Imatges de pàgina

must be, and presently, too. Meantime, you may stop, on one condition

Carl. (Eagerly.] Well.
Rons. Never to speak one word to Christine : “do

you hear?

Carl. “ [Receding, and trembling.] Oh yes, I hear.
Rons. “And if you should chance to catch any whip-

per-snapper fluttering about her, and trying to get a “ word with her, you must tell me, and I'll soon teach " the butterfly what my sabre's made of.”—You can take a hint !

[Exit RONSLAUS, R. V. E. Carl. “ You can take a hint." "A hint's as good as a kick,' says the old proverb: with him, it's a word and a blow, and the blow first.

[Christine pecps in at the side, R. U, E. Chris. No, Ronslaus is not there. [Comes down.] Ah, Carlitz not gone! [CARLITZ makes a sign.] What's the matter?-dumb? Is the man crazy? (CARLITZ goes and takes a napkin, and makes signs that he is to be a waiter.] No! What? to stay here asWell, now! And your high notions—your plans of greatness ?

Carl. “ Hang it, I can't keep in any longer. He's “not by-he'll never find out. Yes, Christine, I've given up greatness, and here I'll stick.

But then, Christine, sure you'll not be angry if I ask one favourit's the last.

Chris. What favour ?

Carl, Only one kiss-one kiss, to say it's all over, Carlitz!

Chris. A kiss!' What would Ronslaus say?

Carl. Zounds! what do I care? The rascal ! What, Christine, is there no way–none-no way that can be hit on lawfully to let me love you ?

Chris. Why, yes, there may be one.

Carl. May there? Ha, ha, ha! What is it, Chris. tine ? Hey? What is it?

Chris. To get his leave.
Carl. (Recoiling.] His leave !

Chris. Yes, it depends entirely upon him ; and if he
gives you leave-But you must ask him yourself.
Cari. I ask! he'd murder me on the spot.
Chris. Then you don't love me well enough to ask.
Carl. Don't i? Indeed, whether I die by his rage

or my own fretting, it amounts to the same thing at last: so I'll—“ Ill"

Rons. [Without, violently.) Christine! Christine!

Carl. Blessed Saint: Diggory! Look! he's coming -now-now, [rullying] I feel all my courage [relapsing, turns] going.

Enter RONSLAUS, R. V. B. Rons. Christine, I say! Christine! So, I've found you at last.

But I didn't [low to her] expect to find you here with him, “ though.-What, Christine, can « it be that you shun me?" Can it be that you bave secrets from me? By the great cannon! if I thought so, I'd “ quit the place instantly, and for ever.

Christ. " What! is it possible you should imagine“ You Ronslaus! No! I longed more than ever to

see you,-for now, more than ever, I stand in need of “ all your kindness.

Rons. “My kindness! Well, well; I was wrong to speak so harshly." (Aside.] Hang it! I “always" forget, I'm only a husband on trial! [Aloud.] Forgive me, Christine ; and, as a pledge of peace come, kiss and be friends.

[CARLITZ starts. CHRISTINE, · hesitating, recoils

towards CARLITZ, who elbows her forward im.

patiently and terrified. Chris. What ? Carl. Don't hang back! Don't ! he'll fly out again.

Rons. “ Nay, my dear, matrimony is nothing without its profits.” (Approaching to kiss her, sees the letter in her bosom, and starts.] Zounds ! what letter's that ?

Carl. (Shuddering.] O dear! O dear!
Chris. That! that's--a-love-letter!
Rons. A love-letter!

Chris. Yes, I've just received it; and, as I have no concealments from you, there-[holding out the letter) read it!

Carl. [Rapidly and frightened, aside to her, and pulling her by the gown.) What are you at? Don't let him see it ! Don't let him ?

Rons. [Taking it.] A love-letter! The devil! I was just talking of the profits of matrimony, and here they are !

Čarl. He'll guess it's I, and then my game's up. 0 dear! O dear!

your wife.

Chris. [Crosses to r, corner,] Now go and ask him : this is the happy moment.

[Pushes him forward, so that he stumbles against

RONSLAUS, who turns, eyes him furiously,

and then reads on. Carl. (Aside, trembling.] Ay, mighty happy!

Rons. Aside, his eyes riveted on the letter.] Can it be? What, [looks at him,] that booby-can he be the cousin she was pining after ? [Turns again to the letter.] Hang it! but there's real love here-That poor devil's as deeply struck as I am.

(CHRISTINE pushes CARLITZ again. Carl. (Stammering.] M-M- Mr. S-s–Soldier. Rons. ( Without turning.] Well! what do you want of me?

Carl. Mr. Soldier-1-don't know how to get about -to-tell you-or rather, Mr. Soldier- to ask youRons. Let's have it at once.

[Listening, with his back turned towards him.] Carl. Well, then, Mr. Ronslaus, it's no fault of mine, you know-so, you know, you won't get in a-in a passion, Mr. Soldier : but it strikes me-1-1-1-love

Rons. [Coldly.) I know you do.'What next?
Carl. (Aside.] Zounds ! he don't take it so badly.
Rons.“ (His back still turned.] Don't stand mutter-
ing there all day. What next ?"

Carl. Then-then-Mr. Soldier-I only wanted to ask you-if it's all one to you-no-that's not what I mean-I mean, it can't be all one to you I know that very well : But, for all that, if you would only be so good as to allow that, in return, your wife

Rons. Well !
Carl. M-m-might-love me!
Rons. [Starting round with a violent gesture.] Ha !

Carl. (Terrified, drops on both knees, with his hands clasped.] A little-only a little—no more. [RONSLAUS turns back, and becomes composed. Carlitz looks a moment.] Why! why-bless my soul, he don't fly into a rage!

Rons. [Very loud, without turning.] Come here! [CARLITZ totters across to him. RONSLAUS continues, with strong, but suppre/sed emotion.] " So! 'tis from me that you ask?

Carl. * That's natural enough, a'n't it? you being “ the party most interested.”

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Rons. And who was it that bade you ask me !
Carl. Hey! [Aside to Christine.] Must I tell ?.
Chris. [å side, nodding to him.] Yes, yes.

Carl Christine herself. She said it depended on you; and without your leave there was no way.

Rons. [To himself.] Right. That's well, that's very well.' [Crosses CARLITZ, and goes over to CHRISTINE, R. corner.]. So, (faltering] Christine, 'tis you.

Chris. Yes, 'tis 1. But remember, you have the right to refuse. My promise has been given-my word is sacred; and whatever you may command, i obey without a murmur.

Rons. Without a' murmur! No, Christine, you are too tender for the school of anguish ; but an old soldier is used to ha d rubs, and knows how to suffer and be silent. [Crosses to CARLITZ, L.] You ask leave to love Christine. Do you promise to make her happy?

Carl. [Aside.] What an odd question for a husband! [Aloud.] Faith, Mr. Soldier, I'll promise to do the best I can.

Rons. Still you have nothing, and Christine is rich. Carl. Rich; ay, so she is ! I never thought of that. Rons. Then take this pocket-book : go offer it to Christine. 'Tis yours; and now, Carlitz, [agitated] now you may marry her. [Crosses to L. corner.

Carl. Marry your wife !

Rons. She is not my wife; that treasure Heaven never meant for me. But of this, at least, I'm master; and, in making it the source of happiness to the virtuous, I pay the noblest tribute to his memory who

Chris. “No, no ; we won't take it-we can't take it, can we, Carlitz ?

Carl. “Never ! you've already given me more than I "dared hope for ; and don't make me feel like a scoun“ drel, for imposing on his goodness that made a man of Rons. “ Well, then, keep it for me in trust.

Money never lodges well in a soldier's knapsack. When I shall be woru out in my country's service, porhaps you'll give me a snug corner &t your fireside ; and there, Christine, my last days will pass cheerily in teaching your children, as they climb about me, the lessons o. my experience, and the stories of my battles. But if, " as I feel most likely, I should soon be called up yon. “ der to join my old colonel, then do you be my hoirs

gave it.

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And, I only ask in return, that you never let the poor soldier leave your door unsuccoured, but tell hiin, as he departs rejoicing on his way, Take this for the sake of poor Ronslaus.' _[Roll of the drum heard.] Hark! my duty calls ! The regiment is on the march.

[The march is heard again, and the Soldiers appear as in the beginning. BRANDT comes on as the music strikes up, and holds the knapsack ready for RONSLAUS, who crosses to L. corner, hurries on his accoutrements, returns to the cen

tre, and gazes a moment at CHRISTINE.] Farewell! God bless you ! God bless you both!

[Pauses a moment, claps the butt of his gun,

shoulders it, and hurries up the mountain, whence he looks back at them once more, and salutes them with his hand to his cap.]

The Curtain falls.


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