« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Char. How does your master, Jarvis?
Jar. I am old and foolish, madam; and tears will come before my words— But don't you weep; [T. Mrs. Beo.] I have a tale of joy for you.
Mrs. Bev. What tale? - Say but he's well, and I have joy enough.
Jar. His mind too shall be well-all shall be well - I have news for him that shall make his poor heart bound again- Fie upon old age- How childish it makes me! I have a tale of joy for you, and my tears drown it.
Char. Shed them in showers then, and make haste to tell it. Mrs. Bev. What is it, Jarvis?
Jar. Yet why should' I rejoice when a good man die's ? Your uncle, madam, died yesterday. Mrs. Bev. My uncle!-0 Heavens! Char. How heard you of his death?
Jur. His steward came express, madam-I met him in the street, enquiring for your lodgings-I should not rejoice, perhaps but he was old, and my poor master a prisoner-Now he shall live again— 'tis a brave fortune! and 'twas death to me to see him a prisoner.
Char. Where left you the steward?
Jar. I would not bring him hither, to be a witness of your distresses; and besides, I wanted, once before I die, to be the messenger of joy to you. My good master will be a man again.
Mrs. Bed. Haste, haste then; and let us fly to him! - We are delaying our own happiness.
Jar. I had forgot a coach, madam, and Lucy has order'd one.
Mrs. Bev. Where was the need of that? the news has given me wings.
Char. I have no joy, till my poor brother shares it with me. How did he pass the night, Jarvis ?
Jar. Why, now, madam, I can tell you. Like a man dreaming of death and horrors. When they led him to his cell-for 'twas a poor apartment for my master he flung himself upon a wretched bed, and lay speechless till day-break. A sigh now and then, and a few tears that follow'd those sighs, were all that told me he was alive. I spoke to him, but he would not hear me; and when I persisted, he rais'd his hand at me, and knit his brow $0,-I thought he would have struck me.
Mrs. Bev. O miserable! But what said he, Jarvis? or was he silent all night?
Jar. At day-break he started from the bed, and looking wildly at me, ask'd who I was. I told him, and bid him be of comfort-Begone, old wretch, says he I have sworn never to know comfort-My wife! my child! my sister! I have undone them all, and will know no comfort—Then falling upon his knees, he imprecated curses upon himself.
Mrs. Bev. This is too horrible!-But you did not leave him so?
Char. No, I am sure he did not.
Jar. I had not the heart, madam. By degrees I brought him to himself. A shower of tears came to his relief; and then he call?d me the kindest friend, and begg'd forgiveness of me like a child—I was a child, too, when he begg'd forgiveness of me. My heart throbb'á so, I could not speak to him. He turn d from me for a minute or two, and suppressing a few bitter sighs, enquir'd after his wretched family-Wretched was his word, madam-Ask'd how you bore the misery of last night If you had goodness enough to see him in prison. And then begg'd me to hasten to you. I told him he must be more himself first- He promis'd me he would; and bating a few sudden intervals, he became compos'd and easy-- And then I left him; but not without an attendanta servant in the prison, whom I hir'd to wait upon him—'Tis an hour since we partedI was prevented in my haste to be the messenger of joy to you.
Mrs. Bed. What a tale is this?-But we have staid too long. "A coach is needless.
Char. Hark! I hear one at the door. Jar. " And Lucy comes to tell us.'— We'll away this moment.
Mrs. Bev. To comfort him, or die with him. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. Stukely's Lodgings.
Stu. Here's presumptive evidence at least- nor, if 6 we want more, why we must swear more. But all ' unwillingly- We gain credit by reluctance-I have
told you how to proceed. Beverley must die--We ( hunt him in view now, and must not slacken in the
chace. 'Tis either death for him, or shame and punish(ment for us. Think of that, and remember your
instructions— You, Bates, must to the prison immediately. I would be there but a few minutes before 6 you: and you, Dawson, must follow in a few minutes 6 after. So here we divide B ut answer me: you are resolv'd upon this business like men?
Bates. Like villains rather- But you may depend ' upon us.
• Stu. Like what we are then- You make no answer, Dawson-Compassion, I suppose, has seiz'd
Daw. No; I have disclaim'dit-My answer is Bates's " You may depend upon me.
Stu. Consider the reward! riches and security! I have sworn to divide with you to the last shilling-So 'here we separate till we meet in prison- Remember your instructions, and be men.
[Exeunt.' SCENE IV. A Prison. BEVERLEY is discovered sitting. After a short pause,
he comes forward. Bev. Why there's an end then. How the self-mur. derer's account may stand, The horrors of my soul are more than I can bear- [offers to kneel] Father of mercy! I cannot pray- Despair has laid his iron hand upon me, and seal'd me for perdition-Conscience! conscience! O, that the grave would bury memory as well as body! for if the soul sees and feels the sufferings of those dear ones it leaves behind, can THE EVERLASTING have any vengeance to torment it deeper?— I'll think no more on't Reftection comes too late O nce there was a time fort but now 'tis past. Who's there?
Enter JARVIS. Jar. One that hop'd to see you with better looks Why do you turn so from me? I have brought comfort with me. And see who comes to give it welcome.
Bev. My wife and sister! why, 'tis but one pang more, then, and farewel world!
[Aside. Enter Mrs. BEVERLEY and CHARLOTTE. Mrs. Bev. Where is he? [Runs und embraces him.} 0! I have him! I have him! and now they shall never part us more—I have news, love, to make you happy for ever- But don't look coldly on me. • Char. How is it, brother?
Mrs. Bev.' Alas he hears us not-Speak to me, love. I have no heart to see you thus.
Bev. “ Nor I to bear the sense of so much shame'— This is a sad place!
Mrs. Bev. We came to take you from it. To tell you the world goes well again. That Providence has seen our sorrows, and sent the means to heal them-Your uncle died yesterday.
Bev. My uncle !—No, do not say som0! I am sick at heart!
Mrs. Bev. Indeed! I meant to bring you comfort.
Bev. Tell me he lives, then- If you would bring me comfort, tell me he lives.
Mrs. Bev. And if I did, I could not make it true
Bev. And I am heir to him?
pray bear it patiently. Bev. Well, well [pausing]—Why fame says I am rich, then?
Mrs. Bev. And truly so— Why do you took so wildly?
Bev. Do I? The news was unexpected. But has he left me all?
Jar. All, all, sir H e could not leave it from you. Beo. I am sorry for it.
Char. Sorry! yes: but reflect
Bev. Your uncle's dead, Charlotte. • Char. I know it. Is it possible I should grieve for • that which is to raise you and my beloved sister from • the depth of 'ruin?
• Bev. He should have liv’d.'
Mrs. Bev. My heart tells me I wish'd not for his death. O'Twas the will of Providence that he should die Why are you disturb'd so?
Bev. Has death no terrors in it?
Mrs. Bev. Not an old man's death. Yet if it troubles you, I wish him living. Bev. And I, with all my heart.
Char. Why, what's the matter? . Bed. Nothing-how heard you of his death?
Mrs. Bev. His steward came express. Would I had never known it!
"Bev. Or had heard it one day sooner.'— For I have a tale to tell, shall turn you into stone; or, if the power of speech remain, against me be it directed.
Mrs. Beo. Alas! what tale is this?_I'll bless you for ever.
Bev. No; I have deserv'd no blessings. The world holds not such another wretch. All this large fortune, this second bounty of Heaven, that might have heal'd our sorrows, and satisfied our utmost hopes, I sold last night.
Char. Sold! how sold?
Bev. 'Twas Stukely, 'twas he tempted me to the deed. To pay false debts of honour, and to redeem past errors, I sold the reversion-sold it for a scanty sum, and lost it among villains.
Char. Why, farewel all, then.
Bev. Liberty and life- Come, kneel and curse me.
Mrs. Bev. Then hear me, Heaven! [Kneels] Look down with mercy on his sorrows! give softness to his looks, and quiet to his heart! take from his memory the sense of what is past, and cure him of despair! On me! on me! if misery must be the lot of either, multiply