Page images

misfortunes! I'll bear them patiently, so he is happy! these hands shall toil for his support! these eyes be lifted up for hourly blessings on him! and every duty of a fond and faithful wife be doubly done to cheer and comfort him! So hear me! so reward me!

Rises. Bev. I would kneel too, but that offended Heaven would turn my prayers into curses.

6 What have I to ask for? I, who have cast hope forever from me. Is it • for length of days that I should kneel? no; my time is 6 limited. Or is it for this world's blessings upon you

and yours! to pour out my heart in wishes for a ruin'd wife, a child, and sister? O! no! for I have done a deed to make life horrible to you*

Mrs. Bev. Why horrible? is poverty so horrible? ( The real wants of life are few. A little industry will

supply them all—and cheerfulness will follow--It is the privilege of honest industry, and we'll enjoy it

6 fully.

Bev. Never, never-0, I have told you but in part. The irrevocable deed is done.

Mrs. Bev. What deed? And why do you look so 6 at me?

6 Bev. A deed that dooms my soul to vengeance" That seals your misery here, and mine hereafter.

Mrs. Bev. No, no; you have a heart too good for't. Alas! he raves, Charlotte-His looks too terrify me

-Speak comfort to him—He can have done no deed of 6 wickedness.

Char. And yet I fear the worst-What is it brother?' Bev. A deed of horror.

Jar. Ask him no questions, madam— This last misfortune has hurt his brain. A little time will give him patience.

Enter STUKELY. Bev. Why is this villain here?

Stu. To give you liberty and safety. There, madam, is his discharge (giving a paper to Mrs. Beverley.] Let

* make you miserable. Wby miserable? Is poverty so miserable :-410. Edit.

him fly this moment. The arrest last night was meant in friendship; but came too late.

Char. What mean you, sir?

Stu. The arrest was too late, I say; I would have kept his hands from blood, but was too late.

Mrs. Bev. His hands from blood!-Whose blood?-O wretch! wretch!

Stui. From Lewson's blood.

Char. No, villain! yet what of Lewson? speak quickly.

Stu. You are ignorant, then! I thought I heard the murderer at confession.

Char. What murderer?-And who is murder'd? not Lewson?-say but he lives

Stu. In pity, so I would; buť that the tongues of all cry murder. I came in pity, not in malice; to save the brother, not kill the sister. Your Lewson's dead.

Char. O horrible! Why, who has kill'd him? and yet it cannot be. What crime had he committed, that « he should die? Villain! he lives ! he lives!

6 Mrs. Bev. Patience! sweet Charlotte. < Char. Patience, do you say?

Mrs. Bev. He comes in pity, he says! O execrable • villain! the friend is kill'd then, and this the murderer?'

Bev. Silence! I charge you-Proceed, sir.

Stu. No. Justice may stop the tale--and here's an evidence.

Enter BATES. Bufes. The news, I see, has reach'd' you. But take comfort, madam. '[To Char.] There's one without enquiring for you-Go to him, and lose no time. Char. O misery! misery!

[Exit. Mrs. Bev. Follow her, Jarvis. If it be true that Lewson's dead, her grief may kill her.

Bates. Jarvis must stay here, madam. I have some questions for him.

Stu. Rather let him fly. Ilis evidence may crush his master.

Bev. Why, ay; this looks like management.

[ocr errors]

Bates. He found you quarrelling with Lewson in the street last night.

[To Bev. Mrs. Bet. No; I am sure he did not. Jar. Or, if I did

Mrs. Bev. 'Tis false, old man- -They had no quarrel; there was no cause for quarrel.

Bev. Let him proceed, I say-0! I am sick! sick!-. Reach me a chair.

He sits down. Mrs. Beu. You droop, and tremble, love-Your eyes are fixt too-Yet you are innocent. If Lewson's dead, you kill'd him not.

Enter Dawson. Stu. Who sent for Dawson?

Bates. 'Twas I -We have a witness too, you little think of -Without there!

Stu. What witness?
Bates. A right one.

Look at him.
Enter LEw son and CHARLOTTE.
Stu. Lewson! O villains! villains!

[7. Bates and Dawson., Mrs. Bed. Lewson alive! why, this is unexpected happiness!

Jur. What riddle's this?
Bev. Be quick and tell it-my minutes are but few.

Mrs. Bev. Alas! why so? you shall live long and happily.

Lew. While shame and punishment shall rack that viper (pointing to Stukely]-The tale is short-I was too busy in his secrets, and therefore doom'd to die. Bates, to prevent the murder, undertook it_I kept aloof to give it credit

Char. And give me pangs unutterable.

Lew. I felt them all, and would have told you—But the business wanted ripening. The villain's scheme was but half executed. The arrest by Dawson follow'd the suppos'd murder-And now, depending on his once wicked associates, he comes to fix the guilt on Beverley.

Mrs. Bev. O execrable wretch!
Bates. Dawson and I are witnesses of this.
Lewo. And of a thousand frauds. His fortune ruin'd

by sharpers and false dice; and Stukely sole contriver and possessor of all.

Daw. Had he but stopt on this side murder, we had been villains still.

Mrs. Bev. Thus Heaven turns evil into good; and by permitting sin, warns men to virtue.

Lew. Yet punishes the instrument. So shall our laws; tho' not with death But death were mercy. Shame, beggary, and imprisonment, unpitied misery, the stings of conscience, shall make life hateful to him.- -How does my friend?

[To Bev. Bed. Why, well. Who's he that asks me?

Mrs. Bev. 'Tis Lewson, love-Why do you look so at him?

Ber. They told me he was murder'd., [Wildly.
Mrs. Bev, Ay; but he lives to save us.
Bev. Lend me your hand--the room turns round.
Mrs. Bev. O Heaven!

Lew. This villain here disturbs him. Remove him from his sight-And for your lives see that you guard him. [Stukely is taken off by Dawson, and Bates.] How is it, sir?

Bev. 'T'is here and here (pointing to his head and heart.]—And now it tears me!

Mrs. Bev. You feel convuls'd tooWhat is 't disturbs you?

Lew. This sudden turn of joy, perhaps He wants rest too-Last night was dreadful to him. His • brain is giddy.

Char. Ay, never to be curd-Why, brother ! 6 O! I fear! I fear!

Mrs. Bev. Preserve him, Heaven !'- My love! my life! look at me!-How his


flame! Beo. A furnace rages in this heart.- I have been too hasty. (Mrs. Bev. Indeed ! O me! O me!*.


* Ome! An exclamation signifying Alas, unhappy me! It is commonly written Ah me! as

“ Ah me! the blooming pride of May,

· Aod that of beauty are but one :

Jarvis! fly, fly for help! your master dies else.. « Weep not, but fly! [Ex. Jar.] What is this hasty 6 deed?

Yet do not answer me- -My fears have guess'd. & Beo. Call back the messenger

-'tis not in medicine's power to help me. 6 Mrs. Bed. Is it then so?

Bev.' Down, restless flames !- [laying his hand on his heart]-down! you rack me.

-0! for a pause from pain!

6 Mrs. Bev. Help, Charlotte! support him, sir! [To Lewson-This is a killing sight!

Bev. What river's this! I'll plunge and cool me? 6-[Flings himself upon the ground.] 0! 'tis a sea of • fire! Lift me! lift me! [They raise him to his chair.] 6-[Bev. starting.] That pang was well It has numb'd my senses.'



wife? forgive me, love! 6 Mrs. Bev. Alas! for what? Bev. [Starting again.] And there's another pang!

Now all is quiet- -Will you forgive me?
6 Mrs. Bev. I will- Tell me for what?'
Bev. For meanly dying.
Mrs. Bev. No do not say it.

Bev. As truly as my soul must answer it- -Had Jarvis staid this morning, all had been well. But press'd by shame-pent in a prison-tormented with my pangs


you- -driven to despair and madness I took the woful advantage of his absence, corrupted the poor

wretch he left to guard me, and -Swallow'd poison.

Mrs. Bev. O fatal deed!
Char. Dreadful and cruel.

[ocr errors]

Can you


" At morn both flourish bright and gay,
“ Both fade at evening, pale, and gone.".

Prior's Faded Wreath.
Milton writes, it Ay me. As in Satan's speech to the Sun,

" Ay me, they little know How dearly I abide that boast so vain.”

Par. Lost, B. iv, 1. 87.

« PreviousContinue »