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You shall not be disturb'd.
A tale so damn’d ?-It chokes my
breath(Stooping to lift the handkerchief.) (Stamping with his foot.) What wretch did tell it You have dropp'd somewhat.
thee? De Mon. (preventing him.) Nay, do not stoop, Con. Nay, every one with whom I have conmy friend ! I pray thee not!
versed Thou art too old to stoop.-
Has held the same discourse, I judge it not.
You best can tell what her deportment speaks ; I pray thee do it—thank me not-What stranger ? Whether her conduct and unguarded words
Jer. A man who does most earnestly entreat Belie such rumour. To see your honour ; but I know him not.
(De Monfort pauses, staggers backward, and De Mon. Then let him enter. [Exit Jerome. sinks into a chair ; then starting up hastily.)
De Mon. Where am I now ? midst all the A pause. Enter CONRAD.
cursed thoughts, De Mon. You are the stranger who would speak That on my soul like stinging scorpions prey'd, with me?
This never came before-0, if it be ! Con. I am so far unfortunate, my lord,
The thought will drive me mad.-Was it for this That, though my fortune on your favour hangs,
She urged her warm request on bended knee? I am to you a stranger.
Alas! I wept, and thought of sister's love, De Mon. How may this be? What can I do for No damned love like this.
Fell devil! 'tis hell itself has lent thee aid you? Con. Since thus your lordship does so frankly To work such sorcery! (Pauses.) I'll not believe it,
I must have proof clear as the noonday sun The tiresome preface of apology
For such foul charge as this! Who waits without ? I will forbear, and tell my tale at once.
(Paces up and down, furiously agitated.) In plodding drudgery I've spent my youth,
Con. (aside.) What have I done? I've carried A careful penman in another's office;
this too far. And now, my master and employer dead,
I've roused a fierce, ungovernable madman. They seek to set a stripling o'er my head,
Enter JEROME. And leave me on to drudge, e'en to old age,
De Mon. (in a loud, angry voice.) Where did she Because I have no friend to take my part.
go, at such an early hour, It is an office in your native town,
And with such slight attendance ? For I am come from thence, and I am told
Jer. Of whom inquires your honour . You can procure it for me. Thus, my lord,
De Mon. Why, of your lady. Said I not my From the repute of goodness which you bear,
sister ? I have presumed to beg.
Jer. The Lady Jane, your sister? De Mon. They have befool'd thee with a false De Mon. (in a faltering voice.) Yes, I did call report.
her so. Con. Alas! I see it is in vain to plead.
Jer. In truth, I cannot tell you where she Your mind is prepossess'd against a wretch,
went. Who has, unfortunately for his weal,
E’en now, from the short beechen walk hard by, Offended the revengeful Rezenvelt.
I saw her through the garden gate return. De Mon. What dost thou say?
The Marquis Rezenvelt, and Freberg's Countess, Con. What I, perhaps, had better leave unsaid. Are in her company. This way they come, Who will believe my wrongs if I complain ? As being nearer to the back apartments ; I am a stranger, Rezenvelt my foe,
But I shall stop them if it be your will, Who will believe my wrongs ?
And bid them enter here. De Mon. (eagerly catching him by the coat.) De Mon. No, stop them not. I will remain I will believe them!
unseen, Though they were base as basest, vilest deeds, And mark them as they pass. Draw back a little. In ancient record told, I would believe them! (Conrad seems alarmed, and steals off unnoticed. Let not the smallest atom of unworthiness
De Monfort grasps Jerome tightly by the That he has put upon thee be conceal'd.
hand, and drawing back with him two or three Speak boldly, tell it all; for, by the light!
steps, not to be seen from the garden, waits in I'll be thy friend, I'll be thy warmest friend,
silence, with his eyes fixed on the glass door.) If be has done thee wrong.
I hear their footsteps on the grating sand: Con. Nay, pardon me, it were not well advised, How like the croaking of a carrion bird, If I should speak so freely of the man
That hateful voice sounds to the distant ear! Who would so soon your nearest kinsman be. And now she speaks-her voice sounds cheerly De Mon. What canst thou mean by this?
That Marquis Rezenvelt Cursed be their mirth Has pledged his faith unto your noble sister, Now, now, they come; keep closer still! keep And soon will be the husband of her choice.
steady! So I am told, and so the world believes.
(Taking hold of Jerome with both hands.) De Mon. 'Tis false! 'tis basely false !
Jer. My lord, you tremble much. What wretch could drop from his envenom'd tongue De Mon.
What, do I shake ?
Jer. You do, in truth, and your teeth chatter too. And my soul shudder'd at the horrid brink, De Mon. See ! see they come ! he strutting by I would not finch.-Fy, this recalling nature ! her side.
O that his sever'd limbs were strew'd in air, (Jane, Rezenvelt, and Countess Freberg appear So as I saw it not!
through the glass door, pursuing their way up a short walk leading to the other wing of the Enter RBZENVELT behind from the glass door. De Mor.
FORT turns round, and on seeing him starts back, then house.)
drawing his sword, rushes furiously upon him.
Defend thy life! What does he mean ?-he dares not take her hand! Rez. De Monfort, thou art mad. (Pauses and looks eagerly.) By heaven and hell De Mon. Speak not, but draw. Now for thy he does!
hated life! (Letting go his hold of Jerome, he throws out his (They fight : Rezenvelt parries his thrusts with
hands vehemently, and thereby pushes him great skill, and at last disarms him.) against the scene.)
Then take my life, black fiend, for hell assists Jer. 0! I am stunn'd! my head is crack'd in
thee. twain :
Rez. No, Monfort, but I'll take away your Your honour does forget how old I am.
sword, De Mon. Well, well, the wall is harder than I Not as a mark of disrespect to you, wist.
But for your safety. By to-morrow's eve Begone, and whine within.
I'll call on you myself and give it back; [Exit Jerome, with a sad, rueful countenance. And then, if I am charged with any wrong, De Monfort comes forward to the front of the I'll justify myself. Farewell, strange man ! stage, and makes a long pause, expressive of
(Exit. great agony of mind.)
(De Monfort stands for some time quite motionIt must be so: each passing circumstance;
less, like one stupified. Enters to him a Servant: Her hasty journey here; her keen distress
he starts.) Whene'er my soul's abhorrence I express'd ;
De Mon. Ha! who art thou? Ay, and that damned reconciliation,
'Tis I, an' please your honour. With tears extorted from me ; 0, too well!
De Mon. (staring wildly at him.) Who All, all too well bespeak the shameful tale.
thou? I should have thought of heaven and hell conjoin'd, Ser. Your servant Jacques. The morning star mix'd with infernal fire,
Indeed I knew thee not. Ere I had thought of this,
Leave me, and when Rezenvelt is gone,
He's gone already. Such combination opposite, unseemly,
De Mon. How! is he gone so soon? Of fair and loathsome, excellent and base,
His servant told me, Did ne'er produce—But every thing is possible, He was in haste to go; as night comes on, So as it may my misery enhance !
And at the evening hour he purposes 0! I did love her with such pride of soul !
To visit some old friend, whose lonely mansion When other men, in gay pursuit of love,
Stands a short mile beyond the farther wood,
Who chant this night a requiem to the soul
Of a departed sister. For so well
His horses onward by the usual road,
Meaning on foot to cross the wood alone. And when she ask'd who gently knock'd-0!0! So says his knave. Good may it do him, sooth! Who could have thought of this ?
I would not walk through those wild dells alone (Throws himself into a chair, covers his face with For all his wealth. For there, as I have heard,
his hand, and bursts into tears. After some Foul murders have been done, and ravens scream;
time he starts up froin his seat furiously.) And things unearthly, stalking through the night, Hell's direst torment seize the infernal villain! Have scared the lonely traveller from his wits. Detested of my soul! I will have vengeance !
(De Monfort stands fired in thought.) I'll crush thy swelling pride-I'll still thy vaunt- I've ta’en your mare, an' please you, from her field, ing
And wait your farther orders. I'll do a deed of blood Why shrink I thus ?
(De Monfort heeds kim not.) If, by some spell or magic sympathy,
Her hoofs are sound, and where the saddle gall’d, Piercing the lifelese figure on that wall
Begins to mend. What further must be done? Could pierce his bosom too, would I not cast it?
(De Monfort still heeds him rol.) (Throwing a dagger against the wall.) His honour heeds me not. Why should I stay? Shall
groans and blood affright me? No, I'll do it. De Mon. (eagerly, as he is going.) He goes ough gasping life beneath my pressure heaved, alone, saidst thou?
Ser. His servant told me so.
I've leant my back against some knotted oak, De Mon,
And at what hour? And loudly mimick'd him, till to my call Ser. He 'parts from Amberg by the fall of eve. He answer would return, and through the gloom, Save you, my lord! how changed your countenance We friendly converse held. is !
Between me and the star-bespangled sky, Are you not well?
Those aged oaks their crossing branches wave, De Mon.
Yes, I am well: begone, And through them looks the pale and placid moon. And wait my orders by the city wall:
How like a crocodile, or winged snake, l'll that way bend, and speak to thee again. Yon sailing cloud bears on its dusky length !
[Exit Servant. And now transformed by the passing wind, (De Monfort walks rapidly two or three times Methinks it seems a flying Pegasus.
across the stage; then seizes his dagger from Ay, but a shapeless band of blacker hue
A hollow murmuring wind sounds through the
trees; SCENE III.--MOONLIGHT. A WILD PATH IN A I hear it from afar; this bodes a storm. WOOD, SHADED WITH TREES.
I must not linger hereEnter DE MONFORT, with a strong expression of disquiet,
(A bell heard at some distance.) mixed with fear, upon his face, looking behind him,
The convent bell. and bending his ear to the ground, as if he listened 10 'Tis distant still: it tells their hour of prayer. something.
It sends a solemn sound upon the breeze, De Mon. How hollow groans the earth beneath That, to a fearful superstitious mind,
In such a scene, would like a death-knell come. Is there an echo here? Methinks it sounds
[Exit. As though some heavy footstep follow'd me I will advance no farther.
ACT V. Deep settled shadows rest across the path And thickly-tangled boughs o'erhang this spot. SCENE I.-THE INSIDE OF A CONVENT CHAPEL, OF that a tepfold gloom did cover it!
OLD GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE, ALMOST DARK: TWO
TORCHES ONLY ARE SEEN AT A DISTANCE, BURNING That midst the murky darkness I might strike;
OVER A NEWLY-COVERED GRAVE. LIGHTNING IS As in the wild confusion of a dream,
SEEN FLASHING THROUGH THE WINDOWS, AND Things horrid, bloody, terrible do pass,
THUNDER HEARD, WITH THE SOUND OF WIND As though they pass'd not; nor impress the mind BEATING UPON THE BUILDING. With the fix'd clearness of reality.
Enter two MONKS. (An owl is heard screaming near him.)
1st Monk. The storm increases : hark how (Starting.) What sound is that? (Listens, and the owl cries again.)
dismally It is the screech owl's cry.
It howls along the cloisters. How goes time? Foul bird of night! what spirit guides thee here?
2d Monk. It is the hour: I hear them near at Art thou instinctive drawn to scenes of horror ?
hand: I've heard of this.
(Pauses and listens.)
And when the solemn requiem has been sung How those fall’n leaves so rustle on the path,
For the departed sister, we'll retire. With whispering noise, as though the earth around Yet, should this tempest still more violent grow,
We'll beg a friendly shelter till the morn. me Did utter secret things !
1st Monk. See, the procession enters : let us join. The distant river too, bears to mine ear
(The organ strikes up a solemn prelude.) A dismal wailing. O mysterious night!
Enter a procession of Nuns, with the ABBESS, bearing Thou art not silent; many tongues hast thou. torches. After compassing the grave twice, and reA distant gathering blast sounds through the wood,
maining there some time, the organ plays a grand And dark clouds fleetly hasten o'er the sky:
dirge, whilst they stand round the grave. O! that a storm would rise, a raging storm ;
THE BURIAL. Amidst the roar of warring elements
Departed soul, whose poor
remains I'd lift my hand and strike! but this pale light,
This hallow'd lonely grave contains; The calm distinctness of each stilly thing,
Whose passing storm of life is o'er, Is terrible. (Starting.) Footsteps are near
Whose pains and sorrows are no more; He comes! he comes ! I'll watch him farther on
Bless'd be thou with the bless'd above! I cannot do it here.
Where all is joy, and purity, and love. Enter REZENVELT, and continues his way slowly from
Let HIM, in might and mercy dread, the bultom of the stage: as he advances to the front,
Lord of the living and the dead;
In vihom the stars of heaven rejoice, the owl screams, he stops and listens, and the owl
And the ocean lifts its voice; screams again.
Thy spirit, purified, to glory raise, Rez. Ha! does the night-bird greet me on my To sing with holy saints his everlasting praise !
Departed soul, who in this earthly scene How much his hooting is in harmony
Hast our lowly sister been, With such a scene as this! I like it well.
Swist be thy way to where the blessed dwell! Oft when a boy, at the still twilight hour,
Until we meet thee there, farewell ! farewell!
O no! the bloody neck, the bloody neck! Enter a young Pensioner, with a wild, terrified look, her hair and dress all scallered, and rushes forward
(Shaking his head and shuddering with horror. amongst them.
Loud knocking heard without.)
Sist. Good mercy! who comes next?
Not far behind looks, To break upon our sad solemnity ?
I left our brother Thomas on the road ; Pen. 0! I did hear through the receding blast,
But then he did repent him as he went Such horrid cries ! they made my blood run chill.
And threaten'd to return. Abb. "Tis but the varied voices of the storm,
See, here he comes. Which many times will sound like distant screams ; Enter Brother THOMAS, with a wild, terrified look. It has deceived thee.
1st Monk. How wild he looks! Pen. O no, for twice it call’d, so loudly callid,
Bern. (going up to him eagerly.) What, hast With horrid strength, beyond the pitch of nature ;
thou seen it too? And murder! murder! was the dreadful cry.
Thom. Yes, yes ! it glared upon me as it passid. A third time it return'd with feeble strength,
Bern. What glared upon thee? But o' the sudden ceased, as though the words
(All gathering round Thomas, and speaking at Were smother'd rudely in the grappled throat,
once.) And all was still again, save the wild blast
0! what hast thou seen Which at a distance growl'd
Thom. As, striving with the blast, I onward 0! it will never from my mind depart!
came, That dreadful cry, all i' the instant still’d :
Turning my feeble lantern from the wind, For then, so near, some horrid deed was done,
Its light upon a dreadful visage gleam'd, And none to rescue.
Which paused and look'd upon me as it pass’d. Abb. Where didst thou hear it!
But such a look, such wildness of despair, Pen.
In the higher cells, such horror-strain'd features, never yet As now a window, open'd by the storm,
Did earthly visage show. I shrunk and shudder'd. I did attempt to close.
If a damn'd spirit may to earth return, 1st Monk. I wish our brother Bernard were ar- I've seen it.
Bern. Was there any blood upon it? He is upon his way.
Thom. Nay, as it pass'd, I did not see its form; Abb. Be not alarm’d; it still may be deception. Naught but the horrid face. 'Tis meet we finish our solemnity,
Bern. It is the murderer. Nor show neglect unto the honour'd dead.
What way went it? (Gives a sign, and the organ plays again: just Thom. I durst not look till I had pass'd it far.
as it ceuses a loud knocking is heard without.) , Then turning round, upon the rising bank, Abb. Ha! who may this be? hush !
I saw, between me and the paly sky, (Knocking heard again.) | A dusky form, tossing and agitated. 2d Monk. It is the knock of one in furious haste, I stopp'd to mark it; but, in truth, I found Hush! hush! What footsteps come? Ha! brother 'Twas but a sapling bending to the wind, Bernard.
And so I onward hied, and look'd no more.
1st Monk. But we must look to't; we must folEnter Bernand, bearing a lantern.
low it: 1st Monk. See, what a look he wears of stiffen'd
Our duty so commands. (To 2d Monk.) Will you fear!
go, brother? Where hast thou been, good brother !
(To Bernard.) And you, good Bernard ? Bern. I've seen a horrid sight!
If I needs must go. (All gathering round him and speaking at once.)
1st Monk, Come, we must all go. What hast thou scen ?
Heaven be with you, then! Bern. As on I hasten'd, bearing thus my light,
[EXEUNT Monks. Across the path, not fifty paces off,
Pen. Amen! amen! Good heaven be with us I saw a murder'd corse, stretch'd on his back,
all ! Smeard with new blood, as though but newly slain. what a dreadful night! Abb. A man or woman was't ?
Abb. Daughters, retire ; peace to the peaceful Bern.
A man, a man!
dead! Abb. Didst thou examine if within its breast
Our solemn ceremony now is finish'd. (Exeunt. There yet were lodged some small remains of life? Was it quite dead?
SCENE II.-A LARGE ROOM IN THE CONVENT, VERY Bern.
Naught in the grave is deader. I look'd but once, yet life did never lodge
Enter the ABBESS, young PENSIONER bearing a light, In any form so laid
and several Nuns; she sets down the light on a lable A chilly horror seized me, and I fled.
at the bottom of the stage, so that the room is still very 1st Monk. And does the face seem all unknown
gloomy. to thee?
Alb. They have been longer absent than I Bern. The face! I would not on the face have
I fear he has escaped them. For e'en a kingdom's wealth, for all the world! 1st Nun.
Heaven forbid !
Pen. No, no, found out foul murder ever is, (Enter men, bearing the body of Rezenvelt, And the foul murderer too.
covered with a white cloth, and set it down in 2 Nun. The good Saint Francis will direct their the middle of the room : they then uncover it. search;
De Monfort stands fixed and motionless with The blood so near this holy convent shed
horror, only that a sudden shivering seems to For threefold vengeance calls.
pass over him when they uncover the corpse. Abb. I hear a noise within the inner court
The Abbess and Nuns shrink back and retire They are return'd; (listening ;) and Bernard's to some distance, all the rest firing their eyes voice I hear :
steadfastly upon De Monfort. A long pause.) They are return'd.
Bern. (to De Mon.) Seest thou that lifeless Pen. Why do I tremble so ?
corpse, those bloody wounds ? It is not I who ought to tremble thus.
See how he lies, who but so shortly since 2d Nun. I hear them at the door.
A living creature was, with all the powers Bern. (without.) Open the door, I pray thee, of sense, and motion, and humanity! brother Thomas;
0! what a heart had he who did this deed ! I cannot now unhand the prisoner.
1st Monk. (looking at the body.) How hard those (All speak together, shrinking back from the
teeth against the lips are press'd, door, and staring upon one another.)
As though he struggled still ! He is with them !
2d Monk. The hands, too, clench'd: the last (A folding door at the bottom of the stage is
efforts of nature. opened, and enter Bernard, Thomas, and the (De Monfort still stands motionless. Brother other two Monks, carrying lanterns in their Thomas then goes to the body, and raising up hands and bringing in De Monfort. They the head a little, turns it toward De Monfort.) are likewise followed by other Monks. As they Thom. Know'st thou this ghastly face? lead forward De Monfort, the light is turned De Mon. (putting his hands before his face in away, so that he is seen obscurely; but when
violent perturbation.) O do not! do not! they come to the front of the stage, they turn
Veil it from my sight! the light side of their lanterns on him at once, Put me to any agony but this ! and his face is seen in all the strengthened Thom. Ha! dost thou then confess the dreadful horror of despair, with his hands and clothes
deed ? bloody. Abbess and Nuns speak at once, and Hast thou against the laws of awful Heaven start back.)
Such horrid murder done? What fiend could tempt Holy saints be with us!
thee? Bern. (to Abb.) Behold the man of blood !
(Pauses and looks steadfastly at De Monfort.) Abb. Of misery too; I cannot look upon him. De Mon. I hear thy words, but do not hear their Bern. (to Nuns.) Nay, holy sisters, turn not thus away.
Hast thou not cover'd it? Speak to him, if, perchance, he will regard you: Bern. (to Thom.) Forbear, my brother, for thou For from his mouth we have no utterance heard,
seest right well Save one deep groan and smother'd exclamation, He is not in a state to answer thee. When first we seized him.
Let us retire and leave him for a while. Abb. (to De Mon.) Most miserable man, how art These windows are with iron grated o’er ; thou thus?
(Pauses.) He is secured, and other duty calls. Thy tongue is silent, but those bloody hands
Thom. Then let it be. Do witness horrid things. What is thy name? Bern. (to Monks, &-c.) Come, let us all depart. De Mon. (roused, looks steadfastly at the Abbess 'EXEUNT Abbess and Nuns, followed by the
for some time, then speaking in a short Monks. One Monk lingering a little behind.) hurried voice.) I have no name.
De Mon. All gone! (Perceiving the Monk.) 0 Abb. (to Bem.) Do it thyself; I'll speak to him
stay thou here! Monk.
It must not be. Pen. O holy saints ! that this should be the man De Mon. I'll give thee gold ; I'll make thee rich Who did against his fellow lift the stroke,
in gold, Whilst he so loudly call’d.
If thou wilt stay e'en but a little while.
I do conjure thee! Pen. No, he did call, but now his voice is still’d. Monk. I dare not stay with thee. (Going.)
And wilt thou go? De Mon. 'Tis past.
(Catching hold of him eagerly.) Pen. Yes, it is past! art thou not he who did it? O! throw thy cloak upon this grisly form ! (De Monfort utters a deep groan, and is supported The unclosed eyes do stare upon me still. from falling by the Monks. A noise is heard 0 do not leave me thus ! without.)
(Monk covers the body, and Exit. Abb. What noise is this of heavy lumbering steps, De Mon. (alone, looking at the covered body, but Like men who with a weighty burden come?
at a distance.) Alone with thee! but Bern. It is the body: I have orders given
thou art nothing now. That here it should be laid.
'Tis done, 'tis number'd with the things o'erpast;