Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Original Plays - The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury
Author: Gilbert, W. S. (William Schwenck)
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 "Original Plays - The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org)



Note: Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See
      https://archive.org/details/plays00gilboriginalrich

      Some characters might not display properly in this UTF-8
      text file (e.g., empty squares). If so, the reader should
      consult the original page images noted above.



ORIGINAL PLAYS

by

W. S. GILBERT.



New York:
Scribner, Armstrong, & Co.
1876.

Stereotyped and printed by
Rand, Avery, and Company,
117 Franklin Street,
Boston.



_NOTE._


_The Story upon which ‘The Palace of Truth’ is founded is probably as
old as the ‘Arabian Nights.’ ‘The Princess’ is a respectful parody of
Mr. Tennyson’s exquisite poem. It has been generally held, I believe,
that if a dramatist uses the mere outline of an existing story for
dramatic purposes, he is at liberty to describe his play as “original.”_

                                                        _W. S. GILBERT._

  _London, Nov. 18, 1875._



_CONTENTS._


                           PAGE

  _Note_                      5

  _Contents_                  7

  THE WICKED WORLD            9

  PYGMALION AND GALATEA      73

  CHARITY                   135

  THE PRINCESS              211

  THE PALACE OF TRUTH       265

  TRIAL BY JURY             341

  _Transcriber’s Note_



THE WICKED WORLD:

_An Original Fairy Comedy_,

IN THREE ACTS.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

FAIRIES.

  ETHAIS                           MR. KENDAL.
  PHYLLON                          MR. ARNOTT.
  LUTIN (_a Serving Fairy_)        MR. BUCKSTONE.
  SELENE (_a Fairy Queen_)         MISS MADGE ROBERTSON.
  DARINE                           MISS AMY ROSELLE.
  ZAYDA                            MISS M. LITTON.
  LEILA                            MISS HARRISON.
  NEODIE                           MISS HENRI.
  LOCRINE                          MISS FRANCIS.

MORTALS.

  SIR ETHAIS                       MR. KENDAL.
  SIR PHYLLON                      MR. ARNOTT.
  LUTIN (_Sir Ethais’s Henchman_)  MR. BUCKSTONE.


                        _SCENE: IN FAIRY LAND._

      ⁂ _The action is comprised within the space of twenty-four hours._


PROLOGUE.

      _Spoken by MR. BUCKSTONE._

    The Author begs you’ll kind attention pay
    While I explain the object of his play.
    You have been taught, no doubt, by those professing
    To understand the thing, that Love’s a blessing:
    Well, _he_ intends to teach you the reverse--
    That Love is not a blessing, but a curse!
    But pray do not suppose it’s his intent
    To do without this vital element--
    His drama _would_ be in a pretty mess!
    With quite as fair a prospect of success,
    Might a dispensing chemist in his den
    Endeavor to dispense with oxygen.
    Too powerful an agent to pooh-pooh,
    There will be Love enough I warrant you:
    But as the aim of every play’s to show
    That Love’s essential to all men below,
    _He_ uses it to prove, to all who doubt it,
    How well all men--but he--can do without it.
    To prove his case (a poor one, I admit),
    He begs that with him you will kindly flit
    To a pure fairy-land that’s all his own,
    Where mortal love is utterly unknown.
    Whose beings, spotless as new-fallen snow,
    Know nothing of the Wicked World below.
    These gentle sons and daughters of the air,
    Safe, in their eyrie, from temptation’s snare,
    Have yet one little fault I must confess--
    _An overweening sense of righteousness_.
    As perfect silence, undisturbed for years,
    Will breed at length a humming in the ears,
    So from their very purity within
    Arise the promptings of their only sin.
    Forgive them! No? Perhaps you will relent
    When you appreciate their punishment!

    But prithee be not led too far away,
    By the hack author of a mere stage-play:
    It’s easy to affect this cynic tone,
    But, let me ask you, had the world ne’er known
    Such Love as you, and I, and he, must mean--
    Pray where would you, or I, or he, have been?


THE WICKED WORLD.


ACT I.

      _SCENE--Fairy Land. A beautiful, but fanciful landscape, which
        is supposed to lie on the upper side of a cloud. The cloud is
        suspended over the earth, a portion of which (representing
        “a bird’s-eye view” of a mediæval city), is seen, far below,
        through a rent or gap in the cloud._

      _As the curtain rises ZAYDA is discovered standing in a
        thoughtful attitude, contemplating the world at her feet. To
        her enters DARINE._

    _Dar._ My sister, Zayda, thou art deep in thought,
    What quaint conjecture fills thy busy brain?

    _Zay._ Oh! sister, it’s my old and favorite theme--
    That wonderful and very wicked world
    That rolls in silent cycles at our feet!

    _Dar._ In truth a fruitful source of wonderment!

    _Zay._ Fruitful indeed--a harvest without end!
    The world--the wicked world! the wondrous world!
    I love to sit alone and gaze on it,
    And let my fancy wander through its towns,
    Float on its seas and rivers--interchange
    Communion with its strange inhabitants:
    People its cities with fantastic shapes,
    Fierce, wild, barbaric forms--all head and tail,
    With monstrous horns, and blear and bloodshot eyes,
    As all should have who deal in wickedness!

      _Enter PHYLLON._

    Oh, Phyllon! picture to thyself a town
    Peopled with men and women! At each turn,
    Men--wicked men--then, farther on, more men,
    Then women--then again more men--more men--
    Men, women, everywhere--all ripe for crime,
    All ghastly in the lurid light of sin!

      _Enter SELENE._

    _Phyl._ In truth, dear sister, if man’s face and form
    Were a true index to his character,
    He were a hideous thing to look upon;
    But man, alas! is formed as we are formed.
    False from the first, he comes into the world
    Bearing a smiling lie upon his face,
    That he may cheat ere he can use his tongue.

    _Zay._ Oh! I have heard these things, but heed them not.
    I like to picture him as he should be,
    Unsightly and unclean. I like to pair
    Misshapen bodies with misshapen minds.

    _Sel._ Dost thou not know that every soul on earth
    Hath in our ranks his outward counterpart?

    _Dar._ His outward counterpart!

    _Sel._                          Tis even so;
    Yes, on that world--that very wicked world--
    Thou--I--and all who dwell in fairy land,
    May find a parallel identity:
    A perfect counterpart in outward form;
    So perfect that, if it were possible
    To place us by these earthly counterparts,
    No man on earth, no fairy in the clouds,
    Could tell which was the fairy--which the man!

    _Zay._ Is there _no_ shade of difference?

    _Phyl._                                   Yes, one;
    For we are absolutely free from sin,
    While all our representatives on earth
    Are stained with every kind of infamy.

    _Dar._ Are _all_ our counterparts so steeped in sin?

    _Phyl._ All, in a greater or a less degree.

    _Zay._ What, even mine?

    _Phyl._                 Alas!

    _Zay._                        Oh, no--not mine!

    _Phyl._ All men and women sin.

    _Dar._                         I wonder what
    My counterpart is doing now?

    _Sel._                       Don’t ask.
    No doubt, some fearful sin!

    _Dar._                      And what are sins?

    _Sel._ Evils of which we hardly know the names.
    There’s vanity--a quaint, fantastic vice,
    Whereby a mortal takes much credit for
    The beauty of his face and form, and claims
    As much applause for loveliness as though
    He had designed himself! Then jealousy--
    A universal passion--one that claims
    An absolute monopoly of love,
    Based on the reasonable principle
    That no one merits other people’s love
    So much as--every soul on earth by turns!
    Envy--that grieves at other men’s success,
    As though success, however placed, were not
    A contribution to one common fund!
    Ambition, too, the vice of clever men
    Who seek to rise at others’ cost; nor heed
    Whose wings they cripple, so that they may soar.
    Malice--the helpless vice of helpless fools,
    Who, as they can not rise, hold others down,
    That they, by contrast, may appear to soar.
    Hatred and avarice, untruthfulness,
    Murder and rapine, theft, profanity--
    Sins so incredible, so mean, so vast,
    Our nature stands appalled when it attempts
    To grasp their terrible significance.
    Such are the vices of that wicked world!

      _Enter ETHAIS, LOCRINE, NEODIE, LEILA, and other Fairies._

    _Eth._ My brothers, sisters, Lutin has returned,
    After a long delay, from yonder earth:
    The first of all our race who has set foot
    Upon that wicked world. See! he is here!

      _Enter LUTIN._

    _Sel._ Good welcome, Lutin, back to fairy land!
    So thou hast been to earth?

    _Lut._                      I have indeed!

    _Sel._ What hast thou seen there?

    _Lut._ Better not inquire.
    It is a very, very wicked world!
    I went, obedient to our King’s command,
    To meet him in mid-earth. He bade me go
    And send both Ethais and Phyllon there.

    _Eth._ Down to mid-earth?

    _Lut._                    Down to mid-earth at once.
    He hath some gift, some priceless privilege
    With which he would endow our fairy world;
    And he hath chosen Phyllon and thyself
    To bear his bounty to this home of ours.

    _Zay._ Another boon? Why, brother Ethais,
    What can our monarch give that we have not?

    _Eth._ In truth, I can not say--’twould seem that we
    Had reached the sum of fairy happiness!

    _Sel._ But then we thought the same, before our King
    Endowed us with the gift of melody;
    And now, how tame our fairy life would seem
    Were melody to perish from our land!

    _Phyl._ Well said, Selene. Come, then, let’s away, (_going_)
    And on our journey through the outer world
    We will take note of its inhabitants,
    And bring you fair account of all we see.
    Farewell, dear sisters!                [_Exeunt PHYLLON and ETHAIS._

    _Sel._                   Brothers, fare-you-well.
    (_To LUTIN._)And thou hast really met a living man?

    _Lut._ I have indeed--and living women too!

    _Zay._ And thou hast heard them speak, and seen their ways,
    And didst thou understand them when they spake?

    _Lut._ I understand that what I understood
    No fairy being ought to understand.
    I see that almost every thing I saw
    Is utterly improper to be seen.
    Don’t ask for details--I’ve returned to you
    With outraged senses and with shattered nerves,
    I burn with blushes of indignant shame.
    Read my experiences in my face,
    My tongue shall wither ere it tell the tale.
    It is a very, very wicked world!

    _Dar._ But surely man can summon death at will;
    Why should he live when he at will can die?

    _Lut._ Why, that’s the most inexplicable thing.
    I’ve seen upon that inconsistent globe--
    With swords and daggers hanging at their sides,
    With drowning seas and rivers at their feet,
    With deadly poison in their very grasp,
    And every implement of death at hand--
    Men live--and live--and seem to like to live!         [_Exit LUTIN._

    _Dar._ How strangely inconsistent!

    _Sel._                             Not at all.
    With all their misery, with all their sin,
    With all the elements of wretchedness
    That teem on that unholy world of theirs,
    They have one great and ever glorious gift,
    That compensates for all they have to bear--
    The gift of Love! Not as we use the word,
    To signify mere tranquil brotherhood;
    But in some sense that is unknown to us.
    Their love bears like relation to our own,
    That the fierce beauty of the noonday sun
    Bears to the calm of a soft summer’s eve.
    It nerves the wearied mortal with hot life,
    And bathes his soul in hazy happiness.
    The richest man is poor who hath it not,
    And he who hath it laughs at poverty.
    It hath no conqueror. When death himself
    Has worked his very worst, this love of theirs
    Lives still upon the loved one’s memory.
    It is a strange enchantment, which invests
    The most unlovely things with loveliness.
    The maiden, fascinated by this spell,
    Sees every thing as she would have it be:
    Her squalid cot becomes a princely home;
    Its stunted shrubs are groves of stately elms;
    The weedy brook that trickles past her door
    Is a broad river fringed with drooping trees;
    And of all marvels the most marvelous,
    The coarse unholy man who rules her love
    Is a bright being--pure as we are pure;
    Wise in his folly--blameless in his sin;
    The incarnation of a perfect soul;
    A great and ever glorious demi-god!

    _Dar._ Why, what have we in all our fairy land
    To bear comparison with such a gift?

    _Zay._ Oh! for one hour of such a love as that;
    O’er all things paramount! Why, after all,
    That wicked world is the true fairy land!

    _Loc._ Why, who can wonder that poor erring man
    Clings to the world, all poisoned though it be,
    When on it grows this glorious antidote?

    _Zay._ And may we never love as mortals love?

    _Sel._ No; that can never be. Of earthly things
    This love of theirs ranks as the earthiest.
    ’Tis necessary to man’s mode of life;
    He could not bear his load of misery
    But for the sweet enchantment at his heart
    That tells him that he bears no load at all.
    We do not need it in our perfect land.
    Moreover, there’s this gulf ’twixt it and us:
    Only a mortal can inspire such love;
    And mortal foot can never touch our land.

    _Zay._ But--is that so?

    _Sel._ (_surprised_).   Of course.

    _Zay._                             Yet I have heard
    That we’ve a half-forgotten law which says,
    That when a fairy quits his fairy home
    To visit earth, those whom he leaves behind
    May summon from the wicked world below
    That absent fairy’s mortal counterpart;
    And that that mortal counterpart may stay
    In fairy land and fill the fairy’s place
    Till he return. Is there not some such law?

    _Sel._ And if there be, wouldst put that law in force?
                                                          (_horrified_).

    _Zay._ No; not for all the love of all the world!
                                                  (_equally horrified_).

    _Sel._ A man in fairy land! Most horrible!
    He would exhale the poison of his soul,
    And we should even be as mortals are,
    Hating as man hates!

    _Dar._ (_enthusiastically_). Loving as man loves!
                                           (SEL. _looks reproachfully_).
    Too horrible! Still--

    _Sel._                Well!

    _Dar._                      I see a trace
    Of wisdom lurking in this ancient law.

    _Sel._ Where lurks this wisdom, then? I see it not.

    _Dar._ (_with emphasis_). Man is a shameless being, steeped in sins
    At which our stainless nature stands appalled;
    Yet, sister, if we took this loathsome soul
    From yonder seething gulf of infamy--
    E’en but for one short day--and let him see
    The beauty of our pure, unspotted lives,
    He might return to his unhappy world,
    And trumpet forth the strange intelligence:
    “Those men alone are happy who are good.”
    Then would the world immediately repent,
    And sin and wickedness be known no more!

    _Loc._ Association with so foul a thing
    As man must needs be unendurable
    To souls as pure and sinless as our own:
    Yet, sister dear, it has occurred to me,
    That his foul deeds, perchance, proceed from this--
    That we have kept ourselves too much aloof,
    And left him to his blind and wayward will.

    _Zay._ Man is every thing detestable--
    Base in his nature, base in thought and deed,
    Loathsome beyond all things that creep and crawl!
    Still, sister, I must own I’ve sometimes thought
    That we who shape the fortunes of mankind,
    And grant such wishes as are free from harm,
    Might possibly fulfill our generous task
    With surer satisfaction to himself
    Had we some notion what these wishes were!

    _Neo._ We give him every thing but good advice,
    And that which most he needs do we withhold.

    _Dar._ Oh! terrible, dear sister, to reflect,
    That to _our_ cold and culpable neglect,
    The folly of the world is chargeable!

    _Sel._ To _our_ neglect!

    _Zay._                   It may in truth be so.

    _Lei._ In very truth I’m sure that it is so.

    _Sel._ Oh! horrible! It shall be so no more.
    A light breaks over me! Their sin _is_ ours!
    But there--’tis easy still to make amends.
    A mortal _shall_ behold our blameless state,
    And learn the beauties of a sinless life!
    Come, let us summon mortal Ethais.

    _Dar._ But--

    _Sel._       Not a word--I am resolved to this.

    _Neo._ But sister--

    _Sel._              Well?

    _Neo._ (_timidly_).       Why summon only one?

    _Sel._ Why summon more?

    _Neo._                  The world’s incredulous;
    Let _two_ be brought into our blameless land,
    Then should their wondrous story be received
    With ridicule or incredulity,
    One could corroborate the other.

    _Dar._                           Yes--
    Phyllon has gone with Ethais. Let us call
    The mortal counterpart of Phyllon too--

    _Sel._ Two mortals--two unhappy men of sin
    In this untainted spot!

    _Loc._                  Well, sister dear,
    Two Heralds of the Truth will spread that Truth
    At the least twice as rapidly as one.

    _Sel._ Two miserable men! Why, _one_ alone
    Will bring enough pollution in his wake,
    To taint our happy land from end to end!

    _Zay._ Then, sister, two won’t make the matter worse!

    _Sel._ There’s truth in that. (_After a pause._)
                                  The two _shall_ come to us.
    We have deserved this fearful punishment;
    Our power, I think, is limited to two?

    _Lei._ Unfortunately.

    _Sel._                Yes--more might be done
    Had each of us a pupil to herself.
    Now then to summon them. But, sisters all,
    Show no repugnance to these wretched men;
    Remember that, all odious though they be,
    They are our guests; in common courtesy
    Subdue your natural antipathies;
    Be very gentle with them, bear with them,
    Be kind, forbearing, tender, pitiful.
    Receive them with that gentle sister love,
    That forms the essence of our fairyhood;
    Let no side-thought of their unholy lives
    Intrude itself upon your charity;
    Treat them as though they were what they will be
    When they have seen how we shall be to them.
    What is the form?

    _Dar._            Two roses newly plucked
    Should each in turn be cast upon the earth;
    Then, as each rose is thrown, pronounce the name
    Of him whose mortal self it typifies.
    Here _are_ two roses plucked from yonder tree.

    _Sel._ (_taking them_). Well then, fair rose, I name thee Ethais!--
    Go, send thy mortal namesake to our cloud; (_throws rose to earth_).
    ’Tis done; conceal yourselves till they appear!

      _The fairies conceal themselves. Hurried music; to which enter
        SIR ETHAIS and SIR PHYLLON, hurriedly, over the edge of cloud,
        as if impelled by some invisible and irresistible power from
        below. SIR ETHAIS and SIR PHYLLON have their swords drawn. They
        are dressed as barbaric knights, and, while bearing a facial
        resemblance to their fairy counterparts, present as strong a
        contrast as possible in their costume and demeanor._

    _Sir Eth._ Why, help, help, help!

    _Sir Phy._                        The devil seize us all!
    Why, what strange land is this? How came we here?

    _Sir Eth._ How came we here? Why, who can answer that
    So well as thou?

    _Sir Phy._       As I?

    _Sir Eth._             Yes, cur; as thou!
    This is some devil’s game of thy design,
    To scare me from the task I set myself
    When we crossed swords.

    _Sir Phy._              I use no sorcery.
    A whirlwind bore me to this cursed spot;
    But whence it came I neither know nor care.

    _Sir Eth._ There--gag thy lying tongue; it matters not,
    Or here or there we’ll fight our quarrel out.
    Come! call thy devils; let them wait at hand
    And when I’ve done with thee I’ll do with them.

      (_They fight. The fairies watch the combat unobserved with great
        interest._)

    _Dar._ What are they doing?

    _Sel._                      It’s some game of skill.
    It’s very pretty.

    _Dar._ Very. (_Knights pause._) Oh, they’ve stopped.

    _Phy._ Come, come--on guard. (_Fight resumed._)

    _Zay._                       Now they begin again.

    _Eth._ (_Sees fairies, who have gradually surrounded them._)
    Hold! we are overlooked. (_ETHAIS, who has turned for a moment in
                          saying this, is severely wounded by PHYLLON._)

    _Sel._                   You may proceed.
    We like it much.

    _Dar._           You do it very well--
    Begin again.

    _Eth._       Black curses on that thrust!
    I am disabled. Ladies, bind my wound;
    And if it please you still to see us fight,
    We’ll fight for those bright eyes and cherry lips
    Till one or both of us shall bite the dust.

    _Phy._ Hold! call a truce till we return to earth--
    Here are bright eyes enough for both of us.

    _Eth._ I don’t know that! Well, there--till we return.
                                                      (_Shaking hands._)
    But once again on earth, we will take up
    Our argument where it was broken off,
    And let thy devils whirl me where they may,
    I’ll reach conclusion and corollary.

    _Dar._ (_looking at PHYLLON_). Oh, fairyhood!
    How wonderfully like our Phyllon!

    _Sel._ (_looking at ETHAIS_).     Yes.
    And see--how strangely like our Ethais.
    Thou hast a gallant carriage, gentle knight. (_Sighing._)

    _Zay._ How very, very like our Ethais.

    _Eth._ It’s little wonder that I’m like myself;
    Why, I am he.

    _Sel._        No, not _our_ Ethais. (_Sighing._)

    _Eth._ In truth, I am the Ethais of all
    Who are as gentle and as fair as thou.

    _Sel._ That’s bravely said; thou hast a silver tongue;
    Why! what can gods be like if these be men.

      (_During this dialogue, DARINE shows by her manner that she takes
        great interest in ETHAIS._)

    Say, dost thou come from earth or heaven?

    _Eth._ (_gallantly putting his arm round them_).
    I think I’ve come from earth to heaven.

    _Sel._ (_to DARINE with delight_). Oh! didst thou hear?
    He comes from earth to heaven! No, Ethais,
    We are but fairies--this, our native home.
    Our fairy-land rests on a cloud which floats
    Hither and thither, as the breezes will;
    At times a mighty city’s at our feet,
    At times a golden plain, and then the sea,
    Dotted with ships and rocks and sunny isles.
    We see the world; yet saving that it is
    A very wicked world, we know it not--
    We hold no converse with its denizens;
    But on the lands o’er which our island hangs,
    We shed fair gifts of plenty and of peace--
    Health and contentment--charity--goodwill;
    Drop tears of love upon the thirsty earth,
    And shower fair waters on the growing grain.
    This is our mission.

    _Eth._               ’Tis a goodly one!
    I’d give my sword--ay, and my sword-arm too,
    If thou wouldst anchor for a year or so
    O’er yonder home of mine. But tell me, now,
    Does every cloud that hovers o’er our heads
    Bear in its bosom such a wealth of love?

    _Sel._ Alas! Sir Ethais, we are too few
    To work the good that we could wish to work.
    Thou hast seen black and angry thunder-clouds
    That spit their evil fire at flocks and herds,
    And shake with burly laughter as they watch
    The trembling shepherds count their shriveled dead?
    These are our enemies, sir knight, and thine.
    They sow the seeds of pestilence and death--
    May heaven preserve thee from their influence!

    _Eth._ Amen to that!

    _Phy._               But tell us, gentle maid,
    Why have you summoned us?

    _Sel._                    Because we seek
    To teach you truths that now ye wot not of;
    Because we know that you are very frail,
    Poor, blind, weak, wayward mortals--willing reeds,
    Swayed right and left by every tempting wind;
    And we are pure, and very, very brave,
    Having no taste for trivial solaces (_taking Ethais’ hand_);
    Scorning such idle joys as we have heard
    Appeal most strongly to such men as you;
    And we have cherished earnest hope that we,
    By the example of our sacred lives,
    May teach you to abjure such empty joys,
    May send you back to earth, pure, childlike men,
    To teach your mothers, sisters, and your wives,
    And those perchance (_sighing_) who are to be your wives!
    That there are fairy maidens in the clouds,
    Whose gentle mode of thought and mode of life
    They would do well to imitate. We would
    That every maid on earth were such as we!
                                    (_Placing her arms round his neck_).

    _Eth._ In truth we would that every maiden were,--
    (_Aside_) Except our mothers, sisters, and our wives!

    _Sel._ If you will be our pupils, you must give
    Some token of submission to our will,
    No doubt you have some form of fealty?

    _Eth._ When man desires to show profound respect--
    To indicate most forcibly his own
    Inferiority, he always puts
    His arm round the respected object’s waist,
    And drawing her (or him) towards him, thus,
    Places a very long and tender kiss
    On his (or her) face--as the case may be.

    _Sel._ That form is not in vogue in fairy land;
    Still, as it holds on earth, no doubt ’twill have
    Far greater weight with you poor sons of earth,
    Than any formula we could impose.

    _Phy._ Its weight is overpowering. (_About to kiss._)

    _Sel._                             But stay!
    We would not _wrest_ this homage from you, sir;
    Or give it willingly, or not at all.

    _Eth._ Most willingly, fair maid, we give it you.

    _Sel._ Good! Then proceed.

      (_ETH. kisses SEL. and PHYL. kisses ZAY._)

    _Eth._                     There! does it not convey
    A pleasant sense of influence?

    _Sel._                         It does.
    Some earthly forms seem rational enough.
    Why Ethais, what ails thee? (_ETHAIS staggers._)

    _Eth._                      Why, I’m faint
    From loss of blood. My wound--here, take this scarf,
    And bind it round my arm--so--have a care!
    There, that will do till I return to earth;
    Then, Lutin, who’s a fairly skillful leech,
    Shall doctor it.

    _Sel._ (_amazed_). Didst thou say Lutin?

    _Eth._                                   Yes,
    He is my squire--a poor, half-witted churl,

      _Enter LUTIN unobserved._

    Who shudders at the rustling of a leaf;
    A strange, odd, faithful, loving, timid knave;
    More dog than man, and, like a well-thrashed hound,
    He loves his master’s voice, and dreads it, too.
    Why, here he is! (_In intense astonishment._)

    _Lut._           Who is this insolent,
    A mortal here in fairy land?

    _Loc._                       Yes, two!

    _Lut._ Oh, this is outrage!

    _Eth._ (_crossing to him_). Why, thou scurvy knave,
    How cam’st thou here? Thou didst not come with us!
    What is the meaning of this masquerade?
                                           [_Alluding to LUTIN’s dress._
    Be off at once; if I could use my arm,
    I’d whip thee for this freak, but as it is,
    I’ll hand thee over to that wife of thine;
    Her hand is heavier than mine. (_To Sel._) This churl
    (So rumor saith) is mated to a shrew;
    A handsome, ranting, jealous, clacking shrew;
    And he, by means of this tom-fool disguise,
    Has ’scaped his home to play the truant here;

    _Lut._ Who are these men?

    _Sel._                    The mortal counterparts
    Of Ethais and Phyllon. Look at them! (_Crosses to LUTIN._)
    Dost thou not love them?

    _Lut._ (_indignantly_).  No!

    _Sel._                       How very strange!
    Why we all loved them from the very first.

    _Lut._ Is this indeed the truth?

    _Dar._                           It is indeed.
    Obedient to our queen’s command, we have
    Subdued our natural antipathies.

    _Zay._ They are our guests, all odious though they be,
                                               (_Takes PHYLLON’S hand._)
    And we must bid them welcome to our home,
    As if e’en now they were what they will be
    When they have seen what we shall be to them.  (_Kissing his hand._)

    _Lut._ Be warned in time, and send these mortals hence;
    Why, don’t you see that in each word they speak,
    They breathe of love?

    _Sel._ (_enthusiastically_). They do!

    _Lut._                                Why Love’s the germ
    Of every sin that stalks upon the earth:
    The brawler fights for love--the drunkard drinks
    To toast the girl who loves him, or to drown
    Remembrance of the girl who loves him not!
    The miser hoards his gold to purchase love.
    The liar lies to gain, or wealth, or love;
    And if for wealth, it is to purchase love.
    The very footpad nerves his coward arm
    To stealthy deeds of shame by pondering on
    The tipsy kisses of some tavern wench!
    Be not deceived--this love is but the seed;
    The branching tree that springs from it is Hate!

    _Dar._ (_to ETH._) Nay, heed him not. There is a legend here--
    An idle tale, that man is infamous,
    And he believes it. So, indeed, did we,
    Till we beheld you, gallant gentlemen!

    _Lut._ Why, they are raving! Let me go at once
    And join my brothers at our monarch’s court;
    While they are here this is no place for me.

    _Zay._ (_eagerly to SEL._) Let him depart; then we can summon here
    His mortal counterpart. (_Fairies delighted; SELENE expresses
        indignant surprise, ZAYDA changes her manner_), a poor frail man
    No doubt, who stands in very sorest need
    Of such good counsel as we can afford.

    _Sel._ Thou speakest wisely. Lutin, get thee gone.

    _Eth._ Be off at once.

    _Phy._                 Begone, thou scurvy knave!
    Thy wife shall hear of this--_she’ll_ punish thee.

    _Lut._ Oh, moral plague! oh, walking pestilence!
    Oh, incarnation of uncleanliness!
    You call me knave! Why, hark ye men of sin.
    You’ve kings and queens upon that world of yours,
    To whom you crawl in apt humility;
    Well, sir, there’s not an emperor on earth
    Who would not kiss the dust I tread upon,
    And I’m the meanest here. Good day to you.            [_Exit LUTIN._

    _Eth._ (_following him angrily, is restrained by SELENE_).
    The fellow’s crazed--heed not his rhapsodies,
    Thou dost not credit him?

    _Sel._                    And if I do,
    What matters it? Be all he says thou art,
    And I will worship thee for being so;
    Thou art my faith--whate’er my Ethais does
    Is ever hallowed by his doing it;
    Thy moral law is mine--for thou art mine:
    Rob, and I’ll scoff at honor; kill--I’ll kill;
    Be perjured, and I’ll swear by perjury;
    Ay, be thou false to me, and I’ll proclaim
    That man forsworn who loves but one alone!
    My soul is thine--whate’er my faith may be,
    I’ll be its herald; if thou hast no faith,
    I’ll be the high priest of thine unbelief!
    Thy wisdom’s mine; thy folly’s thine--

    _Eth._                                 Hush! hush!
    Why this is madness!

    _Sel._               Yes, for this is Love!

      _SELENE kneels at ETHAIS’ feet._


ACT II.


      _SCENE, same as Act I._

      [_DARINE, ZAYDA, LEILA, LOCRINE, other Fairies, and NEODIE
        discovered anxiously watching the entrance to SELENE’S bower._]

    _Dar._ Still, still Selene watches Ethais!
    For six long hours has she detained the knight
    Within the dark recesses of her bower,
    Under pretense that his unhappy wound
    Demands her unremitting watchfulness!
    (_Indignantly._) This, fairies, is our queen!--the sinless soul
    To whose immaculate pre-eminence
    We pure and perfect maidens of the air
    Accord our voluntary reverence!

    _Zay._ Her conduct is an outrage on her sex!
    Was it for _this_ that we proposed to her
    That we should bring these mortals to our land?
    Is _this_ the way to teach this erring man
    The moral beauties of a spotless life?
    To teach him truths that now he wots not of?
    Surely this knight might well have learnt on earth
    Such moral truths as _she_ is teaching him.

      _Enter SELENE from bower, DARINE retires up._

    _Lei._ At last she comes! (_to SELENE_). We are well pleased to find
    That, after such a lengthy vigil, thou
    Canst tear thyself away from Ethais!

    _Sel._ Yes, dearest sister, he is calmer now.
    (_To ZAY._) Oh! this has been a fearful night for him;
    Not for one moment have I left his side!

    _Zay._ Poor Ethais! Believe us, sister dear,
    He has our heartfelt pity.

    _Sel._                     All night long
    He tossed and raved in wild delirium;
    Shouting for arms, and, as it seemed to me,
    Fighting his fight with Phyllon o’er again,
    At length, as morning broke, he fell asleep,
    And slept in peace till half an hour ago.
    I watched him through the long and troubled night,
    Fanning the fever from his throbbing brow,
    Till he awoke. At first he gazed on me
    In silent wonderment; then, suddenly
    Seizing my hand, he pressed it to his lips,
    And swore that I had saved him from the grave--
    Mark that--the grave! I--I had saved his life!
    He told me that he loved me--loved me well;
    That I was fairer than the maids of earth--
    That I had holy angel-eyes, that rained
    A gentle pity on his stubborn heart--
    (He called it stubborn, for he knew it not);
    That I was fairer, in his worldly eyes,
    Than all the maids on earth or in the clouds!

      (_DARINE, who has listened with intense anxiety to this speech,
        goes off silently, but in an agony of grief._)

    _Zay._ (_spitefully_). Could any words more eloquently show
    The recklessness of his delirium?

    _Sel._ (_surprised_). Nay, he was conscious then.

    _Neo._ (_very kindly_).                    Of course he was!
    No doubt, Selene, thou hast gained his love.
    Be happy in it, dearest sister; but
    In thy proud triumph, love, pray recollect
    He had not seen _us_!

    _Zay._                Thou hast wisely done
    To keep him from _our_ sight. Cage thou thy bird,
    Or he may fly to fairer homes than thine.

    _Sel._ (_amazed_). What mean you, sisters? Nay, turn not away--
    What have I done?

    _Loc._ (_very spitefully_). Indeed we do not know;
    But, lest we should affect his love for thee,
    We will at once withdraw.        [_Exit LOCRINE, bowing ironically._

    _Lei._ (_with freezing politeness_). Good-day to you!

    _Neo._ Good-day!

    _Zay._           Good-day. Remember--cage thy bird!         [_Exit._

    _Sel._ How strangely are my sisters changed to me!
    Have I done wrong? No, no, I’m sure of that.
    The knight was sorely stricken--he had died
    But for my willing care. Oh! earthly love,
    Thou mighty minister of good or ill,
    Is it for good or ill that thou art here?
    Art thou an element of happiness,
    Or an unwieldy talisman that I,
    In heedlessness, have turned against myself?
    “He had not seen _them_,”--so my sister spake;
    Yes, truly, there are fairer forms than mine.
    He shall _not_ see them! Oh! I am unjust.
    Hath he not told me that I have his love?
    There is no treachery in those brave eyes:
    There is no falsehood in that gallant heart!
    But still--he had _not_ seen them. Oh, for shame!
    Can love and doubt reign ever side by side?
    No, Ethais, love is the death of doubt.
    I love thee, Ethais, and doubt thee not!
    Still it were better that he saw but me.

      (_ETHAIS has entered unperceived from bower and overheard the
        last three lines. He is very pale and weak, and his arm is in a
        sling._)

    _Eth._ Selene, I am weak--give me thine hand.

    _Sel._ My love, thou shouldst not yet have left thy couch!
    Come--thou hast need of rest.

    _Eth._                        No, let me stay.
    The air revives me--I am strong again.
    And so, thou trustest me?

    _Sel._                    In truth I do! (_Sits by his side._)
    Although I can not tell thee whence proceeds
    This strange, irrational belief in thee--
    Thee, whom I hardly know.

    _Eth._                    Is that so strange?
    I see no marvel!

    _Sel._           Nay, my love, reflect,
    I am a woman, and thou art a man;
    Well, thou art comely--so, in truth, am I;
    We meet and love each other--that’s to say,
    I am prepared to give up all I have,
    My home, my very fairyhood for thee;
    Thou to surrender riches, honor, life,
    To please the fleeting fancies of my will.
    And why?
    Because I see in thee, or thou in me,
    Astounding virtue, brilliant intellect,
    Great self-denial, venerable years,
    Rare scholarship, or godly talent? No!
    Because, forsooth, we’re comely specimens--
    Not of our own, but Nature’s industry!

    _Eth._ The face is the true index of the mind,
    A ready formula, whereby to read
    The lesson of a lifetime in a glance.

    _Sel._ (_in wonder_). Then, Ethais, is perfect comeliness
    Always identified with moral worth?

    _Eth._ The comeliest man is the most virtuous--
    That’s an unfailing rule.

    _Sel._                    Then, Ethais,
    There is no holier man on earth than thou!
    My sisters, Ethais, are sadly changed
    By the strange power that emanates from thee.
    They love thee as I love thee!

    _Eth._ (_aside_).              Do they so!
    I’faith they shall not love their love in vain!

    _Sel._ I tell thee this that thou mayst shun them, lest
    By crafty scheme and subtly planned device,
    They steal thee from thy mistress unawares.

    _Eth._ (_laughing_).
    No fear of that! Laugh all their schemes to scorn,
    Treat them with the contempt such jades deserve.
    I do not seek _them_.

    _Sel._                Does the miser treat
    The thief who seeks his treasure with contempt,
    Because his treasure does not seek the thief?
    No, Ethais, I’ll hide my gold away!
    Take thou this ring--it is a pledge of love (_giving him a ring_).
    Wear it until thy love fades from thy soul.

    _Eth._ ’Twill never fade while thou art true to me.

    _Sel._ (_amazed_). Are women ever false to such as thou?

    _Eth._ Are women ever true? Well, not to me.
    (_Aside._) Nor I to them; and so we square accounts!

    _Sel._ Then thou hast been deceived?

    _Eth._                               A dozen times.

    _Sel._ How terrible!

    _Eth._               Yes, terrible indeed!
    Ah, my Selene, picture to thyself
    A man--linked for his life to one he loves.
    She is his world--she is the breath he breathes;
    In his fond eyes the type of purity.
    Well, she is false--all women are--and then
    Come tidings of his shame, the damning words,
    “I love another, I have cheated thee.”
    At first it can not be, it is a dream;
    And when by slow procession, step by step,
    He sees in it the _waking_ from a dream,
    His heavy heart stands still--he dies a death,
    A momentary death--to wake again
    Into a furious life of hot revenge;
    His hand against all men; his maddened tongue
    Calling down curses on his cheated self;
    On him who stole her love, on all but her
    Who has called down this crowning curse on him!
    To find _her_ love a lie, _her_ kiss a jest,
    _Her_ cherished bywords a cold mockery--
    Oh, there are words
    For other agonies, but none for this!

    _Sel._ And thou hast suffered this?

    _Eth._ (_bitterly_).                I have indeed!

    _Sel._ And how long does this bitter anguish last?

    _Eth._ Well, in a very serious case, all night!
    Next day a fairer face, a nobler form,
    A purer heart, a gentler maidenhood,
    Will set him dreaming as he dreamt before
    Until the time for waking comes again;
    And so the round of love runs through our lives!

    _Sel._ But these are earthly maidens, Ethais--
    My love is purer than a mortal’s love.

    _Eth._ Thine is no mortal love if it be pure.

    _Sel._ (_horrified_). Then, mortal Ethais, what love is thine?

    _Eth._ (_taken aback_). I spake of women--men are otherwise.

    _Sel._ Man’s love is pure, invariably?

    _Eth._                                 Pure?
    Pure as thine own!

    _Sel._             Poor, trusting, cheated souls!
                                          [_Exeunt together into bower._

      _Enter DARINE, who has overheard the last few lines._

    _Dar._ She leads him willingly into her bower!
    Oh! I could curse the eyes that meet his eyes,
    The hand that touches his hand, and the lips
    That press his lips! And why? I can not tell!
    Some unknown fury rages in my soul,
    A mean and miserable hate of all,       [_Enter PHYLLON unobserved._
    Who interpose between my love and me!
    What devil doth possess me?

    _Phy._                      Jealousy!

    _Dar._ Perhaps--what matters how the fiend is called?

    _Phy._ But wherefore art thou jealous? Tell me, now,
    Have _I_ done aught to cause this jealousy?

    _Dar._ Thou! Dost _thou_ love me?

    _Phy._                            Love thee? Tenderly!
    I love all pretty girls, on principle.

    _Dar._ But is thy love an all-possessing love?
    Mad, reckless, unrestrained, infuriate,
    Holding thy heart within its iron grasp,
    And pressing passion from its very core?

    _Phy._ (_surprised_). Oh, yes!

    _Dar._                        Alas! poor stricken, love-sick knight!
    Phyllon, my love is such a love as thine,
    But it is not for thee! Oh, nerve thyself,
    I have ill tidings for thee, gentle knight!
    I love thee not!

    _Phy._           Indeed?

    _Dar._                   Is it not strange?

    _Phy._ Most unaccountable.

    _Dar._ (_disappointed_).   But tell me, now.
    Art thou not sorely vexed?

    _Phy._ (_quietly_).            Unspeakably.

    _Dar._ But thou’lt forgive me? Tell me Phyllon, now,
    That I am pardoned!

    _Phy._                That, indeed, thou art.

    _Dar._ (_hurt_). Phyllon, hadst thou despised _my_ proffered love,
    I’d not have pardoned _thee_!

    _Phy._                        No, women don’t.

    _Dar._ (_impatiently_). But dost thou understand? I love thee not.
    I, whom thou lovest, Phyllon, love thee not--
    Nay, more, I love another--Ethais!
    Thou hast a rival, and a favored one.
    Dost thou not hear me?

    _Phy._ (_surprised_).      Yes; I’m deeply pained.

    _Dar._ (_delighted_). Thou art?

    _Phy._ Of course. What wouldst thou have me do?

    _Dar._ Do? Hurl thyself headlong to yonder earth,
    And end at once a life of agony!

    _Phy._ Why should I!

    _Dar._               _Why?_ Because I love thee not!
    Why if _I_ loved and found my love despised,
    The universe should ring with my laments;
    And were I mortal, Phyllon, as thou art,
    I would destroy myself!

    _Phy._                    Ha! ha! If all
    Heartbroken lovers took that course, the world
    Would be depopulated in a week!
    And so thou lovest Ethais?

    _Dar._ (_enthusiastically_).   I do!

    _Phy._ But still (I may be wrong) it seems to me
    He’s taken with Selene--

    _Dar._ (_furiously_).        Name her not!
    He feigns a love he does not feel, because
    She is our queen. He dares not anger her!

    _Phy._ But art thou sure of this?

    _Dar._ (_bitterly_).                 Oh! am I sure!
    Look in these eyes--they do not burn for _thee_;
    Behold this form--that _thou_ shalt never clasp--
    Gaze on these lips--_thou_ shalt not press them, sir!
    And tell me, now, that Ethais loves me not!
    Oh! had I but the power to heal his wound,
    And free him from her hated company!

    _Phy._ Were Lutin here, he would assist thy plan.

    _Dar._ Lutin?

    _Phy._        His henchman, and a cunning leech;
    He has a charm--a potent talisman--
    A panacea that will heal all wounds;
    Fetch him, and Ethais is healed again.

    _Dar._ (_aside_). The gods have heard me!
                         (_Aloud, suddenly_). Oh; insensate knight,
    Thou counselest me how to gain his love;
    And yet thou lovest me?

    _Phy._                    Oh, pardon me,
    That was ten minutes since--an age ago!                     [_Exit._

    _Dar._ Here comes the miserable, mincing jade,
    With a fair speech upon her lying lips,
    To meet the sister whom her base-born arts
    Have robbed of more than life! Oh, hypocrite!

      _Enter SELENE from bower._

    _Sel._ Darine!

    _Dar._ (_changing her manner_). My sister--my beloved one,
    Why, thou art sad; thine eyes are dim with tears!
    Say, what hath brought thee grief?

    _Sel._ (_with great joy_).             Darine, my own.
    _Thou_ dost not shun me, then?

    _Dar._ (_aside_).                Oh, hypocrite!
    (_Aloud._) Shun thee, my own Selene? No--not I!

    _Sel._ Bless thee for that! I feared to meet thy face,
    For all my loved companions turned from me
    With scornful jest and bitter mockery.
    Thou--thou--Darine, alone art true to me!

    _Dar._ True to Selene while Selene breathes!
    Come--tell me all thy woes.

    _Sel._                        My Ethais--
    He whom I love so fondly--he is ill,
    And I am powerless to heal his wound.
    Darine, my love may die!

    _Dar._                     What can be done?
    Oh, I would give my fairyhood to save
    The man thou lovest so--my dearly loved!
    But stay, the counterpart of Lutin is
    At once his henchman and his cunning leech;
    Lutin has left our sphere, (_plucking rose from tree_)
                               cast this to earth, (_giving it_)
    And summon mortal Lutin to his aid.
    He hath a charm to heal thy lover’s wound.

    _Sel._ Kind Heaven reward thee for thy ready wit,
    My sister, thou hast saved both him and me!
    My darling sister! (_Embracing her._)

    _Dar._ (_aside_).        Oh, thou hypocrite!

    _Sel._ Fair rose, I name thee Lutin, go to earth,
    And hither send the mortal counterpart
    Of him whose name thou hast, and may the gods
    Prosper thy mission! Kiss me, dear Darine, (_kissing her_)
    For thou hast saved my Ethais for me!                [_Exit SELENE._

    _Dar._ No, not for thee, good sister, for myself!    [_Exit DARINE._

      (_Hurried music. Enter MORTAL LUTIN over edge of precipice,
        staggering on the stage as if violently impelled from below._)

    _Lut._ What ho! help! help! Where am I? Not on earth,
    For I remember that a friendly cloud
    Enveloped me, and whirled me through the air,
    Just as my fair, but able-bodied, wife,
    Began to lay my staff about my ears!
                            [_Enter NEODIE, LEILA, LOCRINE, and others._
    Can this be death, and has she killed me? (_Sees them_) Well,
    If I _be_ dead, and if this _be_ the place
    In which I’m doomed to expiate my sins,
    Taking my sins all round, I’m bound to say
    It might have been considerably worse!

    _Loc._ (_approaching him with great delight_).
    Why, this is Lutin’s mortal counterpart!

    _Neo._ How quaint! How gloriously rugged?

    _Lei._                                    Yes!
    Such character and such expression!

    _All._ (_admiring him_).             Yes!

    _Lut._ By some mistake my soul has missed its way,
    And slipped into Mahomet’s Paradise!

    _Neo._ No, this is fairy-land. See, there’s the earth
    From which we summoned thee. These are the clouds.
    Thou art not angry with us?

    _Lut._                      Angry? No!
    I’m very well up here!

    _Loc._                 Then thou shalt stay!

    _Neo._ Oh, tell me, are there many men on earth
    As fair and pleasant to the eye as thou?

    _Lut._ Not many, though I have met one or two
    Who run me pretty close.

    _Neo._                   Tell us their names.

    _Lut._ Well, let me see, Sir Phyllon has been thought
    A personable man; then Ethais
    He’s fairly well.

    _Neo._            But these are _handsome_ men--
    We love thee for thy rugged homely face;
    Oh, we are sated with mere comeliness,
    We have so much of that up here! (_rises_) I love
    A homely face!

    _Lut._         I quite agree with you.
    What do a dozen handsome men imply?
    A dozen faces cast in the same mold,
    A dozen mouths all lip for lip the same.
    A dozen noses all of equal length?
    But take twelve plain men, and the element
    Of picturesque variety steps in,
    You get at once unlooked-for hill and dale--
    Odd curves and unexpected points of light,
    Pleasant surprises--quaintly broken lines;
    All very pleasant, whether seen upon
    The face of nature or the face of man.               [_Enter ZAYDA._

    _Loc._ But stay--thou shouldst be faint, for lack of food!

    _Neo._ Nay, let me minister unto his wants!

    _Zay._ Then go, beloved sisters, gather fruits.
    And bring them here to him. Such frugal fare
    Will have a daintier flavor than its own
    When served by such fair hands! (_Kissing them._)
                                  [_Exeunt LOCRINE, NEODIE, and others._

    _Zay._ (_suddenly_).            We are alone!
    One word of caution--shun my sisters all!

    _Lut._ Are all those lovely girls your sisters?

    _Zay._                                          Yes
    Rejoice that they are not thine own.

    _Lut._                               I do.
    I very much prefer them as they are!
    You’re a fine family.

    _Zay._                Fair to the eye;
    But take good heed--they are not what they seem!
    Locrine, the fair, the beautiful Locrine,
    Is the embodiment of avarice!
    She seeks your gold.

    _Lut._               I’m much obliged to her;
    I’ll give her half she finds and thank her too!

    _Zay._ Darine is vain beyond comparison;
    Neodie is much older than she looks;
    Camilla hath defective intellect;
    Ena’s a bitter shrew; Colombe’s a thief;
    And, last and worst of all--I blush to own,
    Our queen Selene hath a tongue that stabs--
    A traitor-tongue, that serves no better end
    Than wag a woman’s character away!

    _Lut._ I’ve stumbled into pretty company!
    It seems you fairies have your faults!

    _Zay._                                 Alas!
    All but myself. _My_ soul is in my face;
    I--only I--am what I seem to be;
    I--only I--am worthy to be loved;
    (_confidentially_). If thou wilt love me I will dower thee
    With wealth untold, long years and happy life,
    Thou gallant churl--thou highly polished boor--
    Thou pleasant knave--thou strange epitome
    Of all that’s rugged, quaint and picturesque!

    _Lut._ You don’t take long in coming to the point.

    _Zay._ Forgive my clumsy and ill chosen words;
    We gentle, simple fairies never loved
    Until to-day.

    _Lut._        And when you _do_ begin,
    You fairies make up for the time you’ve lost!
    (_The Fairies enter with fruit. He sits up. They group about him._)

    _Neo._ Hast thou a wife?

    _Lut._                   Well, yes--that is--down there--
    Up here I am a bachelor--as yet.

    _Zay._ (_offended_). As yet! Be good enough to recollect
    That we are good, and pure, and maidenly--
    So prithee guard that errant tongue of thine.

    _Loc._ And does she love thee?

    _Lut._                         Humph--we _do_ fall out--
    We did to-day.

    _Neo._         And how came that about? (_All anxious to know._)

    _Lut._ Why thus--to tell the truth--between ourselves--
    There was a lady in the case.

    _Zay._ (_apart, much shocked_). Hush--hush--
    Confine thyself to matters that relate
    To thine own sex. Thy master, Ethais--
    He fought with Phyllon--what was that about? (_Crossing to LUTIN._)

    _Lut._ Oh, it’s the old, old story!

    _Loc._                              Tell it.

    _Lut._                                       Well,
    There was a lady in the case!

    _Zay._                        Then, stop--
    Go on to something else--Where wast thou born?

    _Lut._ Why, in Bulgaria--some years ago--
    (_whispering_) There was a lady in _that_ case!

    _Zay._ (_severely_).                            It seems
    There is a lady, sir, in every case.

    _Lut._ In all these cases they _do_ interfere!

      _Enter DARINE unobserved._

    _Loc._ And, Lutin, is thy wife as fair as thou?

    _Lut._ I thought her pretty till I looked on thee.

    _Zay._ Her hair?

    _Lut._           Is bright--but not as bright as thine.

    _Loc._ Her figure?

    _Lut._             Neat and graceful of its kind,
    But lacks thy pleasant plumpness. Then, besides,
    She has a long loud tongue, and uses it--
    A stout and heavy hand--and uses that;
    And large expressive eyes--and uses _them_!

    _Zay._ And does she know that thou art here with us?

    _Lut._ No--that’s the joke! No--that’s the best of it!
    The gods forbid she ever should know _that_!
    She is so plaguey jealous!

    _Loc._                     Is she so?
    How is the lady called?

    _Lut._                  Her name’s Darine.

    _Dar._ (_coming forward_). So I have found thee, Lutin.

    _Lut._ (_aghast_).                                      Can it be?
    My wife!

    _Zay._   Thy wife? This is Darine!

    _Lut._                             I know!
    (_They detain him_). Be quiet--don’t--oblige me--let me go!
    Do not suppose, my love, that these bold girls
    Are friends of mine.

    _Dar._               Come, I would speak with thee--

    _Lut._ Allow me to explain.

    _Dar._                      Attend to me.
    Say, dost thou love thy master, Ethais?

    _Lut._ My master? Yes, most surely!

    _Dar._ (_earnestly_).               So do I!
    Madly, unreasonably, recklessly. (_LUTIN much taken aback_)
    Love him with all the passion of a heart
    That love has never kindled till to-day!
    Thou, only thou, canst help me, noble sir.
    The gods, the gods have sent thee to my aid!

    _Lut._ Have they? In doing so the gods have not
    Displayed their usual talent for intrigue.
    O, thou abandoned woman!

    _Dar._                   Hear me, sir!
    My Ethais is wounded in the arm,
    Thou hast a remedy of wondrous power,
    A charmèd remedy. Give it to me,
    That I may work his cure.

    _Lut._                    Upon my soul,
    Cure _him_ for _thee_! This is a cool request!

    _Dar._ But why not heal thy master’s wound?

    _Lut._                                      Because,
    Under the circumstances, I prefer
    My master wounded to my master well,
    For when he’s well, he’s very well indeed!
    (_Aside_) But stay--here is an essence that will drown
    His soul in sleep till I awaken him (_taking bottle from pocket_).
    Shall I? I will! He’ll be much safer so!
    (_Aloud_) There, take the charm, and heal thy Ethais!

    _Dar._ A thousand thanks! Now he indeed is mine!

    _Lut._ Oh! this is inconceivable! Come here (_Fairies advance_),
    D’ ye see these maidens, madam? Hitherto
    Thou hast been jealous, but without good cause;
    But now I’ll give thee cause for jealousy;
    I’ll pass my time with them--d’ye hear? with them--
    They’re very pleasant, unaffected girls;
    I like them very much, and they like me--
    I’ll play the very devil with their hearts,
    And let them play the very deuce with mine!

    _Dar._ Do so; I’ll not detain thee from thy loves--
    See how impatiently they wait for thee;
    Go--while the happy hours away with them.

    _Lut._ Is this thy jealousy, abandoned girl?

    _Dar._ (_surprised_). Jealous of thee? Good sir, I love thee not!

    _Lut._ You don’t!

    _Dar._            No, no--I love Sir Ethais;
    And when I’ve healed his wound, sheer gratitude
    Will wake his soul to love!

    _Lut._                      If he drinks that
    Sheer gratitude won’t wake him. After all (_looking at Fairies who
                    are endeavoring to persuade him to accompany them._)
    Six pretty Zaydas to one Ethais--
    He fast asleep, and they all wide awake,
    Egad, I’ve six to one the best of that! [_Exeunt LUTIN and Fairies._

    Dar. He comes! At last I shall behold my love!
                                             [_Enter ETHAIS from bower._
    (_Tenderly._) How fares Sir Ethais?

    _Eth._                              Why grievously.
    I am no leech, and can not dress my wound,
    I’m sick and faint from pain and loss of blood.

    _Dar._ (_aside_). How shall I work my end? I have a plan!
    Oh, powers of impudence defend me now!
    (_Aloud_). Sir Ethais, if Phyllon’s words be true,
    Thy wound is but a scratch.

    _Eth._                      A scratch, forsooth!
    The devil’s nails could hardly scratch so deep.

    _Dar._ He says--I don’t believe him--but he _says_
    That thou hast magnified its character,
    Because thou fearest to renew the fight.
    He says thou art a coward!

    _Eth._ (_furiously_).      By my blood,
    He shall atone for that! Did he say this
    To thee?

    _Dar._   Ay, sir, to me--a minute since.

    _Eth._ Oh, Phyllon! Coward? Why, a dozen times
    We two have fought our battles side by side;
    And I’m to quail and blanch, forsooth, because
    We two, at last, are fighting face to face?
    Oh, curses on the wound! Were Lutin here,
    My sword-arm soon would be in gear again.

    _Dar._ Lutin _is_ here.

    _Eth._ (_amazed_).      Here? Lutin?

    _Dar._                               Yes. Behold! (_Shows flask._)
    I have obtained this precious charm from him.
    Now, knight, to prove thy mettle!

    _Eth._ (_furiously_).             Give it me--
    Give me the flask!

    _Dar._             One moment, Ethais.
    This flask is precious, and it hath a price.

    _Eth._ Name thou thy price, and I will give it thee.
    Take money, jewels, armor, all I have,
    So that thou leavest me one trusty sword!

    _Dar._ No, Ethais, I do not want thy wealth,
    I want thy love--yes, Ethais, thy love;
    That priceless love that thou hast lavished on
    My worthless sister.

    _Eth._               On Selene?

    _Dar._                          Yes,
    Thou lovest her--and dost thou think that I
    Will save thy life for her?

    _Eth._                      Selene? Bah!
    True, she is fair. Well, thou art also fair.
    What does it matter--her fair face or thine?
    What matters either face--or hers or thine--
    When weighed against this outrage on my fame?

    _Dar._ Give me this ring, and thou shalt have the charm.

    _Eth._ ’Tis thine. And now, Sir Phyllon, take good heed!

      _Enter SELENE from bower._

    _Sel._ Darine! Thou here, alone with Ethais!
    No, no. I will not doubt--

    _Dar._                    Doubt whom thou wilt!
    Thou hypocrite! thou shameless hypocrite!
    Thou wretched victim of thine own designs.

    _Sel._ Darine, what dost thou mean?

      _Enter Fairies._

    _Dar._                              Doubt all of us,
    For we are false to thee as thou to us.
    I am as thou hast made me, hypocrite!

    _Sel._ Thou art to me as thou hast ever been,
    Most dearly loved of all these dearly loved.

    _Dar._ Away! Thou art the source of all our ill;
    For though we counseled thee to do the deed
    That brought this blight upon our innocence,
    ’Twas but a test, and thou hast bent to it!

    _Zay._ Oh, miserable woman, get thee hence!
    Thou art no queen of ours!

    _Loc._                     Away with her!
    Down with the traitress queen!
           (_SELENE turns from one to another--all turn away from her._)

    _Sel._                         So let it be.
    Yes, thou hast rightly said--I had a trust.
    I have forsaken it. Through my default,
    The taint of earth has fallen on our land.
    Mine was the sin--be mine the punishment.
    Well-loved Darine, take thou this diadem:
    Wear it more worthily than I. (_Places her coronet on DARINE._)
                                  Behold
    How royally it rests upon her brow!
    My gentle sisterhood, behold your queen! (_Fairies bow._)
    Let her fair face and form untainted yet
    By the iniquity of my default,
    Recall the loved Darine of yesterday--
    The gentle, loving, maidenly Darine--
    Who would have been that loved Darine to-day,
    But for my erring deed. Oh, shame on me!
    Thou art as I have made thee. Who am I
    That I should judge my sister? I am loved;
    But had I lost that love, should I have borne
    My loss more patiently than thou? Alas!
    Thou, I, and all, are now as mortals are.

    _Dar._ So may I fall if I forsake my trust.
    Thy punishment is just. Thou wast a queen--
    What art thou now?

    _Sel._             I have a kingdom yet!
    I have a kingdom here--in Ethais’ heart.
    A kingdom? Nay, a world--my world--my world!
    A world where all is pure, and good, and brave;
    A world of noble thought and noble deed;
    A world of brave and gentle chivalry;
    A very goodly and right gallant world;--
    This is my kingdom--for I am its queen!

    _Dar._ Thou art no queen of his, for he is mine.
    Aye, by the token that thou gavest him (_shows ring_),
    Thou fond and foolish maiden!

    _Sel._ (_Looking at it_).     No, no, no!
    It is a counterfeit--no, no, Darine!
    The punishments of Heaven are merciful. (_Takes ETHAIS’S hand to
                     kiss it; she sees that the ring is not there._)
                                         Oh, Ethais!
    Is that the ring with which I plighted thee?

    _Eth._ Ay, that’s the bauble. I have naught to say.

    _Sel._ (_To DAR._) It fell from him--where didst thou find it, speak?

    _Eth._ I sold it for a charm that I might have
    An arm to flog a lying cur withal;
    A traitor devil, whose false breath had blurred
    My knightly honor, dearer to my heart
    Than any love of woman--hers or thine!
    I had no choice--my honor was at stake.

    _Sel._ Thine honor! Thou dost well to speak of that.
    Can devils take the face and form of gods?
    Are truth and treachery so near akin
    That one can wear the other’s countenance?
    Are all men such as thou? Or art thou not
    Of thine accursed race the most accursed?
    Why, honorable sir, thou art a knight
    That wars with womankind! Thy panoply
    A goodly form, smooth tongue, and fair false face.
    Thy shield a lie; thy weapon an embrace;
    The emblem of thy skill a broken heart!
    Thine is a gallant calling, Ethais--
    Thou manly knight--thou soul of chivalry--
    Thou most discreet and prudent warrior!
    (_He approaches her._) Away, and touch me not! My nature’s gone.
    May Heaven rain down her fury on thy soul!
    May every fiber in that perjured heart
    Quiver with love for one who loves thee not!
    May thine untrammeled soul at last be caught,
    And fixed and chained and riveted to one
    Who, with the love of heaven upon her lips,
    Carries the hate of hell within her heart!
    Thou phantom of the truth--thou mimic god--
    Thou traitor to thine own unhappy soul--
    Thou base apostate to the lovely faith,
    That thou hast preached with such false eloquence,
    I am thine enemy! (_To her sisters._) Look on your work,
    My gentle sisters. (_They look in horror._) Are ye not content?
    Behold! I am a devil, like yourselves!


ACT III.

      _SCENE, same as Acts I. and II._

      _LUTIN discovered sitting, in deep dejection. ZAYDA is at his
        feet trying to arouse him. ETHAIS is lying insensible at
        entrance to bower, covered with a mantle._

    _Zay._ Come, Lutin, speak to me--for hours in vain
    I’ve sought to wean thee from thine inner self;
    I’ve sung in vain to thee--thou wilt not sing--

    _Lut._ I can not sing.

    _Zay._                 Or dance?

    _Lut._                           I do not dance.

    _Zay._ Then let us float on yonder silver stream (_they rise_),
    Or plunge headlong into its mossy depths,
    And wander, hand in hand, from grot to grot;
    Or, if thou wilt, I’ll whirl thee through the air,
    And light with thee on yon tall pinnacle.
    Come, Lutin--take my hand, and we’ll away!

    _Lut._ Don’t be ridiculous! I do not fly!
    You’re very good--you mean it well, I know--
    But I’ve no taste for such alarming joys.
    I can’t help thinking of my lost Darine,
    _She_ was so much too good for me, and now
    _I_ am so much too good for her!

    _Zay._                           Alas!
    Dost thou love _her_?

    _Lut._                I can’t help loving her.

    _Zay._ Dismiss the worthless creature from thy thoughts.
    I know her well--she don’t deserve thy love!
    She always was a very wicked girl.

    _Lut._ Wicked? The best of women!

    _Zay._ (_maliciously_).           So she _seemed_.

    _Lut._ She had her faults, I know.

    _Zay._                             She hath a soul
    In which hypocrisy, intemperance,
    Hate, envy, vanity, untruthfulness
    Run riot at their will!

    _Lut._ (_astonished_).  You don’t say so?
    I’d no idea of this--(_weeping_)

    _Zay._                As for her crimes--

    _Lut._ Tell me the worse at once!

    _Zay._                            The worst? No, that
    Would be _too_ cruel--but--bigamy’s the best!

    _Lut._ What! Bigamy! Has she _two_ husbands, then?

    _Zay._ Two? Half-a-dozen!

    _Lut._                    What!

    _Zay._                          Why even now
    She seeks to add a seventh to her list!
    Sir Ethais--

    _Lut._       Ah, there I’ve thwarted her.

      _Enter DARINE, who goes to ETHAIS. She overhears what follows._

    I have a potion that will heal his wounds;
    She begged it of me, but I cheated her,
    And put into her hands a sleeping draught.
    By this time he’s as helpless as the dead,
    And she may shout until she wakes the dead,
    Before she wakes him!

      (_DARINE comes forward. Exit ZAYDA, in terror._)

    _Dar._ (_down_).      Why, thou envious churl--
    Thou wanton trifler with the purest fire
    That ever burnt in love-sick woman’s breast,
    Why hast thou done this thing?

    _Lut._                         She does not quail
    Beneath her injured Lutin’s outraged eye, (_she goes up to ETHAIS_)
    But calmly asks him why he’s done this thing!

    _Dar._ Say, is he dead? Come--answer quickly!

    _Lut._                                        Well,
    He’s dead to all intents and purposes.

    _Dar._ How has he injured thee?

    _Lut._                          He hasn’t as yet;
    And I’ll take care he don’t!

    _Dar._                       Oh, misery!
    In half-an-hour my brothers will be here;
    In half-an-hour he must return to earth!     (_Referring to ETHAIS_)
    Awake, insensate knight--arouse thee, dolt!
    I--I, Darine, am waiting here for thee.
    Dost thou not hear me? Ethais, awake!

    _Lut._ Oh--shout away!

    _Dar._                 Oh! I will be revenged!
    (_To LUTIN_). I know not why thou wagest bitter war
    Against my unoffending happiness;
    But I will thwart thy schemes. Sir Phyllon comes!  [_Enter PHYLLON._
    Come hither, Phyllon--come to me, fair knight!
    Say, dost thou love me still?

    _Phy._                        Indeed I do!

    _Dar._ (_To LUTIN._) Thou hearest him--he _loves_ me!

    (_To PHYLL._) Tenderly?

    _Phy._ Most tenderly! (_Embracing her._)

    _Dar._ He loves _most_ tenderly!
    _He_ is awake!

    _Lut._         Yes, much too wide awake!
    Disreputable woman, let him be!
    Unhand this lady!

    _Dar._            Why, thou selfish knave,
    May I love nobody on earth but _thee_?

    _Lut._ Of course you may not!

    _Dar._ Go, sir, get thee gone!
    There are fair maids enough awaiting thee;
    I do not interfere ’twixt thee and them.

    _Lut._ Well no, to do you justice, you do _not_!
    I do not want them. I’m a married man!
    What married man cares twopence for intrigues
    At which his wife connives?

    _Phy._                      Is this thy wife?

    _Lut._ I blush to say she is!

    _Dar._ (_amazed_).            I am thy wife!
    Oh, monstrous! Stay, there has been some mistake,
    Some dreadful error! See, I’ve found a clew!
    No doubt I am her fairy prototype,
    In face resembling her, but that is all.

    _Lut._ Then thou art _not_ my wife?

    _Dar._                          Not I, indeed! (_LUTIN kisses her._)
    I am a fairy. Be thou reassured;
    Thy wife is on the earth (_kisses her again_)--Give me the charm
    To cure my Ethais, and sit thee down (_he gives it to her_),
    And I will send for Zayda and Locrine,
    And thou shalt talk of love to both of them.

    _Lut._ Well no--upon the whole--I’d rather not.

      (_DARINE administers the potion to ETHAIS, who gradually
        revives._)

    I have reformed, Darine, and had I not,
    I don’t think I could talk to them of love
    With all the eloquence the theme deserves,
    In the distracting company of one,
    Who, if she’s not in point of fact my wife,
    Is so uncomfortably like my wife,
    That she may be my wife for aught I know;
    And more than that, I can’t stand tamely by
    And notice with uninterested gaze
    A lady, who’s so very like my wife,
    Hanging on everybody’s neck but mine.
    Don’t send for Zayda--I’m a married man!                    [_Exit._

    _Dar._ He wakes! He lives--my own, own Ethais!

    _Eth._ (_awaking_). Why--where am I? Have I then been asleep?

    _Dar._ Indeed thou hast! See, thou must soon return
    To yonder earth--I’ve much to say to thee.

    _Eth._ But how came I to sleep? I recollect!
    Thou gavest me a potion, and I--(_Sees PHYLLON_)
                                    Ha! (_Flies at his throat._)
    So I’m a cur, Sir Liar, and my wound
    Is but a scratch which I have magnified
    That I might shun the terrors of thy sword!

    _Phy._ Hands off, thou drunken madman! Set me free.
    I never said these things!

    _Eth._                     Thou craven cur,
    Dost thou then fear to reap before my face
    The crop that thou hast sown behind my back?
    Thy life shall pay for this!

    _Phy._ (_contemptuously_).     I am not wont
    To weigh the words I speak to such as thou.
    No need to taint _thine_ honor with a lie.
    Why, Ethais, the truth is black enough;
    I know thee as a brawling tavern bully,
    A hollow friend--a cruel unsparing foe--
    A reckless perjurer--a reprobate--
    The curse of woman and the scourge of man! (_Shaking him off._)
    Is not the _truth_ enough, that I should grudge
    The one brute-virtue of thy satyr-soul--
    The instinct courage of a hungry dog!

    _Eth._ (_with suppressed fury_).
    I’ll place these charges to the long account
    That I’ve to settle when we go below!
    (_To DAR._) Didst thou not tell me he had said these things?

    _Dar._ I did, indeed!

    _Phy._                And by what warrant, pray?

    _Dar._ It was an artifice to gain thy love. (_To ETHAIS._)
    Has man monopoly of lover’s lies?
    Forgive me, Phyllon--

    _Phy._                Bah? Release my hand,
    Thou shameless woman--I have done with thee.           [_Exit_ PHYL.

    _Dar._ Oh! Ethais, be not enraged with me--
    Think of my love--

    _Eth._             The devil take thy love--
    I’ll none of it! Begone! See, hither comes
    The woman that thy bitter lie hath wronged.
    Hast thou the heart to stand before her?

    _Dar._                                   No!                [_Exit._

      _Enter SELENE from bower._

    _Sel._ Thou here? and with Darine!

    _Eth._                             Stay, hear me out!
    It’s true I’ve trifled with thy love, but then
    Thy love is not as mortal woman’s love.
    I did not know that it would move thee thus?

    _Sel._ Thou didst not know!
    Art thou so dull that thou canst understand
    No pain that is not wreaked upon _thy_ frame?
    Hast thou no knowledge of the form of woe
    That comes of cheated hopes and trampled hearts?
    To find _thy_ love a lie, _thy_ kiss a jest,
    The bywords of _thy_ love a mockery?
    Oh, there are words
    For other agonies, but none for this!

    _Eth._ Nay, hear me! I have wronged thee bitterly--
    I will atone for all!

    _Sel._                Thou shalt atone;
    I’ll be the curse of thy remaining years!
    Harkye, Sir Knight, I’ll yield my fairyhood
    That I may go to yonder earth, and join
    The whispering sisterhood of hidden hate.
    The busy band who bear within their lips
    The deadliest weapon of earth’s armory:
    A blighting tongue--a woman’s blighting tongue!
    I will so deftly wield this talisman
    To twist and turn and torture good to ill,
    That were it in thee to amend thy ways,
    Turn anchorite, and yield to holy deeds
    Of peace and prayer, goodwill and charity,
    Thy holiness should seem an infamy,
    Thy peace a war, thy charity a theft,
    Thy calm a fury, and thy prayer a curse!

    _Eth._ Stay thine unholy tongue--go thou to earth,
    And learn that that which thou hast undergone--
    All women undergo.

    _Sel._             Am I as they?
    I am immortal. Can a few brief years
    Of bitter shame and bitter sorrow weigh
    Against an immortality of woe?
    A mortal’s love is framed to last a life.
    But my love to outlive eternity,
    Blind mortal, as Eternity to Time--
    So is my wrong to theirs!

      _Enter LOCRINE._

    _Loc._                    Selene, see,
    Through the far distant air, with rapid flight,
    Our absent brothers wing their way to us;  [_Enter ZAYDA and LUTIN._
    These mortals must return to their own earth!

    _Lut._ Now by my head, but this is welcome news!

    _Zay._ (_horrified_). Return to earth? No, Lutin; no, not yet.
    Life without Lutin! what can that be worth?

    _Lut._ I can not tell you for I never tried.
                                 [_Enter DARINE and PHYLLON struggling._
    Nay, seek not to detain me; I have had
    Enough of fairy love--I seek my wife.

    _Phy._ Come, Ethais; to earth, to earth again!

    _Dar._ (_releasing him_). Ay, go, and take thy fellow man with thee
        (_LUTIN and PHYLLON descend._)
    We want but this to crown our misery!

      _ETHAIS, about to follow him, is detained by SELENE._

    _Sel._ (_suddenly_) No! no! Thou shalt not go, thou shalt not go!
    My hope--my shattered hope; but still, my hope!
    My love--my blighted love; but still, my love!
    My life--my ruined life; but still my life!
    Forgive me, Ethais: thou hast withdrawn
    The very core and substance of thy love.
    No matter! give me but the empty husk,
    And it will stay the famine of my heart.
    I’ll work and toil for thee--I’ll be thy slave,
    Thine humble, silent, and submissive slave;
    I’ll come but at thy beck--I will not speak,
    But at thy word--my Ethais! my love!
    (_furiously_) Nay, but I’ll hold thee back! I have the strength
    Of fifty women! See, thou canst not go! (_with passionate triumph._)
    Nay, but I’ll _wrest_ thy love away from thee,
    And fetter it in bondage to my heart.
    I will be one with thee; I’ll cling to thee,
    And thou _shalt_ take me to that world of thine.

    _Eth._ Take _thee_ to earth? I love the earth too well
    To curse it with another termagant.
    We have enough of them! Release me, fool!
    Man hath no appetite for proffered love!
    Away from me, I go to that good world
    Where women are not devils till they die!

      [_Throws off SELENE, who falls senseless. He leaps through cloud,
        and descends. As ETHAIS disappears, the fairies, who have
        grouped themselves about the stage in attitudes of despair,
        gradually seem to wake as from a dream._]

    _Sel._ Where am I? Zayda! Neodie! Darine!
    Oh, sisters, I am waking from a dream--
    A fearful dream--a dream of evil thoughts,
    Of mortal passion and of mortal hate,
    I thought that Ethais and Phyllon too
    Had gone to mid-earth--

    _Zay._                  Nay, it was no dream,
    A sad and sorrowful reality!
    Yes, we have suffered much--but, Heaven be praised,
    These mortal souls have gone to their own earth,
    And taken with them the bad influence
    That spread like an infection through our ranks.
    See! we are as we were! (_Embracing her._)

    _Sel._                  Darine! Darine!
    My well-beloved sister--speak to me!

    _Dar._ I dare not speak to thee--I have no words--
    I am ashamed.

    _Sel._        Oh, sister, let that shame
    Sit heavily on all--for all have sinned.
    Oh, let us lay this lesson to our hearts;
    Let us achieve our work with humbled souls,
    Free from the folly of self-righteousness.
    Behold, is there so wide a gulf between
    The humbled wretch who, being tempted, falls,
    And that good man who rears an honored head
    Because temptation hath not come to him?
    Shall we, from our enforced security,
    Deal mercilessly with poor mortal man,
    Who struggles, single-handed, to defend
    The demon-leaguered fortress of his soul?
    Shall we not rather (seeing how we fell)
    Give double honor to the champion, who
    Throughout his mortal peril, holds his own,
    E’en though
    His walls be somewhat battered in the fight?
    Oh let us lay this lesson to our hearts!

      _Enter LUTIN, followed by ETHAIS and PHYLLON, as fairies._

    _Lut._ Your brothers have returned.

    _Sel._ (_embracing ETHAIS_).        My Ethais!

    _Eth._ Selene--sisters all--rejoice with us,
    We bear the promise of a priceless gift,
    A source of new and endless happiness! (_All eager to know._)
    Take every radiant blessing that adorns
    Our happy land, and all will pale before
    The luster of this precious privilege.
    It is--that we may love as mortals love!

    _Sel._ (_eagerly_). No, no--not that--no Ethais--not that!
    It is a deadly snare--beware of it!
    Such love is for mankind, and not for us;
    It is the very essence of the earth,
    A mortal emblem, bringing in its train
    The direst passions of its antitype.
    No, Ethais--we will not have this love;
    Let us glide through our immortality
    Upon the placid lake of sister-love,
    Nor tempt the angry billows of a sea,
    Which, though it carry us to unknown lands,
    Is so beset with rocks and hidden shoals,
    That we may perish ere our vessel reach
    The unsafe haven of its distant shore.
    No, Ethais--we will not have this love!



PYGMALION AND GALATEA:

_An Original Mythological Comedy,_

IN THREE ACTS.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  PYGMALION, _an Athenian Sculptor_, MR. KENDAL.
  LEUCIPPE, _a Soldier_              MR. HOWE.
  CHRYSOS, _an Art Patron_           MR. BUCKSTONE.
  AGESIMOS, _Chrysos’s Slave_        MR. BRAID.
  MIMOS, _Pygmalion’s Slave_         MR. WEATHERSBY.
  GALATEA, _an Animated Statue_      MISS M. ROBERTSON.
  CYNISCA, _Pygmalion’s Wife_        MISS CAROLINE HILL.
  DAPHNE, _Chrysos’s Wife_           MRS. CHIPPENDALE.
  MYRINE, _Pygmalion’s Sister_       MISS MERTON.


                      _SCENE: PYGMALION’S STUDIO._

      ⁂ _The action is comprised within the space of twenty-four hours._


PYGMALION AND GALATEA.


ACT I.

      SCENE: PYGMALION’S STUDIO.

      [_Several classical statues are placed about the room; at the
        back a temple or cabinet containing a statue of GALATEA,
        before which curtains are drawn concealing the statue from the
        audience._]

      [_MIMOS, a slave, is discovered at work on a half finished
        statue. To him enters AGESIMOS._]

    _Ages._ (_haughtily_). Good day. Is this Pygmalion’s studio?

    _Mim._ (_bowing_). It is.

    _Ages._                   Are you Pygmalion?

    _Mim._                                       Oh, no;
    I am his slave.

    _Ages._         And has Pygmalion slaves!
    A sculptor with a slave to wait on him:
    A slave to fetch and carry--come and go--
    And p’raps a whip to thrash him if he don’t!
    What’s the world coming to?

    _Mim._                      What is your will?

    _Ages._ This: Chrysos will receive Pygmalion
    At half-past three to-day; so bid him come.

    _Mim._ And are you Chrysos, sir?

    _Ages._ (_disconcerted_).        Well, no I’m not.
    That is, not altogether: I’m, in fact,
    His slave.

    _Mim._ (_relieved_). His slave!

    _Ages._ (_very proudly_).       My name’s Agesimos!

    _Mim._ And has Agesimos a master then,
    To bid him fetch and carry--come and go--
    And wield a whip to thrash him if he don’t?
    What’s the world coming to!

    _Ages._                     Poor purblind fool!
    I’d sooner tie the sandals of my lord,
    Than own five hundred thousand such as you.
    Whip! why Agesimos would rather far
    Be whipped by Chrysos seven times a day,
    Than whip you hence to the Acropolis;
    What say you now?

    _Mim._            Why, that upon one point
    Agesimos and I are quite agreed.
    And who is Chrysos?

    _Ages._             Hear the slave, ye gods!
    He knows not Chrysos!

    _Mim._                Verily, not I.

    _Ages._ He is the chiefest man in Athens, sir;
    The father of the arts--a nobleman
    Of princely liberality and taste,
    On whom five hundred starved Pygmalions
    May batten if they will.

      _Enter PYGMALION._

    _Pyg._                   Who is this man?

    _Ages._ I’m Chrysos’s slave--my name’s Agesimos.
    Chrysos has heard of you: he understands
    That you have talent, and he condescends
    To bid you call on him. But take good care
    How you offend him: he can make or mar.

    _Pyg._ Your master’s slave reflects his insolence!
    Tell him from me that, though I’m poor enough,
    I am an artist and a gentleman.
    He should not reckon Art among his slaves:
    She rules the world--so let him wait on her.

    _Ages._ This is a sculptor!

    _Pyg._ (_furiously_).       And an angry one!
    Begone, and take my message to your lord.          [_Exit AGESIMOS._
    Insolent Hound!

      _Enter CYNISCA._

    _Cyn._           Pygmalion, what’s amiss?

    _Pyg._ Chrysos has sent his slave to render me
    The customary tribute paid by wealth
    To mere intelligence.

    _Cyn._                Pygmalion!
    Brooding on the chartered insolence
    Of a mere slave! Dismiss the thought at once.
    Come, take thy chisel; thou hast work to do
    Ere thy wife-model takes her leave to-day;
    In half-an-hour I must be on the road
    To Athens. Half-an-hour remains to thee--
    Come--make the most of it--I’ll pose myself;
    Say--will that do?

    _Pyg._             I can not work to-day.
    My hand’s uncertain--I must rest awhile.

    _Cyn._ Then rest and gaze upon thy masterpiece,
    ’Twill reconcile thee to thyself--Behold!
                      (_Draws curtain and discovers statue of GALATEA._)

    _Pyg._ Yes--for in gazing on my handiwork,
    I gaze on heaven’s handiwork--thyself!

    _Cyn._ And yet, although it be thy masterpiece,
    It has the fault thy patrons find with all
    Thy many statues.

    _Pyg._            What then do they say?

    _Cyn._ They say Pygmalion’s statues have one head--
    That head, Cynisca’s.

    _Pyg._                So then it’s a fault
    To reproduce an hundred thousand fold,
    For the advantage of mankind at large,
    The happiness the gods have given me!
    Well, when I find a fairer head than thine
    I’ll give my patrons some variety.

    _Cyn._ I would not have thee find another head
    That seemed as fair to thee for all the world!
    We’ll have no stranger models if you please,
    I’ll be your model, sir, as heretofore,
    So reproduce me at your will; and yet
    It were sheer vanity in me to think
    That this fair stone recalls Cynisca’s face!

    _Pyg._ Cynisca’s face in every line!

    _Cyn._                               No, no!
    Those outlines softened, angles smoothed away,
    The eyebrows arched, the head more truly poised,
    The forehead ten years smoother than mine own,
    Tell rather of Cynisca as she was
    When, in the silent groves of Artemis,
    Pygmalion told his love ten years ago:
    And then the placid brow, the sweet sad lips,
    The gentle head down-bent resignedly,
    Proclaim that this is not Pygmalion’s wife,
    Who laughs and frowns, but knows no meed between.
    I am no longer as that statue is! (_Closes curtains._)

    _Pyg._ Why here’s ingratitude, to slander Time,
    Who in his hurried course has passed thee by!
    Or is it that Cynisca won’t allow
    That Time _could_ pass her by, and never pause
    To print a kiss upon so fair a face?

      _Enter MYRINE._

    _Myr._ Pygmalion; I have news.

    _Pyg._                         My sister, speak.

    _Myr._ (_bashfully_). Send Mimos hence.

    _Pyg._ (_signs to MIMOS_).              Now we are quite alone.

    _Myr._ Leucippe--

    _Cyn._            Well!

    _Myr._ (_to Pyg._)      He was thy schoolfellow,
    And thou and he are brothers save in blood;
    He loves my brother as a brother.

    _Pyg._                            Yes,
    I’m sure of that; but is that all thy news?
    There’s more to come!

    _Myr._ (_bashfully_).  He loves thy sister too.

    _Pyg._ Why this is news, Myrine--kiss me girl.
    I’m more than happy at thy happiness,
    There is no better fellow in the world!

    _Cyn._ But tell us all about it, dear. How came
    The awkward, bashful, burly warrior,
    To nerve himself to this confession?

      _LEUCIPPE appears at door._

    _Myr._                                Why--
    He’s here--and he shall tell thee how it was.

    _Leuc._ In truth I hardly know! I’m new at it;
    I’m but a soldier. Could I fight my way
    Into a maiden’s heart, why well and good;
    I’d get there, somehow. But to talk and sigh,
    And whisper pretty things--I can’t do that!
    I tried it, but I stammered, blushed, and failed.
    Myrine laughed at me--but, bless her heart,
    She knew my meaning, and she pulled me through!

    _Myr._ I don’t know how, Pygmalion, but I did.
    He stammered, as he tells you, and I laughed;
    And then I felt so sorry, when I saw
    The great, big, brave Leucippe look so like
    A beaten schoolboy--that I think I cried.
    And then--I quite forget what happened next,
    Till, by some means, we, who had always been
    So cold and formal, distant and polite,
    Found ourselves--

    _Leuc._             Each upon the other’s neck!
    You are not angry? (_offering his hand_).

    _Pyg._ (_taking it_).  Angry? overjoyed!
    I wish I had been there, unseen, to see;
    No sight could give me greater happiness!

    _Leuc._ What! say you so? Why then, Myrine, girl,
    We’ll reproduce it for his benefit. (_They embrace._)
    See here, Pygmalion, here’s a group for thee!
    Come, fetch thy clay, and set to work on it,
    I’ll promise thee thy models will not tire!

    _Cyn._ How now, Leucippe, where’s the schoolboy blush
    That used to coat thy face at sight of her?

    _Leuc._ The coating was but thin, we’ve rubbed it off!
                                                      (_Kisses MYRINE._)

    _Pyg._ Take care of him, Myrine; thou hast not
    The safeguard that protects her. (_Indicating CYNISCA._)

    _Myr._                           What is that?

    _Cyn._ It’s a strange story. Many years ago
    I was a holy nymph of Artemis,
    Pledged to eternal maidenhood!

    _Leuc._                        Indeed!

    _Myr._ How terrible!

    _Cyn._               It seemed not so to me;
    For weeks and weeks I pondered steadfastly
    Upon the nature of that serious step
    Before I took it--lay awake at night,
    Looking upon it from this point and that,
    And I at length determined that the vow,
    Which to Myrine seems so terrible,
    Was one that I, at all events, could keep.

    _Myr._ How old wast thou, Cynisca?

    _Cyn._                             I was ten!
    Well--in due course, I reached eleven, still
    I saw no reason to regret the step;
    Twelve--thirteen--fourteen saw me still unchanged;
    At fifteen, it occurred to me one day
    That marriage was a necessary ill,
    Inflicted by the gods to punish us,
    And to evade it were impiety;
    At sixteen the idea became more fixed;
    At seventeen I was convinced of it!

    _Pyg._ In the mean time she’d seen Pygmalion.

    _Myr._ And you confided all your doubts to him?

    _Cyn._ I did, and he indorsed them--so we laid
    The case before my mistress Artemis;
    No need to tell the arguments we used,
    Suffice it that they brought about our end.
    And Artemis, her icy steadfastness
    Thawed by the ardor of Cynisca’s prayers,
    Replied, “Go, girl, and wed Pygmalion;
    “But mark my words, whichever one of you,
    “Or he or she, shall falsify the vow
    “Of perfect conjugal fidelity--
    “The wronged one, he or she, shall have the power
    “To call down _blindness_ on the backslider,
    “And sightless shall the truant mate remain
    “Until expressly pardoned by the other.”

    _Leuc._ It’s fortunate such powers as thine are not
    In universal use; for if they were,
    One-half the husbands and one-half the wives
    Would be as blind as night; the other half,
    Having their eyes, would use them--on each other!

      _MIMOS enters, and gives PYGMALION a scroll, which he reads._

    _Myr._ But then, the power of calling down this doom
    Remains with thee. Thou wouldst not burden him
    With such a curse as utter sightlessness,
    However grievously he might offend?

    _Cyn._ I love Pygmalion for his faithfulness;
    The act that robs him of that quality
    Will rob him of the love that springs from it.

    _Myr._ But sightlessness--it is so terrible!

    _Cyn._ And faithlessness--it is so terrible!
    I take my temper from Pygmalion;
    While he is god-like--he’s a god to me,
    And should he turn to devil, I’ll turn with him;
    I know no half-moods, I am love or hate!

    _Myr._ (_to LEUC._) What do you say to that?

    _Leuc._                                      Why, on the whole
    I’m glad you’re not a nymph of Artemis!
                                          [_Exeunt MYRINE and LEUCIPPE._

    _Pyg._ I’ve brought him to his senses. Presently
    My patron Chrysos will be here to earn
    Some thousand drachmas.

    _Cyn._                  How, my love, to earn?
    He is a man of unexampled wealth,
    And follows no profession.

    _Pyg._                     Yes, he does;
    He is a patron of the Arts, and makes
    A handsome income by his patronage.

    _Cyn._ How so?

    _Pyg._         He is an ignorant buffoon,
    But purses hold a higher rank than brains,
    And he is rich; wherever Chrysos buys,
    The world of smaller fools comes following,
    And men are glad to sell their work to him
    At half its proper price, that they may say,
    “Chrysos has purchased handiwork of ours.”
    He is a fashion, and he knows it well
    In buying sculpture; he appraises it
    As he’d appraise a master-mason’s work--
    So much for marble, and so much for time,
    So much for working tools--but still he buys,
    And so he is a patron of the Arts!

    _Cyn._ To think that heaven-born Art should be the slave
    Of such as he!

    _Pyg._         Well, wealth is heaven-born too.
    I work for wealth.

    _Cyn._             Thou workest, love, for fame.

    _Pyg._ And fame brings wealth. The thought’s contemptible,
    But I can do no more than work for wealth.

    _Cyn._ Such words from one whose noble work it is
    To call the senseless marble into life!

    _Pyg._ Life! Dost thou call that life?
                                       (_Indicating statue of GALATEA._)

    _Cyn._                                 It all but breathes!

    _Pyg._ (_bitterly_). It all but breathes--therefore it talks aloud!
    It all but moves--therefore it walks and runs!
    It all but lives, and therefore it is life!
    No, no, my love, the thing is cold, dull stone,
    Shaped to a certain form, but still dull stone,
    The lifeless, senseless mockery of life.
    The gods make life: I can make only death!
    Why, my Cynisca, though I stand so well,
    The merest cut-throat, when he plies his trade,
    Makes better death than I, with all my skill!

    _Cyn._ Hush, my Pygmalion! the gods are good,
    And they have made thee nearer unto them
    Than other men; this is ingratitude!

    _Pyg._ Not so; has not a monarch’s second son
    More cause for anger that he lacks a throne
    Than he whose lot is cast in slavery?

    _Cyn._ Not much more cause, perhaps, but more excuse.
    Now I must go.

    _Pyg._         So soon, and for so long!

    _Cyn._ One day, ’twill quickly pass away!

    _Pyg._                                    With those
    Who measure time by almanacs, no doubt,
    But not with him who knows no days save those
    Born of the sunlight of Cynisca’s eyes;
    It will be night with me till she returns.

    _Cyn._ Then sleep it through, Pygmalion! But stay,
    Thou shalt _not_ pass the weary hours alone;
    Now mark thou this--while I’m away from thee,
    _There_ stands my only representative. (_Indicating GALATEA._)
    She is my proxy, and I charge you, sir,
    Be faithful unto her as unto me;
    Into her quietly attentive ear
    Pour all thy treasures of hyperbole,
    And give thy nimble tongue full license, lest
    Disuse should rust its glib machinery;
    If thoughts of love should haply crowd on thee,
    There stands my other self; tell them to her;
    She’ll listen well. (_He makes a movement of impatience._)
                        Nay, that’s ungenerous,
    For she is I, yet lovelier than I,
    And hath no temper, sir, and hath no tongue!
    Thou hast thy license, make good use of it.
    Already I’m half jealous--(_draws curtains_) There, it’s gone.
    The thing is but a statue after all,
    And I am safe in leaving thee with her;
    Farewell, Pygmalion, till I return. (_Kisses him, and exit._)

    _Pyg._ “The thing is but a statue after all!”
    Cynisca little thought that in those words
    She touched the key-note of my discontent--
    True, I have powers denied to other men;
    Give me a block of senseless marble--Well,
    I’m a magician, and it rests with me
    To say what kernel lies within its shell;
    It shall contain a man, a woman--child--
    A dozen men and women if I will.
    So far the gods and I run neck and neck;
    Nay, so far I can beat them at their trade!
    _I_ am no bungler--all the men _I_ make
    Are straight-limbed fellows, each magnificent
    In the perfection of his manly grace:
    _I_ make no crook-backs--all my men are gods,
    My women goddesses--in outward form.
    But there’s my tether! I can go so far,
    And go no farther! At that point I stop,
    To curse the bonds that hold me sternly back:
    To curse the arrogance of those proud gods,
    Who say, “Thou shalt be greatest among men,
    “And yet infinitesimally small!”

    _Galatea._ Pygmalion!

    _Pyg._                  Who called?

    _Gal._                              Pygmalion!

      [_PYG. tears away curtain and discovers GALATEA alive._]

    _Pyg._ Ye gods! It lives!

    _Gal._                    Pygmalion!

    _Pyg._                               It speaks!
    I have my prayer! my Galatea breathes!

    _Gal._ Where am I? Let me speak, Pygmalion;
    Give me thy hand--both hands--how soft and warm!
    Whence came I? (_Descends._)

    _Pyg._         Why, from yonder pedestal!

    _Gal._ That pedestal? Ah, yes, I recollect,
    There was a time when it was part of me.

    _Pyg._ That time has passed for ever, thou art now
    A living, breathing woman, excellent
    In every attribute of womankind.

    _Gal._ Where am I, then?

    _Pyg._                   Why, born into the world
    By miracle!

    _Gal._      Is this the world?

    _Pyg._                         It is.

    _Gal._ This room?

    _Pyg._            This room is portion of a house;
    The house stands in a grove; the grove itself
    Is one of many, many hundred groves
    In Athens.

    _Gal._     And is Athens then the world?

    _Pyg._ To an Athenian--Yes--

    _Gal._                      And I am one?

    _Pyg._ By birth and parentage, not by descent.

    _Gal._ But how came I to be?

    _Pyg._                       Well--let me see.
    Oh--you were quarried in Pentelicus;
    I modeled you in clay--my artisans
    Then roughed you out in marble--I, in turn,
    Brought my artistic skill to bear on you,
    And made you what you are--in all but life--
    The gods completed what I had begun,
    And gave the only gift I could not give!

    _Gal._ Then this is life?

    _Pyg._                    It is.

    _Gal._                           And not long since
    I was a cold, dull stone? I recollect
    That by some means I knew that I was stone:
    That was the first dull gleam of consciousness;
    I became conscious of a chilly self,
    A cold immovable identity,
    I knew that I was stone, and knew no more!
    Then, by an imperceptible advance,
    Came the dim evidence of outer things,
    Seen--darkly and imperfectly--yet seen--
    The walls surrounding me, and I, alone.
    That pedestal--that curtain--then a voice
    That called on Galatea! At that word,
    Which seemed to shake my marble to the core,
    That which was dim before, came evident.
    Sounds, that had hummed around me, indistinct,
    Vague, meaningless--seemed to resolve themselves
    Into a language I could understand;
    I felt my frame pervaded by a glow
    That seemed to thaw my marble into flesh;
    Its cold hard substance throbbed with active life,
    My limbs grew supple, and I moved--I lived!
    Lived in the ecstasy of new-born life!
    Lived in the love of him that fashioned me!
    Lived in a thousand tangled thoughts of hope,
    Love, gratitude--thoughts that resolved themselves
    Into one word, that word, Pygmalion! (_Kneels to him._)

    _Pyg._ I have no words to tell thee of my joy,
    O woman--perfect in thy loveliness!

    _Gal._ What is that word? Am I a woman?

    _Pyg._                                  Yes.

    _Gal._ Art thou a woman?

    _Pyg._                   No, I am a man.

    _Gal._ What _is_ a man?

    _Pyg._              A being strongly framed,
    To wait on woman, and protect her from
    All ills that strength and courage can avert;
    To work and toil for her, that she may rest;
    To weep and mourn for her, that she may laugh;
    To fight and die for her, that she may live!

    _Gal._ (_after a pause_). I’m glad I am a woman.

    _Pyg._                                        So am I. (_They sit._)

    _Gal._ That I escape the pains thou hast to bear?

    _Pyg._ That I may undergo those pains for thee.

    _Gal._ With whom then wouldst thou fight?

    _Pyg._                                    With any man
    Whose deed or word gave Galatea pain.

    _Gal._ Then there are other men in this strange world?

    _Pyg._ There are, indeed!

    _Gal._                    And other women?

    _Pyg._ (_taken aback_).                    Yes.
    Though for the moment I’d forgotten it!
    Yes, other women.

    _Gal._            And for all of these
    Men work, and toil, and mourn, and weep, and fight?

    _Pyg._ It is man’s duty, if he’s called upon,
    To fight for all--he works for those he loves.

    _Gal._ Then by thy work I know thou lovest me.

    _Pyg._ Indeed, I love thee! (_Embraces her._)

    _Gal._                      With what kind of love?

    _Pyg._ I love thee (_recollecting himself and releasing her_)
                       as a sculptor loves his work!
    (_aside._) There is a diplomacy in that reply.

    _Gal._ My love is different in kind to thine:
    I am no sculptor, and I’ve done no work,
    Yet I do love thee: say--what love is mine?

    _Pyg._ Tell me its symptoms, then I’ll answer thee.

    _Gal._ Its symptoms? Let me call them as they come.
    A sense that I am made _by_ thee _for_ thee;
    That I’ve no will that is not wholly thine;
    That I’ve no thought, no hope, no enterprise
    That does not own _thee_ as its sovereign;
    That I have life, that I may live for thee,
    That I am thine--that thou and I are one!
    What kind of love is that?

    _Pyg._                     A kind of love
    That I shall run some risk in dealing with!

    _Gal._ And why, Pygmalion?

    _Pyg._                     Such love as thine
    A man may not receive, except indeed
    From one who is, or is to be, his wife.

    _Gal._ Then _I_ will be thy wife!

    _Pyg._                        That may not be;
    I have a wife--the gods allow but one.

    _Gal._ Why did the gods then send me here to thee?

    _Pyg._ I can not say--unless to punish me
    For unreflecting and presumptuous prayer!
    I prayed that thou shouldst live--I have my prayer,
    And now I see the fearful consequence
    That must attend it!

    _Gal._               Yet thou lovest me?

    _Pyg._. Who could look on that face and stifle love?

    _Gal._ Then I am beautiful?

    _Pyg._                      Indeed thou art.

    _Gal._ I wish that I could look upon myself,
    But that’s impossible.

    _Pyg._                 Not so indeed.
    This mirror will reflect thy face. Behold! (_Hands her a mirror._)

    _Gal._ How beautiful! I’m very glad to know
    That both our tastes agree so perfectly;
    Why, my Pygmalion, I did not think
    That aught could be more beautiful than thou,
    Till I beheld myself. Believe me, love,
    I could look in this mirror all day long.
    So I’m a woman!

    _Pyg._          There’s no doubt of that!

    _Gal._ Oh happy maid, to be so passing fair!
    And happier still Pygmalion, who can gaze,
    At will, upon so beautiful a face!

    _Pyg._ Hush! Galatea--in thine innocence
    Thou sayest things that others would reprove.

    _Gal._ Indeed, Pygmalion; then it is wrong
    To think that one is exquisitely fair?

    _Pyg._ Well, Galatea, it’s a sentiment
    That every other woman shares with thee;
    They _think_ it--but they keep it to themselves.

    _Gal._ And is thy wife as beautiful as I?

    _Pyg._ No, Galatea, for in forming thee
    I took her features--lovely in themselves--
    And in the marble made them lovelier still.

    _Gal._ (_disappointed_). Oh! then I’m not original?

    _Pyg._                                              Well--no--
    That is--thou hast indeed a prototype.
    But though in stone thou didst resemble her,
    In life the difference is manifest.

    _Gal._ I’m very glad I’m lovelier than she.
    And am I better?

    _Pyg._           That I do not know.

    _Gal._ Then she has faults?

    _Pyg._                      But very few indeed;
    Mere trivial blemishes, that serve to show
    That she and I are of one common kin.
    I love her all the better for such faults!

    _Gal._ (_after a pause_).
           Tell me some faults and I’ll commit them now.

    _Pyg._ There is no hurry; they will come in time:
    Though for that matter, it’s a grievous sin
    To sit as lovingly as we sit now.

    _Gal._ Is sin so pleasant? If to sit and talk
    As we are sitting, be indeed a sin,
    Why I could sin all day! But tell me, love,
    Is this great fault that I’m committing now,
    The kind of fault that only serves to show
    That thou and I are of one common kin?

    _Pyg._ Indeed, I’m very much afraid it is.

    _Gal._ And dost thou love me better for such fault?

    _Pyg._ Where is the mortal that could answer “no”?

    _Gal._ Why then I’m satisfied, Pygmalion;
    Thy wife and I can start on equal terms.
    She loves thee?

    _Pyg._          Very much.

    _Gal._ I’m glad of that.
    I like thy wife.

    _Pyg._           And why?

    _Gal._                    Our tastes agree.
    We love Pygmalion well, and what is more,
    Pygmalion loves us both. I like thy wife;
    I’m sure we shall agree.

    _Pyg._ (_aside_).          I doubt it much!

    _Gal._ Is she within?

    _Pyg._                No, she is not within.

    _Gal._ But she’ll come back?

    _Pyg._                       Oh, yes, she will come back.

    _Gal._ How pleased she’ll be to know, when she returns,
    That there was some one here to fill her place!

    _Pyg._ (_dryly_). Yes, I should say she’d be extremely pleased.

    _Gal._ Why, there is something in thy voice which says
    That thou art jesting! Is it possible
    To say one thing and mean another?

    _Pyg._                             Yes,
    It’s sometimes done.

    _Gal._               How very wonderful;
    So clever!

    _Pyg._     And so very useful.

    _Gal._                         Yes.
    Teach me the art.

    _Pyg._            The art will come in time.
    My wife will _not_ be pleased; there--that’s the truth.

    _Gal._ I do not think that I _shall_ like thy wife.
    Tell me more of her.

    _Pyg._               Well--

    _Gal._                     What did she say
    When last she left thee?

    _Pyg._                   Humph! Well, let me see:
    Oh! true, she gave thee to me as my wife,--
    Her solitary representative;
    She feared I should be lonely till she came,
    And counseled me, if thoughts of love should come,
    To speak those thoughts to thee, as I am wont
    To speak to her.

    _Gal._           That’s right.

    _Pyg._                         But when she spoke,
    Thou wast a stone, now thou art flesh and blood,
    Which makes a difference!

    _Gal._                    It’s a strange world!
    A woman loves her husband very much,
    And can not brook that I should love him too;
    She fears he will be lonely till she comes,
    And will not let me cheer his loneliness;
    She bids him breathe his love to senseless stone,
    And when that stone is brought to life--be dumb!
    It’s a strange world--I can not fathom it!

    _Pyg._ (_aside_). Let me be brave, and put an end to this.
    (_aloud_). Come, Galatea--till my wife returns,
    My sister shall provide thee with a home;
    Her house is close at hand.

    _Gal._ (_astonished and alarmed_). Send me not hence,
    Pygmalion--let me stay;

    _Pyg._                  It may not be.
    Come, Galatea, we shall meet again.

    _Gal._ (_resignedly_). Do with me as thou wilt, Pygmalion!
    But we shall meet again?--and very soon?

    _Pyg._ Yes, very soon.

    _Gal._                 And when thy wife returns,
    She’ll let me stay with thee?

    _Pyg._                        I do not know.
    (aside) Why should I hide the truth from her (_aloud_) alas!
    I may not see thee then.

    _Gal._                   Pygmalion!
    What fearful words are these?

    _Pyg._                        The bitter truth.
    I may not love thee--I must send thee hence.

    _Gal._ Recall those words, Pygmalion, my love!
    Was it for this that Heaven gave me life?
    Pygmalion, have mercy on me; see,
    I am thy work, thou hast created me;
    The gods have sent me to thee. I am thine,
    Thine! only, and unalterably thine!
    This is the thought with which my soul is charged.
    Thou tellest me of one who claims thy love,
    That thou hast love for her alone: Alas!
    I do not know these things--I only know
    That Heaven has sent me here to be with thee!
    Thou tellest me of duty to thy wife,
    Of vows that thou wilt love but her; Alas!
    I do not know these things--I only know
    That Heaven, who sent me here, has given me
    One all-absorbing duty to discharge--
    To love thee, and to make thee love again!

      [_During this speech PYGMALION has shown symptoms of
        irresolution; at its conclusion he takes her in his arms, and
        embraces her passionately._]


ACT II.

      SCENE: _Same as Act I._

      [_PYGMALION discovered at work on an unfinished statue._]

    _Pyg._ To-morrow my Cynisca comes to me;
    Would that she had never departed hence!
    It took a miracle to make me false,
    And even then I was but false in thought;
    A less exacting wife might be appeased
    By that reflection. But Pygmalion
    Must be immaculate in every thought,
    Even though Heaven’s armaments be ranged
    Against the fortress of his constancy!

      _Enter MYRINE, in great excitement._

    _Myr._ Pygmalion!

    _Pyg._            Myrine!

    _Myr._                    Touch me not,
    Thou hast deceived me, and deceived thy wife!
    Who is the woman thou didst send to me
    To share my roof last night?

    _Pyg._                       Be pacified;
    Judge neither of us hastily; in truth
    She is pure, as innocent as thou.

    _Myr._ Oh, miserable man--confess the truth!
    Disguise not that of which she boasts aloud!

    _Pyg._ Of what then does she boast?

    _Myr._                              To all I say
    She answers with one parrot-like reply,
    “I love Pygmalion”--and when incensed
    I tell her that thou hast a cheated wife,
    She only says, “I love Pygmalion,
    I and my life are his, and his alone!”
    Who is this shameless woman, sir? Confess!

    _Pyg._ Myrine, I will tell thee all. The gods,
    To punish my expressed impiety,
    Have worked a miracle, and brought to life
    My statue Galatea!

    _Myr._ (_incredulously_). Marvelous,
    If it be true!

    _Pyg._         It’s absolutely true.

      (_MYRINE opens the curtains and sees the pedestal empty._)

    _Myr._ The statue’s gone! (_GALATEA appears at door._)

    _Pyg._                    The statue’s at the door!

    _Gal._ At last we meet? Oh! my Pygmalion!
    What strange, strange things have happened since we met.

    _Pyg._ Why, what has happened to thee?

    _Gal._                                 Fearful things!
    (_To MYR._) I went with thee into thine house--

    _Myr._                                         Well, well.

    _Gal._ And then I sat alone and wept--and wept
    A long, long time for my Pygmalion.
    Then by degrees, by tedious degrees,
    The light--the glorious light!--the god-sent light!
    I saw it sink--sink--sink--behind the world!
    Then I grew cold--cold--as I used to be,
    Before my loved Pygmalion gave me life.
    Then came the fearful thought that, by degrees,
    I was returning into stone again!
    How bitterly I wept and prayed aloud
    That it might not be so! “Spare me, ye gods!
    Spare me,” I cried, “for my Pygmalion.
    A little longer for Pygmalion!
    Oh, take me not so early from my love;
    Oh, let me see him once--but once again!”
    But no--they heard me not, for they are good,
    And had they heard, must needs have pitied me;
    They had not seen _thee_, and they did not know
    The happiness that I must leave behind.
    I fell upon thy couch (_To MYRINE_); my eyelids closed;
    My senses faded from me one by one;
    I knew no more until I found myself,
    After a strange dark interval of time,
    Once more upon my hated pedestal,
    A statue--motionless--insensible;
    And then I saw the glorious gods come down!
    Down to this room! the air was filled with them!
    They came and looked upon Pygmalion,
    And, looking on him, kissed him one by one,
    And said, in tones that spoke to me of life,
    “We can not take her from such happiness!
    Live, Galatea, for his love!” And then
    The glorious light that I had lost came back--
    There was Myrine’s room, there was her couch,
    There was the sun in heaven; and the birds
    Sang once more in the great green waving trees,
    As I had heard them sing--I lived once more
    To look on him I love!

    _Myr._                 ’Twas but a dream!
    Once every day this death occurs to us,
    Till thou and I and all who dwell on earth
    Shall sleep to wake no more!

    _Gal._                       To wake no more?

    _Pyg._ That time must come--may be not yet awhile--
    Still it must come, and we shall all return
    To the cold earth from which we quarried thee.

    _Gal._ See how the promises of new-born life
    Fade from the bright hope-picture, one by one!
    Love for Pygmalion, a blighting sin;
    _His_ love a shame that he must hide away;
    Sleep, stone-like senseless sleep, our natural state;
    And life a passing vision born thereof!
    How the bright promises fade one by one!

    _Myr._ Why there are many men whom thou may’st love;
    But not Pygmalion--he has a wife.

    _Gal._ Does no one love him?

    _Myr._                       Certainly--I do.
    He is my brother.

    _Gal._            Did he give thee life?

    _Myr._ Why no; but then--

    _Gal._                   He did not give thee life,
    And yet thou lovest him! And why not I
    Who owe my very being to his love?

    _Pyg._ Well, thou may’st love me--as a father.

    _Myr._                                         Yes;
    He is thy father, for he gave thee life.

    _Gal._ Well, as thou wilt; it is enough to know
    That I may love thee. Wilt thou love me too?

    _Pyg._ Yes, as a daughter; there, that’s understood.

    _Gal._ Then I am satisfied.

    _Myr._ (_aside_).           Indeed I hope
    Cynisca also will be satisfied!                      [_Exit MYRINE._

    _Gal._ (_To PYG._) Thou art not going from me?

    _Pyg._                                         For a while.

    _Gal._ Oh, take me with thee; leave me not alone
    With these cold emblems of my former self! (_Alluding to statues._)
    I dare not look on them!

    _Pyg._                   Leucippe comes,
    And he shall comfort thee till I return;
    I’ll not be long!

    _Gal._            Leucippe! Who’s he?

    _Pyg._ A valiant soldier.

    _Gal._                    What is that?

    _Pyg._                                  A man,
    Who’s hired to kill his country’s enemies.

    _Gal._ (_horrified_). A paid assassin!

    _Pyg._ (_annoyed_).                    Well, that’s rather strong.
    There spoke the thoroughly untutored mind;
    So coarse a sentiment might fairly pass
    With mere Arcadians--a cultured state
    Holds soldiers at a higher estimate.
    In Athens--which is highly civilized--
    The soldier’s social rank is in itself
    Almost a patent of nobility.

    _Gal._ He kills! And he is paid to kill!

    _Pyg._                                   No doubt.
    But then he kills to save his countrymen.

    _Gal._ Whether his countrymen be right or wrong?

    _Pyg._ He don’t go into that--it’s quite enough
    That there are enemies for him to kill:
    He goes and kills them when his orders come.

    _Gal._ How terrible! Why, my Pygmalion,
    How many dreadful things thou teachest me!
    Thou tellest me of death--that hideous doom
    That all must fill; and having told me this--
    Here is a man, whose business is to kill:
    To filch from other men the priceless boon
    That thou hast given me--the boon of life--
    And thou defendest him!

    _Pyg._                  I have no time
    To make these matters clear--but here he comes,
    Talk to him--thou wilt find him kind and good,
    Despite his terrible profession.

    _Gal._ (_in great terror_).        No!
    I’ll not be left with him, Pygmalion. Stay!
    He is a murderer!

    _Pyg._            Ridiculous!
    Why, Galatea, he will harm thee not:
    He is as good as brave. I’ll not be long,
    I’ll soon return. Farewell!                                 [_Exit._

    _Gal._                      I will obey,
    Since thou desirest it; but to be left
    Alone with one whose mission is to kill!
    Oh, it is terrible!

      _Enter LEUCIPPE, with a Fawn that he has shot._

    _Leuc._             A splendid shot,
    And one that I shall never make again!

    _Gal._ Monster! Approach me not! (_Shrinking into corner._)

    _Leuc._                          Why, who is this?
    Nay, I’ll not hurt thee, maiden!

    _Gal._                           Spare me, sir!
    I have not done thy country any wrong!
    I am no enemy!

    _Leuc._        I’ll swear to that!
    Were Athens’ enemies as fair as thou,
    She’d never be at loss for warriors.

    _Gal._ Oh miserable man, repent! repent!
    Ere the stern marble claim you once again.

    _Leuc._ I don’t quite understand--

    _Gal._                            Remember, sir,
    The sculptor who designed you, little thought
    That when he prayed the gods to give you life,
    He turned a monster loose upon the world!
    See, there is blood upon those cruel hands!
    Oh touch me not!

    _Leuc._ (_aside_).  Poor crazy little girl!
    Why--there’s no cause for fear--I’ll harm thee not--
    As for the blood, this will account for it (_showing Fawn_).

    _Gal._ What’s that?

    _Leuc._             A little fawn.

    _Gal._                             It does not move!

    _Leuc._ No, for I wounded her.

    _Gal._                         Oh, horrible!

    _Leuc._ Poor little thing! ’Twas almost accident;
    I lay upon my back beneath a tree,
    Whistling the lazy hours away--when lo!
    I saw her bounding through a distant glade;
    My bow was handy; in sheer wantonness
    I aimed an arrow at her, and let fly,
    Believing that at near a hundred yards
    So small a being would be safe enough,
    But, strange to tell, I hit her. Here she is;
    She moves--poor little lady! Ah, she’s dead!

    _Gal._ Oh, horrible! oh, miserable man!
    What have you done?--(_Takes Fawn into her arms_)--
                         Why, you have murdered her!
    Poor little thing! I know not what thou art;
    Thy form is strange to me; but thou hadst life,
    And he has robbed thee of it! (_Gives it back to LEUC._)
                                  Get you hence!
    Ere vengeance overtake you!

    _Leuc._                     Well, in truth,
    I have some apprehension on that score.
    It was Myrine’s--though I knew it not!
    ’Twould pain her much to know that it is dead;
    So keep the matter carefully from her
    Until I can replace it.                  [_Exit LEUCIPPE with Fawn._

    _Gal._                  Get you hence;
    I have no compact with a murderer!

      _Enter MYRINE._

    _Myr._ Why, Galatea, what has frightened thee?

    _Gal._ Myrine, I have that to say to thee
    That thou must nerve thyself to hear. That man--
    The man thou lovest--is a murderer!

    _Myr._ Poor little maid! Pygmalion, ere he left,
    Told me that by that name thou didst describe
    The bravest soldier that our country owns!
    He’s no assassin, he’s a warrior.

    _Gal._ Then what is an assassin?

    _Myr._                           One who wars
    Only with weak, defenseless creatures. One
    Whose calling is to murder unawares.
    My brave Leucippe is no murderer.

    _Gal._ Thy brave Leucippe is no longer brave,
    He is a mere assassin by thy showing.
    I saw him with his victim in his arms,
    His wicked hands dyed crimson with her blood!
    There she lay, cold and stark--her gentle eyes
    Glazed with the film of death. She moved but once,
    She turned her head to him and tried to speak,
    But ere she could articulate a word
    Her head fell helplessly, and she was dead!

    _Myr._ Why, you are raving, girl! Who told you this?

    _Gal._ He owned it; and he gloried in the deed.
    He told me how, in arrant wantonness,
    He drew his bow, and smote her to the heart!

    _Myr._ Leucippe did all this! Impossible!
    You must be dreaming!

    _Gal._                On my life, it’s true.
    See, here’s a handkerchief which still is stained
    With her life-blood--I stanched it with my hand.

    _Myr._ Who was his victim?

    _Gal._                     Nay--I can not tell.
    Her form was strange to me--but here he comes;
    Oh, hide me from that wicked murderer!

      _Enter LEUCIPPE._

    _Myr._ Leucippe, can this dreadful tale be true?

    _Leuc._ (_to GAL., aside_).
    Thou should have kept my secret. See, poor girl,
    How it distresses her. (_To MYR._) It’s true enough,
    But Galatea should have kept it close,
    I knew that it would pain thee grievously.

    _Myr._ Some devil must have turned Leucippe’s brain!
    You did all this?

    _Leuc._           Undoubtedly I did.
    I saw my victim dancing happily
    Across my field of view--I took my bow,
    And, at the distance of a hundred yards,
    I sent an arrow right into her heart.
    There are few soldiers who could do as much.

    _Myr._ Indeed, I hope that there are very few.
    Oh, miserable man!

    _Leuc._            That’s rather hard.
    Congratulate me rather on my aim,
    Of which I have some reason now to boast;
    As for my victim--why, one more or less,
    What does it matter? There are plenty left!
    And then reflect--indeed, I never thought
    That I should hit her at so long a range;
    My aim was truer than I thought it was,
    And the poor little lady’s dead!

    _Myr._                           Alas!
    This is the calmness of insanity.
    What shall we do? Go, hide yourself away--

    _Leuc._ But--

    _Myr._        Not a word--I will not hear thy voice,
    I will not look upon thy face again;
    Begone!

    _Gal._  Go, sir, or I’ll alarm the house!

    _Leuc._ Well, this is sensibility, indeed!
    Well, they are women--women judge these things
    By some disjointed logic of their own,
    That is not given to man to understand.
    I’m off to Athens--when your reason comes
    Send for me, if you will. Till then, farewell.      [_Exit angrily._

    _Myr._ Oh, this must be a dream, and I shall wake
    To happiness once more!

    _Gal._                  A dream! no doubt!
    We both are dreaming, and we dream the same!
    But by what sign, Myrine, can we tell
    Whether we dream or wake?

    _Myr._                    There are some things
    Too terrible for truth, and this is one.

      _Enter PYGMALION, with Fawn._

    _Pyg._ Why, what’s the matter with Leucippe, girl?
    I saw him leave the house and mount his horse
    With every show of anger.

    _Myr._                    He is mad,
    And he hath done a deed I dare not name.
    Did he say aught to thee before he left?

    _Pyg._ Yes; when I asked him what had angered him
    He threw me this (_showing Fawn_).

    _Gal._ (_in extreme of horror_)--His victim! take it hence!
    I can not look at it!

    _Myr._                Why, what is this?

    _Gal._ The being he destroyed in wantonness;
    He robbed it of the life the gods had given.
    Oh! take it hence, I dare not look on death!

    _Myr._ Why, was this all he killed?

    _Gal._ (_astonished_).              All!!! And enough!

    _Myr._ Why, girl--thou must be mad! Pygmalion--
    She told me he had murdered somebody,
    But knew not whom!

    _Pyg._             The girl will drive us mad!
    Bid them prepare my horse--I’ll bring him back.      [_Exit MYRINE._

    _Gal._ Have I done wrong? Indeed, I did not know:
    Thou art not angry with me?

    _Pyg._                      Yes, I am;
    I’m more than angry with thee--not content
    With publishing thine unmasked love for me,
    Thou hast estranged Leucippe from his love
    Through thine unwarrantable foolishness.

      _Enter MIMOS._

    _Mim._ Sir, Chrysos and his lady are without.

    _Pyg._ I can not see them now. Stay--show them in.    [_Exit MIMOS._
    (_To GAL._) Go, wait in there. I’ll join thee very soon.
                                                        [_Exit GALATEA._

      _Enter DAPHNE._

    _Daph._ Where is Pygmalion?

    _Pyg._                      Pygmalion’s here.

    _Daph._ We called upon you many months ago,
    But you were not at home--so being here,
    We looked around us and we saw the stone
    You keep so carefully behind that veil.

    _Pyg._ That was a most outrageous liberty.

    _Daph._ Sir! Do you know me?

    _Pyg._                       You are Chrysos’ wife.
    Has Chrysos come with you?

    _Daph._                    He waits without.
    I am his herald to prepare you for
    The honor he confers. Be civil, sir,
    And he may buy that statue; if he does
    Your fortune’s made!

    _Pyg._ (_to MIMOS_). You’d better send him in.        [_Exit MIMOS._

      _Enter CHRYSOS._

    _Chry._ Well--is the young man’s mind prepared?

    _Daph._                                         It is;
    He seems quite calm. Give money for the stone,
    I’ve heard that it is far beyond all price,
    But run it down; abuse it ere you buy.

    _Chry._ (_to PYG._) Where is the statue that I saw last year?

    _Pyg._ Sir--it’s unfinished--it’s a clumsy thing.
    I am ashamed of it.

    _Chry._             It isn’t good.
    There’s want of tone; it’s much too hard and thin;
    Then the half distances are very crude--
    Oh--very crude indeed--then it lacks air,
    And wind and motion, massive light and shade;
    It’s very roughly scumbled; on my soul
    The scumbling’s damnable!

    _Daph._ (_aside to him_). Bethink yourself!
    That’s said of painting--this is sculpture!

    _Chry._                                     Eh?
    It’s the same thing, the principle’s the same;
    Now for its price. Let’s see--what will it weigh?

    _Daph._ A ton, or thereabouts.

    _Chry._                        Suppose we say
    A thousand drachmas?

    _Pyg._               No, no, no, my lord!
    The work is very crude and thin, and then
    Remember, sir, the scumbling--

    _Chry._                         Damnable!
    But never mind, although the thing is poor,
    ’Twill serve to hold a candle in my hall.

    _Pyg._ Excuse me, sir; poor though that statue be,
    I value it beyond all price.

    _Chry._                      Pooh, pooh!
    I give a thousand drachmas for a stone
    Which in the rough would not fetch half that sum!

    _Daph._ Why bless my soul, young man, are you aware
    We gave but fifteen hundred not long since
    For an Apollo twice as big as that?

    _Pyg._ But pardon me, a sculptor does not test
    The beauty of a figure by its bulk.

    _Chry._ Ah! then _she_ does.

    _Daph._                  Young man, you’d best take care,
    You are offending Chrysos!                                  [_Exit._

    _Chry._                    And his wife. (_going._)

    _Pyg._ I can not stay to enter into that
    Sir, once for all, the statue’s not for sale.               [_Exit._

    _Chry._ Sir, once for all, I will not be denied;
    Confound it--if a patron of the arts
    Is thus to be dictated to _by_ art,
    What comes of that art patron’s patronage?
    He must be taught a lesson--where’s the stone?
                                (_Goes to pedestal and opens curtains._)
    It’s gone! (_Enter GALATEA, he stares at her in astonishment._)
               Hallo! What’s this?

    _Gal._                         Are you unwell?

    _Chry._ Oh, no--I fancied just at first--pooh, pooh!
    Ridiculous. (_Aside_). And yet it’s very like!
    (_Aloud_). I know your face, haven’t I seen you in--
    In--in (_puzzling himself_).

    _Gal._                       In marble? Very probably.

    _Chry._ Oh, now I understand. Why this must be
    Pygmalion’s model! Yes, of course it is.
    A very bold-faced woman, I’ll be bound.
    These models always are. I’ll speak with her.
    Come hither, maiden.

    _Gal._ (_who has been examining him in great wonder_).
                         Tell, me, what _are_ you?

    _Chry._ What _am_ I?

    _Gal._             Yes, I mean, are you a man?

    _Chry._ Well, yes; I’m told so.

    _Gal._                          Then believe them not,
    They’ve been deceiving you.

    _Chry._                     The deuce they have!

    _Gal._ A man is very tall, and straight, and strong,
    With big brave eyes, fair face, and tender voice.
    I’ve seen one.

    _Chry._        _Have_ you?

    _Gal._                   Yes, you are no man.

    _Chry._ Does the young person take me for a woman?

    _Gal._ A woman? No; a woman’s soft and weak,
    And fair, and exquisitely beautiful.
    _I_ am a woman; you are not like me.

    _Chry._ The gods forbid that I should be like you,
    And farm my features at so much an hour!

    _Gal._ And yet I like you, for you make me laugh;
    You are so round and red, your eyes so small,
    Your mouth so large, your face so seared with lines,
    And then you are so little and so fat!

    _Chry._ (_aside_). This is a most extraordinary girl.

    _Gal._ Oh, stay--I understand--Pygmalion’s skill
    Is the result of long experience.
    The individual who modeled you
    Was a beginner very probably?

    _Chry._ (_puzzled_). No. I have seven elder brothers. Strange
    That one so young should be so very bold.

    _Gal._ This is not boldness, it is innocence;
    Pygmalion says so, and he ought to know.

    _Chry._ No doubt, but I was not born yesterday. (_Sits._)

    _Gal._ Indeed!--_I was._ (_He beckons her to sit beside him._)
                             How awkwardly you sit.

    _Chry._ I’m not aware that there is any thing
    Extraordinary in my sitting down.
    The nature of the seated attitude
    Does not leave scope for much variety.

    _Gal._ I never saw Pygmalion sit like that.

    _Chry._ Don’t he sit down like other men?

    _Gal._                                    Of course!
    He always puts his arm around my waist.

    _Chry._ The deuce he does! Artistic reprobate!

    _Gal._ But you do not. Perhaps you don’t know how?

    _Chry._ Oh yes; I _do_ know how!

    _Gal._                            Well, do it then!

    _Chry._ It’s a strange whim, but I will humor her.
    You’re sure it’s innocence? (_Does so._)

    _Gal._                      Of course it is.
    I tell you I was born but yesterday.

    _Chry._ Who is your mother?

    _Gal._                      Mother! what is that?
    I never had one. I’m Pygmalion’s child;
    Have people usually mothers?

    _Chry._                      Well,
    That is the rule.

    _Gal._ But then Pygmalion
    Is cleverer than most men.

    _Chry._                    Yes, I’ve heard
    That he has powers denied to other men,
    And I’m beginning to believe it!

      _Enter DAPHNE._

    _Daph._                           Why
    What’s this? (_CHRYSOS quickly moves away from GAL._)

    _Chry._      My wife!

    _Daph._               Can I believe my eyes? (_GAL. rises._)

    _Chry._ No!

    _Daph._     Who’s this woman? Why, how very like--

    _Chry._ Like what?

    _Daph._            That statue that we wished to buy.
    The self-same face, the self-same drapery,
    In every detail it’s identical.
    Why, one would almost think Pygmalion,
    By some strange means, had brought the thing to life,
    So marvelous her likeness to that stone!

    _Chry._ (_aside._) A very good idea, and one that I
    May well improve upon. It’s rather rash,
    But desperate ills need desperate remedies.
    Now for a good one. Daphne, calm yourself.
    You know the statue that we spoke of? Well,
    The gods have worked a miracle on it,
    And it has come to life. Behold it here!

    _Daph._ Bah! Do you think me mad?

    _Gal._                            His tale is true.
    I was a cold unfeeling block of stone,
    Inanimate--insensible--until
    Pygmalion, by the ardor of his prayers,
    Kindled the spark of life within my frame,
    And made me what I am!

    _Chry._ (_aside to GAL._) That’s very good;
    Go on and keep it up.

    _Daph._               You brazen girl,
    I am his wife!

    _Gal._ His wife? (_To CHRYSOS._) Then get you hence.
    I may not love you when your wife is here.

    _Daph._ Why, what unknown audacity is this?

    _Chry._ It’s the audacity of innocence:
    Don’t judge her by the rules that govern you,
    She was born yesterday, and you were _not_!

      _Enter MIMOS._

    _Mim._ My lord, Pygmalion’s here.

    _Chry._ (_aside_).                He’ll ruin all.

    _Daph._ (_to MIMOS_). Who is this woman?

    _Chry._                                  Why, I’ve told you, she--

    _Daph._ Stop, not a word! I’ll have it from _his_ lips!

    _Gal._ Why ask him when I tell you--?

    _Daph._                               Hold _your_ tongue!

    (_To MIMOS._) Who is this woman? If you tell a lie
    I’ll have you whipped.

    _Mim._                 Oh, I shall tell no lie!
    That is a statue that has come to life.

    _Chry._ (_Aside to MIMOS_).
    I’m very much obliged to you! (_Gives him money._)

      _Enter MYRINE._

    _Myr._                        What’s this?
    Is any thing the matter?

    _Daph._                  Certainly.
    This woman--

    _Myr._       Is a statue come to life.

    _Chry._ I’m very much obliged to _you_!

      _Enter PYGMALION._

    _Pyg._                                 How now Chrysos?

    _Chry._ The statue!--

    _Daph._               Stop!

    _Chry._                     Let me explain.
    The statue that I purchased--

    _Daph._                        Let me speak.
    Chrysos--this girl, Myrine, and your slave,
    Have all agreed to tell me she is--

    _Pyg._ The statue, Galatea, come to life?
    Undoubtedly she is!

    _Chry._             It seems to me,
    I’m very much obliged to every one!

      _Enter CYNISCA._

    _Cyn._ Pygmalion, my love!

    _Pyg._                     Cynisca here!

    _Cyn._ And even earlier than hoped to be.
    (_Aside_). Why, who are these? (_Aloud._) I beg your pardon, sir,
    I thought my husband was alone.

    _Daph._ (_maliciously_).        No doubt.
    I also thought _my_ husband was alone:
    We wives are too confiding.

    _Cyn._ (_aside to PYGMALION_). Who are these?

    _Pyg._ Why, this is Chrysos, this is Daphne. They
    Have come--

    _Daph._      On very different errands, sir.
    Chrysos has come to see this brazen girl:
    I have come after Chrysos--

    _Chry._                     As you keep
    So strictly to the sequence of events
    Add this--Pygmalion came after _you_!

    _Cyn._ Who is this lady (_alluding to GALATEA_)? Why, impossible!

    _Daph._ Oh, not at all!

    _Cyn._ (_turning to pedestal_). And yet the statue’s gone!

    _Pyg._ Cynisca, miracles have taken place;
    The gods have given Galatea life!

    _Cyn._ Oh, marvelous! Is this indeed the form
    That my Pygmalion fashioned with his hands?

    _Pyg._ Indeed it is.

    _Cyn._               Why, let me look at her!
    Yes, it’s the same fair face--the same fair form;
    Clad in the same fair folds of drapery!

    _Gal._ And dost thou know me then?

    _Cyn._ Hear her! she speaks!
    Our Galatea speaks aloud! Know thee?
    Why I have sat for hours, and watched thee grow;
    Sat--motionless as thou--wrapped in his work,
    Save only that in very ecstasy
    I hurried ever and anon to kiss
    The glorious hands that made thee all thou art!
    Come--let me kiss thee with a sister’s love (_kisses her_).
    See, she _can_ kiss!

    _Daph._              Yes, I’ll be bound she can!

    _Cyn._ Why, my Pygmalion, where is the joy
    That ought to animate that face of thine,
    Now that the gods have crowned thy wondrous skill?

    _Chry._ (_aside to PYG._)
    Stick to our story; bold-faced though she be,
    She’s very young, and may perhaps repent;
    It’s terrible to have to tell a lie,
    But if it must be told--why, tell it well!

    _Cyn._ I see it all. I have returned too soon.

    _Daph._ No, I’m afraid you have returned too late!
    Cynisca, never leave that man again,
    Or leave him altogether!

    _Cyn._ (_astonished_).   Why, what’s this?

    _Gal._ Oh, madam, bear with him, and blame him not;
    Judge him not hastily; in every word,
    In every thought he has obeyed thy wish.
    Thou badst him speak to me as unto thee;
    And he and I have sat as lovingly
    As if thou hadst been present to behold
    How faithfully thy wishes were obeyed!

    _Cyn._ Pygmalion! What is this?

    _Pyg._ (_to GAL._)              Go, get thee hence;
    Thou shouldst not see the fearful consequence
    That must attend those heedless words of thine!

    _Gal._ Judge him not hastily, he’s not like this
    When he and I are sitting here alone.
    He has two voices, and two faces, madam,
    One for the world, and one for him and me!

    _Cyn._ Thy wife against thine eyes! those are the stakes!
    Well, thou hast played thy game, and thou hast lost!

    _Pyg._ Cynisca, hear me! In a cursed hour
    I prayed for power to give that statue life.
    My impious prayer aroused the outraged gods,
    They are my judges, leave me in their hands;
    I have been false to them, but not to thee!
    Spare me!

    _Cyn._    Oh, pitiful adventurer!
    He dares to lose, but does not dare to pay!
    Come, be a man! See, _I_ am brave enough,
    And I have more to bear than thou! Behold!
    I am alone, thou hast thy statue bride!
    Oh, Artemis, my mistress, hear me now,
    Ere I remember how I love that man,
    And in that memory forget my shame!
    If he in deed or thought hath been untrue,
    Be just and let him pay the penalty!

      (_PYGMALION, with an exclamation, covers his eyes with his
        hands._)

    _Gal._ Cynisca, pity him!

    _Cyn._ I know no pity, woman; for the act
    That thawed thee into flesh has hardened me
    Into the cursed stone from which thou cam’st.
    We have changed places; from this moment forth
    Be _thou_ the wife and I the senseless stone!
                                           (_Thrusts GALATEA from her._)


ACT III.

      SCENE: _Same as Acts I. and II._

      _Enter DAPHNE._

    _Daph._ It seems Pygmalion _has_ the fearful gift
    Of bringing stone to life. I’ll question him
    And ascertain how far that power extends.

      _Enter MYRINE, weeping._

    Myrine--and in tears! Why, what’s amiss?

    _Myr._ Oh, we were all so happy yesterday,
    And now, within twelve miserable hours,
    A blight has fallen upon all of us.
    Pygmalion is blind as death itself,
    Cynisca leaves his home this very day,
    And my Leucippe hath deserted me!
    I shall go mad with all this weight of grief!

    _Daph._ All this is Galatea’s work?

    _Myr._                              Yes, all.

    _Daph._ But can’t you stop her? Shut the creature up,
    Dispose of her, or break her? Won’t she chip?

    _Myr._ No, I’m afraid not.

    _Daph._                    Ah, were I his wife,
    I’d spoil her beauty! There’d be little chance
    Of finding him and her alone again!

    _Myr._ There’s little need to take precautions now,
    For he, alas! is blind!

    _Daph._                 Blind! What of that?
    Man has five senses; if he loses one
    The vital energy on which it fed
    Goes to intensify the other four.
    He had five arrows in his quiver; well,
    He has shot one away, and four remain.
    My dear, an enemy is not disarmed
    Because he’s lost one arrow out of five!

    _Myr._ The punishment he undergoes might well
    Content his wife!

    _Daph._           A happy woman, that!

    _Myr._ Cynisca happy?

    _Daph._               To be sure she is;
    She has the power to punish faithlessness,
    And she has used it on her faithless spouse.
    Had I Cynisca’s privilege, I swear
    I’d never let my Chrysos rest in peace,
    Until he warranted my using it!
    Pygmalion’s wronged her, and she’s punished him.
    What more could woman want?

      _Enter CYNISCA._

    _Cyn._                       What more? Why, this!
    The power to tame my tongue to speak the words
    That would restore him to his former self!
    The power to quell the fierce, unruly soul
    That battles with my miserable heart!
    The power to say, “Oh, my Pygmalion,
    My love is thine to hold or cast away,
    Do with it as thou wilt; it can not die!”
    I’d barter half my miserable life
    For power to say these few true words to him!

    _Myr._ Why, then there’s hope for him?

    _Cyn._                                 There’s none indeed!
    This day I’ll leave his home and hide away
    Where I can brood upon my shame. I’ll fan
    The smoldering fire of jealousy until
    It bursts into an all-devouring flame,
    And pray that I may perish in its glow!

    _Daph._ That’s bravely said, Cynisca! Never fear;
    Pygmalion will give thee wherewithal
    To nurture it.

    _Cyn._ (_passionately_). I need not wherewithal!
    I carry wherewithal within my heart!
    Oh, I can conjure up the scene at will
    When he and she sit lovingly alone.
    I know too well the devilish art he works,
    And how his guilty passion shapes itself.
    I follow him through every twist and turn
    By which he wormed himself into _my_ heart;
    I hear him breathing to the guilty girl
    The fond familiar nothings of _our_ love;
    I hear him whispering into _her_ ear
    The tenderness that he rehearsed on me.
    I follow him through all his well-known moods--
    Now fierce and passionate, now fanciful;
    And ever tuning his accursed tongue
    To chime in with the passion at her heart:
    Oh, never fear that I shall starve the flame!
    When jealousy takes shelter in _my_ heart,
    It does not die for lack of sustenance!

    _Daph._ Come to my home, and thou shalt feed it there;
    We’ll play at widows, and we’ll pass our time
    Railing against the perfidy of man.

    _Cyn._ But Chrysos?--

    _Daph._              Chrysos? Oh, you won’t see him.

    _Cyn._ How so?

    _Daph._        How so? I’ve turned him out of doors!
    Why, does the girl consider jealousy
    Her unassailable prerogative?
    Thou hast thy vengeance on Pygmalion--
    He can no longer feast upon _thy_ face.
    Well, Chrysos can no longer feast on mine!
    I can’t _put out_ his eyes (I wish I could!)
    But I can _shut_ them out, and that I’ve done.

    _Cyn._ I thank you, madam, and I’ll go with you.

    _Myr._ No, no; thou shalt not leave Pygmalion;
    He will not live if thou desertest him.
    Add nothing to his pain--this second blow
    Might well complete the work thou hast begun!

    _Cyn._ Nay, let me go--I must not see his face;
    For if I look on him I may relent.
    Detain me not, Myrine--fare thee well!
                                    [_Exit CYNISCA, MYRINE follows her._

    _Daph._ Well, there’ll be pretty scenes in Athens now
    That statues may be vivified at will. (_CHRYSOS enters unobserved._)
    Why, I have daughters--all of them of age--
    What chance is there for plain young women, now
    That every man may take a block of stone
    And carve a family to suit his tastes?

    _Chry._ If every woman were a Daphne, man
    Would never care to look on sculptured stone!
    Oh, Daphne!

    _Daph._     Monster--get you hence, away!
    I’ll hold no converse with you, get you gone.
    (_Aside_) If I’d Cynisca’s tongue I’d wither him!
    (_Imitating CYNISCA_) “Oh, I can conjure up the scene at will
    “Where you and she sit lovingly alone!
    “Oh, never fear that I will starve the flame:
    “When jealousy takes shelter in _my_ heart,
    “It does not die for lack of sustenance!”

    _Chry._ I’m sure of that! your hospitality
    Is world-renowned. Extend it, love, to me!
    Oh, take me home again!

    _Daph._                 Home? no, not I!
    Why I’ve a gallery of goddesses,
    Fifty at least--half-dressed bacchantes, too--
    Dryads and water-nymphs of every kind;
    Suppose I find, when I go home to-day,
    That they’ve all taken it into _their_ heads
    To come to life--what would become of them,
    Or me, with Chrysos in the house? No--no,
    They’re bad enough in marble--but in flesh!!!
    I’ll sell the bold-faced hussies one and all,
    But till I’ve sold them, Chrysos stops outside!

    _Chry._ What _have_ I done?

    _Daph._                   What have you _not_ done sir?

    _Chry._ I can not tell you--it would take too long!

    _Daph._ I saw you sitting with that marble minx,
    Your arm pressed lovingly around her waist.
    Explain _that_ Chrysos.

    _Chry._                It explains itself:
    I am a zealous patron of the arts.
    And I am very fond of statuary.

    _Daph._ Bah--I’ve artistic tastes as well as you.
    But still, you never saw _me_ sitting with
    My arms around a stone Apollo’s waist!
    As for this “statue”--could I see her now,
    I’d test your taste for fragments!

    _Chry._                            Spare the girl,
    She’s very young and very innocent;
    She claims your pity.

    _Daph._               _Does_ she?

    _Chry._                         Yes, she does.
    If I saw Daphne sitting with her arm
    Round an Apollo, I should pity _him_.

    _Daph._ (_relenting_). Would you?

    _Chry._                           I should, upon my word, I should.

    _Daph._ Well, Chrysos, thou art pardoned. After all
    The circumstances were exceptional.

    _Chry._ (_aside_). Unhappily, they were!

    _Daph._                                 Come home, but mind
    I’ll sell my gallery of goddesses;
    No good can come of animating stone.

    _Chry._ Oh, pardon me--why every soul on earth
    Sprang from the stones Deucalion threw behind.

    _Daph._ But then Deucalion only _threw_ the stones,
    He left it to the gods to fashion them.

    _Chry._ (_aside--looking at her_).
    And we who’ve seen the work the gods turn out,
    Would rather leave it to Pygmalion!

    _Daph._ (_taking CHRYSOS’ arm, who is looking at a statue of
    Venus._) Come along, do!                                  [_Exeunt._

      _Enter MYRINE, in great distress._

    _Myr._ Pygmalion’s heard that he must lose his wife,
    And swears, by all the gods that reign above,
    He will not live if she deserts him now!
    What--what is to be done?

      _Enter GALATEA._

    _Gal._                    Myrine here!
    Where is Pygmalion?

    _Myr._              Oh, wretched girl!
    Art thou not satisfied with all the ill
    Thy heedlessness has worked, that thou art come
    To gaze upon thy victim’s misery?
    Well, thou hast come in time!

    _Gal._                        What dost thou mean?

    _Myr._ Why this is what I mean--he will not live
    Now that Cynisca has deserted him.
    Oh, girl, his blood will be upon thy head!

    _Gal._ Pygmalion will not live! Pygmalion die!
    And I, alas, the miserable cause!
    Oh, what is to be done?

    _Myr._                  I do not know.
    And yet there is one chance, but one alone;
    I’ll see Cynisca, and prevail on her
    To meet Pygmalion but once again.

    _Gal._ (_wildly_). But should she come too late? He may not live
    Till she returns.

    _Myr._            I’ll send him now to thee,
    And tell him that his wife awaits him here.
    He’ll take thee for Cynisca; when he speaks,
    Answer thou him as if thou wast his wife.

    _Gal._ Yes, yes, I understand.

    _Myr._                         Then I’ll be gone.
    The gods assist thee in this artifice!               [_Exit MYRINE._

    _Gal._ The gods will help me, for the gods are good.
    Oh, Heaven, in this great grief I turn to thee.
    Teach me to speak to him, as, ere I lived,
    Cynisca spake to him. Oh, let my voice
    Be to Pygmalion as Cynisca’s voice,
    And he will live--for her and not for me--
    Yet he will live. I am the fountain head

      _Enter PYGMALION, unobserved, led by MYRINE._

    Of all the horrors that surround him now,
    And it is fit that I should suffer this;
    Grant this, my first appeal--I do not ask
    Pygmalion’s love; I ask Pygmalion’s life!

      (_PYGMALION utters an exclamation of joy. She rushes to him and
        seizes his hand._)

    Pygmalion!

    _Pyg._     I have no words in which
    To tell the joy with which I heard that prayer.
    Oh, take me to thine arms, my dearly loved!
    And teach me once again how much I risked
    In risking such a heaven-sent love as thine.

    _Gal._ (_believing that he refers to her_).
    Pygmalion! my love! Pygmalion!
    Once more those words! again! say them again!
    Tell me that thou forgivest me the ill
    That I unwittingly have worked on thee!

    _Pyg._ Forgive _thee_? Why, my wife, I did not dare
    To ask _thy_ pardon, and thou askest mine,
    The compact with thy mistress Artemis
    Gave thee a heaven-sent right to punish me.
    I’ve learnt to take whate’er the gods may send.

      (_GALATEA, at first delighted, learns in the course of this
        speech that PYGMALION takes her for CYNISCA, and expresses
        extreme anguish._)

    _Gal._ (_with an effort._) But then, this woman, Galatea--

    _Pyg._                                                  Well?

    _Gal._ Thy love for her is dead?

    _Pyg._                           I had no love.

    _Gal._ Thou hadst no love?

    _Pyg._                     No love. At first, in truth,
    In mad amazement at the miracle
    That crowned my handiwork, and brought to life
    The fair creation of my sculptor’s skill,
    I yielded to her god-sent influence,
    For I had worshiped her before she lived
    Because she called Cynisca’s face to me;
    But when she lived--that love died, word by word.

    _Gal._ That is well said; thou dost not love her then?
    She is no more to thee than senseless stone?

    _Pyg._ Speak not of her, Cynisca, for I swear

      _Enter CYNISCA, unobserved._

    The unhewn marble of Pentelicus
    Hath charms for me, which she, in all her glow
    Of womanly perfection, could not match.

    _Gal._ I’m very glad to hear that this is so.
    Thou art forgiven! (_Kisses his forehead._)

    _Pyg._             Thou hast pardoned me,
    And though the law of Artemis declared
    Thy pardon should restore to me the light
    Thine anger took away, I would be blind,
    I would not have mine eyes lest they should rest
    On her who caused me all this bitterness!

    _Gal._ Indeed, Pygmalion--’twere better thus--
    If thou couldst look on Galatea now,
    Thy love for her, perchance, might come again!

    _Pyg._ No, no.

    _Gal._         They say that she endureth pains
    That mock the power of words!

    _Pyg._                        It should be so!

    _Gal._ Hast thou _no_ pity for her?

    _Pyg._                              No, not I.
    The ill that she hath worked on thee--on me--
    And on Myrine--surely were enough
    To make us curse the hour that gave her life.
    She is not fit to live upon this world!

    _Gal._ (_bitterly_). Upon this worthy world, thou sayest well,
    The woman shall be seen of thee no more.
                          (_Takes CYNISCA’S hand and leads her to PYG._)
    What wouldst thou with her now? _Thou hast thy wife!_

      (_She substitutes CYNISCA, and retires, weeping. CYNISCA takes
        him to her arms and kisses him. He recovers his sight._)

    _Pyg._ Cynisca! see! the light of day is mine!
    Once more I look upon thy well-loved face!

      _Enter MYRINE and LEUCIPPE._

    _Leu._ Pygmalion! Thou hast thine eyes again!
    Come--this is happiness indeed!

    _Pyg._                          And thou!
    Myrine has recalled thee?

    _Leu._                    No, I came,
    But more in sorrow than in penitence;
    For I’ve a hardened and a blood-stained heart!
    I thought she would denounce me to the law,
    But time, I found, had worked a wondrous change;
    The very girl, who half-a-day ago
    Had cursed me for a ruthless murderer,
    Not only pardoned me my infamy,
    But absolutely hugged me with delight,
    When she, with hungry and unpitying eyes,
    Beheld my victim--at the kitchen fire!
    The little cannibal!

      _Enter GALATEA._

    _Pyg._                Away from me,
    Woman or statue! Thou the only blight
    That ever fell upon my love--begone,
    For thou hast been the curse of all who fell
    Within the compass of thy waywardness!

    _Cyn._ No, no--recall those words, Pygmalion,
    Thou knowest not all.

    _Gal._                Nay--let me go from him;
    That curse--_his_ curse--still ringing in mine ears,
    For life is bitterer to me than death.
                                   (_She mounts the steps of pedestal._)
    Farewell, Pygmalion! Farewell! Farewell!
                                           (_The curtains conceal her._)

    _Cyn._ Thou art unjust to her as I to thee!
    _Hers_ was the voice that pardoned thee--not mine.
    I knew no pity till she taught it me.
    I heard the words she spoke, and little thought
    That they would find an echo in my heart;
    But so it was. I took them for mine own,
    And asking for thy pardon, pardoned thee!

    _Pyg._ (_amazed_). Cynisca! Is this so?

    _Cyn._                                In truth it is!

    _Gal._ (behind curtain). Farewell, Pygmalion! Farewell! Farewell!

      (_PYGMALION rushes to the veil and tears it away, discovering
        GALATEA as a statue on the pedestal, as in Act I._)



CHARITY:

_A Play_,

IN FOUR ACTS.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  DR. ATHELNEY, _a Colonial Bishop-Elect_             MR. CHIPPENDALE.
  TED ATHELNEY, _his son, aged 38_                    MR. TEESDALE.
  MR. SMAILEY, _a Country Gentleman, aged 60_         MR. HOWE.
  FRED SMAILEY, _his son, aged 22_                    MR. KENDAL.
  MR. FITZ PARTINGTON, _a Private Inquiry Officer_    MR. BUCKSTONE.
  BUTLER                                              MR. CLARK.
  FOOTMAN                                             MR. JAMES.
  MRS. VAN BRUGH, _a widow, aged 35_                  MISS M. ROBERTSON.
                                                       (MRS. KENDAL.)
  EVE, _her daughter, aged 17_                        MISS AMY ROSELLE.
  RUTH TREDGETT, _a tramp, aged 37_                   MISS WOOLGAR.
                                                       (MRS. A. MELLON.)


                             ACTS I. AND II.
              _BOUDOIR IN MRS. VAN BRUGH’S COUNTRY HOUSE._

                                ACT III.
                     _ROOM IN MR. SMAILEY’S HOUSE._

                                ACT IV.
                      _LIBRARY AT DR. ATHELNEY’S._

  [_A few days’ interval between each Act._]


CHARITY.


ACT I.

  SCENE: _A pretty boudoir in Mrs. Van Brugh’s country-house._

  _EVE discovered with FREDERICK; FREDERICK on chair, EVE on footstool._

_Fred._ (_dictating to EVE, who writes in a memorandum book at
his feet_). Let me see. Three hundred oranges, six hundred buns,
thirty gallons of tea, twelve large plum cakes. So much for the
school-children’s bodies. As for their minds--

_Eve._ Oh, we’ve taken great care of their minds. In the first place,
the amateur minstrels from Locroft are coming, with some lovely part
songs.

_Fred._ Part songs. Come, that’s well. Dr. Watts?

_Eve._ Oh dear, no. Doctors Moore and Burgess!--Much jollier. (_He
shakes his head gravely._) Then we have a magic lantern. Here are the
views. (_Handing them._)

_Fred._ (_examining them_). A person on horseback, galloping at full
speed. Here he is again. Probably the flight of Xerxes.

_Eve._ No--the flight of John Gilpin.

_Fred._ Very trivial, Eve dear; very trivial.

_Eve._ Oh, but it will amuse them much more than the flight of Xerxes.

_Fred._ (_gravely_). My dear Eve, is this giddiness quite consistent
with the nature of the good work before us?

_Eve._ Mayn’t one be good and jolly too?

_Fred._ Scarcely. Grave work should be undertaken gravely, and with a
sense of responsibility.

_Eve._ But I don’t call a school feast grave work.

_Fred._ All work is grave when one has regard to the issues that may
come of it. This school feast, trivial as it may seem to you--this
matter of buns and big plum cakes--may be productive, for instance, of
much--of much--

_Eve._ Indigestion? That’s grave indeed! (_He seems annoyed._) There,
I’m very sorry I teased you, dear old boy; but you look at every thing
from such a serious point of view.

_Fred._ Am I too serious? Perhaps I am. And yet in my quiet
undemonstrative way I am very happy.

_Eve._ If _you_ are not happy dear, who _should_ be?

_Fred._ Yes, Eve, who indeed! (_Kisses her._)

_Eve._ I did not mean that. There is very little in me to make such a
man as you happy, unless it be the prospect of making me as good and
earnest as yourself--a poor prospect, I’m afraid, for I’m a very silly
little girl.

_Fred._ At least I will try.

_Eve._ Begin now; tell me of my faults.

_Fred._ No, no; that would be a very ungrateful task.

_Eve._ Oh, if you neglect all tasks that are not pleasant, you are too
like me to allow of my hoping to learn any thing of you.

_Fred._ Very aptly put, Eve. Well then, you are too giddy, and too apt
to laugh when you should sigh.

_Eve._ Oh, but I am naturally rather--jolly. Mamma has taught me to be
so. Mamma’s views are so entirely opposed to yours.

_Fred._ Yes; I am deeply sorry for it. If it were not so, perhaps Mrs.
Van Brugh would like me better.

_Eve._ Mamma does like you, dear. She thinks you are very grave and
precise and methodical, but I am sure she likes you--or why did she
consent to our engagement?

_Fred._ Because she loves you so well that she has the heart to thwart
you in nothing. She is an admirable woman--good, kind--charitable
beyond measure--beloved, honored, and courted by all----

_Eve._ The best woman in the world!

_Fred._ But she does not understand me. Well, time will work a change,
and I must be content to wait.

  _Enter SERVANT._

_Servant._ Mr. Edward Athelney, miss, is in the drawing room.

_Eve._ Dear me, how tiresome.

_Fred._ (_calmly_). Miss Van Brugh is not at home.

_Eve._ (_astonished_). Oh, Frederick, I am! [_Exit SERVANT._

_Fred._ Well, yes, of course in one sense you certainly are. But being
engaged upon a good work, with which an interruption would seriously
interfere, you may be said--metaphorically, of course, and for the
purposes of this particular case--to be, to a certain extent, out.

_Eve._ (_puzzled_). I am quite sure I am at home, dear, in every
possible sense of the word. You don’t dislike Edward, do you?

_Fred._ You know very well that I dislike no one.

_Eve._ I’m sure of that. You love all men.

_Fred._ No doubt, Eve, I love all men. But you will understand that I
love some men less than others; and, although I love Edward Athelney
very much indeed, I love him, perhaps, less than anybody else in the
world.

_Eve._ But this is quite astonishing! Has Ted Athelney a fault? What
is it? Come, sir, name one fault if you can. And mind, he’s my big
brother, or as good, so be careful.

_Fred._ “Frater nascitur non fit.”

_Eve._ Oh!

_Fred._ I don’t believe in your amateur brother. With every desire to
confine himself to the duties of the character he undertakes, he is
nevertheless apt to overlook the exact point where the brother ends and
the lover begins.

_Eve._ (_puzzled_). The lover!

_Fred._ The brother by birth keeps well within bounds, but the amateur
treads so often on the border line that in time it becomes obliterated
and the functions merge.

_Eve._ Ted Athelney a lover of mine! Oh, that’s too absurd. Ted
Athelney--that great, clumsy, middle-aged, awkward, good-natured,
apple-faced man, a lover of anybody’s, and least of all, of mine! Why
he’s forty! Oh, it’s shocking--it’s horrible! I won’t hear any thing so
dreadful of any one I love so much.

_Fred._ You admit that you love him?

_Eve._ Oh, yes, I _love_ him--but I don’t LOVE him. (_Nestling against
FRED._) Don’t _you_ understand the difference?

_Fred._ I don’t like his calling you Eve.

_Eve._ Why you wouldn’t have him--oh, you never _could_ want Ted
Athelney to call me Miss Van Brugh?

_Fred._ Then he kisses you.

_Eve._ Of course he does, dear. Kisses me? So does mamma!

_Fred._ No doubt, but there’s some difference.

_Eve._ A difference! What difference?

_Fred._ This, if no other: that I object to the one, and don’t object
to the other. (_Turns away._)

_Eve._ (_disappointed_). Then I’m not to kiss Ted Athelney any more.

  _Enter TED ATHELNEY._

_Ted._ Well, Eve, old lady, here I am, back again--well and hearty.

_Eve._ Ted, stand back; I’m not to kiss you.

_Ted._ Eh? Why not?

_Eve._ It’s wrong. Isn’t it? (_To FRED._)

_Fred._ I’m sorry you think it necessary to ask the question.

_Eve._ There, Ted. Only think of the wrong we’ve been doing for years
and years, and never knew it!

_Ted._ But who told you it was wrong. Not conscience, I’ll be sworn.

_Eve._ No; that’s the worst of it. There’s something wrong with
my conscience; it doesn’t seem to be up to its work. From some
motive--mistaken politeness, perhaps--it declines to assert itself.
Awful, isn’t it?

_Ted._ Come, something’s happened during my absence in town; tell me
what it is.

_Eve._ Something of a tremendous nature _has_ happened! Ted Athelney, I
mustn’t call you Ted Athelney any longer!

_Ted._ What?

_Eve._ And I mustn’t let you kiss me, because I’m going to be married.

_Ted._ Married! (_Starting._)

_Eve._ Yes.

_Ted._ To--? (_Indicating FREDERICK._)

_Eve._ Yes. (_He is much agitated._) Won’t you tell me that you are
glad to hear it?

_Ted._ (_after a pause_). Yes, Eve, I’m glad of any thing that makes
you happy. It has come upon me very suddenly. I never thought of your
getting married. I was a great ass, for it must have come about some
time or other, and why not now? and it must have been to some fellow,
and why not Fred Smailey? God bless you, Eve. I must get it well into
my mind before I can talk about it, and mine is a mind that takes a
good deal of getting at. I hope and believe that you will be happy.
                                                        (_She retires._)
Fred, old man----

  (_Goes to FRED; takes his hand and tries to speak, but in vain._)

  _Enter MRS. VAN BRUGH._

_Mrs. V. B._ Well, I’ve done for myself now; go away from me; I’m a
pariah, an outcast; don’t, for goodness’ sake, be seen talking with me.

_Eve._ Why, mamma, dear, what on earth have you been doing?

_Mrs. V. B._ Doing? Listen and shudder! I’ve put a Dissenter into my
almshouses! (_Sits at table._)

_Fred._ (_rising_). A Dissenter?

_Mrs. V. B._ A real live Dissenter. Isn’t it awful!

_Fred._ No, awful is too strong a term; but I think it was a very, very
sad mistake.

_Mrs. V. B._ A thousand thanks for your toleration--I shall never
forget it. The village is outraged--they have stood my eccentricities
long enough. It was bad enough when I put a Roman Catholic in, but
in consideration of the almshouses being my own they were good enough
to swallow the Roman Catholic. Then came a Jew--well, the village was
merciful, and with a few wry faces they swallowed even the Jew. But a
Dissenter! The line _must_ be drawn somewhere, and High and Low Church
are agreed that it must be drawn at Dissenters. The churchwardens look
the other way when I pass. The clerk’s religious zeal causes him to
turn into the “Red Cow,” rather than touch his hat to me, and even the
dirty little boys run after me shouting “No Popery” at the top of their
voices, though I’m sure I don’t see how it applies.

_Fred._ But, my dear Mrs. Van Brugh, you mean well I’m sure--but a Jew,
a Catholic, and a Dissenter!--is there no such thing as a starving
Churchman to be found?

_Mrs. V. B._ There are but too many starving men of all denominations,
but while I’m hunting out the Churchman, the Jew, the Catholic and the
Dissenter will perish, and that would never do, would it?

_Fred._ That is the Christianity of impulse. I would feed him that
belonged to my own church, and if he did not belong to it, I would not
feed him at all.

_Mrs. V. B._ That is the Christianity of Religious Politics. As to
these poor people, they will shake down and agree very well in time.
Nothing is so conducive to toleration as the knowledge that one’s bread
depends upon it. It applies to all conditions of life, from almshouses
to Happy Families. Where are you going?

_Eve._ We are going down to the school to see the cakes and oranges and
decorations----

_Fred._ (_seriously_). And to impress upon the children the danger of
introducing inharmonious elements into _their_ little almshouses.

_Mrs. V. B._ Well, I hope you’ll be more successful with them than with
me. Their case is much more critical than mine, I assure you. (_Exeunt
EVE and FRED. MRS. VAN BRUGH sees EDWARD, who is sitting at back,
with his head between his hands._) Why, who’s this? Edward Athelney,
returned at last to his disconsolate village? Go away, sir--don’t come
near me--you’re a reprobate--you’ve been in London ten days and nobody
to look after you. Give an account of yourself. It’s awful to think
of the villainy a thoroughly badly disposed young man can get through
in ten days in London, if I’m not there to look after him--come, sir,
all your crimes, please, in alphabetical order--now then, A--Arson.
Any arson? No? Quite sure? Come now, that’s something--Then we go to
Burglary? Bigamy? No Bigamy? Come, it’s not as bad as I thought.--Why
(_seeing that he looks very wretched_), what on earth is the
matter--why, my poor Ted--what is distressing you? I never saw you look
so wretched in my life!

_Ted._ Oh! Mrs. Van Brugh, I’m awfully unhappy!

_Mrs. V. B._ My poor old friend--tell me all about it.

_Ted._ It’s soon told--Mrs. Van Brugh, you have a daughter, who’s the
best and loveliest girl I ever saw in my life.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_pause_). My poor Edward!

_Ted._ Did--did you know that I--that I was like this?

_Mrs. V. B._ No! no! no!

_Ted._ Nor I, it came on me like a thunderclap--my love for that little
girl has grown as imperceptibly as my age has grown--I’ve taken no note
of either till now--when I rub my eyes and find that I love her dearly,
and that I’m eight-and-thirty!

_Mrs. V. B._ But, surely you know--you must have heard----

_Ted._ Yes, yes, I’ve just heard--Fred Smailey’s a lucky fellow, and he
deserves his luck.

_Mrs. V. B._ Perhaps. I don’t know. I don’t like Fred Smailey.

_Ted._ (_amazed_). You don’t like Smailey?

_Mrs. V. B._ No, I don’t, and I’m afraid I show it. My dear old friend,
it would have made me very happy to have seen you married to Eve, but
he was first in the field, and she loves him. At first I wouldn’t hear
of it--but she fell ill--might have died--well I’m her mother, and I
love her, and I gave in. I know nothing against him.

_Ted._ Oh, Fred Smailey’s a good fellow, a thorough good fellow. You do
him an injustice, indeed you do; I never knew a man with such a sense
of gratitude--it’s perfectly astonishing. Remember how he gave me that
splendid colly, when I pulled him out of the ice, last February, and
how in return for my lending him money to pay his college debts, he got
his father to let me shoot over Rushout--no--no--if Fred Smailey has a
fault, he’s too good for this world.

_Mrs. V. B._ Is he?--at all events he’s too solemn.

_Ted._ Here’s the dad coming--he mustn’t see me like this. Good-by,
Mrs. Van Brugh. You won’t speak of this to any one, I know--not that
I’ve reason to be ashamed of it, but it’ll pain Eve and Fred too. I’ll
bear up, never fear, and Eve shall never know--after all, her happiness
is the great end, and, so that it’s brought about, what matter whether
Fred or I do it, so that it’s done. It’s Fred’s job, not mine--better
luck for him, worse luck for me. [_Exit._

_Mrs. V. B._ Poor fellow! There goes a heart of gold with a head of
cotton-wool! Oh, Eve, Eve, my dear, I’m very sad for you! Is it head or
heart that makes the best husband? Better that baby-hearted simpleton
than the sharpest Smailey that ever stepped! I’m very unjust. Heaven
knows that I, of all women in this world, should be slow to judge. But
my dislike to that man, to his family, to every thing that relates to
him, is intuitive. However, the mischief, if mischief there be, is
done; I’ll make the best of it.

  _Enter DR. ATHELNEY, very hurriedly._

_Dr. A._ My dear Mrs. Van Brugh, I come without a moment’s loss of
time, to thank you in my late curate Twemlow’s name for your great
kindness in presenting him to the Crabthorpe living. He has a wife and
four children, and is nearly mad with joy and gratitude. I’ve brought
you his letter.

_Mrs. V. B._ I won’t read it, doctor. I can’t bear gratitude; it
makes my eyes red. Take it away. I am only too glad to have helped a
struggling and deserving man. Now, I’m very glad you’ve come, because I
want to consult you on a business matter of some importance.

_Dr. A._ My dear Mrs. Van Brugh, I have been the intellectual head of
this village for fifty-three years, and nobody ever yet paid me the
compliment of consulting me on a matter of business.

_Mrs. V. B._ Then I’ve no doubt I’m going to hit upon a neglected mine
of commercial sagacity!

_Dr. A._ It’s very possible. I was second wrangler of my year.

_Mrs. V. B._ I told you last night of Eve’s engagement. Well, old Mr.
Smailey has sent me a note to say that he will call on me to-morrow
week to talk over the settlement I propose to make on the occasion of
my darling’s marriage with his son. Now, doctor, look as wise as you
can, and tell me what I ought to do.

_Dr. A._ Well, in such a case I should be very worldly. I think, my
dear, I should prepare a nice little luncheon, with a bottle of that
Amontillado, and then, having got him quietly and cosily _tête-à-tête_,
I should ask him what _he_ proposes to do.

_Mrs. V. B._ Very good indeed, doctor. Upon my word, for a colonial
bishop-elect, that’s not bad. But, unfortunately, I’ve already
ascertained that he proposes to do nothing. All his money is tied up.

_Dr. A._ Oh, is it indeed? Bless me! Tied up, is it? And may I ask,
what do you understand by that expression?

_Mrs. V. B._ Well, in round terms, it’s his, but he mustn’t spend it.
Do you understand?

_Dr. A._ Oh, yes. When I was a boy my uncle gave me a guinea on those
terms.

_Mrs. V. B._ Now come, doctor dear, the young people look to me, and,
when one is looked to, one should be equal to the emergency. What would
you advise me to do?

_Dr. A._ _Your_ property is not, I suppose, tied up?

_Mrs. V. B._ No; it is quite unfettered, and consists principally of
long leaseholds and funded property, left me by my godfather, and a
small sum of money acquired by Captain Van Brugh on his first marriage.

_Dr. A._ His first marriage! Bless me, I never knew he had been married
before.

_Mrs. V. B._ Yes (_much agitated_), a most unhappy match. She--she left
him under discreditable circumstances--went to Australia--resumed her
maiden name, and, under that name, died in Melbourne.

_Dr. A._ And when did this unhappy lady die?

_Mrs. V. B._ (_still agitated_). Oh! years ago--It’s a terrible story.
I don’t like to think of it--I can’t bear to talk of it.

_Dr. A._ (_aside_). What a blundering old savage I am! If there is a
pitfall open, ten to one I tumble into it! (_Aloud._) I have always
understood that where marriage settlements of any consideration are
concerned, it is customary to employ a solicitor. I can’t quote my
authority, but, I feel sure that I am right.

_Mrs. V. B._ Old Mr. Smailey is an executor under Captain Van Brugh’s
will, and _his_ solicitor has always acted for me.

_Dr. A._ His solicitor! what, that queer little red-faced fellow who
accompanies him everywhere?

_Mrs. V. B._ No. Ha! ha! ha! I suppose Mr. Fitz Partington is a junior
partner, or head clerk, or something of the kind--at all events, his
name doesn’t appear in the firm.

_Dr. A._ Well, leave it to me, Mrs. Van Brugh, and I’ll write to my
brother, the Vice-Chancellor, who will tell us what to do. Now I’m off.
(_Noise without._) Why--what’s this? Bless me, Mrs. Van Brugh, what is
the cause of this commotion?

  (_Noise heard without, as of people struggling with a woman, who
    rudely expostulates with them._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Why, what in the world is the matter?

  _Enter three or four SERVANT MEN with RUTH TREDGETT in custody. She
    is wild-looking and dishevelled, as if she had been struggling
    violently._

_Groom._ We’ve got her, ma’am. Don’t be afraid. (_To RUTH._) Stand
quiet, you jade, will yer? Woa, there! We’ve got her, sir, but we’ve
had a desperate hard job to do it.

_Dr. A._ What has been done?

_Groom._ She’s knocked two teeth clean out of my head, sir, and give
notice to quit to a dozen more.

_Dr. A._ We will hear your grievance presently. What has this woman
done that she is brought here?

_All._ Done, sir, why----

_But._ (_with dignity to the others_). If you please! (_To MRS. VAN
BRUGH_) Ma’am, Edwards found this here woman creepin’ out of my pantry,
ma’am, on all fours.

_Dr. A._ On what?

_But._ On her hands and knees, like a quadruped, sir.

_Dr. A._ Have you searched her?

_But._ (_shocked_). No, sir, I have _not_ searched her.

_Dr. A._ Well, well, I mean has she been searched?

_But._ (_with dignity_). I put my hand in her pocket, sir, and I looked
under her shawl.

_Dr. A._ Well, you didn’t search her, but you put your hand in her
pocket, and you looked under her shawl. What did you find there?

_But._ A decanter of sherry, sir. (_Producing it._)

_Dr. A._ (_to MRS. V. B._) Your sherry, Mrs. Van Brugh?

_But._ _Our_ sherry, Dr. Athelney.

_Dr. A._ Well, you hear what this man says; did you take this wine?

_Ruth._ Ay, I took it, sure enough.

_Dr. A._ Why did you take it?

_Ruth._ Why, to drink, of course. Why _should_ I take it?

_Dr. A._ You _shouldn’t_ take it.

_Ruth._ Don’t you never take wine?

_Dr. A._ Not other people’s wine--except, of course, with their
permission.

_Ruth._ Maybe you’ve got a cellar of your own.

_Dr. A._ Maybe I have.

_Ruth._ Well, maybe _I_ haven’t. That’s my answer.

_Dr. A._ Now, what are we to do with her?

_Mrs. V. B._ Leave her to me. Dr. Athelney, please remain here with me.
Every one else, except the woman, leave the room.

_But._ She’s a desperate character, ma’am; it took six of us, including
me, to bring her here.

_Mrs. V. B._ Never mind. Dr. Athelney and I will see her alone. Take
your hands from her and go.

_But._ Hadn’t we better keep within hearing? If help was wanted----

_Mrs. V. B._ No help will be wanted. I am in earnest. Go. Shut the
door. (_The SERVANTS reluctantly depart._)

_Ruth._ You’re a cool hand, missis; ain’t you afeard on me?

_Mrs. V. B._ Not at all. Why should I be afraid of you? I mean you no
harm.

_Ruth._ Who’s he?

_Mrs. V. B._ Dr. Athelney, a clergyman and a magistrate.

_Ruth._ Beak, is he? Well, let him make out the committal. Where’s it
to be? Sessions?

_Mrs. V. B._ We have no wish to prosecute you. We wish to help you to
arrive at a sense of right and wrong.

_Ruth._ Can’t it be done without a parson? I dunno much good o’
parsons. I’d rather it was done without a parson.

_Dr. A._ (_kindly_). Don’t think of me as a clergyman, if that calling
is distasteful to you. Perhaps some day we may succeed in overcoming
your prejudice. In the mean time, think of me only as a harmless old
gentleman, who is willing and able to help you to earn your living
respectably, if you desire to do so.

_Ruth._ Ah, I’ve come across the likes o’ you afore now. Three weeks
agone comes a parson, as it might be you. “I’ve come to help you,
poor fallen creetur,” says he; “I’ve come to tell you blessed truths,
poor miserable outcast,” says he. “Read that, wretched lost sheep,”
says he. “I’ll call again in a month and see how you feel,” says he.
A month! Heugh! When I was bad with fever the doctor come every day.
_He_ never come no more. There’s ladies come odd times. I call to mind
one--come in a carriage _she_ did. Same story--poor, miserable, lost
one--wretched abandoned fellow-creetur, and that. She called me a brand
from the burnin’, and wanted to stretch out a hand to save me, _she_
did. Well, she stretched it out, and I thought she meant it (for I was
green then), and, fool-like, I took it, and kissed it. She screeched as
though I’d bit her!

_Mrs. V. B._ Will you take _my_ hand?

_Ruth._ (_astonished_). Do you know what I am?

_Mrs. V. B._ Yes; I know well what you are. You are a woman who wants
help, and I a woman who will help you. (_Taking her hand_).

_Ruth._ (_much moved_). Thankee, missis! you’ve spoke fair to me. I’ve
had no one speak like that to me for many a long year. Thankee, missis.
(_Struggling with tears._) Don’t mind me. (_Throws her apron over her
face and sobs._) They _will_ come odd times!

_Mrs. V. B._ Will you tell me your name?

_Ruth._ Ruth Tredgett. I come from Cambridge.

_Dr. A._ Born there?

_Ruth._ I dunno as I was born there, but I come from there.

_Dr. A._ What are you?

_Ruth._ I s’pose I’m a thief. I s’pose I’m what gentlefolk thinks
is wus than a thief. God help me! I s’pose I’m as bad as I can be.
(_Weeping._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Are your parents alive?

_Ruth._ No, I never had no father--my mother was such as me. See here,
lady. Wot’s to become of a gal whose mother was such as me? Mother!
Why, I could swear afore I could walk!

_Dr. A._ But were you not brought up to any calling?

_Ruth._ Yes, sir, I were; I were brought up to be a thief. Every soul
as I knowed was a thief, and the best thief was the best thought on.
Maybe a kid not long born ought to have knowed better. I dunno, I
must ha’ been born bad, for it seemed right enough to me. Well, it
was _in_ prison and _out_ o’ prison--three months here and six months
there--till I was sixteen. I sometimes thinks as if they’d bin half as
ready to show me how to go right as they was to punish me for goin’
wrong, I might have took the right turnin’ and stuck to it afore this.
At sixteen I got seven year for shopliftin’, and was sent out to Port
Philip. I soon got a ticket and tried service and needlework, but no
one wouldn’t have me; and I got sick and tired of it all, and began
to think o’ putting a end to it, when I met a smooth-spoken chap--a
gentleman, if you please--as wanted to save me from the danger afore
me. Well, wot odds? He was a psalm-singing villain, and he soon left
me. No need to tell the rest--to such as you it can’t be told. I’m
’most as bad as I can be--as bad as I can be!

_Mrs. V. B._ I think not; I think not. What do you say, Doctor?

_Dr. A._ (_struggling with his tears_). Say, ma’am? I say that you,
Ruth Tredgett, have been a most discreditable person, and you ought to
be heartily ashamed of yourself, Ruth Tredgett; and as a clergyman of
the Church of England I feel bound to tell you that--that your life has
been--has been what God knows it couldn’t well have helped being under
the circumstances.

_Mrs. V. B._ Ruth Tredgett, I am very, very sorry for you. If you are
willing to leave this unhappy course of life I will provide you with
the means of earning your living honestly.

_Ruth._ Honestly! Why, lady, I’m too fur gone for that!

_Mrs. V. B._ I hope not. I have assisted many, very many such women as
yourself, and I have seldom found my efforts wasted.

_Ruth._ But you--a lady, high-born, high-bred, beautiful, rich,
good--(_In amazement._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Hush. (_Rises._) No matter what I am. (_With emotion._)
Who shall say what the very best of us might not have been but for the
accident of education and good example? Tell me, Ruth Tredgett, will
you accept my offer?

_Ruth._ (_kneels at her feet and looks up into her face_). I will!


ACT II.

  SCENE: _same as in Act I._

  _Enter MR. SMAILEY and SERVANT._

_Mr. S._ (_very gently_). Will you have the goodness to tell Mrs. Van
Brugh that Mr. Smailey is here to see her, by appointment?

_Serv._ Mr. Smailey, sir? Yes, sir. (_Going._)

  _Enter MR. FITZ PARTINGTON._

_Fitz._ (_stopping SERVANT_). _And_ his solicitor.

_Mr. S._ (_with mild sternness_). You have followed me again, sir?

_Fitz._ Followed you again, sir; according to contract.

_Mr. S._ There is no contract between us that entitles you to dog my
footsteps as though you were hunting down a thief.

_Fitz._ Hunting down a thief? Oh, yes. To enable me to assist you in
blighting the character of the best and loveliest woman that ever shed
a light upon a private detective’s thorny path, I am to have the free
run of your house and papers; I am to accompany you wherever you go,
and you are to introduce me everywhere as your solicitor.

_Mr. S._ Sir, you are not in the least like a solicitor. You are a
ridiculously dressed person. You are like nothing in the world but
what you are--a private detective. I desire to press hardly on no
fellow-creature, but you are a spy! that base and utterably abject
thing--a spy!

_Fitz._ Mr. Smailey, when you complain that you find my society
irksome, you have my profoundest sympathy; I find it so myself. When
you revile my profession, my sentiments are entirely in accord, for I
have the very poorest opinion of it. But when you imply that I don’t
look the character I undertake to represent, why _then_, sir, you
touch the private detective on the most sensitive part of his moral
anatomy. I’m not a blameless character, but if I undertook to personate
the Archbishop of Canterbury I believe I should look the part, and my
conversation would be found to be in keeping with the character.

_Mr. S._ Pray, silence; oh, pray, pray, silence. You shock me
inexpressibly. It is most painful to me to have to resort to your
assistance. My son, my dear son, has engaged himself to marry Mrs.
Van Brugh’s daughter. I have lately had reason to believe that there
is something discreditable in Mrs. Van Brugh’s marriage relations,
though I do not know its precise nature. You tell me that you have a
certain clew to this flaw, though you decline to tell me what it is
until your proofs are matured. Well, sir, the Smaileys are a very old
and very famous family. Caius Smaileius came over with Julius Cæsar;
his descendants have borne an untarnished scutcheon for eighteen
hundred years. In its interest I am bound to employ you, and upon your
own most exacting terms, though I can not think of your contemptible
calling without a feeling of the most profound abhorrence.

_Fitz._ Sir, I am heartily ashamed of it.

_Mr. S._ You are a professional impostor; a hired lie.

_Fitz._ It is too true. I not only lie myself, but I am the cause of
lying in others.

_Mr. S._ For the lies that have to be told in accounting for you I
hold you entirely responsible. I wish that to be understood. I wash my
hands of them altogether, and, when I think of the deep, deliberate,
and utterly indefensible falsehoods that I have had to utter on your
behalf, I tremble for your future--I tremble for your future.

_Fitz._ Unselfish man.

_Mr. S._ As for the preposterous terms you have dictated----

_Fitz._ Terms! I have insured to myself the unbroken enjoyment of
your desirable society for six weeks, and believe me, when I say that
if I had been acquainted with the inexpressible charms of the most
fascinating woman that ever shed a light upon the private detective’s
thorny path, I wouldn’t have undertaken the job, no, not even for a
lifetime of your society!

  _Enter MRS. VAN BRUGH._

_Mrs. V. B._ Good morning, Mr. Smailey. I am sorry to have kept you
waiting. (_Aside_) That absurd little man with him again. (_Aloud_)
Good morning, Mr.----

_Fitz._ Fitz Partington.

_Mrs. V. B._ Fitz Partington, of course.

_Fitz._ (_aside_). She might remember _my_ name. I can’t conceive any
circumstances under which I could forget _hers_!

_Mr. S._ Mr. Fitz Partington is entirely in my confidence. I brought
him, because I believed that his familiarity with legal forms might
assist us in our interview. You can speak without reserve before Mr.
Fitz Partington. (_Aside to FITZ._) A lie, sir! Another lie, from first
to last!

_Mrs. V. B._ I suppose the facts will come before Mr. Fitz Partington
when they are decided on. The steps by which they are arrived at will
only bore him. I’m sure Mr. Partington won’t be angry with me, when
I ask him to amuse himself in the next room until preliminaries are
arranged.

_Fitz._ Mrs. Van Brugh, I have made it a part of my moral code to step
without hesitation into any apartment you may think fit to indicate.
[_Exit._

_Mrs. V. B._ Now, Mr. Smailey, about these settlements. I will tell
you at once what I propose to do. My income is, as you know, a very
large one--much larger than any one would suppose who judges from the
quietness of my mode of life. I am an odd woman, and I spend my money
in my own way. I have very many claims upon it, and, although I wish
to deal handsomely with my darling Eve, I must not disappoint those
who have counted upon me for some years past. To come to the point, I
propose to settle my Buckinghamshire farm upon her, on the usual terms
of a marriage settlement. I don’t know the technical expression--but on
the usual terms.

_Mr. S._ The Buckinghamshire farm, yes. Thank you. I forget whether
that is the leasehold or the freehold farm, for you have two.

_Mrs. V. B._ You mustn’t ask me. Your solicitor knows. It’s worth £500
a year, and that, I suppose, is the main point.

_Mr. S._ Not altogether; the difference in value may be prodigious.
Have you a copy of the will?

_Mrs. V. B._ No. I never saw the will.

_Mr. S._ Never saw the will? I think I have a copy of it at home--with
your permission, I will go and fetch it, and the matter can be decided
at once.

_Mrs. V. B._ Do, by all means. I only know that my property is all
my own, and that I can do what I like with it; and I assure you, Mr.
Smailey, I avail myself of the privilege.

_Mr. S._ You do indeed. And that reminds me, Mrs. Van Brugh, that I
am anxious to speak to you on another topic--a topic of a singularly
painful character. I will endeavor, Mrs. Van Brugh, to approach it as
delicately as possible.

_Mrs. V. B._ Indeed! (_Alarmed._) You rouse my curiosity, Mr. Smailey.
Does it--does it refer in any way to myself?

_Mr. S._ Directly to yourself.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_much alarmed_). May I ask in what way?

_Mr. S._ As I said before, it is a most difficult subject to approach,
and I would willingly spare you. Give me a moment to think how I can
best put it to you.

_Mrs. V. B._ Pray have no hesitation in telling me what it is. (_With
half-disguised emotion._) Does it--does it refer in any way to my--to
my past life, for instance? (_With affected cheerfulness._)

_Mr. S._ It does refer to incidents in your past life. To many
incidents in general, and to one incident in particular.

_Mrs. V. B._ For Heaven’s sake, sir, be explicit. Speak out, I implore
you. (_With suppressed agitation._)

_Mr. S._ You seem strangely agitated, Mrs. Van Brugh.

_Mrs. V. B._ No, no; I am ill and nervous to-day. Your manner is rather
alarming. (_With affected cheerfulness._) You know I’m a very bad hand
at guessing riddles, Mr. Smailey. Come, what is it? I give it up. (_He
hesitates._) Why have you any hesitation in telling me?

_Mr. S._ Because it involves a particularly delicate moral point. (_She
is much agitated._) God bless me, you seem very much alarmed.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_with determination_). Mr. Smailey, once and for all, I
insist upon knowing what it is.

_Mr. S._ Well, then, to be quite plain with you, it is currently
reported in the village that you have taken a miserable woman from the
streets and established her in the character of a respectable workwoman
within a hundred yards of this spot. (_MRS. VAN BRUGH, whose agitation
and alarm have been intense, is greatly relieved._) Moreover, I have
been informed that you have, for some years past, been in the habit of
searching out women of bad character who profess penitence, with the
view of enabling them to earn their living in the society of blameless
Christians.

_Mrs. V. B._ I have.

_Mr. S._ I tell you at once that I am loath to believe this thing.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_with indignant surprise_). Why are you loath to believe
this thing?

_Mr. S._ Why? (_Rises._) Because its audacity, its want of principle,
and, above all, its unspeakable indelicacy, shock me beyond the power
of expression.

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Smailey, is it possible that you are speaking
deliberately? Think of any blameless woman whom you love and honor,
and who is loved and honored of all. Think of the shivering outcast
whose presence is contamination, whose touch is horror unspeakable,
whose very existence is an unholy stain on God’s earth. Woman--loved,
honored, courted by all. Woman--shunned, loathed, and unutterably
despised, but still--Woman. I do not plead for those whose advantages
of example and education render their fall ten thousand times
more culpable. Let others speak for such as they. (_With a broken
voice._)--It may be that something is to be said, even for them.
I plead for those who have had the world against them from the
first--who with blunted weapons and untutored hands have fought society
single-handed, and fallen in the unequal fight. God help them!

_Mr. S._ Mrs. Van Brugh, I have no desire to press hardly on any
fellow-creature, but society, the grand arbiter in these matters, has
decided that a woman who has once forfeited her moral position shall
never regain it.

_Mrs. V. B._ Even though her repentance be sincere and beyond doubt?

_Mr. S._ Even so.

_Mrs. V. B._ Even though she fell unprotected, unadvised, perishing
with want and chilled with despair?

_Mr. S._ Even so. For such a woman there is no excuse--for such a woman
there is no pardon.

_Mrs. V. B._ You mean no pardon on earth?

_Mr. S._ Of course I mean no pardon on earth. What can I have to do
with pardon elsewhere?

_Mrs. V. B._ Nothing. Mr. Smailey, when you have procured the will, I
shall be ready to see you; but before you go let me tell you that I
am inexpressibly shocked and pained at the terrible theory you have
advanced. (_He endeavors to speak._) Oh, understand me, I do not charge
you with exceptional heartlessness. You represent the opinions of
society, and society is fortunate in its mouthpiece. Heaven teaches
that there is a pardon for every penitent. Earth teaches that there is
one sin for which there is no pardon--when the sinner is a woman!

  (_RUTH has entered. She is quietly and decently dressed, and carries
    a parcel of needlework in her hand._)

_Mr. S._ (_aside_). Mrs. Van Brugh, pray be quiet; we are observed.

_Mrs. V. B._ By the subject of our conversation. [_Exit MRS. VAN BRUGH._

_Ruth._ I beg pardon--I thought the lady was alone. (_Going._)

_Mr. S._ Stop, woman. (_She turns and advances._) Don’t--don’t approach
me--we have nothing in common. Listen at a distance. Mrs. Van Brugh has
thought proper to place you on a pedestal that levels you, socially,
with respectable Christians. In so doing, I consider that she has
insulted respectable Christians. She thinks proper to suffer you to
enter _my_ presence. In so doing I consider that she has insulted _me_.
I desire you to understand that when a woman of your stamp enters the
presence of a Christian gentleman, she----

_Ruth._ (_who has been looking at him in wonder during this speech_).
Smailey! That’s never _you_! (_MR. S. falls back in his chair._)

_Ruth._ Ay, Smailey, it’s Ruth Tredgett.

_Mr. S._ (_very confused_). I did not know whom I was speaking to.

_Ruth._ But you knowed _what_ you was speakin’ to, Jonas Smailey. Go
on. I’m kinder curous to hear what _you’ve_ got to say about a woman
o’ my stamp. I’m kinder curous to hear wot Jonas Smailey’s got to say
about his own work.

_Mr. S._ We meet in a strange way after so many years.

_Ruth._ Yes; we do meet in a strange way. Seems to me it’s suthin’ of a
topsy-turvy way. But it’s a topsy-turvy world, ain’t it?

_Mr. S._ (_recovering himself with bland dignity_). I have no desire to
press hardly on any fellow-creature----

_Ruth._ (_quietly_). Come, that’s kind, anyhow.

_Mr. S._ Perhaps, after all, you were not entirely to blame.

_Ruth._ Well, p’raps not.

_Mr. S._ Perhaps I myself was not altogether without reproach in the
matter. But in my case allowance should, in common charity, be made
for follies that arise from extreme youth and--and inexperience. I was
barely forty then.

_Ruth._ And I was just sixteen. Well, I forgive you, along o’ your
youth, as I hope to be forgiven along o’ my childhood.

_Mr. S._ (_rises_). The tone you adopt is in the worst possible taste.
The misguided lady who has taken upon herself, most wickedly, to foist
you upon society, has committed a fraud, which----

_Ruth._ Stop _there_, Smailey! You’re getting on dangerous ground. Best
leave that lady alone. She’s a bit chipped off heaven--she’s good right
through. She’s--she’s--I’m slow at findin’ words that mean goodness. My
words run mostly the other way, wus luck. If I had to tell o’ _you_,
Smailey, they’d come handy and strong. I can’t find words that mean
_her_!

_Mr. S._ I have no wish to be hard on you, but it _is_ a fraud, and----

_Ruth._ Fraud? Fraud’s a bad word to come from _you_, Smailey. I’d ha’
thought you’d ha’ fought shy o’ that word, for the rest o’ your days.

_Mr. S._ (_taken aback_). I don’t know what you refer to.

_Ruth._ I’m referrin’ to Martha Vane of Melbourne. What, yer recklect
Martha Vane, do yer?

_Mr. S._ Martha Vane! Yes, I remember Vane. Pooh! There is nothing to
connect me with that matter.

_Ruth._ Nothing? I’ve writin’ of yours which is fourteen year, if it’s
a day.

_Mr. S._ And do you mean to say that you would be guilty of such
inhumanity--such devilish inhumanity (I use the word “devilish” in its
religious sense) as to bring up an act of youthful folly--guilt if
you will--against me now that I have achieved wealth, reputation, and
social position?

_Ruth._ No, you’re safe, Smailey. Bring it up agin yer now? Why, you
may have repented, who knows? You was a bad lot, sure enough, but
that’s twenty years agone, and you may ha’ repented.

_Mr. S._ I have; I’m an altered person--I--I--will make it well worth
your while to give me up that writing you refer to. I will pay you very
handsomely for it.

_Ruth._ Pay! no; I ain’t on that lay. I’m square now. I’m a ’spectable
woman. I only takes money wot I earns. It comes slow, but it comes
comfortable.

_Mr. S._ Your sentiments do you credit. I confess I did not look for
such delicacy of feeling in you; it exalts one’s idea of human nature.
I am thankful for any thing that exalts one’s idea of human nature.
Thank you, Tredgett. Give me these papers.

_Ruth._ No; I’m ’spectable, but I ain’t a fool. I’ll keep ’em, case I
want ’em.

_Mr. S._ As you please. Remember, Tredgett, I am a person of influence
here, and a county magistrate----

_Ruth._ What, d’you sit at quarter sessions?

_Mr. S._ Certainly.

_Ruth._ And sentence poor prigs?

_Mr. S._ Yes. Why do you ask?

_Ruth._ Nothing; go on--it’s all topsy-turvy!

_Mr. S._ I shall be happy if I can serve you in any way. I shall
always be glad to hear that you are doing well, and I feel certain
that the admirable lady who has so kindly taken you in hand will have
no reason to regret her charity. It is easy to fall, and hard to
rise again--Heaven bless those who extend a helping hand. I am very
glad indeed that we have met. I’ve no wish to press hardly on any
fellow-creature. [_Exit._

_Ruth._ Jonas Smailey! Smailey here! Things come about queerly. I seed
him last at t’other end o’ the world, and to meet him here! Who’s that?
(_FITZ PARTINGTON has entered unobserved on tiptoe, and tapped her on
the shoulder._)

_Fitz._ Come here. (_Taking out note-book._) Your name’s Ruth Tredgett?

_Ruth._ (_surprised_). Ay.

_Fitz._ What are you?

_Ruth._ A ’spectable woman. Wot are _you_?

_Fitz._ A detective.

_Ruth._ (_falling back horrified_). Wot’s it for?

_Fitz._ Nothing. _You_ ain’t wanted, but your address is.

_Ruth._ I’m living at Barker’s in the village.

_Fitz._ Present occupation?

_Ruth._ Needlewoman.

_Fitz._ Late occupation?

_Ruth._ Tramp. There’s nothin’ agin me?

_Fitz._ Nothing against you, every thing for you; even this half-crown.

_Ruth._ I don’t like p’leece money. I never took none yet, I ain’t a
goin’ to begin now. I wish yer good day. I don’t like p’leece money.
[_Exit._

_Fitz._ I’m not a policeman, I’m a private detective; but we won’t
split hairs. (_Pockets coin._) I thought Smailey was my man, now I’m
sure of it. Ha! ha! Now, Smailey has a game. The question is, what is
it? He says it’s his scutcheon, but that is Walker, because his father
was a wig-maker. However, it’s quite clear that, whatever his game may
be, it is my duty to put that inestimable woman on her guard.

  _Enter MRS. VAN BRUGH._

_Mrs. V. B._ Has not Mr. Smailey returned?

_Fitz._ No, ma’am, he has not. (_He shows traces of emotion._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Fitz Partington, is any thing the matter?

_Fitz._ Ma’am, you have come upon me in a moment of professional
conscientiousness. Avail yourself of it, for such moments are rare and
fleeting. Beware of Smailey.

_Mrs. V. B._ What in the world do you mean?

_Fitz._ I mean that he is endeavoring to prove that--that you were not
legally married to Captain Van Brugh.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_intensely agitated_). Mr. Fitz Partington, you can not
be aware of the full import of your words. What can be Mr. Smailey’s
motive for making these preposterous inquiries?

_Fitz._ That’s just what I want to get at. In a general way it’s sure
to be something dirty. Perhaps he thinks that the property you inherit
from Captain Van Brugh isn’t legally yours, and, therefore, can’t be
settled by you on your daughter.

_Mrs. V. B._ But I inherited very little indeed from Captain Van Brugh.
The bulk of my property was left me by my godfather.

_Fitz._ Then I’m wrong. But does Smailey know this?

_Mrs. V. B._ Know it! Why, of course he knows it. He’s my godfather’s
nephew, and next-of-kin.

_Fitz._ What! His next-of-kin? Next-of-kin is a fruitful expression. I
see a whole plantation of motives cropping out of “next-of-kin.” Have
you a copy of the will?

_Mrs. V. B._ No. But Mr. Smailey has--indeed he has gone to fetch it.

_Fitz._ Can you tell me the terms of the legacy?

_Mrs. V. B._ No, not precisely. I have never seen the will. My
solicitor has told me its purport in general terms.

_Fitz._ Are you referred to in that will by your married or maiden name?

_Mrs. V. B._ Oh, by my maiden name.

_Fitz._ You are sure of that?

_Mrs. V. B._ Quite sure. At least, I _feel_ quite sure. I can’t be
absolutely certain, but--oh, yes; I am sure of it.

_Fitz._ What was the date of the will?

_Mrs. V. B._ 1856.

_Fitz._ What was the year of your marriage?

_Mrs. V. B._ (_after a pause_). 1856.

_Fitz._ My dear Mrs. Van Brugh, this is most important. The news
of your marriage might or might not have reached the testator in
Australia. If there is any flaw in your marriage, and if you are
described in that will as Captain Van Brugh’s wife, every penny you
possess will revert to Smailey. Now, Smailey is a scoundrel.

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Fitz Partington, pray explain yourself.

_Fitz._ In the full conviction that what I am going to say will be
treated as confidential, I _will_ explain myself. I’m after Smailey.
Smailey will soon be wanted.

_Mrs. V. B._ This is scarcely an explanation.

_Fitz._ Scarcely an explanation. Twenty years ago, when in Australia,
Smailey forged a burial-certificate to get some trust-funds into his
possession. The job was given to our house to investigate, only six
weeks ago. Two days after, who should come to us for a detective to
inquire into your affairs but Smailey, so we put the two jobs together,
and I’m doing ’em both.

_Mrs. V. B._ But how is it that a gentleman in your profession----

_Fitz._ A gentleman! Mrs. Van Brugh, for reasons that will go down with
me to the tomb, I am humbly and hopelessly anxious to stand high in
your good opinion. Appreciate my disinterestedness, when I voluntarily
tell you that which will blight me in your estimation for ever. You
think I’m an eminent solicitor. I ain’t; I’m the insignificant minion
of a Private Inquiry Office.

_Mrs. V. B._ But you were introduced to me as a solicitor.

_Fitz._ It is a tantalizing feature of my contemptible calling, that I
am continually being introduced as somebody I should particularly like
to be. In the course of the last twelve months, I’ve been a Spanish
Hidalgo, a Colonel of Hussars, an Ashantee Nobleman, and a Bishop of
the Greek Church. What was the date of your marriage?

_Mrs. V. B._ Some time in February, ’56 (_with hesitation_).

_Fitz._ Day?

_Mrs. V. B._ The--the 30th.

_Fitz._ The 30th? Try again. Never more than twenty-nine days in
February--seldom that.

_Mrs. V. B._ I forget the exact date.

_Fitz._ Where were you married, and by whom?

_Mrs. V. B._ By--by (_after some hesitation_)--Sir, by your own
admission you are a mere spy. How am I to know that you are not asking
these questions with a view to using them against me?

_Fitz._ (_much hurt_). Ma’am, may you never know the depth of the wound
you have inflicted. It will canker, ma’am, but don’t be alarmed, it
shall not inconvenience you, for I will remove it from your sight.
When we meet again, you will find me in the assumed character of a
person who has not had his best feelings harrowed up for a considerable
time. It will be a difficult assumption, ma’am, but I will do my best
to sustain the fiction. [_Exit._

_Mrs. V. B._ At last! at last my punishment is at hand. And Eve--great
heavens, what will become of _her_? Eve--who loves and honors me--Eve,
my child! I mustn’t think of that. It will madden me. I shall want all
my head for what is to come! If news of this--marriage of mine (_with
a bitter laugh_) had reached my godfather, he would have described me
in his will as Captain Van Brugh’s wife, and then I am lost, and Eve is
lost. Oh, why don’t that man come. This suspense is terrible. At last!
He’s here!

  _Enter EVE and FRED with DR. ATHELNEY._

_Eve._ Mr. Smailey has returned with the will. Frederick has been
explaining to me the difference between freehold and leasehold, and you
don’t know how anxious I am to know which it is.

_Fred._ Eve, Eve, this is very mercenary.

  _Enter SMAILEY._

_Mr. S._ Mrs. Van Brugh, I am most happy to tell you that it is every
thing that could be wished. My dear Mrs. Van Brugh, the Buckinghamshire
farm is freehold. Here is the clause which refers to it: (_Reads very
deliberately._) After giving you Westland Park, the Blackfriars
estate, and the two reversions, the testator goes on to say, “And I
further will and bequeathe all that messuage known as Goldacre Farm,
together with all out-houses, ways, watercourses, trees, commonable
rights, easements and appurtenances, and all the estate and rights of
the said Richard Goldacre in and to the same, unto and to the use of
the said Catherine Ellen, wife of Richard Van Brugh, Esq., a captain in
the Royal Navy, her heirs and assigns forever.”

  (_MRS. VAN BRUGH falls senseless into a chair, her daughter bending
    over her._)


ACT III.

  SCENE: _Morning room in SMAILEY’S house. Door at back, giving on to a
    pretty garden._

  _FREDERICK discovered sealing a letter._

_Fred._ “Your eternally attached Frederick.” If there was any flaw
in Mrs. Van Brugh’s marriage, as my father seems to suspect--and his
suspicions are corroborated by her astonishing behavior on his reading
her godfather’s will--then Mrs. Van Brugh is penniless--and Eve is
penniless too. Poor little lady. I’m afraid I shall have to cry off.
I’m sorry for the poor child, because I’m sure she is fond of me.
I’m sorry for myself, because I’m sure I’m fond of her. But when a
man proposes to marry, he must not allow himself to be misled by his
affections. As far as Eve is concerned I see no difficulty. She is a
tender-hearted and sensitive little thing, heaven bless her, and can be
easily shaken off. But my poor old father; how indignant he will be if
I dare to suggest what he would consider a dishonorable course! Why, if
he thought me capable of breaking a solemn engagement for a mercenary
motive, he’d disown me! No, I must rest my excuse on a surer ground. I
must touch his sense of family pride. I must remind him of the blight
that would fall on our race, if I intermarried with a tainted family. A
really good man does a deal of harm in the world. One has to stoop to
so much dirty dissimulation before one can meet him on equal terms.

      _Enter MR. SMAILEY._

_Mr. S._} Frederick, I want to speak seriously--

_Fred._ } Father, I want to speak seriously----

_Mr. S._ Eh?

_Fred._ I beg your pardon.

_Mr. S._ I was about to say that I want to speak to you on a most
serious and important matter.

_Fred._ Dear me, that’s very odd! Do you know I was about to say the
very same thing! I am most anxious to speak to _you_ on a _most_
serious and _most_ important matter. Excuse me for one moment, while I
give this note to Robins.

_Mr. S._ Whom are you writing to?

_Fred._ To my darling, of course? [_Exit._

_Mr. S._ To his darling! Poor lad! He’s a noble fellow! No mercenary
thought in connection with the girl has ever entered his head! But he
must never marry her. Every thing points to the fact that Mrs. Van
Brugh’s marriage was illegal, and, if so, her daughter is portionless.
Thank Heaven! his sense of moral rectitude is so high that when he
knows that her mother’s conduct is open to suspicion he may feel bound
to dissociate himself from her. Ah, it is a pleasant and a goodly thing
when a parent finds that the strict principles he has instilled into
his offspring are bearing golden fruit on which they both may feed!

  _Enter FREDERICK._

_Mr. S._ (_aside_).} How shall I break it to him?

_Fred._ (_aside_). } How shall I begin?

_Fred._ Now I’m at your disposal.

_Mr. S._ Frederick, my dear lad, this life of ours is made up of hopes
frustrated, and cherished schemes brought to nothing.

_Fred._ Very true. A man who places himself under the sweet dominion
of his conscience, must not count on the fulfillment of even his most
innocent intentions.

_Mr. S._ Unforeseen circumstances occasionally arise that render it
almost criminal to carry out an otherwise laudable purpose.

_Fred._ For instance: a discovery that a contemplated act would, if
carried out, bring dishonor on a long line of ancestors.

_Mr. S._ Or give an implied sanction to a discreditable, if not an
immoral, relationship. Events might occur which would justify him in
breaking the most solemn pledge.

_Fred._ Justify him! I can conceive a state of things under which he
would be morally bound to cast his most sacred obligations to the wind.

_Mr. S._ My dear boy!

_Fred._ My dear father! (_They shake hands._)

_Mr. S._ Now Fred, this is what I was coming to, my boy. We are the
last descendants of a very noble family.

_Fred._ So I have often heard you say. And that reminds me to mention a
matter, upon which I have long desired to talk to you----

_Mr. S._ (_interrupting_). I am free to admit that I am proud of my
ancestry.

_Fred._ My dear father, the safe-keeping of their honor is my dearest
aim. And, talking of my ancestors’ honor, reminds me----

_Mr. S._ (_interrupting_). If Caius Smaileius heard that one of his
race was about to marry, for instance, into a tainted family, I believe
the doughty old Roman would turn in his tumulus!

_Fred._ What you say about a tainted family is so true, that I
venture----

_Mr. S._ My dear Fred, it’s no use beating about the bush. The girl
you are engaged to--as good a girl as ever lived, is (there is no use
in disguising it) a member of a tainted family. (_FRED turns from
SMAILEY._) It is therefore my duty to urge upon you, as the last of
our line, the propriety, the necessity, of releasing Eve from her
engagement. (_FREDERICK appears hurt and indignant._) I know I am
asking much, very much, of you. I know how tenderly you love the girl;
but a flaw, my dear Fred, and you a Smailey! My boy, it is impossible.

_Fred._ (_in affected indignation_). Am I to understand that you
require me to surrender my darling Eve. Never! With all possible
respect for your authority--Never!

_Mr. S._ But, Fred, remember, my boy, remember, her mother has
committed a _faux pas_ of some kind.

_Fred._ It would certainly seem so; but I have given my word, and it is
my duty to keep it.

_Mr. S._ What is duty to the living compared with duty to the dead.
Think what your ancestors have done for you. And are we to neglect our
duty to them, because they can do no more for us? Oh! shame, shame!

_Fred._ (_with apparent reluctance_). There is much truth in what you
say, still----

_Mr. S._ To marry into such a family as hers, now that we know the
truth, would be, as it were, to countenance her guilt.

_Fred._ I can not deny it. Nevertheless, I----

_Mr. S._ Would it be just--would it be _moral_ to do this?

_Fred._ No, no; I see it now.

_Mr. S._ Show yourself to be a man of moral courage. As for what the
world will say, do the right thing, my boy, and let them say what they
please.

_Fred._ (_after a pause_). Father, you are right. As a moral man I have
no alternative but to comply with your wish. At any cost it must be
done--at any cost it _shall_ be done!

_Mr. S._ That’s right, my dear, dear boy; and you shall find that you
have lost little by your determination. And now that that’s settled,
let us enter into _your_ affairs. What was it that you wanted to speak
to me so seriously about just now?

_Fred._ I? Oh, dear no.

_Mr. S._ But surely, you said----

_Fred._ Oh, to be sure! I--oh, it’s not of the least consequence.

_Mr. S._ Something about poor little Eve, wasn’t it?

_Fred._ Yes; about poor little Eve. How little do we know what five
minutes may bring forth! I was actually going to consult you about
fixing a day for our wedding. (_Wiping his eyes._)

_Mr. S._ My poor boy, you have behaved nobly. You are a true Smailey.

_Fred._ (_taking his hand_). I hope it is not presumptuous in me, but I
sometimes think I am.

_Mr. S._ I have wounded you deeply. Let me compensate you by telling
you a more pleasant piece of news. I have discovered Fitz Partington’s
clew.

_Fred._ Indeed! I am rejoiced to hear it.

_Mr. S._ Yes. Mrs. Van Brugh told me on Tuesday that she had never
actually seen her godfather’s will. So I felt it to be my duty to make
an excuse for reading aloud that part of the will in which she is
particularly described. I did so, and she fainted. Now, my dear Fred,
what does this point to?

_Fred._ I should say bigamy.

_Mr. S._ You would say bigamy, and so should I. I suggested this to
Fitz Partington, and he seemed amazed at my penetration. We laid our
heads together, and, at his suggestion, I drew up this advertisement.
(_Hands MS. advertisement, which he has taken from table-drawer._)

_Fred._ (_reads_). _£50 Reward. This sum will be paid for a true copy
of the burial certificate of the first wife of the late Captain Van
Brugh, R.N. She is known to have died at Melbourne within the last
eight years._ Are you sure Fitz Partington is acting straightforwardly
with you?

_Mr. S._ Why should he do otherwise?

_Fred._ £50 is a large sum.

_Mr. S._ A large sum? If I can only establish the fact that the first
Mrs. Van Brugh died within the last eight years, every penny of this
so-called Mrs. Van Brugh’s income--£8,000 a year at least--reverts to
me.

_Fred._ Then, dear me----

_Mr. S._ Eh?

_Fred._ Poor Eve will lose her settlement!

_Mr. S._ True; quite true. Dear me, I never thought of that. Poor Eve!

_Fred._ Poor, poor Eve!

  _Enter RUTH._

_Ruth._ I’ve brought this note from my lady.

_Mr. S._ Oh! There may be an answer. Stay.

_Ruth._ (_quietly_). Yes; I’ll stay.

_Mr. S._ (_reads note_). Oh! Mrs. Van Brugh writes to say that she
wishes to see me this afternoon--alone. (_Sits down to write._)

_Fred._ Alone! Oh, then--then perhaps I’d better withdraw. (_With
affected emotion._)

_Ruth._ Ay, perhaps you better had.

  (_She follows him with her eyes as he goes to the door. He seems
    uneasy. Then exit._)

_Mr. S._ There is the answer. (_Finishing note._)

_Ruth._ Smailey; wot’s wrong about my lady?

_Mr. S._ Wrong?

_Ruth._ Ay, there’s ruin comin’ to her, and she knows it. She’s been
queer-like these two days. I’ve come upon her cryin’ odd times, and
she’s as white as death. Wot is it, Smailey?

_Mr. S._ Probably a head-ache. I’m not a doctor.

_Ruth._ I am. It’s no head-ache--it’s heart-ache. It’s ruin.

_Mr. S._ It _is_ ruin; to her wealth, and her good name.

_Ruth._ Her good name? Why, _you’re_ never goin’ to meddle wi’ _that_.

_Mr. S._ You are deceived in your mistress. (_Rises._) I will tell you
what she has been----

_Ruth._ Stop! I won’t hear it, Smailey, I won’t hear it. Let bygones go
by: no odds what she _has_ been; think wot she is; think wot _you’ve_
been. As I’ve dealt fair wi’ you, deal you fair wi’ her. Take wot’s
yourn, but don’t take no more.

_Mr. S._ My rights and her good name are bound up together, I can not
claim the one without destroying the other. I only want what the law
will give me, if I commence proceedings.

_Ruth._ (_changing her tone_). If you commence proceedings, wot the
law will give you is fourteen year, take my word for it. I’ve spoke
fair, and no good’s come of it, so I’ll speak foul. Look here, Smailey,
you’ve put a plot afoot to ruin my lady. Now my lady’s got a dog,
Smailey, and that dog won’t stand no plots. Do you hear that, Smailey.
Stir hand or foot to harm that pure and spotless creature, and sure as
my lady’s dog has a set of fangs she’ll fix them in your throat.

_Mr. S._ This is hard. This is very hard. Even Mrs. Van Brugh would
herself at once admit the justice of my claim.

_Ruth._ Well, wait till she does.

_Mr. S._ (_after a pause_). There is a good deal of sound common sense
in what you say, Tredgett. Still, if--_if_ Mrs. Van Brugh should at any
time make a statement of _her own free will_, you will surely allow me
to profit by it?

_Ruth._ Wotever my lady does of her own free will is angels’ doin’, and
is right accordin’.

_Mr. S._ (_aside_). Then I think I see my way. (_Aloud._) Well, Ruth,
on that understanding you have my promise.

_Ruth._ Promise? _Your_ promise? Smailey, don’t you meddle with things
you don’t understand. Promises are ticklish goods in _your_ hands.
They’re temptin’ things to break, and you was always easy tempted. No,
no; don’t _you_ promise. _I’ll_ promise this time, Smailey. _I’ll_
promise. [_Exit RUTH._

_Mr. S._ A sin, an early sin--a sin committed twenty years ago, brought
up against me now that I am an honest man, and a regular church-goer!
I am absolutely bound hand and foot by it--and to what end? For the
protection of a woman who has committed Heaven knows what offense
against morality. If this crime were to be proved against me, what
on earth would become of me? For years I have endeavored to atone
for my sin against society by treating wrong-doers brought before me
with the strictest and most unflinching severity. Would Society be
grateful for this--Would it even take heed of it? No; my atonement
would go for nothing--absolutely nothing. Ah! this is a merciless
world, and one in which penitence is taken no account of. But have a
care, Mrs. Van Brugh, I’ll bide my time. You shall yet see that a sin
against morality is not to be wiped out by a few years of sentimental
self-denial!

  _Enter EVE and FRED._

_Fred._ Father, I met Mrs. Van Brugh and my darling on their way here,
so I turned back with them.

_Mr. S._ My dear Eve. (_Kisses her. Enter MRS. VAN BRUGH._) Mrs. Van
Brugh, I am very pleased to see you. Pray sit down. You look pale; I am
afraid you are tired.

_Mrs. V. B._ No, I have not been very well lately.

_Eve._ Mamma wished to come alone, as she wants to speak to you on
business, but I wouldn’t hear of that, as she is really very far from
well, so I’ve brought her to you, Mr. Smailey; and now I’m going to
take a turn in the garden with Fred. Dr. Athelney is waiting for us in
the arbor.

_Fred._ If the arbor were a consecrated arbor, and I had a license in
my pocket, we might take a turn--in the garden--that would surprise our
dear friends.

_Eve._ What, without a wedding-dress and bridesmaids, and bouquets and
presents, and a breakfast? My dear Fred, it wouldn’t be legal! [_Exeunt
EVE and FRED into the garden._

_Mrs. V. B._ (_after a pause_). Mr. Smailey, I come to you in great
distress. On Tuesday last, a circumstance occurred, no matter what
it was, that induced me to believe that there was a flaw--a vital
flaw--in my title to all I possess. Mr. Smailey, I haven’t a shilling
in the world.

_Mr. S._ A shilling! My very dear lady, you haven’t a penny.

_Mrs. V. B._ What! Do you know this?

_Mr. S._ Mrs. Van Brugh, I will be candid with you. The Smaileys
are a very, very old and very famous family. No suspicion of a bar
sinister has ever shadowed their escutcheon. My son is betrothed to
your daughter, and I have reason to believe that you are not entitled
to the name you bear. Therefore, in his interests, and in those of his
slumbering ancestors, I have taken steps to ascertain the truth.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_much agitated_). What do you hope to prove?

_Mr. S._ That when you went through the form of marriage with the late
Captain Van Brugh you knew that his first wife was still alive.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_wildly_). No, no, no! Mr. Smailey, it is bad enough, but
not so bad as that. Oh, Mr. Smailey, dismiss that fearful thought from
your mind, and I will tell you the truth I came here to tell. It’s a
bitter, bitter truth, but not so bad as you would make it out to be.

_Mr. S._ What is the truth? (_Sternly._)

_Mrs. V. B._ I--I--when I met Captain Van Brugh--I was very young, and
my mother was dead--and-- (_Bursts into tears and sobs wildly, laying
her head on the table._)

_Mr. S._ What is the truth?

_Mrs. V. B._ Oh, man, man, can’t you read it in these tears? Is there
not shame enough in my face, that you want it in shameful words. Read
what you see before you, and as you are a man with a heart, keep my
secret; oh, keep my unhappy secret!

_Mr. S._ What! am I to understand that you never even went through the
_form_ of marriage with Captain Van Brugh?

_Mrs. V. B._ (_under her breath_). Never!

_Mr. S._ (_after a pause_). I decline to believe you. I had hoped that
it was barely possible you were the unconscious dupe of a reckless
scamp. I now believe that you were well aware of the crime you were
committing, and you take this step to avoid its legal consequences.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_with forced calmness_). Mr. Smailey, I have, perhaps,
no right to be indignant at this insult; but you are mistaken--utterly
mistaken. Have you no pity, no sympathy? See, every thing I possess
is legally yours; I leave your presence penniless. Commence an action
against me, and I will quietly yield up every thing before the case
comes into court; but, if you love your son, spare me the shame, the
intolerable shame, of a public exposure!

_Mr. S._ I will spare you nothing; neither will I take the step you
suggest, nor any other step to dispossess you. In this matter I
am passive; I leave you to act as conscience may prompt you. But
understand that I will be a party to no concealment, no subterfuge. On
these terms, and on no other, will I consent to take this property.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_wildly_). What am I to do? I can not keep it, and I have
no one to advise me!

_Mr. S._ I will advise you. You have sinned, and must make atonement.
There are witnesses at hand, let them hear the truth: whatever the
truth may be, let them hear it.

_Mrs. V. B._ What witnesses?

_Mr. S._ Dr. Athelney, my dear son, Ruth Tredgett, and your daughter.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_wildly_). No, no; not before Eve. You can not mean that
I am to say this before Eve. Think, Mr. Smailey, what you are asking me
to do. I am her mother!

_Mr. S._ I desire to press hardly on no fellow-creature, but it is meet
that she should know the truth. Indeed, as a principle, truth can not
be too widely known.

_Mrs. V. B._ But she knows nothing of this miserable matter. She
believes, as others believe, that I was married abroad and that my
husband died soon after.

_Mr. S._ A mother seeking to deceive her own child!

_Mrs. V. B._ Take every penny I possess, but for Eve’s sake spare me
this intolerable shame. I will sign any deed you please that will
convey my property to you, but leave me the love and honor of my
darling child.

_Mr. S._ I decline to place myself in the invidious position of one who
takes steps to dispossess a helpless lady; I also decline to be a party
to any deception. If you refuse to make the public admission I require,
you may _keep_ your ill-gotten wealth.

_Mrs. V. B._ Keep it! Why I am here, of my own free will, to surrender
into your hands my wealth, and with it my good name!

_Mr. S._ I feel it to be my duty to remind you that you have as little
right to the one as to the other.

_Mrs. V. B._ What shall I do--What shall I do? If I refuse to publish
my sin, this man will make it known to the whole world.

_Mr. S._ No; there you wrong me. That would be an unmanly act indeed,
Miss Brandreth.

_Mrs. V. B._ Miss Brandreth!

_Mr. S._ That, I presume, is your name. Pardon me, but now that I know
the truth, I could not conscientiously call you Mrs. Van Brugh. It
would be a lie. For the future I shall call you Miss Brandreth, but--I
shall systematically withhold my reasons for so doing.

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Smailey, think what you are compelling me to do.
I have sinned, and for many years I have unceasingly endeavored to
atone for that sin. Blessed with an ample fortune, I have devoted
four-fifths of it to the rescue of the unhappiest among unhappy women.
In my search for them I have waded, year after year, through the
foulest depths of misery and disgrace, with ears and eyes outraged at
every turn. In the face of galling rebuke and insult unspeakable, in
the face of cold ridicule and insolent misconstruction, I have held on
to the task I set myself, and through the mercy of heaven--the infinite
mercy of heaven--I have succeeded. I have no desire to speak of these
things, and to no other man would I utter them. But you talk to me of
atonement; and have I not atoned? Oh! have I not atoned?

_Mr. S._ See how the deeds and words of these last years show in
the fierce light you have just thrown upon them. You have lost no
opportunity of rebuking my hardness of heart because I can not pardon
an act of immorality. See from what a foul and muddy source your own
forgiveness springs. You have taunted me with my severity towards
wrong-doers. See from what an interested motive your own leniency
arises. You have publicly assailed my want of charity. Had I the
control of another man’s income my charities might perhaps outvie your
own. In one word, if you retain your social position, you are morally
an impostor. If you retain my property, you are morally----

_Mrs. V. B._ (_interrupting him_). Enough! You have spoken, and I know
you now. I can see through those cold hard eyes down into the cold hard
heart from which they take their tone. I read there the stony creed,
“A woman who has once fallen shall never rise again.” So let it be.
You are strong--for you have the world on your side. I am weak--for I
am alone. If I am to die this moral death, it shall be by my own hand.
They _shall_ hear the truth. (_EVE and FREDERICK have appeared at the
door; she turns and sees them; they are followed by DR. ATHELNEY and
EDWARD._) Come here, Eve; come here, Dr. Athelney; all of you come
here. (_EVE comes forward and kneels at her mother’s feet._) Eve, my
darling, my pet--Eve dear, kiss me. Kiss me again and again--my child,
my child! Kiss me now, for you may never kiss me again. Dr. Athelney,
you love me, I know. Edward, my dear old friend, listen while I tell
you what manner of woman you have loved----

_Ruth._ (_rushing forward_). No, no, mistress, you mustn’t say it,
don’t, don’t speak it; for the love of mercy don’t speak it. As I’m a
sinful woman, it’ll be worse than death to me.

_Mrs. V. B._ I must go on to the end. Do you know on what kind of thing
you have lavished the treasure of your love? You have lavished it on a
fallen woman--an unhappy creature, who has committed that one sin for
which on earth there is no atonement--no forgiveness. You think of me
as Captain Brugh’s widow; God forgive me, I never was his wife!

  (_RUTH recoils from her with an exclamation of horror. EVE falls
    senseless into EDWARD’S arms. SMAILEY and FREDERICK watch the group
    from a corner of the stage._)


ACT IV.

  SCENE: _Library at DR. ATHELNEY’S._

  _MRS. VAN BRUGH discovered seated, reading letters._

_Mrs. V. B._ “The Rev. Mr. Twemlow presents his compliments to Mrs.
Van Brugh, and begs to return her annual subscription of fifty guineas
to the Fund for providing Shelter for the Homeless Poor. He does not
feel justified, under the circumstances, in accepting any aid from Mrs.
Van Brugh on their behalf. With respect to the living to which Mrs.
Van Brugh has recently presented Mr. Twemlow, he desires that she may
understand that, if he consents to retain it, it is because he feels
that it affords him a more extended sphere of spiritual usefulness
than the curacy he has hitherto held.” (_Opens another letter._) “We,
the aged occupants of the Locroft Almshouses, are humbly pained and
respectfully shocked at the disclosures that have recently been made
with reference to Miss Brandreth’s relations with the late Captain
Van Brugh. We trust that it is unnecessary for us to add that, if it
were not that the Almshouses pass at once from Miss Brandreth’s hands
into those of an upright and stainless Christian, whom it is an honor
respectfully to know and a satisfaction humbly to profit by, we would
not have consented to occupy them for another day; we would rather have
worked for our living. Signed.” (_Opens another letter._)

    “HONORED MADAM,

  “We shall feel greatly flattered and obliged if you will kindly
  afford us a sitting for your photograph at your earliest convenience.

      “We are, Honored Madam,
          “With much esteem,
              “Most respectfully yours,
                                      “SCUMLEY & RIPP.”

When these people address me, I am degraded indeed! My name a word of
reproach in every household in the country; my story a thing to be
whispered and hinted at, but not to be openly discussed, by reason
of its very shame. My years of atonement held to be mere evidences
of skillfully sustained hypocrisy. Myself a confessed counterfeit, a
base and worthless imposition, a living fraud on the immaculate beings
with whom I dared to surround myself. And Ruth--Ruth, to whom my heart
opened--even Ruth has left me. Poor blind, wayward woman, you are of
the world, worldly; your idol is shattered, and there is the end. So
let it be; it is meet that such as I should be alone!

  _Enter EVE, who has overheard the last few lines. She approaches her
    mother quietly, and places her arms round her neck._

_Eve._ Mamma, you have many kind friends left to you; Dr. Athelney, who
has given you a home; Edward and myself.

_Mrs. V. B._ A daughter’s love comes of honor. Can that love live
without the honor that gives it sustenance?

_Eve._ Mamma, I am very young, and I know little of the world and its
ways. Will you forgive me if I speak foolishly? Dear mamma, I think my
love for you began with my life. It was born with me, and came of no
other cause than that you are my mother. As I brought it with me into
the world, so I believe I shall take it with me out of the world. Do
you understand me? I mean, that if I had no other reason for loving
than that you are my mother, I should still love you, for I am your
child.

_Mrs. V. B._ A child to whom I have given a life that is worse than
death; a life that brings with it a curse that will be flung in your
teeth by all who know you, and first of all, and above all, by him who
was to have married you.

_Eve._ No, no; your bitter sorrow has made you unjust. Remember, he
loves me. I do not know why he loves me, but whatever he saw in me to
love is there still. _I_ am not changed, and why should _he_ change? I
trust his heart as I trust my own.

_Mrs. V. B._ Eve, I know the world too well. That man will visit my
fault upon you. He will renounce you now, my poor child, and the world
will say he is right.

_Eve._ I will believe this when I hear it from his own lips.

_Mrs. V. B._ You will hear it to-day. It is part of the punishment of
women who sin as I have sinned, that those who are dearest to them
shall suffer with them. See how I am punished. I have placed a mark
of shame on you whom I love beyond all on earth. I have inflicted a
lasting injury on you whom I would have died to serve. I have cursed
you whom I would have blessed. I have degraded you whom I would have
exalted. Eve, my darling--out of my sin has come your love for me.
I have no claim to that love. I have cheated you into honoring me;
for that honor comes of my sin. I do not ask for love--I do not ask
for honor. Humbled, unworthy, and spirit-broken, I plead to you for
pardon--only for pardon. (_Kneels to EVE._)

_Eve._ Pardon! My mother--my gentle-hearted mother. There is no thought
in my mind but of the perfect woman of the past eighteen years. The
luster of those years fills my world. I can see nothing else; I
will see nothing else. As you have always been to me, so shall you
always be--the type of gentle charity, tender helpfulness, brave,
large-hearted womanly sympathy. When the bright light of those bygone
years pales in my eyes, then let me suffer ten times the sorrow of
to-day, for indeed I shall have deserved it. (_She rises and they
embrace._)

  _Enter FITZ PARTINGTON cautiously, L._

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Fitz Partington?

_Fitz._ Yes, but don’t be alarmed. If it is open to a person in my
debased position to be regarded as a friend, regard me as one.

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Fitz Partington, I did you an injustice when I saw you
last--I doubted you. Will you forgive me? (_Holding out her hand._)

_Fitz._ (_much affected, takes it_). Ma’am, this is the most
unprofessional moment of my career. No one ever apologized to me
before. It is very unmanning. It is like having a tooth out. I hope no
one will ever apologize to me again.

_Eve._ Have you brought us any news, Mr. Fitz Partington? I am sure you
are here for some kind purpose.

_Fitz._ It is my fate to appear continually before you in the character
of the Mysterious Warner of penny romance. Mrs. Van Brugh, once more,
beware of Smailey. That abject man is going at you again.

_Mrs. V. B._ Has he not done with me yet? Can I be poorer than I am--or
more unhappy--or more despised?

_Fitz._ He proposes to make you so, but he will be sold.

_Eve._ But with what motive does he do this?

_Fitz._ Revenge. To adapt the words of the poet to Smailey’s frame of
mind, “Revenge is sweet, especially on women.”

_Mrs. V. B._ Revenge on _me_! Through him, whom I have never injured, I
have lost my home, my fortune, and my good name, and _he_ seeks revenge
on _me_?

_Fitz._ Mrs. Van Brugh, if it is a source of pain to you to know that
your friends have cut _you_, it may console you to know, that in their
strict impartiality they have also cut _him_. He is hooted in the
streets. His windows are a public cockshy. Nobody is at home to him,
and though he is at home to everybody, it is to no purpose. The very
tradesmen refuse to supply him. He is a desolate, and a hungry being,
and nobody calls on him except the taxes.

_Eve._ I fear, Mr. Fitz Partington, that you may yourself have suffered
from your association with this man.

_Fitz._ (_to EVE_). I? I believe you! Why I go about in fear of my
life. Not only am I deprived of the necessaries of existence, but I
have become the very focus of public execration. I couldn’t be more
unpopular if I had come down to stand for the borough.

_Eve._ But, Mr. Fitz Partington, how in heaven’s name does he propose
to injure my mother? What can he do to her, that he has not already
done?

_Fitz._ He is advertising for the present Mrs. Van Brugh’s marriage
certificate, and the late Mrs. Van Brugh’s burial certificate, with a
view to a prosecution for bigamy.

_Eve._ Mamma, mamma, do you hear this? (_Crosses to her._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Yes, I hear it. I knew that he had conceived this
monstrous idea, but I have already assured him there is no ground for
his suspicion. I have told him (_after a pause, and with much shame_)
the truth.

_Fitz._ Yes, but he don’t believe you. Read that. (_Hands newspaper to
EVE, who gives it to MRS. VAN BRUGH, pointing out advertisement._) Such
is the snake-like and foxy character of that unparalleled old Pharisee,
that he don’t believe you. Why, I am a professional skeptic at two
guineas a day, and even I believe you.

_Mrs. V. B._ (_who has been reading the advertisement_). This is most
shameful. This is monstrous beyond expression. I have borne my terrible
punishment to this point patiently, and without undue murmur, but I
will bear no more. Let that man know this. He has roused me at last,
and I will meet him face to face. Let him know that, helpless and
friendless as he believes me to be; crushed as I am under the weight
of the fearful revelation he has extorted from me; shunned as I am,
and despised even by those whom all despise but I, I am yet strong in
this, that I have nothing more to lose. He has made me desperate, and
let him beware. There are men in these days as hot in the defense of an
insulted woman as in the days gone by, and he shall have a legion of
them about his ears. I have been punished enough. I will be punished no
further.

_Eve._ But who could have put this monstrous scheme into his head? What
demon could have suggested it to him?

_Fitz._ I suggested it to him, but I ain’t a demon.

_Eve and Mrs. V. B._ You!

_Fitz._ I--I drew up the advertisement, put it in, and paid for it.
It’s a dodge, I’ve put him on a wrong scent.

_Mrs. V. B._ How am I to understand this?

_Fitz._ That’s just it; you are _not_ to understand--at present. You
are to do me justice to believe that, when you _do_ understand it, you
will like it very much. I’ve put him on a wrong scent, and if I’m not
very much mistaken, it will have the effect of taking him in his own
toils. For the present it is enough to tell you that his advertisement
has been answered, and that the person who answered it is to meet him
here this afternoon.

_Mrs. V. B._ Here? Why does he come to _me_?

_Fitz._ Because he conceives, with some reason, that you are not likely
to go to him. But don’t be alarmed, _I_ shall accompany him, as per
usual. [_Exit FITZ PARTINGTON._

_Mrs. V. B._ (_covering her face_). Oh, the shame of it! Oh, the
shame of it! To know that my terrible story is the common gossip of
every plow-boy in the village; to feel that there is not a flighty
servant-girl who does not gather her skirts about her as she passes
me; to be certain when women cross the road it is to escape the
contamination of my presence; and when they meet me face to face, it
is that they may toss their head and tell each other that they knew it
from the first! Oh, the shame of it! Oh, the shame of it!

_Eve._ But Mr. Smailey can do nothing. His wicked schemes must recoil
upon himself. We will leave Locroft; we will leave this fearful place.
Dr. Athelney sails in a fortnight, and he has made arrangements that
we may accompany him. There, in a new world, with new friends and new
duties, we shall forget all that is bitter in the past, and gather new
stores of happiness from the future that is before us. (_They embrace._)

  _Enter DR. ATHELNEY, L. D. Crosses to EVE._

_Dr. A._ Mrs. Van Brugh; Eve, my dear, prepare yourself for a surprise.
This morning, Mrs. Van Brugh and I were discussing Frederick Smailey’s
probable course of action. That very good or very bad young man is at
this moment crossing the lawn with my son, Ted. He is coming with the
view, no doubt, of setting all future discussion on that point at rest.
Let us suspend judgment on that admirable or detestable lad until he
has explained himself.

_Eve._ I knew he would come; I was sure of it. Mamma, dear, I told you
he loved me, I told you he would come.

  _Enter FRED and TED ATHELNEY, arm-in-arm._

_Fred._ Eve!

_Eve._ (_running to him_). Fred, my dear Fred! (_He embraces her._)

_Ted._ Here he is, I was sure of him; Eve and I were both sure of him.
We knew him, Eve, didn’t we?

_Fred._ Edward came to me, Mrs. Van Brugh, and told me that--that you
doubted me. (_Much affected._)

_Ted._ Yes, I told him that. Don’t be angry with me, but when Fred
Smailey’s honor is at stake, Ted Athelney doesn’t beat about the bush.
I went straight to him and told him at once how the land lay. “Fred,”
said I, “Eve knows you, and I know you, but the others don’t. Come over
with me and show them what you really are. Show them that you are the
brave, straight-hearted, thorough-going fellow I know you to be.” He
didn’t give me time to say it twice.

_Fred._ Mrs. Van Brugh, will you take my hand? (_Shakes her hand.
Crosses to DR. A., then shakes his hand._) Dr. Athelney, my very dear
friend, this is very, very kind of you. You are too noble-hearted a man
to confound the son with the father.

_Dr. A._ I hope and trust, sir, that I have done you an injustice.
(_Goes up._)

_Fred._ Mrs. Van Brugh, I know not how to express my opinion of my
father’s behavior in terms that would be consistent with my duty as a
son. I am most painfully situated. Permit me to content myself with
offering you my deepest and most respectful sympathy.

_Mrs. V. B._ Mr. Smailey, you speak very kindly.

_Ted._ And he means kindly, mind that. I’ll stake my life he means
kindly.

_Fred._ Thank you, Edward; thank you very heartily. My father, Mrs. Van
Brugh, is, I have learnt, a very hard man; a good man, a truly good
man, but a very hard one. He is unaccountably incensed against you; I
have pleaded for you, but, alas, in vain. I have implored him to allow
you, at least, to continue to occupy the cottage which is endeared to
me by so many happy recollections, dear Eve, but in vain. (_He takes
EVE’S hand._) He--he answered me harshly for the first time in his
life. (_Much moved._)

_Ted._ My very dear fellow, heaven bless you for that.

_Fred._ Under these circumstances I said to myself, How can I lighten
this intolerable burden to them? If not to Mrs. Van Brugh, at least to
Eve. I lay awake all last night, thinking it over, and at last--at last
I saw my way.

_Ted._ (_to DR. A._). Trust Fred Smailey to find the right thing to do.

_Fred._ I said to myself, Here is an amiable and blameless young lady
placed, through no fault of her own, in the painful position of being
engaged to a member of a family which has done her and her mother a
fearful and irreparable injury. Association with such a family must
be, to her, a source of inconceivable distress. To a sensitive and
high-minded girl, such as I know my darling to be, an alliance with
such a family must be simply insupportable. Deeply as I love her, and
because I love her deeply, I will fight with the great love that is
within me; I will act as becomes a man of honor; I will at once, and of
my own free will, release her from this engagement. Eve, my dear Eve,
you are free. (_EVE faints in MRS. VAN BRUGH’S arms._)

_Mrs. V. B._ My darling! My poor, poor darling!

_Dr. A._ (C.) Sir, I have been a clergyman of the Church of England for
five-and-forty years, and, until to-day, I have never regretted the
restrictions that my calling has imposed upon me. My hands, sir, are
tied. Ted, my boy, these remarks do not apply to you.

_Ted._ (_crosses to FRED SMAILEY_). You infernal villain! You
unutterably mean and sneaking villain! (_Seizing him._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Edward! Edward!

_Ted._ Don’t stop me, or I shall kill him. Look there, you miserable
hound (_pointing to EVE_), look there! Do you see the work that your
infernal heart has done? Why, you miserable cur, she loved you! You
trembling hypocrite, she loved you! Eve loved you--loved _you_! Look
at her, man, and if your devil’s heart don’t beat the harder for the
sight, it hasn’t a beat left in it!

_Mrs. V. B._ Dr. Athelney, pray, pray stop him.

_Dr. A._ Stop him? No, certainly not. I’m too fond of plain truth, and
I hear it too seldom to stop it when I do hear it. Go on with your
remarks, my boy, if you’ve any thing else to say.

  _Enter SMAILEY, followed by FITZ PARTINGTON, L._

_Mr. S._ When your son has quite finished shaking my son, perhaps you
will kindly devote a little attention to me.

_Fred._ Edward, I sincerely hope you may live to apologize for this.
(_Offers to shake hands; TED refuses._)

_Dr. A._ Mr. Smailey, I must tell you that your presence here is an act
of audacity for which I was not prepared.

_Mr. S._ I fear that the surprise of my appearance here is but the
first of a series of surprises in store for you.

_Fitz._ And I am convinced of it.

_Dr. A._ Leave my house, sir! (_To SMAILEY._)

_Mr. S._ Nay, nay. I am here in the discharge of a high public duty,
and I propose to remain. Come, Dr. Athelney, is this quite considerate?
Is this quite as it should be? You are a minister of the Church, about
to be invested with the very highest Colonial functions. In affording
shelter to this unhappy person, have you not allowed your sympathy for
her misfortunes to blind you to the fact that you are a clergyman?

_Dr. A._ Sir, I never had my duty as a clergyman so strongly before my
eyes as when I placed my home at the disposal of this admirable lady.
And, believe me, sir, I never felt so strongly disposed to forget my
duty as a clergyman as I do at this moment. My hands are tied. Ted, my
boy, these remarks do not apply to you.

_Ted._ Mr. Smailey, if you’ll come with me, I’ll see you out.

_Fitz._ (_to TED_). See him out? Nonsense. Hear him out. He’s worth
listening to, I can tell you.

_Mr. S._ Miss Brandreth (_to MRS. VAN BRUGH_), when you denied having
ever gone through the form of marriage with Captain Van Brugh, I
considered it my duty, as a magistrate accustomed to deal with
evidence, to disbelieve you. At the suggestion of my solicitor (_aside,
to FITZ_) A lie, sir, for you are no solicitor; heaven forgive you!
(_Aloud._) At his suggestion I advertised for the burial certificate of
the late Mrs. Van Brugh. That advertisement has been answered.

_Fitz._ That advertisement has been answered.

_Mr. S._ The person who answered it is at this moment waiting without.

_Fitz._ Waiting without.

_Mr. S._ And, with or without your permission, shall be introduced.

_Fitz._ Shall be introduced.

_Mr. S._ Mr. Fitz Partington shall introduce him.

_Fitz._ It ain’t a _him_, it’s a _her_. (_Opens door, and discovers
RUTH._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Ruth Tredgett!

_Ruth._ Ay, missis, ’tain’t no other.

_Mr. S._ What does this mean? Is this a hoax? (_Indignantly, to FITZ
PARTINGTON._)

_Fitz._ Is this a hoax? (_Appealing to the others_).

_Mr. S._ What does this woman want here?

_Fitz._ Woman, what do you want here?

_Ruth._ Want to help you agin _her_. (_Indicating MRS. VAN BRUGH._)

_Mrs. V. B._ Oh, Ruth, Ruth!

_Mr. S._ Do you mean this, Tredgett? (_Crosses to RUTH._)

_Ruth._ Ay, I mean it, Smailey. It’s justice; and justice must be done.
It was done agin me, years ago, and why not agin her now?

_Mr. S._ Dr. Athelney, this poor woman is an example to you. She has
learned her mistress’s true character.

_Ruth._ Ay, I have. I have learned my missis’s true character.

_Mrs. V. B._ Ruth, how have I injured you, that even you turn against
me? I loved you, Ruth!

_Ruth._ (_with some emotion_). You ha’n’t injured me, but I’m a
’spectable woman. You’ve made me ’spectable, and you must bide the
consequence. (_To MR. SMAILEY_)--You want the burial-ticket of Captain
Van Brugh’s dead wife?

_Mr. S._ Yes; I have offered £50 for it.

_Ruth._ Gi’ us the money.

_Mr. S._ Why?

_Ruth._ I’ve got the paper.

_Mr. S._ How? How did you get it?

_Ruth._ No odds how. I’ve got it.

_Mr. S._ Give it to me, and you shall be paid.

_Ruth._ Nay, I must ha’ the brass first.

_Mr. S._ As soon as I’ve verified it you shall be paid.

_Ruth._ Maybe you’ll take some time over it. I must ha’ the brass.

_Mr. S._ (_giving her a bank note_). There is the money, but mind, if
you are deceiving me, there is a constable outside.

_Ruth._ No fear. (_Tears up the note._)

_Mr. S._ You fool, what have you done! Give me the paper.

_Ruth._ I’ll give it to him. (_Indicating FITZ PARTINGTON, who has come
between them._)

_Fitz._ (_takes paper and reads_). “St. Andrew’s Church, Port Philip,
17 July, 1858.”

_Mr. S._ ’58! Why, she died in ’69--I know she died in ’69. This is
some forgery--we shall want the constable yet.

_Fitz._ This is some forgery. We shall want the constable yet.
(_Reads._) “This is to certify that on the above date I read the burial
service over the remains of Martha Vane, of Port Philip.” (_SMAILEY
sinks into a chair._)

_Dr. A._ Martha Vane!

_Mrs. V. B._ That was her maiden name, the name under which she passed
when she left her husband.

_Mr. S._ (_much confused_). This is not what I advertised for.

_Fitz._ No, but it’s what _I_ advertised for.

_Mr. S._ You? What have you to do with this?

_Fitz._ I was engaged to trace this forgery to you at the time when
you engaged me to undermine the character of this inestimable lady. In
strict compliance with the terms of our contract, you have allowed me
the free run of all your books, papers, and memoranda, and I am much
obliged to you.

_Fred._ (_who has heard this with the greatest concern_). Father! Tell
them that it’s a lie.

_Fitz._ It ain’t a lie. The case is only too clear. Tredgett and he
were both in it, but she turns Queen’s evidence. Mr. Smailey, I desire
to press hardly on no fellow-creature, but your own policeman is
without, and he will be happy to walk off with you whenever you find it
convenient to be arrested. (_About to touch SMAILEY on shoulder._)

_Fred._ Father, tell them that it’s a lie. (_To FITZ._) Keep your hands
off him,--stand back--it’s a lie, I tell you. Stand back, or I shall do
you a mischief. Father, whatever others believe of you, _I_ believe you
to be the best and truest man on earth. For my sake, for the sake of my
belief, tell them that it’s a lie. For the love of God, tell them it’s
a lie.

_Mr. S._ I have nothing to say, my boy; I have lied enough.

_Fred._ But they will take you away! Great heaven, think what will
follow!

_Mr. S._ I care not what may follow. Whatever punishment may be in
store for me, will be as nothing compared to the bitter shame of my
degradation in the eyes of my poor boy, whom I have loved. He will
desert me now! And what matters the rest--what matters the rest?

_Fred._ Father, I swear that where you are, there will I be to the end.

_Mr. S._ Heaven bless you for that.

_Fred._ Whatever you may have been--whatever I may have been--I am your
son, and I love you; and I will be with you--to the end!

_Mr. S._ And the end is at hand.

_Fitz._ And the end is at hand.

  [_Exeunt FREDERICK SMAILEY, followed by FITZ PARTINGTON. EVE
    stretches out her arms towards FREDERICK as he goes, but he does
    not see her._

_Ruth._ (_who, during the preceding dialogue, has been kneeling at MRS.
VAN BRUGH’S feet._). Mistress, my good and kind mistress, I had that
paper in safe keeping miles away, I walked day and night to fetch it.
It was hard to leave you in your sorrow, but none other could have got
it. My mistress, my pure and perfect mistress, my angel from heaven, we
will never part again.

_Mrs. V. B._ We will never part again, Ruth. Under the guidance of our
loving friend, we will sail to the new land, where, humbly as becomes
penitents, cheerfully as becomes those who have hope, earnestly as
becomes those who speak out of the fullness of their experience, we
will teach lessons of loving kindness, patience, faith, forbearance,
hope, and charity.

_Dr. A._ “And the greatest of these is CHARITY.”



THE PRINCESS:

_A Whimsical Allegory._

(_Being a Respectful Perversion of Mr. Tennyson’s Poem._)


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  KING HILDEBRAND                           MR. DAVID FISHER.
  PRINCE HILARION, _his Son_                MISS MARIA SIMPSON.
                                              (MRS. W. H. LISTON.)
  CYRIL   } _his friends, Noblemen of_      {MISS AUGUSTA THOMSON.
  FLORIAN }   _King Hildebrand’s Court_     {MISS MONTGOMERY.

  KING GAMA                                 MR. ELLIOTT.

  PRINCE ARAC      }                       {MISS JESSIE EARLE.
  PRINCE GURON     } _his Sons_            {MISS HARRINGTON.
  PRINCE SCYNTHIUS }                       {MISS EWELL.

  ATHO, _King Hildebrand’s Chamberlain_     MR. FRANKS.
  FIRST OFFICER                             MR. ARTHUR BROWN.
  SECOND OFFICER                            MR. DAVIS.
  GOBBO, _a Porter_                         MR. ST. MAUR.

               {_Daughter of King Gama,_}
  PRINCESS IDA {  _and Principal of the_}    MISS MATTIE REINHARDT.
               {  _Ladies’ University._ }

  LADY PSYCHE  {_Professor of_          }    MISS FANNY ADDISON.
               {  _Experimental Science_}

  LADY BLANCHE {_Professor of Abstract_ }    MRS. POYNTER.
               {  _Philosophy_          }

  MELISSA, _her Daughter_                   MISS PATTI JOSEPHS.

  BERTHA    }                              {MISS JOY.
  ADA       }                              {MISS CLYFOARD.
  CHLOE     }                              {MISS MOORE.
  SACHARISSA} _Undergraduates._            {MISS ALMA.
  SYLVIA    }                              {MISS EVERARD.
  PHŒBE     }                              {MISS FITZJAMES.

  PHYLLIS                                   MISS CORINNE.
  AMARANTHE                                 MISS GRAHAM.
  LAURA                                     MISS CLARA.

  _Undergraduates, Soldiers, Courtiers, Pages, &c._


THE PRINCESS.

    SCENE FIRST.--_Court in King Hildebrand’s Palace._

      _KING HILDEBRAND, discovered seated, in gloomy mood--FLORIAN
        and other COURTIERS discovered looking off through
        telescopes--CYRIL standing by the KING._

    _Hilde._ See you no sign of Gama?

    _Flori._                          None, my liege.

    _Hilde._ It’s very odd indeed! If Gama fails
    To put in an appearance at our court,
    Before the sun has set in yonder west,
    And fails to bring the Princess Ida here--
    To whom our son Hilarion was betrothed
    At the extremely early age of one--
    There’s war between King Gama and ourself.
    (_Aside to CYRIL_) Oh Cyril, how I dread this interview!
    It’s twenty years since he and I have met.
    He was a twisted monster--all awry,
    As though Dame Nature, angry with her work,
    Had crumbled it in fitful petulance!

    _Cyril._ But, sir, a twisted and ungainly trunk,
    Often bears goodly fruit--perhaps he was
    A kind, well-spoken gentleman?

    _Hilde._                       Oh, no--
    For, adder-like, his sting lay in his tongue!
    His bitter insolence still rankles here,
    Although a score of years have come and gone!
    His outer man, gnarled, knotted as it was,
    Seemed to his cruel and cynical within,
    Hyperion to a Saturday Review!

    _Cyril._ Oh, bear with him--he is an old, old man.
    Old men are fretful--peevish, as we know.
    A worm will sometimes turn--so will the milk
    Of human kindness, if it’s kept too long.

    _Flori._ (_looking through glass_).
    But stay, my liege; o’er yonder mountain’s brow
    Comes a small body bearing Gama’s arms;
    And, now I look more closely at it, sir,
    I see attached to it King Gama’s legs;
    From which I gather this corollary--
    That that small body must be Gama’s own!

    _Hilde._ Ha! Is the Princess with him?

    _Flori._                               Well, my liege,
    Unless her ladyship is six feet high,
    And wears moustachios, too, and smokes cigars,
    And rides _en cavalier_, in coat of mail,
    I do not think she is.

    _Hilde._ (_excited_).    Come, bustle there!
    For Gama, place the richest robes we have!
    For Gama, place the coarsest prison dress!
    For Gama, let our best spare bed be aired!
    For Gama, let our deepest dungeon yawn!
    For Gama, lay the costliest banquet out!
    For Gama, place cold water and dry bread!
    For as King Gama brings the Princess here,
    Or brings her not, so shall King Gama have--
    Much more than every thing--much less than
    nothing!

      _Enter PRINCE HILARION._

    _Hilar._ Well father, is there news for me, at last?

    _Hilde._ My son, King Gama’s host is now in sight:
    Prepare to meet the fascinating bride
    To whom you were betrothed so long ago.
    Why, how you sigh!

    _Hilar._           My liege, I’m much afraid
    The Princess Ida has not come with him.

    _Hilde._ And why?

    _Hilar._          I’ve heard she has forsworn the world,
    And, with a band of women, shut herself
    Within a lonely country house, and there
    Devotes herself to stern philosophies.

    _Hilde._ Then, I should say, the loss of such a wife
    Is one to which a reasonable man
    Would easily be reconciled.

    _Hilar._                    Oh no--
    Or I am not a reasonable man.
    She is my wife: has been for twenty years.

    _Hilde._ That’s true--you were a baby in long clothes
    When you gained Ida’s heart and she gained yours.

    _Hilar._ Yes--I remember--each of us was won!
    I think I see her now! (_looking through telescope_).

    _Hilde._               Ha! let me look!

    _Hilar._ In my mind’s eye, I mean--a blushing bride--
    All bib and tucker--frill and furbelow!
    How exquisite she looked as she was borne
    Recumbent in the monthly nurse’s arms!
    How the bride wept!--nor would be comforted
    Until the hireling mother-for-the-nonce
    Administered refreshment in the vestry.
    And I remember feeling much annoyed
    That she should weep at marrying with me;
    “But then,” I thought, “these brides are all alike!
    Cry on, young lady--brides are bound to cry.
    You cry at marrying me? How much more cause
    You’d have to cry if it were broken off!”
    These were my thoughts--I kept them to myself,
    For, at that age, I had not learnt to speak.

    _Hilde._ Your memory is singularly good.

    _Hilar._ Do you remember, too, the wedding feast--
    Rolls steeped in milk, and other softened food,
    Fit for our undeveloped little gums?
    And talk of drink, I never shall forget,
    How merrily we passed that nursing bottle!
    A curly headed patriarch of three--
    The Princess Ida’s uncle--then proposed
    The happy couple’s health--the bridesmaids, then,
    Fifteen in number--each six weeks of age,
    Began to weep--the fifteen groomsmen, too
    (The eldest of them eighteen months or so),
    Wept also--then, remembering they were men,
    Dashed from their eyes the unaccustomed brine!
    We parted then--and since, for twenty years,
    We have not met. It seems quite strange that she
    Should have become a woman in the while!
    She speaks a hundred languages I’m told.

    _Hilde._ Your late mamma had mastered only one,
    Yet she was never at a loss for words!

    _Hilar._ But think how useful is a wife who can
    Express her fancies in a hundred tongues.

    _Hilde._ You will find one, of average length, enough.

    _Hilar._ I’ve heard she hopes to make all women swear
    That they’ll abjure, for aye, the tyrant Man!
    She’s far before the age in which she lives!

    _Hilde._ At all events she’s singular in that;
    Most grown up ladies of our court give out
    That they are several years behind their age!

    _Hilar._ A woman thus endowed should have been born
    A century hence, at least!

    _Hilde._                     The day will come
    When you will most devoutly wish she had.

      _Enter CYRIL._

    _Cyril._ My liege, King Gama’s train is at the gate,
    And prays admission.

    _Hilde._             Cyril, show him in.
    Though Princess Ida wore a Gorgon’s head,
    He shall not tamper with King Hildebrand!

      _Flourish--Procession. Enter CYRIL, FLORIAN and COURT, ushering
        KING GAMA, and one ATTENDANT._

    _Gama._ So this is Castle Hildebrand?--well, well--
    Dame Rumor whispered that the place was grand;
    She told me that your taste was exquisite--
    Superb--unparalleled--

    _Hilde._               Oh, really, king--

    _Gama._ But she’s a liar! Why, how old you’ve grown!
    Is this Hilarion?--why you’ve changed, too!
    You were a singularly handsome child!
    (_to CYRIL_) Are you a courtier? Come, then, ply your trade!
    Tell me some lies: how do you like your king?
    Vile Rumor says he’s all but imbecile--
    Now that’s not true!

    _Cyril._             My lord, we love our king:
    His wise remarks are valued by his court
    As precious stones.

    _Gama._             And for the self-same cause!
    Like precious stones the wit of Hildebrand
    Derives its value from its scarcity!
    Come now, be honest, tell the truth for once,
    Tell it of me! Come, come, I’ll harm you not!
    This leg is crooked--this foot is ill-designed--
    This shoulder wears a hump--come, out with it!
    Look, here’s my face--now am I not the worst
    Of Nature’s blunders?

    _Hilar._              Nature never errs.
    To those who know the workings of your mind,
    Your face and figure, sir, suggest a book
    Appropriately bound.

    _Gama._              Why, harkye, sir!
    How dare you bandy words with me?

    _Hilar._                          No need
    To bandy aught that appertains to you.

    _Gama._ (_to HILDEBRAND_). Do you permit this, king?

    _Hilde._                                             We are in doubt
    Whether to treat you as an honored guest,
    Or as a traitor knave who plights his word
    And breaks it!

    _Gama._        If the casting vote’s with me
    I give it for the former.

    _Hilde._                  We shall see:
    By the terms of our contract, signed and sealed
    You’re bound to-day to bring the Princess here
    To join her spouse. Why is she not with you?

    _Gama._ Why? Come, I’ll tell you, if you’ll answer this:
    What think you of a wealthy purse-proud man
    Who, when he calls upon a starving friend,
    Pulls out his gold, and flourishes his notes,
    And flashes diamonds in the pauper’s eyes--
    What name have you for such an one?

    _Hilde._                             A snob!

    _Gama._ Just so: King Hildebrand, I am no snob
    The girl has beauty, virtue, learning, wit,
    Grace, humor, wisdom, charity, and pluck.
    Would it be kindly, think you, to parade
    These brilliant qualities before _your_ eyes?
    Oh no, King Hildebrand, I am no snob!

    _Hilde._ But hang it, man, the contract that we signed
    Some twenty years ago--

    _Gama._                 Why, here’s good news!
    (_to Court_) At last your king is going to redeem
    His lengthy list of broken promises--
    And very properly, as wise men should,
    Begin at the beginning!

    _Hilde._                Stop that tongue,
    Or you shall lose the monkey head that holds it!
    Oh, I’ll be even with you, yet, for this.

    _Gama._ Bravo! Your king deprives me of my head,
    That he and I may meet on equal terms!

    _Hilde._ Of this anon--we’ll try the force of arms--
    Where is she now?

    _Gama._           In Castle Adamant--
    One of my many country houses. There
    She rules a woman’s University,
    With full five hundred girls who learn of her.

    _Cyril._ Five hundred girls! Five hundred ecstasies!

    _Gama._ But no mere girls, my good young gentleman!
    With all the college learning that you boast,
    The youngest there will prove a match for you!

    _Cyril._ With all my heart, if she’s the prettiest!
    Fancy--five hundred matches--all alight!
    That’s if I strike them, as I hope to do.

    _Gama._ Despair your hope--their hearts are dead to man.
    He who desires to gain their favor must
    Be qualified to strike their teeming brains,
    And not their hearts! They’re safety-matches, sir,
    And they light only on the knowledge box,
    So _you’ve_ no chance!

    _Hilar._               We’ll try, at all events.
    I’ll take no soldiers, father, in my train--
    Cyril and Florian here will go with me,
    And we will storm them ere the week is out.

    _Gama._ That’s brave! They’re only women--storm away!

    _Hilar._ Oh, don’t mistake us, sir, we mean to storm
    Their eyes and hearts, and not their citadel.
    With sighs we’ll charge our mines and counter-mines,
    Dance steps shall be our scaling ladders, with
    Those croquêt mallets for our battering rams.
    Fair flowers shall bear the only blades we wield,
    Our eyes shall be our very deadliest darts,
    And bon-bon crackers our artillery!

    _Gama._ And so you think to conquer them with sighs?
    My good young gentleman, a sigh, to them,
    Is simply an exceptionally marked
    Contraction of the intercostal muscles!
    Croquêt is interesting only when
    It illustrates familiar theories
    Of incidental and reflecting angles.
    Fair flowers, to them, are mere embodiments
    Of calyx, pistil, stamina, and petal.
    Expressive eyes would have their charm, no doubt--

    _Hilar._ Of course!

    _Gama._             But only, be it understood,
    As illustrating theories of vision!
    But here are letters--take them if you like--
    Perhaps she’s tired of disobedience,
    And may admit you.

    _Hilde._           Good: Hilarion, go,
    Take Florian and Cyril, as you say,
    King Gama, we detain you pris’ner here,
    As hostage for the safety of our son.

    _Gama._ A prisoner? Why, what should I do here
    At Castle Hildebrand? I am not mad!

    _Hilde._ You can amuse yourself by fancying
    That there’s an execution in our house,
    And you’re the party in possession--or
    That we are dead and you’ve succeeded us.
    In short, suppose whatever state of things
    Would offer you the greatest happiness;

    _Gama._ (_to HILARION_).
    You run a risk, my friend; so take good heed,
    For no one knows her temper but myself:
    (_to KING_) Since her betrothal, king, until the day
    When she abjured all male society,
    I was the only man she ever saw!

    _Hilar._ Oh, that explains the mystery at once,
    And simplifies our task--come, Florian,
    And we will show these maidens what they’ve lost.
                                 [_Exeunt HILARION, FLORIAN, and CYRIL._


    SCENE SECOND.--_The Gates of Castle Adamant._

      _Enter GOBBO, with ladies’ robes on his arm._

    _Gobbo._ More robes for undergraduates! I suppose
    Some students are expected here to-day.
    No girl without a robe may pass those gates!
    They are so proud of these here caps and gowns,
    They hardly like to take ’em off a-night!
    They even wear (or so I’ve heard it said)
    Night-caps and night-gowns when they go to bed!
                                            [_Exit into porter’s lodge._

      _Enter HILARION, CYRIL, and FLORIAN._

    _Hilar._ So, here’s the Princess Ida’s castle? Well,
    They must be lovely girls if it requires
    Such walls as these to keep intruders off!

    _Cyril._ To keep men off is only half their charge,
    And that the easier half. I much suspect
    The object of these walls is not so much
    To keep men off as keep the maidens in!

    _Hilar._ Here lives the porter, Cyril. I’ll be bound
    He’s quite as learned as the rest of them,
    Half Newton and half Bacon! Here he comes.

      _Enter GOBBO from lodge._

    _Cyril._ Half Bacon? No,--all Bacon I should say!

    _Gobbo._ Now then, what is it?

    _Hilar._                       I’m a royal prince;
    These gentlemen are followers of mine;
    We hold King Gama’s letters, charging you
    To bear us safely to the Council Hall,
    In which the Princess Ida holds her state.

    _Gobbo._ Ho! ho! ho! ho!

    _Hilar._                 How now?--you mock at us? (_Draws sword._)

    _Gobbo._ Mock you? Why, bless your heart and soul alive,
    No man may place his foot within those walls;
    It’s death to disobey our Princess, sir!

    _Flori._ It’s double death to disobey your king! (_draws._)

    _Cyril._ It’s treble death to disobey ourselves! (_draws._)

    _Gobbo._ But, sirs, I am the only man alive
    Who ever enters!

    _Flori._         You?

    _Gobbo._              Yes! Once a year
    I am led through their ranks that they may see
    What sort of thing’s a man! “See here!” she cries.
    “See--this is what you lose in losing man!
    This is a courtly knight--well born, well formed!”
    (I’m comely, sirs; but, bless you, I’m no knight!)
    “Look, girls,” she cries, “this is a courtly knight--
    A type of all that’s beautiful in man!”
    (_aloud_) And then they make me gibber, squeak, and mow;
    Then, with much deference and mock courtesy,
    They bow me to my duty at the gate!

    _Flor._ Are there no males whatever in those walls?

    _Gobbo._ None, gentlemen, excepting letter mails!
    And they are driven (as males often are
    In other large communities)--by women!
    If you’ll believe me, gentlemen, I swear,
    She’s so confoundedly particular,
    She’ll scarcely suffer Dr. Watts’s hymns;
    And all the animals she owns are “hers”!
    The ladies rise at cockcrow every morn--

    _Hilar._ Oh, then they have male poultry!

    _Gobbo._                                  Not at all.
    (_confidentially._) The crowing’s done by an accomplished hen!

    _Cyril._ And what are these? (_Looking at robes in lodge._)

    _Gobbo._                     The academic robes,
    Worn by the lady undergraduates
    When they matriculate.

    _Hilar._               I’ll try one on. (_Does so._)
    Why, see--I’m covered to the very toes!
    Ha! I’ve a proposition!

    _Flori._                State it then.

    _Hilar._ Suppose we dress ourselves as girls, and claim
    Admission to this University?
    It is a thing we’ve often done at home
    In amateur theatricals. You know
    How well I play viragos in burlesque!

    _Flori._ My Cleopatra, too--remember that!

    _Cyril._ My Mrs. Bouncer, too, in ‘Box and Cox’!

    _Hilar._ Wilt play the woman, then?

    _Cyril._                            Of course! What knight
    Would hesitate to “take a woman’s part”?

      _Quartette.--HILARION, CYRIL, FLORIAN, and GOBBO, as they dress
        themselves in women’s clothes._

      “_Les Trois Cousines_” (_La Perichole_).

    _Flori._  If we are hailed with any query,
                Say we are nice young ladies, three;
              Who of the world terribly weary,
                Enter a University.
              Such lovely girls, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    _All._    Such lovely girls, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    _Cyril._  We will declare to them that lately,
              We have been bored with suitors stately,
              And we prefer young ladies greatly--
                Sorry to say that that’s too true!

    _All._    Sorry to say that that’s too true!

    _Hilar._  We must take care when we are talking,
                Never our manly tastes to show;
              Hold up our dresses thus in walking,
                Showing an inch of ankle--so!

    _All._    Showing an inch of ankle--so!
              Such lovely girls, ha, ha, ha, ha!
              Such lovely girls, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    _Gobbo._ (_in terror_). But, gentlemen, observe--if you do this,
    What’s to become of me?

    _Hilar._                I do not know
    What will become of you if we do this;
    But I can read the fate in store for you
    If you presume to interfere with us.
    Now, porter, say to whom we should apply
    To gain admission.

    _Gobbo._ (_in tears_). Why, to Lady Blanche
    Or Lady Psyche.

    _Flori._        Which is prettier?

    _Gobbo._ Well, _I_ like Lady Blanche by far the best.

    _Flori._ Then we declare for Lady Blanche at once.

    _Gobbo._ You see, she’s more my age--the other one
    Is young and pretty! (_contemptuously_).

    _Cyril._              Bah! Then I retract;
    We will be Psyche’s interesting charge!
    So go and summon her. (_GOBBO rings and then exit._)

    _Flori._              But stop a bit,
    What will your father think of such a scheme?

    _Cyril._ Oh, he be--dashed!

    _Hilar._                    Extremely shocked I am!

    _Cyril._ I meant my sire--

    _Hilar._ I thought you meant your “dam”!

      _Enter LADY PSYCHE from gate, attended._

    _Psyche._ Who summons us?

    _Hilar._                  Three would-be students, ma’am--
    Three noble ladies, ma’am, of good estate,
    Who wish to join this University (_they courtesy_).

    _Psyche._ If, as you say, you wish to join our ranks,
    And will conform with all our rules, ’tis well;
    But understand--you must adapt yourselves
    To all the regulations now in force,
    In Princess Ida’s University.

    _Hilar._ To all its rules, we cheerfully subscribe.

    _Flori._ (_aside to HILARION_). Here’s a catastrophe, Hilarion!
    This is my sister! She’ll remember me,
    Though years have passed since she and I have met!

    _Hilar._ No matter, hide your face--she’ll know you not.

    _Psyche._ You say you’re noblewomen--well, you’ll find
    No sham degrees for noblewomen, here--
    Or other cruel contrivances to draw
    An arbitrary line ’twixt rich and poor,
    No butteries, or other institutes,
    To make poor students feed rich cooks--no tufts
    To mark nobility; except such tufts
    As indicate nobility of brain.
    As to your fellow-students, mark me well--
    There are five hundred maidens in these walls
    All good, all learned, and all beautiful.
    You must select your intimates from these;
    They are prepared to love you; will you swear
    You’ll do your best to love them in return?

    _Flori._ Upon our words and honors, ma’am, we will!

    _Psyche._ And will you swear that if, by any chance,
    You’re thrown into a man’s society,
    You’ll not allow your thoughts to stray from us,
    But, at the earliest opportunity,
    You’ll give up his society for ours?

    _Cyril._ All this, dear madam, cheerfully we swear.

    _Psyche._ But we go further: will you undertake
    That you will never marry any man?

    _Flori._ Indeed we never will!

    _Psyche._                      Consider well,--
    You must prefer our maids to all mankind!

    _Hilar._ To all mankind we much prefer your maids!

    _Cyril._ We should be dolts, indeed, if we did not,
    Seeing how fair--

    _Hilar._ (_aside to CYRIL_). Take care, that’s rather strong!
    (_aloud_) We have seen men of wealth--ay, princes too--
    Whose beauty has been so remarkable,
    That half the maidens in our monarch’s court
    Have pined away and died for love of them!
    These men--Apollos in their manly grace,
    Indeed in every thing (except in that
    They wore a proper quantity of clothes)--
    We think of with profound indifference,
    But, when we see a woman who excels
    In virtue, scholarship, and loveliness,
    We long to lay our heads upon her breast,
    And join our lives with hers!

    _Psyche._                     Why, that’s well said.
    But have you left no lovers at your home,
    Who may pursue you here?

    _Hilar._                 No, madam, none--
    We’re homely ladies, as no doubt you see,
    And we have never fished for lover’s love--
    We smile at girls who deck themselves with gems,
    False hair, and meretricious ornaments,
    To chain the fleeting fancy of a man;
    But do not imitate them. What we have
    Of hair is all our own--our color, too,
    Unladylike, but not unwomanly,
    Is but the glow of rugged, boisterous health;
    Our gait, untrammeled by the influence
    Of high heeled boots, small waists, and Grecian bends,
    May seem undignified--but then we walk
    As Nature meant us to--and man has learnt
    To reckon Nature an impertinence!

    _Psyche._ I know how coldly men regard a girl,
    Whose beauty is her poorest excellence;
    But beauty goes for nothing in these walls.
    You’ll find yourselves appreciated here:
    If what you say is true, you’ll spend with us
    A happy, happy time!

    _Cyril._             If, as you say,
    Five hundred lovely maidens wait within
    To welcome us with smiles and open arms,
    I think there’s very little doubt we shall!   [_Exeunt into Castle._


      _Scene Third._--_Grounds of Castle Adamant; Waterfall and Stream,
        crossed by rustic bridge; GIRL-STUDENTS discovered grouped
        about the stage, occupied with philosophical instruments, &c._

    _Ada._ I shall be quite alone, dear, in my rooms,
    So come and spend a long, long evening--do!
    And bring your steam-engine!

    _Chloe._                     Oh, that I will!
    And you shall show me all your nice new things--
    That quadrant--and the anemometer;
    And oh, that darling, darling dumpy-level
    I’ve heard so much about!

    _Lydia._                  My love, I see
    You’ve got another new theodolite.
    (_aside to CHLOE_) That’s the fifteenth this month! The one I use
    Went out of fashion half a year ago!
    Oh, I’ve a bit of scandal! What d’you think?
    Melissa found a _billet-doux_, concealed
    In that Egyptian mummy we unrolled
    Last night. Just think of that!

      _Enter MELISSA, from, bridge, running._

    _Melissa._                      I say, my dear,
    I have such news for you! I’ve just been shown
    The robe for doctors of divinity.
    Oh, it’s the sweetest thing!--Magenta silk,
    Trimmed with chinchilla, _bouillonné_ behind,
    Gored to the figure though; and on the skirt,
    Two rows of Cluny lace as deep as that!

    _Chloe._ Oh my! how lovely!

    _Melissa._                  Then the trencher cap
    Is amber satin, trimmed with Cluny lace
    And rows of pearls; and round the outer edge
    The tiniest, tiniest rosebuds in the world!

    _Ada._ (_to CHLOE_). It’s much more lovely than the legal gown--
    Green grenadine, with rûchings down the front,
    That we shall wear.

    _Chloe._ (_pouting_).  I shall give up the law
    And go into the church! I’ve always felt
    A serious longing for a pastor’s life;
    Besides, I’m dark, and look a fright in green!

    _Sacha._ Take care, here’s Lady Blanche. How stern she looks!

      _Enter LADY BLANCHE, L., GIRLS study vigorously._

    _Blanche._ Attention, ladies, while I read to you
    The Princess Ida’s list of punishments:
    The first is Sacharissa. She’s expelled.

    _All._ Expelled!

    _Blanche._       Expelled--because, although she knew
    No man of any kind may see these halls,
    She dared to bring a set of chessmen here!

    _Sacha._ (_in tears_). I meant no harm--they’re only men of wood!

    _Blanche._ They’re men with whom you give each other mate--
    And that’s enough! The next is Sylvia--

    _Sylvia._                               Oh!

    _Blanche._ Sylvia is rusticated for a month
    Because, in spite of all our college rules
    Upon the point, she dared to put three rows
    Of lace insertion round her graduate’s gown!
    Phyllis will lose three terms, for yesterday,
    When, looking through her drawing book, I found
    A sketch of a perambulator!

    _All._ (_shocked_).         Oh!

    _Blanche._ _Double_ perambulator, shameless girl!
    That’s all at present. Now, attention please,
    Your principal, the Princess, comes to give
    Her usual inaugural address,
    To those young ladies who joined yesterday.

      (_March.--Enter the PRINCESS, over bridge, attended by eight
        “daughters of the plow.” All courtesy profoundly._)

    _Princess._ Women of Adamant--fair neophytes,
    Who pant for the instruction we can give,
    Attend, while I unfold a parable:
    The elephant is stronger than the man,
    Yet man subdues him. Why? The elephant
    Is elephantine everywhere but here (_tapping forehead_),
    And Man, who’s brain is to the elephant’s
    As Woman’s brain to Man’s--that’s rule of three--
    Conquers the foolish giant of the woods,
    As Woman, in her turn, shall conquer Man.
    In mathematics Woman leads the way!
    The narrow-minded pedant still believes
    That two and two make four! Why, we can prove--
    We women, household drudges as we are--
    That two and two make five--or three--or seven--
    Or five-and-twenty, as the case demands!
    Finance? Why, I’ve heard clever men declare,
    Their bankers’ balance being overdrawn,
    They don’t know where to turn for ready cash,
    Yet willfully ignoring all the while
    That remedy unfailing--draw a check!
    Diplomacy? The wily diplomate
    Is absolutely helpless in our hands:
    He wheedles monarchs--Woman wheedles him!
    Logic? Why, tyrant man himself admits
    It’s waste of time to argue with a woman!
    Then we excel in social qualities--
    Though man professes that he holds our sex
    In utter scorn, I’ll undertake to say
    If you could read the secrets of his heart,
    He’d rather be alone with one of you
    Than with five hundred of his fellow-men!
    In all things we excel. Believing this,
    Five hundred maidens here have sworn to place
    Their foot upon his neck. If we succeed,
    We’ll treat him better than he treated us,
    But if we fail--oh then let hope fail too!
    Let no one care one penny how she looks!
    Let red be worn with yellow--blue with green,
    Crimson with scarlet--violet with blue!
    Let all your things misfit, and you yourselves
    At inconvenient moments come undone!
    Let hair-pins lose their virtue; let the hook
    Disdain the fascination of the eye,--
    The bashful button modestly evade
    The soft embraces of the button hole!
    Let old associations all dissolve,
    Let Swan secede from Edgar--Grant from Gask,
    Sewell from Cross--Lewis from Allenby--
    In other words, let Chaos come again!
    Who lectures in the Upper Hall to-day?

    _Blanche._ I, madam, on Abstract Philosophy.
    There, I propose considering at length
    Three points--the Is, the Might Be, and the Must.
    Whether the Is, from being actual fact,
    Is more important than the vague Might Be,
    Or the Might Be, from taking wider scope,
    Is, for that reason, greater than the Is,
    And lastly, how the Is and Might Be stand
    Compared with the inevitable Must.

    _Prin._ The subject’s deep--how do you treat it, pray?

    _Blanche._ Madam, I take three Possibilities,
    And strike a balance then between the three,
    As thus--the Princess Ida Is our head--
    The Lady Psyche Might Be--Lady Blanche--
    Neglected Blanche--inevitably Must.
    Given these three hypotheses--to find
    The actual betting against each of them!
    Come, girls!                    [_Exeunt LADY BLANCHE and STUDENTS._

    _Prin._ (_looking after her_).
    Ambitious fool. And do you think you can
    Provide this college with a head. Go, go!
    Provide yourself with one--you want it more!

      _Enter LADY PSYCHE, over bridge, conducting HILARION, FLORIAN,
        and CYRIL._

    _Lady P._ Here is the Princess Ida’s favorite grove,
    And here’s the Princess. (_To PRINCESS._) These are ladies three
    Who join our College.

    _Hilar._ (_aside to CYRIL_). Gods! how beautiful!

    _Prin._ What special study do you seek, my friend?

    _Hilar._ (_enraptured_). Madam, I come that I may learn to live,
    For, if I come not here, I die!

    _Prin._ (_laughing_).             Indeed?
    Your case is desperate! We welcome you.
    We meet at luncheon--until then, farewell!         [_Exit PRINCESS._

    _Flori._ (_aside to HILARION_).
    When Psyche sees my face, I’m confident
    She’ll recognize her brother Florian.
    Let’s make a virtue of necessity,
    And trust our secret to her gentle care. (_HILARION assents._)
    (_aloud_) Psyche! Why don’t you know me--Florian?
                                                      (_PSYCHE amazed._)

    _Psyche._ Why, Florian!

    _Flori._                My sister!

    _Psyche._                          Oh, my dear,
    What are you doing here--and who are these?

    _Hilar._ I am that Prince Hilarion to whom
    Your Princess is betrothed--I come to claim
    Her promised love--your brother Florian, here,
    And Cyril--come to see me safely through.

    _Psyche._ The Prince Hilarion!--Cyril too! How strange!
    My earliest playfellows!

    _Hilar._ (_astonished_). Why let me look!
    Are you that learned little Psyche who
    At school alarmed her mates because she called
    A buttercup “ranunculus bulbosus”?

    _Cyril._ Are you indeed that Lady Psyche, who
    At children’s parties drove the conjurer wild,
    Explaining all his tricks before he did them?

    _Hilar._ Are you that learned little Psyche, who
    At dinner parties brought into dessert
    Would tackle visitors with “you don’t know
    Who first determined longitude--I do--
    Hipparchus ’twas, B.C. one sixty three!”
    Are you indeed that little Psyche then?

    _Psyche._ That small phenomenon in truth am I!
    But gentlemen, ’tis death to enter here--
    My vow will make me speak. What shall I do?
    This palace is a rat trap--we the bait--
    And you the foolish victims!

    _Cyril._                     Be it so--
    A prisoned rat, before he dies the death,
    Has liberty to nibble at the bait! (_kisses her_).

    _Psyche._ Forbear, sir--pray--you know not what you do!
    We have all promised to renounce mankind.

    _Hilar._ But on what grounds do you, fair Psyche, base
    This senseless resolution?

    _Psyche._                  Senseless? No!
    It’s based upon the grand hypothesis
    That as the Ape is undeveloped Man,
    So Man is undeveloped Woman.

    _Hilar._                     Then,
    This, of all others, is the place for us!

      _Enter MELISSA unperceived, at back; she listens in astonishment._

    If Man is only undeveloped Woman,
    We men, if we work very hard indeed,
    And do our utmost to improve ourselves--
    May in good time _be_ women! Though I own
    Up to this point (as far as I’m aware)
    The metamorphosis has not commenced.

    _Melissa._ (_coming down_). Oh, Lady Psyche!--

    _Psyche._ (_startled_). What--you heard us, then?
    Oh, all is lost!

    _Melissa._       Not so; I’ll breathe no word.
                               (_Advancing in astonishment to FLORIAN._)
    How marvelously strange! And are you then,
    Indeed, young men?

    _Flori._           Well, yes--just now we are;
    But hope, by dint of study, to become,
    In course of time, young women!

    _Melissa._ (_eagerly_).            No! no! no!
    Oh, don’t do that! Is this indeed a man?
    I’ve often heard of them, but till this day
    Never set eyes on one. They told me men
    Were hideous, idiotic, and deformed!
    They’re quite as beautiful as women are!
    (_patting FLORIAN’S cheek_)
    Their cheeks have not that pulpy softness which
    One gets so weary of in womankind!
    Their features are more marked,--and oh! their chins
                                                    (_feeling his chin_)
    How curious!

    _Flori._     I fear it’s rather rough.

    Melissa. Oh, don’t apologize--I like it so!
    But I forgot; my mother, Lady Blanche,
    Is coming--and her eyes are very keen--
    She will detect you, sir!

    _Hilar._                  Oh, never fear!
    We saw her ladyship an hour ago;
    She seemed to have suspicions of our sex,
    And showed us robes, and gave us needlework,
    As though to test us. Well, we did the work
    Like seamstresses--and named the various stuffs,
    As if we’d spent a full apprenticeship
    At Swan and Edgar’s!

      _Enter LADY BLANCHE. Exeunt the three GENTLEMEN with LADY PSYCHE._

    _Blanche._ (_aside to MELISSA_). Here, Melissa--hush!
    Those are the three new students?

    _Melissa._ (_confused_).              Yes, they are--
    They’re charming girls!

    _Blanche._ (_sarcastically_). Particularly so!
    So graceful, and so very womanly;
    So skilled in all a girl’s accomplishments!

    _Melissa._ (_confused_). Yes very skilled!

    _Blanche._                              You stupid little fool!
    Awhile ago, I placed before their eyes,
    Some Cluny lace--_they called it Valenciennes_--
    Hemming is stitching--so at least they say--
    A gusset is a gore--a tuck’s a flounce--
    Merino’s cotton--linen’s calico--
    Poplin is silk, and rep is corduroy!
    I bade them hem a pocket handkerchief--
    _They placed their thimbles on their forefingers!_
    And set about their work as clumsily
    As if they had been men, in girls’ disguise!

    _Melissa._ (_trembling_).
    You surely wrong them, Mother dear, for see--
                                        (_picking up a case from floor_)
    Here is an _étui_ dropped by one of them--
    Containing scissors, needles, and--

    _Blanche._ (_taking it from her, and opening it_). Cigars!!!
    Why these _are_ men! And you knew this, you cat!

    _Melissa._ Oh, spare them--they _are_ gentlemen, indeed,
    The Prince Hilarion--betrothed long since
    To Princess Ida--with two trusted friends!
    Consider, Mother, he’s her husband now!
    And has been, twenty years! Consider, too, (_insidiously_)
    You’re only second here--you should be first--
    Assist the Prince’s plan, and when he gains
    The Princess Ida’s hand, you _will_ be first!
    You will design the fashions--think of that!
    And always serve out all the punishments!
    The scheme is harmless, Mother--wink at it!

    _Blanche._ The prospect’s tempting! Well, well, well, I’ll try--
    Though I’ve not winked at any thing for years!
    ’Tis but one step towards my destiny--
    The mighty Must! Inevitable Shall!             [_Exit LADY BLANCHE._

    _Melissa._ Saved for a while, at least!

      _Enter FLORIAN._

    _Flori._                                Melissa here?

    _Melissa._ Oh, sir, you must away from this at once,
    My mother guessed your sex--it was my fault,
    I blushed and stammered so, that she exclaimed:
    “Can these be men” (then seeing this) “Why these--”
    “_Are men!_” she would have added, but “_are men_”
    Stuck in her throat! She keeps your secret, sir,
    For reasons of her own; but fly from this,
    And take me with you--that is--no, not that!

    _Flori._ I’ll go--but not without you. (_Bell._) Why, what’s that?

    _Melissa._ The luncheon bell.

    _Flori._                      I’ll wait for luncheon, then.
    See, here’s Hilarion with the stern Princess,
    And Cyril with my sister Psyche, too.

      _Enter CYRIL with PSYCHE, and HILARION with PRINCESS, LADY
        BLANCHE, also all the other GIRLS, over bridge, bearing
        luncheon, which is spread. They all sit down and eat, CYRIL
        drinking freely._

    _Prin._ You say you know the Court of Hildebrand?
    There is a prince there--I forget his name.

    _Hilar._ Hilarion?

    _Prin._            Exactly. Is he well?

    _Hilar._ If it is well to droop and pine and mope--
    To sigh, “Oh, Ida! Ida!” all day long--
    “Ida! my love! my life! Oh, come to me!”--
    If it is well, I say, to do all this,
    Then Prince Hilarion is very well.

    _Prin._ He breathes _our_ name? Well, it’s a common one!
    And is the booby comely?

    _Hilar._                 Pretty well.
    I’ve heard it said that if I dressed myself
    In Prince Hilarion’s clothes (supposing this
    Consorted with my maiden modesty),
    I might be taken for Hilarion’s self.
    But what is this to you or me, who think
    Of all mankind with unconcealed contempt?

    _Prin._ Contempt? Why, damsel, when I think of man,
    Contempt is not the word!

    _Cyril._ (_getting tipsy_).  I’m sure of that;
    Or, if it is, it surely should not be!

    _Hilar._ (_to CYRIL_). Be quiet, idiot, or they’ll find us out!

    _Cyril._ The Prince Hilarion’s a goodly lad!

    _Prin._ _You_ know him, then?

    _Cyril._                      I rather think I do!
    We were inseparables.

    _Prin._               Why, what’s this?
    You loved him then? (_horrified_).

    _Cyril._            We did--and do--all three!
    And he loves us sincerely in return!

    _Hilar._ (_confused_). Madam, she jests--
                            (_aside to CYRIL._)  Remember where you are!

    _Cyril._ Jests? Not at all--why, bless my heart alive,
    You and Hilarion, when at the Court,
    Rode the same horse!

    _Prin._              Astride?

    _Cyril._                      Of course--why not?
    Wore the same clothes--and once or twice, I think
    Got tipsy in the same good company!

    _Prin._ Well, these are nice young ladies, on my word--

    _Cyril._ (_to FLORIAN_). Don’t you remember that old laughing song,
    That he and we would troll in unison,
    At the Three Pigeons--just when daylight broke?
    I’ll give it you!

      _Song, CYRIL, Air--Laughing Song from “Manon Lescaut.”_

    A young and earnest reader,
    Once with a special pleader,
      Was reading for the bar,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    A budding luminary,
    Particularly wary,
      As lovers often are,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    He met a lady bright, ha! ha!
    ’Twas very late at night, ha! ha!
      There shone no moon nor star,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    Her head lay on his shoulder,
    And what d’you think he told her?--
      You’ll never guess, I know.
    I scarcely like to tell you,
    For fear it should repel you--
      Come, whisper, whisper low!
        No! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!
        Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

    They threaded many mazes,
    Of buttercups and daisies,
      They wandered very far,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    So amiable he found her,
    He put his arms around her,
      And she opposed no bar,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    He squeezed her little fin, ha! ha!
    He chucked her little chin, ha! ha!
      And christened her his star,
        Ha! ha! ha! ha!
    Her head lay on his shoulder,
    And what d’you think he told her?
      You’ll never guess, I know--
    I’ll hazard it and tell you,
    Although it may repel you--
      Come, whisper, whisper low!
        No! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!
        Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
                                   (_After song he lights a cigarette._)

    _Prin._ Infamous creature--get you hence away!

    _Hilar._ Dog! Here is something more to sing about! (_Strikes him._)

    _Cyril._ (_sobered_). Hilarion--are you mad?

    _Prin._ (_astonished_).                      Hilarion? Help!
    Why these are men! Lost! Lost! betrayed! undone!
                                               (_running on to bridge_).
    Girls, get you hence--man-monsters, if you dare
    Approach one step--I--ah! (_loses balance and falls._)

    _Psyche._                 Oh! save her, sir!

    _Blanche._ It’s useless, sir, you’ll only catch your death.
                                                (_HILARION springs in._)

    _Sacha._ He catches her--

    _Melissa._                And now he lets her go--
    Again she’s in his grasp--

    _Psyche._                  And now she’s not!
    He seizes her back hair--

    _Blanche._                 And it comes off!

    _Psyche._ No--no--she’s saved! She’s saved!
    She’s saved! She’s saved!

      (_HILARION is seen swimming with the PRINCESS in one arm--he
        swims to a bank and the PRINCESS and he are brought to land._)

    _Prin._ You’ve saved our lives and so have saved your own,
    But leave this palace--men in women’s clothes!

      _Enter LYDIA, running._

    Why, what’s the matter now?

    _Lydia._                    King Hildebrand,
    Holding your father captive, sends to say
    That if Hilarion suffers any harm,
    Your father’s life will pay the penalty,
    Moreover--if you do not yield yourself,
    According to the tenor of your oath,
    He will attack you ere to-morrow’s dawn--
    And force compliance!

    _Prin._               Will he so, indeed?
    We’ll teach these men a lesson. (_To HILARION._) Get you gone!
    You saved our lives--we thank you for it--go!
    Arm, Amazons! We’ll show these gentlemen,
    How nobly Woman vindicates her claim
    To equal individuality!
    Arm! Arm! This is our opportunity.

      _The three GENTLEMEN are thrust forth by the AMAZONS. Tableau._


    SCENE FOURTH.--_Hildebrand’s Camp before Ida’s Castle._

      _Enter HILDEBRAND and GAMA._

    _Hilde._ The Princess Ida still holds out, although
    Our camp is fairly pitched before her walls.
    King Gama, if Hilarion comes not back
    All safe and sound, you’ll surely suffer death!
    Your head for his!

    _Gama._            The stakes are poorly matched:
    It’s Lombard Street against a China orange!

    _Hilde._ In the mean time, pray make yourself at home,
    Direct my army as it were your own.
    On every matter that concerns the state,
    Your orders give;--they will not be obeyed,
    But that don’t matter!

    _Gama._                Don’t it?

    _Hilde._                         Not a jot!
    The ecstasy of absolute command
    Is seriously dashed when you reflect,
    That for all consequences that ensue,
    You by the world are held responsible!
    But here, where all are bound to hear your word
    With every outward token of respect,
    They systematically disobey it,
    Your power of high command is just as great,
    The consequences absolutely _nil_.

      _Enter ATHO._

    _Atho._ My liege, three gentlemen await without,
    Attended by a troop of soldiery. (_Gives note_).

    _Gama._ (_reads_). “The Princes Arac, Guron, Scynthius,
    King Gama’s sons, desire that you will set
    Their father free.” (_To ATHO._) Admit these gentlemen.
                                                           [_Exit ATHO._
    My sons! That’s brave!

      _Enter ARAC, SCYNTHIUS, and GURON._

    _Hilde._               What would you, gentlemen?

    _Arac._ What would we? Why look you, King Hildebrand--
    You hold our father in unkingly bonds,
    Our sister you beleaguer in her home,
    You threaten to lay waste our richest lands,
    And then you coolly ask us, “What would we?”

    _Guron._ We come to claim our father at your hands.

    _Scynthius._ We come to save our sister Ida from
    The rude assault of savage soldiery.
    Why they are girls--mere girls--and should be stormed
    As other girls are stormed, if stormed at all!

    _Hilde._ As other girls are stormed so shall they be;
    We’ll use no cannon, bayonet, or sword,
    For such ungentlemanly arguments--
    Convincing though they be--would but convince
    These women ’gainst their will! We’ll witch them forth
    With love songs, odes, and idle fripperies,
    Such as a woman can not long withstand.
    Stay, you shall see--

      _Enter ATHO._

    _Atho._                All is prepared, my liege
    To storm the walls--

    _Hilde._                 Then let the siege commence!

      _Enter FIRST OFFICER._

    Who leads the serenading party, eh?

    _First Officer._ Sir Michael Costa--

    _Hilde._                            Good! the light guitars
    Fall in at six--the King’s own baritones,
    Led by Sir Santley--

    _First Officer._     He’s not knighted, sir!

    _Hilde._ He shall be, then--they will parade at five.
                                                  [_Exit FIRST OFFICER._

      _Enter SECOND OFFICER._

    _Second Officer._ Who leads the scaling party, sir?

    _Hilde._                                            Of course
    The first light tenors--they can highest go. [_Exit SECOND OFFICER._

    _Atho._ And who shall first climb up the outer wall,
    And reconnoiter what goes on within?

    _Hilde._ Some tenor, fool, who can “go up to see!”     [_Exit ATHO._
    Let all be furnished with their photographs,
    And scatter them among these amazons.
    Bid the director of the poets direct
    And post five hundred valentines, and see
    They get them by to-night’s delivery.
    Go, tell the gallant lady, who commands
    The horse brigade of royal milliners,
    To place five hundred toilet tables out
    Within full view of Princess Ida’s walls.
    Upon them place five hundred mirrors--then
    Lay out five hundred robes of French design;
    And if they still hold out they’re more than women!
                   [_Exeunt OFFICERS, GAMA, ARAC, SCYNTHIUS, and GURON._

    _King._ If all this fails, I have a deadlier scheme,
    Five hundred waltzing bachelors--tried men,
    Who can waltz forwards--backwards--anyhow--
    Shall twirl and twist before their dazzled eyes,
    Thrumming soft music on a light guitar.

      _Song--KING HILDEBRAND, Air, “Largo al Factotum.”_

    Like a teetotum with a guitar--
                        Just so!
        La, la, la, la!
    Bachelors spin at ’em thus from afar--
                        Just so!
        La, la, la, la!
    Oh, tickle their vanity;
      Oh, never be chary,
      Oh, flatter your fairy,
      Ever unwary,
        Tickle it, ah!
    Bravo bravissimo,
    Generalissimo.
        Serve her it, ah!
    Flatter her beauty,
    With an acute eye,
    Say it’s your duty,
        Call her a star!
    Sneer at another,
    Coddle her mother,
    Butter her brother,
        Ever so far!
        La, la, la, la!
    Load her with frippery,
    Glovery, slippery,
    Cleverly planned, no going too far!
    Marabout feather,
        Gossamer airy,
    Fastened together,
      Give to your fairy.
        La, la, la, la!
    Oh, tickle her vanity,
      Oh, never be chary,
      Oh, flatter your fairy,
      Ever unwary,
        Tickle it, ah!
    Marry her merrily,
    Change it all, verily;
    Snapping and wrangling,
    Jingling and jangling,
    Snarling and snapping,
      Rubbing and rapping.
    “Why are you mum to me?
    “Why don’t you come to me?
    “Why are you mum to me?
    “Why don’t you come to me?
    “Quicker, oh! quicker, oh! quicker, oh!”
    My goodness! my gracious!
        A row, sir!
    Pucker your brow, sir,
        Pucker it, ah!
        Pucker it, ah!
    Lick her, oh, no more!
    Quicker, oh, “The door!”
      Set it ajar!
      Light a cigar!
      Set it ajar!
      Light a cigar!
      Give her a sou!
      Bid her adoo!
      Give her a sou!
      Bid her adoo!
    Bravo bravissimo,
    Finish your capering.
    Like a teetotum
        With a guitar!
        With a guitar!
        With a guitar!
    Bravo bravissimo,
    Generalissimo!
    Take her and marry her,
    Worry her, harry her;
    Oh, you may carry her
        Ever so far!
    Just like a teetotum
        With a guitar!

      _Enter ATHO._

    _Atho._ My liege, I bring good news, your plan succeeds.
    Three ladies of the Princess Ida’s band
    Are coming towards your camp.

    _Hilde._                      The mirrors did it!
    Admit them.

      _Enter HILARION, CYRIL and FLORIAN, still in women’s clothes._

                Why--Hilarion! Cyril too!
    And Florian! dressed as women. Ho! ho! ho! (_all jeer them_).

    _Hilar._ We gained admission to fair Ida’s halls,
    By this disguise--We were detected though,
    And should have suffered death, but that she knew,
    In killing us, she killed her father too!

    _Gama._ (_in high glee_). Here, set me free! Hilarion safe again--
    Is this indeed Hilarion?

    _Hilar._                 Yes it is--

    _Gama._ Why you look handsome in your women’s clothes,
    Stick to ’em--man’s attire becomes you not!
    (_to FLORIAN and CYRIL_)
                         And you, young ladies, will you please to pray,
    King Hildebrand to set me free again?
    Hang on his neck and gaze into his eyes,
    Bring all your woman’s wiles to bear on him.
    He never could resist a pretty face!

    _Cyril._ You dog! Though I wear woman’s garb, you’ll find
    My sword is long and sharp.

    _Gama._                     Hush, pretty one!
    Here’s a virago! Here’s a termagant!
    If length and sharpness go for any thing,
    You’ll want no sword while you can wag your tongue.

    _Flori._ What need to talk of swords to such as he?
    He’s old and crippled--(_to GAMA_) Oh, if you were young,
    And tolerably straight--and I could catch
    You all alone, I’d--Ah!

    _Gama._ (_bashfully_).     Oh, go along,
    You naughty girl--why, I’m a married man!
    But I’ve three sons--see, ladies--here they are--
    Fine fellows--young and muscular and brave.
    They’ll meet you, if you will. Come, what d’ye say?

    _Arac._ Ay, pretty ones, engage yourselves with us,
    If three rude warriors who have spent their lives
    Hacking at enemies, affright you not!

    _Hilar._ (_to GAMA_). Old as you are, I’d wring your shriveled neck
    If you were not the Princess Ida’s father!

    _Gama._ If I were not the Princess Ida’s father,
    And so had not her brothers for my sons,
    No doubt you’d wring my neck--in safety too!

    _Hilar._ Enough! I speak for Florian and Cyril.
    Arac, we take your challenge--three to three--
    So that it’s understood that Ida’s hand
    Depends upon the issue.

    _Arac._                 There’s my hand;
    If she consents not--sister though she be
    We’ll raze her castle to the very ground!                 [_Exeunt._


    SCENE FIFTH.--_Inner Gate of Castle Adamant._

      _All the LADY STUDENTS discovered--the eight SERVANTS as
        Amazons--the others all around. Flourish--Enter PRINCESS IDA,
        followed by LADY BLANCHE._

    _Prin._ Is all prepared for war? We have to meet
    Stern bearded warriors in fight to-day.
    Wear naught but what is necessary to
    Preserve your dignity before their eyes,
    And give your limbs full play.

    _Blanche._                     One moment, ma’am,
    Here is a paradox we should not pass
    Without inquiry. We are prone to say,
    “This thing is Needful--that Superfluous”--
    Yet they invariably co-exist!
    We find the Needful comprehended in
    The circle of the grand Superfluous;
    While the Superfluous can not be bought
    Unless you’re amply furnished with the Needful.
    These singular considerations are--

    _Prin._ Superfluous, yet not Needful--so, you see,
    These terms may independently exist.
    Women of Adamant, we have to show
    These men how they have under-rated us.
    Now is the time to prove our titles to
    The highest honors they monopolize.
    Now is the time to prove our theory
    That woman, educated to the work,
    Can meet man face to face on his own ground,
    And beat him there. Now let us set to work!
    Where is our lady surgeon?

    _Sacha._                   Madam, here!

    _Prin._ We shall require your skill to heal the wounds
    Of those that fall.

    _Sacha._            What! heal the wounded?

    _Prin._                                     Yes!

    _Sacha._ And cut off real live legs and arms?

    _Prin._                                       Of course!

    _Sacha._ I wouldn’t do it for a thousand pounds!

    _Prin._ Why, how is this? Are you faint-hearted, girl?
    You’ve often cut them off in theory.

    _Sacha._ In theory I’ll cut them off again
    With pleasure, and as often as you like--
    But not in practice!

    _Prin._              Coward, get you hence!
    I’ve craft enough for that, and courage too.
    I’ll do your work! My Amazons, advance!
    Why, you are armed with spears--mere gilded toys!
    Where are your muskets, pray?

    _Ada._                        Why, please you, ma’am,
    We left them in the armory, for fear
    That, in the heat and turmoil of the fight,
    They might go off.

    _Prin._            “They might!” Oh, craven souls,
    Go off yourselves! Thank heaven, I have a heart
    That quails not at the thought of meeting men.
    _I_ will discharge your muskets. Off with you!
    Where’s my bandmistress?

    _Chloe._                 Please you, ma’am, the band
    Do not feel well, and can’t come out to-day!

    _Prin._ Why, this is flat rebellion! I’ve no time
    To talk to them just now! But happily
    I can play several instruments at once,
    And I will drown the shrieks of those that fall
    With trumpet music such as soldiers love.
    How stand we with respect to gunpowder?
    My Lady Psyche--you who superintend
    The lab’ratory, where your class compounds
    That hideous chemical--are you prepared
    To blow these bearded rascals into shreds?

    _Psyche._ Why, madam--

    _Prin._               Well?

    _Psyche._                    Let us try gentler means--
    Treat them with the contempt that they deserve.
    We can dispense with fulminating grains
    While we have eyes with which to flash our rage.
    We can dispense with villainous saltpeter,
    While we have tongues with which to blow them up.
    We can dispense, in short, with all the arts
    That brutalize the practical polemist.

    _Prin._ (_contemptuously_). I never knew a more dispensing chemist!
    Away! away! I’ll meet these men alone,
    For all my women have deserted me!

      _Enter MELISSA._

    _Melissa._ Madam, your brothers crave an audience.

    _Prin._ My brothers? Why, what do they here?

    _Melissa._                                   They come
    To fight for you.

    _Prin._           Admit them!

    _Blanche._                    Infamous!
    One’s brothers, ma’am, are men!

    _Prin._                         So I have heard;
    But all my women seem to fail me when
    I need them most: in this perplexity
    Even one’s brothers may be turned to use.

      _Enter ARAC, GURON, and SCYNTHIUS._

    _Arac._ My sisters!

    _Prin._             Arac, Guron, Scynthius, too! (_they embrace._)

    _Arac._ We have arranged that Prince Hilarion
    And his two followers shall fight us here;
    And if we fall, we’ve promised him your hand.

    _Prin._ (_sighing_). So be it, Arac; brothers though you be,
    With all your faults you’re brave, as brutes are brave.
    So be it--fight them here, but (_aside and bashfully_)
                                   oh, my brother,
    Kill whom you will, but spare Hilarion!
    He saved my life!

    _Melissa._ (_aside to ARAC_). Oh, save me Florian,
    He is her brother! (_indicating PSYCHE._)

    _Psyche._ (_aside to ARAC_). Oh, spare Cyril, sir,
    You’ve no idea what jolly songs he sings!

    _Arac._ Bah! I can spare them all--I want them not!
    But here they come, stand back, the lists prepare--
    Get you within those walls, poor trembling ones,
    And see that no one interferes with us.

      _Enter HILARION, CYRIL, and FLORIAN, with KINGS GAMA and
        HILDEBRAND--PRINCESS and LADIES retire within outer wall, and
        group themselves on battlements._

    _Gama._ Come boys, we’ve all prepared, begin! begin!
    Why you lack mettle!--Gad, I’ll spur you up!
    (_To ARAC_) Look, Arac--there’s the son of that vile king,
    Who, when he held me as his prisoner,
    Tormented me with tortures worse than death.
    _I hadn’t any thing to grumble at!_
    He found out what particular meats I loved,
    And gave me them--the very choicest wine--
    The costliest robes--the richest rooms were mine.
    He suffered none to thwart my simplest plan,
    And gave strict orders none should contradict me.
    _He made my life a curse!_ Go in at them!
    Avenge your father’s wrongs! (_To HILARION_) And as for you--
    (_pointing to his sons_)
                         Here are three princes, sirs, who stand between
    You and your happiness--so cut them down!
    Give them no mercy, they will give you none.
    Come, Prince Hilarion, begin, begin!
    You’ve this advantage over warriors
    Who kill their country’s enemies for pay,
    You know what you are fighting for--look there!
                                  (_pointing to LADIES on battlements._)

    _Hilar._ Come on!

    _Arac._           Come on!

    _Cyril._                   Come on!

    _Scyn._                             Come on!

    _Flori._                                     Come on!

      (_Desperate fight--at the end, HILARION, CYRIL, and FLORIAN wound
        ARAC, GURON, and SCYNTHIUS._)

    _Prin._ (_entering through gate_).
    Hold! stay your hands!--we yield ourselves to you.
    Ladies, my brothers all lie bleeding there!
    Bind up their wounds--but look the other way.
    Is this the end? How say you, Lady Blanche--
    Can I with dignity my post resign?
    And if I do, will you then take my place?

    _Blanche._ To answer this, it’s meet that we consult
    The great Potential Mysteries; I mean
    The five Subjunctive Possibilities--
    The May, the Might, the Would, the Could, the Should.
    Can you resign? The prince Might claim you; if
    He Might, you Could--and if you Should, I Would!

    _Prin._ I thought as much. Then to my fate I yield--
    So ends my cherished scheme! Oh, I had hoped
    To band all women with my maiden throng,
    And make them all abjure tyrannic Man!

    _Hilde._ A noble aim!

    _Prin._               You ridicule it now;
    But if I carried out this glorious scheme,
    At my exalted name Posterity
    Would bow in gratitude!

    _Hilde._                But pray reflect--
    If you enlist all women in your cause,
    And make them all abjure tyrannic Man,
    The obvious question then arises, “How
    Is this Posterity to be provided?”

    _Prin._ I never thought of that! My Lady Blanche,
    How do you solve the riddle?

    _Blanche._                   Don’t ask me--
    Abstract Philosophy won’t answer it.
    Take him--he is your Shall. Give in to Fate!

    _Prin._ And _you_ desert me? I alone am stanch!

    _Hilar._ Madam, you placed your trust in woman--well,
    Woman has failed you utterly--try man,
    Give him one chance, it’s only fair--besides,
    Women are far too precious, too divine
    To try unproven theories upon.
    Experiments, the proverb says, are made
    On humble subjects--try our grosser clay,
    And mold it as you will!

    _Cyril._                 Remember, too,
    Dear Madam, if at any time you feel
    Aweary of the Prince, you can return
    To Castle Adamant, and rule your girls
    As heretofore, you know.

    _Prin._                  And shall I find
    The Lady Psyche here?

    _Psyche._             If Cyril, ma’am,
    Does not behave himself, I think you will.

    _Prin._ And you, Melissa, shall I find you here?

    _Melissa._ Madam, however Florian turns out,
    Unhesitatingly I answer, No.

    _Gama._ Consider this, my love: if your mamma
    Had looked on matters from your point of view
    (I wish she had), why, where would you have been?

    _Lady B._ There’s an unbounded field of speculation,
    On which I could discourse for hours!

    _Prin._                               No doubt!
    We will not trouble you. Hilarion,
    I have been wrong--I see my error now.
    Take me, Hilarion--“We will walk the world
    Yoked in all exercise of noble end!
    And so through those dark gates across the wild
    That no man knows! Indeed, I love thee--Come!”

      _Finale, from “Le Pont des Soupirs.”_

    _Cyril._
    Singers know
    How sweetly at a piano
    A tenor and soprano
      Together sound.

    _Chorus._
        Singers know, &c.

    _Hilar._
      This will show
    That men and women verily
    Can get along more merrily
        Together bound.

    _Chorus._
      This will show
    That men and women verily
    Can get along more merrily
        Together bound!
        Together bound!
        Together bound!



THE PALACE OF TRUTH:

_A Fairy Comedy_,

IN THREE ACTS.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  KING PHANOR           MR. BUCKSTONE.
  PRINCE PHILAMIR       MR. KENDAL.
  CHRYSAL               MR. EVERILL.
  ZORAM                 MR. CLARK.
  ARISTÆUS              MR. ROGERS.
  GÉLANOR               MR. BRAID.
  QUEEN ALTEMIRE        MRS. CHIPPENDALE.
  PRINCESS ZEOLIDE      MISS MADGE ROBERTSON.
  MIRZA                 MISS CAROLINE HILL.
  PALMIS                MISS FANNY WRIGHT.
  AZÈMA                 MISS FANNY GWYNNE.


                                 ACT I.
               _GARDENS OF KING PHANOR’S COUNTRY HOUSE._
                                MORNING.

                                ACT II.
                  _INTERIOR OF THE PALACE OF TRUTH._
                                 NOON.

                                ACT III.
                         _THE AVENUE OF PALMS._
                                 NIGHT.

      [_The action of the piece takes place within the space of
        twenty-four hours._]


THE PALACE OF TRUTH.


ACT I.

      SCENE.--_Garden of KING PHANOR’S Country House. KING PHANOR
        discovered with CHRYSAL, ZORAM, ARISTÆUS, and PALMIS. ARISTÆUS
        is standing sulkily apart._

      _As the curtain rises, KING PHANOR is finishing a recitation
        which he is accompanying on a mandolin, in a very affected
        manner._

    _Phanor._ “Oh, I would not--no, I would _not_ be there!”
                               (_ZORAM and CHRYSAL applaud vigorously._)

    _Chrysal._ My lord, I pray you read it once again,
    My ears are greedy for the golden sound.

    _Phan._ Chrysal, you make me blush!

    _Chrys._                            My lord, a blush
    Is modesty’s sole herald--and true worth
    Is ever modest. Pray you, sir, again!

    _Phan._ It’s a poor thing--a string of platitudes--
    Stale metaphors--time-honored similes.
    I’m a poor poet, gentlemen!

    _Chrys._                    I swear
    There never lived a poet till now!

    _Zoram._                           And then
    The music you have wedded to the words
    (I speak of this with some authority)
    Shames, in its flow of rhythmic melody,
    The counterpoint of Adam de la Halle!

    _Phan._ (_bashfully_). The merit is not altogether mine.
    I wrote the music--but I did not make
    This dainty instrument. Why, who could fail
    To charm, with such a mandolin as this?

    _Zor._ Believe me, the result would be the same,
    Whether your lordship chose to play upon
    The simple tetrachord of Mercury
    That knew no diatonic intervals,
    Or the elaborate dis-diapason
    (Four tetrachords, and one redundant note),
    Embracing in its perfect consonance
    All simple, double and inverted chords!

    _Phan._ (_to CHRYSAL_). A wonderful musician--and a man
    Of infinite good taste!

    _Zor._                  Why, from my birth
    I have made melope and counterpoint
    My favorite study.

    _Phan._            And you really care
    To hear my work again, oh melodist?

    _Zor._ Again, my lord, and even then again!

    _Phan._ (_recites_). “When pitch-incrusted night aloft prevails;
    “When no still goddess through the mid-air sails;
    “When scorpions vomit forth their poisonous scum;
    “When to the demon tryst gaunt witches come;
    “When noisome pestilence stalks through the glen,
    “Bellowing forth its enmity to men;
    “When ghastly toads scream loudly through the air;
    “Oh, I would not--no, I would _not_ be there!”

    _Chrys._ (_in raptures_). Why, where’s the cunning of the sorcerer
    Placed by the magic of such words as these?
    “_When pitch-incrusted night aloft prevails_;”
    Why, there’s an epithet might make day night,
    And shame the swallows to their couching place!
    “_When no still goddess through the mid-air sails!_”
    Why, here’s a blackness, Zoram, so intense
    It scares the very deities away!

    _Phan._ (_explaining_). “Still goddess” means the moon.

    _Chrys._                                          The moon--my lord?
    Of course--the moon! See how, in ignorance,
    We seek upon the surface of the wave
    For pearls that lie uncounted fathoms deep.
    The darkness frightens e’en the moon away!
    The metaphor is perfect!

    _Phan._ (_annoyed_).       No, no, no!
    The moon has not yet risen, sir! The moon
    Frightens the darkness--darkness don’t fright _her_!
    Why sits the genial Aristæus there
    All solitary? How d’you like my work?
    (_Aside to CHRYSAL_) We’ll have some fun with him.
    (_Aloud_) Your verdict, come!

    _Arist._ I’m blunt and honest. I can’t teach my tongue
    To lie, as Zoram here, and Chrysal do.
    I tell the truth, sir. If you want to know
    My estimate of what you’ve given us,
    I think your poetry contemptible--
    Your melody, my lord, beneath contempt.

    _Phan._ That’s rather strong.

    _Arist._                      It’s strong, my lord, but true.
    I’m blunt--outspoken. If I’ve angered you,
    So much the worse; I always speak the truth.

    _Chrys._ Heed not the yelping of this surly cur,
    Naught satisfies him, Phanor!

    _Arist._                      There you’re wrong,
    For I was satisfied to hear it once;
    ’Twas you that wanted it a second time!

    _Chrys._ Back to your kennel, sham Diogenes!

    _Arist._ I’m no Diogenes. _He_ spent his life
    Seeking an honest man. _I_ live in courts.

    _Zor._ My lord, I pray you send the fellow hence,
    For he and we are always out of tune.
    An inharmonious bracketing of notes,
    Whose musical extremes don’t coalesce:
    He’s sharp and we are flat.

    _Arist._                    Extremely flat!

    _Chrys._ He’s vinegar, my lord, and we are oil.

    _Arist._ Oil is a sickening insipid food
    Unless it’s qualified with vinegar.
    I’m rough and honest. If I’ve angered you,
    I’ll go.

    _Phan._ No, no, you have not angered us.
    (_Aside to ZORAM_) I like the fellow’s humor--he may rave!
    I’m tired of hearing truths, so let him lie!
    But where’s Queen Altemire?

    _Chrys._                    My lord, she comes--
    A perfect type of perfect womanhood.
    The dew of forty summers on her head
    Has but matured her beauty, by my life!
    For five-and-thirty years, a bud--and now
    A rose full blown!

    _Arist._           Say over-blown.

    _Phan._                            What’s that?

    _Arist._ My lord, the Queen’s too fat.

    _Phan._                                Well, that may be,
    But don’t you tell her so. Your insolence
    Amuses me--it won’t amuse the Queen:
    She has no sense of humor. So take care.

    _Arist._ My lord, I’m rough, but honest. I’ve a tongue
    That can not frame a lie.

    _Phan._                   But bear in mind
    Besides that very rough and honest tongue,
    You have a palate, and a set of teeth,
    And several delicate contrivances
    That aid digestion. Tell her she’s too fat,
    And she may take offense; and, if she does,
    She’ll throw that apparatus out of work:
    That’s all.

      _Enter the QUEEN and MIRZA._

                Good morning, Altemire, my queen.
    Why, you seem sad.

    _Altem._           My lord, I’m very sad.

    _Palmis._ The Queen is sad! Zoram, attune your lyre,
    And soothe her melancholy.

    _Altem._                   No, no, no--
    I’m not in cue for music--leave us, pray--
    I would take counsel with my lord--look, sirs,
    I am not well.             [_The three COURTIERS exeunt into house._

    _Phan._ (_aside to PALMIS_).   Palmis, what’s here amiss?
    What causes this? Have _I_ done any thing?

    _Palmis._ I know not, but I think it bears upon
    Your daughter’s troth to brave Prince Philamir.
    Whenever we have spoken on the point
    She has commanded silence.

    _Phan._                    Well, we’ll see.
    Chrysal awaits you--you may go to him;
    Talk to him of your pledge to marry _him_,
    And he’ll not silence you. There, you may go.
                                              [_Exit PALMIS into house._
    Now what’s the matter?

    _Altem._               Oh, I’m sick at heart
    With apprehension! Our dear Zeolide
    To-morrow is betrothed to Philamir,
    The bravest and the most accomplished Prince
    In Christendom. Phanor, she loves him not!

    _Phan._ What makes you think so?

    _Altem._                         Phanor, you are blind!
    Why see how coldly Zeolide receives
    His songs of love--his bursts of metaphor:
    “I love you, Philamir,” and there’s an end.
    She will vouchsafe her spouse-elect no more--
    No tenderness--no reciprocity;
    A cold, half-sullen and half-wayward smile,
    And that is all. The maiden lavishes
    More love upon her horse!

    _Phan._                   Perhaps she thinks
    Her horse will bear such tokens of regard
    With more discretion than her lover would!

    _Altem._ Phanor, I tell you she loves him not.
    I am a woman, with a woman’s tact.

    _Phan._ She _says_ she loves him.

    _Altem._                        So indeed she says,
    And says no more. Phanor, had I been woo’d
    With ardent songs of overwhelming love,
    Framed by so fair a poet as Philamir,
    It would have turned my giddy woman’s brain,
    And thrilled my reason to its very core!

    _Phan._ I never thought my wooing poetry,
    Now I begin to think it may have been.

    _Mirza._ Oh, sir, _I_ love the Princess. Pause before
    You sacrifice her earthly happiness
    For sordid ends of selfish policy.
    The Prince is rich. What then? The girl is poor.
    But what is wealth of gold to wealth of love?
    What famine’s so deplorable as his
    Who hungers for a love he can not find?
    What luxury so wearisome as hers
    Who’s surfeited with love she values not?
    King Phanor, let the Princess be released!

    _Altem._ My lady Mirza, you forget yourself!

    _Mirza._ I do forget myself, rememb’ring her;
    I have her happiness at heart. The maid
    Is more than life to me. Forgive me, Queen.
    I could not help but speak.

    _Phan._                     Well, say no more.
    I’ll question her, and if it then appears
    She loves not Philamir, she shall be free.
    I also love the girl--but, here she comes.
    I’ll find some test which shall decide the point.
                                              [_Exit PHANOR into house._

      _Enter ZEOLIDE._

    _Altem._ My daughter, where’s the Prince?

    _Zeo._                                    I can not say;
    I saw his highness yesterday, but since
    Have not set eyes on him.

    _Altem._                  Has he returned
    From hunting?

    _Zeo._        Yes, I heard the Prince’s voice
    Not half an hour ago.

    _Altem._ And, in return,
    You made no sign to him?

    _Zeo._                   No sign, indeed.
    I heard his song--’twas very sweetly sung,
    It told of love--it called for no reply.

    _Altem._ A song of love that called for no reply?

    _Zeo._ It asked no question, mother.

    _Altem._                             Surely, girl,
    There may be questions that are not expressed.

    _Zeo._ And answers, mother--mine was one of them!

    _Altem._ Come, Zeolide, I’ve much to say to you.
    Renounce Prince Philamir ere ’tis too late!
    He will release you; he is proud and brave,
    And would not force a hated life on you.
    Come, Zeolide, throw off this weary bond,
    And marry whom you love, or marry none!

    _Zeo._ As I am bound, dear mother, I’ll remain,
    So let me stay with Mirza.

    _Altem._ (_annoyed_).        You can stay!
            [_Exit QUEEN ALTEMIRE into house, glancing angrily at MIRZA;
                               ZEOLIDE notices this with some surprise._

    _Zeo._ Why, Mirza, how my mother frowns at you!
    How have you angered her?

    _Mirza._                  I love you well;
    And when I told her of my sister-love,
    In words more passionate than politic,
    The Queen rebuked me sternly.

    _Zeo._                        Oh, for shame!

    _Mirza._ She is your mother, and she claims your love,
    And can not brook that I should share that love.
    I can forgive the noble jealousy
    That comes of woman’s love for woman.

    _Zeo._                                Yes;
    For you are Mirza--queen of womankind--
    The best, the noblest woman in the world!

    _Mirza._ Why, here is warmth! and people call you cold
    Because you are so cold to Philamir.

    _Zeo._ Why, Mirza, he’s a man!

      _Enter PHILAMIR from house--he overhears MIRZA._

    _Mirza._                       A man indeed!
    The bravest warrior that wields a sword;
    The rarest poet that ever penned a lay;
    An admirable knight--gay, handsome, young,
    Brave, wealthy, and accomplished--with a tongue
    Might shame a siren’s!

    _Zeo._                 Hush! a siren’s tongue
    Is not renowned for much sincerity.

    _Mirza._ _He_ is sincere.

    _Zeo._                  Indeed, I hope he is!

    _Phil._ (_coming forward_).
    I thank you, Lady Mirza, for those words.

    _Mirza._ (_coldly_). I little thought that they were overheard.
    This is ungenerous, Prince Philamir.         [_Bows coldly and exit;
             PHILAMIR rushes to ZEOLIDE, who receives him very quietly._

    _Phil._ Dear Zeolide, at last we are alone!
    Oh, I have longed for this!

    _Zeo._                      Indeed! And why?

    _Phil._ And why? We can converse without reserve.

    _Zeo._ What should I say when we are quite alone
    That I should leave unsaid were others here?
    I can but say, “I love you,” Philamir.

    _Phil._ And is that all?

    _Zeo._                   And is not that enough?

    _Phil._ All the world knows you love me!

    _Zeo._                                   That is why
    I do not blush to own it in the world.

    _Phil._ But give me more--I love _you_, Zeolide,
    As the earth loves the sun!

    _Zeo._                      The earth is glad
    To see the sun, and asks no more than that.
    You would do well to imitate the earth.

    _Phil._ I am content to imitate the earth--
    I am content to sit and gaze at you,
    Tranced in a lazy glow of happiness;
    But if you speak and wake me from that trance,
    Wake me, dear Zeolide, with warmer words.
    “I love you!” Why I know you love me well!
    Say nothing, Zeolide, and I’m content.
    If you say any thing, say more than that!

    _Zeo._ What words could I employ which, tested in
    The crucible of unimpassioned truth,
    Would not resolve themselves into those three?
    Now I must go--your sun’s about to set--
    So farewell earth!

    _Phil._            And when the sun is down
    The earth is inconsolable!

    _Zeo._                     Until
    The moon appears! Perhaps there is a moon
    That fills my place until I rise again?

    _Phil._ No moon, dear Zeolide; or, if there be,
    She floats in one perpetual eclipse!

    _Zeo._ The moon is not the less a moon because
    The earth thinks fit to hide her from the sun!

    _Phil._ Nay; you pursue the metaphor too far.
    If I, the earth, conceal a nightly moon,
    Why you, the sun, have many worlds to warm,
    And some are nearer to you than this earth!

    _Zeo._ Hush, Philamir! I’m ready to believe
    That you’re an earth that knows no moon at all,
    If you’ll allow that I, although a sun,
    Consent to warm no other world than this!
                                    (_Kissing his forehead, and going._)

    _Phil._ Oh, do not leave me thus, dear Zeolide.
    I am a beggar, begging charity;
    Throw me more coin that bears the stamp of love!

    _Zeo._ I have one coin that bears that holy stamp--
    I give you that--I have no more to give.

    _Phil._ Tell me its value, then, in words of love!

    _Zeo._ What! would you have me advertise my alms,
    And trumpet forth my largess to the world?

    _Phil._ Not to the world, dear Zeolide--to me!

    _Zeo._ Ah, you would have me say “_You_ are my world!”
    You see, I have the trick of ardent speech,
    And I could use it, were I so disposed.
    But surely, Philamir, the mendicant
    Who is not satisfied to take my alms
    Until he knows how much that alms be worth,
    Can scarcely stand in need of alms at all!
    I love you, Philamir--be satisfied.
    Whose vows are made so earnestly as hers
    Who would deceive you by her earnestness?
    Why, if I sought to trick you, Philamir,
    I should select such phrases for my end--
    So passionate--and yet so delicate,
    So fierce--from overflow of gentle love,
    So furious--from excess of tenderness,
    That even your expressions of regard,
    Unbounded in their hot extravagance,
    Would pale before the fury of _my_ words,
    And you, from very shame, would call them back,
    And beg my pardon for their want of warmth!
    I love you, Philamir--I’ll say no more!                     [_Exit._

    _Phil._ Gone! But I’ll follow her--(_going_).

      _Enter PHANOR from house._

    _Phan._                                Stop, Philamir,
    If, as she says, she loves you, well and good;
    She’ll give you proof of it in her good time;
    But if she don’t, why take an old boy’s word
    (Who speaks of love with some authority),
    She’ll love you none the better for the warmth
    That prompts you to perpetual persecution.
    The girl has taken this road--take you that.       [_PHILAMIR stands
          irresolute, then goes off slowly, in the direction indicated._
    That’s good advice!

      _Enter QUEEN ALTEMIRE from house._

    _Altem._            My lord, old Gélanor,
    The steward of your palace, has arrived,
    And waits without.

    _Phan._            We’ll see him presently.

    _Altem._ (_with some hesitation_).
    Now, do you know, I often wonder why,
    Possessing such a palace, furnished with
    The rarest luxuries that wealth can buy,
    You hold your Court in this secluded place?
    I have been married to you eighteen years,
    Yet I have never seen this palace, which
    Stands barely twenty miles away, and which
    You visit regularly once a month.

    _Phan._ (_rather confused_). There are good reasons, Altemire.

    _Altem._ (_angry_).                                        No doubt!
    Exceedingly good reasons! When a man
    Maintains a bachelor establishment,
    He has the best of reasons to decline
    To take his wife there!

    _Phan._                 You’re a jealous fool.

    _Altem._ Jealous I am, and possibly a fool,
    But not a fool for being jealous.

    _Phan._                           Peace,
    And I will tell you why I take you not.
    That palace is enchanted. Every one
    Who enters there is bound to speak the truth--
    The simple, unadulterated truth.
    To every question that is put to him
    He must return the unaffected truth,
    And strange to say, while publishing the truth
    He’s no idea that he is doing so;
    And while he lets innumerable cats
    Out of unnumbered bags, he quite believes
    That all the while he’s tightening the strings
    That keep them from a too censorious world.
    What do you say to that?

    _Altem._ (_amazed_).       Say? Would the world
    Were one such palace, Phanor!

    _Phan._                       If it were,
    At least we all should meet on equal terms;
    But to be taken from a world in which
    That influence don’t exist, and to be placed
    Inside a fairy palace where it does
    (Accompanied, moreover, by one’s wife),
    Might take one at a disadvantage!

    _Altem._                           Well,
    I am prepared to undergo the test
    If you’ll accompany me.

    _Phan._                 No, no, no!
    You are a worthy woman, Altemire,
    But, Altemire, you have your faults!

    _Altem._                             My lord,
    I am a woman!

    _Phan._       Yes, exactly so;
    If you were _not_ a woman, Altemire,
    Or, being one, were some one else’s wife,
    I’d take you there to-morrow!

    _Altem._                      But, my lord,
    Why won’t you take me, being what I am?

    _Phan._ Because, my wife, I don’t know what you are.

    _Altem._ You know, at least, that I’m a faithful wife.

    _Phan._ I think you’re more than faithful. I believe
    You are a perfect woman, Altemire,
    A pattern as a mother and a wife--
    And, so believing, why I do not care
    To run the risk of being undeceived!

    _Altem._ (_annoyed_). My lord, you are unjust! Can you believe
    I should expose myself to such a test
    Had I been guilty of unfaithfulness?
    I am no perfect woman, Phanor. I have faults
    That advertise themselves. No need to say
    That I’m quick-tempered, jealous, over-prone
    To underrate the worth of womankind--
    Impetuous--unreasonable--vain--
    I am a woman, with a woman’s faults.
    But, being woman, Phanor, I’m a wife;
    And, in that I am one, I need not blush.
    You have some better reason. Possibly
    You dread the palace on your own account?

    _Phan._ I dread the palace, Altemire? No, no.
    I am a child of impulse. All my faults
    Lie on the surface. I have naught to hide.
    Such little faults as sully me you know.

    _Altem._ Or guess.

    _Phan._            Ha! Am I then to understand
    My Queen suspects her husband?

    _Altem._                       Yes, you are!

    _Phan._ Then this decides me. You _shall_ go with me.

    _Altem._ But--

    _Phan._        Not a word--King Phanor can not brook
    The breath of jealousy. With all his faults
    His married life has been as pure as snow.
    We two will go this morning.

    _Altem._                     Stay! A thought!
    Let us take Zeolide and Philamir,
    They shall not know the fairy influence
    To which they are subjected. If the maid
    Does not love Philamir, she’ll show it then,
    And the betrothal can be canceled. If
    She loves him, why, she’ll show it all the more:
    Then the betrothal shall be ratified.

    _Phan._ We _will_ take Zeolide and Philamir,
    Chrysal and Zoram--Aristæus too,
    And Palmis--yes, and blameless Lady Mirza--
    Mirza, the good, the beautiful, the pure!

    _Altem._ Mirza! Eternal Mirza! Everywhere
    I hear her irritating virtues praised!
    I’m weary of the woman!

    _Phan._                 Stop a bit,
    Till we are in the palace. Then we’ll learn
    Not only your opinion of her worth,
    But also why you hold it.

    _Altem._                  Well, well, well!
    The maid is young and beautiful, and I
    Am envious of that youth and beauty. See,
    I can anticipate the influence
    To which I’m going to subject myself.
    There I was wrong. Mirza _shall_ go with us,
    And by her conduct under such a test,
    Prove the injustice of my estimate.
    I’ll go and warn the Court.       [_Exit QUEEN ALTEMIRE into house._

    _Phan._                     The course I take
    Is rather rash, but the experiment
    Will not be destitute of interest.

      _Enter GÉLANOR from house._

    Well, Gélanor, what tidings do you bring?
    About our palace?

    _Gélan._          Sir, the old, old tale.
    Men come and go--and women come and go.
    Although the palace gates are opened wide
    To rich and poor alike--and rich and poor
    Alike receive full hospitality
    For any length of time they care to stay,
    Few care to stay above a day or two.
    Free entertainment in a princely home
    Is little valued when it’s coupled with
    The disadvantage of a dwelling-place
    Where every one is bound to speak the truth.
    When does my lord propose to start?

    _Phan._                             To-day.
    But this time not alone, good Gélanor.

    _Gélan._ And who is to accompany you, sir?

    _Phan._ My wife.

    _Gélan._         Your wife?

    _Phan._                     My wife.

    _Gélan._                             Great heavens, my lord,
    Have you reflected?

    _Phan._             Yes.

    _Gélan._                 To any place
    Where one is bound to speak the baldest truth
    Concerning all the actions of one’s life,
    It’s hardly politic to take one’s wife!

    _Phan._ Oh, I’ve the fullest confidence in her.
    She’s a good woman, Gélanor.

    _Gélan._                     Ah, sir,
    I have seen married couples by the score,
    Who, when they passed within our crystal walls,
    Have boldly advertised themselves prepared
    To stake their souls upon each other’s faith--
    But who, before they’ve spent an hour at most
    Under the castle’s mystic influence,
    Have separated ne’er to meet again!
    Oh, have a care!

    _Phan._          Queen Altemire knows all,
    And knowing all she fears not for herself,
    So I’ve no fear for her!

    _Gélan._                 But _you_, my liege--
    How will you bear yourself ’neath such a test?
    You have been married nearly eighteen years:
    That’s a long time!

      _Enter MIRZA, unobserved._

    _Phan._             Well, yes--I’ve thought of that.
    I’m a good husband--as good husbands go.
    I love my wife--but still--you understand--
    Boys will be boys! There _is_ a point or two--
    Say two, as being nearer to the mark--
    On which I do not altogether care
    To stand examination by my wife.
    Perhaps I may have given out that I’ve
    Been dining _here_--when I’ve been dining _there_--
    I may have said “with A”--when ’twas with B--
    I may have said “with _him_”--when ’twas with _her_--
    Distinctions such as these, good Gélanor,
    Though strangely unimportant in themselves,
    Still have a value, which the female mind’s
    Particularly quick to apprehend.
    Now here’s a talisman--a crystal box--(_producing it_).
    Whoever carries this within those walls
    May overcome the castle’s influence,
    And utter truth or falsehood as he wills.
    I should do well, I think, to take this box?

    _Gélan._ From all accounts, my lord, I think you would!
    (_Sees MIRZA_) Ahem! We are observed!

    _Mirza._                              My lord, I trust
    My presence here is not inopportune?
    I will withdraw.

    _Phan._          No, Lady Mirza, no!
    I was exhibiting to Gélanor
    A curious specimen of crystal work--
    He understands such things.

    _Mirza._ (_taking box_).        And so do I.
    How marvelously pure! No single flaw
    Affects its exquisite transparency!
    A perfect emblem of a spotless life!

    _Gélan._ But, Lady Mirza, perfect spotlessness
    Is apt to smack of insipidity.

    _Mirza._ No--hold it to the light, and see the change!
    See how its exquisite prismatic hues,
    Under the influence of searching light,
    Are instantly made clear and manifest.
    As shines this crystal in the sun, so shines
    A perfect woman in the light of truth.
    The modest beauties of a spotless life
    Remain unknown and unsuspected, till
    A ray of truth-light starts them into life,
    And shows them--all unwilling--to the world!

    _Gélan._ But there are hidden qualities of soul
    That even truth can not detect. Suppose
    This crystal, peerless in its spotlessness,
    Turned out to be a potent talisman,
    With power to work all kinds of devilry?
    There are such things!

    _Phan._ (_aside_).       Why there are women, too
    (I have known many such), to whom the box
    Might still be very properly compared!

    _Mirza._ Impossible, my lord. I’ll not believe
    That aught so beautiful could be so base.
    (_Returning it_) I thank you, sir. I’ve read a lesson here
    That I shall take good heed to profit by.

      _Enter the QUEEN ALTEMIRE, with ZEOLIDE, PHANOR, ARISTÆUS, ZORAM,
        and PALMIS, from house._

    _Altem._ Here comes your Court, my lord.

    _Phan._                                  That’s well. My friends,
    I have a palace, twenty miles away--
    A lovely place, engirt with crystal walls;
    Its grounds will show fair flowers and shady groves,
    Huge forest trees, rare fountains, hill and dale.
    There’s hunting, fishing--eighteen years preserved!
    There the sun shines unclouded all day long.
    What say you--will you go?

    _Chrys._                   Go? What care I
    Whether it rain or shine so that I may
    Bask in the sunshine of my King and Queen!

    _Phan._ In half an hour we start. Once there, our life
    Shall be a song, and Aristæus here,
    The jolly, genial, laughing Aristæus,
    Shall strike the key-note!

    _Arist._                   Well, I’ll do my best.

    _Zor._ But pray consider. If the intervals
    Throughout the diatonic series, sir,
    Were mathematically equal, why
    It would not greatly matter, as you know,
    Upon what note your melody commenced.
    But as it is not so, we must respect
    The intervals the melody demands.
    No key-note struck by Aristæus could
    Be correspondent with those intervals!

    _Phil._ _I’ll_ give the key-note. We will pass the day
    By quivering willows at the waterside,
    Lapped in a lazy luxury of love!
    There we’ll forget the world of work-a-day,
    And crown our happiness with songs of love!
    What say you, dearest Zeolide?

    _Zeo._                         I’ve said
    As much as it is maidenly to say--
    I love you, Philamir--be satisfied!


ACT II.

      SCENE.--_Interior of the Palace of Truth._

      _Enter GÉLANOR, meeting KING PHANOR and QUEEN ALTEMIRE and
        ZEOLIDE._

    _Gélan._ Welcome, my lord! Madam, I humbly trust
    The palace realizes all the hopes
    That you had entertained concerning it.

    _Altem._ Indeed, it far exceeds them, Gélanor.
    There is no lovelier abode on earth!
    And so says Zeolide.

    _Zeo._               Indeed she does!
    Why, father, I have lived near eighteen years,
    And never knew until three hours ago
    That you possessed so lovely a domain!
    Why have I wasted eighteen years on earth,
    When such a heaven as this awaited me?

    _Gélan._ (_aside to PHANOR_).
    You have not told the Princess or your Court
    The palace’s peculiarity?

    _Phan._ Not I. The secret is our own, as yet--
    The Queen’s, and yours, and mine.

    _Gélan._                          With you and me
    The secret’s safe. But then--Queen Altemire--
    If you have told _her_ all--

    _Phan._                      No, no--not all!
    Here is a secret which is yours and mine; (_producing crystal box_)
    And yours and mine the secret shall remain.
    Protected by this talisman, I stand,
    A sturdy rock amid the shifting sands--
    A salamander in a world of fire--
    Achilles in a crowd of myrmidons--
    Achilles, with an iron-plated heel!
    Go, send my courtiers--I anticipate
    No ordinary sport from watching them.  [_Exeunt GÉLANOR and PHANOR._

    _Altem._ What are you reading, Zeolide?

    _Zeo._ (_with scroll_).                 A song
    Written by Chrysal set to Zoram’s notes;
    They gave it me before we left our home,
    But in the hurry of the journey here,
    I managed to mislay it--here it is.

      _Enter ZORAM, CHRYSAL, and ARISTÆUS._

    And here are author and composer, too--
    And Critic, teeming with humanity.
    Come let us hear it.

      (_ZEOLIDE sings a song. At its conclusion CHRYSAL and ZORAM
        applaud_)

    _Chrys._ (_coming forward with all the action of a man who is
                                          expressing extreme approval_).
    Oh, I protest, my ears have never heard
    A goodly song more miserably sung.
    (_Clapping hands_) Oh, very poor indeed--oh, very weak,
    No voice--no execution--out of tune--
    Pretentious too--oh, very, very poor!
                                      (_Applauding as if in ecstacies._)

    _Altem._ (_amused_). Indeed! I think I’ve often heard you say
    No voice could rival Princess Zeolide’s?

    _Chrys._ (_enthusiastically_).
    I’ve often said so--I have praised her voice,
    Because I am a courtier--paid to praise.
    I never meant one word of what I said;
    I have the worst opinion of her voice,
    And so has Zoram.

    _Zor._            I? Oh, dear me, no!
    I can form no opinion on the point,
    I am no judge of music.

    _Chrys._                Eh?

    _Zor._                      Not I!
    I hardly know the treble from the bass,
    And as to harmony--I know the word,
    But hang me if I guess at what it means!

    _Zeo._ Oh, Zoram, you are jesting--why you wrote
    The air I sung!

    _Zor._          _I_ wrote the air? Not I,
    I paid a poor musician for his work,
    And palmed it off upon you as my own.
    A common trick with melodists who stand
    Far higher in the world’s esteem than I!

    _Altem._ Well, Aristæus there has still to speak.
    What says that rollicking philosopher?
    Come, growl it out!

    _Arist._ (_gruffly, as if finding fault._)
                        It’s sweetly pretty, ma’am,
    And very nicely sung. I like it much.

    _Zeo._ What! Aristæus pleased?

    _Arist._ (_very savagely_).    Of course I am;
    I’m always pleased with every thing.

    _Altem._                             Indeed!
    Men look on Aristæus as a man
    Whom nothing satisfies.

    _Arist._ (_with outrageous bluntness_). Then men are wrong,
    No child’s more easily amused than I.
    But, here at Court, where every one is pleased
    With every thing, my amiability
    Would go for naught; so I have coined myself
    A disposition foreign to my own,
    In hopes my clumsy boorish insolence
    Might please you by its very novelty;
    And prove, perchance, a not unwelcome foil
    To Zoram’s mockery of cultured taste,
    And Chrysal’s chronic insincerity!
    I’m rough and honest, frank--outspoken--blunt.

    _Chrys._ Boor! when you dare to say I’m insincere
    You tell the truth--there, make the most of that!

    _Zor._ Chrysal, your hand; I’m glad to find at last
    Your eyes are opened to your many faults.

    _Chrys._ How, sir, is this intentional affront?

    _Zor._ No, not intentional. I tried to frame
    A pleasant speech, but, by some awkward slip,
    The truth escaped me quite against my will.
    (_With great admiration_) You systematic liar!

    _Chrys._                                       Insolent!

    _Zor._ Sir!

    _Chrys._    This shall cost or you or me his life.
    In half an hour you shall hear from me!             [_Exit CHRYSAL._

    _Zor._ (_in terror_). What _have_ I said?

    _Altem._ (_aside_).                    These boobies must not fight,
    But how to stop them? Here comes Philamir!
    Now he and Zeolide can meet. But first
    I must get rid of Zoram. (_To ZORAM_). Get you hence,
    I will contrive to pacify your foe.

    _Zor._ But--

    _Altem._      Go!

    _Zor._ (_piteously_). I’m sure I don’t know what I’ve done!
                                     [_Exeunt ZORAM and QUEEN ALTEMIRE._

      _Enter PHILAMIR,--ZEOLIDE runs to him and embraces him--he turns
        away._

    _Zeo._ My love, is Philamir unhappy?

    _Phil._                              Yes.
    I have heard people talking of our troth,
    And prophesying that it will soon cease.

    _Zeo._ Indeed! They think you do not love me, then?

    _Phil._ They doubt not that--they doubt your love for me.
    Some say it sleeps; some say that it is dead;
    Some that it never lived. Oh, Zeolide,
    If love for Philamir is yet unborn,
    Why bring it now to light! Where will you find
    A fitter nursery for love than this?
    If that love lives, but sleeps, why wake it now
    And let it revel in these golden groves.
    If it is dead, why here’s a paradise
    That well might summon it to second life!

    _Zeo._ It sleeps not, Philamir, nor is it dead,
    It lives and can not die.

    _Phil._                   But people say
    That love should advertise itself in words
    More fervid than the weary formula,
    “I love you, Philamir.” You love your friends.
    Why, Zeolide, I think I’ve heard you say
    You love your horse!

    _Zeo._               Unjust! You ask me, then,
    To limit my illimitable love,
    And circle, with a boundary of words,
    A wealth of love that knows no bounds at all!
    There is a love that words may typify--
    A mere material love--that one may weigh
    As jewelers weigh gold. Such love is worth
    The gold one pays for it--it’s worth no more.
    Why, Philamir, I might as well attempt
    To set a price upon the universe--
    Or measure space--or time eternity,
    As tell my love in words!

    _Phil._ (_astonished_).   Why, Zeolide,
    At last you speak! Why this, indeed, is love!

    _Zeo._ (_aside_). What have I said?
                   (_Aloud and coldly_) Indeed, I’m glad to think
    My words have pleased you!

    _Phil._ (_with enthusiasm_). Pleased me? They’ve done more--
    They’ve gratified my vanity, and made
    Me feel that I am irresistible!

    _Zeo._ Indeed!

    _Phil._        Indeed, dear Zeolide, they have.
    Why how you frown!

    _Zeo._ (_coldly_).   If such a love as mine
    Serves but to feed your sense of vanity,
    I think it is misplaced.

    _Phil._                  My vanity
    Must needs be fed, and with such love as yours.
    I have worked hard to gain it, Zeolide!
    You are not nearly as attractive as
    Five hundred other ladies I could name,
    Who, when I said I loved them, stopped my lips--

    _Zeo._ (_astonished_). I’m glad they did!

    _Phil._                                   With kisses, ere I could
    Repeat the sentence; and it hurt me much
    That you, who are comparatively plain,
    Should give me so much trouble, Zeolide.

    _Zeo._ (_aside_). What can he mean?
                             (_Aloud._) Oh, you are mocking me--

    _Phil._ Mocking you, Zeolide? You do me wrong!
    (_With enthusiasm_) Oh, place the fullest value on my words,
    And you’ll not overvalue them! I swear,
    As I’m a Christian knight, I speak the truth!

    _Zeo._ Why, Philamir, you’ve often told me that
    You never loved a woman till we met!

    _Phil._ (_with all the appearance of rapture_).
    I always say that. I have said the same
    To all the women that I ever woo’d!

    _Zeo._ And they believ’d you?

    _Phil._                       Certainly they did.
    They always do! Whatever else they doubt,
    They don’t doubt that! (_He tries to embrace her._)

    _Zeo._ (_horror-struck_). Away, and touch me not!

    _Phil._ What? Has my earnestness offended you,
    Or do you fear that my impassioned speech
    Is over-colored? Trust me, Zeolide,
    If it be over-charged with clumsy love,
    Or teem with ill-selected metaphor,
    It is because my soul is not content
    To waste its time in seeking precious stones,
    When paste will answer every end as well!

    _Zeo._ Why, Philamir, dare you say this to me?

    _Phil._ All this, and more than this, I dare to say.
    I dare to tell you that I like you much,
    For you are amiable, refined, and good--
    Saving a little girlish diffidence
    I have no serious fault to find with you!

    _Zeo._ You’re very good!

    _Phil._                  Indeed, I think I am,
    But let that pass. In truth I like you much.
    At first I loved you in an off-hand way!

    _Zeo._ At first?

    _Phil._          Until the novelty wore off,
    And then, receiving but a cold response
    To all the seeming fury of my love,
    My pride was nettled, and I persevered
    Until I made you tell me of your love,
    In words that bore comparison with mine.
    I’ve done that, and I’m amply satisfied.

    _Zeo._ (_in blank astonishment_).
    And this is Philamir, who used to breathe
    Such words of passion and such songs of love!
    Those words that fiercely burnt with such false fire,
    Those songs that sung so lovingly of lies,
    Bore unsuspected fruit--I gathered it
    And garnered it away. Oh, Philamir,
    As misers store up gold, I stored my love
    In all the inmost corners of my heart,
    Dreading to speak or look at Philamir,
    Lest some unguarded word or tell-tale glance
    Should give a clew to all the wealth within!
    I laughed within myself, as misers laugh,
    To find my hoard increasing day by day,
    And now--the coin I hoarded up is base--
    The flowers that decked my life are worthless weeds--
    The fruit I plucked is withered at the core--
    And all my wealth has faded into air!

    _Phil._ Faded? Why, Zeolide, what do you mean?
    I do not love you as a lover should,
    Yet you reproach me! Oh, you are unjust.

    _Zeo._ Indeed, I’ll not reproach you! Let me go.
    My grief shall be as silent as my love.
    Farewell!                                                   [_Exit._

    _Phil._ That woman’s mad! Unquestionably mad!
    My show of love has sent her brain adrift.
    Poor girl! I really like her very much.
    I tell her that I love her--and in words
    Which never yet were known to miss their mark
    When uttered by Prince Philamir--in words
    So charged with passion that they well might charm
    The very proudest maid in Christendom;
    And off she bounces as indignantly
    As if I’d told the very plainest truth!

      _Enter CHRYSAL._

    _Chrys._ Your Royal Highness seems disturbed.

    _Phil._                                       I am!
    I’m much annoyed with Princess Zeolide.
    You know how coldly she has hitherto
    Received the protestations of my love?

    _Chrys._ (_politely_). I do indeed. You’ve been the laughing-stock
    Of all the Court for months on that account.

    _Phil._ (_amazed_). Oh, have I so?

    _Chrys._                         Upon my soul, you have.

    _Phil._ You’re candid, sir.

    _Chrys._ (_still as if paying a compliment_). I can afford to be
    Extremely candid with Prince Philamir.
    But let that pass. You were reminding me
    How coldly Princess Zeolide received
    Your vows. What then?

    _Phil._               Why, not ten minutes since
    Her manner changed, and all her pent-up love
    Burst from her lips in frenzied eloquence.
    I was astounded!--I, of course, began
    To echo all her sentiments ten-fold.
    I picked the very fairest flowers that grow
    Upon the dreamy plains of metaphor,
    And showered them upon her. White with rage
    She started from me--telling me, with tears,
    Her dream of love had melted into air!
    I see you don’t believe me, Chrysal--

    _Chrys._                              Well,
    I half believe you. I can scarcely think
    The Princess spoke with rapture of your love;
    But I can quite believe that when you spoke
    In what you’re pleased to think is metaphor,
    The well-bred Princess shrank instinctively
    From such a florid prince as Philamir (_with a respectful bow_).

    _Phil._ (_haughtily_). This form of compliment is new to me!

    _Chrys._ My lord, my speciality consists
    In framing novel forms of compliment.
    But who comes here--a modest little maid--

      _Enter AZÈMA--she starts on seeing PHILAMIR and CHRYSAL._

    And rather pretty too.

    _Phil._ (_angrily_). She hears you, sir!
    (_Politely to AZÈMA_) I fear we’ve frightened you?

    _Azèma._                                           Oh no, indeed,
    I am not frightened, though I seem to be.

      (_AZÈMA’S manner is characterized by the extremest modesty and
        timidity throughout this scene._)

    _Chrys._ But why affect a fear you do not feel?

    _Azèma._ (_with extreme timidity_).
    Because, although I entered here to seek
    Prince Philamir, I’m anxious he should think
    This meeting is a simple accident.
    Do not suppose that this is modesty,
    ’Tis but an artifice to make you think
    That I am timid as a startled fawn!

    _Chrys._ (_aside to PHILAMIR_). This is a character. I’ll open fire
    And storm her weakest point--her vanity.
    Now, my artillery of compliments,
    A salvo, if you please. (_Aloud, with the air of one who is paying
      an elaborate compliment_) I have remarked
    That you’ve a certain girlish prettiness,
    Although your nose is sadly underbred.
    (_Aside_) That’s rather neat!

    _Azèma._                      Are you Prince Philamir?

    _Chrys._ Not I, indeed, fair lady. This is he--
    The most conceited coxcomb in the world
              (_with an elaborate bow to PHILAMIR, who starts angrily_).
    No thanks--indeed ’tis true.

    _Azèma._ (_to CHRYSAL_). Then go your way--
    I don’t want you! I only want the prince.
    ’Twas Philamir I came to captivate.

    _Chrys._ Here’s candor if you like!

    _Azèma._                            Oh, leave us, sir!
    Find some excuse to go, that he and I
    May be alone together.

    _Phil._                Leave me, sir.
    I’ll give your tongue a lesson ere the night!

    _Chrys._ How has my tongue offended?--Oh, I see--
    Exactly--don’t explain! (_Aside_) Poor Zeolide!             [_Exit._

    _Phil._ Insolent scoundrel! (_following him._)

    _Azèma._                    Oh, don’t follow him.
    I want you here alone. You can begin--
    I am not shy, though I appear to be.
    Indeed, I entered here ten minutes since,
    Because I heard from those outside the gates,
    That you, Prince Philamir, had just arrived.

    _Phil._ Then you’re a stranger here?

    _Azèma._                             I am, indeed!
    The people told me any one was free
    To enter.

    _Phil._   Yes, quite right. Did they say more?

    _Azèma._ Oh, yes, much more. They told me, then, that you
    Received but sorry treatment at the hands
    Of Princess Zeolide. They told me, too,
    That your betrothal might ere long collapse;
    (_With extreme modesty_) So thought I, as I am beyond dispute
    The fairest maid for many a mile around--
    And as, moreover, I possess the gift
    Of feigning an enchanting innocence,
    I possibly may captivate the prince,
    And fill the place once filled by Zeolide.
                                         (_Sits; her ankle is exposed._)

    _Phil._ The Princess has a candid enemy!
    I beg your pardon, but the furniture
    Has caught your dress.

    _Azèma._ (_re-arranging her dress hastily_) Oh, I arranged it so,
    That you might see how truly beautiful
    My foot and ankle are (_as if much shocked at the exposé_).

    _Phil._               I saw them well,
    They’re very neat.

    _Azèma._           I now remove my glove
    That you may note the whiteness of my hand.
    I place it there in order that you may
    Be tempted to inclose it in your own.

    _Phil._ To that temptation I at once succumb.
                (_Taking her hand--she affects to withdraw it angrily._)

    _Azèma._ (_with affected indignation._)
    Go on! If you had any enterprise,
    You’d gently place your arm around my waist
    And kiss me. (_Struggling to release herself_)

    _Phil._      It might anger you!

    _Azèma._                         Oh, no!
    It’s true that I should start with every show
    Of indignation, just in order to
    Maintain my character for innocence--
    But that is all.

    _Phil._ (_puts his arm round her and kisses her_).
                     There, then--’tis done!

    _Azèma._ (_starting, with a great show of rage_). How, sir?
    I think it’s time that I should take my leave.
    (_Very indignantly_) I shall be in the Avenue of Palms
    At ten o’clock to-night. I mention this
    That you may take the hint and be there, too! (_going._)

    _Phil._ One moment, pray. Let me assure you now,
    That such an unmistakable coquette,
    And one who shows her cards so candidly,
    Will not supplant the Princess Zeolide!

    _Azèma._ (_surprised_). Supplant the Princess Zeolide? Why, sir,
    By what authority do you imply
    That I have cherished any such design?

    _Phil._ Your own admission.

    _Azèma._                    Oh, impossible!
    (_Indignantly_) But as it seems that I’ve no chance with you,
    I’ll try the gentleman who left us here.
    He comes!

      _Enter CHRYSAL._

              Oh, sir, I crave a word with you!
    Are you a wealthy man? (_with extreme delicacy of manner._)

    _Chrys._               I am, indeed.

    _Azèma._ And you’ve a title?

    _Chrys._                     Yes, of highest rank.

    _Azèma._ A bachelor?

    _Chrys._             A bachelor as yet,
    Betrothed to Palmis.

    _Azèma._ (_shrinking_). Oh! (_Hopefully._) But possibly
    You do not love her much!

    _Chrys._ (_with enthusiasm_). Oh, not at all!

    _Azèma._ You’ll do--give me your arm. (_He does so--she shrinks._)
                                          Oh, sir, indeed--
    (_Impatiently to CHRYSAL, who hesitates_)
    Do take my hand and put it through your arm.
    (_He does so_) That’s it! Oh, sir, indeed I know you not!

      [_Exeunt CHRYSAL and AZÈMA,--AZÈMA affecting to try and release
        herself. PHILAMIR stands astounded for a moment._

    _Phil._ I’ve found a clew that solves these mysteries!
    This palace is enchanted ground! It’s plain
    That there’s some subtle influence at work,
    Affecting everybody here--but me!
    Chrysal, the honey-tongued, turns out to be
    A blunt and scurrilous outspoken boor;
    Zoram, the musical enthusiast,
    Can hardly tell the treble from the bass;
    Then Aristæus, surly, blunt and gruff,
    Turns out to be the gentlest soul alive;
    And, most inexplicable change of all,
    The amiable but prudish Zeolide
    Becomes a foolish vixen, blind with love,
    Maddened with jealous and unreasoning rage!
    Then comes a girl--a commonplace coquette--
    Who, while she lays her plans with practiced skill,
    Explains their aim, and holds them to the light
    That all may see their arrant hollowness!
    It’s evident there’s some enchantment here
    That shows up human nature as it is,
    And I alone resist its influence!
    Ah, here is Mirza--lovely paragon--
    I’ll notice how it operates on her.

      _Enter MIRZA._

    _Mirza._ (_starts_). I beg your pardon. I was looking for
    My diary; I’ve dropped it hereabouts.

    _Phil._ Allow me to assist you in your search?

    _Mirza._ (_hastily_). No, no; that must not be. My diary
    Must ne’er be seen by other eyes than mine!

    _Phil._ Indeed! and why?

    _Mirza._                 My very inmost thoughts--
    The secret utterances of my heart--
    Are there inscribed. I would not for my life,
    That any eyes but mine should rest on it.

    _Phil._ Can Lady Mirza harbor any thought
    That all the world may not participate?
    I’ll not believe it.

    _Mirza._ (_eagerly_). Hush--I charge you, sir!
    Ask me no questions here--for I have learnt
    That this is fairy ground, where every one
    Is bound, against his will, to speak the truth.
    If you interrogate me, I am bound
    To answer truly. I need say no more
    To such a courteous knight as Philamir.

    _Phil._ (_aside_). It is then as I thought!
                                      (_Aloud_) I guessed the truth--
    This palace doubtless is enchanted ground,
    And I alone resist its influence!

    _Mirza._ Indeed!

    _Phil._          I had occasion some time since
    To feign unbounded love for Zeolide
    (For whom I don’t particularly care):
    Well, notwithstanding my indifference,
    I spoke with all my usual gush of love,
    From which I venture to conclude that I
    Am unaffected by this magic power.

    _Mirza._ You do not love the Princess Zeolide?
    You who professed unutterable love?

    _Phil._ I liked her well enough at first, but now
    I’m weary of my liking. She displays
    So much unreasonable petulance,
    Such causeless anger--such unbridled wrath,
    That I’m resolved to break the weary link
    That binds us. I’ll be free to love again. (_Taking MIRZA’S hand_)

    _Mirza._ (_releasing herself_).
    Oh, Philamir! Oh, shame upon you, sir.
    She loves you! You are loved by Zeolide!
    Why there’s a heaven opened to your eyes,
    And you’ll not enter, Philamir! Oh, shame
    To blight so true a heart as hers! Oh, fool,
    To throw aside in wrath so fair a prize!

    _Phil._ But listen--I’ve a fairer prize in view.
    Mirza--I love _you_!

    _Mirza._ (_shuddering with terror_). Spare me, sir, I pray!

    _Phil._ Now by this castle’s mystic influence,
    I challenge you to answer truthfully--
    Do you love me?

    _Mirza._ (_shrinking from him_). Have pity, Philamir!
    Withdraw your question, I beseech you, sir!
    If you insist, I must perforce reply--
    I charge you, on your knighthood, press me not!
                      (_PHILAMIR pauses, struggling with his feelings._)

    _Phil._ (_releasing her_). My Lady Mirza, you are free to go.
                                                  [_Exit MIRZA hastily._
    How subtly works the mystic influence,
    That all seem subject to,--excepting me!
    And from the fearful ordeal only one
    Of all the women here comes out unscathed.
    The peerless Mirza--good, and wise, and pure,
    Most excellent and unapproachable!
    To know that Mirza loves me, is to know
    That she is mortal--that I knew before.
    To know that Mirza’s worthy of my love,
    And that, despite the searching influence
    That I alone resist--oh, this indeed
    Is happiness!--I’m sure she loves me well!

      _Enter ZEOLIDE._

    _Zeo._ Indeed she does! If half-an-hour ago
    She spoke abruptly to her Philamir,
    She bitterly repents it. Oh, my love,
    Forgive me, for in truth I love you well!

    _Phil._ (_embracing her fondly_).
    But my remark did not apply to you;
    I spoke of Lady Mirza.

    _Zeo._ (_recoiling_).    Mirza?

    _Phil._                       Yes,
    I’m quite convinced she loves me!

    _Zeo._                            Philamir,
    You should not jest with such a sacred word.
    You’ve played your joke upon me and you’ve seen
    How readily I fell into the trap;
    Let that content you. There--I’m not annoyed--
    I’ll not be caught again!

    _Phil._ (_earnestly_).      Dear Zeolide,
    Indeed I do not jest--nor did I when
    You left me in unwarrantable rage.
    I love the Lady Mirza--she loves me.

    _Zeo._ (_horrified_). She told you so?

    _Phil._                              Well, no. I’m bound to say
    She did not tell me so in open words;
    Her love for you restrained her. She’s too good--
    Too pure--too honorable--to allow
    A passion for her dearest friend’s betrothed
    To master her. You should have heard her plead
    Your hopeless cause. She struggles with her love,
    And tries to keep it down--but still she loves.

    _Zeo._ (_astounded_). And you return this love?

    _Phil._                                       Most heartily.
    (_With affectionate gesture_). I’m getting weary of you, and I wish
    That I could find sufficient argument
    To justify me in releasing you. (_She shrinks from him._)
    Why now you frown again! Oh, Zeolide,
    This willfulness is insupportable!

    _Zeo._ (_enraged_). Support it then no longer, Philamir!
    There--you are free--our bond is at an end;
    Choose your path, I’ll choose mine. Our roads diverge.
    We part and may not meet again. Farewell!
    (_Changing her manner_) Oh, Philamir, heed not my words, I spoke
    In reckless haste--I spoke my death-warrant!
    Philamir, do not leave me, let me live;
    See how I love you! I am at your feet--
    I, Zeolide, whom once you thought so cold--
    I, Zeolide, who am not wont to kneel!
    Oh, give me till to-night, and pass the hours
    That intervene in marshaling the past,
    And let that plead my cause! You loved me once,
    You asked me for my love--I gave my life,
    For I must die if you abandon me!
    Have mercy on me! Give me till to-night!
    There’s some enchantment in this fearful place.
    This is not Philamir--it is his shape,
    But does not hold his soul. Before the night
    I’ll seek my father, and I’ll gain from him
    The key that solves this fearful mystery.
    Go now--nay, do not speak--no--not a word--
    I’ll not believe that this is Philamir.
    Go, leave me now--and we will meet to-night!
                                             [_He hesitates; then exit._
    Oh, Philamir, my love, my love, my love!
                                         (_She falls sobbing on couch_).

      _Enter PALMIS._

    _Palmis._ What? Zeolide in tears? Has Philamir
    Been too emphatic in his vows of love?
    Have pity on him!

    _Zeo._            Palmis, pity _me_--
    He loves me not!

    _Palmis._        Indeed?

    _Zeo._                   He told me so.

    _Palmis._ (_relieved_). Oho! He told you so?

    _Zeo._                                       Most openly.

    _Palmis._ Then there is hope for you. Come dry your eyes;
    When men are over head and ears in love,
    They can not tell the truth--they must deceive,
    Though the deception tell against themselves!
    Here Chrysal comes--(_astonished_) a lady on his arm!

      _Enter CHRYSAL and AZÈMA--he leaves AZÈMA abruptly on seeing
        PALMIS._

    _Palmis._ Why, Chrysal, who is this? Where have you been?

    _Chrys._ (_affectionately_).
    I have been wandering through shady groves
    With that exceedingly attractive girl.

    _Palmis._ You have been flirting, sir?

    _Chrys._ (_putting his arm round her waist_). Exceedingly!
    I always do when I’m away from you.

    _Palmis._ (_to AZÈMA_). Oh, you’re a brazen woman!

    _Azèma._ (_with great modesty_).                   That I am!
    An ordinary every-day coquette,
    Who lives on admiration, and resolves
    To gain it by whatever means she can.

    _Zeo._ (_aside to PALMIS_).
    Palmis, there’s some enchantment in this place--
    I know not what--it influences all.
    Do not dismiss him yet, until we learn
    Its nature!

    _Chrys._ (_with affection_). Yes, my Palmis, wait awhile,
    Do not dismiss me yet; although it’s true
    I never loved you, yet I want your love
    Because you have much influence at Court,
    And have it in your power to help me on
    To further favor.

    _Palmis._ (_astounded_). Chrysal, are you mad?
    You never loved me?

    _Chrys._ (_enthusiastically_). Never, on my soul!
    In point of fact, I always hated you,
    And mean to tell you so when I have won
    The highest rank your mistress can confer.
    In the mean time, however, I am fain
    To make you think that I adore you still.
    Observe the heaving of my swelling heart;
    My fervid manner--my ecstatic gaze--
    It’s all assumed!

    _Palmis._         Oh, miserable man!
    Go--get you hence, sir.

    _Chrys._ (_astonished_).    Palmis, what on earth
    Possesses you?

    _Palmis._      Don’t speak to me again,
    I can’t endure you!

      _Re-enter ZORAM._

    _Zor._              I am glad of this.
    Dear Palmis, I for many a weary day
    Have sought to win your love from Chrysal here,
    By every mean, contemptible device
    That my unequaled cunning could suggest.

    _Chrys._ (_amazed_). And you admit this to my very face?

    _Zor._ (_cordially_). With pleasure, Chrysal. I have sought in vain,
    By daily blackening your character,
    To sicken pretty Palmis of her love.
    I’ve told her you’re an unexampled rake,
    A gambler and a spendthrift, mean, poor, base,
    Selfish and sordid; cruel, tyrannical;
    But all in vain, she loves you all the more.
    (_Taking his hand_) Forget the angry words you spoke to-day;
    In the glad glow of hope that I shall gain
    Your Palmis’ love, I freely pardon you.

    _Chrys._ (_in furious rage_). This evening, in the Avenue of Palms,
    I shall await you, sir.

    _Zor._ (_in blank astonishment_). Oh dear, oh dear,
    What _have_ I said?

      _Enter GÉLANOR._

    _Gélan._             Hush, gentlemen--the Queen.

      _Re-enter QUEEN ALTEMIRE hastily._

    _Altem._ (_in a rage_). Where is the King? Go, send him here to me.
    Oh, Zeolide, go, get you hence away,
    For I have words for Phanor that ’twere best
    His daughter did not hear.

    _Zeo._                     My father comes.

      _Re-enter PHANOR and MIRZA._

    _Altem._ Now, sir, I’ve every reason to believe,
    From what I’ve heard, that you’re deceiving me!
    I’ll question you--oh, infamous old man!

    _Phan._ (_aside_). The Queen is jealous. Where’s my talisman?
                                                           (_finds it._)
    All right--it’s well I have it with me now.
    (_Aloud_) Interrogate me. Conscious innocence
    Has little fear of Palaces of Truth!

    _Altem._ You have been walking in the shrubbery,
    What were you doing there?

    _Phan._ (_with great show of love for ALTEMIRE_).
                               Why, making love
    To Mirza. I invariably do
    Whenever I’ve a chance; but all in vain.
    She’s a good woman, and despises me.
    (_To MIRZA_) Haven’t I offered love to you?

    _Mirza._                                    You have.

    _Phan._ And you despise me, don’t you?

    _Mirza._                               Heartily.

    _Phan._ (_to ALTEMIRE_). I told you so, and she indorses it.
    Believe me, I am bound to speak the truth!

    _Altem._ (_bitterly_). I do believe you.

    _Phan._ (_taking her by the hand_). Thank you, Altemire.

    _Altem._ Stand off, don’t touch me, horrible old man!
    You tell me you’ve made love to Mirza?

    _Phan._ (_astonished_).                  No!
    Did I say that?

    _Altem._        Most unmistakably.

    _Phan._ Oh, come, I say!

    _Zor._                   You did indeed, my lord!

    _Phan._ I said that I made love to Mirza?

    _Chrys._                                  Yes,
    Those were the very words!

    _Phan._                    Oh, Mirza, come,
    You can deny this!

    _Mirza._           Would, my lord, I could.
    To spare the Queen I would be silent, but
    Some unknown power masters me, and makes
    Me own, against my will, that it was so!

    _Altem._ There, sir--you hear her words!

    _Phan._ (_aside to GÉLANOR_).              Why, Gélanor,
    How’s this? The talisman is out of gear! (_Showing box to GÉLANOR_).

    _Gélan._ Let me examine it. (_Takes it and returns it._) A forgery!
    A clever imitation; virtueless!
    It lacks the small inscription on the hinge!
                               (_PHANOR falls breathless into a chair._)

    _Phan._ To-morrow morning we go home again!


ACT III.

      SCENE.--_The Avenue of Palms--night. CHRYSAL discovered with a
        drawn sword in his hand._

      _Enter GÉLANOR._

    _Gélan._ Chrysal, alone! And with a naked sword!

    _Chrys._ I’m waiting Zoram. I have challenged him.
    He meets me here--the Avenue of Palms.

    _Gélan._ Has he offended you?

    _Chrys._                      Most grievously.
    You heard the words he used to me to-day?

    _Gélan._ I did.

    _Chrys._        Then blood must flow. I am a knight.
    My knightly honor claims this sacrifice,
    I’ve been insulted--one of us must die!

    _Gélan._ You are a valiant man, if one may judge
    By your demeanor.

    _Chrys._ (_very valiantly_). My demeanor? Bounce!
    Mere idle empty froth and nothing more.
    Why, notwithstanding that I look so brave,
    I’d give the riches of a universe
    To find some decent means of backing out;
    But, no, my honor must be satisfied!
    If I endured with patience Zoram’s taunts,
    I should deserve to have my knightly spurs
    Struck from my heels! ’Sdeath, sir, I’m bound to fight!

    _Gélan._ Is Zoram a good swordsman?

    _Chrys._                            Not at all.
    I’m far more skilled--but still I can’t repress
    A certain sense of terror. Accident
    May give him victory.

    _Gélan._              Apologize!

    _Chrys._ (_indignantly_). To Zoram? Never! Would you have me stain
    My hitherto untarnished ’scutcheon? Shame!
    Stand back--he comes!

      _Enter ZORAM, with drawn sword._

                          Well, sir, you’ve kept your word.

    _Zor._ Of course I have!

    _Chrys._ (_very sternly_). I’m very much surprised--
    I may say disappointed--to remark
    That you’re prepared to fight, and do not show
    The signs of terror that I hoped to see.

    _Zor._ (_very bravely_). Oh, sir, I pray you don’t deceive yourself!
    My valiant manner hides an inward fear
    That almost robs me of the power of thought!
    Chrysal, you’ve grievously insulted me,
    My sense of honor forces me to fight!
    But I would rather have my hand cut off
    (Could that be done without inflicting pain)
    Than measure swords with you!

    _Chrys._                      You craven hound!

    _Zor._ Craven yourself!

    _Chrys._ (_furiously_). I am, but you don’t know it,
    You musical impostor!

    _Zor._                Ha, what’s that?
    I can stand much abuse and never flinch,
    But when you twit me with my ignorance
    Of musical expressions, blood alone
    (Unless we’re interrupted) can extract
    The venom of the insult! Come! On guard! (_They fight._)

    _Gélan._ (_aside_). These donkeys must not fight!
                                            (_Aloud_) Come--let me try
    To reconcile you.

    _Chrys._          Reconcile us? No!
    But you can interfere to stop the fight! (_They desist._)

    _Zor._ (_looking reproachfully at GÉLANOR_).
    I little thought when I called Chrysal on,
    That such a venerable gentleman
    Would suffer two impetuous headstrong youths
    To cut each other’s throats.

    _Gélan._                     Come, come--desist.

    _Chrys._ This hound abused me!

    _Zor._                         He insulted me!

    _Both._ Our honor must be satisfied! (_They cross swords._)

    _Gélan._                              No, no--
    Attend to me. Within these crystal walls
    A strange mysterious influence prevails:
    All men are bound to speak the plainest truth!
    And this they do, without suspecting it.
    (_To ZORAM_) When Chrysal spoke the words that angered you
    He did not mean to speak them. He believed
    That he was paying you a compliment.
    (_To CHRYSAL_) When Zoram said that he considered you
    A systematic liar, mean, poor, base,
    Selfish, and sordid, cruel, tyrannical,
    ’Twas what he _thought_--not what he would have _said_!

    _Chrys._ I see--if that was only what he _thought_
    It makes a difference.

    _Gélan._               What _could_ he say?
    He was compelled, you know, to speak the truth.

    _Chrys._ Of course, I understand. Zoram, your hand!

    _Zor._ With pleasure. (_Shaking hands with CHRYSAL._)
                          Chrysal, I should like to say
    That I esteem you--but indeed I can’t.
    My detestation of you knows no bounds.

    _Chrys._ How, sir? A fresh affront?

    _Zor._                              What can I do?
    I try my best to say agreeable things,
    But you’re so utterly contemptible!
    I’d put it more politely, but I can’t!
    I’m bound against my will to speak the truth!
    I’d not insult you openly, for worlds--
    Indeed, it’s only what I _think_ of you!

    _Chrys._ If it is only what you _think_ of me,
    Why say no more; give me your hand again--
    My knightly honor’s amply satisfied!
                   [_They sheathe their swords, then exeunt arm in arm._

    _Gélan._ So dies that breeze away! Oh, honor, honor!
    Let no one take you at the estimate
    Your self-elected champions price you at!
    More harm is worked in that one virtue’s name,
    Than springs from half the vices of the earth!

      _Enter QUEEN ALTEMIRE, in violent rage._

    _Altem._ Why, Gélanor, this is no spot for you,
    You’d better go--the King will wish you gone.

    _Gélan._ Indeed! And why?

    _Altem._                  I’ll tell you, Gélanor,
    His majesty has an appointment here.
    Oh, Gélanor, I’ve been alone with him
    This afternoon, and I have learnt such things!
    Why, even here--despite the castle’s charm,
    Despite the sacred influence of the place,
    He prosecutes his infidelities!
    At first he persecuted Mirza, but
    Failing to find much favor in her eyes,
    He looked for other game. Why, Gélanor,
    He meets some woman called Azèma here,
    At ten o’clock to-night!

    _Gélan._                 The deuce he does!

    _Altem._ Then I resolved to know the very worst.
    I locked him in my room and questioned him
    For full three hours about his married life.
    Oh, I elicited such fearful things!
    Why, Gélanor, there’s not a woman’s name
    In all the long baptismal catalogue
    That’s not identified with his intrigues!
    Tall, short, stout, slender, fair, dark, old and young,
    High, low, rich, poor, good, bad, maid, widow, wife,
    Of every country and of every clime!
    All’s fish that his nets catch!

    _Gélan._                        And a king’s net
    Is very comprehensive. Here she comes!

      _Enter AZÈMA._

    _Altem._ Is this the woman? Tell me, who are you?

    _Azèma._ I am Azèma.

    _Altem._             And _I_ am the Queen!

    _Azèma._ (_bowing_). Then, madam, you’re extremely in the way.

    _Altem._ How so?

    _Azèma._         I’ve an appointment with the King,
    Of which you are entirely unaware;
    But though I’m much annoyed to find you here,
    I’m glad to find you here with Gélanor.

    _Altem._ And why?

    _Azèma._          If our intrigue should come to light,
    We can retaliate by giving out
    That you and Gélanor are just as bad.

    _Altem._ Upon my word!

    _Gélan._               Oh, this is past belief!

    _Altem._ Infamous hussy, you shall pay for this!

    _Azèma._ Why, madam, how have _I_ offended you?

    _Altem._ How?--you are here to meet the King, alone;
    At night--by pre-arrangement--in the dark!

    _Azèma._ Oh, madam, this indeed is terrible!
    That poor Azèma should be charged with this!
    It’s true I’ve an appointment with the King,
    But as you’re not aware of it, your words
    Are utterly unjustifiable.
    These flashing eyeballs and this angry blush
    (At least I hope I’m blushing) represent
    The noble rage of outraged innocence.
    I’ll to the King, and let him know at once
    How, as I wandered through the grove, alone,
    _I_ found you here with wicked Gélanor,
    At night--by pre-arrangement--in the dark.
    Oh, shame upon you--shame upon you, Queen!
                   [_Exit AZÈMA--ALTEMIRE and GÉLANOR stand confounded._

    _Gélan._ Your majesty, I think I’d better go.

    _Altem._ Absurd! the notion is preposterous!
    You’re old enough to be my father.

    _Gélan._                           Quite!
    And wise enough to know that proper folk
    Will only say “that makes the matter worse!”

    _Altem._ But surely here, in this enchanted home,
    Where all are bound to speak the truth, our word
    Will guarantee our perfect innocence!

    _Gélan._ Yes, if the King is pleased to take our word;
    But, as you’ve brought a charge against the King,
    Analogous to that which will be brought
    Against ourselves, he may ignore the fact
    That truth is truth. No, no, upon the whole,
    I think, your majesty, I’d better go!               [_Exit GÉLANOR._

      _Enter PALMIS and ZEOLIDE, ZEOLIDE weeping._

    _Palmis._ Nay, do not weep, dear mistress.

    _Zeo._                                     Ah, my friend,
    What comfort can _you_ offer me?

    _Palmis._                        I’ve heard
    That when one is oppressed with weight of woe,
    Some solace may be found in dwelling on
    The grief of one more sorely laden still.

    _Zeo._ More sorely laden? Where will Zeolide
    Find one whose misery outweighs her own?

    _Palmis._ Your misery, though great, is but a grain
    When balanced in the scales with mine!

    _Zeo._                                 With yours?

    _Palmis._ Yes; Philamir respects you. He esteems
    Your moral excellence, although no doubt
    He does not love you as a lover should;
    But Chrysal always hated me, and sought
    To gain that love I gave so willingly
    To hasten his promotion at the Court.
    Your case and mine are different. Besides,
    You angered Philamir. I never gave
    My Chrysal any reason for his hate.

    _Zeo._ How did I anger him?

    _Palmis._                   Your petulance
    Annoyed him.

    _Zeo._       Petulance! He told me that
    He only liked me!

    _Altem._ (_coming forward_). True, but you forget
    He was compelled to speak the plainest truth,
    And knew not that he spoke it. He believed
    (While he was telling you he loved you not)
    That he was breathing ardent words of love;
    Believing this, your reasonable rage
    Seemed in his eyes irrational caprice,
    And changed his waning love to sheer dislike.

    _Zeo._ Is this the truth then?

    _Altem._                       Yes, I think it is.
    The test has been exceedingly severe.

    _Zeo._ I’ll wed no man who can not stand this test.

    _Palmis._ Then, Zeolide, you’ll surely die a maid!

    _Altem._ Come, come, be reasonable. Philamir
    Is but a man--a vain and idle one,
    But under this veneer of coxcombry
    There’s sterling stuff. The man is honest gold,
    And vanity has silver-plated him.

    _Palmis._ At all events, you know he _likes_ you well.
    How many maidens when they wed a man
    Have reason to be sure of half as much!

    _Zeo._ But then his love for Mirza!

    _Altem._                            Idle pique!
    No doubt he hoped--as other lovers hope--
    In the fierce whirlpool of a new-born love
    To drown remembrance of the love just dead.
    Here comes the Lady Mirza! We will go,
    And leave you with her. Tell her every thing;
    She is a noble lady--wise and pure!
    She will not rob you of your Philamir.
    There--tell her all!

    _Zeo._               Forgive me, mother dear,
    My heart is softened. I have been unjust.
                                          [_Exeunt ALTEMIRE and PALMIS._

      _Enter MIRZA._

    _Mirza._ Oh, Zeolide, I know what you would say.
    Say on, dear Zeolide, and have no fear.

    _Zeo._ Mirza, for three long years we two have been
    As sisters are, and I would speak to you
    As younger sister speaks to elder-born.
    Give me your counsel, Mirza, it will be
    As pure, as true, as honest as those eyes.

    _Mirza._ If counsel such as mine can serve you aught,
    ’Tis thine, dear Zeolide. My sister, speak.

    _Zeo._ With all my soul I love Prince Philamir.
    A lady--good and beautiful and wise--
    Unwittingly hath robbed me of my love;
    She is too pure, too gentle, too divine,
    To seek a love that rightly is not hers.
    No, no, this lady hath not sought his love--
    Of that I’m certain, yet she hath his love!
    Oh, Mirza, when my Philamir declared
    His love for me, I cast away the world
    To enter Paradise. Now, Philamir
    Has led this lady (all unwillingly)
    Within its gates, and I am left without--
    A lonely wanderer ’twixt earth and heaven.
    Mirza, dear sister, say--what shall I do?
    Give me thy counsel--I’ll abide by it.

    _Mirza._ No need to speak to me in parable.
    I am that lady whom you over-praise--
    That most unhappy woman, Zeolide!
    Despite myself, I must admit the truth,
    I do love Philamir--shrink not from me.
    Mine is no idle love. Four years ago,
    Ere you had ever seen Prince Philamir,
    I was a lady of his father’s Court.
    He loved me even then, and I loved him--
    No need to tell you, dearest Zeolide,
    The nature of that love; you know too well
    How women love who love Prince Philamir!
    We were betrothed, but secretly. Alas!
    I was a humble waiting lady, he
    A mighty Prince--so we concealed our love.
    Then it was rumored that he sought your hand,
    That policy, the curse of kings, required
    That he should marry you. Then I fell ill--
    (_Struggling with her emotion_)
    Pass over that. Let it suffice that I
    Released him--for I loved him passing well!

    _Zeo._ (_amazed_). I never knew of this!

    _Mirza._                                 No, Zeolide,
    I’ve learnt to bear my sorrow silently.
    But for the sacred genius of this spot,
    Whose influence no mortal can resist,
    My secret would have passed away with me.
    But I was true to you; for though I saw
    How coldly you received his vows of love--

    _Zeo._ (_rising astonished_). Coldly! Why, every word he spoke to me
    Rang through my brain, and would have waked up love
    Had love been dead!

    _Mirza._            I thought you loved him not.
    But though I grieved for him, yet when he spake
    (As he at times would speak) of our old love,
    I checked him with a simulated scorn,
    For then, dear Zeolide, I loved you both!

    _Zeo._ You love me still?

    _Mirza._                  Most heartily!

    _Zeo._                                   Why, then,
    Have mercy on me, give me Philamir--
    He is the soul and essence of my life!
    Dear sister Mirza, give him back to me.
    Oh, rather take my life than take my love,
    And leave me here to linger on, alone!

    _Mirza._ Fear not, dear Zeolide, I love him well,
    But I will never see his face again!

    _Zeo._ Promise me this--swear to renounce his love!

    _Mirza._ As there’s a shining sun in heaven I swear!
    See, I am brave, and I will fight my love
    As I have fought ere this. Take courage, dear,
    I’ll leave this place to-night, and Philamir
    Shall ne’er set eyes upon my face again.
    There, go--I’ll tell him this. He’s coming now--
    Go dry your eyes--he should not see them so.
    Come back again when they are at their best.        [_Exit ZEOLIDE._

      _Enter PHILAMIR._

    _Phil._ Mirza--I have some words to say to you--
    The diary you lost to-day?

    _Mirza._ (_eagerly_).         Well, sir,
    And have you found it?

    _Phil._      Mirza, I have found
    A portion of it--one loose leaf--behold! (_Producing page._)

    _Mirza._ And you have read it, Philamir?

    _Phil._ (_guiltily_).                    I have!

    _Mirza._ Oh, shame upon you--shame upon you, sir!
    You gave your knightly word--you are forsworn!

    _Phil._ But, Mirza, hear me out, ere you condemn.
    I saw a paper tossed before the wind,
    And little dreaming ’twas your diary,
    I picked it up. I knew not what it was
    Till I began to read it. Then I knew,
    And knowing so much, burnt to know still more!

    _Mirza._ But when you knew it held my secret thoughts,
    You read no further?

    _Phil._ (_abashed_).   Mirza, I read on!

    _Mirza._ Lost! lost! Give me that leaf, Prince Philamir;
    You have deceived me, sir--I trusted you.

    _Phil._ But, Mirza, where is the knight who would have stopped
    When of himself he read such words as these?--
    (_Reads_) “I still love Philamir, but I must strive
    To battle with my love. Oh, give me grace
    To fight this fight.”

    _Mirza._              I charge you read no more!

    _Phil._ “By day his every look--his every word--
    Renews some mem’ry that should be long dead;
    By night the phantom of my loved one’s face
    Burns in my eyes and robs me of my rest!”

    _Mirza._ My secret has gone forth. I strove to keep
    That love as silent as my silent heart;
    But it was not to be. You now know all!
    Yet no--not all!

    _Phil._          Then, Mirza, tell me all.
    Speak openly--hide nothing from me now.

    _Mirza._ I will speak openly. I love you, sir;
    And, loving you, I leave the Court to-night,
    That I may never see your face again.

    _Phil._ Recall those words!--we will not--must not part!
                                                     (_He detains her._)

      _Enter ZEOLIDE, unobserved._

    _Mirza._ Release me, Philamir, and let me go!
    I love you! Let me hide myself away.
    I love you! Leave me with myself alone.
    I love you! Show me gratitude for this,
    And leave me free to sanctify my vow,
    For I have sworn to see your face no more!

    _Phil._ To whom have you sworn this?

    _Mirza._                             To Zeolide,
    Whom you once loved so well--who still loves you.

    _Phil._ I never loved her, Mirza--who is she,
    That she should come between me and my love?
    She loves me not, and I have done with her.

    _Mirza._ Oh, this will kill her, sir!

    _Zeo._                                No--Mirza--no!
    It will not kill me. I can bear this blow. (_Coming forward._)
    Prince Philamir, we two have been betrothed--
    Your word is plighted--well, I set you free.
    Mirza, you swore to leave Prince Philamir--
    Your word is plighted--well, I set you free.
    (_She takes MIRZA’S hand and places it in PHILAMIR’S._)
    Oh, Philamir--this is indeed the end!
    Be true to her--such sacred love as hers
    Should purify its object--oh, be true!
    I’m but a chapter in your book of life,
    I who had thought to be the book itself!
    The chapter’s ended, and to Zeolide
    The book is closed forever! Philamir,
    When you are tempted to do Mirza wrong,
    Turn to that chapter--read it through and through--
    And let the tale of all that I have borne
    Warn you from fresh inconstancy; my grief
    May thus be Mirza’s safeguard to the end.
    Mirza--my sister--he will love you well--
    Here, in the home of truth, he tells you so.
    May you be happy in his new-born love,
    May he be worthy of such love as yours--
    (_To PHILAMIR_) Speak not, but let me go.
                                            (_Kisses MIRZA’S forehead._)
                                              Farewell--farewell!
          [_Exit ZEOLIDE, weeping--PHILAMIR and MIRZA stand for a moment
           gazing at each other--then they fall into each other’s arms._

    _Phil._ Mirza, my own! At last--at last my own!

    _Mirza._ Oh, Philamir! I am so cruelly racked
    By sentiments I can not reconcile,
    I know not whether this is joy or grief!
    True, when I think of Philamir, the air
    Seems charged with music, and the earth I tread
    All flowers. When I remember Zeolide
    I could go mad with sorrow!

    _Phil._                     Then, my love,
    Think not of Zeolide!

    _Mirza._              Ah, Philamir,
    You speak as men speak of a worn-out love.
    You only know one kind of love, you men!
    My love for Zeolide is otherwise,
    Unselfish, generous, a sister’s love.
    Yet I have stolen from her gentle heart
    That which in all the world she loved the best!

    _Phil._ You are too sensitive. Say, rather, she
    Hath freely given that she prizes least.

    _Mirza._ Oh, Philamir, indeed you do her wrong,
    And may perchance wrong me, as you wronged her.

    _Phil._ (_rising_). Impossible! For if the words I breathe
    Were dashed with any mockery of love,
    I should against my will, confess it now.
    Mirza, I love you! These are idle words
    When spoken in the unenchanted world,
    But, spoken here, they bear significance
    That rivals in its worth a life-long test!
    Let us exchange some trinket which shall serve
    As evidence of this our solemn troth.
    Here is my pledge. (_Giving a ring._)

    _Mirza._           My love, what can I give?
    I have no trinkets--I am very poor!

    _Phil._ A handkerchief--a glove--no matter what!

      (_She feels in pocket and takes out handkerchief--the crystal box
        falls out with it--he picks it up and retains it._)

    This crystal box--nay, give it me, ’twill serve
    To chronicle--

    _Mirza._ (_hastily_). No, no, Prince Philamir!
    Not that--not that! it is a talisman!

    _Phil._ Then I will steal it as I stole your heart,
    And I will keep it while I keep that heart.

    _Mirza._ Give me that box, or I must own the truth--
    That I am miserably false to all! (_Throwing herself at his feet._)
    That my morality is all assumed!
    That I am mean, and base, and treacherous!
    A shameless schemer! heartless--impudent!
    Give me that box, or I must own that I
    Abstracted it from Phanor’s cabinet,
    And substituted one that I possessed
    Exactly like it. I must own to you
    That I’m unutterably infamous--
    A hypocrite--a traitress to my friend--
    All this, and more, I must admit, if you
    Retain that talisman! Oh, give it me,
    And let this locket testify our love!
    The King! The King! The King! I am undone!    [_Exit MIRZA hastily._

    _Phil._ Gone, gone!--and Philamir, who thought he knew
    The ways of woman well, had still to learn
    That in one woman’s body there is place
    For such a goodly show of purity,
    And such unequalled treachery of heart!
    Oh, Zeolide, for how much infamy
    Have I rejected thine unequaled love?

      _Enter PHANOR with CHRYSAL and ZORAM._

    _Phan._ Congratulate me, I’m half mad with joy;
    Azèma comes to tell me that she found
    The Queen and Gélanor together here--
    Alone--at night!

    _Phil._          Well, sir, and what of that?

    _Phan._ Nothing at all, my boy! Why that’s the joke.
    Old Gélanor has dandled Altemire
    Upon his aged knee five hundred times!

    _Phil._ What--lately?

    _Phan._               No! I won’t commit myself
    By telling you how many years ago,
    But long before her majesty was weaned.

    _Phil._ (_shrugging his shoulders_).
    I see no reason to condole with you,
    Because her majesty and Gélanor
    Were here together--neither do I see
    Why should you be congratulated, sir!

    _Phan._ You’re very dull! The Queen has just found out
    That I had an appointment in this grove
    To meet Azèma--don’t you understand?
    I can retort and take indignant ground.
    What was she doing here with Gélanor?
    You’ll see! (_Sees box_) Hallo! What’s that?

    _Phil._                                      A talisman.
    It fell from Mirza’s pocket as you came.

    _Phan._ The deuce it did! Allow me, this is mine! (_Taking it._)

    _Phil._ I know: she stole it from your cabinet,
    She owned as much!

    _Phan._            Confound her impudence!

    _Phil._ Oh, I have been deceived!

    _Phan._                           And so have I!
    Most seriously deceived! Hush, here’s the Queen,
    And with that gay deceiver, Gélanor!
    The talisman has turned up just in time.

      _Enter ALTEMIRE and GÉLANOR, with AZÈMA and MIRZA._

    So, madam, I’ve detected you!

    _Altem._ (_indignantly_).       How, sir?

    _Phan._ Never mind how--and you too, Gélanor.
    Oh, I’m ashamed of you! (_Crossing to GÉLANOR._)

    _Gélan._                Your majesty,
    I don’t know what you mean.

    _Phan._                     You bad old man!
    (_Affecting to weep_) You whom I trusted so!
                                       (_Aside_) Don’t be alarmed,
    I’m not in earnest. (_Aloud_) Oh, it’s infamous!
    Why, let me see--how old are you?

    _Gélan._                          My lord,
    If you imply--

    _Phan._        Imply! (_Aside_) Don’t be a fool,
    I’m not in earnest; I have found the box!
    (_aloud_) Explain this conduct!

    _Altem._                        Sir, this is a joke?

    _Phan._ Well, not exactly, madam; you’ve been found
    Philandering at night with Gélanor.
    Being within the influence of these walls,
    You’re bound to speak the truth. If you can say
    Your meeting’s innocent, I’m satisfied.

    _Altem._ As innocent as truth itself, I swear.

    _Phan._ I’m satisfied! Your hand--

    _Altem._                           Nay, hear me first.
    I charge you with appointing here to meet
    Azèma; you are bound to tell the truth,
    Being within the influence of these walls.
    If you can unreservedly deny
    This charge, I also shall be satisfied.

    _Phan._ Emphatically I deny the charge!

    _Altem._ (_astounded_). You do?

    _Phan._                 I do! (_Piously_) This is the Home of Truth,
    And all are subject to its influence.

    _Altem._ (_puzzled_). But you admitted it when you confessed
    Your gallantries to me this afternoon!

    _Phan._ Oh, you’ve been dreaming!

    _Altem._                          Do I understand
    That you deny that you confessed all this?

    _Phan._ Distinctly! (_Piously_) This is the Abode of Truth.

    _Altem._ I _have_ been dreaming! Phanor, there’s my hand--
    I’ve deeply wronged you.

    _Phan._                  Altemire, you have!
    But say no more--we are good friends again.

    _Altem._ Then you forgive me?

    _Phan._                       Heartily I do!

    _Altem._ I’ll never be a jealous fool again.

    _Phan._ I’m very glad indeed to hear you say so!

      _Enter ZEOLIDE--ALTEMIRE retires with GÉLANOR, and converses with
        ZEOLIDE--PHILAMIR, seeing ZEOLIDE, comes down abashed._

    _Phan._ (_to PHILAMIR_). Well, and what’s wrong with you?

    _Phil._                                            I’ve been a fool,
    A madman, and a true-born idiot!

    _Phan._ By the mysterious influence of this place,
    I can believe it!

    _Phil._           I have given up
    The noblest woman that I ever knew,
    For that abominable cockatrice
    Who quitted me as you arrived.

    _Phan._                        Well! well!
    You may regain her yet.

    _Phil._                 Impossible!

    _Phan._ Oh, not at all! there--take this talisman.
                                      (ZEOLIDE _overhears this speech._)
    With this you’re proof against the influence
    That rules this place; you can declare to her
    That you adore the very ground she walks,
    And wallow in the foolish flummery
    That used to make you so ridiculous.
    She will believe it all--there, take it, boy,
    And make good use of it to win her back.

    _Phil._ I’ll use it, Phanor, and I’ll use it well!

    _Zeo._ (_aside_) He takes the box. And thus he thinks to win
    The hand of his forsaken Zeolide!
    Oh, Philamir, this is contemptible.
    I think I could have loved you, but for this!

    _Phil._ Dear Zeolide, I hold a talisman,
    Enabling me to counteract the charm
    That reigns within these walls. With this in hand
    I can tell truth or falsehood as I please,
    And you must needs believe me. Zeolide,
    I’ve learned to set a value on your love
    Transcending all the riches of the earth;
    Yet would I rather live without that love--
    A life of self-reproach without that love--
    Repentant and alone without that love--
    Than stoop to gain it by such treachery.
    Here is the talisman. (ZEOLIDE _takes it_.) No longer armed
    Against the sacred influence of Truth,
    I tell you of my sorrow and my love
    With all the warmth of a repentant heart!
                     (_He presses ZEOLIDE to his heart and kisses her._)

    _Altem._ (_indignantly_). Give me that talisman!
                                        (_Takes it_) I have a clew
    To much that was a mystery: Behold!

      (_She breaks it--a loud crash--all come forward._)


      _Enter ARISTÆUS._

    _Gélan._ You know not what you’ve done! The castle’s charm
    Is bound up with that mystic talisman!
    Now that the box is broken, these fair walls
    Are disenchanted!

    _Phan._           P’raps it’s quite as well.
    Now that the place has lost its influence
    We shall get on much better. We have learnt
    A lesson that should last us till we die--
    We’ve learnt how matrimonial constancy
    By causeless jealousy is sometimes tried--
                                  (_Looking reproachfully at ALTEMIRE._)

    _Altem._ How jealousy is sometimes justified--
                                    (_Looking reproachfully at PHANOR._)

    _Chrys._ How Zoram--music’s vaunted pioneer--
    Don’t even know his notes--and has no ear!
    Even his cant expressions are the wrong ones!

    _Zor._ I _have_ an ear!

    _Phan._ (_shaking his hand_). You have--two very long ones!

    _Palmis._ You’ve learnt to doubt the love that those profess,
    Who by such love gain temporal success--
                                         (_Looking angrily at CHRYSAL._)

    _Zor._ That surly misanthropes, with venom tainted--

    _Arist._ Are often not as black as they are painted!

    _Azèma._ To doubt all maids who of their virtue boast:
    That they’re the worst who moralize the most! (_Looking at MIRZA._)

    _Mirza._ That blushes, though they’re most becoming, yet
    Proclaim, too oft, the commonplace coquette! (_Looking at AZÈMA._)
    I can declare, with pardonable pride,
    I never blush!

    _Azèma._       You couldn’t if you tried!

    _Phil._ Under the influence that lately reigned
    Within these walls I breathed my love unfeigned;
    Now that that power no longer reigns above,
    I ratify the accents of my love.
    Forgive me, Zeolide, my life, my bride!

    _Zeo._ (_very demurely_). I love you, Philamir--be satisfied!



TRIAL BY JURY:

_A Dramatic Cantata_,

IN ONE ACT.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  THE LEARNED JUDGE            MR. F. SULLIVAN.
  COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFF.
  THE DEFENDANT                MR. W. FISHER.
  FOREMAN OF THE JURY          MR. CAMPBELL.
  USHER                        MR. KELLEHER.
  THE PLAINTIFF                MISS BROMLEY.

  BRIDESMAIDS, GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY, &C.


TRIAL BY JURY.

      SCENE.--_A Court of Justice._

      _BARRISTERS, ATTORNEYS, and JURYMEN discovered with USHER._

    _Chorus_

    Hark, the hour of ten is sounding!
    Hearts with anxious fears are bounding;
    Hall of Justice crowds surrounding,
              Breathing hope and fear--
    For to-day in this arena,
    Summoned by a stern subpœna,
    Edwin, sued by Angelina,
              Shortly will appear.

      (_The USHER marshals the Jury into Jury-box._)

    _Solo, USHER._

    Now, Jurymen, hear my advice--
    All kinds of vulgar prejudice
              I pray you set aside:
    With stern judicial frame of mind,
    From bias free of every kind,
              This trial must be tried.

    _Chorus._

    From bias free of every kind
    This trial must be tried.

      (_During Choruses, USHER says, fortissimo, “Silence in Court!”_)

    USHER.

    Oh, listen to the plaintiff’s case:
    Observe the features of her face--
              The broken-hearted bride.
    Condole with her distress of mind--
    From bias free of every kind
              This trial must be tried!

    _Chorus._

              From bias free, &c.

    USHER.

    And when amid the plaintiff’s shrieks,
    The ruffianly defendant speaks--
              Upon the other side;
    What _he_ may say you needn’t mind--
    From bias free of every kind
              This trial must be tried.

    _Chorus._

              From bias free, &c.

      _Enter_ DEFENDANT.

    DEFENDANT, (_recit._).

    Is this the Court of the Exchequer?

    ALL.

    It is!

    DEFENDANT (_aside_).

        Be firm, my moral pecker,
    Your evil star’s in the ascendant!

    ALL.

    Who are you?

    DEFENDANT.

    I’m the defendant!

    _Chorus of JURYMEN (shaking their fists)_.

    Monster, dread our damages!
    We’re the jury,
    Dread our fury!

    DEFENDANT.

    Hear me, hear me, if you please,
      These are very strange proceedings--
    For, permit me to remark,
      On the merits of my pleadings,
    You’re at present in the dark.

      (_DEFENDANT beckons to JURYMEN--they leave the box, and gather
        round him as they sing the following_):--

    Ha! ha! ha!
    That’s a very true remark--
    On the merits of your pleadings,
    We’re entirely in the dark!
    Ha! ha!--ha! ha!

    _Song_, DEFENDANT.

    When first my old, old love I knew,
      My bosom swelled with joy;
    My riches at her feet I threw--
      I was a love-sick boy!
    No terms seemed extravagant
      Upon her to employ--
    I used to mope, and sigh, and pant,
      Just like a love-sick boy!

    But joy incessant palls the sense;
      And love, unchanged, will cloy,
    And she became a bore intense
      Unto her love-sick boy!
    With fitful glimmer burnt my flame,
      And I grew cold and coy,
    At last, one morning, I became
      Another’s love-sick boy!

    _Chorus of_ JURYMEN (_advancing stealthily_).

    Oh, I was like that when a lad;
    A shocking young scamp of a rover!
    I behaved like a regular cad;
    But that sort of thing is all over.
    I’m now a respectable chap,
    And shine with a virtue resplendent,
    An therefore I haven’t a scrap
    Of sympathy with the defendant!
            He shall treat us with awe,
            If there isn’t a flaw,
    Singing so merrily--Trial-la-law!
    Trial-la-law--Trial-la-law!
    Singing so merrily--Trial-la-law!

    _Recit._ USHER.

    Silence in Court, and all attention lend.
    Behold your Judge! In due submission bend!

      _Enter JUDGE on Bench._

    _Chorus._

    All hail, great Judge!
      To your bright rays
    We never grudge
      Ecstatic praise.
                All hail!

    May each decree
      As statute rank,
    And never be
      Reversed in banc.
                All hail!

    _Recit._ JUDGE.

    For these kind words accept my thanks, I pray!
    A Breach of Promise we’ve to try to-day;
    But firstly, if the time you’ll not begrudge,
    I’ll tell you how I came to be a judge.

    ALL.

    He’ll tell us how he came to be a judge!

    JUDGE.

    Let me speak.

    ALL.

      Let him speak.

    JUDGE.

    Let me speak.

    ALL.

            Let him speak. Hush! hush!! hush!!!
    (_fortissimo_) He’ll tell us how he came to be a judge!

    _Song_, JUDGE.

    When I, good friends, was called to the bar,
      I’d an appetite fresh and hearty,
    But I was, as many young barristers are,
      An impecunious party:
    I’d a swallow-tail coat of a beautiful blue--
      A brief which I bought of a booby--
    A couple of shirts and a collar or two,
      And a ring that looked like a ruby.

    _Chorus_.

    A couple of shirts, &c.

    JUDGE.

    In Westminster Hall I danced a dance,
      Like a semi-despondent fury;
    For I thought I should never hit on a chance
      Of addressing a British jury--
    But I soon got tired of third-class journeys
      And dinners of bread and water;
    So I fell in love with a rich attorney’s
      Elderly, ugly daughter.

    CHORUS.

    So he fell in love, &c.

    JUDGE.

    The rich attorney he jumped with joy,
      And replied to my fond professions:
    “You shall reap the reward of your pluck, my boy,
      “At the Bailey and Middlesex Sessions.
    “You’ll soon get used to her looks,” said he,
       “And a very nice girl you’ll find her!
    “She may very well pass for forty-three
      “In the dusk, with a light behind her!

    _Chorus._

    “She may very well, &c.”

    JUDGE.

    The rich attorney was good as his word:
      The briefs came trooping gayly,
    And every day my voice was heard
      At the Sessions or Ancient Bailey.
    All thieves who could my fees afford
      Relied on my orations,
    And many a burglar I’ve restored
      To his friends and his relations.

    _Chorus._

    And many a burglar, &c.

    JUDGE.

    At length I became as rich as the Gurneys--
      An incubus then I thought her,
    So I threw over that rich attorney’s
      Elderly, ugly daughter.
    The rich attorney my character high
      Tried vainly to disparage--
    And now, if you please, I’m ready to try
      This breach of promise of marriage!

    _Chorus._

    And now if you please, &c.

    JUDGE.

    For now I am a Judge!

    ALL.

        And a good Judge too!

    JUDGE.

    Yes, now I am a Judge!

    ALL.

        And a good Judge too!

    JUDGE.

    Though all my law is fudge,
    Yet I’ll never, never budge,
    But I’ll live and die a Judge!

    ALL.

        And a good Judge too!

    JUDGE (_pianissimo_).

    It was managed by a job!

    ALL.

        And a good job too!

    JUDGE.

    It was managed by a job!

    ALL.

        And a good job too!

    JUDGE.

    It is patent to the mob,
    That my being made a nob
    Was effected by a job.

    ALL.

        And a good job too!

      _Enter COUNSEL for PLAINTIFF._

    COUNSEL (_recit._).

    Swear thou the Jury!

    USHER.

    Kneel, Jurymen, oh! kneel!

      (_All the Jury kneel in the Jury-box and so are hidden from
        audience._)

    USHER.

    Oh, will you swear by yonder skies,
    Whatever question may arise
    ’Twixt rich and poor--’twixt low and high,
    That you will well and truly try?

    JURY (_raising their hands, which alone are visible_).

    To all of this we make reply,
    By the dull slate of yonder sky:
    That we will well and truly try.

      (_All rise with the last note, both hands in air._)

    _Recit._ USHER.

    This blind devotion is indeed a crusher--
    Pardon the tear-drop of the simple Usher! (_He weeps._)

    _Recit._ COUNSEL.

    Call the plaintiff!

    _Recit._ USHER.

    Oh, Angelina! Angelina!! Come thou into Court.

      _Enter the BRIDESMAIDS, each bearing two palm branches, their
        arms crossed on their bosoms, and rose-wreaths on their arms._

    _Chorus of_ BRIDESMAIDS.

    Comes the broken flower--
      Comes the cheated maid--
    Though the tempest lower,
      Rain and cloud will fade!
    Take, oh maid, these posies:
      Though thy beauty rare
    Shame the blushing roses,
      They are passing fair!
            Wear the flowers till they fade:
            Happy be thy life, oh maid!

      (_The JUDGE, having taken a great fancy to FIRST BRIDESMAID,
        sends her a note by USHER, which she reads, kisses rapturously,
        and places in her bosom._)

    _Solo_, ANGELINA.

    O’er the season vernal,
      Time may cast a shade;
    Sunshine, if eternal,
      Makes the roses fade!
    Time may do his duty;
      Let the thief alone--
    Winter hath a beauty
      That is all his own.
            Fairest days are sun and shade:
            I am no unhappy maid!

      (_By this time the JUDGE has transferred his admiration to
        ANGELINA._)

    _Chorus of_ BRIDESMAIDS.

    Comes the broken flower, &c.

      (_During Chorus ANGELINA collects wreaths of roses from
        BRIDESMAIDS and gives them to the JURY, who put them on, and
        wear them during the rest of the piece._)

    JUDGE (_to ASSOCIATE._)

    Oh, never, never, never, since I joined the human race,
    Saw I so exquisitely fair a face.

    THE JURY (_shaking their forefingers at JUDGE_).

    Ah, sly dog! Ah, sly dog!

    JUDGE (_to JURY_).

    How say you, is she not designed for capture?

    FOREMAN (_after consulting with the JURY_).

    We’ve but one word, my lord, and that is--Rapture!

    PLAINTIFF (_courtesying_).

    Your kindness, gentlemen, quite overpowers!

    THE JURY.

    We love you fondly, and would make you ours!

    THE BRIDESMAIDS (_shaking their forefingers at JURY_).

    Ah, sly dogs! Ah, sly dogs!

    COUNSEL _for_ PLAINTIFF (_recit._)

    May it please you, my lud!
      Gentlemen of the Jury!

    _Aria._

    With a sense of deep emotion,
      I approach this painful case;
    For I never had a notion
      That a man could be so base,
    Or deceive a girl confiding,
    Vows, _etcætera_, deriding.

    ALL.

        He deceived a girl confiding,
        Vows, _etcætera_, deriding.

      (_PLAINTIFF falls sobbing on COUNSEL’S breast, and remains
        there._)

    COUNSEL.

    See my interesting client,
      Victim of a heartless wile!
    See the traitor all defiant
      Wears a supercilious smile!
    Sweetly smiled my client on him.
    Coyly woo’d and gently won him!

    ALL.

    Sweetly smiled, &c.

    COUNSEL.

    Swiftly fled each honeyed hour
      Spent with this unmanly male!
    Camberwell became a bower,
      Peckham an Arcadian Vale,
    Breathing concentrated otto!--
    An-existence _à la_ Watteau.

    ALL.

        Bless us, concentrated otto! &c.

    COUNSEL (_coming down with PLAINTIFF, who is still sobbing on his
        breast_).

    Picture, then, my client naming
      And insisting on the day:
    Picture him excuses framing--
      Going from her far away;
    Doubly criminal to do so,
    For the maid had bought her _trousseau_!

    ALL.

        Doubly criminal, &c.

    COUNSEL (_to PLAINTIFF, who weeps_).

      Cheer up, my pretty--oh, cheer up!

    JURY.

    Cheer up, cheer up, we love you!

      (_COUNSEL leads PLAINTIFF fondly into Witness-box; he takes a
        tender leave of her and resumes his place in Court._)

      (PLAINTIFF _reels, as if about to faint._)

    JUDGE.

    That she is reeling
      Is plain to me!

    FOREMAN.

    If faint you’re feeling,
      Recline on me!

      (_She falls sobbing on to the foreman’s breast._)

    PLAINTIFF (_feebly_).

    I shall recover
      If left alone.

    ALL (_shaking their fists at DEFENDANT_).

    Oh, perjured lover,
      Atone! atone!

    FOREMAN.

    Just like a father
      I wish to be. (_Kissing her._)

    JUDGE (_approaching her_).

    Or, if you’d rather,
      Recline on me!

      (_She staggers on to bench, sits down by the JUDGE, and falls
        sobbing on his breast._)

    COUNSEL.

    Oh! fetch some water
    From far Cologne!

    ALL.

    For this sad slaughter
    Atone! atone!

    JURY (_shaking fists at DEFENDANT_).

    Monster, monster, dread our fury,
    There’s the Judge, and we’re the Jury!

    _Song_, DEFENDANT.

    Oh, gentlemen, listen, I pray,
      Though I own that my heart has been ranging,
    Of nature the laws I obey,
      For nature is constantly changing.
    The moon in her phases is found,
      The time and the wind and the weather,
    The months in succession come round,
      And you don’t find two Mondays together.
            Consider the moral, I pray,
              Nor bring a young fellow to sorrow,
            Who loves this young lady to-day,
              And loves that young lady to-morrow.

    BRIDESMAIDS (_rushing forward, and kneeling to_
    JURY).

    Consider the moral, &c.

    You can not eat breakfast all day,
      Nor is it the act of a sinner,
    When breakfast is taken away,
      To turn your attention to dinner;
    And it’s not in the range of belief,
      That you could hold him as a glutton,
    Who, when he is tired of beef,
      Determines to tackle the mutton.
            But this I am ready to say,
              If it will appease their sorrow,
            I’ll marry one lady to-day,
              And I’ll marry the other to-morrow.

    BRIDESMAIDS (_rushing forward as before_).

    But this he is ready to say, &c.

    JUDGE (_recit._)

    That seems a reasonable proposition,
    To which I think your client may agree.

    ALL.

    Oh, Judge discerning!

    COUNSEL.

    But, I submit, my lord, with all submission,
    To marry two at once is Burglaree!

      (_Referring to law book._)

    In the reign of James the Second,
    It was generally reckoned
    As a very serious crime
    To marry two wives at one time.

      (_Hands book up to JUDGE, who reads it._)

    ALL.

    Oh, man of learning!

      _Quartette._

    JUDGE.

    A nice dilemma we have here,
      That calls for all our wit:

    COUNSEL.

    And at this stage it don’t appear
      That we can settle it.

    DEFENDANT.

    If I to wed the girl am loth
      A breach ’twill surely be!

    PLAINTIFF.

    And if he goes and marries both
      It counts as Burglaree!

    ALL.

    _A_ nice dilemma, &c.

      _Duet, PLAINTIFF and DEFENDANT._

    PLAINTIFF (_embracing DEFENDANT rapturously_).

    I love him--I love him--with fervor unceasing,
        I worship and madly adore;
    My blind adoration is always increasing,
        My loss I shall ever deplore.
    Oh, see what a blessing--what love and caressing
        I’ve lost, and remember it, pray,
    When you I’m addressing, are busy assessing
        The damages Edwin must pay.

    DEFENDANT (_repelling her furiously_).

    I smoke like a furnace--I’m always in liquor,
        A ruffian--a bully--a sot.
    I’m sure I should thrash her--perhaps I should kick her,
        I am such a very bad lot!
    I’m not prepossessing, as you may be guessing,
        She couldn’t endure me a day!
    Recall my professing when you are assessing
        The damages Edwin must pay!

      (_She clings to him passionately; he drags her round stage, and
        flings her to the ground._)

    JURY.

    We would be fairly acting,
    But this is most distracting!

    JUDGE (_recit._).

    The question, gentlemen, is one of liquor;
      You ask for guidance--this is my reply:
    If he, when tipsy, would assault and kick her,
      Let’s make him tipsy, gentlemen, and try!

    COUNSEL.

    With all respect
      I do object!

    ALL.

    With all respect
      We do object!

    DEFENDANT.

    I don’t object!

    ALL.

    We do object!

    JUDGE (_tossing his books and papers about_).

    All the legal furies seize you!
    No proposal seems to please you,
    I can’t stop up here all day,
    I must shortly go away.
    Barristers, and you, attorneys,
    Set out on your homeward journeys;
    Put your briefs upon the shelf,
    I will marry her myself!

      (_He comes down from Bench to floor of Court. He embraces
        ANGELINA._)


_Finale._

    PLAINTIFF.

    Oh, joy unbounded!
    With wealth surrounded,
    The knell is sounded
          Of grief and woe.

    COUNSEL.

    With love devoted
    On you he’s doted:
    To castle moated
          Away they go!

    DEFENDANT.

    I wonder whether
    They’ll live together
    In marriage tether
          In manner true?

    USHER.

    It seems to me, sir,
    Of such as she, sir,
    A judge is he, sir,
            A good judge too.

    CHORUS.

    It seems to me, sir, &c.

    JUDGE.

    Oh, yes, I am a Judge.

    ALL.

    And a good Judge too!

    JUDGE.

    Oh, yes, I am a Judge.

    ALL.

    And a good Judge too!

    JUDGE.

    Though homeward as you trudge,
    You declare my law is fudge,
    Yet of beauty I’m a judge.

    ALL.

    And a good judge too!

      (_JUDGE and PLAINTIFF dance back on to the Bench--the BRIDESMAIDS
        take the eight garlands of roses from behind the Judge’s desk
        (where one end of them is fastened) and draw them across floor
        of Court, so that they radiate from the desk. Two plaster
        Cupids in bar wigs descend from flies. Red fire._)


_Franklin Press: Rand, Avery, & Co., Boston._



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

Some obvious misprints have been corrected.

Archaic and unusual spellings have been maintained.

The page number listed in the Table of Contents is the cover page for
that play. In the original book, the page number listed for each play
was the first page of the text of the play. Also, the Note, Table of
Contents and the Transcriber’s Note have been added to the Table of
Contents.

In ‘Charity’ the character Ruth speaks in pidgin.

In ‘THE WICKED WORLD’:

  On page 63:  _Dar._ Go, sir, get thee gone!
  Originally:  _Dar._ Go, sir, get thee gone?

In ‘THE PRINCESS’:

  On page 253: Give her a sou!
  Originally:  Giver her a sou!

  On page 270: _Chrys._ He’s vinegar, my lord, and we are oil.
  Originally:  _Chyrs._ He’s vinegar, my lord, and we are oil.

In the play ‘CHARITY’ on page 191, where it says “Ruth (rushing
forward)”--this does not say it is an entrance, but since she is not on
stage at the time, I assume that this is her entrance.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Original Plays - The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home