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100 great ainly see tion?
Kind senora, prithee listen
kerchief. Frederick. Tell me what has happened, Fabio,
Fabio. I don't know: (uside] If I were certain
Frederick. Since I see she gives the signal [aside.
Arnesto. Speak, my daughter. What delays you ?
Laura. Flerida--who to wondrous beauty
Flerida. Well I know your love, dear Laura;
Aside. * Flerida has already learned
Laura, That-I wish to draw, senora,
Arnesto. Speak with confidence, my daughter:
[ Aside. " That from this you did not go__"
Laura. And that the jealous words, Lisardo,
Lisardo. My love, dear Laura, must excuse me.
Lisardo. She was reading some epistle,
Arnesto. I think she acted very rightly.
Arnesto. How will you obtain forgiveness
Lisardo. Ah, in truth, I'm much aflicted.
Frederick. This is what she now hath spoken, “Remember that you name me not " (Aside.
Laura. For the man in time of courtship,
Lisardo. I was wrong, indeed, dear Laura ;
Arnesto. That is no excuse, Lisardo.
[Exit. Arnesto. I share my daughter's indignation, Which your jealousy has merited.
[Erit. Frederick. “Is your greatest foe; but come To-night, and speak to me again."
[ Aside. Flerida. Yes, Lisardo, you have actel In a most discourteous manner To your mistress ; but the cause, Springing, as I know it sprung, from
Jealousy's deep-buried root,
Lisardo, Heaven defend me! would one ever
Frederick. Yes, the reason is apparent : 'Tis because of your suspicion.
Lisardo. Ah! my foolish hope has perished, Murdered by my greater folly!
[Erit, Frederick. Ah, my hope has also vanished! [ Aside. Fabio. I have nothing now to fear for. [ Aside. Frederick. Let me join each separate sentence;
[ Aside. And, lest memory might deceive me, I will look upon her portrait, Thinking 'tis her brighter self. [ Takes out a portrait, Tell me, thou divinest image, What thou wishest I should know.
Fabio. Ah! a portrait ? this is something [ Aside, New to tell unto Flerida.
Frederick “Flerida has already learned,
Fabio. Oh, my lord, what sudden anger
Frederick. Thus I pay you for your treason,
Fabio. What treason ? did you not, sir, enter
Frederick, Villaini since I here have entered
Fabio. Since you entered here, you say ?
But pray, my lord, consider-
you? Frederick. Think to whom you spoke, you rascal, 'Tis the same who told me of it.
Fabio. I told no one [aside); more prepared
Luckily, at this critical moment of Fabio's existence, Henry, the disguised duke, entered the apartment, and, with some difficulty, rescued the unfortunate valet from his master's hands. Fabio was but too glad to have an opportunity of escaping, and immediately withdrew. Upon the whole matter being explained to Henry, he advised Frederick to act for the future with greater caution, to appear as if he had not the slightest suspicion of any espionage being practised against him, and to resume, even with Fabio, his old manner of confidence and familiarity. Fabio did not lose much time in repairing to Flerida with his new in. telligence. At first, affecting to be greatly incensed at what appeared to be the inability of the duchess to keep
a secret even for a single day, he professes that he has learned nothing, and that he will tell nothing. A little persuasion, however, induces him to break the strictness of his resolution, and he informs Flerida that his master always carries about with him the portrait of his mistress, and that by obtaining possession of it, she would be enabled to discover who the lady was. Frederick, on meeting his valet the next time, astonishes him by his kindness, which he carries to the extreme length of promising Fabio a new coat, for which that grateful personage prays, that in the other world his master's soul may be dressed in a cloak of scarlet, a trowsers of crystal, and a waistcoat of ambergris. Flerida, on the first opportunity, drops several hints to Frederick that she has discovered his duplicity; and that, if he has any engagement for that night, it would be well, to prevent disappointment, that he would send word to his mistress that he could not go, as she herself would have a great deal of writing for him to execute during the evening. By means of their secret method of conversation, Frederick is enabled, in the presence of Flerida, to inform Laura of this circumstance. Flerida arranges a plan, by which she will be able to obtain a sight of the portrait, which she is about explaining to her confidante Laura, when Frederick enters, with paper, &c., to execute the orders that he had received. Laura retires, but fearful of some discovery, waits outside the door, when the following conversation takes place:
Frederick. Here, senora, are the papers :
Flerida. Leave them there ; for ( no longer
Frederiek. Lady, how have I been wanting
Flerida. Dost thou dare to ask me wherefore ?
Frederick. May I know my crime, your highness, And I trust to exculpate me.
Laure. I am curious to discover (peeping at the How, by such a charge, Flerida
door, Means to learn who is his mistress,
Flerida. I will tell you: Information Has been given me of a treaty "Tsixt my greatest foe and you.
Frederick. Ah ! senore, if I harboured In my house the Duke of Mantua, It was but the night be sought me When he came disguised to Parma. Flerida, How's this? -- the Duke ? - All-seeing heaven!
(aside. Thou that knowest I but sported With a fond, fietitions anger, Xow has sent a real cause.
Frederick. He has lived within the palace Since your highnesg spoke unto him.
Flerida. Was the duke the cavalier, whom
Frederick, Yes, senora.
Oh! how often is a truth the child of falschool!
[aside. Laura. Scared by terror after terror, Still I cannot see her meaning.
(al the door. Flerida, Why from me was this kept secret ?
Frederick. As the suitor of your highness,
Flerida. Now I understand 'twas easy
Frederick. Yes, senora, at the moment
Flerida. Well, allowing that to be so,
(at the door. But I yet cannot discover How she means to gain her object,
Flerida. Do you think my information
Frederick. Humbly I entreat your highness,
Flerida. He who finds one crime when starting,
Frederick. Letters ? Take, oh! take, senora,
(He draws out a handkerchief, a bunch of keys, and a small box, or miniature-case, which last he conceals.)
Flerida, What is that you seem so anxious
Frederick. I plainly
(at the door.
Till I see it
Frederick. If, senora-
What a trial !
What dreadful danger!
How I tremble!
Oh! what bitter anguish!
Frederick. But before I
What confusion !
(Laura slips from her hiding-place, snatches the portrait from his hands, changes it instantly for the portrait of Frederick, which she herself had, and gives the latter to Flerida.)
Laura, Traitor! wilt thou now refuse it?
Flerida. Never in my whole existence
Frederick. Doubtless, Laura takes this method Of proclaiming our affection.
[aside. Flerida. Bring the candle, hither, Laura. Now at length I'll see this wonder
[aside. That awakes my jealous fears.
Frederick. When she recognizes Laura, What will be her wrath !
Oh! heavens !
Again Flerida retires in great anger, baffled in her plans, and totally unable to understand the reason of Frederick's disinclination to show her his own portrait, or why he carried it about with him, except that, like Narcissus, he was enamoured of himself. No ex. planation between the lovers follows. Fabio enters, and reminds his master of the coat he promised him. Frederick, enraged at his new treachery, addresses him in no very compliments ary terms, and is about chastising him, when he thinks of his promise to the Duke of Mantua. Without any ostensible reason, his manner suddenly changes, and he now once more renews the promise of the coat. The second act closes, and the third opens with Fabio's reflections on the capriciousness of his master's temper.
his anger and good-humour come each in its turn, and this is the turn for anger- I think I may as well conceal myself under this buffet, a very appropriate hiding-place for one who like me has been so often bud elled in another manner."
He conceals himself accordingly, and Frederick and Henry enter the apartment. Frederick informs the duke that Flerida has seen through his disguise, so that it is useless to at. tempt to keep up that deception any longer. He also informs him that his own mistress, weary as well of the efforts made by her father to unite her in marriage with a person she did not like, as of the jealousy of the duchess, has written to him to state that she considers they have now no other remedy but flight, and that, in obedience to her letter, he has appointed to wait for her, that night, with two horses, between the bridge and the park. The duke begs of him to select Mantua as the place of his retreat, and not only offers him his protection there, but even his assistance and company on the road. This latter favour, how. ever, Frederick respectfully declines, as he considersit essential to the duke's honour that the duke himself, before his departure, should have an explanation with Flerida on the subject of his disguise, and most conducive to his own interest that he should leave behind him in Parma so powerful a friend, who would be able to explain and defend his conduct. Fabio at once bears this intelligence to the duchess, who is reduced to her last stratagem. Her only hope is, that by endeavouring to keep Frederick a close prisoner to his apartments during the night, she will be able to postpone, if not to prevent, the dreaded elopement. For this purpose, she informs Arnesto, the father of Laura, that she has reason to believe that Frederick, having received
the young man during the evening and night; and to prevent his leaving the house, if possible by fair means, and
" Well," said Fabio, " I wonder if any one, by any accident, has found the wits of an unfortunate valet, who has lost them because his master has lost hiswhich, indeed, as they were no great loss to him who lost them, will be of equally little value to him who finds them? I am very anxious to learn their fate, nevertheless, but unfortunately there is no one here to give me any information. Let me, then, by way of soliloquy, ask myself two or three questions. After all, has any one, after losing his senses, ever recovered them? We'll pass that. Is there any news, Fabio? I don't know. What is the reason that, at the moment when I seem to be on the best terms with my master, he suddenly falls upon me and gives me two thousand blows? The reason is that he is mad. And what is the reason that, at the very time I feel most guilty, and wish to avoid his presence, he promises me a new dress, and overwhelms me with coresses? Why the reason is, that he is drunk ! Two very admirable conclusions, indeed. I shall not proceed with my questions at present, as I see my master and Henry coming in this direction, talking very confidentially to each other. If they are seeking this remote chamber in order not to be seen by me, I think it only polite to anticipate them, and not allow myself to be seen by them. And as it will be agreeable to overhear what they say, and also to escape the uncertainty of my master's temper-for
to place him under arrest. Accord. ingly, just as he is on the point of
gagement, and as he is taking leave of Henry, Arnesto pays him his unex. pected and most ill-timed visit:
Frederick. Who is there?
'Tis I. Frederick.
No doubt, Some business drives you out so late? Arnesto. Why no, the distance is not great
And I but come to seek you out.
Or, trust me, Frederick, tell me, is it
Frederick. My lord, your courage well I know, But I must go alone; adieu.
[He rises from his chair. Arnesto. Do not deceive yourself-with you I go to-night where'er you go.
Frederick. To seek me?-(How I quake with fear)
[ Aside. My lord, I wait your lordship's will.
Arnesto. They told me that you came home ill, Depressed and low; and being near, I thought it would be most unkind If I unto my bed retired, Before I had, my lord, inquired How yon your health this evening find.
Frederick. May Heaven with all its choicest wealth
I much rejoice
Arnesto. The conversation of a friend, Who is with wit and sense imbued, Who teaches with his voice and looks Is worth a thousand printed books. Frederick. This solemn preface bodes no good!
faside. Henry. For Frederick's sake, I much desire aside. To stop the old man's long discourse;
To leave them is the proper course : Will you allow me to retire ?
Arnesto. Is it because I came you go?
Frederick. Why partly yes, and partly no. Yes, for I wished to go, I own,
Before your steps did hither wend
And no, for parting with my friend I do not leave him now alone.
[Exit. Arneato. Adieu. Frederick. I beg that you'll declare Whate'er you're anxious to confide; Why do you look on every side? Arnesto. I'm only looking for a chair. For, being quite unused to walking, I feel fatigued and somewhat heated ; I think we may as well be seated As standing, all the time we're talking. [ They sit
doren. Frederick. Oh heavens! was ever such assurance ?
[aside. To come at such an hour as this When I was on the wings of bliss !
His coolness is beyond endurance !
Frederick, I sometimes at the court attend;
My arm, and see you to your door.
Powers that rule ! [aside.
Heavens above! (aside.
Being ont of tune,
Nor care for going home so soon.
Frederick. My lord, I feel disturbed, enraged,
(He wishes to rise, but Arnesto prevents him. Arnesto. Let me assist you with your task, A good, fair, flowing hand I bring.
Frederick. I could not think of such a thing!
Prederick. A very bad return 'twould be
One reason why I wished to see
Your lordship home, it is that one
Arnesto. I will attend you-let's be gone.
This decision on the part of Arnesto produces a sort of explanation. He proceeds to state that in his capacity of Governor of Parma, information has been given him of the receipt of a letter by Frederick, and of a contemplated meeting that night, which, of course, he cannot permit. Frederick, thinking that all was discovered, makes an appeal to the old man, and implores of him to present him with the hand of the person he expected to meet. Arnesto, still thinking of nothing but the duel, and delighted at the notion of being the means of affecting a reconciliation between the parties, promises him, in a very warm manner, to accede to his wishes, which produces a burst of gratitude from Frederick. Two or three words, however, undeceive him, and he again insists on leaving the house alone. Arnesto then calls in the guard, as he had been ordered, and Frederick is placed under arrest. After some time, however, by means of a second door, he is enabled to make his escape. Laura, in the mean while, is alone in the park, shaken by a thousand fears, and terrified by the continued delay of her lover, In this state of uncertainty, she sighs forth the following complaint :
used to more chair.
Laura. Oh! thou cold, fatal shadow of the night,
The cradle and the sepulchre of light;
My love, my life, my lord, my Frederick dear, Why dost thou now delay, and leave me lonely here?
[Retires a little.
Flerida enters. Flerida. Fabio told me that his master • Bade him in the park await him, Which doth clearly prove his mistress Dwelleth somewhere in the palace. Laura went to rest so early, That I had not time to order ller attendance in the garden And as I could trust none other, I have been compelled to venture Here alone, for fear Arnesto May have failed in what I ordered.
Ah! if I may trust the lustre,
[ Aside. Now my subtle wit assist me; Tell me who is that that's waiting?
Flerida. Laura, do not speak so loudly.
I am Flerida.
Flerida. Having all the day forgotten
How I tremble ! [ Aside.
Laura. Oh! you wrong me, dear senora;
Fleria. What were these?
Beneath my window,
Flerida. What you tell me is in keeping
Laura. I saw nothing whatsoever
Flerida, Be it so, but you remain here.
[Some one knocks, Flerida,
What means this knocking? Laura. Many times the wind deceives one.
[ Knocking repeated. Flerida. This is surely no deception : Open and reply.
Laura. Senora ?
Flerida. Open ; and, to give you courage,
Laura, My voice is too well-known, I fear me.
Flerida. You can slightly change your accent-
Flerida. Why dost thou tremble?
Lest they know me When I speak.
Flerida, What groundless terror ?
Laura, Did I not declare, senora, That I would be known the moment That I spoke--you ree't has happened At the first word that I uttered,
Flerida. Yes, and that is little wonder, I too would have known yon, Laura,
Laura, Cavalier, since you do know me,
Frederick. My life, my soul, my dearest Laura,
[to Flerida. When just now I told you Flerida.
Speak not so loudly.
Frederick. Hear me, though you kill me after-
window. Flerida. What then would you wish to tell me?
Frederick. That Flerida's jealous anger
Laura. If a word he could have added, [aside. He would not have stopped ! I perish!
Flerida, Frederick, it is too near morning
Frederick. Thou art my life, my soul, and ever
Flerida. Oh! not with thee, but with my planet ! Adieu !
[Erit. Frederick. Adieu ! divinest Laura ! [Ecil.
Thus then was every doubt painfully removed from the mind of Flerida, and every hope from her heart. Her first feeling was that of indignation against Laura for the continued duplicity of her conduct; but the faithful and disinterested affection of Frederick, under such strong temptation, soon changed it into a more generous channel; and her whole study was, to secure his happiness, even at the sacrifice of her own. Her influence easily obtained the consent of all parties concerned, and Frederick and Laura are united. The love and constancy of Henry also obtained their reward ; for, in a short time, the fair Flerida became the happy wife of the happiest duke that ever reigned over pleasant Mantua.