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105. SCENE FROM THE LADY OF LYONS.1 MELNOTTE'S cottage-WIDOW bustling about. A table spread for supper. IDOW. So-I think that looks very neat. He sent me a line, so blotted that I can scarcely read it, to say he would be here almost immediately. She must have loved him well indeed, to have forgotten his birth; for though he was introduced to her in disguise, he is too honorable not to have revealed to her the artifice which her love only could forgive. Well, I do not wonder at it; for though my son is not a prince, he ought to be one, and that's almost as good. [Knock at the door.] Ah! here they are. [Enter MELNOTTE and PAULINE.2]
Widow. Oh, my boy-the pride of my heart!—welcome, welcome! I beg pardon, Ma'am, but I do love him so!
Pauline. Good woman, I really-Why, Prince, what is this? -does the old woman know you? Oh, I guess you have done her some service. Another proof of your kind heart, is it not? Melnotte. Of my kind heart, ay!
Pauline. So, you know the prince?
Widow. Know him, Madame ?-Ah, I begin to fear it is you who know him not!
Pauline. Do you think she is mad? Can we stay here, my lord? I think there's something very wild about her.
Melnotte. Madame, I-No, I can not tell her! My knees knock together: what a coward is a man who has lost his honor! Speak to her-speak to her-[to his mother]-tell her that-O Heaven, that I were dead!
Pauline. How confused he looks!-this strange place-this woman-what can it mean? I half suspect-Who are you, Madame ?—who are you? Can't you speak? are you struck dumb?
Widow. Claude, you have not deceived her?-Ah, shame upon
Claude Melnotte, who had received many indignities to his slighted love, from Pauline, married her under the false appearance of an Italian prince. He afterward repents his bitter revenge; makes
immediate amends; and, impelled by affection, virtue, and a laudable ambition, finally conquers a position, and becomes, in fact, her husband.
'Pauline, (på lèn').
you! I thought that, before you went to the altar, she was to have known all?
Pauline. All! what? My blood freezes in my veins!
Widow. Poor lady!-dare I tell her, Claude? [MELNOTTE makes a sign of assent.] Know you not then, Madame, that this young man is of poor though honèst parents? Know you not that you are wedded to my son, Claude Melnotte?
Pauline. Your son! hold! hold! do not speak to me—| -[approaches MELNOTTE and lays her hand on his arm.] Is this a jest? Is it? I know it is. only speak-one word-one look-one smile. I can not believe-I, who loved thee so-I can not believe that thou art such a-No, I will not wrong thee by a harsh word. Speak!
Melnotte. Leave us-have pity on her, on me : leave us.
Widow. O Claude! that I should live to see thee bowed by shame! thee, of whom I was so proud! [Exit WIDOW.
Pauline. Her son! her son!
Ay, speak. Her son! have fiends a parent? Speak,
Now, lady, hear me.
No, curse me :
Thy curse would blast me less than thy forgiveness.
Steals through the mist of alabaster lămps,
Of orange-groves, and music from the sweet lutes,
I' the midst of roses! Dost thou like the picture?
In Lyons! Hast thou in thy heart one touch
I shall wake soon. [Touching him.] Art flesh? art man? or but
The shadows seen in sleep?-It is too reäl.
What have I done to thee-how sinned against thee,
That thou shouldst crush me thus?
Pauline! by pride
Angels have fallen ere thy time; by pride—
And a revengeful heart, had power upon thee.
I thought of tales that by the winter hearth
Old gossips tell-how maidens, sprung from kings,
Have stooped from their high sphere; how Love, like Death, Levels all ranks, and lays the shepherd's crook
Beside the scepter. Thus I made my home
In the soft palace of a fairy Future!
My father died;
Was my own lord.
and I, the peasant-born,
Out of the prison of my mean estate;
And, with such jewels as the exploring Mind
Brings from the caves of Knowledge, buy my ransom
Of the dear star-light of thy haunting eyes!
Pauline. Has he a magic to exorcise hate?
Melnotte. At last, in one mad hour, I dared to pour
Made my whole soul a chaos,—in that hour
For their revenge! Thou hadst trampled on the worm-
Melnotte. Hold, lady!—No, not slave! Despair is free.
[Approaching her with great emotion, and about to take her hand. No, touch me not!
I know my fate. You are, by law, my tyrant;
I am thy husband-nay, thou need'st not shudder ;—
A marriage thus unholy-unfulfilled
A bond of fraud-is, by the laws of France,
I bōre thee, bathed in blushes, from the altar,
Conduct this lady (she is not my wife
She is our guest, our honored guest, my mother!)
E'en villains dared to mar! Now, lady, now,
Speak not, but go.
Hush! hush! for mercy sake: [WIDOW ascends the stairs; PAULINE follows weeping-turns to look back.
Melnotte [sinking down.] All angels bless and guard her!
Sir EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, youngest son of the late Gen. Bulwer, of Heydon Hall, Norwalk, England, who has assumed the surname of his mother's family, was born in 1805. He exhibited proofs of superior talents at a very early period, having written verses when only five or six years old. His preliminary studies were conducted under the eye of his mother, a woman of cultivated taste and rare accomplishments. He graduated with honor at Trinity College, Oxford, having won the chancellor's medal for the best English poem. In 1826 he published "Weeds and Wild Flowers," a small volume of poems; and the following year his first novel, "Falkland," appeared. Since that time he has been constantly before the public as an author, both in prose and verse. Of his early novels, perhaps," Rienzi" is the most complete, high-toned, and energetic: of his more recent ones his "Caxtons," and "My Novel, or Varieties in English Life," are regarded as the best. About 1832, he became editor of the "New Monthly Magazine; and to that journal he contributed essays and criticisms, subsequently published under the title of "The Student." Of his dramas, "The Lady of Lyons," "Richelieu," and "Money," are, perhaps, three of the most popular plays now upon the stage. The first of these, from which the preceding extract