
Bas. Were I indeed free master of myself,
Strong inclination would detain me here;
No other tie were wanting.
These gracious tokens of your princely favour
I'll treasure with my best rememb'rances;
For he who shews them for my father's sake,
Doth something sacred in his kindness bear,
As tho' he shed a blessing on my head,
Duke. Well, bear my greetings to the brave Piscaro,
And say how warmly I embrace the cause.
Your third day's march will to his presence bring
Your valiant troops: said you not so, my lord?
Enter Victoria, the Countess of Albini, Isabella, and Ladies.
Bas. (who changes countenance upon seeing them.)
Yes, I believe—I think—I know not well—
Yes, please your grace, we march by break of day.
Duke. Nay, that I know. I ask'd you, noble count,
When you expect th'Imperial force to join.
Bas. When it shall please your grace—I crave your pardon—
I somewhat have mistaken of your words.
Duke. You are not well? your colour changes, Count,
What is the matter?
Bas. A dizzy mist that swims before my sight—
A ringing in mine ears—'tis strange enough—
'Tis slight —'tis nothing worth—'tis gone already.
Duke. I'm glad it is. Look to your friend, Count Rosinberg,
It may return again.—(To Rosinberg, who stands at a little distance, looking earnestly at Basil.—Duke leaves them, and joins Victoria's party.)
Ros. Good heavens! Basil, is it thus with thee!
Thy hand shakes too! (taking his hand)
Would we were far from hence.
Bas. I'm well again, thou need'st not be afraid.
'Tis like enough my frame is indispos'd
With some slight weakness from our weary march.
Nay, look not on me thus, it is unkindly—
I cannot bear thine eyes.
The Duke, with Victoria and her Ladies, advance to the front of the Stage, to Basil.
Duke. Victoria, welcome here the brave Count Basil.
His kinsman too, the gallant Rosinberg.
May you, and these fair ladies so prevail,
Such gentle suitors cannot plead in vain,
To make them grace my court another day.
I shall not be offended when I see
Your power surpasses mine.
Vict. Our feeble efforts will presumptuous seem
In what your highness fails.
Duke. There's honour in th' attempt; good success to ye.—(Duke retires and mixes with the Courtiers at the bottom of the Stage.)
Vict. I fear we incommoded you, my Lord,
With the slow tedious length of our procession.
E'en as I pass'd, against my heart it went
To stop your weary soldiers on their way
So long a time.—
Bas.Ah! Madam, all too short!
Time never bears such moments on his wing,
But when he flies too swiftly to be mark'd.
Vict. Ah! surely then you make too good amends
By marking now his after-progress well.
To-day must seem a weary length to him
Who is so eager to be gone to-morrow.
Ros. They must not linger who would quit these walls;
For if they do, a thousand masked foes,
Some under show of rich luxurious feasts,
Gay, sprightly pastime, and high-zested game;—
Nay, some, my gentle ladies, true it is,
The very worst and fellest of the crew,
In fair alluring shape of beauteous dames,
Do such a barrier form t'oppose their way,
As few men may o'ercome.
Isab. From this last wicked foe should we infer
Yourself have suffer'd much?
Albin. No, Isabella, these are common words,
To please you with false notions of your pow'r.
So all men talk of ladies and of love.
Vict. 'Tis even so. If love a tyrant be,
How dare his humble chained votaries.
To tell such rude and wicked tales of him?
Bas. Because they most of lover's ills complain,
Who but affect it as a courtly grace,
Whilst he who feels is silent.
Ros. But there you wrong me; I have felt it oft.
Oft has it made me sigh at ladies' feet,
Soft ditties sing, and dismal sonnets scrawl.
Albin. In all its strange effects, most worthy Rosinberg,
Has it e'er made thee in a corner sit,
Sad, lonely, moping sit, and hold thy tongue?
Ros. No, 'faith, it never has.
Albin. Ha, ha, ha, ha! then thou hast never lov'd.
Ros. Nay, but I have, and felt its bondage too.
Vict. O! it is pedantry to call it bondage!
Love-marring wisdom, reason full of bars,
Deserve, methinks, that appellation more.
Is it not so, my Lord?—(To Basil.)
Bas.O! surely Madam;
That is not bondage which the soul enthrall'd
So gladly bears, and quits not but with anguish.
Stern honour's laws, the fair report of men,
These are the fetters that enchain the mind,
But such as must not, cannot be unloos'd.
Vict. No, not unloos'd, but yet one day relax'd,
To grant a lady's suit, unus'd to sue.
Ros. Your highness deals severely with us now,
And proves indeed our freedom is but small,
Who are constrain'd, when such a lady sues,
To say it cannot be.
Vict. It cannot be! Count Basil says not so.
Ros. For that I am his friend, to save him pain
I take th'ungracious office on myself.
Vict. How ill thy face is suited to thine office!
Ros, smiling. Would I could suit mine office to my face,
If that would please your highness.
Vict. No, you are obstinate and perverse all,
And would not grant it if you had the pow'r.
Albini I'll retire; come Isabella.
Bas, aside to Ros.
Ah! Rosinberg, thou hast too far presum'd;
She is offended with us.
Ros.No, she is not—
What dost thou fear? be firm and let us go.
Vict. (pointing to a door leading to other apartments, by which she is ready to go out.)
These are apartments strangers love to see;
Some famous paintings do their walls adorn.
It leads you also to the palace court
As quickly as the way by which you came.
[Exit Vict. led out by Ros. and followed by Isab.
Bas. (aside, looking after them.) O! what a fool am I! where fled my thoughts?
Have held her precious hand enclos'd in mine;
As well as he, who cares not for it neither.
O! damn it, but he does! that were impossible!
Albin. You stay behind, my Lord.
Bas. Your pardon Madam; honour me so far—
[Exeunt, handing out Albini.
A Gallery hung with Pictures. Victoria discovered in conversation with Rosinberg, Basil, Albini, and Isabella.
Vict. to Ros. It is indeed a work of wond'rous art.
To Isab. You call'd Francisco here?
Isab.He comes even now.
Vict. to Ros. He will conduct you to the northern gall'ry;
Its striking shades will call upon the eye,
To point its place no guide is wanted there.
[Exeunt Ros. and Attendant.
To Bas. Loves not Count Basil too this charming art?
It is an ancient painting much admir'd.
Bas. Ah! do not banish me these few short moments;
Too soon they will be gone! for ever gone!
Vict. If they are precious to you say not so,
But add to them another precious day.
A Lady asks it.
Bas. Ah, Madam! ask the life-blood from my heart!
Ask all but what a soldier may not give.
Vict. 'Tis ever thus when favours are denied,
All had been granted but the thing we beg;
And still some great unlikely substitute,
Your life, your soul, your all of earthly good,
Is proffer'd in the room of one small boon.
So keep your life-blood, gen'rous, valiant lord,
And may it long your noble heart enrich,
Until I wish it shed.
Bas. (attempts to speak.) Nay, frame no new excuse; I will not hear it:
[She puts out her hand as if she would shut his mouth, but at a distance from it; Bas. runs eagerly up to her and presses it to his lips.]
Bas. Let this sweet hand indeed its threat perform.
And make it heav'n to be for ever dumb!
(Vict. looks stately and offended—Basil kneels.)
Frown not, reduce me not to wretchedness,
But only grant—
Vict.What should I grant to him
Who has so oft my earnest suit deny'd?
Bas. By heav'n I'll grant it! I'll do any thing,
Say but thou art no more offended with me.
Vict. (raising him.) Well Basil, this good promise is thy pardon.
I will not wait your noble friend's return
Since we shall meet again.—
You will perform your word!
Bas. I will perform it.
Vict. Farewell, my lord.
[Exeunt, with her Ladies.
Bas, alone. "Farewell, my lord," O! what delightful sweetness
The musick of that voice dwells on the ear!
"Farewell, my lord!"—Ay, and then look'd she so—
The slightest glance of her bewitching eye,
Those dark blue eyes, command the inmost soul.
Well, there is yet one day of life before me,
And whatsoe'er betides I will enjoy it.
Tho' but a partial sunshine in my lot
I will converse with her, gaze on her still,
If all behind were pain and misery.
Pain! were it not the easing of all pain,
E'en in the dismal gloom of after years,
Such dear rememb'rance on the mind to wear?
Like silv'ry moon-beams on the 'nighted deep,
When heav'n's blest sun is gone!
Kind mercy! how my heart within me beat
When she so sweetly pled the cause of love!
Can she have lov'd? why shrink I at the thought?
Why should she not? no, no, it cannot be—
No man on earth is-worthy of her love.
Ah! if she could, how blest a man were he!
Where rove my giddy thoughts? it must not be.
Yet might she well some gentle kindness bear;
Think of him oft, his absent fate enquire,
And, should he fall in battle, mourn his fall.
Yes, she would mourn—such love might she bestow;
And poor of soul the man who would exchange it
For warmest love of the most loving dame.
But here comes Rosinberg—have I done well?
He will not say I have.
Ros. Where is the princess?
I'm sorry I return'd not ere she went.
Bas. You'll see her still.
Ros.What, comes she forth again?
Bas. She does to-morrow.
Ros.Thou hast yielded then.
Bas. Come, Rosinberg, I'll tell thee as we go:
It was impossible I should not yield.
Ros. And has the first look of a stranger's face
So far bewitched thee?
Bas.A stranger's face!
Long has she been the inmate of my breast!
The smiling angel of my nightly dreams.
Ros. What mean you now? Your mind is raving, Basil.
Bas. I speak in sober earnest. Two years since,
When marching on the confines of this state,
We heard the distant musick of the chace,
And trampling horses near, I turn'd to look,
And saw the loveliest sight of woman's form
That ever blest mine eyes. Her fiery steed,
Struck with the strange accoutrements of war,
Became unruly, and despis'd the rein.
I gently led him with his lively charge
Past all the ranks: she thank'd me courteously;
Then, with the few companions of her sport,
Took to the woods again. I, with my men,
Our route pursued, and met with her no more.
———————Her name and state I knew not;
Yet, like a beauteous vision from the blest,
Her form has oft upon my mind return'd;
And tho' this day the sight had ne'er restor'd,
It ne'er had been forgotten. Gentle Rosinberg!
Be not displeas'd! I would have told thee this,
When first to-day we talk'd of Mantua's princess,
But thou wert griev'd and jealous of me then,
And so I shut my breast and said no more.
Ros. O Basil! thou art weaker than a child.
Bas. Yes, yes, my friend, but 'tis a noble weakness;
A weakness which hath greater things atchiev'd
Than all the firm, determin'd strength of reason.
By heav'n! I feel a new-born pow'r within me
Shall make me twenty-fold the man I've been
Before this fated day.
Ros. Fated indeed! but an ill-fated day,
That makes thee other than thy former self.
Yet let it work its will; it cannot change thee
To ought I shall not love.
Bas. Thanks, Rosinberg! thou art a noble heart!
I would not be the man thou couldst not love
For an Imperial Crown.
A Small Apartment in the Palace.
Enter Duke and Gauriecio.
Duke. The point is gain'd; my daughter is successful,
And Basil is detain'd another day,
Gaur. But does the princess know your secret aim?
Duke. No, that had marr'd the whole: she is a woman;
Her mind, as suits the sex, too weak and narrow
To relish deep-laid schemes of policy.
Besides, so far unlike a child of mine,
She holds its subtle arts in high derision,
And will not serve us but with bandag'd eyes.
Gauriecio, could I hasty servants find,
Experienc'd, crafty, close, and unrestrain'd
By silly superstitious child-learnt fears,
What might I not effect?
Gaur.O! any thing;
The deep and piercing genius of your highness,
So ably serv'd, might e'en atchieve the empire.
Duke. No, no, my friend, thou dost o'erprize my parts.
Yet mighty things might be—deep subtle wits
In truth are master-spirits in the world.
The brave man's courage, and the student's lore,
Are but as tools his secret ends to work,
Who hath the skill to use them.
This brave Count Basils dost thou know him well?
Much have we gain'd but for a single day
At such a time to hold his troops detain'd;
When by that secret message of our spy,
The rival pow'rs are on the brink of action:
But might we more effect? Know'st thou this Basil?
Might he be tamper'd with?
Gaur.That were most dang'rous—
He is a man, whose sense of right and wrong
To such a high romantic pitch is wound,
And all so hot and fiery in his nature,
The slightest hint, as tho' you did suppose
Baseness and treach'ry in him, so he'll deem it,
Would be to rouse a flame that might destroy.
Duke. But int'rest, int'rest; man's all-ruling pow'r,
Will tame the hottest spirit to your service,
And skilfully applied, mean service too.
E'en as there is an element in nature
Which when subdu'd, will on your hearth fulfil
The lowest uses of domestick wants.
Gaur. Earth-kindled fire, which from a little spark
On hidden fuel feeds its growing strength,
Till o'er the lofty fabrick it aspires
And rages out it's pow'r, may be subdu'd,
And in your base domestick service bound;
But who would madly in its wild career
The fire of heav'n arrest to boil his pot?
No, Basil will not serve your secret schemes,
Tho' you had all to give ambition strives for.
We must beware of him.
Duke. His father was my friend, I wish'd to gain him,
But since fantastick fancies bind him thus,
The sin be on his head, I stand acquitted,
And must deceive him, even to his ruin.
Gaur. I have prepar'd Bernardo for your service;
To-night he will depart for th' Austrian camp,
And should he find them on the eve of battle,
I've bid him wait the issue of the field.
If that our secret friends victorious prove,
With th' arrow's speed he will return again;
But should fair Fortune crown Piscaro's arms.
Then shall your soothing message greet his ears;
For till our friends some sound advantage gain,
Our actions still must wear an Austrian face.
Duke. Well hast thou school'd him. Did'st thou add withal,
That 'tis my will he garnish well his speech,
With honied words of the most dear regard,
And friendly love I bear him. This is needful;
And lest my slowness in the promis'd aid
Awake suspicion, bid him e'en rehearse
The many favours on my house bestow'd
By his Imperial master, as a theme
On which my gratitude delights to dwell.
Gaur. I have, an' please your highness.
Duke.Then 'tis well.
Gaur. But for the yielding up that little fort
There could be no suspicion.
Duke. My Governor I have severely punish'd
As a most daring traitor to my orders.
He cannot from his darksome dungeon tell,
Why then should they suspect?
Gaur. He must not live if Charles should prove victorious.
Duke. He's done me service, say not so Gauriecio.
Gaur. A traitor's name he will not calmly bear,
He'll tell his tale aloud—he must not live.
Duke. Well if it must—we'll talk of this again.
Gaur. But while with anxious care and crafty wiles,
You would enlarge the limits of your state,
Your highness must beware lest inward broils
Bring danger near at hand: your northern subjects
E'en now are discontented and unquiet.
Duke. What, dare the ungrateful miscreants thus return
The many favours of my princely grace?
'Tis ever thus indulgence spoils the base,
Raising up pride, and lawless turbulence,
Like noxious vapours from the fulsome marsh
When morning shines upon it—
Did I not lately, with parental care,
When dire invaders their destruction threaten'd,
Provide them all with means of their defence?
Did I not, as a mark of gracious trust,
A body of their vagrant youth select
To guard my sacred person? Till that day
An honour never yet allow'd their race.
Did I not suffer them upon their suit
T'establish manufactures in their towns?
And after all some chosen soldiers spare
To guard the blessings of interiour peace?
Gaur. Nay, please your highness, they do well allow
That when your enemies, in fell revenge,
Tour former inroads threaten'd to repay,
Their ancient arms you did to them restore,
With kind permission to defend themselves.
That so far have they felt your princely grace
In drafting from their fields their goodliest youth
To be your servants. That you did vouchsafe,
On paying of a large and heavy fine,
Leave to apply the labour of their hands
As best might profit to the country's weal;
And to encourage well their infant trade
Quarter'd your troops upon them—please your grace,
All this they do most readily allow.
Duke. They do allow it then, ungrateful varlets;
What would they have? what would they have, Gauriecio?
Gaur. Some mitigation of their grievous burdens,
Which, like an iron weight around their necks
Do bend their care-worn faces to the earth,
Like creatures form'd upon its soil to creep,
Not stand erect, and view the sun of heav'n.
Duke. But they beyond their proper sphere would rise;
Let them their lot fulfil as we do ours;
Society of various parts is form'd;
They are its grounds, its mud, its sediment,
And we the mantling top which crowns the whole.
Calm, steady labour is their greatest bliss,
To aim at higher things beseems them not.
To let them work in peace my care shall be,
To slacken labour is to nourish pride.
Methinks thou art a pleader for these fools;
What may this mean Gauriecio?
Gaur. They were resolv'd to lay their cause before you,
And would have found some other advocate
Less pleasing to your Grace, had I refus'd.
Duke. Well, let them know some more convenient season
I'll think of this, and do for them as much
As suits the honour of my princely state;
Their prince's honour should be ever dear
To worthy subjects as their precious lives.
Gaur. I fear, unless you give some special promise,
They will be violent still—
Duke. Then do it, if the wretches are so bold;
We can retract it when the times allow
'Tis of small consequence. Go see Bernardo,
And come to me again.
Gaur, solus. O! happy people! whose indulgent lord
From ev'ry care, with which increasing wealth,
With all its hopes and fears, doth ever move
The human bosom, would most kindly free,
And kindly leave ye nought to do but toil!
This creature now, with all his reptile cunning,
Writhing and turning thro' a maze of wiles,
Believes his genius form'd to rule mankind,
And calls his sordid wish for territory,
That noblest passion of the soul, ambition:
Born had he been to follow some low trade,
A petty tradesman still he had remain'd,
And us'd the arts with which he rules a state,
To circumvent his brothers of the craft,
Or cheat the buyers of his paltry ware.
And yet he thinks, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
I am the tool and servant of his will.
Well, let it be; thro' all the maze of trouble
His plots and base oppression must create,
I'll shape myself a way to higher things,
And who will say 'tis wrong?
A sordid being who expects no faith
But as self-interest binds, who would not trust
The strongest ties of nature on the soul,
Deserves no faithful service. Perverse fate!
Were I like him I would despise this dealing;
But being as I am, born low in fortune,
Yet with a mind aspiring to be great,
I must not scorn the steps which lead to it:
And if they are not right, no saint am I;
I follow nature's passion in my breast,
Which urges me to rise, in spite of fortune.
An Apartment in the Palace; Victoria and Isabella are discovered playing at Chess; the Countess Albini sitting by them, reading to herself.
Vict. Away with it, I will not play again;
May men no more look foolish in my presence
If thou art not a cheats, an errant cheat.
Isab. To swear that I am false by such an oath,
Should prove me honest, since its forfeiture
Would bring your highness gain.
Vict. Thou 'rt wrong, my Isabella, simple maid,
For in the very forfeit of this oath,
There's death to all the dearest pride of women.
May man no more look foolish in my presence!
Isab. And does your grace, hail'd by applauding crouds,
In all the graceful eloquence address'd
Of most accomplish'd, noble, courtly youths,
Prais'd in the songs of heav'n-inspired bards;
Those awkward proofs of admiration prize,
The rustick swain his village fair-one pays?
Vict. O! love will master all the pow'r of art,
Ay all! and she who never has beheld
The polish'd courtier, or the tuneful sage,
Before the glances of her conq'ring eye,
A very native simple swain become,
Has only vulgar charms.
To make the cunning artless, tame the rude,
Subdue the haughty, shake th'undaunted soul;
Yea, put a bridle in the lion's mouth,
And lead him forth as a domestick cur,
These are the triumphs of all-pow'rful beauty!
Did nought but flatt'ring words and tuneful praise,
Sighs, tender glances, and obsequious service,
Attend her presence, it were nothing worth.
I'd put a white coif o'er my braided locks,
And be a plain, good, simple, fire-side dame.
Alb. (raising her head from her book) And is, indeed, a plain domestick dame,
A being of less dignity, than she
Who vainly on her transient beauty builds
A little poor ideal tyranny?
Isab. Ideal too!
Alb.Yes, most unreal pow'r;
For she who only finds her self-esteem
In others admiration, begs an alms,
Depends on others for her daily food,
And is the very servant of her slaves;
Tho' oftentimes, in a fantastick hour,
O'er men she may a childish pow'r exert,
Which not ennobles, but degrades her state.
Vict. You are severe, Albini, most severe:
Were human passions plac'd within the breast
But to be curb'd, subdu'd, pluck'd by the roots?
All heav'n's gifts to some good end were giv'n.
Alb. Yes, for a noble, for a gen'rous end.
Vict. Am I ungen'rous then?
Alb.O! most ungen'rous,
Who for the pleasure of a little pow'r
Would give most unavailing pain to those
Whose love you ne'er can recompense again.
E'en now, to-day, O! was it not ungen'rous
To fetter Basil with a foolish tie,
Against his will, perhaps against his duty?
Vict. What, dost thou think against his will, my friend?
Alb. Full sure I am against his reason's will.
Vict. Ah! but indeed thou must excuse me here,
For duller than a shelled crab were she,
Who could suspect her pow'r in such a mind,
And calmly leave it doubtful and unprov'd.
But wherefore dost thou look so gravely on me?
Ah! well I read those looks! methinks they say,
Your mother did not so.
Alb. Your highness reads them true, she did not so.
If foolish vanity e'er soil'd her thoughts
She kept it low, withheld its aliment;
Not pamper'd it with ev'ry motley food,
From the fond tribute of a noble heart,
To the lisp'd flatt'ry of a cunning child.
Vict. Nay, speak not thus Albini, speak not thus
Of little blue-ey'd, sweet, fair-hair'd Mirando.
He is the orphan of a hapless pair,
A loving, beautiful, but hapless pair,
Whose story is so pleasing, and so sad,
The swains have turn'd it to a plaintive lay,
And sing it as they tend their mountain sheep.
To Isab. Besides I am the guardian of his choice,
When first I saw him dost not thou remember?
Isab. 'Twas in the publick garden.
Perch'd in his nurse's arms, a roughsome quean,
Ill suited to the lovely charge she bore.
How steadfastly he fix'd his looks upon me,
His dark eyes shining thro' forgotten tears!
Then stretch'd his little arms, and call'd me mam!
What could I do! I took the bantling home—
I could not tell the imp he had no mam!
Alb. Ah! there my child, thou hast indeed no blame.
Vict. Ay, this is kindly said, thanks sweet Albini!
Still call me child, and chide me as thou wilt.
O! would that I were such as thou couldst love!
Couldst dearly love! as thou didst love my mother.
Alb. (pressing her to her breast.) And do I not? all perfect as she was,
As thou, with all thy faults.
Vict. And sayst thou so? would I had sooner known!
I had done any thing to give thee pleasure.
Alb. Then do so now, and put away thy faults.
Vict. No, say not faults; the freaks of thoughtless youth.
Alb. Nay, very faults they must indeed be call'd.
Vict. O! say but foibles! youthful foibles only!
Alb. Faults, faults, real faults you must confess they are.
Vict. In truth, I cannot do your sense the wrong
To think so poorly of the one you love.
Alb. I must be gone; thou hast o'ercome me now,
Another time I will not yield it so.Exit.
Isab. The Countess is severe, she's too severe;
She once was young, tho' now advanc'd in years.
Vict. No, I deserve it all; she is most worthy.
Unlike those faded beauties of the court,
But now the wither'd stems of former flow'rs,
With all their blossoms shed; her nobler mind
Procures to her the privilege of man,
Ne'er to be old till nature's strength decays.
Some few years hence, if I should live so long,
I'd be Albini rather than myself.
Isab. Here comes your little pet.
Vict. I am not in the humour for him now.
Enter Mirando, running up to Victoria, and taking hold of her gown, but she takes no notice of him, while he holds up his mouth to be kissed.
Isab. to Mir. Thou seest the princess ca'nt be troubled with thee.
Mir. O! but she will! I'll scramble up her robe.
As naughty boys do when they climb for apples.
Isab. Come here, sweet child; I'll kiss thee in her stead.
Mir. Nay, but I will not have a kiss of thee.
Would I were tall! O! were I but so tall!
Isab. And how tall wouldst thou be?
Mir.Thou dost not know?
Just tall enough to reach Victoria's lips.
Vict, (embracing him.) O! I must bend to this, thou little urchin.
Who taught thee all this wit, this childish wit?
Who does Mirando love? (embraces him again.)
Mir.He loves Victoria.
Vict. And wherefore loves he her?
Mir.Because she's pretty.
Isab. Hast thou no little prate to-day Mirando?
No tale to earn a sugar-plumb withal?
Mir. Ay, that I have; I know who loves her grace.
Vict. Who is it pray? thou shalt have comfits for it.
Mir. (looking slily at her.)
It is—it is—it is the count of Maldo.
Vict. Away thou little chit, that tale is old,
And was not worth a sugar-plumb when new.
Mir. Well then, I know who loves her highness well.
Vict. Who is it then?
Isab. Who is it naughty boy?
Mir. It is the handsome marquis of Carlatzi.
Vict. No, no, Mirando, thou art naughty still;
Thou'st twice had comfits for that tale already.
Mir. Well then, indeed, I know who loves Victoria.
Vict. And who is he?
Mir. It is Mirando's self.
Vict. Thou little imp! this story is not new,
But thou shalt have thy comfits. Let us go.
Go run before us. Boy.
Mir. Nay, but I'll shew you how Count Wolvar did,
When he conducted Isabel from Court.
Vict. How did he do?
Mir. Give me your hand: he held his body thus,
(putting himself in a ridiculous bowing posture.)
And then he whisper'd softly; then look'd so;
(ogling with his eyes affectedly.)
Then she look'd so, and smil'd to him again.
(throwing down his eyes affectedly.)
Isab. Thou art a little knave, and must be whipp'd.
[Exeunt. Mirando leading out Victoria affectedly.