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A damned pleasure in the pain he gives !
She is not deck'd in any gallant trim, 0! the side glance of that detested eye!
But seems to me clad in the usual weeds
Freb. (starting from his seat, where he has been Thy hateful visage ever spoke thy worth:
sitting during the conversation between I loathed thee when a boy.
the Lady and the Page.) It is an apparition That men should be besotted with him thus !
he has seen. And Freberg likewise so bewitched is,
Or it is Jane De Monfort.
[Exit, hastily. That, like a hireling flatterer, at his heels
Lady. (displeased.) No; such description surely He meanly paces, offering brutish praise.
suits not her. O! I could curse him too!
(Exit. Did she inquire 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. SCENE I. -A VERY SPLENDID APARTMENT IN COUNT
Enter FREBERG, leading in JANE DE MONFORT. FREBERG'S HOUSE, FANCIFULLY DECORATED. WIDE FOLDING DOOR OPENED, SHOWS ANOTHER Freb. (presenting her to Lady.) Here, madam, MAGNIFICENT ROOM LIGHTED UP TO RECEIVE
welcome a most worthy guest. COMPANY.
Lady. Madam, a thousand welcomes ! Pardon Enter through the folding doors the Count and Countess, richly dressed.
I could not guess who honour'd me so far ; Freb. (looking round.) In truth, I like those I should not else have waited coldly here. decorations well:
Jane. I thank you for this welcome, gentle They suit those lofty walls. And here, my love,
countess ; The gay profusion of a woman's fancy
But take those kind excuses back again ; Is well display'd. Noble simplicity
I am a bold intruder on this hour, Becomes us less, on such a night as this,
And am entitled to no ceremony.
I came in quest of a dear truant friend,
(To Freberg.) And he is well, you say? And as I know you love simplicity,
Yes, well, but joyless. I did intend it should be simple too.
Jane. It is the usual temper of his mind; Fred. Be satisfied, I pray; we want to-night It opens not, but with the thrilling touch A cheerful banquet-house, and not a temple. Of some strong heart-string o' the sudden press'd. How runs the hour?
Freb. It may be so, I've known him otherwise : Lady. It is not late, but soon we shall be roused He is suspicious grown. With the loud entry of our frolick guests.
Jane. Not so, Count Freberg, Monfort is too
noble. Enter a Pace, richly dressed.
Say rather, that he is a man in grief,
Lady. Is it not one of our invited friends ? Hast thought too hardly of him.
Ere long you'll see him here. Methought I could have compass'd sea and land Jane. I thank you truly, but this homely dress To do her bidding.
Suits not the splendour of such scenes as these. Lady. Is she young or old ?
Freb. (pointing to her dress.) Such artless and Page. Neither, if right I guess; but she is fair : majestic elegance, For time hath laid his hand so gently on her, So exquisitely just, so nobly simple, As he too had been awed.
Will make the gorgeous blush. Lady.
The foolish stripling ! Jane. (smiling.) Nay, nay, be more consistent, She has bewitch'd thee. Is she large in stature ?
I cannot join your company to night.
Lady. Not stay to see your brother? Lady. What is her garb?
Jane. Therefore it is I would not, gentle hostess. Page. I cannot well describe the fashion of it. Here will he find all that can woo the heart
To joy and sweet forgetfulness of pain ;
As ever fancy own'd.
1st Gent. There is, indeed, a gay variety. Calm and unwearied is my love for him ;
Rez. And if the liberality of nature
Blending in one the sweets of many plants,
So obstinately, strangely opposite,
Freb. Nay, do not, do not injure us so far! But female cultivation. Aged youth, Disguise thyself, and join our friendly train. With borrow'd locks in rosy chaplets bound, Jane. You wear not masks to night.
Clothes her dim eye, parch'd lips, and skinny Lady. We wear not masks, but you may be con
In most unlovely softness : Behind the double foldings of a veil.
And youthful age, with fat, round, trackless face, Jane. (after pausing to consider.) In truth, I The downcast look of contemplation deep feel a little so inclined.
Most pensively assumes. Methinks unknown, I e'en might speak to him, Is it not even so ? The native prude, And gently prove the temper of his mind; With forced laugh, and merriment uncouth, But for the means I must become your debtor. Plays off the wild coquet's successful charms
(To Lady.) With most unskilful pains; and the coquet, Lady. Who waits ? (Enter her Woman.) Attend In temporary crust of cold reserve, this lady to my wardrobe,
Fixes her studied looks upon the ground And do what she commands you.
Forbiddingly demure. [EXEUNT Jane and Waiting-woman. Freb. Fy! thou art too severe. Freb. (looking after Jane, as she goes out, with Rez.
Say, rather, gentle. admiration.) 0! what a soul she bears ! | \' faith! the very dwarfs attempt to charm see how she steps !
With lofty airs of puny majesty ; Naught but the native dignity of worth
Whilst potent damsels of a portly make,
Lady. Such lofty mien, and high assumed gait Of gentle sympathy.
Who shall escape to night.
Freb. (to De Mon. who has entered during (Looking at her.) How hang those trappings on Rezenvelt's speech, and heard the greatest thy motley gown ?
part of it.) Ha, ha, ha, ha! They seem like garlands on a May-day queen, How pleasantly he gives his wit the rein, Which hinds have dress'd in sport.
Yet guides its wild career! (Lady turns away displeased.)
(De Mon. is silent.) Freb. Nay, do not frown; I spoke it but in haste: Rez. (smiling archly.) What, think you, FreFor thou art lovely still in every garb.
berg, the same powerful spell But see, the guests assemble.
Of transformation reigns o'er all to night?
Or that De Monfort is a woman turn's, Enter groups of well-dressed people, who pay their so widely from his native self to swerve, compliments to FREBERG and his LADY; and followed
As grace my folly with a smile of his ? by her, pass into the inner apartment, where more company appear assembling, as if by another entry.
De Mon. Nay, think not, Rezenvelt, there is no
with a friend or two.) How loud the hum A smile of nature too, which I can spare,
And yet, perhaps, thou wilt not thank me for it. 'Tis like a bee-swarm in the noonday sun.
(Smiles contemptuously.) Music will quell the sound. Who waits without ? Rez. Not thank thee! It were surely most unMusic strike up.
grateful (Music, and when it ceases, enter from the inner No thanks to pay for nobly giving me
apartment Rezenvelt, with several gentlemen, What, well we see, has cost thee so much pain. all richly dressed.)
For nature hath her smiles of birth more painful Freb. (to those just entered.) What, lively gal- | Than bitterest execrations. lants, quit the field so soon?
Freb. These idle words will lead us to disAre there no beauties in that moving crowd
quiet: To fix your fancy?
Forbear, forbear, my friends ! Go, Rezenvelt, Rez. Ay, marry, are there! men of every fancy Accept the challenge of those lovely dames, May in that moving crowd some fair one find, Who through the portal come with bolder steps To suit their taste, though whimsical and strange, To claim your notice.
I've proudly to th' inquiring stranger told Enter a group of LADIES from the other apartment, who Her name and lineage! yet within her house,
walk slowly across the bottom of the stage, and return The virgin mother of an orphan race
Her dying parents left, this noble woman
Did, like a Roman matron, proudly sit, 1st Gent. (to Rez.) Behold in sable veil a lady Despising all the blandishments of love; comes,
Whilst many a youth his hopeless love conceal'd, Whose noble air doth challenge fancy's skill O, humbly distant, woo'd her like a queen. To suit it with a countenance as goodly.
Forgive, I pray you ! O forgive this boasting! (Pointing to Jane De Mon, who now enters in a In faith! I mean you no discourtesy. thick black veil.)
Jane. (Off her guard, in a soft natural tone of Rez. Yes, this way lies attraction. (To Freb.)
voice.) O no! nor do me any. With permission, (going up to Jane.) De Mon. What voice speaks now? Withdraw, Fair lady, though within that envious shroud
withdraw this shade! Your beauty deigns not to enlighten us,
For if thy face bear semblance to thy voice, We bid you welcome, and our beauties here
I'll fall and worship thee. Pray! pray undo! Will welcome you the more for such concealment.
(Puts forth his hand eagerly to snatch away the With the permission of our noble host
veil, whilst she shrinks back, and Rezenvelt (Taking her hand, and leading her to the front
steps between to prevent him.) of the stage.)
Rez. Stand off: no hand shall lift this sacred Jane. (to Freb.) Pardon me this presumption,
veil. courteous sir :
De Mon. What, dost thou think De Monfort fall'n I thus appear, (pointing to her veil,) not careless
so low, of respect
That there may live a man beneath heaven's roof, Unto the generous lady of the feast.
Who dares to say, he shall not ? Beneath this veil no beauty shrouded is,
Rez. He lives who dares to sayThat, now, or pain or pleasure can bestow.
Jane. (throwing back her veil, much alarmed, ana Within the friendly cover of its shade
rushes between them.) Forbear, forbear! I only wish, unknown, again to see
(Rezenvelt, very much struck, steps back respectOne who, alas! is heedless of my pain.
fully, and makes her a low bow. De Monfort De Mon. Yes, it is ever thus. Undo that vei), stands for a while motionless, gazing upon her, And give thy countenance to the cheerful light. till she, looking expressively to him, extends Men now all soft, and female beauty scorn,
her arms, and he, rushing into them, bursts into And mock the gentle cares which aim to please. tears. Freberg seems very much pleased. The It is most damnable ! undo thy veil,
company then advancing from the inner apartAnd think of him no more.
ment, gather about them, and the Scene closes.) Jane. I know it well, even to a proverb grown, Is lovers' faith, and I had borne such slight:
SCENE II.—DE MONFORT'S APARTMENTS
Enter DE MONFORT, with a disordered air, and his hand My cradle's mate, mine infant play fellow,
pressed upon his forehead, followed by JANE. Within our opening minds, with riper years,
De Mon. No more, my sister, urge me not again : The love of praise and generous virtue sprung: My secret troubles cannot be reveal'd. Through varied life our pride, our joys were one; From all participation of its thoughts At the same tale we wept: he is my brother. My heart recoils: I pray thee be contented. De Mon. And he forsook thee ?-No, I dare not Jane. What, must I, like a distant humble friend, curse him :
Observe thy restless eye, and gait disturbid, My heart upbraids me with a crime like his. In timid silence, whilst with yearning heart
Jane. Ah! do not thus distress a feeling heart. I turn aside to weep? O no! De Monfort! All sisters are not to the soul entwined
A nobler task thy nobler mind will give; With equal bans; thine has not watch'd for thee, Thy true intrusted friend I still shall be. Wept for thee, cheer'd thee, shared thy weal and De Mon. Ah, Jane, forbear! I cannot e’en to wo,
thee. As I have done for him.
Jane. Then, fy upon it! fy upon it, Monfort! De Mon. (eagerly.) Ah! has she not?
There was a time when e'en with murder stain'd, By heaven! the sum of all thy kindly deeds Had it been possible that such dire deed Were but as chaff poised against massy gold, Could e'er have been the crime of one so piteous, Compared to that which I do owe her love.
Thou wouldst have told it me. O pardon me! I mean not to offend
De Mon. So would I now—but ask of this no I am too warm-but she of whom I speak Is the dear sister of my earliest love ;
All other trouble but the one I feel In noble, virtuous worth to none a second : I had disclosed to thee. I pray thee spare me ; And though behind those sable folds were hid It is the secret weakness of my nature. As fair a face as ever woma man own'd,
Jane. Then secret let it be ; I urge no farther. Still would I say she is as fair as thou.
The eldest of our valiant father's hopes, How oft amidst the beauty-blazing throng, So sadly orphan'd, side by side we stood,
Like two young trees, whose boughs in early Here I entreat thee on my bended knees. strength
(Kneeling.) Screen the weak saplings of the rising grove, Alas ! my brother! And brave the storm together
(De Monfort starts up, and catching her in his I have so long, as if by nature's right,
arms, raises her up, then placing her in the Thy bosom's inmate and adviser been,
chair kneels at her feet.) I thought through life I should have so remain'd, De Mon. Thus let him kneel who should th' Nor ever known a change. Forgive me, Monfort,
abased be, A humbler station will I take by thee:
And at thine honour'd feet confession make. The close attendant of thy wandering steps ; I'll tell thee all—but, 0! thou wilt despise me. The cheerer of this home, with strangers sought For in my breast a raging passion burns, The soother of those griefs I must not know: To which thy soul no sympathy will ownThis is mine office now : I ask no more.
A passion which hath made my nightly couch De Mon. O Jane ! thou dost constrain me with a place of torment; and the light of day, thy love!
With the gay intercourse of social man, Would I could tell it thee.
Feel like the oppressive airless pestilence. Jane. Thou shalt not tell me. Nay, I'll stop mine o Jane ! thou wilt despise me. ears,
Say not so: Nor from the yearnings of affection wring I never can despise thee, gentle brother. What shrinks from utterance. Let it pass, my A lover's jealousy and hopeless pangs brother.
No kindly heart contemns. I'll stay by thee ; I'll cheer thee, comfort thee: De Mon.
A lover, say'st thou ? Pursue with thee the study of some art,
No, it is hate! black, lasting, deadly hate ! Or nobler science, that compels the mind
Which thus hath driven me forth from kindred To steady thought progressive, driving forth
peace, All floating, wild, unhappy fantasies ;
From social pleasure, from my native home,
Jane. De Monfort, this is fiend-like, frightful, Hold its own world, with dreadful fancy press'd
terrible! Of some dire, terrible, or murderous deed, What being, by th’ Almighty Father form’d, Wakes to the dawning morn, and blesses heaven. Of flesh and blood, created even as thou, De Mon. It will not pass away: 'twill haunt me Could in thy breast such horrid tempest wake, still.
Who art thyself his fellow? Jane. Ah! say not so, for I will haunt thee Unknit thy brows, and spread those wrath clench'd
hands. And be to it so close an adversary,
Some sprite accursed within thy bosom matės That, though I wrestle darkling with the fiend, To work thy ruin. Strive with it, my brother ! I shall o'ercome it.
Strive bravely with it; drive it from thy breast: De Mon. Thou most generous woman! | 'Tis the degrader of a noble heart: Why do I treat thee thus ? It should not be Curse it, and bid it part. And yet I cannot- that cursed villain !
De Mon. It will not part. (His hand on his He will not let me be the man I would.
breast.) Jane. What say'st thou, Monfort? 0! what
I've lodged it here too long :
With my first cares I felt its rankling touch ;
Jane. Who didst thou say?
E’en in our early sports, like two young whelps By the affection thou didst ever bear me ; Of hostile breed, instinctively reverse, By the dear memory of our infant days ;
Each 'gainst the other pitch'd his ready pledge, By kindred living ties, ay, and by those
And frown'd defiance. As we onward pass'd
And envious gibing malice, poorly veil'd (He waves her off with his hand, and covers his In the affected carelessness of mirth, face with the other, still turning from her.) Still more detestable and odious grew.
Ha! wilt thou not? There is no living being on this earth (Assuming dignity.) Then, if affection, most Who can conceive the malice of his soul, unwearied love,
With all his gay and damned merriment,
Above his paltry self. When, low in fortune,
As nightly birds, roused from their murky holes, (He throws himself into a chair, greatly agi- Do scowl and chatter at the light of day, tated.)
I could endure it ; even as we bear De Monfort, do not thus resist my love.
Th’ impotent bite of some half-trodden worm,
I could endure it. But when honours came,
I have kill'd thee. And wealth and new-got titles fed his pride ; Turn, turn thee not away! look on me still Whilst flattering knaves did trumpet forth his O! droop not thus, my life, my pride, my sister ; praise,
Look on me yet again. And grovelling idiots grinn'd applauses on him ; Jane.
Thou too, De Monfort, O! then I could no longer suffer it !
In better days, wert wont to be my pride. It drove me frantic.-What! what would I give! De Mon. I am a wretch, most wretched in myWhat would I give to crush the bloated toad,
self, So rankly do I loathe him!
And still more wretche the pain I give. Jane. And would thy hatred crush the very man O curse that villain ! that detested villain ! Who gave to thee that life he might have ta’en? He has spread misery o'er my fated life: That life which thou so rashly didst expose
He will undo us all. To aim at his? 0! this is horrible!
Jane. I've held my warfare through a troubled De Mon. Ha! thou hast heard it, then? From all
world, the world,
And borne with steady mind my share of ill; But most of all from thee, I thought it hid. And then the helpmate of my toil wert thou.
Jane. I heard a secret whisper, and resolved But now the wane of life comes darkly on, Upon the instant to return to thee.
And hideous passion tears me from my heart, Didst thou receive my letter?
Blasting thy worth.— I cannot strive with this. De Mon. I did! I did ! 'twas that which drove De Mon. (affectionately.) What shall I do? me hither.
Call up thy noble spirit; I could not bear to meet thine eye again.
Rouse all the generous energy of virtue ; Jane. Alas! that, tempted by a sister's tears, And with the strength of heaven-endued man, I ever left thy house! These few past months, Repel the hideous foe. Be great; be valiant. These absent months, have brought us all this wo. 0, if thou couldst! e'en shrouded as thou art Had I remain'd with thee it had not been.
In all the sad infirmities of nature, And yet, methinks, it should not move you thus. What a most noble creature wouldst thou be ! You dared him to the field; both bravely fought; De Mon. Ay, if I could: alas! alas ! I cannot. He, more adroit, disarm'd you; courteously
Jane. Thou canst, thou mayst, thou wilt. Return'd the forfeit sword, which, so return'd, We shall not part till I have turn'd thy soul. You did refuse to use against him more ;
Enter MANUEL. And then, as says report, you parted friends. De Mon. When he disarm'd this cursed, this De Mon. Ha! some one .enters. Wherefore worthless hand
comest thou here? Of its most worthless weapon, he but spared
Man. Count Freberg waits your leisure. From devilish pride, which now derives a bliss De Mon. (angrily.) Be gone, be gone! I cannot In seeing me thus fetter'd, shamed, subjected
see him now.
[Exit Manuel. With the vile favour of his poor forbearance ; Jane. Come to my closet; free from all intrusion, Whilst he securely sits with gibing brow,
I'll school thee there, and thou again shalt be And basely bates me like a muzzled cur
My willing pupil, and my generous friend, Who cannot turn again.
The noble Monfort I have loved so long, Until that day, till that accursed day,
And must not, will not lose. I knew not half the torment of this hell,
De Mon. Do as thou wilt; I will not grieve thee Which burns within my breast. Heaven's light
[EXEUNT. nings blast him! Jane. O this is horrible! Forbear, forbear! Lest Heaven's vengeance light upon thy head,
Then let it light.
SCENE I.--COUNTESS FREBERG'S DRESSING-ROOM. Torments more fell than I have felt already Enter the COUNTESS dispirited and out of humour, and It cannot send. To be annihilated,
throws herself into a chair: enter, by the opposite side, What all men shrink from ; to be dust, be nothing,
THERESA. Were bliss to me, compared to what I am !
Ther. Madam, I am afraid you are unwell: Jane. O! wouldst thou kill me with these dread- What is the matter? does your head ache ? ful words?
No, De Mon. (raising his hands to heaven.) Let me 'Tis not my head: concern thyself no more but once upon his ruin look,
With what concerns not thee. Then close mine eyes for ever!
Ther. Go you abroad to-night? Jane in great distress, staggers back, and sup Lady. Yes, thinkest thou I'll stay and fret at ports herself upon the side scene. De Mon.
home? alarmed, runs up to her with a softened Ther. Then please to say what you would choose roice.)
to wear : Ha! how is this? thou’rt ill; thou’rt very pale. One of your newest robes ? What have I done to thee? Alas, alas !
I hate them all. I meant not to distress thee.- my sister!
Ther. Surely that purple scarf became you well, Jane. (shaking her head.) I cannot speak to thee. With all those wreaths of richly hanging flowers.