A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate The Stronger Passions of the Mind, Volume One/De Monfort Act 2
ACT II.— SCENE I.
A very splendid apartment in Count Freberg's house, fancifully decorated. A wide folding door opened, shews another magnificent room lighted up to receive company. Enter through the folding doors the Count and Countess, richly dressed.
Freb. (Looking round.) In truth, I like those decorations well;
They suit those lofty walls. And here, my love.
The gay profusion of a woman's fancy
Is well display'd. Noble simplicity
Becomes us less on such a night as this
Than gaudy show.
Lady. Is it not noble, then? (He shakes his head.) I thought it so,
And as I know you love simplicity,
I did intend it should be simple too.
Freb. Be satisfy'd, I pray; we want to-night
A cheerful banquet-house, and not a temple.
How runs the hour?
Lady. It is not late, but soon we shall be rous'd
With the loud entry of our frolick guests.
Enter a Page, richly dressed.
Page. Madam, there is a Lady in your hall,
Who begs to be admitted to your presence.
Lady. Is it not one of our invited friends?
Page. No, far unlike to them; it is a stranger.
Lady. How looks her countenance?
Page. So queenly, so commanding, and so noble,
I shrunk at first in awe; but when she smil'd,
For so she did to see me thus abash'd,
Methought I could have compass'd sea and land
To do her bidding.
Lady.Is she young or old?
Page. Neither, if right I guess, but she is fair;
For time hath laid his hand so gently on her,
As he too had been aw'd.
Lady.The foolish stripling!
She has bewitch'd thee. Is she large in stature?
Page. So stately and so graceful is her form,
I thought at first her stature was gigantick,
But on a near approach I found, in truth,
She scarcely does surpass the middle size.
Lady. What is her garb?
Page. I cannot well describe the fashion of it.
She is not deck'd in any gallant trim,
But seems to me clad in the usual weeds
Of high habitual state; for as she moves
Wide flows her robe in many a waving fold,
As I have seen unfurled banners play
With the soft breese.
Lady. Thine eyes deceive thee, boy,
It is an apparition thou hast seen.
Freb. (Starting from his seat, where he has been sitting during the conversation between the Lady and the Page.) It is an apparition he has seen.
Or it is Jane De Monfort.[Exit, hastily.
Lady. (Displeased,) No; such description surely suits not her.
Did she enquire for me?
Page. She ask'd to see the lady of Count Freberg.
Lady. Perhaps it is not she—I fear it is—
Ha! here they come. He has but guess'd too well.
Enter Freberg, leading in Jane De Monfort.
Freb. (Presenting her to Lady.) Here, madam, welcome a most worthy guest.
Lady. Madam, a thousand welcomes. Pardon me;
I could not guess who honour'd me so far;
I should not else have waited coldly here.
Jane. I thank you for this welcome, gentle Countess,
But take those kind excuses back again;
I am a bold intruder on this hour,
And am entitled to no ceremony.
I came in quest of a dear truant friend,
But Freberg has inform'd me—
(To Freberg.) And he is well you say?
Freb.Yes, well, but joyless,
Jane. It is the usual temper of his mind;
It opens not, but with the thrilling touch
Of some strong heart-string o'the sudden press'd.
Freb. It may be so, I've known him otherwise.
He is suspicious grown.
Jane. Not so, Count Freberg, Monfort is too noble.
Say rather, that he is a man in grief,
Wearing at times a strange and scowling eye;
And thou, less generous than beseems a friend,
Hast thought too hardly of him.
Freb. (Bowing with great respect.) So will I say
I'll own nor word, nor will, that can offend you.
Lady. De Monfort is engag'd to grace our feast,
Ere long you'll see him here.
Jane. I thank you truly, but this homely dress
Suits not the splendour of such scenes as these.
Freb. (Pointing to her dress.) Such artless and majestick elegance,
So exquisitely just, so nobly simple,
Will make the gorgeous blush.
Jane. (Smiling.) Nay, nay, be more consistent, courteous knight,
And do not praise a plain and simple guise
With such profusion of unsimple words.
I cannot join your company to-night.
Lady. Not stay to see your brother?
Jane. Therefore it is I would not, gentle hostess.
Here he will find all that can woo the heart
To joy and sweet forgetfulness of pain;
The sight of me would wake his feeling mind
To other thoughts. I am no doting mistress,
No fond distracted wife, who must forthwith
Rush to his arms and weep. I am his sister:
The eldest daughter of his father's house:
Calm and unwearied is my love for him;
And having found him, patiently I'll wait,
Nor greet him in the hour of social joy,
To dash his mirth with tears.—
The night wears on; permit me to withdraw.
Freb. Nay, do not, do not injure us so far!
Disguise thyself, and join our friendly train.
Jane. You wear not masks to-night?
Lady. We wear not masks, but you may be conceal'd
Behind the double foldings of a veil.
Jane. (After pausing to consider.) In truth, I feel a little so inclin'd.
Methinks unknown, I e'en might speak to him,
And gently prove the temper of his mind:
But for the means I must become your debtor.
Lady. Who waits? (Enter her Woman.) Attend this lady to my wardrobe,
And do what she commands you.
[Exeunt Jane and Waiting-woman.
Freb. (Looking after Jane, as she goes out, with admiration.) Oh! what a soul she bears! see how she steps!
Nought but the native dignity of worth
E'er taught the moving form such noble grace.
Lady. Such lofty mien, and high assumed gait
I've seen ere now, and men have call'd it pride.
Freb. No, 'faith! thou never did'st, but oft indeed
The paltry imitation thou hast seen.
(Looking at her.) How hang those trappings on thy motly gown?
They seem like garlands on a May-day queen,
Which hinds have dress'd in sport.
Lady. I'll doff it, then, since it displeases you.
Freb. (Softening.) No, no, thou art lovely still in every garb.
But see the guests assemble.
Enter groups of well dressed people, who pay their compliments to Freberg and his Lady; and followed by her pass into the inner apartment, where more company appear assembling, as if by another entry.
Freb. (Who remains on the front of the stage, with a friend or two.) How loud the hum of this gay meeting croud!
'Tis like a bee-swarm in the noonday sun.
Musick will quell the sound. Who waits without?
Musick strike up.
(A grand piece of musick is playing, and when it ceases, enter from the inner apartment Rezenvelt, with' several gentlemen, richly dressed.)
Freb. (To those just entered.) What lively gallants quit the field so soon?
Are there no beauties in that moving crowd
To fix your fancy?
Rez. Ay, marry, are there! men of ev'ry mind
May in that moving croud some fair one find,
To suit their taste, tho' whimsical and strange,
As ever fancy own'd.
Beauty of every cast and shade is there,
From the perfection of a faultless form,
Down to the common, brown, unnoted maid,
Who looks but pretty in her Sunday gown.
1st Gent. There is, indeed, a gay variety.
Rez. And if the liberality of nature
Suffices not, there's store of grafted charms
Blending in one the sweets of many plants
So obstinately, strangely opposite,
As would have well defy'd all other art
But female cultivation. Aged youth,
With borrow'd locks in rosy chaplets bound,
Cloaths her dim eye, parch'd lip, and skinny cheek
In most unlovely softness.
And youthful age, with fat round trackless face,
The down-cast look of contemplation deep,
Most pensively assumes.
Is it not even so? The native prude,
With forced laugh, and merriment uncouth,
Plays off the wild coquet's successful charms
With most unskilful pains; and the coquet,
In temporary crust of cold reserve,
Fixes her studied looks upon the ground
Freberg. Fy! thou art too severe.
Rez.Say, rather, gentle,
I' faith! the very dwarfs attempt to charm
With lofty airs of puny majesty,
Whilst potent damsels, of a portly make,
Totter like nurselings, and demand the aid
Of gentle sympathy.
From all those diverse modes of dire assault,
He owns a heart of hardest adamant,
Who shall escape to-night.
Freb. (To De Monfort, who has entered during Rezenvelt's speech, and heard the greatest part of it.) Ha, ha, ha, ha!
How pleasantly he gives his wit the rein,
Yet guides its wild career!
(De Monfort is silent.)
Rez. (Smiling archly.) What, think you, Freberg, the same powerful spell
Of transformation reigns o'er all to-night?
Or that De Monfort is a woman turn'd,
So widely from his native self to swerve,
As grace my gai'ty with a smile of his?
De Mon. Nay, think not, Rezenvelt, there is no smile
I can bestow on thee. There is a smile,
A smile of nature too, which I can spare,
And yet, perhaps, thou wilt not thank me for it.
Rez. Not thank thee! It were surely most ungrateful
No thanks to pay for nobly giving me
What, well we see, has cost thee so much pain.
For nature hath her smiles, of birth more painful
Than bitt'rest execrations.
Freb. These idle words will lead us to disquiet:
Forbear, forbear, my friends. Go, Rezenvelt,
Accept the challange of those lovely dames,
Who thro' the portal comes with bolder steps
To claim your notice.
(Enter a group of Ladies from the other apartment, who walk slowly across the bottom of the stage, and return to it again. Rez. shrugs up his shoulders, as if unwilling to go.)
1st Gent. (to Rez.) Behold in sable veil a lady comes,
Whose noble air doth challange fancy's skill
To suit it with a countenance as goodly.
(Pointing to Jane De Mon. who now enters in a thick black veil.)
Rez. Yes, this way lies attraction.(To Freb.)
With permission,(Going up to Jane.)
Fair lady, tho' within that envious shroud
Your beauty deigns not to enlighten us,
We bid you welcome, and our beauties here
Will welcome you the more for such concealment.
With the permission of our noble host—
(Taking her hand, and leading her to the front of the stage.)
Jane to Freb. Pardon me this presumption, courteous sir:
I thus appear, (pointing to her veil.) not careless of respect
Unto the gen'rous lady of the feast.
Beneath this veil no beauty shrouded is,
That, now, or pain, or pleasure can bestow.
Within the friendly cover of its shade
I only wish unknown, again to see
One who, alas! is heedless of my pain.
De Mon. Yes, it is ever thus. Undo that veil,
And give thy count'nance to the cheerful light.
Men now all soft, and female beauty scorn,
And mock the gentle cares which aim to please.
It is most damnable! undo thy veil,
And think of him no more.
Jane. I know it well, even to a proverb grown,
Is lovers' faith, and I had borne such slight;
But he who has, alas! forsaken me
Was the companion of my early days,
My cradle's mate, mine infant play-fellow.
Within our op'ning minds with riper years
The love of praise and gen'rous virtue sprung:
Thro' varied life our pride, our joys, were one;
At the same tale we wept: he is my brother.
De Mon. And he forsook thee?—No, I dare not curse him:
My heart upbraids me with a crime like his.
Jane. Ah! do not thus distress a feeling heart.
All sisters are not to the soul entwin'd
With equal bands; thine has not watch'd for thee,
Weep'd for thee, cheer'd thee, shar'd thy weal and woe,
As I have done for him.
De Mon. (Eagerly.) Ha! has she not?
By heaven! the sum of all thy kindly deeds
Were but as chaff pois'd against the massy gold,
Compar'd to that which I do owe her love.
Oh pardon me! I mean not to offend—
I am too warm—But she of whom I speak
Is the dear sister of my earliest love;
In noble virtuous worth to none a second:
And tho' behind those sable folds were hid
As fair a face as ever woman own'd,
Still would I say she is as fair as thee.
How oft amidst the beauty-blazing throng,
I've proudly to th' inquiring stranger told
Her name and lineage! yet within her house,
The virgin mother of an orphan race
Her dying parents left, this noble woman
Did, like a Roman matron, proudly sit,
Despising all the blandishments of love;
Whilst many a youth his hopeless love conceal'd,
Or, humbly distant, woo'd her like a queen.
Forgive, I pray you! O forgive this boasting!
In faith! I mean you no discourtesy.
Jane. (Off her guard, in a soft natural tone of voice.) Oh no! nor do me any.
De Mon. What voice speaks now? Withdraw, withdraw this shade!
For if thy face bear semblance to thy voice,
I'll fall and worship thee. Pray! pray undo!
(Puts forth his hand eagerly to snatch away the veil, whilst she shrinks back, and Rezenvelt steps between to prevent him.)
Rez. Stand off: no hand shall lift this sacred veil.
De Mon. What, dost thou think De Monfort fall'n so low,
That there may live a man beneath heav'n's roof
Who dares to say he shall not?
Rez. He lives who dares to say—
Jane. (Throwing back her veil, very much alarmed, and rushing between them) Forbear, forbear!
(Rezenvelt, very much struck, steps hack respectfully, and makes her a very low bow. De Monfort stands for a while motionless, gazing upon her, till she, looking expressively to him, extends her arms, and he, rushing into them, bursts into tears. Freberg seems very much pleased. The company then gather about them, and the Scene closes.)
De Monfort's apartments. Enter De Monfort, with a disordered air, and his hand pressed upon his forehead, followed by Jane.
De Mon. No more, my sister, urge me not again:
My secret troubles cannot be revealed.
From all participation of its thoughts
My heart recoils: I pray thee be contented.
Jane. What, must I, like a distant humble friend,
Observe thy restless eye, and gait disturb'd,
In timid silence, whilst with yearning heart
I turn aside to weep? O no! De Monfort!
A nobler task thy noble mind will give;
Thy true intrusted friend I still shall be.
De Mon. Ah, Jane, forbear! I cannot e'en to thee.
Jane. Then fy upon it! fy upon it, Monfort!
There was a time when e'en with murder stain'd,
Had it been possible that such dire deed
Could e'er have been the crime of one so piteous,
Thou would'st have told it me.
De Mon. So would I now—but ask of this no more.
All other trouble but the one I feel
I had disclos'd to thee. I pray thee spare me.
It is the secret weakness of my nature.
Jane. Then secret let it be; I urge no farther.
The eldest of our valiant father's hopes,
So sadly orphan'd, side by side we stood,
Like two young trees, whose boughs, in early strength,
Screen the weak saplings of the rising grove,
And brave the storm together—
I have so long, as if by nature's right,
Thy bosom's inmate and adviser been,
I thought thro' life I should have so remain'd,
Nor ever known a change. Forgive me, Monfort,
A humbler station will I take by thee:
The close attendant of thy wand'ring steps;
The cheerer of this home, by strangers sought;
The soother of those griefs I must not know,
This is mine office now: I ask no more,
De Mon. Oh Jane! thou dost constrain me with thy love!
Would I could tell it thee!
Jane. Thou shalt not tell me. Nay, I'll stop mine ears,
Nor from the yearnings of affection wring
What shrinks from utt'rance. Let it pass, my brother.
I'll stay by thee; I'll cheer thee, comfort thee:
Pursue with thee the study of some art,
Or nobler science, that compels the mind
To steady thought progressive, driving forth
All floating, wild, unhappy fantasies;
Till thou, with brow unclouded, smil'st again,
Like one who from dark visions of the night,
When th' active soul within its lifeless cell
Holds its own world, with dreadful fancy press'd
Of some dire, terrible, or murd'rous deed,
Wakes to the dawning morn, and blesses heaven.
De Mon. It will not pass away: 'twill haunt me still.
Jane. Ah! say not so, for I will haunt thee too;
And be to it so close an adversary,
That, tho' I wrestle darkling with the fiend,
I shall o'ercome it.
De Mon.Thou most gen'rous woman!
Why do I treat thee thus? It should not be—
And yet I cannot—O that cursed villain!
He will not let me be the man I would.
Jane. What say'st thou. Monfort? Oh! what words are these?
They have awak'd my soul to dreadful thoughts.
I do beseech thee speak!
(He shakes his head and turns from her; she following him.)
By the affection thou didst ever bear me,
By the dear mem'ry of our infant days;
By kindred living ties, ay, and by those
Who sleep i'the tomb, and cannot call to thee,
I do conjure thee speak.
(He waves her off with his hand, and covers his face with the other, still turning from her.)
(Assuming dignity.) Then, if affection, most unwearied love,
Tried early, long, and never wanting found,
O'er gen'rous man hath more authority,
More rightful power than crown and sceptre give,
I do command thee.
(He throws himself into a chair greatly agitated.)
Here I entreat thee on my bended knees.
Alas! my brother!
(De Monfort starts up, and, catching her in his arms, raises her up, then placing her in the chair, kneels at her feet.)
De Mon. Thus let him kneel who should the abased be,
And at thine honour'd feet confession make,
I'll tell thee all—but oh! thou wilt despise me.
For in my breast a raging passion burns,
To which thy soul no sympathy will own.
A passion which hath made my nightly couch
A place of torment; and the light of day,
With the gay intercourse of social man,
Feel like th' oppressive airless pestilence.
O Jane! thou wilt despise me.
Jane.Say not so:
I never can despise thee, gentle brother.
A lover's jealousy and hopeless pangs
No kindly heart contemns.
De Mon.A lover, say'st thou?
No, it is hate! black, lasting, deadly hate;
Which thus hath driv'n me forth from kindred peace,
From social pleasure, from my native home,
To be a sullen wand'rer on the earth,
Avoiding all men, cursing and accurs'd.
Jane. De Monfort, this is fiend-like, frightful, terrible!
What being, by th' Almighty Father form'd,
Of flesh and blood, created even as thou,
Could in thy breast such horrid tempest wake,
Who art thyself his fellow?
Unknit thy brows, and spread those wrath-clench'd hands:
Some sprite accurst within thy bosom mates
To work thy ruin. Strive with it, my brother!
Strive bravely with it; drive it from thy breast:
'Tis the degrader of a noble heart;
Curse it, and bid it part.
De Mon. It will not part. (His hand on his breast.)
I've lodged it here too long;
With my first cares I felt its rankling touch,
I loath'd him when a boy.
Jane. Who did'st thou say?
De Mon.Oh! that detested Rezenvelt!
E'en in our early sports, like two young whelps
Of hostile breed, instinctively reverse,
Each 'gainst the other pitch'd his ready pledge,
And frown'd defiance. As we onward pass'd
From youth to man's estate, his narrow art,
And envious gibing malice, poorly veil'd
In the affected carelessness of mirth,
Still more detestable and odious grew.
There is no living being on this earth
Who can conceive the malice of his soul,
With all his gay and damned merriment,
To those, by fortune or by merit plac'd
Above his paltry self. When, low in fortune,
He look'd upon the state of prosp'rous men,
As nightly birds, rous'd from their murky holes,
Do scowl and chatter at the light of day,
I could endure it; even as we bear
Th' impotent bite of some half-trodden worm,
I could endure it. But when honours came,
And wealth and new-got titles fed his pride;
Whilst flatt'ring knaves did trumpet forth his praise,
And grov'ling idiots grinn'd applauses on him;
Oh! then I could no longer suffer it!
It drove me frantick.——What! what would I give!
What would I give to crush the bloated toad,
So rankly do I loathe him!
Jane. And would thy hatred crush the very man
Who gave to thee that life he might have ta'en?
That life which thou so rashly did'st expose
To aim at his! Oh! this is horrible!
De Mon. Ha! thou hast heard it, then? From all the worlds
But most of all from thee, I thought it hid.
Jane. I heard a secret whisper, and resolv'd
Upon the instant to return to thee.
Did'st thou receive my letter?
De Mon. I did! I did! 'twas that which drove me hither.
I could not bear to meet thine eye again.
Jane. Alas! that, tempted by a sister's tears,
I ever left thy house! these few past months,
These absent months, have brought us all this woe.
Had I remain'd with thee it had not been.
And yet, methinks, it should not move you thus.
You dar'd him to the field; both bravely fought;
He more adroit disarm'd you; courteously
Return'd the forfeit sword, which, so return'd,
You did refuse to use against him more;
And then, as says report, you parted friends.
De Mon. When he disarm'd this curs'd, this worthless hand
Of its most worthless weapon, he but spar'd
From dev'lish pride, which now derives a bliss
In seeing me thus fetter'd, sham'd, subjected
With the vile favour of his poor forbearance;
Whilst he securely sits with gibing brow
And basely bates me, like a muzzled cur
Who cannot turn again.——
Until that day, till that accursed day,
I knew not half the torment of this hell,
Which burns within my breast. Heaven's lightning blast him!
Jane. O this is horrible! Forbear, forbear!
Lest heaven's vengeance light upon thy head,
For this most impious wish.
De Mon.Then let it light.
Torments more fell than I have felt already
It cannot send. To be annihilated;
What all men shrink from; to be dust, be nothing,
Were bliss to me, compar'd to what I am.
Jane. Oh! would'st thou kill me with these dreadful words?
De Mon. (Raising his arms to heaven.) Let me but once upon his ruin look,
Then close mine eyes for ever!
(Jane, in great distress, staggers hack, and supports herself upon the side scene. De Monfort, alarm'd, runs up to her with a soften'd voice.)
What have I done to thee? Alas, alas!
I meant not to distress thee.—O my sister!
Jane. (Shaking her head.) I cannot speak to thee.
De Mon. I have kill'd thee.
Turn, turn thee not away! look on me still!
Oh! droop not thus, my life, my pride, my sister!
Look on me yet again.
Jane.Thou too, De Monfort,
In better days, wert wont to be my pride.
De Mon. I am a wretch, most wretched in myself,
And still more wretched in the pain I give.
O curse that villain! that detested villain!
He hath spread mis'ry o'er my fated life:
He will undo us all.
Jane. I've held my warfare through a troubled world,
And borne with steady mind my share of ill;
For then the helpmate of my toil wert thou.
But now the wane of life comes darkly on,
And hideous passion tears thee from my heart,
Blasting thy worth.—I cannot strive with this.
De Mon. (Affectionately.) What shall I do?
Jane.Call up thy noble spirit,
Rouse all the gen'rous energy of virtue;
And with the strength of heaven-endued man,
Repel the hideous foe. Be great; be valiant.
O, if thou could'st! E'en shrouded as thou art
In all the sad infirmities of nature,
What a most noble creature would'st thou be!
De Mon. Ay, if I could: alas! alas! I cannot.
Jane. Thou can'st, thou may'st, thou wilt.
We shall not part till I have turn'd thy soul.
De Mon. Ha! some one enters. Wherefore com'st thou here?
Man. Count Freberg waits your leisure.
De Mon, (Angrily.) Be gone, be gone.—I cannot see him now.[Exit, Manuel.
Jane. Come to my closet; free from all intrusion,
I'll school thee there; and thou again shalt be
My willing pupil, and my gen'rous friend;
The noble Monfort I have lov'd so long,
And must not, will not lose.
De Mon. Do as thou wilt; I will not grieve thee more.
Count Freberg's House. Enter the Countess, followed by the Page, and speaking as she enters.
Lady. Take this and this. (Giving two packets.)
And tell my gentle friend,
I hope to see her ere the day be done.
Page. Is there no message for the Lady Jane?
Lady. No, foolish boy, that would too far extend
Your morning's route, and keep you absent long.
Page. O no, dear Madam! I'll the swifter run.
The summer's light'ning moves not as I'll move,
If you will send me to the Lady Jane.
Lady. No, not so slow, I ween. The summer's light'ning!
Thou art a lad of taste and letters grown:
Would'st poetry admire, and ape thy master.
Go, go; my little spaniels are unkempt;
My cards unwritten, and my china broke:
Thou art too learned for a lady's page.
Did I not bid thee call Theresa here?
Page. Madam, she comes.
Enter Theresa, carrying a robe over her arm.
Lady to Ther. What has employ'd you all this dreary while?
I've waited long.
Ther.Madam, the robe is finish'd.
Lady. Well, let me see it.
(Theresa spreads out the robe.)
(Impatiently to the Page.) Boy, hast thou ne'er a hand to lift that fold?
See where it hangs.
(Page takes the other side of the robe, and spreads it out to its full extent before her, whilst she sits down and looks at it with much dissatisfaction.)
Ther. Does not my lady like this easy form?
Lady. That sleeve is all awry.
Ther.Your pardon, madam;
'Tis but the empty fold that shades it thus.
I took the pattern from a graceful shape;
The Lady Jane De Monfort wears it so.
Lady. Yes, yes, I see 'tis thus with all of you.
Whate'er she wears is elegance and grace,
Whilst ev'ry ornament of mine, forsooth,
Must hang like trappings on a May-day queen.
(Angrily to the Page, who is smiling to himself.)
Youngster be gone. Why do you loiter here?
Ther. What would you, madam, chuse to, wear to-night?
One of your newest robes?
Lady.I hate them all.
Ther. Surely, that purple scarf became you well,
With all those wreaths of richly hanging flowers.
Did I not overhear them say, last night,
As from the crouded ball-room ladies past,
How gay and handsome, in her costly dress,
The Countess Freberg look'd.
Lady.Did'st thou o'erhear it?
Ther. I did, and more than this.
Lady. Well, all are not so greatly prejudic'd;
All do not think me like a May-day queen,
Which peasants deck in sport.
Ther.And who said this?
Lady. (Putting her handkerchief to her eyes.) E'en my good lord, Theresa.
Ther. He said it but in jest. He loves you well.
Lady. I know as well as thee he loves me well;
But what of that? he takes no pride in me.
Elsewhere his praise and admiration go,
And Jane De Monfort is not mortal woman.
Ther. The wond'rous character this lady bears
For worth and excellence; from early youth
The friend and mother of her younger sisters
Now greatly married, as I have been told,
From her most prudent care, may well excuse
The admiration of so good a man
As my good master is. And then, dear madam,
I must confess, when I myself did hear
How she was come thro' the rough winter's storm,
To seek and comfort an unhappy brother,
My heart beat kindly to her.
Lady. Ay, ay, there is a charm in this I find:
But wherefore may she not have come as well.
Through wintry storms to seek a lover too?
Ther. No, madam, no, I could not think of this.
Lady. That would reduce her in your eyes, mayhap,
To woman's level.—Now I see my vengeance!
I'll tell it round that she is hither come,
Under pretence of finding out De Monfort,
To meet with Rezenvelt. When Freberg hears it
'Twill help, I ween, to break this magick charm.
Ther. And say what is not, madam?
Lady. How can'st thou know that I shall say what is not?
'Tis like enough I shall but speak the truth.
Ther. Ah no! there is—
Lady.Well, hold thy foolish tongue.
Carry that robe into my chamber, do:
I'll try it there myself.[Exeunt.