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Would sell her free estate for marriage bonds?
Ard. To stop my just reproach,
Art thou the first to tax the marriage state?
Alic. Are you not jealous? do you not give ear To vain surmises and malicious tongues, That hourly wound my yet untainted fame? Ard. And wouldst thou make me author of the shame,
Thy guilt has brought on us!-I'll bear no longer. The traitor Mosby, cursed, detested Mosby, Shall render an account for both your crimes. Alic. What do I hear!
Ard. The base mechanic slave Shall answer with his blood.
Alic. O hear me speak!
Ard. No, I am deaf: As thou hast ever been To fame, to virtue, and my just complaints. Alic. Thus on my knees
Ard. Adultress! dost thou kneel And weep, and pray, and bend thy stubborn heart (Stubborn to me) to sue for him? Away! Away this instant, lest I kill thee too.
[Recovering himself. No-not the hell, thou hast kindled in this bo
Why have you driven me to these extremes? Why sacrificed my peace, and your own fame, By corresponding with a menial slave?
Alic. Thou canst not think, that I have wronged thy bed?
Ard. Would I could not!
Ard. No perjuries.
But now, as you lay slumbering by my side,
And question, if the dark and silent night
Which glowed, adultress! with infernal heat;
Alic. A dream indeed, if I e'er called on him. Ard. Thy guilty dreams betray thy waking thoughts.
Alic. I know I'm simple, thoughtless, and un-
And what is carelessness you construe guilt.
Ard. But such a dream!
Alic. Yet was it but a dream, Which, though I not remember, I abhor, And mourn with tears, because it gives you pain. Arden, you do not wish me innocent,
Or on suspicions could you doom me guilty?
Ard. Not wish thee innocent! do sinking mariners,
When struggling with the raging seas for life, Wish the assistance of some friendly plank? 'Tis that, and that alone, can bring me comfort.
Alic. O jealousy! thou fierce remorseless fiend, Degenerate, most unnatural child of love! How shall I chase thee from my Arden's bosom? Ard. There is a way, an easy way, Alicia. Alic. O name it-speak.
Ard. What's past may be forgotten.
Your future conduct-
Alic. That always was your own.
Alic. Thou canst say nothing.-Get thee from my sight!
Yet stay-no matter. I'll myself go seek him. [Exeunt Alicia and Servant. Mar. Where reason is, can passion thus prevail? [Exit Maria.
SCENE III-A parlour in ARDEN's house. Enter ALICIA, meeting MOSBY.
Alic. Mosby, that brow befits our wayward fate.
The evil hour, long feared, is fallen upon us,
Ard. Thou flatterer-then whence this cruel And we shall sink beneath it. Do not frown
Still art thou cold: nor warm are thy embraces,
Alic. Indeed you fright me.
Ard. 'Tis possible
Ard. That thou may'st yet deceive me.
Ard. Both perhaps are so.
But, if thou ever lov'dst, thou'lt not despise me, And wilt forgive me, if indeed I've wronged thee, As I've forgiven thee-Pity, I'm sure, I need.
[Exit Arden. Alic. Thou hast it, Arden, even from her, that wrongs thee.
All, all shall pity thee, and curse Alicia.
If you're unkind, to whom shall I complain?
You were the first dear object of my love;
Mos. Therefore you kindly chose to wed ano
Alic. Reproach me not with what I deemed my duty.
Oh! had I thought I could assume the name,
I would have died ere given my hand to Arden.
Alic. No, no, I gave him nothing:
Words without truth-an hand without a heart! But he has found the fraud; the slumbering lion At length hath roused himself.
Mos. And I must fall
Alic. No; he knows not yet his wrongs.
Alic. That, that's my greatest fear.
Mos. Then, branded with a strumpet's hated
The cause abhorred of shame, of blood, and ruin, Thou'lt be exposed, and hooted through the world! Alic. O hide the dreadful image from my view! Chaste matrons, modest maids, and virtuous wives,
Scorning a weakness which they never knew, Shall blush, with indignation, at my name! Mos. My death-but that, though certainAlic. Labour not
Alic. Pray, give me leave-looks he in health? To drive me to despair. Fain would I hope
Serv. He seems in health.
Alic. Here, and not ask for me!
Seems he or angry then, or melancholy? Answer me, stock, stone.
Serv. Truly I can't say.
Mos. You may, and be deceived. For me, I
My fate resolved-and thee the instrument,
The willing instrument, of Mosby's ruin!
Alic. False indeed,
But not to thee, cruel, injurious Mosby !
The law, and this good seal, is my security;
Mos. Injurious! false one! might not all these But my just right to false Alicia's heart
Mos. And, not preventing, art not thou the cause?
Alic. Ah! whither, Mosby, whither wouldst thou drive me?
Mos. Nay, didst thou love, or wouldst secure thy fame,
Preserve my life, and bind me yours for ever'Tis yet within your power.
Alic. By Arden's death!
Meanest thou not so? Speak out, and be a devil. Mos. Yes, 'tis for thee I amn so. But your looks
Declare, my death would please you better, madam!
Alic. Exaggerating fiend! be dumb for ever! His death! I must not cast a glance that way.
Mos. Is there another way? O think, Alicia! Alic. I will, for that will make me mad: And madness
Were some excuse. Come, kind distraction! come, And Arden dies! My husband dies for Mosby ! [Shrieks, and runs to Mosby.
Enter ARDEN and FRANKLIN,
He's here! O save me! tell me, did he hear?
Frank. What moves you thus?
Mos. But, madam, I shall spare your farther
In happy time behold my neighbour here!
(So dearly purchased with a husband's name, And sacred honour of a gentleman),
I shall assert myself, and thus secure
Mos. Her known virtue
Frank. Impossible to thought! Whence, Arden, comes this sudden madness on thee,
That your Alicia, ever dear esteemed,
Ard. Out on the vile adultress!
Pray quit the house.
Mos. Sir, I shall take your counsel.
[Exit Mosby. Ard. He hath escaped me then. But for my wifeFrank. What has she done?
Ard. Done! must I tell my shame? Away! begone! lest, from my prey withheld, I turn, and tear the officious band, that lets meSoft! art thou Franklin? Pardon me, sweet friendMy spirits fail- -I shakeFrank. To your Alicia. Ard. To my lonely couch;
-I must retire.
For I must learn to live without her, Franklin. Frank. Pray Heaven forbid !
Ard. To hate her, to forget her, if I can: No easy task for one, who doats like me. From what an height I'm fallen! Once smiling
Of all its horrors robbed the blackest night, And gilt with gladness every ray of light; Now, tyrant-like, his conquest he maintains, And o'er his groaning slave with rods of iron reigns! [Exeunt
SCENE I.-The Street.
Enter GREEN and MOSBY.
Green. You pity me, and know not my estate. I'm ruined, Mosby; thoughtless, and ill-advised, My riotous youth will leave my age a beggar. These abbey-lands were all the hopes I'd left; My whole support.
Mos. Base and ungenerous Arden, To force a man, born equal to himself, To beg, or starve!
Green. By Heaven, I will do neither: I'll let the proud oppressor know
Mos. How blind is rage!
Who threats his enemy, lends him a sword
Green. Robbed of the means of life,
Mos. You mean to kill him, then?
Green. I do, by Heaven!
Mos. Suppose you fail.
Green. I can but lose my life.
Mos. Then where is your revenge, when he, Disguise your hand.
Riots, unbounded, in his ill-got wealth?
Green, What can I do?
Mos. 'Tis plain you wish him dead.
Green. Each moment of his life is to my soul
Your land restored, and fortune in your power;
Mos. The world will talk; but be that as it may:
I want not cause nor will, not means nor friends
Green. Nor opportunity shall long be wanting. Mos. Enough: his fate is fixed, See! Bradshaw's here!
Brad. Save, save you, gentlemen!
Mos. We thank you, neighbour.
But whither in such haste?
Brad. To the isle of Shippey,
His family-name I never
A word-write you a let
This honest fool may bear
Hint at these men. In case her courage fail, She will be glad to shift the deed on them. Green. I am instructed.
Enter BLACK WILL and SHAKEBAG.
B. Will. What! comrade Bradshaw! How fare you, man? S'blood! dost not remember honest Black Will? Why, thou art grown purseproud sure.
Brad. Why, you're not easily forgotten, Will. But, prithee, what brings thee to Feversham?
B. Will. A soldier, you know, is at home, wherever he comes. Omne solum forti patria! There's Latin-Give's a tester.
Brad. In time of peace, we should apply to some honest creditable business, and not turn the name of soldier into vagabond.
B. Will. Yes, as you have done. I'm told you keep a goldsmith's shop here in Feversham, and, like a mechanical rogue, live by cheating, I have more honour.
Brad. Would thou hadst honesty.
B. Will. Where do our honesties differ? I take a purse behind a hedge, and you behind a counter.
Brad. Insolent slave!
B. Will. You cent. per cent. rascal! I may find a time to teach you better manners. Brad. Go, mend thy own.
B. Will. Thou wert always a sneaking fellow, Bradshaw, and couldst never swear, nor get drunk. Come, shall I and my comrade Shakebag taste your ale?
Brad. My house entertains no such guests— Farewell, gentlemen.
Mos. Along with Bradshaw,
And leave the management of these to me. [Aside to Green. Green. It shall be done. Bradshaw, a word with thee.
Brad. Your pardon, gentlemen.
[Exeunt Green and Bradshaw. B. Will. He was a cadet in the last French war, like other soldiers, then; but now he has got a nest, and feathered it a little, he pretends to reputation. S'blood! had this been a fit place, he had not escaped me so. You have surveyed us well. [To Mosby.] How do you like us? Mos. Methinks I read truth, prudence, secrecy,
And courage, writ upon your manly brows.
B. Will. What hellish villainy has this fellow in hand, that makes him fawn upon us? [Aside. Mos. I fear the world's a stranger to your merit.
If this may recommend me to your friendship— [Gives a purse. B. Will. Of what damned deed is this to be the wages?
Shake. Hast ever an elder brother's throat to
B. Will. Or an old peevish father to be buried?
Shake. A rival then mayhap
Mos. There you come nearer to me.
Shake. Then speak out.
We're honest, sir.
B. Will. Trusty, and very poor.
Mos. Metal too fit for me. [Aside.] Then
hear me, sirs.
But you must both, ere I disclose my purpose,
B. Will. You'd have us swear?-
B. Will. There's the jest. Are men, who act in despite of all law, honour, and conscience; who live by blood (as it is plain you think we do) are we free-thinkers, like silly wenches and canting priests, to be confined by oaths?
Shake. Would you bind us, let the price equal the purchase, and we'll go to hell for you with pleasure.
Mos. Horrid! they shake even me, who would
I apprehend-The business then is this:
He's jealous too of late, and threatens me. Love, interest, self-defence, all ask his death.