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Title: The Stranger - A Drama, in Five Acts
Author: Kotzebue, August von, 1761-1819
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Stranger - A Drama, in Five Acts" ***

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Transcriber's note:

      Typographical errors from the original 1806 edition
      have been preserved.



THE STRANGER;

A Drama, in Five Acts;

As Performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Translated from the German of Kotzebue. by Benjamin Thompson, Esq.

Printed Under the Authority of the Managers from the Prompt Book.

With Remarks by Mrs. Inchbald.



[Illustration: STRANGER
CHILDREN.--DEAR FATHER! DEAR MOTHER! (Act V, Scene II.)
PAINTED BY HOWARD A.  PUBLISH'D BY LONGMAN AND CO.  ENGRAVED BY NEAGLE
1806]



London:
Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster Row.
Savage and Easingwood, Printers, London.



REMARKS.


There seems to be required by a number of well meaning persons of the
present day a degree of moral perfection in a play, which few literary
works attain; and in which sermons, and other holy productions, are at
times deficient, though written with the purest intention.

To criticise any book, besides the present drama, was certainly not a
premeditated design in writing this little essay; but in support of the
position--that every literary work, however guided by truth, may
occasionally swerve into error, it may here be stated that the meek
spirit of christianity can seldom be traced in any of those pious
writings where our ancient religion, the church of Rome, and its clergy,
are the subjects: and that political writers, in the time of war,
laudably impelled, will slander public enemies into brutes, that the
nation may hate them without offence to brotherly love.

Articles of sacred faith are often so piously, yet so ignorantly
expounded in what are termed systems of education and instruction--that
doubts are created, where all was before secure, and infidelity sown,
where it was meant to be extirpated.

In this general failure of human perfection, the German author of this
play has compassionated--and with a high, a sublime, example before
him--an adultress. But Kotzebue's pity, vitiated by his imperfect
nature, has, it is said, deviated into vice; by restoring this woman to
her former rank in life, under the roof of her injured husband.

To reconcile to the virtuous spectator this indecorum, most calamitous
woes are first depicted as the consequence of illicit love. The deserted
husband and the guilty wife are both presented to the audience as
voluntary exiles from society: the one through poignant sense of sorrow
for the connubial happiness he has lost--the other, from deep contrition
for the guilt she has incurred.

The language, as well as the plot and incidents, of this play, describe,
with effect, those multiplied miseries which the dishonour of a wife
spreads around; but draws more especially upon herself, her husband, and
her children.

Kemble's emaciated frame, sunken eye, drooping head, and death-like
paleness; his heart-piercing lamentation, that--"he trusted a friend who
repaid his hospitality, by alluring from him all that his soul held
dear,"--are potent warnings to the modern husband.

Mrs. Siddons, in Mrs. Haller (the just martyr to her own crimes) speaks
in her turn to every married woman; and, in pathetic bursts of grief--in
looks of overwhelming shame--in words of deep reproach against herself
and her seducer--"conjures each wife to revere the marriage bond."

Notwithstanding all these distressful and repentant testimonies,
preparatory to the reunion of this husband and wife, a delicate
spectator feels a certain shudder when the catastrophe takes place,--but
there is another spectator more delicate still, who never conceives,
that from an agonizing, though an affectionate embrace, (the only proof
of reconciliation given, for the play ends here), any farther
endearments will ensue, than those of participated sadness, mutual care
of their joint offspring, and to smooth each other's passage to the
grave.

But should the worst suspicion of the scrupulous critic be true, and
this man should actually have taken his wife "for better or for worse,"
as on the bridal day--can this be holding out temptation, as alleged,
for women to be false to their husbands? Sure it would rather act as a
preservative. What woman of common understanding and common cowardice,
would dare to dishonour and forsake her husband, if she foresaw she was
ever likely to live with him again?



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

THE STRANGER                         _Mr. Kemble._
COUNT WINTERSEN                      _Mr. Barrymore._
BARON STEINFORT                      _Mr. Palmer._
MR. SOLOMON                          _Mr. Wewitzer._
PETER                                _Mr. Suett._
TOBIAS                               _Mr. Aickin._
FRANCIS                              _Mr. R. Palmer._
GEORGE                               _Mr. Webb._
COUNT'S SON (five years old)         _Master Wells._
STRANGER'S SON (five years old)      _Master Stokeley._

MRS. HALLER                          _Mrs. Siddons._
COUNTESS WINTERSEN                   _Mrs. Goodall._
CHARLOTTE                            _Miss Stuart._
ANNETTE                              _Mrs. Bland._
CLAUDINE                             _Miss Leake._
SUSAN                                _Mrs. Jones._
STRANGER'S DAUGHTER (four years old) _Miss Beton._

TENANTS, SERVANTS, DANCERS, &c.


_SCENE_,--_Germany_.



THE STRANGER.


ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

     _The Skirts of COUNT WINTERSEN'S Park.--The Park Gates in the
     centre.--On one side a low Lodge, among the Trees.--On the other,
     in the back ground, a Peasant's Hut._

     _Enter PETER._

_Pet._ Pooh! pooh!--never tell me.--I'm a clever lad, for all father's
crying out every minute, "Peter," and "stupid Peter!" But I say, Peter
is not stupid, though father will always be so wise. First, I talk too
much; then I talk too little; and if I talk a bit to myself, he calls me
a driveller. Now, I like best to talk to myself; for I never contradict
myself, and I don't laugh at myself, as other folks do. That laughing is
often a plaguy teazing custom. To be sure, when Mrs. Haller laughs, one
can bear it well enough; there is a sweetness even in her reproof, that
somehow--But, lud! I had near forgot what I was sent about.--Yes, then
they would have laughed at me indeed.--[_Draws a green purse from his
pocket._]--I am to carry this money to old Tobias; and Mrs. Haller said
I must be sure not to blab, or say that she had sent it. Well, well, she
may be easy for that matter; not a word shall drop from my lips. Mrs.
Haller is charming, but silly, if father is right; for father says, "He,
that spends his money is not wise," but "he that gives it away, is stark
mad."

     _Enter the STRANGER, from the Lodge, followed by FRANCIS.--At
     sight of PETER, the STRANGER stops, and looks suspiciously at
     him. PETER stands opposite to him, with his mouth wide open. At
     length he takes off his hat, scrapes a bow, and goes into the Hut._

_Stra._ Who is that?

_Fra._ The steward's son.

_Stra._ Of the Castle?

_Fra._ Yes.

_Stra._ [_After a pause._] You were--you were speaking last night--

_Fra._ Of the old countryman?

_Stra._ Ay.

_Fra._ You would not hear me out.

_Stra._ Proceed.

_Fra._ He is poor.

_Stra._ Who told you so?

_Fra._ Himself.

_Stra._ [_With acrimony._] Ay, ay; he knows how to tell his story, no
doubt.

_Fra._ And to impose, you think?

_Stra._ Right!

_Fra._ This man does not.

_Stra._ Fool!

_Fra._ A feeling fool is better than a cold sceptic.

_Stra._ False!

_Fra._ Charity begets gratitude.

_Stra._ False!

_Fra._ And blesses the giver more than the receiver.

_Stra._ True.

_Fra._ Well, sir. This countryman--

_Stra._ Has he complained to you?

_Fra._ Yes.

_Stra._ He, who is really unhappy, never complains. [_Pauses._] Francis,
you have had means of education beyond your lot in life, and hence you
are encouraged to attempt imposing on me:--but go on.

_Fra._ His only son has been taken from him.

_Stra._ Taken from him?

_Fra._ By the exigency of the times, for a soldier.

_Stra._ Ay!

_Fra._ The old man is poor.--

_Stra._ 'Tis likely.

_Fra._ Sick and forsaken.

_Stra._ I cannot help him.

_Fra._ Yes.

_Stra._ How?

_Fra._ By money. He may buy his son's release.

_Stra._ I'll see him myself.

_Fra._ Do so.

_Stra._ But if he is an impostor!

_Fra._ He is not.

_Stra._ In that hut?

_Fra._ In that hut. [_STRANGER goes into the Hut._] A good master,
though one almost loses the use of speech by living with him. A man kind
and clear--though I cannot understand him. He rails against the whole
world, and yet no beggar leaves his door unsatisfied. I have now lived
three years with him, and yet I know not who he is. A hater of society,
no doubt; but not by Providence intended to be so. Misanthropy in his
head, not in his heart.

     _Enter the STRANGER and PETER, from the Hut._

_Pet._ Pray walk on.

_Stra._ [_To FRANCIS._] Fool!

_Fra._ So soon returned!

_Stra._ What should I do there?

_Fra._ Did you not find it as I said?

_Stra._ This lad I found.

_Fra._ What has he to do with your charity?

_Stra._ The old man and he understand each other perfectly well.

_Fra._ How?

_Stra._ What were this boy and the countryman doing?

_Fra._ [_Smiling, and shaking his head._] Well, you shall hear. [_To
PETER._] Young man, what were you doing in that hut?

_Pet._ Doing!--Nothing.

_Fra._ Well, but you couldn't go there for nothing?

_Pet._ And why not, pray?--But I did go there for nothing, though.--Do
you think one must be paid for every thing?--If Mrs. Haller were to give
me but a smiling look, I'd jump up to my neck in the great pond for
nothing.

_Fra._ It seems then Mrs. Haller sent you?

_Pet._ Why, yes--But I'm not to talk about it.

_Fra._ Why so?

_Pet._ How should I know? "Look you," says Mrs. Haller, "Master Peter,
be so good as not to mention it to any body." [_With much consequence._]
"Master Peter, be so good"--Hi! hi! hi!--"Master Peter, be so"--Hi! hi!
hi!--

_Fra._ Oh! that is quite a different thing. Of course you must be silent
then.

_Pet._ I know that; and so I am too. For I told old Tobias--says I,
"Now, you're not to think as how Mrs. Haller sent the money; for I shall
not say a word about that as long as I live," says I.

_Fra._ There you were very right. Did you carry him much money?

_Pet._ I don't know; I didn't count it. It was in a bit of a green
purse. Mayhap it may be some little matter that she has scraped together
in the last fortnight.

_Fra._ And why just in the last fortnight?

_Pet._ Because, about a fortnight since, I carried him some money
before.

_Fra._ From Mrs. Haller?

_Pet._ Ay, sure; who else, think you? Father's not such a fool. He says
it is our bounden duty, as christians, to take care of our money, and
not give any thing away, especially in summer; for then, says he,
there's herbs and roots enough in conscience to satisfy all the
reasonable hungry poor. But I say father's wrong, and Mrs. Haller's
right.

_Fra._ Yes, yes.--But this Mrs. Haller seems a strange woman, Peter.

_Pet._ Ay, at times she is plaguy odd. Why, she'll sit, and cry you a
whole day through, without any one's knowing why.--Ay, and yet, somehow
or other, whenever she cries, I always cry too--without knowing why.

_Fra._ [_To the STRANGER._] Are you satisfied?

_Stra._ Rid me of that babbler.

_Fra._ Good day, Master Peter.

_Pet._ You're not going yet, are you?

_Fra._ Mrs. Haller will be waiting for an answer.

_Pet._ So she will. And I have another place or two to call at. [_Takes
off his hat to STRANGER._] Servant, sir!

_Stra._ Pshaw!--

_Pet._ Pshaw! What--he's angry. [_PETER turns to FRANCIS, in a half
whisper._] He's angry, I suppose, because he can get nothing out of me.

_Fra._ It almost seems so.

_Pet._ Ay, I'd have him to know I'm no blab.                    [_Exit._

_Fra._ Now, sir?

_Stra._ What do you want?

_Fra._ Were you not wrong, sir?

_Stra._ Hem! wrong!

_Fra._ Can you still doubt?

_Stra._ I'll hear no more! Who is this Mrs. Haller? Why do I always
follow her path? Go where I will, whenever I try to do good, she has
always been before me.

_Fra._ You should rejoice at that.

_Stra._ Rejoice!

_Fra._ Surely! That there are other good and charitable people in the
world beside yourself.

_Stra._ Oh, yes!

_Fra._ Why not seek to be acquainted with her? I saw her yesterday in
the garden up at the Castle. Mr. Solomon, the steward, says she has been
unwell, and confined to her room almost ever since we have been here.
But one would not think it, to look at her; for a more beautiful
creature I never saw.

_Stra._ So much the worse. Beauty is a mask.

_Fra._ In her it seems a mirror of the soul. Her charities--

_Stra._ Talk not to me of her charities. All women wish to be
conspicuous:--in town by their wit; in the country by their heart.

_Fra._ 'Tis immaterial in what way good is done.

_Stra._ No; 'tis not immaterial.

_Fra._ To this poor old man at least.

_Stra._ He needs no assistance of mine.

_Fra._ His most urgent wants indeed, Mrs. Haller has relieved; but
whether she has or could have given as much as would purchase liberty
for the son, the prop of his age--

_Stra._ Silence! I will not give him a doit! [_In a peevish tone._] You
interest yourself very warmly in his behalf. Perhaps you are to be a
sharer in the gift.

_Fra._ Sir, sir, that did not come from your heart.

_Stra._ [_Recollecting himself._] Forgive me!

_Fra._ Poor master! How must the world have used you, before it could
have instilled this hatred of mankind, this constant doubt of honesty
and virtue!

_Stra._ Leave me to myself!

                              [_Throws himself on a seat; takes from his
                                pocket "Zimmerman on Solitude," and
                                reads._

_Fra._ [_Aside, surveying him._] Again reading! Thus it is from morn to
night. To him nature has no beauty; life, no charm. For three years I
have never seen him smile. What will be his fate at last? Nothing
diverts him. Oh, if he would but attach himself to any living thing!
Were it an animal--for something man must love.

     _Enter TOBIAS, from the Hut._

_Tob._ Oh! how refreshing, after seven long weeks, to feel these warm
sun beams once again! Thanks! thanks! bounteous Heaven, for the joy I
taste.

                              [_Presses his cap between his hands, looks
                                up and prays.--The STRANGER observes him
                                attentively._

_Fra._ [_To the STRANGER.] This old man's share of earthly happiness
can be but little; yet mark how grateful he is for his portion of it.

_Stra._ Because, though old, he is but a child in the leading strings of
Hope.

_Fra._ Hope is the nurse of life.

_Stra._ And her cradle is the grave.

                                             [_TOBIAS replaces his cap._

_Fra._ I wish you joy. I am glad to see you are so much recovered.

_Tob._ Thank you. Heaven, and the assistance of a kind lady, have saved
me for another year or two.

_Fra._ How old are you, pray?

_Tob._ Seventy-six. To be sure I can expect but little joy before I die.
Yet, there is another, and a better world.

_Fra._ To the unfortunate, then, death is scarce an evil?

_Tob._ Am I so unfortunate? Do I not enjoy this glorious morning? Am I
not in health again! Believe me, sir, he, who, leaving the bed of
sickness, for the first time breathes the fresh pure air, is, at that
moment, the happiest of his Maker's creatures.

_Fra._ Yet 'tis a happiness that fails upon enjoyment.

_Tob._ True; but less so in old age. Some fifty years ago my father left
me this cottage. I was a strong lad; and took an honest wife. Heaven
blessed my farm with rich crops, and my marriage with five children.
This lasted nine or ten years. Two of my children died. I felt it
sorely. The land was afflicted with a famine. My wife assisted me in
supporting our family: but four years after, she left our dwelling for a
better place. And of my five children only one son remained. This was
blow upon blow. It was long before I regained my fortitude. At length
resignation and religion had their effect. I again attached myself to
life. My son grew, and helped me in my work. Now the state has called
him away to bear a musket. This is to me a loss indeed. I can work no
more. I am old and weak; and true it is, but for Mrs. Haller, I must
have perished.

_Fra._ Still then life has its charms for you?

_Tob._ Why not, while the world holds any thing that's dear to me? Have
not I a son?

_Fra._ Who knows, that you will ever see him more? He may be dead.

_Tob._ Alas! he may. But as long as I am not sure of it, he lives to me:
And if he falls, 'tis in his country's cause. Nay, should I lose him,
still I should not wish to die. Here is the hut in which I was born.
Here is the tree that grew with me; and, I am almost ashamed to confess
it--I have a dog, I love.

_Fra._ A dog!

_Tob._ Yes!--Smile if you please: but hear me. My benefactress once came
to my hut herself, some time before you fixed here. The poor animal,
unused to see the form of elegance and beauty enter the door of penury,
growled at her.--"I wonder you keep that surly, ugly animal, Mr.
Tobias," said she; "you, who have hardly food enough for
yourself."--"Ah, madam," I replied, "if I part with him, are you sure
that any thing else will love me?"--She was pleased with my answer.

_Fra._ [_To STRANGER._] Excuse me, sir; but I wish you had listened.

_Stra._ I have listened.

_Fra._ Then, sir, I wish you would follow this poor old man's example.

_Stra._ [_Pauses._] Here; take this book, and lay it on my desk.
[_Francis goes into the Lodge with the book._] How much has this Mrs.
Haller given you?

_Tob._ Oh, sir, she has given me so much, that I can look towards winter
without fear.

_Stra._ No more?

_Tob._ What could I do with more?--Ah! true; I might--

_Stra._ I know it.--You might buy your son's release.--There!

                             [_Presses a purse into his hand, and exit._

_Tob._ What is all this? [_Opens the purse, and finds it full of gold._]
Merciful Heaven!--

     _Enter FRANCIS._

--Now look, sir: is confidence in Heaven unrewarded?

_Fra._ I wish you joy! My master gave you this!

_Tob._ Yes, your noble master. Heaven reward him!

_Fra._ Just like him. He sent me with his book, that no one might be
witness to his bounty.

_Tob._ He would not even take my thanks. He was gone before I could
speak.

_Fra._ Just his way.

_Tob._ Now, I'll go as quick as these old legs will bear me. What a
delightful errand! I go to release my Robert! How the lad will rejoice!
There is a girl too, in the village, that will rejoice with him. O
Providence, how good art thou! Years of distress never can efface the
recollection of former happiness; but one joyful moment drives from the
memory an age of misery.                                        [_Exit._

_Fra._ [_Looks after him._] Why am I not wealthy? 'Sdeath! why am I not
a prince! I never thought myself envious; but I feel I am. Yes, I must
envy those who, with the will, have the power to do good.       [_Exit._


SCENE II.

     _An Antichamber in Wintersen Castle._

     _Enter SUSAN, meeting Footmen with table and chairs._

_Susan._ Why, George! Harry! where have you been loitering? Put down
these things. Mrs. Haller has been calling for you this half hour.

_Geo._ Well, here I am then. What does she want with me?

_Susan._ That she will tell you herself. Here she comes.

     _Enter MRS. HALLER, (with a letter, a MAID following._

_Mrs. H._ Very well; if those things are done, let the drawing room be
made ready immediately.--[_Exit MAIDS._] And, George, run immediately
into the park, and tell Mr. Solomon I wish to speak with him. [_Exit
FOOTMAN._] I cannot understand this. I do not learn whether their coming
to this place be but the whim of a moment, or a plan for a longer stay:
if the latter, farewell, solitude! farewell, study!--farewell!--Yes, I
must make room for gaiety, and mere frivolity. Yet could I willingly
submit to all; but, should the Countess give me new proofs of her
attachment, perhaps of her respect, Oh! how will my conscience upbraid
me! Or--I shudder at the thought! if this seat be visited by company,
and chance should conduct hither any of my former acquaintance--Alas!
alas! how wretched is the being who fears the sight of any one
fellow-creature! But, oh! superior misery! to dread still more the
presence of a former friend!--Who's there?

     _Enter PETER._

_Pet._ Nobody. It's only me.

_Mrs. H._ So soon returned?

_Pet._ Sharp lad, a'n't I? On the road I've had a bit of talk too, and--

_Mrs. H._ But you have observed my directions!

_Pet._ Oh, yes, yes:--I told old Tobias as how he would never know as
long as he lived that the money came from you.

_Mrs. H._ You found him quite recovered, I hope?

_Pet._ Ay, sure did I. He's coming out to-day for the first time.

_Mrs. H._ I rejoice to hear it.

_Pet._ He said that he was obliged to you for all; and before dinner
would crawl up to thank you.

_Mrs. H._ Good Peter, do me another service.

_Pet._ Ay, a hundred, if you'll only let me have a good long stare at
you.

_Mrs. H._ With all my heart! Observe when old Tobias comes, and send him
away. Tell him I am busy, or asleep, or unwell, or what you please.

_Pet._ I will, I will.

_Sol._ [_Without._] There, there, go to the post-office.

_Mrs. H._ Oh! here comes Mr. Solomon.

_Pet._ What! Father?--Ay, so there is. Father's a main clever man: he
knows what's going on all over the world.

_Mrs. H._ No wonder; for you know he receives as many letters as a prime
minister and all his secretaries.

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ Good morning, good morning to you, Mrs. Haller. It gives me
infinite pleasure to see you look so charmingly well. You have had the
goodness to send for your humble servant. Any news from the Great City?
There are very weighty matters in agitation. I have my letters too.

_Mrs. H._ [_Smiling._] I think, Mr. Solomon, you must correspond with
the four quarters of the globe.

_Sol._ Beg pardon, not with the whole world, Mrs. Haller: but
[_Consequentially._] to be sure I have correspondents, on whom I can
rely, in the chief cities of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

_Mrs. H._ And yet I have my doubts whether you know what is to happen
this very day at this very place.

_Sol._ At this very place! Nothing material. We meant to have sown a
little barley to-day, but the ground is too dry; and the sheep-shearing
is not to be till to-morrow.

_Pet._ No, nor the bull-baiting till--

_Sol._ Hold your tongue, blockhead! Get about your business.

_Pet._ Blockhead! There again! I suppose I'm not to open my mouth. [_To
MRS. HALLER._] Good bye!                                         [_Exit._

_Mrs. H._ The Count will be here to-day.

_Sol._ How! What!

_Mrs. H._ With his lady, and his brother-in-law, Baron Steinfort.

_Sol._ My letters say nothing of this. You are laughing at your humble
servant.

_Mrs. H._ You know, sir, I'm not much given to jesting.

_Sol._ Peter!--Good lack-a-day!--His Right Honourable Excellency Count
Wintersen, and her Right Honourable Excellency the Countess Wintersen,
and his Honourable Lordship Baron Steinfort--And, Lord have mercy!
nothing in proper order!--Here, Peter! Peter!

     _Enter PETER._

_Pet._ Well, now; what's the matter again?

_Sol._ Call all the house together directly! Send to the game keeper;
tell him to bring some venison. Tell Rebecca to uncase the furniture,
and take the covering from the Venetian looking glasses, that her Right
Honourable Ladyship the Countess may look at her gracious countenance:
and tell the cook to let me see him without loss of time: and tell John
to catch a brace or two of carp. And tell--and tell--and tell--tell
Frederick to friz my Sunday wig.--Mercy on us!--Tell--There--Go!--
[_Exit PETER._] Heavens and earth! so little of the new furnishing of
this old castle is completed!--Where are we to put his Honourable
Lordship the Baron?

_Mrs. H._ Let him have the little chamber at the head of the stairs; it
is a neat room, and commands a beautiful prospect.

_Sol._ Very right, very right. But that room has always been occupied by
the Count's private secretary. Suppose!--Hold, I have it. You know the
little lodge at the end of the park: we can thrust the secretary into
that.

_Mrs. H._ You forget, Mr. Solomon; you told me that the Stranger lived
there.

_Sol._ Pshaw! What have we to do with the Stranger?--Who told him to
live there?--He must turn out.

_Mrs. H._ That would be unjust; for you said, that you let the dwelling
to him, and by your own account he pays well for it.

_Sol._ He does, he does. But nobody knows who he is. The devil himself
can't make him out. To be sure, I lately received a letter from Spain,
which informed me that a spy had taken up his abode in this country, and
from the description--

_Mrs. H._ A spy! Ridiculous! Every thing I have heard bespeaks him to be
a man, who may be allowed to dwell any where. His life is solitude and
silence.

_Sol._ So it is.

_Mrs. H._ You tell me too he does much good.

_Sol._ That he does.

_Mrs. H._ He hurts nothing; not the worm in his way.

_Sol._ That he does not.

_Mrs. H._ He troubles no one.

_Sol._ True! true!

_Mrs. H._ Well, what do you want more?

_Sol._ I want to know who he is. If the man would only converse a
little, one might have an opportunity of _pumping_; but if one meets him
in the lime walk, or by the river, it is nothing but--"Good
morrow;"--and off he marches. Once or twice I have contrived to edge in
a word--"Fine day."--"Yes."--"Taking a little exercise, I
perceive."--"Yes:"--and off again like a shot. The devil take such close
fellows, say I. And, like master like man; not a syllable do I know of
that mumps his servant, except that his name is Francis.

_Mrs. H._ You are putting yourself into a passion, and quite forget who
are expected.

_Sol._ So I do--Mercy on us!--There now, you see what misfortunes arise
from not knowing people.

_Mrs. H._ 'Tis near twelve o'clock already! If his lordship has stolen
an hour from his usual sleep, the family must soon be here. I go to my
duty; you will attend to yours, Mr. Solomon.                    [_Exit._

_Sol._ Yes, I'll look after my duty, never fear. There goes another of
the same class. Nobody knows who she is again. However, thus much I do
know of her, that her Right Honourable Ladyship the Countess, all at
once, popped her into the house, like a blot of ink upon a sheet of
paper. But why, wherefore, or for what reason, not a soul can
tell.--"She is to manage the family within doors." She to manage! Fire
and faggots! Haven't I managed every thing within and without, most
reputably, these twenty years? I must own I grow a little old, and she
does take a deal of pains: but all this she learned of me. When she
first came here--Mercy on us! she didn't know that linen was made of
flax. But what was to be expected from one who has no foreign
correspondence.                                                 [_Exit._



ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.

     _A Drawing Room in the Castle, with a Piano Forte, Harp, Music,
     Bookstand, Sofas, Chairs, Tables, &c._

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ Well, for once I think I have the advantage of Madam Haller. Such
a dance have I provided to welcome their Excellencies, and she quite out
of the the secret! And such a hornpipe by the little Brunette! I'll have
a rehearsal first though, and then surprise their honours after dinner.

                                     [_Flourish of rural music without._

_Pet._ [_Without._] Stop; not yet, not yet: but make way there, make
way, my good friends, tenants, and villagers.--John! George! Frederick!
Good friends, make way.

_Sol._ It is not the Count: it's only Baron Steinfort. Stand back, I
say; and stop the music!

     _Enter BARON STEINFORT, ushered in by PETER and FOOTMEN. PETER
     mimicks and apes his father._

_Sol._ I have the honour to introduce to your lordship myself, Mr.
Solomon, who blesses the hour in which fortune allows him to become
acquainted with the Honourable Baron Steinfort, brother-in-law of his
Right Honourable Excellency Count Wintersen, my noble master.

_Pet._ Bless our noble master!

_Bar._ Old and young, I see they'll allow me no peace. [_Aside._]
Enough, enough, good Mr. Solomon. I am a soldier. I pay but few
compliments, and require as few from others.

_Sol._ I beg, my lord--We do live in the country to be sure, but we are
acquainted with the reverence due to exalted personages.

_Pet._ Yes--We are acquainted with exalted personages.

_Bar._ What is to become of me?--Well, well, I hope we shall be better
acquainted. You must know, Mr. Solomon, I intend to assist, for a couple
of months at least, in attacking the well stocked cellars of Wintersen.

_Sol._ Why not whole years, my lord?--Inexpressible would be the
satisfaction of your humble servant. And, though I say it, well stocked
indeed are our cellars. I have, in every respect, here managed matters
in so frugal and provident a way, that his Right Honourable Excellency
the Count, will be astonished. [_BARON yawns._] Extremely sorry it is
not in my power to entertain your lordship.

_Pet._ Extremely sorry.

_Sol._ Where can Mrs. Haller have hid herself?

_Bar._ Mrs. Haller! who is she?

_Sol._ Why, who she is, I can't exactly tell your lordship.

_Pet._ No, nor I.

_Sol._ None of my correspondents give any account of her. She is here in
the capacity of a kind of a superior housekeeper. Methinks, I hear her
silver voice upon the stairs. I will have the honour of sending her to
your lordship in an instant.

_Bar._ Oh! don't trouble yourself.

_Sol._ No trouble whatever! I remain, at all times, your honourable
lordship's most obedient, humble, and devoted servant.  [_Exit, bowing._

_Pet._ Devoted servant.                                 [_Exit, bowing._

_Bar._ Now for a fresh plague. Now am I to be tormented by some
chattering old ugly hag, till I am stunned with her noise and officious
hospitality. Oh, patience! what a virtue art thou!

     _Enter MRS. HALLER, with a becoming curtsey. BARON rises, and
     returns a bow, in confusion._

[_Aside._] No, old she is not. [_Casts another glance at her._] No, by
Jove, nor ugly.

_Mrs. H._ I rejoice, my lord, in thus becoming acquainted with the
brother of my benefactress.

_Bar._ Madam, that title shall be doubly valuable to me, since it gives
me an introduction equally to be rejoiced at.

_Mrs. H._ [_Without attending to the compliment._] This lovely weather,
then, has enticed the Count from the city?

_Bar._ Not exactly that. You know him. Sunshine or clouds are to him
alike, as long as eternal summer reigns in his own heart and family.

_Mrs. H._ The Count possesses a most cheerful and amiable philosophy.
Ever in the same happy humour; ever enjoying each minute of his life.
But you must confess, my lord, that he is a favourite child of fortune,
and has much to be grateful to her for. Not merely because she has given
him birth and riches, but for a native sweetness of temper, never to be
acquired; and a graceful suavity of manners, whose school must be the
mind. And, need I enumerate among fortune's favours, the hand and
affections of your accomplished sister?

_Bar._ [_More and more struck as her understanding opens upon him._]
True, madam. My good easy brother, too, seems fully sensible of his
happiness, and is resolved to retain it. He has quitted the service to
live here. I am yet afraid he may soon grow weary of Wintersen and
retirement.

_Mrs. H._ I should trust not. They, who bear a cheerful and
unreproaching conscience into solitude, surely must increase the measure
of their own enjoyments. They quit the poor, precarious, the dependent
pleasures, which they borrowed from the world, to draw a real bliss from
that exhaustless source of true delight, the fountain of a pure
unsullied heart.

_Bar._ Has retirement long possessed so lovely an advocate?

_Mrs. H._ I have lived here three years.

_Bar._ And never felt a secret wish for the society you left, and must
have adorned?

_Mrs. H._ Never.

_Bar._ To feel thus belongs either to a very rough or a very polished
soul. The first sight convinced me in which class I am to place you.

_Mrs. H._ [_With a sigh._] There may, perhaps, be a third class.

_Bar._ Indeed, madam, I wish not to be thought forward; but women always
seemed to me less calculated for retirement than men. We have a
thousand employments, a thousand amusements, which you have not.

_Mrs. H._ Dare I ask what they are?

_Bar._ We ride--we hunt--we play--read--write.--

_Mrs. H._ The noble employments of the chase, and the still more noble
employment of play, I grant you.

_Bar._ Nay, but dare I ask what are your employments for a day?

_Mrs. H._ Oh, my lord! you cannot imagine how quickly time passes when a
certain uniformity guides the minutes of our life. How often do I ask,
"Is Saturday come again so soon?" On a bright cheerful morning, my books
and breakfast are carried out upon the grass plot. Then is the sweet
picture of reviving industry and eager innocence always new to me. The
birds' notes so often heard, still waken new ideas: the herds are led
into the fields: the peasant bends his eye upon his plough. Every thing
lives and moves; and in every creature's mind it seems as it were
morning. Towards evening I begin to roam abroad: from the park into the
meadows. And sometimes, returning, I pause to look at the village boys
and girls as they play. Then do I bless their innocence, and pray to
Heaven, those laughing, thoughtless hours, could be their lot for ever.

_Bar._ This is excellent!--But these are summer amusements.--The winter!
the winter!

_Mrs. H._ Why for ever picture winter like old age, torpid, tedious, and
uncheerful? Winter has its own delights: this is the time to instruct
and mend the mind by reading and reflection. At this season, too, I
often take my harp, and amuse myself by playing or singing the little
favourite airs that remind me of the past, or solicit hope for the
future.

_Bar._ Happy indeed are they who can thus create, and vary their own
pleasures and employments.

     _Enter PETER._

_Pet._ Well--well--Pray now--I was ordered--I can keep him back no
longer--He will come in.

     _Enter TOBIAS, forcing his way._

_Tob._ I must, good Heaven, I must!

_Mrs. H._ [_Confused._] I have no time at present--I--I--You see I am
not alone.

_Tob._ Oh! this good gentleman will forgive me.

_Bar._ What do you want?

_Tob._ To return thanks. Even charity is a burden if one may not be
grateful for it.

_Mrs. H._ To-morrow, good Tobias; to-morrow.

_Bar._ Nay, no false delicacy, madam. Allow him to vent the feelings of
his heart; and permit me to witness a scene which convinces me, even
more powerfully than your conversation, how nobly you employ your time.
Speak, old man.

_Tob._ Oh, lady, that each word which drops from my lips, might call
down a blessing on your head! I lay forsaken and dying in my hut: not
even bread nor hope remained. Oh! then you came in the form of an angel,
brought medicines to me; and your sweet consoling voice did more than
those. I am recovered. To-day, for the first time, I have returned
thanks in presence of the sun: and now I come to you, noble lady. Let me
drop my tears upon your charitable hand. For your sake, Heaven has
blessed my latter days. The Stranger too, who lives near me, has given
me a purse of gold to buy my son's release. I am on my way to the city:
I shall purchase my Robert's release. Then I shall have an honest
daughter-in-law. And you, if ever after that you pass our happy cottage,
oh! what must you feel when you say to yourself, "This is my work!"

_Mrs. H._ [_In a tone of entreaty._] Enough, Tobias; enough!

_Tob._ I beg pardon! I cannot utter what is breathing in my breast.
There is One, who knows it. May His blessing and your own heart reward
you.

                              [_Exit, PETER following. MRS. HALLER casts
                                her eyes upon the ground, and contends
                                against the confusion of an exalted
                                soul, when surprised in a good action.
                                The BARON stands opposite to her, and
                                from time to time casts a glance at her,
                                in which his heart is swimming._

_Mrs. H._ [_Endeavouring to bring about a conversation._] I suppose, my
lord, we may expect the Count and Countess every moment now?

_Bar._ Not just yet, madam. He travels at his leisure. I am selfish,
perhaps, in not being anxious for his speed: the delay has procured me a
delight which I never shall forget.

_Mrs. H._ [_Smiling._] You satirise mankind, my lord.

_Bar._ How so?

_Mrs. H._ In supposing such scenes to be uncommon.

_Bar._ I confess I was little prepared for such an acquaintance as
yourself: I am extremely surprised. When Solomon told me your name and
situation, how could I suppose that--Pardon my curiosity: You have been,
or are married?

_Mrs. H._ [_Suddenly sinking from her cheerful raillery into mournful
gloom._] I have been married, my lord.

_Bar._ [_Whose enquiries evince his curiosity, yet are restrained within
the bounds of the nicest respect._] A widow, then?

_Mrs. H._ I beseech you--There are strings in the human heart, which
touched, will sometimes utter dreadful discord--I beseech you--

_Bar._ I understand you. I see you know how to conceal every thing
except your perfections.

_Mrs. H._ My perfections, alas!--[_Rural music without._] But I hear the
happy tenantry announce the Count's arrival. Your pardon, my lord; I
must attend them.                                               [_Exit._

_Bar._ Excellent creature!--What is she, and what can be her history? I
must seek my sister instantly. How strong and how sudden is the interest
I feel for her! But it is a feeling I ought to check. And yet, why so?
Whatever are the emotions she has inspired, I am sure they arise from
the perfections of her mind: and never shall they be met with
unworthiness in mine.                                           [_Exit._



SCENE II.

     _The Lawn._

     _SOLOMON and PETER are discovered arranging the TENANTRY.--Rural
     music._

     _Enter COUNT and COUNTESS WINTERSEN, (the latter leading her
     Child,) the BARON, MRS. HALLER, CHARLOTTE, and SERVANTS following._

_Sol._ Welcome, ten thousand welcomes, your Excellencies. Some little
preparation made for welcome too. But that will be seen anon.

_Count._ Well! here we are! Heaven bless our advance and retreat! Mrs.
Haller, I bring you an invalid, who in future will swear to no flag but
yours.

_Mrs. H._ Mine flies for retreat and rural happiness.

_Count._ But not without retreating graces, and retiring cupids too.

_Countess._ [_Who has in the mean time kindly embraced MRS. HALLER,
and by her been welcomed to Wintersen._] My dear Count, you forget that
I am present.

_Count._ Why, in the name of chivalry, how can I do less than your
gallant brother, the Baron? who has been so kind as nearly to kill my
four greys, in order to be here five minutes before me.

_Bar._ Had I known all the charms of this place, you should have said so
with justice.

_Countess._ Don't you think William much grown?

_Mrs. H._ The sweet boy!

                              [_Stoops to kiss him, and deep melancholy
                                overshadows her countenance._

_Count._ Well, Solomon, you've provided a good dinner?

_Sol._ As good as haste would allow, please your Right Honourable
Excellency!

_Pet._ Yes, as good as--     [_COUNT goes aside with SOLOMON and PETER._

_Bar._ Tell me, I conjure you, sister, what jewel you have thus buried
in the country?

_Countess._ Ha! ha! ha! What, brother, you caught at last?

_Bar._ Answer me.

_Countess._ Well, her name is Mrs. Haller.

_Bar._ That I know; but--

_Countess._ But!--but I know no more myself.

_Bar._ Jesting apart, I wish to know.

_Countess._ And, jesting apart, I wish you would not plague me. I have
at least a hundred thousand important things to do. Heavens! the vicar
may come to pay his respects to me before I have been at my toilet; of
course I must consult my looking-glass on the occasion. Come, William,
will you help to dress me, or stay with your father?

_Count._ We'll take care of him.

_Countess._ Come, Mrs. Haller.

                          [_Exit with MRS. HALLER, CHARLOTTE following._

_Bar._ [_Aside, and going._] I am in a very singular humour.

_Count._ Whither so fast, good brother?

_Bar._ To my apartment: I have letters to--I--

_Count._ Pshaw! stay. Let us take a turn in the park together.

_Bar._ Excuse me. I am not perfectly well. I should be but bad company.
I--                                     [_Exit.--The_ TENANTRY _retire._

_Count._ Well, Solomon, you are as great a fool as ever, I see.

_Sol._ Ha! ha! At your Right Honourable Excellency's service.

_Count._ [_Points to PETER._] Who is that ape in the corner?

_Sol._ Ape!--Oh! that is--with respect to your Excellency be it
spoken--the son of my body; by name, Peter.               [_PETER bows._

_Count._ So, so! Well, how goes all on?

_Sol._ Well and good; well and good. Your Excellency will see how I've
improved the park: You'll not know it again. A hermitage here;
serpentine walks there; an obelisk; a ruin; and all so sparingly, all
done with the most economical economy.

_Count._ Well, I'll have a peep at your obelisk and ruins, while they
prepare for dinner!

_Sol._ I have already ordered it, and will have the honour of attending
your Right Honourable Excellency.

_Count._ Come, lead the way. Peter, attend your young master to the
house; we must not tire him.              [_Exit, conducted by SOLOMON._

_Pet._ We'll go round this way, your little Excellency, and then we
shall see the bridge as we go by; and the new boat, with all the fine
ribbands and streamers. This way, your little Excellency.

                                             [_Exit, leading the Child._



SCENE III.

     _The Antichamber._

     _Enter MRS. HALLER._

_Mrs. H._ What has thus alarmed and subdued me? My tears flow; my heart
bleeds. Already had I apparently overcome my chagrin: already had I at
least assumed that easy gaiety once so natural to me, when the sight of
this child in an instant overpowered me. When the Countess called him
William--Oh! she knew not that she plunged a poniard in my heart. I have
a William too, who must be as tall as this, if he be still alive. Ah!
yes, if he be still alive. His little sister too! Why, fancy, dost thou
rack me thus? Why dost thou image my poor children, fainting in
sickness, and crying to their mother? To the mother who has abandoned
them? [_Weeps._] What a wretched outcast am I! And that just to-day I
should be doomed to feel these horrible emotions! just to-day, when
disguise was so necessary.

     _Enter CHARLOTTE._

_Char._ [_Entering._] Very pretty, very pretty indeed; better send me to
the garret at once. Your servant, Mrs. Haller. I beg, madam, I may have
a room fit for a respectable person.

_Mrs. H._ The chamber into which you have been shown is, I think, a very
neat one.

_Char._ A very neat one, is it? Up the back stairs, and over the
laundry! I should never be able to close my eyes.

_Mrs. H._ [_Very mildly._] I slept there a whole year.

_Char._ Did you? Then I advise you to remove into it again, and the
sooner the better. I'd have you to know, madam, there is a material
difference between certain persons and certain persons. Much depends
upon the manner in which one has been educated. I think, madam, it would
only be proper if you resigned your room to me.

_Mrs. H._ If the Countess desires it, certainly.

_Char._ The Countess! Very pretty, indeed! Would you have me think of
plaguing her ladyship with such trifles? I shall order my trunk to be
carried where-ever I please.

_Mrs. H._ Certainly; only not into my chamber.

_Char._ Provoking creature! But how could I expect to find breeding
among creatures born of one knows not whom, and coming one knows not
whence?

_Mrs. H._ The remark is very just.

     _Enter PETER, in haste._

_Pet._ Oh lud! Oh lud! Oh lud! Oh lud!

_Mrs. H._ What's the matter?

_Pet._ The child has fallen into the river! His little Excellency is
drowned!

_Mrs. H._ Who? What?

_Pet._ His honour, my young master!

_Mrs. H._ Drowned?

_Pet._ Yes.

_Mrs. H._ Dead?

_Pet._ No; he's not dead.

_Mrs. H._ Well, well, then softly;--you will alarm the Countess.

     _Enter the BARON._

_Bar._ What is the matter? Why all this noise?

_Pet._ Noise? why--

_Mrs. H._ Be not alarmed, my lord. Whatever may have happened, the dear
child is now at least safe. You said so, I think, master Peter?

_Pet._ Why, to be sure, his little Excellency is not hurt; but he's very
wet though: and the Count is taking him by the garden door to the
house.

_Bar._ Right, that the countess may not be alarmed. But tell us, young
man, how could it happen?

_Pet._ From beginning to end?

_Mrs. H._ Never mind particulars. You attended the dear child?

_Pet._ True.

_Mrs. H._ Into the park?

_Pet._ True.

_Mrs. H._ And then you went to the river?

_Pet._ True.--Why, rabbit it, I believe you're a witch.

_Mrs. H._ Well, and what happened further?

_Pet._ Why, you see, his dear little Excellency would see the bridge,
that father built out of the old summer house; and the streamers, and
the boat, and all that.--I only turned my head round for a moment, to
look after a magpie--crush! down went the bridge, with his little
Excellency; and oh, how I was scared to see him carried down the river!

_Bar._ And you drew him out again directly?

_Pet._ No, I didn't.

_Mrs. H._ No; your father did?

_Pet._ No, he didn't.

_Mrs. H._ Why you did not leave him in the water?

_Pet._ Yes, we did!--But we bawled as loud as we could; you might have
heard us down to the village.

_Mrs. H._ Ay--and so the people came immediately to his assistance.

_Pet._ No, they didn't: but the Stranger came, that lives yonder, close
to old Toby, and never speaks a syllable. Odsbodlikins! what a devil of
a fellow it is! With a single spring bounces he slap into the torrent;
sails and dives about and about like a duck; gets me hold of the little
angel's hair, and, Heaven bless him! pulls him safe and sound to dry
land again.--Ha! ha! ha!

_Bar._ Is the Stranger with them?

_Pet._ Oh lud! no. He ran away. His Excellency wanted to thank him, and
all that; but he was off; vanquished like a ghost.

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ Oh! thou careless varlet! I disown you! What an accident might
have happened! and how you have terrified his Excellency! But I beg
pardon, [_Bows._] His Right Honourable Excellency, the Count, requests
your--

_Bar._ We come.                               [_Exit, with MRS. HALLER._

_Char._ Ha! ha! ha! Why, Mr. Solomon, you seem to have a hopeful pupil.

_Sol._ Ah! sirrah!

_Char._ But, Mr. Solomon, why were you not nimble enough to have saved
his young lordship?

_Sol._ Not in time, my sweet Miss. Besides, mercy on us! I should have
sunk like a lump of lead: and I happened to have a letter of consequence
in my pocket, which would have been made totally illegible; a letter
from Constantinople, written by Chevalier--What's his name? [_Draws a
letter from his pocket, and putting it up again directly, drops it.
PETER takes it up, slily and unobserved._] It contains momentous
matter, I assure you. The world will be astonished when it comes to
light; and not a soul will suppose that old Solomon had a finger in the
pye.

_Char._ No, that I believe.

_Sol._ But I must go and see to the cellar. Miss, your most obedient
servant.                                                        [_Exit._

_Char._ [_With pride._] Your servant, Mr. Solomon.

_Pet._ Here's the letter from Constantinople. I wonder what it can be
about. Now for it!                                          [_Opens it._

_Char._ Aye, let us have it.

Pet. [Reads.] _If so be you say so, I'll never work for you, never no
more. Considering as how your Sunday waistcoat has been turned three
times, it doesn't look amiss, and I've charged as little as any tailor
of 'em all. You say I must pay for the buckram; but I say, I'll be
damn'd if I do. So no more from your loving nephew,_

                                                TIMOTHY TWIST.

From Constantinople! Why, cousin Tim writ it.

_Char._ Cousin Tim! Who is he?

_Pet._ Good lack! Don't you know cousin Tim? Why, he's one of the best
tailors in all--

_Char._ A tailor! No, sir, I do not know him. My father was state
coachman, and wore his highness's livery.                       [_Exit._

_Pet._ [_Mimicking._] "My father was state coachman, and wore his
Highness's livery"--Well, and cousin Tim could have made his Highness's
livery, if you go to that. State coachman, indeed!             [_Going._

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ Peter, you ninny, stay where you are. Is that chattering girl
gone? Didn't I tell you we would have a practice of our dance? they are
all ready on the lawn. Mark me; I represent the Count, and you the
Baron.         [_Exit, with affected dignity. PETER follows, mimicking._



SCENE IV.

     _The Lawn.--Seats placed.--Rustic Music.--Dancers are discovered as
     ready to perform._

     _SOLOMON and PETER enter, and seat themselves._

     _A Dance, in which the Dancers pay their reverence to SOLOMON and
     PETER as they pass. At the end, SOLOMON and PETER strut off before
     the Dancers._



ACT THE THIRD.

SCENE I.

     _The Skirts of the Park and Lodge, &c. as before. The STRANGER is
     discovered on a seat, reading._

     _Enter FRANCIS._

_Fra._ Sir, sir, dinner is ready.

_Stra._ I want no dinner.

_Fra._ I've got something good.

_Stra._ Eat it yourself.

_Fra._ You are not hungry?

_Stra._ No.                                                    [_Rises._

_Fra._ Nor I. The heat takes away all appetite.

_Stra._ Yes.

_Fra._ I'll put it by; perhaps at night--

_Stra._ Perhaps.

_Fra._ Dear sir, dare I speak?

_Stra._ Speak.

_Fra._ You have done a noble action.

_Stra._ What?

_Fra._ You have saved a fellow creature's life.

_Stra._ Peace.

_Fra._ Do you know who he was?

_Stra._ No.

_Fra._ The only son of Count Wintersen.

_Stra._ Immaterial.

_Fra._ A gentleman, by report, worthy and benevolent as yourself.

_Stra._ [_Angry._] Silence! Dare you flatter me?

_Fra._ As I look to Heaven for mercy, I speak from my heart. When I
observe how you are doing good around you, how you are making every
individual's wants your own, and are yet yourself unhappy, alas! my
heart bleeds for you.

_Stra._ I thank you, Francis. I can only thank you. Yet share this
consolation with me:--my sufferings are unmerited.

_Fra._ My poor master!

_Stra._ Have you forgotten what the old man said this morning? "There is
another and a better world!" Oh, 'twas true. Then let us hope with
fervency, and yet endure with patience!--What's here?

     _Enter CHARLOTTE, from the Park gate._

_Char._ I presume, sir, you are the strange gentleman that drew my young
master out of the water?--[_The STRANGER reads._] Or [_To FRANCIS._] are
you he? [_FRANCIS makes a wry face._] Are the creatures both dumb?
[_Looks at them by turns._] Surely, old Solomon has fixed two statues
here, by way of ornament; for of any use there is no sign. [_Approaches
FRANCIS._] No, this is alive, and breathes; yes, and moves its eyes.
[_Bawls in his ear._] Good friend!

_Fra._ I'm not deaf.

_Char._ No, nor dumb, I perceive at last.--Is yon lifeless thing your
master?

_Fra._ That honest silent gentleman is my master.

_Char._ The same that drew the young Count out of the water?

_Fra._ The same.

_Char._ [_To the STRANGER._] Sir, my master and mistress, the Count and
Countess, present their respectful compliments, and request the honour
of your company at a family supper this evening.

_Stra._ I shall not come.

_Char._ But you'll scarce send such an uncivil answer as this. The Count
is overpowered with gratitude. You saved his son's life.

_Stra._ I did it willingly.

_Char._ And won't accept of, "I thank you," in return?

_Stra._ No.

_Char._ You really are cruel, sir, I must tell you. There are three of
us ladies at the Castle, and we are all dying with curiosity to know who
you are. [_Exit STRANGER._] The master is crabbed enough, however. Let
me try what I can make of the man. Pray, sir-- [_FRANCIS turns his back
to her._] --The beginning promises little enough. Friend, why won't you
look at me.

_Fra._ I like to look at green trees better than green eyes.

_Char._ Green eyes, you monster! Who told you, that my eyes were green?
Let me tell you there have been sonnets made on my eyes, before now.

_Fra._ Glad to hear it.

_Char._ To the point then at once. What is your master?

_Fra._ A man.

_Char._ I surmised as much. But what's his name?

_Fra._ The same as his father's.

_Char._ Not unlikely;--and his father was--

_Fra._ Married.

_Char._ To whom?

_Fra._ To a woman.

_Char._ [_Enraged._] I'll tell you what; who your master is I see I
shall not learn, and I don't care; but I know what you are.

_Fra._ Well, what am I?

_Char._ A bear!                                                 [_Exit._

_Fra._ Thank you! Now to see how habit and example corrupt one's
manners. I am naturally the civilest spoken fellow in the world to the
pretty prattling rogues; yet, following my master's humour, I've rudely
driven this wench away. I must have a peep at her though.
                                       [_Looking towards the Park gate._

     _Enter STRANGER._

_Stra._ Is that woman gone?

_Fra._ Yes.

_Stra._ Francis!

_Fra._ Sir.

_Stra._ We must be gone too.

_Fra._ But whither?

_Stra._ I don't care.

_Fra._ I'll attend you.

_Stra._ To any place?

_Fra._ To death.

_Stra._ Heav'n grant it--to me, at least! There is peace.

_Fra._ Peace is every where. Let the storm rage without, if the heart be
but at rest. Yet I think we are very well where we are: the situation is
inviting; and nature lavish of her beauties, and of her bounties too.

_Stra._ But I am not a wild beast, to be stared at, and sent for as a
show. Is it fit I should be?

_Fra._ Another of your interpretations! That a man, the life of whose
only son you have saved, should invite you to his house, seems to me not
very unnatural.

_Stra._ I will not be invited to any house.

_Fra._ For once, methinks, you might submit. You'll not be asked a
second time.

_Stra._ Proud wretches! They believe the most essential service is
requited, if one may but have the honour of sitting at their table. Let
us begone.

_Fra._ Yet hold, sir! This bustle will soon be over. Used to the town,
the Count and his party will soon be tired of simple nature, and you
will again be freed from observation.

_Stra._ Not from your's.

_Fra._ This is too much. Do I deserve your doubts?

_Stra._ Am I in the wrong?

_Fra._ You are indeed!

_Stra._ Francis, my servant, you are my only friend.

_Fra._ That title makes amends for all.

_Stra._ But look, Francis; there are uniforms and gay dresses in the
walk again. No, I must be gone. Here I'll stay no longer.

_Fra._ Well then, I'll tie up my bundle.

_Stra._ The sooner the better! They come this way. Now must I shut
myself in my hovel, and lose this fine breeze. Nay, if they be your
highbred class of all, they may have impudence enough to walk into my
chamber. Francis, I shall lock the door.

                              [_Goes into the Lodge, locks the door, and
                                fastens the shutters._

_Fra._ And I'll be your centinel.

_Stra._ Very well.

_Fra._ Now should these people be as inquisitive as their maid, I must
summon my whole stock of impertinence. But their questions and my
answers need little study. They can learn nothing of the Stranger from
me; for the best of all possible reasons--I know nothing myself.

     _Enter BARON and COUNTESS._

_Countess._ There is a strange face. The servant probably.

_Bar._ Friend, can we speak to your master?

_Fra._ No.

_Bar._ Only for a few minutes.

_Fra._ He has locked himself in his room.

_Countess._ Tell him a lady waits for him.

_Fra._ Then he's sure not to come.

_Countess._ Does he hate our sex?

_Fra._ He hates the whole human race, but woman particularly.

_Countess._ And why?

_Fra._ He may perhaps have been deceived.

_Countess._ This is not very courteous.

_Fra._ My master is not over courteous: but when he sees a chance of
saving a fellow creature's life, he'll attempt it at the hazard of his
own.

_Bar._ You are right. Now hear the reason of our visit. The wife and
brother-in-law of the man, whose child your master has saved, wish to
acknowledge their obligations to him.

_Fra._ That he dislikes. He only wishes to live unnoticed.

_Countess._ He appears to be unfortunate.

_Fra._ Appears!

_Countess._ An affair of honour, perhaps, or some unhappy attachment may
have--

_Fra._ They may.

_Countess._ Be this as it may, I wish to know who he is.

_Fra._ So do I.

_Countess._ What! don't you know him yourself?

_Fra._ Oh! I know him well enough. I mean his real self--His heart--his
soul--his worth--his honour!--Perhaps you think one knows a man, when
one is acquainted with his name and person.

_Countess._ 'Tis well said, friend; you please me much. And now I should
like to know you. Who are you?

_Fra._ Your humble servant.                                     [_Exit._

_Countess._ This is affectation! A desire to appear singular! Every one
wishes to make himself distinguished. One sails round the world; another
creeps into a hovel.

_Bar._ And the man apes his master!

_Countess._ Come, brother, let us seek the Count. He and Mrs. Haller
turned into the lawn--                                         [_Going._

_Bar._ Stay. First a word or two, sister. I am in love.

_Countess._ For the hundreth time.

_Bar._ For the first time in my life.

_Countess._ I wish you joy.

_Bar._ Till now you have evaded my inquiries. Who is she? I beseech you,
sister, be serious. There is a time for all things.

_Countess._ Bless us! Why you look as if you were going to raise a
spirit. Don't fix your eyes so earnestly. Well, if I am to be serious, I
obey. I do not know who Mrs. Haller is, as I have already told you; but
what I do know of her, shall not be concealed from you. It may now be
three years ago, when, one evening, about twilight, a lady was
announced, who wished to speak to me in private. Mrs. Haller appeared
with all that grace and modesty, which have enchanted you. Her features,
at that moment, bore keener marks of the sorrow and confusion which have
since settled into gentle melancholy. She threw herself at my feet; and
besought me to save a wretch who was on the brink of despair. She told
me she had heard much of my benevolence, and offered herself as a
servant to attend me. I endeavoured to dive into the cause of her
sufferings, but in vain. She concealed her secret; yet opened to me more
and more each day a heart, chosen by virtue as her temple, and an
understanding improved by the most refined attainments. She no longer
remained my servant, but became my friend; and, by her own desire, has
ever since resided here. [_Curtseying._] Brother, I have done.

_Bar._ Too little to satisfy my curiosity; yet enough to make me realise
my project. Sister, lend me your aid--I would marry her.

_Countess._ You!

_Bar._ I.

_Countess._ Baron Steinfort.

_Bar._ For shame! If I understand you!

_Countess._ Not so harsh, and not so hasty! Those great sentiments of
contempt of inequality in rank are very fine in a romance; but we happen
not to be inhabitants of an ideal world. How could you introduce her to
the circle we live in? You surely would not attempt to present her to--

_Bar._ Object as you will--my answer is--_I love._ Sister, you see a man
before you, who--

_Countess._ Who wants a wife.

_Bar._ No; who has deliberately poised advantage against disadvantage;
domestic ease and comfort against the false gaieties of fashion. I can
withdraw into the country. I need no honours to make my tenants happy;
and my heart will teach me to make their happiness my own. With such a
wife as this, children who resemble her, and fortune enough to spread
comfort around me, what would the soul of man have more?

_Countess._ This is all vastly fine. I admire your plan; only you seem
to have forgotten one trifling circumstance.

_Bar._ And that is--

_Countess._ Whether Mrs. Haller will have you or not.

_Bar._ There, sister, I just want your assistance.--[_Seizing her
hand._] Good Henrietta!

_Countess._ Well, here's my hand. I'll do all I can for you. St!--We had
near been overheard. They are coming. Be patient and obedient.

     _Enter COUNT, and MRS. HALLER, leaning on his arm._

_Count._ Upon my word, Mrs. Haller, you are a nimble walker: I should be
sorry to run a race with you.

_Mrs. H._ Custom, my lord. You need only take the same walk every day
for a month.

_Count._ Yes; if I wanted to resemble my greyhounds.--But what said the
Stranger?

_Countess._ He gave Charlotte a flat refusal; and you see his door, and
even his shutters, are closed against us.

_Count._ What an unaccountable being! But it won't do. I must show my
gratitude one way or other. Steinfort, we will take the ladies home, and
then you shall try once again to see him. You can talk to these oddities
better than I can.

_Bar._ If you wish it, with all my heart.

_Count._ Thank you, thank you. Come, ladies: come Mrs. Haller.

                                                              [_Exeunt._



SCENE II.

     _A close walk in the Garden._

     _Enter COUNTESS, and MRS. HALLER._

_Countess._ Well, Mrs. Haller, how do you like the man that just now
left us?

_Mrs. H._ Who?

_Countess._ My brother.

_Mrs. H._ He deserves to be your brother.

_Countess._ [_Curtseying._] Your most obedient! That shall be written in
my pocket-book.

_Mrs. H._ Without flattery then, madam, he appears to be most amiable.

_Countess._ Good!--And a handsome man?

_Mrs. H._ [_With indifference._] Oh, yes.

_Countess._ "Oh, yes!" It sounded almost like, "Oh, no!" But I must tell
you, that he looks upon you to be a handsome woman [_MRS. HALLER
smiles._] You make no reply to this?

_Mrs. H._ What shall I reply? Derision never fell from your lips; and I
am little calculated to support it.

_Countess._ As little as you are calculated to be the cause of it. No; I
was in earnest.--Now?

_Mrs. H._ You confuse me!--But why should I play the prude? I will own
there was a time, when I thought myself handsome. 'Tis past. Alas! the
enchanting beauties of a female countenance arise from peace of
mind--The look, which captivates an honourable man, must be reflected
from a noble soul.

_Countess._ Then Heaven grant my bosom may ever hold as pure a heart, as
now those eyes bear witness lives in yours!

_Mrs. H._ [_With sudden wildness._] Oh! Heaven forbid!

_Countess._ [_Astonished._] How!

_Mrs. H._ [_Checking her tears._] Spare me! I am a wretch. The
sufferings of three years can give me no claim to your friendship--No,
not even to your compassion. Oh! spare me!                     [_Going._

_Countess._ Stay, Mrs. Haller. For the first time, I beg your
confidence.--My brother loves you.

_Mrs. H._ [_Starting, and gazing full in the face of the COUNTESS._] For
mirth, too much--for earnest, too mournful!

_Countess._ I revere that modest blush. Discover to me who you are. You
risk nothing. Pour all your griefs into a sister's bosom. Am I not kind?
and can I not be silent?

_Mrs. H._ Alas! But a frank reliance on a generous mind is the greatest
sacrifice to be offered by true repentance. This sacrifice I will offer.
[_Hesitating._] Did you never hear--Pardon me--Did you never hear--Oh!
how shocking is it to unmask a deception, which alone has recommended me
to your regard! But it must be so.--Madam--Fie, Adelaide! does pride
become you? Did you never hear of the Countess Waldbourg?

_Countess._ I think I did hear, at the neighbouring court, of such a
creature. She plunged an honourable husband into misery. She ran away
with a villain.

_Mrs. H._ She did indeed. [_Falls at the feet of the COUNTESS._] Do not
cast me from you.

_Countess._ For Heaven's sake! You are--

_Mrs. H._ I am that wretch.

_Countess._ [_Turning from her with horror._] Ha!--Begone! [_Going. Her
heart draws her back._] Yet, she is unfortunate: she is unfriended! Her
image is repentance--Her life the proof--She has wept her fault in her
three years agony. Be still awhile, remorseless prejudice, and let the
genuine feelings of my soul avow--they do not truly honour virtue, who
can insult the erring heart that would return to her sanctuary.
[_Looking with sorrow on her._] Rise, I beseech you, rise! My husband
and my brother may surprise us. I promise to be silent.

                                                         [_Raising her._

_Mrs. H._ Yes, you will be silent--But, oh! conscience! conscience! thou
never wilt be silent. [_Clasping her hands._] Do not cast me from you.

_Countess._ Never! Your lonely life, your silent anguish and contrition,
may at length atone your crime. And never shall you want an asylum,
where your penitence may lament your loss. Your crime was youth and
inexperience; your heart never was, never could be concerned in it.

_Mrs. H._ Oh! spare me! My conscience never martyrs me so horribly, as
when I catch my base thoughts in search of an excuse! No, nothing can
palliate my guilt; and the only just consolation left me, is, to acquit
the man I wronged, and own I erred without a cause of fair complaint.

_Countess._ And this is the mark of true repentance. Alas! my friend,
when superior sense, recommended too by superior charms of person,
assail a young, though wedded--

_Mrs. H._ Ah! not even that mean excuse is left me. In all that merits
admiration, respect, and love, he was far, far beneath my husband. But
to attempt to account for my strange infatuation--I cannot bear it. I
thought my husband's manner grew colder to me. 'Tis true I knew, that
his expenses, and his confidence in deceitful friends, had embarrassed
his means, and clouded his spirits; yet I thought he denied me pleasures
and amusements still within our reach. My vanity was mortified! My
confidence not courted. The serpent tongue of my seducer promised every
thing. But never could such arguments avail, till, assisted by forged
letters, and the treachery of a servant, whom I most confided in, he
fixed my belief that my lord was false, and that all the coldness I
complained of was disgust to me, and love for another; all his home
retrenchments but the means of satisfying a rival's luxury. Maddened
with this conviction, (conviction it was, for artifice was most
ingenious in its proof,) I left my children--father--husband--to
follow--a villain.

_Countess._ But, with such a heart, my friend could not remain long in
her delusion?

_Mrs. H._ Long enough to make sufficient penitence impossible. 'Tis true
that in a few weeks the delirium was at an end. Oh, what were my
sensations when the mist dispersed before my eyes? I called for my
husband, but in vain!--I listened for the prattle of my children, but in
vain!

_Countess._ [_Embracing her._] Here, here, on this bosom only shall your
future tears be shed; and may I, dear sufferer, make you again familiar
with hope!

_Mrs. H._ Oh! impossible!

_Countess._ Have you never heard of your children?

_Mrs. H._ Never.

_Countess._ We must endeavour to gain some account of them. We
must--Hold! my husband and my brother! Oh, my poor brother! I had quite
forgotten him. Quick, dear Mrs. Haller, wipe your eyes. Let us meet
them.

_Mrs. H._ Madam, I'll follow. Allow me a moment to compose
myself.--[_Exit COUNTESS._] I pause!--Oh! yes--to compose myself!
[_Ironically._] She little thinks it is but to gain one solitary moment
to vent my soul's remorse. Once the purpose of my unsettled mind was
self-destruction; Heaven knows how I have sued for hope and resignation.
I did trust my prayers were heard--Oh! spare me further trial! I feel, I
feel, my heart and brain can bear no more.                      [_Exit._



ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE I.

     _The Skirts of the Park, Lodge, &c. as before.--A Table, spread
     with Fruits, &c._

     _FRANCIS discovered placing the supper._

_Fra._ I know he loves to have his early supper in the fresh air; and,
while he sups, not that I believe any thing can amuse him, yet I will
try my little Savoyards' pretty voices. I have heard him speak as if he
had loved music. [_Music without._] Oh, here they are.

     _Enter ANNETTE and CLAUDINE, playing on their guitars._

Ann.   _To welcome mirth and harmless glee,_
       _We rambling minstrels, blythe and free,_
       _With song the laughing hours beguile,_
       _And wear a never-fading smile:_
           _Where'er we roam_
           _We find a home,_
       _And greeting, to reward our toil._

Clau.  _No anxious griefs disturb our rest,_
       _Nor busy cares annoy our breast;_
       _Fearless we sink in soft repose,_
       _While night her sable mantle throws._
           _With grateful lay,_
           _Hail rising day,_
       _That rosy health and peace bestows._

     _During the Duet, the STRANGER looks from the Lodge window, and at
     the conclusion he comes out._

_Stra._ What mummery is this?

_Fra._ I hoped it might amuse you, sir.

_Stra._ Amuse _me_--fool!

_Fra._ Well then, I wished to amuse myself a little. I don't think my
recreations are so very numerous.

_Stra._ That's true, my poor fellow; indeed they are not. Let them go
on.--I'll listen.

_Fra._ But to please you, poor master, I fear it must be a sadder
strain. Annette, have you none but these cheerful songs?

_Ann._ O, plenty. If you are dolefully given we can be as sad as night.
I'll sing you an air Mrs. Haller taught me the first year she came to
the Castle.

_Fra._ Mrs. Haller! I should like to hear that.

Ann. _I have a silent sorrow here,_
       _A grief I'll ne'er impart;_
     _It breathes no sigh, it sheds no tear,_
       _But it consumes my heart;_
     _This cherish'd woe, this lov'd despair,_
       _My lot for ever be,_
     _So, my soul's lord, the pangs I bear_
       _Be never known by thee!_

     _And when pale characters of death_
       _Shall mark this alter'd cheek,_
     _When my poor wasted trembling breath_
       _My life's last hope would speak;_
     _I shall not raise my eyes to Heav'n,_
       _Nor mercy ask for me,_
     _My soul despairs to be forgiv'n,_
       _Unpardon'd, love, by thee._

_Stra._ [_Surprised and moved._] Oh! I have heard that air before, but
'twas with other words. Francis, share our supper with your friends--I
need none.                                          [_Enters the Lodge._

_Fra._ So I feared. Well, my pretty favourites, here are refreshments.
So, disturbed again. Now will this gentleman call for more music, and
make my master mad. Return when you observe this man is gone.--[_Exeunt
ANNETTE and CLAUDINE.--FRANCIS sits and eats._]--I was in hopes, that I
might at least eat my supper peaceably in the open air; but they follow
at our heels like blood-hounds.

     _Enter BARON._

_Bar._ My good friend, I must speak to your master.

_Fra._ Can't serve you.

_Bar._ Why not?

_Fra._ It's forbidden.

_Bar._ [_Offers money._] There! announce me.

_Fra._ Want no money.

_Bar._ Well, only announce me then.

_Fra._ I will announce you, sir; but it won't avail! I shall be abused,
and you rejected. However, we can but try.                     [_Going._

_Bar._ I only ask half a minute. [_FRANCIS goes into the Lodge._] But
when he comes, how am I to treat him? I never encountered a misanthrope
before. I have heard of instructions as to conduct in society; but how I
am to behave towards a being who loathes the whole world, and his own
existence, I have never learned.

     _Enter the STRANGER._

_Stra._ Now; what's your will?

_Bar._ I beg pardon, sir, for--[_Suddenly recognizing him._] Charles!

_Stra._ Steinfort!                                      [_They embrace._

_Bar._ Is it really you, my dear friend?

_Stra._ It is.

_Bar._ Merciful Heavens! How you are altered!

_Stra._ The hand of misery lies heavy on me.--But how came you here?
What want you?

_Bar._ Strange! Here was I ruminating how to address this mysterious
recluse: he appears, and proves to be my old and dearest friend.

_Stra._ Then you were not in search of me, nor knew that I lived here?

_Bar._ As little as I know who lives on the summit of Caucasus. You this
morning saved the life of my brother-in-law's only son: a grateful
family wishes to behold you in its circle. You refused my sister's
messenger; therefore, to give more weight to the invitation, I was
deputed to be the bearer of it. And thus has fortune restored to me a
friend, whom my heart has so long missed, and whom my heart just now so
much requires.

_Stra._ Yes, I am your friend; your sincere friend. You are a true man;
an uncommon man. Towards you my heart is still the same. But if this
assurance be of any value to you--go--leave me--and return no more.

_Bar._ Stay! All that I see and hear of you is inexplicable. 'Tis you;
but these, alas! are not the features which once enchanted every female
bosom, beamed gaiety through all society, and won you friends before
your lips were opened! Why do you avert your face? Is the sight of a
friend become hateful? Or, do you fear, that I should read in your eye
what passes in your soul? Where is that open look of fire, which at once
penetrated into every heart, and revealed your own?

_Stra._ [_With asperity._] My look penetrate into every heart!--Ha! ha!
ha!

_Bar._ Oh, Heavens! Rather may I never hear you laugh than in such a
tone!--For Heaven's sake tell me, Charles! tell me, I conjure you, what
has happened to you?

_Stra._ Things that happen every day; occurrences heard of in every
street. Steinfort, if I am not to hate you, ask me not another question.
If I am to love you, leave me.

_Bar._ Oh, Charles! awake the faded ideas of past joys. Feel, that a
friend is near. Recollect the days we passed in Hungary, when we
wandered arm in arm upon the banks of the Danube, while nature opened
our hearts, and made us enamoured of benevolence and friendship. In
those blessed moments you gave me this seal as a pledge of your regard.
Do you remember it?

_Stra._ Yes.

_Bar._ Am I since that time become less worthy of your confidence?

_Stra._ No!

_Bar._ Charles! it grieves me that I am thus compelled to enforce my
rights upon you. Do you know this scar?

_Stra._ Comrade! Friend! It received and resisted the stroke aimed at
my life. I have not forgotten it. Alas! you knew not what a present you
then made me.

_Bar._ Speak then, I beseech you.

_Stra._ You cannot help me.

_Bar._ Then I can mourn with you.

_Stra._ That I hate. Besides, I cannot weep.

_Bar._ Then give me words instead of tears. Both relieve the heart.

_Stra._ Relieve the heart! My heart is like a close-shut sepulchre. Let
what is within it, moulder and decay.--Why, why open the wretched
charnel-house to spread a pestilence around?

_Bar._ How horrid are your looks! For shame! A man like you thus to
crouch beneath the chance of fortune!

_Stra._ Steinfort! I did think, that the opinion of all mankind was
alike indifferent to me; but I feel that it is not so. My friend, you
shall not quit me without learning how I have been robbed of every joy
which life afforded. Listen: much misery may be contained in a few
words. Attracted by my native country, I quitted you and the service.
What pleasing pictures did I draw of a life employed in improving
society, and diffusing happiness! I fixed on Cassel to be my abode. All
went on admirably. I found friends. At length, too, I found a wife; a
lovely, innocent creature, scarce sixteen years of age. Oh! how I loved
her! She bore me a son and a daughter. Both were endowed by nature with
the beauty of their mother. Ask me not how I loved my wife and children!
Yes, then, then I was really happy. [_Wiping his eyes._] Ha! a tear! I
could not have believed it. Welcome, old friends! 'Tis long since we
have known each other. Well, my story is nearly ended. One of my
friends, for whom I had become engaged, treacherously lost me more than
half my fortune. This hurt me. I was obliged to retrench my expenses.
Contentment needs but little. I forgave him. Another friend--a villain!
to whom I was attached heart and soul; whom I had assisted with my
means, and promoted by my interest, this fiend! seduced my wife, and
bore her from me. Tell me, sir, is this enough to justify my hatred of
mankind, and palliate my seclusion from the
world?--Kings--laws--tyranny--or guilt can but imprison me, or kill me.
But, O God! O God! Oh! what are chains or death compared to the tortures
of a deceived yet doting husband!

_Bar._ To lament the loss of a faithless wife is madness.

_Stra._ Call it what you please--say what you please--I love her still.

_Bar._ And where is she?

_Stra._ I know not, nor do I wish to know.

_Bar._ And your children?

_Stra._ I left them at a small town hard by.

_Bar._ But why did you not keep your children with you? They would have
amused you in many a dreary hour.

_Stra._ Amused me! Oh, yes! while their likeness to their mother would
every hour remind me of my past happiness! No. For three years I have
never seen them. I hate that any human creature should be near me, young
or old! Had not ridiculous habits made a servant necessary, I should
long since have discharged him; though he is not the worst among the
bad.

_Bar._ Such too often are the consequences of great alliances.
Therefore, Charles, I have resolved to take a wife from a lower rank of
life.

_Stra._ You marry!--Ha! ha! ha!

_Bar._ You shall see her. She is in the house where you are expected.
Come with me.

_Stra._ What! I mix again with the world!

_Bar._ To do a generous action without requiring thanks is noble and
praise-worthy. But so obstinately to avoid those thanks, as to make the
kindness a burden, is affectation.

_Stra._ Leave me! leave me! Every one tries to form a circle, of which
he may be the centre. As long as there remains a bird in these woods to
greet the rising sun with its melody, I shall court no other society.

_Bar._ Do as you please to-morrow; but give me your company this
evening.

_Stra._ [_Resolutely._] No!

_Bar._ Not though it were in your power, by this single visit, to secure
the happiness of your friend for life?

_Stra._ [_Starting._] Ha! then I must--But how?--

_Bar._ You shall sue in my behalf to Mrs. Haller--You have the talent of
persuasion.

_Stra._ I! my dear Steinfort!

_Bar._ The happiness or misery of your friend depends upon it. I'll
contrive that you shall speak to her alone. Will you?

_Stra._ I will; but upon one condition.

_Bar._ Name it.

_Stra._ That you allow me to be gone to-morrow, and not endeavour to
detain me.

_Bar._ Go! Whither?

_Stra._ No matter! Promise this, or I will not come.

_Bar._ Well, I do promise. Come.

_Stra._ I have directions to give my servant.

_Bar._ In half an hour then we shall expect you. Remember, you have
given your word.

_Stra._ I have. [_Exit BARON.--The STRANGER walks up and down,
thoughtful and melancholy._]--Francis!

     _Enter FRANCIS._

_Fra._ Sir!

_Stra._ Why are you out of the way?

_Fran._ Sir, I came when I heard you call.

_Stra._ I shall leave this place to-morrow.

_Fra._ With all my heart.

_Stra._ Perhaps to go into another land.

_Fra._ With all my heart again.

_Stra._ Perhaps into another quarter of the globe.

_Fra._ With all my heart still. Into which quarter?

_Stra._ Wherever Heaven directs! Away! away! from Europe! From this
cultivated moral lazaret! Do you hear, Francis? To-morrow early.

_Fra._ Very well.                                              [_Going._

_Stra._ Come here, come here first, I have an errand for you. Hire that
carriage in the village; drive to the town hard by; you may be back by
sun-set. I shall give you a letter to a widow who lives there. With her
you will find two children. They are mine.

_Fra._ [_Astonished._] Your children, sir!

_Stra._ Take them, and bring them hither.

_Fra._ Your children, sir!

_Stra._ Yes, mine! Is it so very inconceivable?

_Fra._ That I should have been three years in your service, and never
have heard them mentioned, is somewhat strange.

_Stra._ Pshaw!

_Fra._ You have been married then?

_Stra._ Go, and prepare for our journey.

_Fra._ That I can do in five minutes.                          [_Going._

_Stra._ I shall come and write the letter directly.

_Fra._ Very well, sir.                                          [_Exit._

_Stra._ Yes, I'll take them with me. I'll accustom myself to the sight
of them. The innocents! they shall not be poisoned by the refinements of
society. Rather let them hunt their daily sustenance upon some desert
island with their bow and arrow; or creep, like torpid Hottentots, into
a corner, and stare at each other. Better to do nothing than to do evil.
Fool that I was, to be prevailed upon once more to exhibit myself among
these apes! What a ridiculous figure shall I be! and in the capacity of
a suitor too! Pshaw! he cannot be serious! 'Tis but a friendly artifice
to draw me from my solitude. Why did I promise him? Yes, my sufferings
have been many; and, to oblige a friend, why should I hesitate to add
another painful hour to the wretched calendar of my life! I'll go. I'll
go.                                                             [_Exit._



SCENE II.

     _The Antichamber._

     _Enter CHARLOTTE._

_Char._ No, indeed, my lady! If you chuse to bury yourself in the
country, I shall take my leave. I am not calculated for a country life.
And, to sum up all, when I think of this Mrs. Haller--

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ [_Overhearing her last words._] What of Mrs. Haller, my sweet
Miss?

_Char._ Why, Mr. Solomon, who is Mrs. Haller? You know every thing; you
hear every thing.

_Sol._ I have received no letters from any part of Europe on the
subject, Miss.

_Char._ But who is to blame? The Count and Countess. She dines with
them; and at this very moment is drinking tea with them. Is this proper?

_Sol._ By no means.

_Char._ Shouldn't a Count and a Countess, in all their actions, show a
certain degree of pride and pomposity?

_Sol._ To be sure! To be sure they should!

_Char._ No, I won't submit to it. I'll tell her ladyship, when I dress
her to-morrow, that either Mrs. Haller or I must quit the house.

_Sol._ [_Seeing the BARON._] St!

     _Enter BARON._

_Bar._ Didn't I hear Mrs. Haller's name here?

_Sol._ [_Confused._] Why--yes--we--we--

_Bar._ Charlotte, tell my sister I wish to see her as soon as the
tea-table is removed.

_Char._ [_Aside to SOLOMON._] Either she or I go, that I'm determined.

                                                                [_Exit._

_Bar._ May I ask what it was you were saying?

_Sol._ Why, please your Honourable Lordship, we were talking here and
there--this and that--

_Bar._ I almost begin to suspect some secret.

_Sol._ Secret! Heaven forbid! Mercy on us! No! I should have had letters
on the subject if there had been a secret.

_Bar._ Well then, since it was no secret, I presume I may know your
conversation.

_Sol._ You do us great honour, my lord. Why, then, at first, we were
making a few common-place observations. Miss Charlotte remarked that we
had all our faults. I said, "Yes." Soon after I remarked that the best
persons in the world were not without their weaknesses. She said, "Yes."

_Bar._ If you referred to Mrs. Haller's faults and weaknesses, I am
desirous to hear more.

_Sol._ Sure enough, sir, Mrs. Haller is an excellent woman; but she's
not an angel for all that. I am an old faithful servant to his
Excellency the Count, and therefore it is my duty to speak, when any
thing is done disadvantageous to his interest.

_Bar._ Well!

_Sol._ For instance, now; his Excellency may think he has at least some
score of dozens of the old six-and-twenty hock. Mercy on us! there are
not ten dozen bottles left; and not a drop has gone down my throat, I'll
swear.

_Bar._ [_Smiling._] Mrs. Haller has not drank it, I suppose?

_Sol._ Not she herself, for she never drinks wine. But if any body be
ill in the village, any poor woman lying-in, away goes a bottle of the
six-and-twenty! Innumerable are the times that I've reproved her; but
she always answers me snappishly, that she will be responsible for it.

_Bar._ So will I, Mr. Solomon.

_Sol._ Oh! with all my heart, your Honourable Lordship. It makes no
difference to me. I had the care of the cellar twenty years, and can
safely take my oath, that I never gave the poor a single drop in the
whole course of my trust.

_Bar._ How extraordinary is this woman!

_Sol._ Extraordinary! One can make nothing of her. To-day, the vicar's
wife is not good enough for her. To-morrow, you may see her sitting with
all the women of the village. To be sure she and I agree pretty well;
for, between me and your Honourable Lordship, she has cast an eye upon
my son Peter.

_Bar._ Has she?

_Sol._ Yes--Peter's no fool, I assure you. The schoolmaster is teaching
him to write. Would your Honourable Lordship please to see a specimen;
I'll go for his copy-book. He makes his pothooks capitally.

_Bar._ Another time, another time. Good bye for the present, Mr.
Solomon. [_SOLOMON bows, without attempting to go._] Good day, Mr.
Solomon.

_Sol._ [_Not understanding the hint._] Your Honourable Lordship's most
obedient servant.

_Bar._ Mr. Solomon I wish to be alone.

_Sol._ As your lordship commands. If the time should seem long in my
absence, and your lordship wishes to hear the newest news from the seat
of war, you need only send for old Solomon. I have letters from Leghorn,
Cape Horn, and every known part of the habitable globe.         [_Exit._

_Bar._ Tedious old fool! Yet hold. Did he not speak in praise of Mrs.
Haller? Pardoned be his rage for news and politics.

     _Enter COUNTESS._

Well, sister, have you spoken to her?

_Countess._ I have: and if you do not steer for another haven, you will
be doomed to drive upon the ocean for ever.

_Bar._ Is she married?

_Countess._ I don't know.

_Bar._ Is she of a good family?

_Countess._ I can't tell.

_Bar._ Does she dislike me?

_Countess._ Excuse my making a reply.

_Bar._ I thank you for your sisterly affection, and the explicitness of
your communications. Luckily, I placed little reliance on either; and
have found a friend, who will save your ladyship all further trouble.

_Countess._ A friend!

_Bar._ Yes. The Stranger who saved your son's life this morning proves
to be my intimate friend.

_Countess._ What's his name?

_Bar._ I don't know.

_Countess._ Is he of a good family?

_Bar._ I can't tell.

_Countess._ Will he come hither?

_Bar._ Excuse my making a reply.

_Countess._ Well, the retort is fair--but insufferable.

_Bar._ You can't object to the _Da Capo_ of your own composition,

     _Enter COUNT and MRS. HALLER._

_Count._ Zounds! do you think I am Xenocrates; or like the poor sultan
with marble legs? There you leave me _tête-a-tête_ with Mrs. Haller, as
if my heart were a mere flint. So you prevailed, brother. The Stranger
will come then, it seems.

_Bar._ I expect him every minute.

_Count._ I'm glad to hear it. One companion more, however. In the
country we never can have too many.

_Bar._ This gentleman will not exactly be an addition to your circle,
for he leaves this place tomorrow.

_Count._ But he won't, I think. Now, Lady Wintersen, summon all your
charms. There is no art in conquering us poor devils; but this strange
man, who does not care a doit for you all together, is worth your
efforts. Try your skill. I shan't be jealous.

_Countess._ I allow the conquest to be worth the trouble. But what Mrs.
Haller has not been able to affect in three months, ought not to be
attempted by me.

_Mrs. H._ [_Jocosely._] Oh, yes, madam. He has given me no opportunity
of trying the force of my charms, for I have never once happened to see
him.

_Count._ Then he's a blockhead; and you an idler.

_Sol._ [_Without._] This way, sir! This way!

     _Enter SOLOMON._

_Sol._ The Stranger begs leave to have the honour--

_Count._ Welcome! Welcome.                              [_Exit SOLOMON._

                              [_Turns to meet the STRANGER, whom he
                                conducts in by the hand._]

My dear sir--Lady Wintersen--Mrs. Haller--

                              [_MRS. HALLER, as soon as she sees the
                                STRANGER, shrieks, and swoons in the
                                arms of the BARON. The STRANGER casts a
                                look at her, and struck with
                                astonishment and horror, rushes out of
                                the room. The BARON and COUNTESS bear
                                MRS. HALLER off; COUNT following, in
                                great surprise._]



ACT THE FIFTH.

SCENE I.

     _The Antichamber._

     _Enter BARON._

_Bar._ Oh! deceitful hope! Thou phantom of future happiness! To thee
have I stretched out my arms, and thou hast vanished into air! Wretched
Steinfort! The mystery is solved. She is the wife of my friend! I cannot
myself be happy; but I may, perhaps, be able to reunite two lovely
souls, whom cruel fate has severed. Ha! they are here. I must propose it
instantly.

     _Enter COUNTESS and MRS. HALLER._

_Countess._ Into the garden, my dear friend! Into the air!

_Mrs. H._ I am quite well. Do not alarm yourselves on my account.

_Bar._ Madam, pardon my intrusion; but to lose a moment may be fatal. He
means to quit the country to-morrow. We must devise means to reconcile
you to--the Stranger.

_Mrs. H._ How, my lord! You seem acquainted with my history?

_Bar._ I am. Walbourg has been my friend ever since we were boys. We
served together from the rank of cadet. We have been separated seven
years. Chance brought us this day together, and his heart was open to
me.

_Mrs. H._ Now do I feel what it is to be in the presence of an honest
man, when I dare not meet his eye.                    [_Hides her face._

_Bar._ If sincere repentance, if years without reproach, do not give us
a title to man's forgiveness, what must we expect hereafter? No, lovely
penitent! your contrition is complete. Error for a moment wrested from
slumbering virtue the dominion of your heart; but she awoke, and, with a
look, banished her enemy for ever. I know my friend. He has the firmness
of a man; but, with it, the gentlest feelings of your sex. I hasten to
him. With the fire of pure disinterested friendship will I enter on this
work; that, when I look back upon my past life, I may derive from this
good action consolation in disappointment, and even resignation in
despair.                                                       [_Going._

_Mrs. H._ Oh, stay! What would you do? No! never! My husband's honour is
sacred to me. I love him unutterably: but never, never can I be his wife
again; even if he were generous enough to pardon me.

_Bar._ Madam! Can you, Countess, be serious?

_Mrs H._ Not that title, I beseech you! I am not a child, who wishes to
avoid deserved punishment. What were my penitence, if I hoped advantage
from it beyond the consciousness of atonement for past offence?

_Countess._ But if your husband himself--?

_Mrs. H._ Oh! he will not! he cannot! And let him rest assured I never
would replace my honour at the expense of his.

_Bar._ He still loves you.

_Mrs. H._ Loves me! Then he must not--No--he must purify his heart from
a weakness which would degrade him!

_Bar._ Incomparable woman! I go to my friend--perhaps, for the last
time! Have you not one word to send him?

_Mrs. H._ Yes, I have two requests to make. Often when, in excess of
grief, I have despaired of every consolation, I have thought I should be
easier if I might behold my husband once again, acknowledge my injustice
to him, and take a gentle leave of him for ever. This, therefore, is my
first request--a conversation for a few short minutes, if he does not
quite abhor the sight of me. My second request is--Oh--not to see, but
to hear some account of my poor children.

_Bar._ If humanity and friendship can avail, he will not for a moment
delay your wishes.

_Countess._ Heaven be with you.

_Mrs. H._ And my prayers.                                 [_Exit BARON._

_Countess._ Come, my friend, come into the air, till he returns with
hope and consolation.

_Mrs. H._ Oh, my heart! How art thou afflicted! My husband! My little
ones! Past joys and future fears--Oh, dearest madam, there are moments
in which we live years! Moments, which steal the roses from the cheek
of health, and plough deep furrows in the brow of youth.

_Countess._ Banish these sad reflections. Come, let us walk. The sun
will set soon; let nature's beauties dissipate anxiety.

_Mrs. H._ Alas! Yes, the setting sun is a proper scene for me.

_Countess._ Never forget a morning will succeed.              [_Exeunt._



SCENE II.

     _The skirts of the Park, Lodge, &c. as before._

     _Enter BARON._

_Bar._ On earth there is but one such pair. They shall not be parted.
Yet what I have undertaken is not so easy as I at first hoped. What can
I answer when he asks me, whether I would persuade him to renounce his
character, and become the derision of society? For he is right: a
faithless wife is a dishonour! and to forgive her, is to share her
shame. What though Adelaide may be an exception; a young deluded girl,
who has so long and so sincerely repented, yet what cares an unfeeling
world for this? The world! he has quitted it. 'Tis evident he loves her
still; and upon this assurance builds my sanguine heart the hope of a
happy termination to an honest enterprise.

     _Enter FRANCIS with two Children, WILLIAM and AMELIA._

_Fra._ Come along, my pretty ones--come.

_Will._ Is it far to home?

_Fra._ No, we shall be there directly, now.

_Bar._ Hold! Whose children are these?

_Fra._ My master's.

_Will._ Is that my father?

_Bar._ It darts like lightning through my brain. A word with you. I know
you love your master. Strange things have happened here. Your master has
found his wife again.

_Fra._ Indeed! Glad to hear it.

_Bar._ Mrs. Haller--

_Fra._ Is she his wife? Still more glad to hear it.

_Bar._ But he is determined to go from her.

_Fra._ Oh!

_Bar._ We must try to prevent it.

_Fra._ Surely.

_Bar._ The unexpected appearance of the children may perhaps assist us.

_Fra._ How so?

_Bar._ Hide yourself with them in that hut. Before a quarter of an hour
is passed you shall know more.

_Fra._ But--

_Bar._ No more questions, I entreat you. Time is precious.

_Fra._ Well, well: questions are not much in my way. Come, children.

_Will._ Why, I thought you told me I should see my father.

_Fra._ So you shall, my dear. Come, moppets.

                                 [_Goes into the Hut with the Children._

_Bar._ Excellent! I promise myself much from this little artifice. If
the mild look of the mother fails, the innocent smiles of these his own
children will surely find the way to his heart. [_Taps at the Lodge
door, the STRANGER comes out._] Charles, I wish you joy.

_Stra._ Of what?

_Bar._ You have found her again.

_Stra._ Show a bankrupt the treasure which he once possessed, and then
congratulate him on the amount!

_Bar._ Why not, if it be in your power to retrieve the whole?

_Stra._ I understand you: you are a negociator from my wife. It won't
avail.

_Bar._ Learn to know your wife better. Yes, I am a messenger from her;
but without power to treat. She, who loves you unutterably, who without
you never can be happy, renounces your forgiveness; because, as she
thinks, your honour is incompatible with such a weakness.

_Stra._ Pshaw! I am not to be caught.

_Bar._ Charles! consider well--

_Stra._ Steinfort, let me explain all this. I have lived here four
months. Adelaide knew it.

_Bar._ Knew it! She never saw you till to-day.

_Stra._ That you may make fools believe. Hear further: she knows too,
that I am not a common sort of man; that my heart is not to be attacked
in the usual way. She, therefore, framed a deep concerted plan. She
played a charitable part; but in such a way, that it always reached my
ears. She played a pious, modest, reserved part, in order to excite my
curiosity. And at last, to-day she plays the prude. She refuses my
forgiveness, in hopes by this generous device, to extort it from my
compassion.

_Bar._ Charles! I have listened to you with astonishment. This is a
weakness only to be pardoned in a man who has so often been deceived by
the world. Your wife has expressly and stedfastly declared, that she
will not accept your forgiveness, even if you yourself were weak enough
to offer it.

_Stra._ What then has brought you hither?

_Bar._ More than one reason. First, I am come in my own name, as your
friend and comrade, to conjure you solemnly not to spurn this creature
from you; for, by my soul, you will not find her equal.

_Stra._ Give yourself no further trouble.

_Bar._ Be candid, Charles. You love her still.

_Stra._ Alas! yes.

_Bar._ Her sincere repentance has long since obliterated her crime.

_Stra._ Sir! a wife, once induced to forfeit her honour, must be capable
of a second crime.

_Bar._ Not so, Charles. Ask your heart what portion of the blame may be
your own.

_Stra._ Mine!

_Bar._ Yours. Who told you to marry a thoughtless inexperienced girl?
One scarce expects established principles at five-and-twenty in a man,
yet you require them in a girl of sixteen! But of this no more. She has
erred; she has repented; and, during three years, her conduct has been
so far above reproach, that even the piercing eye of calumny has not
discovered a speck upon this radiant orb.

_Stra._ Now, were I to believe all this--and I confess that I would
willingly believe it--yet can she never again be mine. [_With extreme
asperity._] Oh! what a feast would it be for the painted dolls and
vermin of the world, when I appeared among them with my runaway wife
upon my arm! What mocking, whispering, pointing!--Never! Never! Never!

_Bar._ Enough! As a friend I have done my duty: I now appear as
Adelaide's ambassador. She requests one moment's conversation. She
wishes once again to see you, and never more! You cannot deny her this,
this only, this last, request.

_Stra._ Oh! I understand this too: she thinks my firmness will be melted
by her tears: she is mistaken. She may come.

_Bar._ She will come, to make you feel how much you mistake her. I go
for her.

_Stra._ Another word.

_Bar._ Another word!

_Stra._ Give her this paper, and these jewels. They belong to her.

                                                     [_Presenting them._

_Bar._ That you may do yourself.                                [_Exit._

_Stra._ The last anxious moment of my life draws near. I shall see her
once again; I shall see her, on whom my soul doats. Is this the language
of an injured husband? What is this principle which we call honour? Is
it a feeling of the heart, or a quibble in the brain? I must be
resolute: it cannot now be otherwise. Let me speak solemnly, yet mildly;
and beware that nothing of reproach escape my lips. Yes, her penitence
is real. She shall not be obliged to live in mean dependence: she shall
be mistress of herself, she shall-- [_Looks round and shudders._] Ha!
they come. Awake, insulted pride! Protect me, injured honour!

     _Enter MRS. HALLER, COUNTESS, and BARON._

_Mrs. H._ [_Advances slowly, and in a tremour. COUNTESS attempts to
support her._] Leave me now, I beseech you. [_Approaches the STRANGER,
who, with averted countenance, and in extreme agitation, awaits her
address._] My lord!

_Stra._ [_With gentle tremulous utterance, and face still turned away._]
What would you with me, Adelaide?

_Mrs. H._ [_Much agitated._] No--for Heaven's sake! I was not prepared
for this--Adelaide!--No, no. For Heaven's sake!--Harsh tones alone are
suited to a culprit's ear.

_Stra._ [_Endeavouring to give his voice firmness._] Well, madam!

_Mrs. H._ Oh! if you will ease my heart, if you will spare and pity me,
use reproaches.

_Stra._ Reproaches! Here they are; here on my sallow cheek--here in my
hollow eye--here in my faded form. These reproaches I could not spare
you.

_Mrs. H._ Were I a hardened sinner, this forbearance would be charity:
but I am a suffering penitent, and it overpowers me. Alas! then I must
be the herald of my own shame. For, where shall I find peace, till I
have eased my soul by my confession?

_Stra._ No confession, madam. I release you from every humiliation. I
perceive you feel, that we must part for ever.

_Mrs. H._ I know it. Nor come I here to supplicate your pardon; nor has
my heart contained a ray of hope that you would grant it. All I dare ask
is, that you will not curse my memory.

_Stra._ [_Moved._] No, I do not curse you. I shall never curse you.

_Mrs. H._ [_Agitated._] From the conviction that I am unworthy of your
name, I have, during three years abandoned it. But this is not enough;
you must have that redress which will enable you to chuse
another--another wife; in whose chaste arms, may Heaven protect your
hours in bliss! This paper will be necessary for the purpose: it
contains a written acknowledgement of my guilt.

                                                [_Offers it, trembling._

_Stra._ [_Tearing it._] Perish the record, for ever.--No, Adelaide, you
only have possessed my heart; and, I am not ashamed to own it, you alone
will reign there for ever.--Your own sensations of virtue, your resolute
honour, forbid you to profit by my weakness; and even if--Now, by
Heaven, this is beneath a man! But--never--never will another fill
Adelaide's place here.

_Mrs. H._ [_Trembling._] Then nothing now remains but that one sad,
hard, just word--farewell!

_Stra._ Stay a moment. For some months we have, without knowing it,
lived near each other. I have learnt much good of you. You have a heart
open to the wants of your fellow creatures. I am happy that it is so.
You shall not be without the power of gratifying your benevolence. I
know you have a spirit that must shrink from a state of obligation. This
paper, to which the whole remnant of my fortune is pledged, secures you
independence, Adelaide: and let the only recommendation of the gift be,
that it will administer to you the means of indulging in charity, the
divine propensity of your nature.

_Mrs. H._ Never! To the labour of my hands alone will I owe my
sustenance. A morsel of bread, moistened with the tear of penitence,
will suffice my wishes, and exceed my merits. It would be an additional
reproach, to think that I served myself, or even others, from the bounty
of the man whom I had so deeply injured.

_Stra._ Take it, madam; take it.

_Mrs. H._ I have deserved this. But I throw myself upon your generosity.
Have compassion on me!

_Stra._ [_Aside._] Villain! of what a woman hast thou robbed me!--
[_Puts up the paper._] Well, madam, I respect your sentiments, and
withdraw my request; but on condition, that if you ever should be in
want of any thing, I may be the first and only person in the world, to
whom you will make application.

_Mrs. H._ I promise it, my lord.

_Stra._ And now I may, at least, desire you to take back what is your
own--your jewels.                               [_Gives her the casket._

_Mrs. H._ [_Opens it in violent agitation, and her tears burst upon
it._] How well do I recollect the sweet evening when you gave me these!
That evening, my father joined our hands; and joyfully I pronounced the
oath of eternal fidelity.--It is broken. This locket, you gave me on my
birthday--That was a happy day! We had a country feast--How cheerful we
all were!--This bracelet, I received after my William was born! No! take
them--take them--I cannot keep these, unless you wish, that the sight of
them should be an incessant reproach to my almost broken heart.

                                                     [_Gives them back._

_Stra._ [_Aside._] I must go. My soul and pride will hold no longer.
[_Turning towards her._] Farewell!--

_Mrs. H._ Oh! but one minute more! An answer to but one more
question,--Feel for a mother's heart!--Are my children still alive?

_Stra._ Yes, they are alive.

_Mrs. H._ And well?

_Stra._ Yes, they are well.

_Mrs. H._ Heaven be praised! William must be much grown?

_Stra._ I believe so.

_Mrs. H._ What! have you not seen them!--And little Amelia, is she still
your favourite? [_The STRANGER, who is in violent agitation throughout
this scene, remains in silent contention between honour and affection._]
Oh! let me behold them once again!--let me once more kiss the features
of their father in his babes, and I will kneel to you, and part with
them for ever.                             [_She kneels--he raises her._

_Stra._ Willingly, Adelaide! This very night. I expect the children
every minute. They have been brought up near this spot. I have already
sent my servant for them. He might, ere this time, have returned. I
pledge my word to send them to the Castle as soon as they arrive. There,
if you please, they may remain 'till daybreak to-morrow: then they must
go with me.

                              [_The COUNTESS and BARON, who at a little
                                distance have listened to the whole
                                conversation with the warmest sympathy,
                                exchange signals. BARON goes into the
                                Hut, and soon returns with FRANCIS and
                                the CHILDREN. He gives the GIRL to the
                                COUNTESS, who places herself behind the
                                STRANGER. He himself walks with the BOY
                                behind MRS. HALLER._

_Mrs. H._ In this world, then--We have no more to say---- [_Seizing his
hand._] Forget a wretch, who never will forget you.--And when my
penance shall have broken my heart,--when we again meet, in a better
world----

_Stra._ There, Adelaide, you may be mine again.


_Mrs. H._}
         } Oh! Oh!                                           [_Parting._
_Stra._  }


                              [_But, as they are going, she encounters
                                the BOY, and he the GIRL._

_Children._ Dear father! Dear mother!

                              [_They press the CHILDREN in their arms
                                with speechless affection; then tear
                                themselves away--gaze at each
                                other--spread their arms, and rush into
                                an embrace. The CHILDREN run, and cling
                                round their Parents. The curtain falls._





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