« PreviousContinue »
What say you, gentlemen-come, no refusal-
Moonshine. My appetite does not require provoking.
Inference. And weariness of junctures indicates A lassitude in my arthritic parts. Harry Courl. Why, gentlemen, for shame-look at
yourselves, Your tendency to morbid corpulence. Ere night a plethora may be your death Unless—I insist-you jolt awhile on horseback : We have two jog-trot nags call’d Share and Culter ; They've worn away the brawny loads of men Almost as plump as you : so you will follow. [exit
Inference. Ah me! ah me! elenchi ignoratio! Moonshine. His head's disorder'd, or his heart's of
stone. Inference. For we already—Moonshine. Are but skin and bone !
SCENE II-An apartment in the prison.
And this (looking around) the end of all my foolish kindness! kindness—to whom? to my poor zister !-where is she? at home—and who will be her protector? Young Harry Courland-yes, young Harry does love her-but, dom it, old Harry won't let hell rest till he ha' split their fond hearts in two! Zo, Hebe will have no protector-What, what, if she were to lose her virtue I would throw her from me! I would
Enter HEBE, who runs and falls into his arms. No, I would try to comfort her thus (kisses her) and with my tears!
Hebe (looking around with dismay) Oh, Robert ! Robert. Never mind, Hebe, never mind. (a loud laugh
without) Hebe. Ah, what is that?
Robert. The laugh of some who cannot feel misfortune.
Hebe. Were we as bless'd!
Robert. No, to feel too keenly is, indeed, calamitous; but let us thank Heaven we are not wholly proof against misfortune. Do you think the spot that is too barren for a weed to grow in, can bloom in harvest ? No: where misfortune does not touch the soul, prosperity can never start the tear of gratitude->But come, zister, take courage ; cause for sadness will not long attend the good : two rays of comfort do console me now.
Hebe. What are they?
Hebe. But is there nothing else--ah, tell me-my dresses ?
Robert. Your dresses ! we will talk of them another time.
Hebe. No, you must tell me now-would they fetch nothing?
Robert. Yes, I was offer'd zomething for them, but I thought it was too little-20 I wouldn't zell them.
Hebe. Not sell them ! who made the offer ?
Robert. Neighbour Beatdown, the paper-maker, zaid he was willing to give me ten cents a pound, but as all the dresses together didn't weigh more than four pounds, I told him I would zooner wear them myself than zell them zo pitifully under prime cost. (Hebe clasps her hands in hopelessness)-Then I went to neighbour Wimblewheel, and offered them to his daughter Nelly; but Nell zaid she would as zoon be of the zame mind with any body else as wear the clothes of any body else. But she recommended me to farmer Brambleton.
Hebe. (with great anxiety) Well-you went thither? Robert. Yes, and Zally Brambleton zaid she had zo
great a friendship for you, that she was very willing out of pure charity to take the handsomest one at half price.
Hebe. (with a smile of hope) And you let her have it?
Robert. No; for she wanted it on credit, and that didn't zeem very charitable.
Robert. Then I went to Tobithia Windabout and Deborah Veeraway, and one or two others of your ac. quaintance ; but they treated me with scorn. Zo I told them that though new dresses might be pretty enough, I was zorry to find they thought it fashionable to wear new faces too, and that new faces according to my taste were domnably unbecoming.
Hebe. So all is hopeless ! Cruel woman ! Robert. No, Hebe-you must not blame all woman. kind ; for many a woman shed the tear of pity, and many an honest old friend of mine was not ashamed to follow the example: every one too lent me all that could be mustered ; and I have gathered in the whole fifty dollars.
Hebe. Robert, dear Robert, you will be releas'd! Robert. How? I owe seventy dollars. Hebe. Yes; but I have seen the gaoler, who has told me that he will lend twenty dollars toward paying off the debt.
Robert. This is kind, I must allow, in one of his zort; but is there no other condition ?
Hebe. Yes, one more.
Hebe. Only that I will agree to stay here in your place-Brother, brother, what's the matter? Why do you frown so ?
Robert. The gaoler is a villain !
Robert. He would have you remain here in my stead, would he ?
Hebe. Yes, and he told me my lodging should be much more comfortable than this room.
Robert. Dom him! dom him ! Listen to me, Hebe ; he would invite you to a bed of moss, warm and pleasant for the moment ; but there is a coldness in the earth it covers that would strike a chill to your heart, and it would burst, it would burst mine! Now I do wish my freedom! Hasten home, leave this hole of darkness!
Hebe. And must you linger here? Oh, no, no, no! Ah! I forgot-here is a letter for you ; but I don't think it will bring much comfort : it comes from the crabbed gentleman who a few days since bought the large house on the hill, and who lives there almost alone. (gives the letter to Robert) He is called Ambert.
Robert. Oh, old Wryface-I saw him the other day ; and he put me in mind of a snow storm-What could drive me into his crusty noddle ? (opens the letter and reads) “ You are imprisoned”--to be zure I am-" by the arm of cruelty : this letter, therefore, is to inform you that provided” -Oh now for some black gaolerlike condition provided”. -But I wont, I wont put myself into a passion before you : Zo, there (kisses her) good bye. Hebe. Must I then go
? -aside) Yes, to ask charity on my knees for you!
Robert. And, Hebe, if you meet the gaoler in your way, don't look at him, don't listen to him, and if it be possible, dear zister, don't speak to him! (exit Hebe)
-Well, now to finish this scrawl of a letter (reads again) “provided you follow my directions your release may be obtained : Send for Mr. Courland, mention to him your distress, and humbly beg him to grant you your liberty—if he refuse, show him the inclosed paper, and demand from him five hundred dollars”. hey? (rubbing his eyes) Yes, dang it! I have not for. gotten how to read- five hundred dollars, for which
sum it entitles you to ask.” The devil it does ! Halloo, halloo, Hebe, come back, come back!
Enter MR. COURLAND.
Robert." (putting the letter hastily into his pocket) I didn't call you, zir. Mr. Courland. It matters not: I've come once
more to offer The terms at first propos'd.
Robert. Zir!-(aside) Well, I must act the hypocrite, and pretend to fear this man. It is wrong, but let the blush it raises be the mask I wear, and zeem to show I dread a tyrant. Mr. Courl. The terms you have already heard, and
Robert. Yet pray, zir-
Robert. (alarmed) Ah!
Mr. Courl. Yes, beware his arts : He aims at her seduction.
Robert. (changing from alarm to indignation at the charge) No! Harry would perish first ! He loves her, it is true ; he catches delight from her fond lips, but like the flower refreshen’d by the dew that gathers sweetness from it, her virtue is left bloomingazo, come be kind, do now.
Mr. Courl. Nonsense.
Robert. And oh, consider what the world would be to me if I were to steal away my zister's happinesson