IN FOUR ACTS.
TOM TAYLOR AND CHARLES READE.
PRODUCED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, ADELPHI,
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
[The Authors reserve the right of Translating this work.]
Sir Gervase Rokewood (under the name of William Hyde)
Father Radcliffe (under the name of Reuben Fisher)
Musgrave (Postmaster of Ulverstone)
Mr. John Daw (Schoolmaster of Ulverstone)
Captain Jansen (a Dutch Smuggler)
Gordon (Lieutenant of the Tower)
William (Duke of Cumberland)
Sampson Potts (a Barber)
Captain Dormer (of Ligonier's Dragoons)
Jacobite Gentlemen of the Northern Counties:
Soldiers, Smugglers, Peasants, Fishermen, Market People
Peasants, Fisher, Girls, &c.
TWO LOVES AND A LIFE.
SCENE. -- The Market Place of Ulverstone with distant view of Morecombe Bay, and the Leven Sands. In flat R. is the Porch of the Old Fashioned Grammar School. L. The Post Office with Shop, "Musgrave, Cornfactor and Dealer." R. 2 E. The entrance to the Shop of Potts, with the Barber's Pole and Basin. A table and seat are fixed near it. More to the L. 3 E., the Old Market Cross with its Stone Platform, ascended by Steps.
[As the curtain rises, the Fisher Girls, Peasantry, &c., are seen grouped with their market baskets. Some sitting on the steps of the cross, others bargaining, &c.]
POTTS. There! Master Greystoke.
FARMER. Here's a groat, Sampson, 'tis two-pence over thy price, but I've sold my oats well, and to a ready money customer, Master Musgrave.
POTTS. Well now I declare Master Greystoke, you're the sixth customer I've shaved to-day, that's taken Mister Musgrave's money in this identical market. Talk of monopoly! Why he buys everything -- fish, meal, or meat.
FARMER. Ah! Master Musgrave noses the turn o'th'market.
POTTS. For all the world as a pig smells the wind. I wish I had his secret, and I'd cut the shop.
FARMER. Instead of thy customers, eh! (passing his hand over his chin.)
POTTS. And yet he's an ignoramus -- no book learning. Indeed, Mr. Daw doubts if be can read written hand, postmaster as he is.
FARMER. 'Tis many a good man's case; but I've the sands before me (crosses to L. H.), and 'tis getting late, so good day, Sampson. [Exit to U. E. L. H.
POTTS. I forgot he's no scholar himself. Didn't relish my allusion; but it's their way here to rely on mother wit, poor creatures! But, Mr. Daw, there's a man! no mother wit in his case -- no -- it's learning with him, and taste, and Latin, and Greek, and the ancients. I never shave Mr. Daw, but I rise from his chin a wiser and a better man. It's about his time for dismissing the boys [shouting without, U. E. R.] There they go, the little savages, and here he comes.
DAW. Good day, Sampson Potts.
POTTS. School over, Mr. Daw?
DAW. Yes, Sampson, yes, and now I may indulge in a shave, and their young ideas may give over shooting till to-morrow: Juvenile minds must repose (shouting, U. E. R.) Good gracious! What's that?
POTTS. Juvenile minds reposing.
DAW. I declare these times make me quite timid. One expects the young Pretender; one hears a noise, one naturally puts this and that together.
POTTS. There are two things I'd put together oftener, if I was you, sir.
DAW. Ah! what are they, Potts?
POTTS. My cane, and those lads à posterioris, and then they'd learn to behave themselves (Potts lathers him).
DAW. Sampson, we should endeavour to remember that boys are human beings; though their pranks are diabolical. Have you heard the news of the young Pretender, Potts? they say he's marching south with five thousand Highlanders, helping themselves right and left to breeches and other necessaries of life in the most barbarous manner (Potts shaves him). Awful times, awful times; take off the beard, but leave the chin, Potts; awful times, but I foresaw it all. The seventh horn of the seventh beast, and the French war. Put this and that together, Potts, and you see what we come to!
POTTS. What do we come to, Mr. Daw?
DAW. What you see, Potts, war abroad and treason at home undermining the constitution, and men without breeches hourly expected to outrage the feelings of our wives and daughters.
POTTS. What a dreadful picture!
DAW. A brisk market to-day, Potts?
POTTS. Very sir; Master Musgrave buying everything up as usual. Here comes your tenant, William Hyde, with the old quaker from Kirby Lonsdale, that's staying with him for sea bathing in our salubrious port.
DAW. Good morning, Master Hyde, good morning, Mr. Fisher; I trust you profit by our sea air and sea water.
RAD. Why, thee sees, Friend Daw, neither of them can put sap into a dry stock; good to be grubbed up, good to be grubbed up, John Daw (he sits wearily, R. H.).
GERV. Nay, there's many a good year's growth in Master Fisher yet, Mr. Daw, for all his rheumatism.
DAW. Ah! what a pleasant, what an edifying sight is a green old age.
GERV. (drily). The sight of your old age will be uncommonly edifying, Mr. Daw.
DAW. I trust so, Master Hyde, I trust so.
What's that, Mr. Fisher? a gazette, as I'm a politician.
RAD. The St. James's Chronicle of last Wednesday.
DAW. And got down here from London in a week, two hundred and fifty miles; what will this rapidity of locomotion end in, I wonder. Might I beg the favour of a look at the news, Mr. Fisher?
RAD. And welcome, John Daw, for thee sees I have left my spectacles at home. Thee will find more evil doings of the man Charles Edward Stewart, and his fanatical followers.
DAW. Scotch news, here it is. Oh! what a chance, and only seven days old too. That's what I call really news. I'll in and read it.
POTTS (aside). And I'll just squint over his shoulder.
JAN. Hist! (Gervase goes to him) The powder is shipped at Ushant, and we run the cargo at Bardsea Hole to-night, you understand?
GERV. At last! (Jansen looks about.)
JAN. Can't vind the vrow.
GERV. Who are you looking for?
JAN. The vrow Ruth Ravenscar.
GREV. She will not be here this hour. She is our postman.
JAN. Donner and blitzen! I can't stay ashore an hour.
GERV. What a water rat! -- can I do anything for you? Ruth and I are great friends.
JAN. Ha, dat is goot! you shall do it, you do it better than me, I'm too old; you are von young vool like Marmaduke Forster, yah! you shall do it beautiful.
GERV. You are complimentary; -- but what of Marmaduke Forster? He has not returned from sea?
JAN. No, no, but look here. The young vool is in love with the vrow Ruth; he send me with laces and ribbons, and a message to the vrow. Here is the lace, and I forgot the message.
GERV. You are a pretty fellow -- there, give me the present and I'll give it her.
JAN. There, but the message? (gives him paper parcel.)
GERV. I'll deliver that too.
JAN. Ter Teyvil! how can you? (scratches his head) I tell you nothing.
GERV. But instinct tells me all; is Marmaduke Forster deep in love with Ruth? very deep in love?
JAN. (shakes his head sorrowfully). Vorty vathom!
GERV. Then I know what to say.
JAN. It is vonderful! how lucky I came across your hawse, it is vonderful! [Exit U. E. L. H.]
GERV. At last, father, at last. Do you hear, our friends meet at Bardsea Hole to-night, and by this time to-morrow, a thousand Cumberland and Lancashire gentlemen will show the white cockade on their breasts.
RAD. Or the Hanoverian halter round their necks, my son, if such feather heads as yours are to be trusted with the ordering.
GERV. Father Radcliffe (angrily), what have I done to deserve this reproach?
RAD. Just now you betrayed two natural emotions, surprise and pleasure.
GERV. I cannot breathe always under a mask. Besides, what danger can there be here, when we are observed only by such men as Daw and Potts yonder.
RAD. They are the most formidable enemies I know; -- they are fools.
GERV. I do not understand you.
RAD. When you have been plotting as long as I have, you will have learnt that wise men may be measured, judged, and counterplotted, but fools are inscrutable. Besides, we have shrewd eyes watching us as well -- that Musgrave is a designing man.
GERV. Pooh! He thinks of nothing but how to make money.
RAD. And are not our heads worth money? Then remember his situation as postmaster.
GERV. Why, surely, Father Radcliffe, you do not think he tampers with the letters.
RAD. I always think the worst of a man, upon principle. Since I made his acquaintance, I have not sent a letter through the post.
GERV. Nor I, after your caution.
RAD. Unfortunately, you sent several before I gave it, and among them one containing the key to our cipher with our friends of the west here.
GERV. True; but Daw assures me Musgrave cannot even read.
RAT. He has a daughter who can.
GERV. Anne! Father, no foul suspicion must be coupled with that girl's name, even by you.
RAD. Well, well, they may be honest -- I have no objection -- only we must act as if they were rogues.
GERV. If I looked on my fellow-creatures as you do, I would not consent to live.
RAD. My son, I am a priest, and have watched by many death-beds; I am a confessor, and have absolved many impenitents. But listen to something that concerns the cause. The Duke of Cumberland -- the butcher William -- marched three days ago from Lichfield on a tour of inspection through the western counties. He lay last night, with four companies of Ligonier's dragoons, at Lancaster. He will be here to-day.
GERV. To-day, and our rendezvous is fixed for to-night.
RAD. The coincidence is fortunate. Should the Duke reach Ulverstone, we may surprise him. But now observe; this is a map of the western counties -- (unrolls map) -- it is marked.
GERV. Hush! Surely you would not discuss such matters here, where we are exposed to observation.
RAD. Take two rules from me, my son -- when you would be alone, seek a crowd; when you would plot in safety, choose the most public place. Bunglers only rely on solitude and closed doors.
GERV. I must bow to age and experience.
RAD. Humility is the first step on the ladder of wisdom. These red crosses denote the estates of our friends -- these black ones the holes of the Hanoverian rats. We must direct our movements so as to concentrate the strength of the first, and to separate and weaken the others. Here lie the Townleys, here is Standish, and thus ----
thee sees there is to be a good speculation done in coal all along the line of the Ribble, where I've set these black marks.
DAW. (aside). These (returns newspaper) Quakers are the worldliest souls. (Aloud) What, Mr. Fisher, when all loyal folks are thinking how to defend their homes and altars -- their aræ et foci -- from bare-legged highlanders and a bare-faced Pretender, not to speak of the pope and the devil, if I may be allowed to mention them, you are thinking only of coal mines and money-making?
RAD. Thee sees, John Daw, my business is with coal mines and money-making, and I leave the Pretender, the pope, and the devil, to thee that art at home in such company.
DAW. I take them all three, sir, for these are times to make politicians of babes and sucklings -- they've made one of me. Time was when I had no public anxiety but who should be consul or tribune in the next page of Livy; but now antiquity has lost the charm of novelty; my mind is unsettled to that degree with politics, that I shall soon find myself setting "God save King George" for a copyhead, and giving "Bad end to the Pope" as a subject for a theme. There now, with your talking politics, I forgot there are all the ciphering books to go over against the morning, and if I discuss public affairs any longer, I shan't know a vulgar fraction from a sum in simple addition. [Exit into house R. H.
RAD. The pragmatical old fool. Lend me your perspective, my son (Gervase gives him his telescope). Ha! the Goede Vrow's boat is not afloat yet. I have a word to say to Jansen; I will go down to the beach. Whilst I am away, remember (crosses to L.) we play our heads, and one rash move may lose the stakes. [Exit U. E. L. H.
GERV. (walking up and down). I was not meant for this. King James, God bless him, has not a truer servant. Set my enemy before me in a fair field, and I could fight for him. Bring me to the block, and I could die for him. But to be cooped up here, in a mean disguise, to speak lies, and live lies, to check every beat of the heart, every impulse of the brain, it may be priests' work, but it is not soldiers'. That step -- 'tis Anne.
MUS. Good even, William Hyde; on the look out, I warrant me.
ANNE. William Hyde looks well after the interest of his employer's father.
MUS. Stick to that, girl, stick to that -- 'tis a safe text. But to my mind, employers, like other men had best look to their own interest. I hate a servant's eye, Anne, and 'tis lucky I have thee to trust to, my lass, or I might be saddled in the office, as well as out of it, with a careless, light-headed, ne'er-do-well, like Ruth, yonder -- she's late again with the letters to-day.
GERV. You forget the distance across the sands, and the dangers of the road. The tide comes in as fast as a horse can gallop over the flat sands -- many a stout fellow has been caught and drowned that way; then there are quicksands that have ere now smothered Ulverstone men that thought they knew all the secrets of the shore; and would you blame a girl of twenty for taking a little time to pick her steps, with death on every side, in this cursed west-country fog.
MUS. Pshaw! She'd care little for either if it were a love tryst she had to think of instead of my delivery.
ANNE. (pleadingly). Father!
GERV. Ruth's a good girl and a diligent ----
MUS. Nay. I've nothing against the girl, she's well enough for an outlandish bit of flotsome as she is, tossed up like a drift of sea ware aback o'Chapel Island, when the Spanish galleon went ashore there -- You've heard me tell on't Anne?
ANNE. Yes, father, and how the beautiful dead mother was found with the living child tied upon her heart. Poor Ruth! (goes up stage R. H.)
MUS. Well, well, let her thank her stars that took her to a pious protestant country, instead of some benighted land of popery and abomination. But I've an account or two to settle against to-morrow. Wait for her, Anne, and rate her soundly for her laziness. [Exit into shop L. H.
GERV. I'm afraid, dear Anne, that gentle tongue is ill suited to such a task.
ANNE (comes down). Oh, but my father is not so rough as he seems (sighs). And if his heart seems set on money, 'tis for my sake. He wishes me to be better taught and higher placed in the world than he is. I wish he did not look so high for me. I should be happier.
GERV. I wish I could feel kindlier to him as he is your father. But something in him chills and repels me; there is an air of distrust about him, as if he had always some secret on his mind and felt that others suspected it.
ANNE (uneasily). Secret! Ah, you accuse my father of having a secret, and you have one yourself.
GERV. I, Anne! (With forced gaiety) I, a secret, ha, ha, ha!
ANNE. That is not a true laugh, William. You forget I have learnt to read your heart. You have a secret?
GERV. Yes, my love, for you!
ANNE. No, another! and not so pleasant a one, William, or else why your abstraction, your anxiety -- your mutterings to yourself, and then the times we live in -- there are plottings all round about us, and mysterious letters that come and go, with figures for words, and --
GERV. (fiercely). Anne Musgrave, how do you know all this.
ANNE (aside). Oh, Heavens! (With forced laughter) Ha, ha, ha! Nay and I have startled you?
GERV. But, Anne ----
ANNE. Hush! here comes Ruth.
ANNE. So, Ruth, you are here at last; 'tis near an hour past your time and my father is very angry. He bade me scold you, Ruth, and I must, you know, so please do try to be more punctual in future, that's a good girl: I know you do your best, and that it is a long and dangerous road from Cartmell here.
RUTH. You have seen me on the sands, William Hyde, and you know if I linger on my road!
GERV. That I'll swear you do not; you skim the flats like a sea-mew.
RUTH. I would not excuse myself to your father, Anne. But I love you, and blame from those I love comes harshly to me. There are so few I love -- I can count them from where I stand.
ANNE. I hope you are not hurt at my scolding, Ruth? Forgive me only this once, and I'll let father scold you himself next time.
GERV. Ha, ha! Ruth will scarce thank you for that.
RUTH. If I am late to-day, 'tis little wonder; for there is a mist from the sea, and the wind is dead on shore. The Leven was scarcely passable as I came.
ANNE. You should have called the carter to guide you over.
RUTH. He was not at his cottage; I called long and loud from Holker Gate.
ANNE. Pray Heaven, no poor soul may suffer for his neglect (crosses to L. H.). But bring in the letters, you had best not see my father. [Exit Anne into Post Office L. H.
RUTH. Good bye, William Hyde! (she turns to go.)
GERV. Stay, Ruth, any letter for me?
RUTH. Yes, William, there is one.
GERV. Ha! from Lancaster.
GERV. (aside). From Townley. Should there be any foundation for the father's suspicion of Musgrave -- Ruth, could you manage to give me that letter?
RUTH. 'Twill be delivered, William, by Mr. Musgrave.
GERV. No! before it gets into his hands.
RUTH. The bag is locked. Stay -- my knife!
GERV. No, no! 'twill get you into trouble (aside). Pshaw! what a fool I am to give weight to his fancy.
RUTH. I'll cut the bag if you ask me, William.
GERV. No, no!
RUTH. Then good bye! (going L. H.).
GERV. Stop, Ruth. Why you're not afraid of me that you are in such a hurry to get away. You forget we've been friends a long time.
RUTH. Ever since the first day you came here.
GERV. Let's see, that was some six months ago, just before Marmaduke Forster went to sea.
RUTH (wonderingly). Marmaduke Forster! Oh, yes!
GERV. And all that time none of the Ulverstone lads has ever given you anything -- not so much as a kiss, Ruth.
RUTH (trembling). You never asked me, William.
GERV. Oh, kisses are like schoolboys plums, worth nothing unless taken without asking. But I've a present for you to-day.
RUTH (clasping her hands). A present for me!
GERV. Yes, look here! (opens the packet given him by Jansen and displays handkerchief and Flemish lace cap).
RUTH. Oh beautiful, beautiful!
GERV. But you must promise to wear them for the giver's sake?
RUTH. Oh yes, yes!
GERV. Thus then (puts the handkerchief on her shoulders, the cap on her head). They become you rarely.
RUTH. Do they? I will run down to the beach when you are gone, and look at myself in a rock pool.
GERV. And now shall I tell you where they came from? From one who loves you dearly, Ruth.
RUTH. Perhaps I love him too, William.
GERV. Marmaduke Forster's heart will be light if you tell him so.
RUTH. Marmaduke Forster!
GERV. Yes -- 'tis his present.
RUTH (tearing off the handkerchief and cap and trampling on them). That for Duke Forster's present!
GERV. Ruth! Why whose did you think they were?
RUTH. No matter -- so that I know they are not yours.
GERV. Ruth! Ruth, I say!
POTTS. Here's news -- where's Mr. Daw! Real news -- call the billet master, call Mr. Musgrave, call everybody!
GERV. Hold thy bawling, man. What's to do?
DAW. Ay, what is it? Why doesn't somebody answer?
MUS. Silence, fools! Now then if there's a tongue in the place with brains behind it -- let that tongue speak.
POTTS. The description applies to me -- I'll speak -- there's two orderly dragoons just ridden into the King's Head, that is, it's the Duke's Head now since they cut the King's Head off.
DAW. Prithee, Sampson, refrain from such treasonable expressions.
POTTS. Their horses all in a lather -- excuse the professional term -- to say the great Duke of Cumberland is to be here directly from Lancaster, with four troops of horse, and they're to be billeted about for our protection against the marauding Highlanders, and to root out all rebels within twenty miles of Silverdale Nab.
MUS. Rare news, this. It's well I laid in a good stock of provisions at the market this morning. Any innkeeper or ale-house keeper, any of you in short who have soldiers billeted upon you, can come to my shop and buy what he wants -- at my prices (the crowd grumble). This it is to have a long-sighted man in the place.
DAW. He foresaw it. Ah! he does foresee everything. There's something supernatural about this Musgrave.
MUS. Did the two dragoons come by the sands?
POTTS. No, they took the long causeway over Tawtup, by Bouth and Penny-bridge; the Leven sands were dangerous, and one of them is a Furness lad, and knows the tricks o'th' tide.
RAD. And does thee know, Sampson Potts, if William Guelph, profanely called Duke of Cumberland, and his men of war, take the same road?
POTTS. They were to come by the sands, and should be at Holker Gate ere this.
RUTH. By the sands! Then heaven have mercy on their souls. (Murmurs.)
DAW. I have no doubt it will. But why?
RUTH. When I passed Holker Gate, a bare half hour ago, the tide was running in round Goborrow head like a mill race, and the mist gathering fast.
GERV. (aside to him). Father, you knew of this.
RUTH. Look seaward, you that know the sands, and say what their fate will be that try the Leven ford to-night, without a guide. (Murmurs.)
MUS. No guide in his senses would face that mist.
POTTS. What is to be done?
DAW. Endeavour to make them sensible of their danger by shouting. Where is a stentor -- a strong-lunged man?
MUS. Let none speak now that cannot speak to the purpose. Twenty pounds to the man who'll volunteer to guide the brave Duke of Cumberland!
GERV. Here, you Simon Scarsdale, you know every foot of the slack; or you, Stephen Wanley; I'll double the reward. What! Will no man stir? Then by heavens, Duke or no Duke, stranger as I am, I'll go myself.
RAD. (laying his hand on his arm, and under his breath). Stay, I command you. (Aside) That Duke is King James's most dangerous enemy.
MUS. 'Twere risking your life to no end; no stranger can help them now, nor no native neither.
RUTH. Yes; I can.
RUTH (with ardour). Yes! Ruth! I'm a woman, but I've a heart that makes a man of me, when fear turns yours to water.
GERV. You shall not go, Ruth; what will be our remorse that stay behind, if you be swallowed by these cruel sands; for my sake, stay.
RUTH. No, William (with a subdued enthusiasm) these are the moments to live and die for -- I must go; but I will come back. My life (looks at William) is worth more than I thought. (To the townspeople, in a firm voice) Friends, I carry my life in my hand -- will you obey me?
CROWD. Yes, yes. What can we do, Ruth?
RUTH (quickly and firmly). Keep two torches burning on Plumpton Nab; let two more be planted on the Leven Bank, so as to bring the torches on the nab on with the bank, and with the windmill above the town.
POTTS. We'll light them. Come. (They get torches.)
RUTH (to the girls, in a sweet and gentle voice. Music). Girls, here is a remembrance of me, should I make a false step on the sands this afternoon (they crowd round her; she gives pieces of her hair). And if my hot Spanish blood has offended you at times, say you saw it take me into peril for the credit of a town I wasn't born in. (Gervase tries to stop her). No! William Hyde -- once more, no! Manhood is no use here; a keen eye, and a light foot, and great experience, are what I must trust to.
Hark! They are firing. Poor souls, they have found out their danger. Good bye, all; God bless you, William.
GERV. Oh! father, father, if that brave girl comes back no more!
RAD. (coldly but emphatically). The king will enjoy his own again.
GERV. Soldiers, to die a dog's death -- soldiers whom I hoped to meet in a fair field! now Heaven forbid -- Heaven forbid!
RAD. (walking coolly and slowly to and fro). This William of Cumberland is not like Cope and the other Hanoverian generals. He has no great experience, but he has courage.
GERV. (halloing) What are they doing? pass the word, for Heaven's sake! let us know at least, what they are doing.
RAD. At Dettingen, had our Dutch allies but stood firm, he had defeated Marshal Saxe, the first captain of his age.
GERV. Ruth is out of sight now. She is lost in the mist -- oh!
RAD. It is strange, but I feel as if the fate of the kingdom turned upon this hour. The mist is very thick -- Heaven's will be done!
GERV. (runs to back of stage). Ah! the torches are fixed! (distant halloo) That is right, halloo lustily, let them hear if they can't see.
Run that rusty cannon down to the beach and answer them.
VOICES. We will, we will!
[Exeunt four Peasants, U. E. L.
GERV. Eh! yes. Father, she is up with them.
Ah, do you hear? they are forming in single column. She will save him (Gervase snatches a torch). I can't sculk here, and I won't for all the kings in christendom (dashes out). [Exit Gervase, U. E. L. H.
RAD. Madman! their lives are in Heaven's hands not yours.
Fiat voluntas tua! [Exit slowly.
POTTS. All saved, three cheers for Ruth Ravenscar.
DAW. Hold hard! Cheer her first -- loyalty forbids. Three cheers for the great Duke of Cumberland.
POTTS. Hats off, here comes His Royal Highness.
MUS. Your Royal Highness is right welcome to His Majesty's poor, but loyal town of Ulverstone.
DUKE. That's well, and now to reward our guide, whom, thanks to your cursed Cumberland fog, I've not seen yet. We owe him our lives; the guide to the front. (Stamps) Where is he?
MUS. Here, your Royal Highness, but 'tis no he? (brings Ruth forward.)
DUKE. A girl?
MUS. The quickest eye, the surest foot, and the stoutest heart in Ulverstone.
DUKE. By the Lord, she needed them all in that cursed mist. Your name, my girl.
RUTH. They call me Ruth Ravenscar.
DUKE. Foregad, a pretty black-browed wench. Eh, gentlemen? likelier to lead a man into a difficulty than out of one. Your hand, my brave lass! (Ruth gives it.) No more flutter in it than in my own, I like that -- and looks me in the face too -- I like that -- zounds! a man would say she has spoken to a king's son before to-day.
RUTH. You are the first, sir, and I am glad of it, for I shall think now, all kings' sons are as you are, bright, brave, and outspoken.
DUKE. Listen to the wench, Dormer, and you may learn how William of Cumberland would always be spoken to.
DOR. By the ladies, your Highness.
DUKE. Well, a pretty face does go some way with me, I believe. My brave girl, you have saved the lives of His Majesty's servants; I shall not forget it (takes out purse).
RUTH. No money, if it please you.
Mus. (aside). You born idiot!
DUKE. The devil! Well, if you won't take money, you'll not refuse this ring (he takes her hand, she lets him put the ring on her finger.) And whenever I see that ring, I shall not forget the good service of this day.
RUTH. Sir, I thank you, I care little for gold or jewels, but this will remind me, a brave gentleman calls himself my debtor.
[Curtseys with dignity, and exits, U. E. L.
DAW. Now it is my turn, I will meet him with a panegyric, after the manner of the ancients. (Bowing) Sir, when Scipio Africanus received the deputies from Carthage, that great general's first enquiry was ----
DUKE (roughly). Who's billet master, here?
DAW. I am, if it please your Royal Highness (bows).
DUKE. Are the billets ready?
DAW. Eh! Why -- the billets?
DUKE. Yes, are they ready? Speak out man, and don't gasp. (Stamps) Quick!
DAW. No, then, if it please your Royal Highness.
DUKE. It does not please my Royal Highness. The men fagged to death, and no billets. How's this? Dormer, did you write as I ordered, the day before yesterday?
DOR. I did, your Royal Highness.
MUS. So (aside), I must deposit the letter, or they may suspect (he slips into Daw's house).
DAW. I never received the letter, if it please your Royal Highness.
DUKE. Ha! The irregularity lies between you and the post then?
DAW. On the side of the post, your Royal Highness.
DUKE. Where is the Postmaster?
MUS. Here, your Royal Highness (bows).
DUKE. Well, sir. Can you explain this?
MUS. The letter arrived yesterday and was duly delivered.
DAW (reproachfully). Oh!
MUS. I delivered it with my own hand. Mr. Daw was not at home. I left it in the tankard which stands on the japan cabinet in your parlor, Mr. Daw (Daw gasps for breath).
DUKE (laughs). Thought he'd be sure to look into the tankard -- eh? Well, well, never look so panic-struck, man. I won't order the strappado this time. But you must make up for the neglect.
DAW. I'll have his Majesty's royal dragoons stabled -- that is housed, fed, and made comfortable, in an incredible short space of time, your Royal Highness. Potts, you'll stand by me in this struggle?
POTTS. Through fire and hot water, Mr. Daw.
[Exeunt Daw and Potts L. H.
DOR. The proclamation, your Highness?
DUKE. Well bethought, Dormer, fix it. Let's see, on the cross there, will do; but read it first to these ----
clodpates -- and now to supper, gentlemen.
DAW. Your Royal Highness will find as sumptuous a banquet preparing as the emergency permitted -- dapes inemptas, your Highness.
DUKE. Hang your latin, man. I shall do justice to it. [Exit with Officers L. H.
POTTS (to Daw). Couldn't you suggest to his Royal Highness the comfort of a clean shave, Mr. Daw, for my sake? I should so like to handle a royal nose.
DAW. It is not for me to suggest to royalty, Sampson Potts; but if he does want to be shaved -- and bled, I appoint you to that confidential situation (with a royal air).
DOR. Keep those gaping fools back ----
And now for two rational men to fix this paper, proclaiming a reward of £1,000, for the apprehension of Gervase Rokewode and James Radcliffe.
RAD. If we will serve thy turn, friend.
GERV. I would 'twere as easy to win the reward as to proclaim it.
MUS. £1,000 -- 'tis worth winning (he has been watching them intently -- aside). The quaker and that fisherman are always together -- not natural!
DOR. Now let those who can read -- read for those who can't.
RAD. (reads). "Whereas warrants have been issued for the apprehension of Sir Gervase Rokewode, of Hawkhurst, in the county of Lancaster, and James Radcliffe, a Popish recusant priest ----
That a reward of £1,000, will be paid to any person apprehending and lodging in one of His Majesty's gaols, or giving such information as may lead to the apprehension of the said Gervase Rokewode or the said James Radcliffe ---
DAW. God save King George!
DOR. Slit me those fellows' tongues, Stacey, if they open their mouths again.
DAW. We are dumb, Captain.
POTTS. Both of us.
DOR. (reads). "The said Rokewode is of good presence, five feet ten inches or thereabouts, used to wear a fair periwig, and is of sanguine complexion ----
DAW. The villain! I am dumb.
DOR. The said James Radcliffe, is five feet eight in height, thin and upright, of black visage and tonsured; goes often disguised and speaks all tongues."
DAW (violently). Oh! the brazen fa----
DOR. So remember, 'tis the king to serve and £1,000 to win. [Exit with Dragoons L.
RAD. And tho' I be not rich, I will add £10 of my own pocket to him that catcheth these sons of Belial.
DAW. To which magnanimous offer I append my modicum of five shillings, and schooling gratis to any offspring of the captor.
MUS. A word with you, Master Daw.
DAW. At your service, Master Musgrave.
MUS. We can spare you, Master Barber.
POTTS (retiring). Now that's rude (goes up R. H. U. E.).
MUS. Not here, in my house (going aside). I will watch those two. [Exeunt Musgrave and Daw L. H.
GERV. A price upon our heads, curse them -- are we dogs?
RAD. No, but they are rats -- be calm, it is a common occurrence.
MUS. (who has peeped very cautiously from his door). I suspect!
RAD. Patience a few hours longer.
MUS. (aside). But I shall know to-night.
GERV. (in a whisper). Bardsea Hole!
RAD. (in a whisper). At ten!
SCENE I. -- Panelled Parlour in Musgrave's House, (outer Door R. practicable). Window barred L. In centre the Old Fashioned Fire Place, with its heavy panelled ornamented oak carving; R. of Fire Place, and about nine feet from the ground, a Sliding Panel. A Door in Flat R. practicable.
ANNE. Shame of this setting, a price on human heads! What is there in money that reconciles to all baseness, stifles all scruples, overgilds all infamy? A father has taught me money can do all this; and I, to conceal his shame, must share the wickedness to which thirst of gain has warped his sturdy nature. Am I right or wrong? Heaven is my witness, I hate the things I must do and see done. I dread every night that comes -- for it brings a deeper shame -- and when I so long to be pure and true, that I may the more deserve William's love, I shrink often from his eye, lest he should read guilty fear in my face. Oh, mother! -- mother! -- 'twaa this secret shame that brought you early to the grave.
MUS. (aside to Anne). See all ready for the night's work up stairs.
DAW. (aside). What a very ill-looking fellow Musgrave is!
MUS. William Hyde is your tenant, Master Daw.
DAW. He is; quite a copyhead for regularity in his rent.
MUS. And this man you call Fisher, is his guest?
DAW. For a consideration. His lodger, in fact.
MUS. I have a curiosity about them, Mr. Daw.
DAW. Well, I confess I've had my curiosity too; but I did not think it polite to gratify it.
MUS. Mine must be gratified, polite or not. Now mark me, Mr. Daw, you are anxious to be thought a loyal subject of King George.
DAW (singing). God save our noble king. Long live----
MUS. If you would prove your loyalty by something more to the purpose than singing out of tune, watch William Hyde and this guest of his.
DAW. Good gracious, Mr. Musgrave! But what am I to watch for?
MUS. To see if they receive strange visitors at unusual hours -- if they are absent on mysterious errands; in short, act the spy upon them, as squeamish people call it, and bring me all you pick up. It may make you a richer man in an hour, than your school would in a lifetime.
DAW. But really a task so uncongenial to the feelings of an instructor of youth; though to be sure his punctuality in paying his rent is mighty suspicious.
ANNE. All is ready, father.
MUS. That's well. So good night, Mr. Daw, and remember, watch!
DAW. That I certainly will (going), and if I don't put this and that together --
MUS. No, give me your "this" and "that," and I'll put them together for myself.
[He shows Daw out R. H. D. 2 E.
MUS. Anne, see all barred and bolted here, and be ready to come up stairs when I call you.
ANNE (imploringly). Not to-night, father.
MUS. What! Whimpering again? Must I call in a stranger to help me? Would you prefer that?
ANNE. No -- no. I will come, father.
MUS. That's right, a dutiful daughter makes an indulgent father. I love you, girl, after my fashion. But mark, I am prepared for treachery, even from you. Look! (opens outer door R. H. and shows her a strong bolt outsider) this bolt can make a prisoner, if need be, of my own flesh and blood.
[Exit Musgrave up stairs D. F. R. H.
ANNE. Oh, my heart will break under this shame. (A light knock R. H. door.) Who's there?
RUTH. 'Tis only me, Ruth.
ANNE. It is late for a visit, Ruth.
RUTH. I want to speak to you.
ANNE. Not now -- not now, my father will be angry.
RUTH. As you will (carelessly). It was about William Hyde (going).
ANNE (after a pause). You may as well stay a few minutes, dear, now you are here.
RUTH. Anne, they say your father knows everything before other folks in the town. How does he come by his knowledge?
ANNE (looking down). Oh, my father is a discerning man. Ruth, that is not what you came to ask me!
RUTH. You know old Mr. Fisher, William Hyde's friend?
RUTH. He has complained more than once of delays in his letters. Then a letter came for William Hyde on Wednesday, -- he did not receive it till Friday.
ANNE (embarrassed). I -- I am very sorry.
RUTH. How comes this about?
ANNE. William said nothing to me about it.
RUTH. To you? No; but he did to me.
ANNE. To you? Oh, yes; you bring the letters. Tell William Hyde it shall never happen again if I can help it. (Musgrave opens panel in flat.) Hush! my father! (Anne blows out the light.)
MUS. Come, girl, why are you loitering? All is ready; bring up the letters. (He shuts panel.)
RUTH (aside). The letters!
ANNE (in an under tone). Good night, Ruth. You can find the door -- I'll lock it after you.
RUTH. Ha! (She goes to door, opens it, and closes it loudly, crouching down near it so that Anne does not see her. Anne locks the door.)
ANNE. Now for my nightly task of fraud and wrong.
RUTH. Fraud and wrong, she said. I have done well to play the spy. Yes, there's ill work goes on in this house, I'm sure of it, -- a light is burning every night in the old man's room, long after all the neighbours are a-bed. Why did he call for the letters? Why was Anne vexed at my coming so late? William suspects something. He is always anxious about letters. He can hide nothing from my eyes. He has secrets; they may be dangerous. If father and daughter here should he his enemies, then they are mine. Yes; I will find out. This staircase leads to the old man's room. (She goes and tries door) locked inside! Folks do not bolt and bar so on honest doings.
ANNE. Father! (without.)
MUS. (Without). Do my bidding.
RUTH. Hark! I hear their voices (sees a glimmer through panel). The sound comes through that panel (gropes toward wall). Could I but reach it. Ha, rough wood work. -- I've climbed the cliffs, where 'twas higher than this, and with less hold for hand or foot. Should they open the panel and discover me! -- Well, at the worst, I've an old friend here -- (takes out knife which she places between her teeth and begins to climb, as she gets within arm's length of the panel she sticks her knife warily in the interstice of the panel, and using it as a handhold puts her ear to the panel).
MUS. What say you?
RUTH. Ha! William Hyde's name! (pause during which she listens intently.) Treachery!!
SCENE II. -- Interior of Upper Room in Musgrave's House. Antique furniture. A window practicable L. out of which in the moonlight are seen the branches of a tree. At a heavy table Anne and Musgrave are seated. A brazier with lighted charcoal is between them, in which is heating a brunt-headed iron; some kneaded bread by Musgrave's side, with which Anne is taking impressions of the seals, while Musgrave softens the wax, by holding the heater near it. The letter bag is open on the table with letters strewed about.
MUS. Come, be quick, girl! have you done the seals yet?
ANNE. Here is the last, father.
MUS. So, give me the letters. Here are those I've opened (pushes letters over to her, and busies himself opening that she has given him, Anne sighs). Nay, I know you do not like the work; no more did your mother at first, but she got used to it and so will you.
ANNE. Father, it killed her, and it will kill me.
MUS. (sternly and pausing). She knew that 'twas for her and for you I did it, that you might lie softer and fare better. Oh, had I been taught as I have taught you, I had not needed help of either wife or daughter.
ANNE. Would to God, father, you had let me grow up as unable to read as you are yourself.
MUS. Ah, reproach me with my ignorance -- do, 'tis dutifully done.
ANNE. No, no, father; I know the chain is about me fast. We must keep our shame within our own doors: How long is it to last?
MUS. Till I am rich, girl, and till money has given me what only money can give -- power. Till Richard Musgrave's daughter is a lady and flaunts it among the best, with a gallant gentleman for a husband. That's how long it must last, and now waste no more time. Read! (composes himself to listen.)
ANNE (reads). "To John Ewbank, Cattle Dealer and Factor, Ulverstone" (Musgrave nods). "I am advised from the North; that the Scottish droves are delayed by reason of the rebellion; so buy at Kendal fair to the amount of £400, and transmit bills to me at Newcastle. I enclose bank bill for £40 as due on our account, of which acknowledge receipt. -- Your servant, -- Thomas Murdoch."
MUS. So, to-morrow's market day. Let that letter lie on one side for two days, for I must be at Kendal Mart before Master Ewbank. Ha, ha! Who'd think out of this dirty bit of paper would come a good £80 into my pocket.
ANNE. But the bank bill, father?
MUS. Seal it up again, girl! Why you don't suppose I would be guilty of stealing?
ANNE. Oh! can you not see that these breaches of trust are as heavy a sin?
MUS. Don't argue, girl. Lovel's letter to his mother -- Now!
ANNE. Oh, father, do not ask me to read that. 'Tis like looking into the poor fellow's heart.
MUS. As he is in Edinburgh, I thought there might be some news of the rebels in't; but if it's all filial tenderness, and so forth, I care not to hear it. Put it by, and now for the last!
ANNE. To William Hyde! (Aside) To him!
MUS. (eagerly). William Hyde! Read, girl, read!
ANNE. Nay, why read this? A letter to a mere fisherman -- what can there be in that, father?
MUS. More than you think for, girl; or I have neither eyes, nor brains -- read it!
ANNE. But I am so tired, father; my eyes are heavy.
MUS. Read it, I say!
ANNE (opens it with reluctance, then with eagerness). Ah, see father, it is a blank.
MUS. A blank! Then it is as I thought.
MUS. Here, girl! (he takes the letter and holds it to the fire in the brazier.)
ANNE. See! letters become visible.
MUS. A stale trick; 'tis done with lemon juice, or milk, when folks would keep what they write for those who are in their secret. Politicians correspond so, Anne, and rebels.
ANNE. But William Hyde is neither, father.
MUS. Of course not. Now then!
ANNE (aside). Thank Heaven, 'tis all about his calling.
MUS. Read! (Aside) I have learnt the key to their cipher, which I had copied from the priest's letter.
ANNE (reads). "Dear Will, we have thine advices, and shall be at Lancaster Fair; all the smart fellows ----
MUS. (to himself). Ah! Bardsea Hole -- all the Jacobite gentlemen -- good.
ANNE (reads). "By the time the grilse come ashore --
MUS. (to himself). Grilse? -- ammunition. Go on.
ANNE (reads). "Which shall be as you fix, on Tuesday the 16th, at ten of the clock, P.M. There is a bill against you and the old clothier, payable at Ulverstone to-day, drawn by the Butcher. Look out and see that he does not nab either of you ----
MUS. (aside). The proclamation!
ANNE (reads). "For your friends assembled -- John Trusty."
MUS. From Townley! It is as I suspected (he starts up).
MUS. I'm a made man, Anne; give me joy -- joy!
ANNE. I do not understand. (Ruth appears at panel.)
MUS. This paper tells me that our William Hyde, and his friend Fisher, are none other than the Sir Gervase Rokewode and Father Radcliffe, on whose heads a price of £1000 is set -- that they meet their Jacobite accomplices at Bardsea Hole to-night (Ruth's face expresses intense eager attention). Hark! (ten strikes) at this very time they should be there. Quick, my hat, girl!
ANNE. Where are you going, father?
MUS. To the Duke, he lies at the Duke's Head. Oh, 'twill be a glorious haul and a good service done the state too. Buss me, Anne.
ANNE (shuddering). Oh! (he kisses her. She shrinks.)
MUS. I'll guide the soldiers to Bardsea Hole myself. So gather up all this gear (pointing to table). Don't stir out till I return. (Aside) I'll take care she does not. Before a month the £1000 will be in my pocket, and Gervase Rokewode's head on Temple Bar!
ANNE (looks up startled). Ruth, you here?
RUTH (points to the open panel). I have overheard all.
ANNE (points downward). Speak low.
RUTH (her knife in her hand). So between you both, you would murder him.
ANNE. I! Oh Ruth, you terrify me (cowers).
RUTH. Yes; you and your father.
ANNE. I who would give my life for his. I murder him, Ruth! I love him!!
RUTH (drops her knife). You love him?
ANNE. With all my soul (pause, turns suddenly on Ruth and reads her face). Ah! you love him!!
RUTH. With every drop of my blood!!
ANNE. How dare you come between me and my lover?
RUTH. Your lover? he is mine! from the first day he came here he has been dear to me.
ANNE. To you? (pause.) Oh Ruth, if you love -- help me to save him.
RUTH. Help you to save him? Be assured I will save him without your help! He owes his danger to you -- he shall owe his life to me.
RUTH (listening). Hark! The old man's step! He closes the outer door, he locks it, are we prisoners?
ANNE. No. I have another key (she shows it).
RUTH. Quick! (she is going towards door.) Hark! (laying her hand on her arm, a loud sound is heard) What is that noise?
ANNE. He has shot the outer bolt -- lost, lost!
RUTH. This window?
ANNE. 'Tis twenty feet from the ground! Heaven have mercy on us, who can save him now? (she sinks into chair.)
RUTH (springing upon the window-sill). THE WOMAN WHO LOVES HIM BEST!!!
END OF ACT II.
SCENE I. -- Exterior of the back part of Musgrave's House. A door L. H. The lower windows barred. A light in the upper window, near to which grows a tree.
DAW. Master Musgrave's words have banished sleep from my pillow. "Daw," says he, "watch Mr. Fisher." Item -- Daw, watch William Hyde -- he's put my mind in such a ferment, I'm watching all creation! But the drollest thing is, he suspects everybody so much, he has made me suspect him. (Sharply) What's the meaning of that light in his room at this time of night? Hallo! another light in the distance. 'Tis in William Hyde's cottage, I declare; I must postpone Musgrave, and attend to Hyde! (going R. H.)
(Aside) Eh, Musgrave, and muttering. Stop! I may hear something.
MUS. (bolting door on the outside). So, -- "safe bind, safe find," as that fool Daw would say.
[Exit Musgrave L. H.
DAW. I have heard something! That fool Daw! Why, I'm the only Daw in the place! He must have meant me! Capital! Some people would be annoyed at the epithet, -- I am amused, -- I am tickled. "That fool Daw!" Delicious! That ignorant dunce, who knows nothing but how to make his fortune calls me a "fool." But I'll watch you, you old scoundrel, and if I catch you tripping (going). Hallo! (Ruth appears at window.)
RUTH. By this tree I can reach the ground (climbs down by tree).
DAW (aside). Good gracious! a woman! coming down the tree from his room. Oh! the old rogue! Why didn't I bring Sampson Potts. I postpone both Musgrave and Hyde. This is more interesting.
RUTH (who has reached the ground). Firm foot, stout heart, and before he can raise the dragoons, I will be at Bardsea Hole.
[Exit L. H.
DAW. Bardsea Hole. She has got a tryst at Bardsea Hole; and sooner than break that, she'll break her neck. I'll follow her. Eh, what's that?
ANNE (at lower window). Ruth -- she is gone -- how to get out. Ha! with father's gaff I can reach the bolt (she gets gaff, puts it through the window-bars, and reaches the bolt, which she draws back).
DAW. Events multiply! Somebody breaking into the house from the inside. Everything is turned topsy-turvy to-night, burglary included.
ANNE. Now to replace the bolt, and father will suspect nothing (looking off, L. H.). Ruth takes the road to Bardsea Hole. I do not know the cliffs, and she will save him. What matter who saves him, so he be but saved. Ha! a light in William's cottage, perhaps he has not yet gone to the beach. To the cottage; and so by one of us at least his life will be secured. [Exit R. 2 E.
DAW (in agitation). Oh, why didn't I bring Sampson Potts, and a boy, and then I might have followed all three! What's to be done? I am torn this way, and that way, and the other way. Ruth after somebody at Bardsea Hole, Anne after somebody else in Hyde's cottage. Musgrave after the deuce knows what, the deuce knows where. Whom shall I follow? If I follow Ruth I shall break my neck; if I follow Musgrave, he'll break my head; if I follow Anne, I can catch William Hyde too. Yes, two birds in hand are worth one in the bush. So here goes after Anne Musgrave. [Exit in great excitement.
SCENE II. -- Interior of Gervase's Cottage. Fishing nets and fishing gear on the walls. A table with drawers, on which are maps and papers. Two rough seats L. Window C. with shutters. Doors L. 3 E. Gervase and Radcliffe discovered.
RAD. 87 -- 42 -- 50.
GERV. (pausing in his walk). What! when we are about to fling the mask from our faces, the scabbards from our swords; you can sit coolly there, and marshal figures upon paper.
RAD. These figures are pikes and bayonets, if we wait the proper moment.
GERV. Ay, wait, -- wait, -- always wait! So they said in France to our noble Charles Edward. He refused to wait. He landed with seven men in Moidart, and now he has won Holy Rood, and will win St. James's.
RAD. He had better have waited.
GERV. You are a priest, father, and a priest has never a soldier's heart. Oh, if you knew what it is to stand out in the sunlight, and stake all upon the sword, as our Scottish brethren are doing. The ranks move towards each other like two thunder clouds. Every cheek pale, every brow bent, every eye bright. The next moment the trumpets peal along the line, and amidst smoke and dust, and the great music of drum and cannon, man and horse and steel clash together in the grapple for death or glory.
RAD. (coldly). My son, men are great not by the means they employ, but by the end they achieve. The King plays not for standards, wounds, and glory, but for the English Throne. And I aim higher still. What is Guelph or Stewart to me? I fight for the true faith, and for my immortal order, the right arm of the faith. You are proud to conquer men's bodies; we subjugate their wills. We are greater than warriors, for our victories are eternal.
GERV. And this it is makes you so passionless. Life with you is the pursuit of an idea. My heart beats in tune with flesh and blood. I see the Royal Stewart great by descent, glorious by courage, noble by calamity: I draw my sword for this man, who is a king, -- for this king, who is a man. If we conquer my sovereign's breath will make me noble, and she I love will be noble too. Ah, there again, you cannot understand me, man, without passions, -- stony fragment of a system who never fought, or wept, or loved.
RAD. (sternly). Boy, can you read a heart through that mask men call a face? When Father Radcliffe dies, a saint or a traitor, according to his success or failure, few will know that in him went to the grave a soldier who had fought.
RAD. A man who had loved.
GERV. Have you loved?
RAD. Juanita! he asks me did I love thee?
GERV. (lays his hand timidly on his shoulder). Father!
RAD. Listen. I am no seminary bred shaveling. In my youth I was a soldier. While serving under the Duke of Berwick, at the sack of Saint Sebastian, our men escaladed a convent. I rescued one of its nuns from their brutality. Oh! how beautiful she was: in her innocence fit to be the bride of heaven! We met again, and again; and before we had left the city, an earthly passion had marred her eternal vows. Oh, culpa mea, culpa mea! (he beats his breast) I laughed at holiness -- I scoffed at Heaven -- I bore her from her cell, about to become a mother. The vengeance of the Inquisition tracked us. There was no shelter from it in Spain. At Alicant I succeeded in embarking mother and child in a ship bound for England. It sailed -- I followed -- I landed at Bristol. Their vessel had never come to port. I waited a week -- two weeks -- a month. Then I roamed along the coast for months, and months -- Silent, silent -- The sea would not confess what it had done -- silent, all was silent (he wears a look of cold despair).
GERV. Father, forgive me, let me take your hand.
RAD. Take it, but do not mock with consolation unfathomable sorrow. My life had been a stormy day; it turned to a cold, joyless, starless night. The Church opened its bosom; I joined the order of Jesus.
GERV. And religion brought you comfort?
RAD. (coldly and solemnly). Gervase Rokewode, two things are real -- the rest, glory, kingdoms, life, and death, are shadows -- those two are Love, that decays not; Faith, that binds us to Heaven. Love was my sun -- it is eclipsed. The Church is my star -- she shines for ever; but she shines in the night of the heart. Think of James Radcliffe as of a dead man, who moves and plots among the living, but cares for nothing now but the Eternal Church (turns up the hour glass with a cold passive air). See, the sand is run out; our friends wait for us. I must put on a fisherman's dress: 'tis laid for me at Skinner's hut.
GERV. Shall I go with you?
RAD. No, stay and conceal these papers; I will return anon; I would be a little while alone with the past. [Exit L. H.
GERV. Who would have thought this! The French king's mysterious prisoner is not the only man with an iron mask. Yonder goes another, whose gaoler is himself; his prison the wide world. Now to secure these papers. (A tap is heard at the window C. in flat). Hark! (It is repeated; Gervase hastily puts the papers in the drawer, which he closes, he then opens the window; Anne Musgrave appears at it; a ray of moonlight falls upon her face.) Anne! at this hour.
ANNE. Let me in, William! Quick, it is on matter of life and death.
GERV. Anne! Dearest! (Anne bursts into tears.) What means this agitation -- why are you here?
ANNE. William, you do not love me.
GERV. Not love you!
ANNE. No; or you would trust me.
GERV. I would trust you with my life.
ANNE. No; for you have not trusted me with your secret.
GERV. (uneasy). Men's secrets are not their own, Anne. Ask anything I can give with honour and regard to others, and see if I'll refuse you.
ANNE. I am not here to reproach you, William, but to save you.
GERV. To save me!
ANNE. Yes. Do not leave the cottage to-night but with me, and under my guidance.
GERV. Anne, what you ask is impossible; what is the motive of this strange request?
ANNE. Your life is in danger.
GERV. In danger? nonsense -- William Hyde has no enemies.
ANNE. But Sir Gervase Rokewode has!
GERV. (pause). Ha! how do you know that name?
ANNE. Knowing that, think I must needs know more.
GERV. (aside). Betrayed!
ANNE. Oh, William! Oh, sir! for the love of Heaven, for my love, do not waste time in idle questions -- you see me here in your house at this hour -- you know the errand that should take you out to-night. Ask me not how I know it -- I too have my secrets, sad, bitter secrets. I stifle them in my heart, because I love you, and would not have your contempt; you conceal yours because you do not love me enough to trust me.
GERV. These secrets could only have been obtained by fraud (turns away).
ANNE. Oh, William! do not speak so and look so, but come with me, come!
GERV. How do I know I can with safety? The treachery that forces a secret might betray a life. What if I deny the name you gave me just now?
ANNE. Must I tell you more? There is a meeting of Jacobite gentlemen at Bardsea Hole to-night, and you are waited for; if you go you will be arrested. Now, Gervase Rokewode, do you see that I must be trusted. Come with me; I will place you where there is no chance of discovery; 'tis but for a few hours. At the fall of the tide you can take my father's boat and pull off to the lugger in the offing; all this will be known to none but me.
GERV. Remember, in doing this, Anne, I place my life in your hands, and in yours only.
ANNE. Yes; if there be treachery in this, I take it upon myself.
GERV. Anne, forgive my doubts; I will trust you -- (he gives her his hand). First, I must burn these papers (he takes papers from drawer and throws them in fire R. H.).
ANNE. Come, or it will be too late. (Music.)
DAW. Just in time -- here's a discovery! What's this? (reads.) "List of loyal gentlemen, Lancashire, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Townley -- 400 men; Standish 80 men; Fenwick Hall, Cheetham." Oh, this is worth any amount of money, and here (reads) "Route his most Sacred Majesty's army from Scotland to London."
Oh, I shall probably be knighted; I'm the most fortunate of pedagogues; I'm a hap--py -- hap-- (raises his head after pocketing the papers and sees Radcliffe who is looking fixedly at him L. H.)
RAD. (very calmly). How long have you been here?
DAW. A few mo--ments mere--ly.
RAD. What brought you?
DAW. I came to -- to -- to bring Mr. Hyde a receipt for his rent.
RAD. How did you get in?
DAW. Finding the door locked, I took the li--ber--ty as a land--lord -- and an old friend -- of stepping in by the window.
RAD. Where is William Hyde?
DAW. He had -- stepped out -- before I -- stepped in.
RAD. Those papers?
DAw. Which pa--pers?
RAD. Those you were reading just now.
DAW. Eh? Was I read--ing? It must have been -- absence of mind (takes out papers and gives them to Radcliffe).
RAD. No one accompanied you here?
DAW. No one, positively.
RAD. No one knows of your coming?
DAW. Not a soul.
RAD. (quietly). Say such prayers as you can think of in five minutes (draws out pistol).
DAW. Eh, prayers. I can't think of anything, while you -- look so -- much less prayers.
RAD. If you prefer to die without them, be it so (cocking pistol).
DAW. To die!
RAD. (reflecting). And yet, poor meddling fool, is it necessary?
DAW. Not in the least.
RAD. I will give you an alternative.
DAW. Thank you -- thank you -- thank you.
RAD. You must choose one of two things, to die, or --
DAW. I choose the other.
RAD. To accompany me as a prisoner.
DAW. I'll accompany you anywhere, sir, with the greatest pleasure -- under the circumstances.
RAD. Look at me: well, do you know me?
DAW. I have not that advantage.
RAD. Now listen: you see this pistol and that candle (he fires and snuffs candle out).
DAW. (Trembling.) Extra--or--di--nary skill!
RAD. Now walk before me to Bardsea Hole.
DAW. With pleasure.
RAD. I shall be twenty paces in your rear with this pistol; we may meet people -- the least motion towards escape -- the least sound of alarm, and its contents are in your brain. You must walk in an easy and unembarrassed manner.
DAW. I'll try.
RAD. Should any one accost you, you will answer in an unconcerned tone.
DAW. As unconcerned as possible under the circumstances.
RAD. Now go. (Daw is going R.) Not that way.
DAW. Oh! (Totters towards L. D.)
RAD. Observe me; we may meet people; your present manner would excite suspicion, you must walk with an easy, careless air.
DAW. V--very well, sir (wheels round and totters).
RAD. (cocks pistol).
DAW. Ugh! (attempts to button his coat.)
SCENE III. -- Bardsea Hole. Caverns opening on to the sea coast. The tide is up, a boat lies on shore. Jansen discovered L. H.
JAN. 'Tis goot, the arms and the powder are landed, and now I may give the signal for the gentlemen. (Whistles, it is answered R. H.) Dat is goot, here come de gentlemen.
TOWN. Captain, plant your men along the cliff, we must not be surprised.
JAN. It's goot.
HALL. Are the powder and arms all safe ashore?
JAN. High and try. I'll go down to the boat and zleep, while you veenish your talks. [Exit R. U. E.
TOWN. Wasn't that ten struck as we put off from the lugger? How cold it is.
STAN. Curse this sea fret, my sword hilt is all rusted.
FEN. Unless the towns rise, we are playing at fearful odds.
TOWN. Manchester is for us.
STAN. Pooh, what is Manchester? A handful of fustian weavers. Wade is in force at Newcastle; Liverpool is against us, and so are Derby and Nottingham. The Butcher's main force lies at Lichfield. Gloucester and Bristol have raised their train-bands.
TOWN. The country is strangely indifferent.
STAN. Where are the father and Gervase? Have they been scared. by the proclamation and the Butcher's dragoons?
HALL. If it be so, the wisest thing we can do, is to follow their example.
FEN. And go back to a sea-coal fire and a bottle of burnt claret, at the Duke's Head.
TOWN. Gentlemen, methinks the cold has got into your hearts as well as your weasands.
TOWN. We were all so mighty valorous in the talking.
FEN. Mr. Townley, I do not understand this heat.
TOWN. Better than I understand your sudden chill, Sir John Fenwick.
FEN. I carry an interpreter here, Mr. Townley (touching his sword hilt).
TOWN. Nay, Frank Townley can give a lesson in that language, but never take one.
STAN. HALL. Townley! Fenwick! Gentlemen!
HALL. Hold! a stranger! Are we betrayed?
DAW. No, no, prithee don't. I must go on.
HALL. Who are you?
DAW. There's a gentleman twenty paces behind who'll explain. Oh, pray!
ALL. Father Radcliffe!
RAD. Pardon this unclerical garb; but as loyalty now-a-days is contraband, I am dressed for my occupation.
TOWN. But who is this pitiful looking rogue?
RAD. A meddling schoolmaster of Ulverstone, whom I caught rummaging Gervase's papers. I was minded to silence him with a bullet; but after all, he is more fool than knave, so I brought him along to have your judgment as to the disposing of him.
HALL. Shoot him out of hand.
RAD. You are a practical man, Mr. Hall.
STAN. Suppose we ascertain how much the knave knows first?
RAD. Listen, and summon up what few wits terror has left thee. What do you know of the contents of these papers?
DAW. Oh, gentlemen; my mind is a tabula rasa -- a clean copy-book; my memory is naturally treacherous.
HALL. Like thyself.
DAW. Exactly, Sir, as you say; and under the influence of agitation, it is positively a tub of the Danaïdes -- whatever's put in, runs out again immediately.
RAD. Well, gentlemen, what say you?
HALL. What are we to do with him if we don't shoot him?
DAW. Anything, gentlemen, anything in life I mean (trembling). I shall give no trouble, I assure you.
STAN. Suppose we headed the rogue up in a cask, and shipped him for Ushant in charge of our friend Captain Jansen (beckons Jensen out of boat).
ALL. Yes! yes!
DAW. You will give me an hour to make the necessary preparations.
HALL. Away with the rogue!
DAW (hanging back). To make my will -- to pack up a little linen -- to give the boys a holiday -- to --
HALL. Tie his hands and legs, fling him into yon corner, put the sail over him, that he may not overhear. So! (Daw is disposed of by Jansen, tied hand and foot, and the sail flung over him).
TOWN. Where is Gervase?
RAD. I expected to find him here; doubtless he hath strayed among the rocks and will be here soon. He knows my plans, so to the business in hand ----
FEN. Which bids fair to be a sorry business for all of us, father. The militia is embodied for the Elector.
STAN. The country is as cold as a last year's Yule log.
FEN. There is no movement on the part of France.
STAN. The Prince lingers at Holy Rood.
FEN. Before we rise, in short, we should know that it is with some hope our march may end at St. James's instead of Tower Hill!
RAD. (smiling). What! All at once, gentlemen? Patience, patience; the militia is embodied, you say, Sir John Fenwick; yes, on paper, but in no one county in England are there five hundred militiamen on foot. (Turns to Standish) The country cold! Yes, to the Elector of Hanover, whose corrupt ministers have sickened the people by their excise laws, -- their bubble schemes -- their subsidizing of foreign powers -- their enlisting of Hanoverian and Hessian mercenaries. (Turns to Fenwick) No movement on the part of Prance? -- a fleet is assembled at Dunkirk ready to fling an army on the Sussex or Kentish coast, under Prince Henry, the moment the Royal Standard waves on the walls of Carlisle. The Prince lingers at Holy Rood? -- that he may swell his force with the flower of the Highland clans, and the strength of the Lowland lairds who are flocking to him daily. And yet you, the gentlemen of the West, you the followers of the Holy Church, one and indivisible, you the sons of the men, who, thirty years ago cried "God save King James!" with their last breath from the scaffold on Tower Hill, you crouch, and shake, and despair of a cause, that patriotism sanctions, Holy Church approves, and your fathers' blood avouches. (During the delivery of this speech, which is spoken with great rapidity and energy, rising artfully to climax, the gentlemen have gradually warmed, following the speaker with gesture and expression. At the conclusion) --
ALL. No, no!
RAD. Forgive me, I do you wrong. I read it in your eyes and in your swords -- swords that were never drawn but in a noble cause, never sheathed while their wearers had a hand to wield them on an enemy's body to serve as their scabbard.
ALL. Never! never!
RAD. I have not misread the history of the West, or the faces of its noblest gentlemen. I see written in both, in characters of fire, "Fear God, Honour the King." (All draw.)
ALL. We will, we do!
RAD. In the name of our Holy Church I bless these swords, the first to leap forth in this hallowed cause.
ALL. God save King James! (A shot is heard without.)
TOWN. 'Tis an alarm.
RAD. Ruth Ravenscar! What do you here?
RUTH. (exhausted). Gervase Rokewode!
RAD. What of him? He is not here!
RUTH. Thank God! but you -- fly, you are betrayed. The soldiers! they are hard behind.
TOWN. To your defence, gentlemen -- we will sell our lives dearly.
RAD. No, keep your courage for a better time. To the boat! to the boat! (He flies to the entrance of the cavern.) (A shot is fired.)
JAN. (appears bleeding). Dis too late -- we are surrounded.
RAD. Cut a way through them. (Ruth conceals herself.)
DUKE. So, Mr. Townley -- so, Sir John -- gentlemen all, -- sorry to find you thus.
MUS. (who has been eagerly looking through the prisoners). Neither of them here! Curse it, they cannot have escaped.
DOR. See, a boat puts off from yonder creek -- shall we fire upon them?
DUKE. Eh! they are but smugglers -- no, no, never mind them (looks at prisoners). 'Tis not ill done, but you promised us still better game, sir (to Musgrave).
MUS. And I will keep my word if your Highness will give me a file of men. Rokewode and the priest must have been delayed: we shall find them up at his cottage.
DUKE. Take the men, sir. I will see these gentlemen bestowed.
MUS. These are but the vipers' eggs. I will bring you the vipers. [Exit L. U. R.
DAW. (putting his head from under the sail). I don't think he will, may it please your Royal Highness.
DUKE. Eh! Why 'tis that old fool the billet-master.
DAW. That's the second time to-night. Perhaps if I conduct the soldiers to Gervase Rokewode's hiding-place, while Mr. Musgrave is engaged in not finding him, your Royal Highness will condescend to withdraw the expression "old fool?"
DUKE. I give you my royal word for it -- but how came you here?
DAW. I was propelled by an anticipated bullet; if one of those gentlemen dragoons will have the kindness to untie my legs and my arms, I will do my best to unkennel those pestilent Jacobites mentioned in the proclamation. Not that I care for the reward, no! I am impelled by unselfish and genuine patriotism.
DUKE. You shall have the money, sir (to Dormer). Take two file and accompany this gentleman; on his slightest signal, or least motion towards escape, cleave him to the chine.
DAW. Oh! certainly, nothing can be more reasonable.
RUTH. By the short cut over the cliff, I may save him yet.
SCENE IV. -- The Parlour in Musgrave's House, as in the second Scene of the second Act.
ANNE. Now you rebolt the door and climb into the upper window by the tree, you will find a light still burning. Now all is as my father left it, he will suspect nothing -- my room shall be his present security, and for the rest love help me to the end.
GERV. The bolt is replaced, your father will suspect nothing. But this hiding-place, Anne?
ANNE. It is here!
GERV. Your father's house, the hottest Hanoverian in the town!
ANNE. And therefore the least likely to be suspected of harbouring a rebel. Forgive me the word, I would fain unlearn it now.
GERV. Call me what you will, no name sounds harsh from your lips. But where am I to hide?
ANNE. Here, William (opens a door), in my chamber. You hesitated to place your life in my hands. I put my fair fame in yours.
GERV. Anne! I will live to repay this devotion (goes in L. H.).
ANNE. Ok! mother, mother, if you can hear me, let this atone for my enforced share in my father's evil doing. Footsteps! my father, and not alone! (goes and looks out with lamp.) Oh! mercy, soldiers with him!
Mus. Take these honest fellows to the kitchen, Anne, and give them food and drink. I have led you a fool's errand, friends, but 'tis no fault of mine.
ANNE. This way, if it please you.
[Exit with Soldiers L. H.
MUS. (walking up and down in reflection). Yes, we have searched the cottage, and the nest is empty. The birds have been scared, 'tis certain. But by whom? None knew of their danger save Anne, and she was secured in-doors. Who could it be? Curses on him, be he who he may.
ANNE. I have set the soldiers to their supper. Will you not go to bed, father, it is late?
MUS. Bed, quotha! I am in no mood for my pillow to-night, lass. They have escaped us, girl.
ANNE. Oh! father, is not that a better thought to sleep on?
MUS. What! that two traitors are still at large. Why is all this softness for a brace of rebels? If I didn't know you for my own flesh and blood, I should suspect you knew more of their escape than you care to tell. You change colour (seizing her suddenly and fiercely by the arm). Girl, you have not dared to play me false in this? No, no -- it is impossible, you know too well the weight of a father's curse to tempt it (flings away her arm and resumes his walk, pausing). Hark! soldiers by their tramp (a knock at the door). Open, girl!
MUS. (to Dormer). To what do I owe this late visit, sir?
DOR. We are come on an unwelcome errand.
DAW (aside to Dormer). Not a word of my share in this or he'll brain me.
MUS. I have searched Rokewode's cottage, he is not there.
DOR. I know it, and therefore am come to search your house.
ANNE (aside). Oh, Heavens!
DAW. In the friendliest way, of course.
MUS. To search my house -- for what? (Aside) These cursed letters!
DOR. I have reason to believe, that you have concealed ----
MUS. I have concealed -- well sir? Who? -- What?
DOR. Sir Gervase Rokewode.
MUS. Stop, stop! I am dreaming. Say that again.
DAN. He said, Mr. Musgrave, he had reason to believe: what reason he possibly can have I cannot imagine; but he certainly did say he had reason to believe Sir Gervase Rokewode, the proclaimed rebel, was hiding in your house.
MUS. (aside). I breathe again. (Aloud) In my house -- mine -- the most loyal subject in Ulverstone. Sir, this is idle.
DOR. Idle or not, sir, I have my orders and must execute them. In there! Men (points to Anne's room L. H.).
ANNE. Not here, Sir, this is my room.
RUTH (aside) He is there!
DOR. Were it my wife's young lady it must be searched.
MUS. By the Lord -- (he strides forward). But you wear the king's uniform. Search, sir, aye there first. Stand aside, Anne, let the insult have full swing.
MUS. Ha! Gervase Rokewode in her room?
GERV. You see I have no sword to render up. I am your prisoner.
ANNE. Gervase! dearest!
GERV. You alone knew of this hiding place. If there be treachery here, that treachery is yours (goes to R. H.).
ANNE. My words -- my words; no -- no; do not turn from me, Gervase. (He turns from her with an air of sad reproach.)
GERV. Lead me from this place, sir.
ANNE. Father! (She rises to seize her father's hand. Mus. Turns from her.)
ANNE (lifting her hands in despair). No friend -- no hope!
RUTH (crosses slowly to her and clasps her in her arms). Yes, one friend; let the two broken hearts beat side by side!
SCENE I. Apartment in Musgrave's lodgings near Tower Hill. Table and chairs. A settee on which Anne is lying asleep, with Musgrave watching beside her. Anne is pale and wan, with a white wrapper and cap, and has all the appearance of one just recovering from a wasting illness. A window practicable C. A door R.
MUS. (watching her anxiously). Her breathing comes more gently, and there is the moisture on her brow that the doctor told me would be a sign the crisis had passed. How thin and white her hands are, and her cheek so wasted (he wrings his hands). And this is thy father's work, who dreamed but of riches that he might be happy and honoured, in thee above all. For this I broke my trust and lied, and overreached and betrayed. Oh, have I not my reward? (He bows his head over the couch.)
Who dares break in on my grief and her sleep?
POTTS. May I come in, Master Musgrave?
MUS. You here! have you come to look on the wreck we have made? Her lover at death's door in the Tower, and she here. (Points to Anne.) Speak low and tread softly, or you may wake her. This sleep is her salvation.
POTTS. Eh dear! eh dear! but Mr. Daw said you did all for the best.
MUS. It's a lie! we did all for miserable love of money, man, like a couple of sordid wretches that we are.
POTTS. Certainly you were. I'm glad you look upon your conduct in such a becoming light. Ah, sir, Mr. Daw did not know what he was doing any more than you, and he is quite sorry about it.
MUS. Curse him.
POTTS (with astonishment). Curse Mr. Daw? Why Sir, do you know what he has done with the money -- the £1000.
MUS. May it hang round his neck like a millstone, and sink him here and hereafter.
POTTS. Good heavens! Sink the good -- the learned Mr. Daw! Heaven forbid, Sir! Mr. Daw is working for you and the young lovers, poor things. He has bought Ruth Ravenscar a new gown ----
MUS. Away with your idle chat.
POTTS. And has brought her up to London to plead with the Duke of Cumberland for Mr. Rokewode's life.
MUS. Ah, it will be useless, she cannot gain access to the Duke.
POTTS. Oh yes, she can; I have sufficient influence at Court for that.
MUS. You, man! are you mad?
POTTS. As a pupil and friend of Mr. Daw, I feel hurt at the supposition; my Court influence is humble but sufficient. I have a cousin at St. James's, barber to the king's coachman, and he has promised to let Ruth stand to-day in a passage through which the Duke must pass to go to the levee.
MUS. Idle, idle!
POTTS. So I tell her, but I don't think so. She saved the Duke's life on our sands. Well, sir, we have done something else, we have got a pass for two persons to visit Mr. Rokewode; this pass is for a female, and a divine of the Church of England. He will meet her at the prison door.
MUS. I thank you, 'twas kindly meant; but see there, -- she is in no state for such a visit. Poor lamb, this sleep alone may be between her and death. Man, think of that (Anne moves). Hush!
ANNE (feebly). Father, dear father!
MUS. My child.
ANNE. Father, I have had such a happy dream. I dreamed that I was with Gervase, -- that he was free, and that he called me his wife and his preserver. Who's that? My head is so weak, and my eyes so dim.
MUS. 'Tis an old friend, dear, -- Master Potts, -- come to see how thou art. How fares it, love?
ANNE. Better, father, now. I can think now, and I do not wander in my speech, do I?
MUS. No, thou look'st once more like thyself my child.
ANNE. How close the room is, father, will you open the window? I want air so.
POTTS (opens the window). A sure sign of recovery.
ANNE. What day is this, father?
MUS. Saturday, my child.
ANNE. So late. Oh, father, but one day betwixt this and Monday (she sits up on the couch, shivering). Monday, father! 'twas Monday the judge said.
POTTS. Monday, -- but there is a rumour ----
ANNE. What is it?
POTTS. That an order of the Council has advanced the execution from Monday to -- to ---- What, she has not heard it?
ANNE. To what day? To what day? You need not tell me, it is to this day, -- this very day.
POTTS. It is only a rumour, I hope.
ANNE (rising up suddenly with feverish energy). My hood, father, -- my mantle.
MUS. Anne, dear Anne, -- 'tis the fever again.
ANNE. Fever? -- look in my eyes, feel my pulse, my hand -- 'tis cold, cold as my heart will soon be. I am strong, father. I will go to him. My hood, I say.
MUS. But even if you could reach the prison, my child, you would not gain admittance.
POTTS. Yes, -- yes, -- the order I procured (holding it out).
MUS. Curse thee, fool!
ANNE (snatching it). Curse him not, father; bless him rather. He hath given me the only good left me here on earth. You will come with me. Oh, fear not, I am strong; strong with the sense of despair, strong with the strength of hope. Come, I say (she has put on her hood and mantle during this speech, and darts out, followed by Musgrave and Potts, R. H.).
DAW. That was surely Musgrave that I saw go round the corner with Potts. I should like to see Anne. I don't like Musgrave, he is a violent character (looks about the room). I wish I had never known politics, they grow on a man like drink. I have been but a week here, and I have talked politics in half the public houses of this great city. I'll give them up, that is flat (slaps his thigh). Hallo! what is this? Here are the same breeches I had on that fearful night; it is a bad omen; where was my head when I put these on? -- musing on matters of state, no doubt.
DORM. You are Mr. John Daw (Daw bows), schoolmaster, of Ulverstone.
DAW. At your service, sir; and that of all young persons whose habits have stifled their growth of ideas.
DORM. (aside.) The knave is playing upon me. You have left the school?
DAW. Pro tem., merely. I am enjoying a slight vacation.
DORM. And you have taken to matters of state; you have been very busy in London, talking sometimes for the king (Daw bows), sometimes against him.
DAW. Ha, ha, ha! Sagacious youth; sometimes for, sometimes against, eh? Yes, sir, when there were any black sheep in company, I defended the right cause, but when the fools were all of one mind, of course I made a dry statement of the other party's argument; if I had not, we should have had no discussion, should we, stupid, eh?
DORM. Mighty well, Mr. Daw, you have aimed at importance, and you have achieved it; the Government has long had its eye on you.
DAW. Flattered, sir, flattered!
DORM. You are a bit of a demagogue.
DAW. Demagogue, insane juvenile; I have the king's money at this moment in my pocket (slaps waistcoat).
DOR. So have half our traitors! -- but I am not here to judge you, sir: you are merely a suspected person.
DAW. O, that is all, is it?
DOR. I have only to conduct you to examination; but first, by the way, we will search you.
DAW. Search me? -- search me? -- an instructor of youth?
(With dignity) Wait a moment, gentlemen, my mind at one plunge has passed from modern to ancient history. I am not Daw, I am Lucius Junius Brutus; now violate my pockets, and the constitution (puts his hands in his pockets, and draws himself up with dogged dignity).
DORM. Yes, but Mr. Daw, your attitude interferes with the search (indicates his pockets).
DAW. (After looking down and finding that his hands are in his pockets, gives a sickly smile and crosses his hands on his bosom, and during the search cocks his eye over each shoulder alternately, -- they draw out a ferule.)
DORM. What is this?
DAW. Ignoramus! (pompously.) That, sir, is the modern caduceus (indicates how it is used upon the hand). It is a finger-post upon the road to learning. I should deucedly like to apply it to the present company.
DORM. What are these?
DAW. Copyheads, sir, -- the concentrated wisdom of academies!!!!!!!
DORM. (reads). "The love of money is the root of all evil!" There is no treason in that. "Idleness is -- the root of all evil." (Corporal gives him two more papers.) "Drunkenness is the root -- of all evil." What, has evil three roots, like the fangs of a double tooth?
DAW. No, it has not (contemptuously), but my school has three forms; would you have me tell them all the same story, -- eh, stupid?
DOR. (draws out a half-burned paper, and examines it with surprise).
DAW (aside). Good Heaven! that is one of the treasonable papers I thought I gave back to the man with the pistol. Oh! these diabolical breeches.
DOR. This is a paper of terrible consequence, sir.
DAW. Ah! that is a long story how that came into my hands.
DOR. (gravely). You must tell that story to people of more importance.
DAW. I was thinking of -- of -- taking it before the Privy Council.
DOR. It will take you before the Privy Council instead (goes to window and signals).
DAW. What does he mean? No matter. Magna est veritas, et prevalebit. (Shouts) God save King George -- round hand --!
I hate soldiers; I beg pardon, I mean in a room, that is all (Dormer signs to Soldiers to form two deep, leaving a space. Daw hesitates, but at a repeated signal, takes his place). Gentlemen, this ceremony does not terrify me, my innocence upholds me (totters. In a feeble doleful voice) God -- save -- King -- George -- small text!
[Exit with Soldiers, followed by Dormer R. H.
SCENE II. -- A Corridor in St. James's Palace.
[Enter L. H., a Lacquey, showing in Ruth.]
LACQ. Wait quietly here, madam! the Duke will be sure to pass this way. [Exit L.
RUTH. My heart beats, but I must, I will be firm. They say this man is cruel, remorseless, but at least he is brave. There lies my hope. Heaven give me wisdom! Heart, send fire to my lips! Hark! a footstep: now Ruth Ravenscar, speak as never woman spoke before.
It is not he!
DUKE (without). After the levee, I tell ye. Not a word will I give man, woman, or dog, till after the levee. I am late as 'tis.
RUTH (placing herself in his way). My Lord Duke!
DUKE. 'Sdeath, madam, I have no time now for a petticoat ambuscade.
RUTH. 'Tis on matter of life and death, my Lord Duke; a noble gentleman lies in the Tower, condemned to die -- I --
DUKE (knitting his brow). Enough said, madam. Rebels find no friend in William of Cumberland.
RUTH. But for me, William of Cumberland would be a skeleton in Ulverstone Sands.
DUKE. Eh! what, is it the girl who piloted us through that cursed mist? No. She had an eye like a hawk, and a bloom like a ripe pear.
RUTH. She had not known sorrow then.
DUKE. I gave her ----
RUTH. A ring, it is here.
DUKE (impatiently) It is she! Well, madam, once more I thank you for saving His Majesty's troops, and myself among them, and ----
RUTH. I decline your thanks, sir.
RUTH. A woman gave you deeds, a man cannot pay her with words. Life for life, Lord Duke.
DUKE. It is impossible, madam.
RUTH. It is easy; -- one word from your mouth.
DUKE. I will, never speak that word.
RUTH. You must. A prince cannot remain in debt to a country girl.
DUKE. I owe a higher debt to my country and my king.
RUTH. That cannot be. You owe me life, and life for you has been glory.
DUKE (bowing). Command me, madam, in anything but this.
RUTH. This, nothing but this!
DUKE. Farewell then!
RUTH (intercepting him). No!
DUKE. You are too bold, girl.
RUTH. What wonder, I love a soldier!
DUKE. Foregad, he has chosen well.
RUTH (after a pause). Is that the sword of Dettingen and Fontenoy?
DUKE. Yes, and a good blade too, Antwerp make.
RUTH. Let me see it?
DUKE. Pshaw, thou silly wench!
RUTH. Do you refuse me that too?
DUKE. Nay, I refuse thee nothing but a traitor's life. There! (he draws the sword.)
RUTH. 'Tis bright and sharp, let me feel its weight.
DUKE. Why, thou mad girl? (gives it to her.)
RUTH (places the point to her breast). Now, Duke of Cumberland, pass this sword through my heart.
DUKE. Take care, for Heaven's sake! 'tis no toy, I keep it always ground. Have a care, I say.
RUTH. What, do you fear to do with your own hand, what you do without remorse by the executioner's? Do you think you can kill Gervase Rokewode, without murdering me?
DUKE (doggedly). I hope 'twill not be so, for he must die!
RUTH. If you are not afraid to take a woman's life, there is one thing all men must fear, a woman's scorn (gives back sword). I hold your token and your word, a gentleman's plighted word. Break it, Duke of Cumberland, and I will travel England through, city by city, village by village; I will tell the tale of Ulverstone Sands and London Tower to men, and women, and little children; and those little children, shall spurn your name, as I will spurn this ring (holding up the ring), won so fairly, yet won in vain.
DUKE. This girl is a fiend!
RUTH. My pilgrimage done, I will come to London, and one day, when you stand in some public place, in Heaven's sunshine, each eye bent on you, honoured by men, admired by women, I will come to you, and look you in the face, as only the dying can look, and then (takes out her stiletto), I will plunge this weapon, it is sharper and surer than yours, into my breast, and so, Ruth Ravenscar will die at your feet, your ring on her finger, your name on her cursing lip, this dagger, in a fatherless, motherless, maiden's heart, I swear it (kisses the cross hilt of her dagger).
DUKE. Confusion! She will do it too. What shall I say? Hold! you are lovers; are you a loyal subject of King George?
RUTH. I am!
DUKE. Will you answer for his loyalty if the King spare his life?
RUTH. With my own head.
DUKE. Let me see -- the execution is fixed ----
RUTH. For Monday -- there is still time.
DUKE. I will do my best to save him. Nay. Do not thank me, for by Heaven I only do it, because you compel me.
RUTH. Yet let me thank you. Oh, bless you, bless you! (She falls on her knees, seizes his hand and kisses it with convulsive sobs.)
DUKE. Confound it, madam, don't cry, now you have won the day -- (tears a leaf from his pocket-book and writes). Here is a pass if you would see him. So, so, compose yourself; here, (calls) one of you lacqueys! Conduct this lady from the Palace.
RUTH. I cannot speak, my Lord, but my heart is blessing you. [Exit Ruth L. H.
DUKE. The rebels have bewitched them all. When will a honest Royalist find such an advocate? It is a sin to save a traitor's life, but when a sin is to be done, the sooner it is done the better. I'll see the King. Confound the women, their smiles are bad enough, but their tears -- oh! [Exit L. H.
SCENE III. -- The Apartment of Sir Gervase Rokewode in the tower. A vaulted room. An arched door L. and another in flat R.
GERV. When I drew my sword for right against might, I counted the cost and prepared to die for my King. But it is one thing to die a soldier's death in the field, another thing to creep upon a scaffold and fall by the hand of a hired caitiff under the rabble's brutal gaze. No, it matters little by what road a loyal spirit takes its flight. The greatest and best of men have passed through this momentary shame to lasting glory. Monday has no terrors for me; they may mutilate this shell that holds Gervase Rokewode, but they cannot stain the soldier, nor conquer the man.
A Protestant minister!
GERV. Father Radcliffe -- Oh, why risk your life thus?
RAD. (contemptuously). My life? I come to try my poor boy's courage.
GERV. Try it.
RAD. I shall and cruelly. Gervase, my dear son, death's awful shadow is even now at the door, the bloodhounds are too hungry to wait.
GERV. Till Monday next. Am I right? (Radcliffe drops his head.) Come, courage father (presses his hand). Courage! tell me -- when -- to-day perhaps?
RAD. This very forenoon.
GERV. God save King James!
LIEU. Sir Gervase Rokewode, it is my melancholy duty to bid you prepare for death; here is the order of Council with his majesty's signature.
GERV. Permit me, sir (takes paper), now in the Province of Hanover this no doubt is law, but in His Majesty's -- King James's Kingdom of England, it is treason. (tears paper and flings it away).
LIEU. In one hour, Sir Gervase.
GERV. (smiling). You know where to find me, sir.
LIEU. (bows respectfully). A gallant spirit but a stubborn traitor. [Exit R. H.
RAD. (comes to him and lays his hand on his arm). A harder trial than death awaits you.
GERV. What is this trial?
RAD. You received my letter?
GERV. Yes, and bless you for it; it lifted the weight from my heart, it cleared away those cruel doubts I had of my Anne's truth; without that could I die thus calmly, father?
RAD. Suppose she had risen from a bed of fever to bid you farewell -- be firm -- yes, Anne Musgrave is here.
GERV. Heaven has pitied me! yes, I will be firm. it is my duty -- fear me not. Oh, father, let me see her -- minutes are now what years were once to me.
Be stout to the last! I will bid her live -- I will comfort her -- with Heaven's help -- with Heaven's help!
GERV. (trembling). Courage -- faint heart -- courage!
ANNE. Gervase, Gervase! (sobs).
GERV. Courage! I die content, you can make me die happy; promise me to live, it is my last request.
ANNE. Oh Gervase, you do not know how I love you! I was ashamed to show you all my love.
GERV. And must I part from her!
ANNE. No, you shall not leave me, you cannot be so cruel as to leave me.
GERV. What shall I do? Oh, they have found the way to conquer me. What is death to this? (they weep in one another's arms.)
ANNE. My love! I am not here to torture you. Gervase, I am here to try and save you.
GERV. Dearest, we must not cheat ourselves with any idle hope. Anne, I have a favour to ask you; we know not what change time may bring -- it may be to your advantage one day to have been my wife -- let Father Radcliffe make us one; do not refuse me this.
ANNE. Refuse you? -- and I, when once I am your wife, have a favour to ask, it will go against that proud heart of yours, Gervase.
GERV. Oh no, I grant it beforehand.
ANNE. Upon your honour?
GERV. Upon my honour!
RAD. L. H. My children, I will unite you with what brief and simple form the time permits; where is your breviary Gervase?
GERV. In the inner cell, and we shall be more safe from intrusion there. Come, Anne. (music)
ANNE (aside). Hope whispers to me.
[Exeunt into inner cell, L. H. door.
LIEU. This is his cell, doubtless he is in his inner room.
RUTH. I will wait, sir.
LIEU. I fear this visit may be ill-timed.
RUTH. Fear not, sir, I have news for him that will excuse my intrusion.
LIEU. I will leave you, madam. [Bows and exits R .H.
RUTH. Thank Heaven, I am alone a moment with my great joy. Ah! what happiness ever equalled mine; to save the life of him I love, and to win him, not by woman's arts, but by a great deserving. He does not come; I cannot wait longer (hesitates, at last goes and taps at inner door).
RAD. Ruth Ravenscar!
RUTH. I would see William -- Mr. Rokewode, I mean.
RAD. He cannot see you.
RUTH. He can -- he must -- I bring him hope -- I bring him life -- I must speak to him -- where is he?
RAD. He is in that room preparing for death.
RUTH. He shall not die; his execution was to be on Monday, and this very day the Duke of Cumberland will get his pardon from the King; he has promised me.
RAD. But the day of execution has been changed, alas! He dies to-day, all is too late.
RUTH. Oh Heaven! No, no, it is not too late. Stay here and bid him be of good heart; tell him his life is mine; give him my cross, he will know it, he has seen it on my bosom; and tell him I came to give him hope, and fly on the wings of love to give him life. To the Palace!
RAD. (seizing her arm). Stay girl -- is this delusion or madness? -- how came you by this cross?
RUTH. It was my mother's; let me go.
RAD. (trembling violently). Not yet, one moment, I have heard you were a Spaniard.
RUTH. Yes, sir; you terrify me.
RAD. No, no, be not alarmed, this cross was mine once, and when I lost it I lost all; there, you see I am calmer, let me look in your face -- tell me your history.
RUTH. A Spanish vessel was wrecked upon the Lancashire coast.
RAD. (gazing intently on her). My Juanita's eyes! Yes, a Spanish vessel?
RUTH. Upon one plank were washed ashore from the wreck a mother and her child.
RAD. Yes; her own raven hair!
RUTH. The mother had tied the child to her neck with her own long hair.
RAD. My Juanita's voice, too!
RUTH. The child was alive, but the mother was a corpse -- the cross was on her breast. (Suddenly) Ah! did you say this cross was ours once?
RAD. It was mine. I gave it to my wife when she sailed from Spain for England with our child -- the vessel was wrecked -- was never heard of more -- my withered heart is bursting with hope and joy (opens his arms). Ruth! Juanita! my own flesh and blood, what does your heart say?
RUTH. You are my father (kneels).
RAD. No -- closer -- closer -- to my dead bosom that lives and burns again at the sacred touch. Oh, how good Heaven is -- (sobs)--I have a daughter!
RUTH (weeps). I have a father!
RAD. So soon! that is the bell that tolls for half an hour, one short half hour before -- before ----
RUTH. Ah! (screams.) You are my father, then save this man for my life is bound up in his!
RAD. (groans). Oh, miserable father! Heaven has not forgiven you ----
RUTH. To the Palace -- to the Palace!
[Exeunt R. H. Music.
LIEU. Tell Sir Gervase Rokewode he must now be left alone to prepare for his sentence; and bring the woman who is with him out by the corridor.
SCENE IV. -- Tower Hill with the Tower in the background. In the C. a scaffold hung with black -- the windows of the houses around are seen filled with spectators. Soldiers in front of the scaffold guarding its approaches from the crowd. The bell is heard tolling at intervals. The block covered with black. The stage in front is covered with people, among them criers crying -- "True account of the crimes and treason of Sir Gervase Rokewode, with his confession and lamentable copy of verses left by him in his prison."
1st MAN. How slow they are!
2nd MAN. All in good time! Death to all rebels and traitors!
3rd MAN. So I say, this is the fifth I have seen die this month.
GERV. I cannot escape, and leave my wife in danger. She fell upon her knees to me -- she claimed my promise with prayers and tears, and threats of her own death. I yielded, but I cannot desert her. I cannot leave my dove in the kite's hands (mingles with the crowd).
CROWD. Ah! (exulatation).
2nd MAN. Who has escaped?
1st MAN. The traitor Rokewode!
POTTS. Yes, he has escaped. I have been in the gaol. There is no doubt of it. His wife did it, bless her heart!
CROWD. How? How?
POTTS. She sent him out in her clothes; she took his place. Three cheers for Lady Rokewode!
CROWD. Down with him!
VOICE (from the crowd). Here she is; they are taking her before the Privy Council!
1st MAN. The traitress!
2nd MAN. Down with her!
ALL. Down with her!
GERV. Back, ruffians!
ANNE. Begone! Fly, -- for mercy's sake, fly!
LIEUT. (who has been intently watching him). Seize that man, it is Rokewood himself!
ANNE. Gervase! Gervase! you have destroyed us both. ---- (A long pause. Murmurs.)
LIEUT. Unhappy man, you have left me no alternative; the execution must proceed.
GERV. It is our fate, I bow to it. (To Anne.) Oh, Anne, do not let these vermin see us blench, -- do not look so wildly. (To Lieut.) Sir, let me speak one word to my wife, we have only been married an hour.
LIEUT. (with emotion) Yes! (at his signal a space is left.)
GERV. My first command, -- my last word and prayer is, -- live; for my sake, live.
ANNE. Ah, no! Gervase Rokewood, -- my love, my life, my husband, -- I will not survive thee. I shall die before thee (faints).
GERV. It is best so (supports Anne). My poor wife!
RUTH. His wife?
RAD. He spoke truth; I wedded them an hour ago.
RUTH. You? you! (shrinks from him.) They shall never live together (is about to tear the paper).
RAD. My child, be merciful.
RUTH. No one has had any mercy on me; and I have blood in my veins -- Spanish blood. I can love, and I can hate.
RAD. No, -- you cannot hate (lays his hand on her, and points to scaffold. Ruth turns slowly). What is their sin? -- Your own and mine.
RUTH (clenching her teeth). I can love, and I can hate.
RAD. Look at their agony.
RUTH. I can love, and I can hate -- (seeing executioner lay his hand on Gervase). Ah! (with a violent scream darts to the foot of the scaffold.) A reprieve! -- a pardon!
RUTH. In the King's own hand.
LIEU. It is in the King's own hand. God save the King!
GERV. Look up Anne -- Heaven is merciful -- we are saved. Ruth has saved us.
RUTH. So now my work is done, my heart is desolate, and I will die.
RUTH. Oh, father, ask me not to live, for what have I to live for -- my race is run?
RAD. (agitated). Ruth, I have waited for you twenty years -- you are the link that binds me to the world; your features are my past, your happiness is my future now. Oh, think of my long life of sorrow, do not spurn your father's love, do not desert me, my Juanita! I love you as the boiling heart of youth can never love -- my life is bound in yours. Pity me, my daughter! -- my daughter!!
RUTH. I was ungrateful -- forgive me father.
ANNE (who has recovered and been conducted from the scaffold). And it was Ruth who saved us, Heaven bless her, Gervase! (they look timidly towards Ruth.)
RUTH (trembling). Father, are they coming to me?
RAD. Courage, my noble child -- your hand in your father's hand, your eye on Heaven, be generous -- be yourself.
RUTH. I will be your daughter.
GERV. Whilst we live, we live your debtors.
RUTH. Let your wife thank me Gervase Rokewode, if I have done well.
ANNE (timidly). Can words thank you, Ruth? -- Oh no -- oh, generous woman, look on me -- accept my love, as well as gratitude. Oh, let me love you, Ruth!
RUTH. Father, help me to live, help me -- it is for your sake alone ----
RAD. My child! -- farewell all! -- be happy! -- England, choose your king. I plot no more, I am a father! (draws her head to his bosom.) I take my dove to a land of safety. (Music.) A father's love, tender and watchful as the love of angels, is round her and about her. -- The great heart suffers -- but survives: and these, its noble struggles, are each a step upon its path to Heaven.