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Moments which steal the roses from the cheek of health, and plough deep furrows in the brow of youth.
Countess. Banish these sad reflections. [Crosses, L.] Come, let us walk. The sun will set soon ; let nature's beauties dissipate anxiety.
Mrs. H Alas! Yes, the setting sun is a proper scene Countess. Never forget a morning will succeed.
SCENE II.-The Skirts of the Park, Lodge, &c. as before.
Enter BARON, from Gates. Bar. On earth there is but one such pair. They shall not be parted. Yet what I have undertaken is not so easy as I at first hoped. What can I answer when he asks me, whether I would persuade him to renounce his character, aud become the derision of society? For he is right: a faithless wife is a dishonqur ! and to forgive her, is to share her shame. What though Adelaide may be an exception ; a young deluded girl, who has so long and so sincerely repeuted ; yet what cares an unfeeling world for this? The world! He has quitted it. 'Tis évident he loves her still; and upou this assurance builds my sanguine heart the hope of a happy termiuation to an honest enterprise. Enter Francis with two Children, WILLIAM and AMELIA, R.
Fra. (R. c.) Come along my pretty ones--come. Will. (L. C.) Is it far to home? Fra. No, we shall be there directly now. Bur. (L.) Hold! Whose children are these ? Fra. My master's. Will. Is that my father ? Bar. It darts like lightning through my brain. A word with you. (Francis puts the children a little buck.] I know, you love your master. Strange things have happeued here. Your master has found his wife again.,
Fra. Indeed ! Glad to hear it.
Bur. The unexpected appearance of the children may perhaps assist us.
Fra. How so?
Bar. Hide yourself with them in that hut. Before a quarter of an hour is passed you shall know more.
Bar. No morc questions, I entreat you. Time is precious.
Fra. Well, well : questions are uot much in my way. Come, children.
[Takes them in each hand. Will
. Why, I thought you told me I should see my father? Fra. So you shall, my dear. Come, nioppets.
[Goes into the Hut with the Children, L. U. F. Bar. Excellent! I promise myself much from this little artifice. If the mild look of the niother fails, the innocent smiles of these his own children will surely find the way to his heart [Tups at the Lodge door ; the Stranger comes out.} Charles, I wish you joy.
Stru. Of wiat ? Bar. You have found her again - S!ra. Show a bankrupt the treasure which he ovce possessed, and then congratulate him on the amount !
Bur. Why not, if it be in your power to retrieve the whole ?
Stra. I understand you : you are a negociator from my wife. It won't avail.
Bar. Learn to know your wife better. Yes, I am a messenger from her; but without power to treat. She, who loves you unutterably, who without you never can be happy, renounces your forgiveness ; because, as she thinks, your houour is inconspatible with such a weakness.
Stra. Pshaw! I am not to be caught.
Stra. Steinfort, let me explain all this. I have lived. here four months. Adelaide knew it.
Bar. Knew it! She never saw you till to-day.
Stru. That you may make fools believe. Hear further : she knows too, that I am not a common sort of man; that my heart is not to be attacked in the usual manner. She, therefore, framed a deep-concerted plan. She played a charitable part; but ip such a way, that it always reached my cars.
She played a pious, modest, reserved part, in order to excite my curiosity. And, at last, to-day, she plays
the prude. She refuses my forgiveness, in hopes, by this generous device, to extort it from my compassion.
Bar. Charles! I have listened to you with astonishment. This is a weakness only to be pardoned in a man who has so often been deceived by the world. Your wife has expressly and steadfastly declared, that she will not accept vour forgiveness, even if you yourself were weak enough to offer it.
Stra. What then has brought you hither? Bar. More than one reason. First, I am come in my own name, as your friend and comrade, to conjure you solemnly not to spurn this creature from you; for, by my soul, you will not find her equal.
Stra. Give yourself no further trouble.
Bar. Her sincere repentance has long since obliterated her criine.
Stra. Sir! a wife, once induced to forfeit her honour, must be capable of a secoud crime.
Bar. Not so, Charles. Ask your heart what portion of the blame may be your own.
Stra. Mine ?
Bar. Yours. Who told you to marry a thoughtless inexperienced girl ? One scarce expects established principles at five-and-twenty in a man, yet you require them in a girl of sixteen ! But of this no more. She has erred; she has repented; and, during three years, her conduct has been so far above reproach, that even the piercing eye of calumuy has not discovered a speck upon this radiant orb.
Stra. Now, were I to believe all this and I confess that I would willingly believe it-yet can she never again be mine. Oh! what a feast would it be for the painted dolls and vermin of the world, when I appeared among them with my runaway wife upon my arm! What mocking, whispering, pointing !-Never ! Never ! Never !
[Crosses, L. Bar. Enough! As a friend I have done my duty : I now appear as Adelaide's ambassador. She requests one moment's conversation : she wishes once again to see you, and never more! You cannot deny her this only, this last request.
Stra. I understand this too : she thinks my firmness will be melted by her tears : she is mistaken. She may Bar. She will come, to make you feel how much you mistake her. I go for her.
Stra. Another word.
Stru. Give her this paper, and these jewels. They belong to her.
[Presenting them. Bar. That you may do yourself. [Exit, at Gate, c.
Stra. The last anxious moment of my life draws near. I shall see her once again ; I shall see her on whoin ny soul doats. Is this the language of an injured husband? What is this principle which we call honour ? Is it a feeling of the heart, or a quibble in the brain ? I inust be resolute: it cannot now be otherwise. Let me speak solemnly, yet mildly; and beware that vothing of reproach escape my lips. Enter Countess, MRS. HALLER, and BARON, from Gates. Yes, her penitence is real, it is real. She shall not be obliged to live in mean dependeuce: she shall be mistress of herself, she shall-Ha! they come. Awake, insulted pride! Protect me, injured honour !
[Gets over to R. of Stage. Mrs. H.' [Advances slowly and in u tremour, L. Countess attempts to support her.] Leave me now,
I beseech you. Baron and Countess retire into the hut, L. V. E. Approuches the Stranger, who, with averted countenance and in extreme agitation, awaits her address.] My lord !
Stra. [With gentle tremulous utterance, and face stilo turned away.] What would you with me, Adelaide ?
Mrs. H. [Much agitated.] No-for Heaven's sake! I was not prepared for this --Adelaide !-No, po. For Heaven's sake -Harsh words alone are suited to a culprit's
Stra. [Endeavouring to give his voice firmness.] Well, madam !
Mrs. H. Oh! If you will ease my heart, if you will spare and pity me, use reproaches.
Stra. Reproaches ! Here they are; here on my sallow cheek-here in my hollow eye-here in my faded form. These reproaches I could not spare you.
Mrs. H. Were I a hardened sinner, this forbearance would be charity : but I am a suffering penitent, and it overpowers me! Alas! then I must be the herald of my own shame. For where shall I find peace till I have eased my soul by my confession.
Stra. No confession, madam. I release you froin erery
humiliation. I perceive you feel that we must part for
Mrs. H. I know it. Nor come I here to supplicate your pardon; nor has my heart contained a ray of hope that you would grant it. All I dare ask is, that you will not curse my memory.
Stru. No, I do not curse you. I shall never curse you.
Mrs. H. From the inward conviction that I am unworthy of
your name, I have, during three years, abandoned it. But this is not enough'; you must have that redress which will enable you to chuse another-auother wife ; in whose chaste arms may Heaven 'protect your hours in bliss ! This paper will be necessary for the purpose; it contains a written acknowledgement of my guilt.
[Offers it, trembling. Stra. [Tearing it.] . Perish the record for ever !—No, Adelaide, you only have possessed my heart; and, I am not ashamed to own it, you alone will reign there for ever.--Your own sensations of virtue, your resolute honour, forbid you to profit by ny weakness; and even if this is beneath a man! But-never-will another fill Adelaide's place here.
Mrs. H. Then nothing now remains but that one sad, hard, just word – farewell !
[Going', L. Stra. Stay a moment. For some months we have, without knowing it, lived near each other. I have learnt much good of you. You have a heart open to the wants of your fellow creatures. I am happy that it is so. You shall not be without the power of gratifying your benevolence. I kuow you have a spirit that must shrink from a state of obligation. This paper, to which the whole remnant of my fortune is pledged, secures you independence, Adeo laide and let the only recommendation of the gift be, that it will administer to you the means of indulging in charity, the divine propensity of your nature.
Mrs. H. Never! To the labour of my hands alone will I owe ny sustenancé. A morsel of brcad, moistened with the tear of penitence, will suffice my wishes, and exceed my merits. It would be an additional reproach, to thiuk that I served myself, or even others, from the bounty of the man whom I had so deeply injured.
Stra. Take it, madam ; take it.
Mrs. H. I have deserved this. But I throw myself upon your generosity. Have compassion on me!
Stra. [Aside.] Villain ! Of what a woman hast thou robhed me! Puts up the paper.) Well, madam, *1 re