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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,
That thou mayst silence curses-Speak!

Now, lady, hear me.

Hear thee


No, curse me :

Thy curse would blast me less than thy forgiveness.
Pauline. [laughing wildly.] "This is thy palace, where the
perfumed light

Steals through the mist of alabaster lămps,
And every air is heavy with the sighs

Of orange-groves, and music from the sweet lutes,
And murmurs of low fountains, that gush forth

I' the midst of roses! Dost thou like the picture?
THIS is my bridal home, and THOU my bridegroom!
O fool!-O dupe!-O wretch!-I see it all—
The by-word and the jeer of every tongue

In Lyons! Hast thou in thy heart one touch
Of human kindness? If thou hast, why, kill me,
And save thy wife from madness. No, it can not,
It can not be! this is some horrid dream :

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—
That sole alloy of thy most lovely mōld—
The evil spirit of a bitter love,

And a revengeful heart, had power upon thee.
From my first years, my soul was filled with thee:
I saw thee, midst the flowers the lowly boy
Tended, unmarked by thee-a spirit of bloom,
And joy, and freshness, as if Spring itself
Were made a living thing, and wore thy shape!
I saw thee! and the passionate heart of man
Entered the breast of the wild-dreaming boy;
And from that hour I grew-what to the last
I shall be-thine adorer! Well! this love,
Vain, frantic, guilty, if thou wilt, became
A fountain of ambition and bright hope:

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,
Then did I seek to rise

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
From those twin jailers of the daring heart-
Low Birth and iron Fortune. Thy bright image,
Glassed in my soul, took all the hues of glory,
And lured me on to those inspiring toils
By which man masters man! For thee I grew
A midnight student o'er the dreams of sages:
For thee I sought to borrow from each Grace,
And every Muse, such attributes as lend
Ideal charms to Love. I thought of thee,
And Passion taught me poësy—of thee,
And on the painter's canvas grew the life
Of beauty!-Art became the shadow

Of the dear star-light of thy haunting eyes!
Men called me vain-some mad: I heeded not,
But still toiled on-hoped on-for it was sweet,
If not to win, to feel more worthy thee!

Pauline. Has he a magic to exorcise hate?

Melnotte. At last, in one mad hour, I dared to pour
The thoughts that burst their channels into song,
And sent them to thee,-such a tribute, lady,
As beauty rarely scorns, even from the meanèst.
The name-appended by the burning heart
That longed to show its idol what bright things
It had created-yea, the enthusiast's name
That should have been thy triumph, was thy scorn!
That very hour,-when passion, turned to wrath,
Resembled hatred most-when thy disdain

Made my whole soul a chaos,—in that hour
The tempters found me a revengeful tool

For their revenge! Thou hadst trampled on the worm-
It turned and stung thee!

Love, Sir, hath no sting,
What was the slight of a poor powerless girl,
To the deep wrong of this most vile revenge?
Oh, how I loved this man!—a serf!—a slave!

Melnotte. Hold, lady!—No, not slave! Despair is free.
I will not tell thee of the throes-the struggles-
The anguish the remorse. No-let it pass!
And let me come to such most poor atonement
Yet in my power. Pauline!-

[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;
And I-O Heaven!-a peasant's wife! I'll work,
Toil, drudge; do what thou wilt; but touch me not:
Let my wrongs make me sacred!

Do not fear me.
Thou dost not know me, Madame: at the altar
My vengeance ceased-my guilty oath expired!
Henceforth, no image of some marble saint,
Niched in cathedral's aisles, is hallowed more
From the rude hand of sacrilegious wrong.

I am thy husband-nay, thou need'st not shudder ;—
Here, at thy feet, I lay a husband's rights.

A marriage thus unholy-unfulfilled

A bond of fraud-is, by the laws of France,
Made void and null. To-night, then, sleep-in peace.
To-morrow, pure and virgin as this morn

I bōre thee, bathed in blushes, from the altar,
Thy father's arms shall take thee to thy home.
The law shall do thee justice, and restōre
Thy right to bless another with thy love,
And when thou art happy, and hast half forgot
Him who so loved-so wronged thee, think at least
Heaven left some remnant of the angel still
In that poor peasant's nature!-Ho! my mother!
Enter WIDOW.

Conduct this lady (she is not my wife

She is our guest, our honored guest, my mother!)
To the poor chamber where the sleep of virtue
Never beneath my father's honest roof

E'en villains dared to mar! Now, lady, now,
I think thou wilt believe me.-Go, my mother!
Widow. She is not thy wife!


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

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