Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/244

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An hour, remain not in it.

Clif. Wherefore?
Jul. Live
In the same house with me, and I another's?
Put miles, put leagues, between us! The same land
Should not contain us.
Clifford, 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. Lov'st thou me, Julia?
Jul. Dost thou ask me, Clifford?
Clif. These nuptials may be shunned—
Jul. With honor?
Clif. Yes.
Jul. Then take me! Hold!—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,
And turn it o'er not 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 honor!
Clif. They can.
Jul. Then take me, Clifford—

Festus. Stop one moment. (Looks at watch.) Time's up.

Stella. So soon?

Festus. The tone of your voice expresses regret. What is your decision?

Stella. My decision?

Festus. Upon my application for the situation of reader. Shall I have it?

Stella. Perhaps the terms will not suit.

Festus. Madam, I am willing to serve you on any terms. Allow me to throw off the mask of "Festus," which of course you have seen through, and offer myself for a situation under the name of—

Stella. Stop: you are not going to pronounce that name before all these good people?

Festus. Of course not. But what shall I do? Stella, I