THE PERPLEXITIES: A COMEDY.

As it is performed at the THEATRE ROYAL IN COVENT-GARDEN.

Conamur tenues grandia. HORAT.

LONDON: Printed for W. GRIFFIN, in Catharine-Street in the Strand; and G. KEARSLY, in Ludgate-Street. 1767.

[Price 1 [...]. 6d.]

ADVERTISEMENT.

THE editor of this Comedy thinks it his duty to declare that, in point of fable, he is entirely indebted to an old play, wrote by Sir Samuel Tuke, called the Adven­tures of Five Hours; of which piece Echard, in the preface to his translation of Terence, after noticing some particular excellencies, gives this general character; viz.

This is one of the pleasantest stories, that ever appeared upon our stage, and has as much variety of plots and intrigues, without any thing being precipitated, im­proper, or unnatural, as to the main action.

This encomium, and the request of a par­ticular friend, induced an attempt to restore so excellent a story to the stage. Finding, on examination of the original, the language to consist entirely of measure and rhyme, a style by no means suited to the use of come­dy, it appeared indispensably necessary to new-write it. This arduous task was not undertaken without much fear and diffidence. If the piece, as it now stands, should be for­tunate enough to meet the least favour, the editor will, with the utmost readiness, charge such success to his having, in general, adhered closely to the Original, pursued the [Page] same disposition of scenery, and preserved as many of the sentiments as could be intro­duced, without clogging, or interrupting the action. What particular alterations he has presumed to make, are, with great deference, submitted to the Candour of the Public.

Since the copy was delivered to the press, some few passages have been shortened in representation, which are easily distinguish­able by the attentive reader.

⁂ This Comedy having been treated with very distinguished marks of candour and encouragement, in the representation, the Editor thinks it his duty to return his most grateful thanks to the Public.

PROLOGUE.

Mr. BEARD enters hastily.
I Speak a Prologue!—What strange whim, I wonder,
Could lead the author into such a blunder?—
I ask'd the man as much—but he (poor devil!)
Fancied a Manager might make you civil.
"Garrick (says he) can with a Prologue tame
"The Critic's rage—Why can't you do the same?"
Because (quoth I) the case is diff'rent quite;
Garrick, you know, can Prologues speak, and write;
If like that Roscius I could write, and speech it,
I might command applause, and not beseech it.
But, sure, for one who, all his live-long days,
Has dealt in Crotchets, Minims, and Sol-fa's,
A Singer, to stand forth in Wit's defence,
And plead 'gainst Sound the solemn cause of Sense;
Persuade an audience that a play has merit,
Without a single Air to give it spirit;
'Tis so much out of character—so wrong—
No Prologue, sir, for me,—unless in Song.
The fame (quoth I) you poets reap,
And all your gains, are owing,
To sounds that even measure keep,
And stanzas smoothly flowing:
But me the lyre wou'd better suit
Than verses of Apollo;
The fiddle, hautboy, horn, or flute,
I'm always us'd to follow.
"Sir (says he) you'll mar
"My verse and meaning too"—
Sir, must I turn fool,
To humour such as you?
I'll sing it if you please—
"Sing! cries he, in huff,
"Of you and your Sol-fa's
"The town has had enough"—
[Page] Oh! then I bounc'd and swore—
Was I much to blame?
Had you been in my place,
Why you'd have done the same.
If for old-fashion'd tunes he's not too nice,
I'd give him fifty of 'em in a trice,
With words more fitted to his purpose here,
Than all the rhimes he'd jingle in a year.
He challeng'd me to shew a single sample
Of what I bragg'd—I did—as for example!
The scene is prepar'd, the Critics are met,
The judges all rang'd—a terrible shew!
E're tryal begins the Prologue's a debt,
A debt on demand—so take what we owe.
And this is the way, Mr. Author,
To trick a plain muse up with art,
In modish Fal-lal's you must cloathe her,
And warm a cold Critic's hard heart.
With a Fal-lal-lal, &c.
Wherefore I thus entreat, with due submission,
Between the bard and me you'd make decision.
The whole now on your arbitration we rest,
And Prologues henceforward shall surely be drest,
In what mode soever your taste shall like best,
Which none of us dare deny.
For, howe'er cruel critics and witlings may sneer,
That at times I, alas! somewhat dunny appear,
If to you, my best friends, I e'er turn my deaf ear,
May you your indulgence deny!
Then, for his sake and mine, (for we're both in a fright)
Till a treat of more goût shall your palates delight,
Let a poor humble Comedy please you to-night;
Which surely you will not deny.

CHARACTERS.

MEN.
  • Don Antonio, Mr. [...].
  • Don Henriquez, Mr. Ross.
  • Don Florio, Mr. Mattocks.
  • Don Juan, Mr. Hull.
  • Guzman, Mr. Shuter.
  • Corregidor, Mr. Gardner.
  • Ernesto, Mr. Cushing.
  • Sancho, Mr. Rd. Smith.
  • Jaques, Mr. Holtom.
  • Sylvio, Mr. Weller.
  • Geraldo, Mr. Murden.
  • Alguazils, Mr. Buck, &c.
WOMEN.
  • Honoria, Miss Macklin.
  • Felicia, Miss Wilford.
  • Rosa, Mrs. Green.

THE PERPLEXITIES.

ACT I. SCENE I.

SCENE, Don HENRIQUEZ, and Don JUAN.
HENRIQUEZ.

NO more, cousin, I beseech you; all your rhetoric will not persuade me to leave so important a care, as the honour of our family, to the caprice of a giddy girl. It was a charge committed absolutely to me, by our pa­rents, on their death-bed, and I alone must be answerable for any blemish on that honour.

Juan.

I have no doubt, Don Henriquez, but that this your extreme haste takes it's rise from pru­dence; but may not even our virtues be sometimes overstrain'd, and have their dangerous effects? [Page 2] 'Tis from this fear, that I have often presum'd to interpose, and must repeat it; wou'd it not be better to let your sister see, and make herself acquainted with the disposition of, the man with whom she is to pass her life?

Hen.

Which is, in other words, to give her more opportunity for devices, and to try whether she cannot frustrate my designs—no, no,—an agreeable young girl shou'd never be left to her own direction;—tricks, plots, and contrivances are so innate in them, they will couzen themselves rather than their imaginations shou'd want em­ployment; I have seen too many instances of their vanity, giddiness, ingratitude; well—well!—I have, within this hour, receiv'd intelligence from the Marquis d'Olivera, thro' whose generous inter­vention my designs are, at last, come to maturity, that the person, to whom she has been so long contracted, Don Antonio de Mendoza—

Juan.

Is he the man? The very name removes half my objections. Why has it been so long concealed?

Hen.

Because I wou'd not give my sister's enter­prising genius either time, or means, to counter­act my purposes—but now, the prospect of a speedy conclusion of the whole affair renders that secrecy no longer necessary; this evening he will arrive from Flanders; and so well convinc'd am I of the propriety of my conduct, I will not sleep, till they are married.

Juan.

Notwithstanding his undoubted merit, I cannot yet be reconcil'd to that unreasonable cus­tom of contracting persons, who never saw each other; compelling them to be of the same opinion, in the most important concern of life, before you know whether they cou'd agree about the most insignificant.

Hen.
[Page 3]

I wou'd only compel her to her good, and think I am the best judge what measures to pursue.—Opinions indeed!—If you, Don Juan, delay the disposal of your sister in marriage, till she is able to determine what her opinion is, or (to express myself conformably to your easy tem­per) till she has fix'd her affections, she may give you a brother-in-law very ill suited to your choice, and judgment.

Juan.

Strange! that your understanding, edu­cation, and travels, shou'd not have allay'd that severe opinion of women; by strangers imputed to us as a national fault, and indeed with too much justice.

Hen.

Persons, who cannot comprehend the mo­tives, which actuate such as are wiser than them­selves, ever make strange interpretations of their conduct. I am determin'd no longer to endure the daily, the hourly anxieties, and fears, which a solicitude for Honoria's conduct has given me; this night they end.

Juan.

I have had the like charge of a sister, you know, these thirteen years, and cannot recol­lect a pain mine ever gave to me.

Hen.

The comparison don't hold; their dispo­sitions are different; yet, I wish, Don Juan, you may not suffer for your easiness of temper; you give the reins too much into your sister's hands; the thoughtlessness of youth, and passions un­controul'd, may lead her far astray; 'tis too much to be fear'd; I have strong reasons, have nicely weigh'd her conduct—you may repent—

Juan.

I know what you allude to; but the transactions of that fatal night are far from alarm­ing me about Felicia's conduct; 'tis true, Don Pedro was kill'd under my balcony; you throw the deed on Florio, and his flight seems to justify the ac­cusation; yet, what reproach does this cast on [Page 4] her? For when I offer'd, in consequence of your assertion, that he had dishonourable designs on her, to interfere with you in his behalf, to stop the prosecution, and give her hand to him, if her happiness consisted therein, she utterly declin'd it; assuring me she had no one motive to wish for such an event, but many to avoid it.

Hen.

You are too blind.

Juan.

And you too suspicious; why shou'd she deceive me? Have I not ever assur'd her I wou'd consult her inclination?

Hen.

Ay, there's the curse, that ties my tongue.

[Aside.
Juan.

I therefore cannot, will not doubt her. Her heart is generous and honest; on such dispo­sitions, indulgence weighs more than severity; and cou'd you be induc'd to alter your conduct towards Honoria—but I ask pardon; your own judgment must be your director; short as my ab­sence has been, events may have occur'd, which may render me now an incompetent adviser.—Your sister is mistress of many virtues; and fame speaks loudly of Antonio, as a man, a scholar, and a soldier.

Hen.

On those considerations, let our argument die. I am determin'd. Will you accompany me to our friend and kinsman the corregidor? I wou'd require him to be a witness, and partaker of our ceremonies to-night.

Juan.

I will but conduct my sister to her cousin Honoria, to whom she has devoted this evening, and attend you.

Hen.

Shall I expect you in the Piazza?

Juan.

You may.

[Exit.
Hen.

A man, with a heart at ease like his, may well preach such doctrine; but I carry a load of inquietude in mine.—My sister married, one [Page 5] weighty care is remov'd, but a far heavier re­mains.—Ungrateful, blind Felicia!—what suffer­ings am I doom'd to undergo, yet know not how to utter or relieve them! to love, adore, doubt, fear, suspect, despair, yet still persist to love! I blush at my own weakness—to apply, and be re­fus'd, were a perpetual thorn to me! and that, from her blind prepossession to another, and Juan's passive acquiescence to her choice, is almost cer­tain! rivall'd too in her affections by a man, who, but a short time before, had ask'd my sister of me; my pride, my honour is insulted; revenge is my only remedy; in that I will persist, and experience its utmost efficacy.

[Exit.
SCENE, HONORIA's Apartment.
Enter HONORIA.
Hon.

Wou'd Felicia were come! her kind and chearful temper might give me some relief—Yet how can I expect it? This tyrant brother! can I call him less! to compel me to marry a man I never saw, while the chosen of my heart is forc'd to avoid me—is rejected. My brother's hatred cou'd scarce entail on me a greater misery than his care—Yet what can I do? His power over me is unlimited—no alternative left, but what is de­sperate; yet something must be done; I cannot thus tamely subscribe to my own unhappiness.

Enter JUAN introducing FELICIA.
Juan.

With pleasure I escort my sister to so dear and amiable a friend—methinks 'tis pity even a wall shou'd make the houses two, of neigh­bours so entirely one.

Fel.
[Page 6]

Yes, and the houses are more entirely one, than you imagine, my dear brother; thanks to our private door.

[Aside.
Hon.

We have ever thought the slightest separa­tion, inconsistent with our friendship—You oblige me with a most welcome favour in uniting us now; 'tis a degree of charity, and I thank you. Am I to be honour'd with your company too?

Juan.

I cou'd with great pleasure stay, but an en­gagement with your brother calls me; and the least trespass on his punctilious temper, you know—

Hon.

Shall I call my cousin mine for the night?

Juan.

Her own inclination is her ruler. Your most obedient.

[Exit.
Fel.

There's a brother for you—upon my word if he were not so related, I shou'd be apt to mis­take him for a lover.

Hon.

And give him encouragement perhaps?

Fel.

Undoubtedly, if my heart were free, and I cou'd be convinc'd that same politeness would not abate on marriage; a little of that, you know, goes a great way in a husband—But am I never to see my sweet friend smile again?—

Hon.

I wou'd willingly put off my grief, to avoid disturbing your gaiety, but am not able.

Fel.

Then let me put off my gaiety, that I may not interrupt your grief; there is often ease in the indulgence of it, and I am too giddy for you. Tell me, my dear Honoria, how can I metamor­phose myself so as to suit your feelings? I wou'd be, or do, any thing that might give you pleasure.

Hon.

You never fail to do that.—Your every look, and word, has affection in it; and that agreeable manner of setting them off, makes what wou'd be stil'd levity in others, a virtue in you, as it's only spring is from a desire to entertain.

Fel

Deliver'd with singular judgment, and po­literess: your's to the very ground.

Hon.
[Page 7]

Engaging playfulness! how can so tender, so susceptible a heart as yours be so much at ease, in it's present doubtful, and anxious situation?

Fel.

Why that's true—and it is sometimes other­wise; but as I have not to charge fortune, or friends, with any actual affliction, I bear accidental ills as well as I am able, and endeavour to keep sorrow at arm's length. My hopes, I think, grow faster than my fears, and I trust to the great mid­wife, Time, to bring forth the fruits of 'em.

Hon.

And may they answer your deserts! I have almost lost a part of my grief, in my amazement at the adventures you were relating to me last night, when my lordly brother interrupted us.

Fel.

Yes, absence is a pretty whet to affection, now and then; he is ten times worse than ever; there's no getting a moment now; his love, and jealousy, together keep him in a perpetual fidget.

Hon.

I cou'd not sleep, for thinking of your story.

Fel.

Ay, is it not a fine one? since the days of don Quixotte, to this present seven o'clock in the evening, sure never was a better subject for ro­mance—Let me see, I'll enumerate the particulars: Travels—Surprizes—Wars—Drums—Trumpets,—taken prisoner—attack'd by a ruffian—sav'd by a heroic self-defence!—Swooning!—Recovery!—and such a recovery! in the arms of a hand­some young fellow! O lud! cousin!

Hon.

Who had kill'd the attempter of your honour too?

Fel.

Oh! no—you forget—I had the credit of the victory over him—As soon as he began to use violence, I seiz'd his dagger, and menac'd his destruction, (ay and meant it too) when a sudden alarm, and fear for his own safety, reliev'd me from the monster.

Hon.
[Page 8]

But how came you depriv'd of your bro­ther's assistance?

Fel.

I was coming to that, when Don Henriquez interrupted us—in defending himself, and me, (which he did, a long time, with great galantry, ere we were taken prisoners) he receiv'd some slight wounds, and was lodg'd in an upper apartment of the house.—I was taken to a pavilion in the garden, which, I presume, the wretch, who assaulted me, thought most fit for his wicked purposes.

Hon.

Your attachments to your relation, the Count D'Oniate, and the concern your brother had in his embassy to the emperor, threaten'd surely a longer absence. What occasion'd your return?

Fel.

My brother was suddenly recall'd to his regiment, by royal command; and the necessity for using dispatch in our return to Sevil, induc'd him to take the nearest road—too near the enemies quarters—and thence we were made prisoners.

Hon.

I am sure, I have sensibly partaken every fear, and distress, during your relation, and la­ment the necessity, that involv'd you in such per­plexities, tho' it restor'd so much of my happiness to me—And you dearly love the noble soldier, who offered to revenge your injuries, or die beside you?

Fel.

Most entirely.—I always speak truth, you know: if a sudden passion, a first-sight love, is justifiable in any one, it is surely so in me; I sup­pose gratitude may have some share; but then such a person, such looks, such words—however, I am mistaken, if I did not leave him as much cause to remember the adventure, as he did me.

Hon.

Why then did he leave you so abruptly?

Fel.

What cou'd the poor soul do? the trumpets summon'd him, his men call'd loudly for their commander; there was, to be sure, a notable [Page 9] combat between love and honour, but honour got the better, and I honour him for it.

Hon.

And what was this gallant hero's name?

Fel.

I know not; I had neither means, nor time, to enquire: the moment my brother had recover'd some few hours strength, we were oblig'd to set off—But enough of my affairs; how stand my sweet friend's?

Hon.

Worse, and worse, Felicia,—so near a crisis, that my brother is determin'd on my mar­rying this night.

Fel.

My brother hinted as much, as we came here; but I cou'd scarce believe it.

Hon.

'Tis too true—Henriquez has just receiv'd advice, that the person, to whom I am contracted, will arrive this evening.

Fel.

How absurd, and cruel! and poor Florio—

Hon.

Now doubly banish'd; first from my bro­ther's positive forbiddance of his addresses, and visits, on account of this unhappy contract; and then, from the ill-fated death of Don Pedro, whom, in self-defence, you know, he kill'd: if he is found, my brother's evidence must condemn him to the law, and his resentment seeks all occasions to compass the most severe gratifications.

Fel.

Rash, inconsiderate, unfeeling man! Was not his savage love of me the cause, which drives him hourly to some mad extreme? Then that un­lucky similitude of dress, which led him to believe Florio was entertaining me, that fatal evening, in our balcony! nay, allowing his suspicions had been grounded in truth, cou'd nothing appease him, but assassinating Florio, and hazarding his friend Don Pedro in so bafe a cause? Can he suppose such desperate, such terrifying proofs of passion, (which while his pride will not suffer him to own, he weakly fancies is unseen) wou'd not disgust my heart?

Hon.
[Page 10]

However he has disdain'd to trust a wo­man, I wonder his friendship with your brother has not induc'd him to ask your hand of him.

Fel.

Oh my dear! two most weighty reasons are against it; first his pride, lest he shou'd be refus'd; secondly, my brother's strong dislike of forc'd marriages, to which he is no stranger; tho', between you and me, my dear, my brother is as well convinc'd of his passion, as we are; and proceed­ed so far, as to apply to me thereon; but finding my aversion, my horror at the very mention of it, according to his accustom'd tenderness, he has never since re-assum'd the topic; but has Henriquez at last graciously been pleas'd to tell you your in­tended husband's name?

Hon.

He has, Felicia, this day at dinner; not a moment sooner.

Fel.

May not I know it?

Hon.

He is call'd Antonio de Mendoza.

Enter HENRIQUEZ.
Hen.

I am pleas'd, Honoria, to hear you talking of your husband; it gives me hope your conduct will deserve the happiness I am providing for you;—have you the letter ready, which I injoin'd you to write to him? I'll send a servant with it, to meet him on the way, and give him entire possession of that range of apartments, design'd for him; to shew how absolutely, next to myself, he is master here—'tis a respect, which persons of condition reciprocally challenge.

Enter SYLVIO.
Syl.

A servant from Don Antonio is just alighted at the gate, with letters to your lordship.

Hen.

I cou'd not have receiv'd more welcome [Page 11] news; admit him. Sister, conduct your lovely friend within.

[Exeunt Honoria and Felicia.

Exquisite, enchanting, mis-judging woman!

Enter SYLVIO, with ERNESTO.
Ern.

Sir, Don Antonio kisses your hands with this letter.

[Servants salute.
Hen.

I'm glad to find he is in health; yet he seems to think the hour of his arrival uncertain; else I wou'd myself meet, and conduct him hither.

Ern.

Tho' the hour is uncertain, signor, yet he will undoubtedly be here to night; for he has ap­pointed the very place, where I am to wait for him.

Hen.

You are returning thither now?

Ern.

As soon as I have receiv'd your com­mands, signor.

Hen.

I'll answer this forthwith, then give you your whole commission. While I write, make the me [...]enger welcome:

[Exit Sylvio with Ernesto]

I hope nothing will prevent his coming this evening. I grow more and more impatient—there's danger in delay—however Honoria may put on a spe [...]ous complaisance, I know her; her head is quick to contrive, and her heart desperate to execute. Let but Antonio come, and she shall not remain unmarried a single hour.

[Exit.
Enter HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA.
Hon.

You see how arrogant, and absolute he is.

Fel.

Yet his proud heart felt a smart twinge from my keen eyes, just now, or I'm mistaken.

Hon.

Watch'd like a culprit, commanded like a slave, torn from the man I love, forc'd to a man I have not an idea of!

Fel.

Od's my life, girl, don't stand enumerating [Page 12] our distresses, but think how we may remove 'em; we shall mend nothing by complaining; something must be contriv'd.

Hon.

But they come so quick upon us—

Fel.

If they come too quick for a woman's in­vention, they are such as never came before.

Hon.

I have it.

Fel.

I knew it.

Hon.

Lend me your veil, cousin; Rosa, run and see whether my brother is settled to dispatch Antonio's man.

[Exit Rosa.
Fel.

What's your scheme? quick.

Hon.

If my brother is set down to write, I think I may say an hour is securely mine; for his ex­travagant suspicion makes him distrust the sense of his own words, and he'll weigh a subscription to a scruple, lest he shou'd degrade his dignity by his style; therefore I'll to Florio, let him know the straits to which I am driven, and that all hopes are over, unless he can devise some prompt ex­pedient to relieve us.

Fel.

But where d'ye think to see him?

Hon.

At the house where he is conceal'd, 'tis not far off, I'll venture.

Fel.

D'ye know the way?

Hon.

No, but Rosa can conduct me; she has been often there.

Enter ROSA.
Rosa.

Your brother, ma'am—coming already!

Fel.

Provoking!

Hon.

Into my chamber—quick.

[Exeunt Honoria and Felicia.
[Page 13] Enter HENRIQUEZ, with ERNESTO.
Hen.

Since you are so desirous, friend, you shall be indulg'd in seeing her.

Ern.

I shou'd be glad to have it in my power, signor, to tell my master I had that honour.

Hen.

Where's your lady, Rosa?

Rosa.

In her chamber, sir.

Hen.

Acquaint her that Antonio's man requests to pay his duty to her, before he goes.

[Exit Rosa.

Wait here, she will come to you; you will pro­bably find a kinswoman with her, but may dis­tinguish your future mistress, by being in her home-dress without her veil. I will go, and com­pleat my letter.

[Exit Henriquez.
Enter HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA.
Ernesto addresses Felicia.
Ern.

I have been bold to request the honour of seeing your ladyship, that I may be more wel­come to my lord, at my return.

Hon.

An odd mistake!—further it, my dear girl; it may lead to something, no matter what; drowning people catch at straws.

Fel.

Friend, in what state left you your lord, and mine?

Ern.

As happy, madam, as the hopes of being your's cou'd make him.

Fel.

I pray present my service to him, and say, I shall be rejoic'd to hear he has compleated his journey safely, and in health: my good wishes at­tend him. Friend, farewell.

[Exeunt Honoria, Felicia, and Rosa.
Ern.

Egad, she's a lovely creature; my master will be ravish'd, when he sees her; I begin to [Page 14] hope this blind bargain, made by proxy, may prove as good, as the old ones made by love; and that those pretty eyes of her's may coax his wits back again, which, I think, he has lost; rav­ing eternally about some unknown damsel, whom he fancies, in his field-errantry, he recover'd from a trance, and he has dreamt of it ever since—I'll go wake him with this good news.

[Exit Ern.
Enter HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA.
Fel.

And yet for the soul of me, notwithstand­ing our vexations, I cou'd hardly forbear laughing at the formal fool's mistake—Did not I prim my­self up with a pretty prudish reserve? Was it like you, cousin?

Hon.

There's no saying what may be the conse­quence of the mistake, but it was a lucky thing for me, I'm sure; for I shou'd not have known how to speak for myself.

Rosa.

Madam, do we go? What do you re­solve?

Fel.

That's true; your brother can't be much longer; and if, when he returns, he shou'd miss you from your apartment—I don't think you can venture now.

Hon.

What's the hour, Rosa?

Rosa.

Near eight madam; the clock struck seven, before Donna Felicia enter'd the chamber.

Hon.

I dare not venture now indeed; run Rosa, fetch your veil.

[Exit Rosa.]

I'll appoint him in my tablets, time and place, where he shall meet me, and Rosa shall carry 'em.

Fel.

That's well; but where do you design your interview?

Hon.

In the remotest part of the garden, which fronts my apartment, you know; where I have often met him, since your absence depriv'd us of the [Page 15] advantages of your friendly assistance, and the pri­vate door to your portion of Don Juan's house; Rosa has a key to the back-door of our garden.

Fel.

And how cou'd she get that? Not by fair means, I'm sure.—Henriquez us'd to be as tenaci­ous of his keys, as of his long-spun pedigree; and even open'd a door himself with as much cau­tious fear, as if he apprehended a piece of his ancestry shou'd make it's escape at it.

Hon.

Rosa artfully procur'd me an impression of my brother's key one day, when some sudden in­telligence hurried him abroad in search of Florio; and by that we got one made.

Fel.

Well contriv'd, my notable girl!

Enter ROSA, veil'd.
Hon.

Shall I beg your patience, while I write?

Fel.

This was a lucky accident for you, Rosa; you may chance to fee your fond lover Guzman.

Rosa.

He is a fond lover of himself, I believe, madam; and without a rival.

Fel.

Are you sure your words and thoughts agree?

Rosa.

I'm not so very old to be in my dotage, ma'am.

Fel.

Nor so very young, but you may be in love. Dotage and love are cousin-germans, Rosa.

Rosa.

They may, when we encourage a passion, at first sight, madam, and indulge it, without a chance of success;—otherwise, not quite so nearly related.

Fel.

Pert, and witty enough that! I have pro­vok'd a wasp, and am stung by it.

Hon.

My dear Rosa, make all the haste you are able.

Rosa.

I'll fly ma'am; has Florio the other key of the tablets?

Hon.
[Page 16]

Yes, yes,—pray dispatch.

Rosa.

Never doubt me, madam, for all my own fortune is betted on your game.

[Exit Rosa.
Fel.

There she goes; which is nimblest, her heels, or her tongue, I wonder? Come, my dear girl, try to wear a more chearful aspect; if we are reduc'd to desperate measures, why let the person, who causes it, be blam'd.

Hon.

He justly wou'd deserve it, tho' nothing but the last distress, I think, shou'd urge me to such measures, as the world might censure: yet, were not my affections so strongly pre-engag'd, to a delicate feeling, surely it is no trifling wound, to be oblig'd to give a worthy man a hand, without a heart.

Fel.

Come, come, hope well—and do not tor­ment your mind any further;—let us retire to your chamber, and, while we wait Rosa's return, I'll try to raise your spirits, with your favourite song.

Hon.

My sweet friend, I fear the cold regard, I shall pay, will ill deserve such a kind, and agree­able offer;

In vain we seek relief from outward things,

'Tis from within alone sort quiet springs.

[Exeunt.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.

ACT II. SCENE I.

SCENE, a Market-place.
Enter ANTONIO, and SANCHO, in Riding-Suits.
SANCHO.

WHAT a confounded pace we have come! but you are always the same, sir. You proceed in the attack of a mistress, with as much vigour, and activity, as you storm a garrison.

Ant.

Dispatch is the soul of every undertaking: I hate all that savours of coldness, and delay. In a pursuit, so insipidly carried on, the spirits relax, and, tho' you gain your ends, you scarce relish the success.—What do you smile at, Sancho?

San.

You expect the truth, sir?

Ant.

You know I do. I cannot brook falshood, even in the veriest trifles; lest the mind be insen­sibly led on to practise it in material affairs, and thereby entail on itself such a reproach, as most disgraces manhood.

San.

Why then, sir, I smiled at the oddity of your amours. First, to fall in love with one you hardly ever saw; and then, make such haste to marry one, you never saw. We poor mortals have another method.

Ant.

Your reflections, like those of the world in general, are too hasty and superficial; not know­ing my motives, you wonder at my conduct. How many faultless characters, thro' too severe, and premature conclusions, have had a shade drawn over them, which time, and reason, have, at last, wholly removed!

San.

Sir, I ask pardon, if I have offended,

Ant.
[Page 18]

You cannot easily offend. You have gain'd on my temper, and won an indulgence, which your courage and fidelity well deserve.

San.

But, sir, you are earlier, than you ex­pected, by an hour almost.

Ant.

'Tis true.

San.

Then suppose, sir, you return to the post­house, and lay aside these unnecessary implements for walking; then, if you please, you may relieve your legs a little more; I can stay in the house, to be ready, when Ernesto comes, according to your orders.

Ant.

I like your counsel well—follow me.

[Exeunt.
SCENE, a Street representing the House where FLORIO dwells.
Enter, from his House, FLORIO, with GUZMAN, both cloaked.
Flo.

Come, Guzman, now we may venture to quit our dens, take a little fresh air, and begin chace.

Guz.

Chace! now the sun is set. Of what, sir? Owls, or bats? Call you this making love?—'Tis much more like making war—marching all night in arms, as if we were going to beat up the enemies quarters, on a forlorn hope.

Flo.

Would not you venture as much for Rosa?

Guz.

No, in good faith, sir, I shall venture enough, if I marry her; I'll run no hazards be­fore hand.

Flo.

That's from your fear, not your prudence.

Guz.

Sir, you may call it what you please, but I dare boldly say, there lives not a more valiant man in the world, than myself, while danger keeps at distance; but when faucily it presses on me, [Page 19] then, I confess, I have a certain tenderness for life, which checks my ardour, and inclines my prudence to make a timely retreat.

Flo.

How civil your stile is to yourself!—and how prettily you soften that harsh word, cowar­dice!—but, I think, I have seen your valour pleas'd to run away, when danger has not been so very pressing.

Guz.

It may not have appear'd so, sir, to com­mon eyes; but I have such a piercing sight, that I can discover perils at a greater distance than any man in Spain.—Other people (poor souls!) not be­ing blessed with such perspicuity, do not descry dangers, time enough to shun 'em, and then their struggling is by the injudicious world called cou­rage.

Flo.

A man truly valiant will always remain so.

Guz.

A man wisely valiant will avoid all the danger he can.

Flo.

You have more light, than heat, I'll allow, Guzman. But your humour, and honesty, make amends for your want of courage.

Guz.

I have courage enough for the profession my parents design'd me for.

Flo.

What was: that?

Guz.

A lawyer. I could have put on rare an­ger in my client's sight, and, when he was gone, have hugged the advocate of the opposite party; and, if I don't mistake, sir, those gentry sell their breath, much dearer than you gentlemen soldiers sell your blood; 'tis true, you get honour—a fine light food, for delicate appetites!—yet I have known some captains of plain stomachs fast upon it.

Flo.

The knave's right—but how I trifle time! What's this to my embarrassments in love?—How shall I contrive to hear from my Honoria?—Shall I venture to my old haunts?—I dare not—To what purpose should I, unless she were pre-advised of [Page 20] it? This last unhappy accident! left to solitude, and thought—and that loaded with the disagree­able reflection of having shed another's blood!—which (tho' it chanced in self-defence) my reason, and education, will not let me easily digest.—Yet, Honoria! she must be mine; and I will leave no peril unencounter'd, to obtain her.—If, after all, I fail—if I must lose her, at least, I will deserve her.

Enter ANTONIO, and SANCHO.
Ant.

I am tired with waiting.

San.

He cannot be long now, sir, surely.

Ant.

I'll take another minute's turn—go you back to the inn, and wait me there—

[Exit San.]

I scarce can tell the name of any place, I see. 'Tis so long, since I was in this city, I have lost all my measures of it.

Flo.

Do my eyes cheat me, or is that my com­rade, when I first bore arms? My friend Antonio? If it be he, as sure it must, I cannot dread to know him.

Ant.

Florio!

Flo.

My honour'd friend!—

Ant.

You were too long in recollecting me—Your friendship cannot cool?

Flo.

Never—but your presence here, so unex­pected, made me disbelieve my sight.—When came you to town?

Ant.

I just now arrived.

Flo.

I rejoice to see you; but should have thought it more likely to hear of you at court, pursuing the recompence due to your deserts.

Ant.

An employment I am neither fond, nor capable of. I cannot sue, even for my right. 'Tis my-ambition to merit, but not solicit reward. The dignity of honour suffers in it. If praise, and advancement, do not follow our services, we [Page 21] must learn to pay ourselves, by a noble contempt of worldly favours.

Flo.

A severe rule indeed, which virtue pre­scribes to herself!—to be so backward in claiming a reward, she is so eager to deserve.

Ant.

By no means. She is more hurt in being reduced to beg reward, than she can be in the want of it—Besides, a true subject hazards his life in the service of his king and country, for the advancement of their honour and interest solely; he, who does it with a view to his own, deserves neither praise, nor reward.

Flo.

The same great, and generous spirit, as ever. I honour the day, which introduced me to the knowledge of so much worth.

Ant.

What merit I have, I can but faintly call my own—I inherit it from a father, whose example of courage, and integrity, it had been scandalous in a son not to have imitated.

Flo.

This is my house, at present, Antonio—Will you honour it, by calling it your's? Tho' you must excuse many deficiencies in your enter­tainment. I am but in an ill condition, at pre­sent, to receive the honour of such a guest; hav­ing, by an unhappy accident, been obliged, lately, to change my usual place of residence, and keep myself concealed.

Ant.

Concealed!—but that is for a future hour, and more suitable place.—I must however decline your kind offer a while, being forced to remain hereabouts, lest I should miss the return of one, whom I sent to my brother-in-law's.

Flo.

You surprize me—Have you a brother-in-law in Seville?

Ant.

I have. I came hither a married man, as far as friends could make me.

Flo.

Since then it so imports you not to miss your servant, I will keep you company here, 'till [Page 22] his arrival; then lead you to some refreshment.—You have had a tedious and perilous campaign in Flanders.—I long, methinks, Antonio, to hear some account of your actions therein, of which fame speaks loudly, but not distinctly.—Could you not oblige me, while you are waiting for your ser­vant—

Ant.

Excuse me—I cannot—if there be any merit in my behaviour, my own breath would fully it—if not, the report is not fit for a friend's ear.—But if you chuse to fill up the time, I'll give you an adventure of mine, which, I fancy, will repay your attention.

Flo.

You will oblige me.

Ant.

And, when 'tis finished, you will wonder how, with such a prepossession in my heart, I should be induced to come here, to marry a stranger.

Flo.

Your preface awakes my curiosity—to the story, I beseech you.

Ant.

On the evening, following that glorious day, whereon the Duke of Alva gain'd such dis­tinguish'd reputation, I was dispatch'd with some horse, to cover the Limbourg frontiers, which were too much exposed to the enemy's inroads.—We were scarce arrived, when I receiv'd intelligence, that a party of them (about 200 cavalry) were newly lodged in a village, three leagues off. We instantly sounded to horse, and, not to trouble you with particulars, so great was our expedition, that, by day-break, their quarters were on fire.

Flo.

You experienced the utility of your own maxim, that diligence in execution is the mistress of success.

Ant.

Our foes made but faint resistance—some were slain,—some fled to give alarm to their re­serves in quarters remote.—The tumult nigh over. I [...] to a lofty structure, supposing it [Page 23] was their leader's quarter—with intention to pre­serve him from the soldier's rage, and his build­ing from the fire—but what was my surprize, when, entering a pavilion in the garden, I beheld a woman of a matchless form stretched on the marble floor!

Flo.

Your heart suffered then, I am sure—Pity and bravery always dwell together.

Ant.

I felt, what I cannot describe—tho', at first, I believ'd her dead, yet her appearance inspir'd me with such awe, and reverence, that I could not, without trembling, venture to approach her.—I knelt, and raised her in my arms, when strait a sigh stole from her. I knew it not for a sound of grief, while it was a sign of life. At last, she open'd her lovely eyes, and beam'd such looks (spite of her sad situation) as I had ne'er expe­rienced. Awhile I was held mute with wonder, and delight, when a poniard fell from her fair hand—as if she only wanted arms asleep, and waking trusted to her eyes.—My sensations en­creased each moment;—when I recover'd power to speak, I said—I know not what—It was all extasy, yet it had its rise in sincerity.—She endea­vour'd to reply, but could not—yet she looked such sweet surprize—such gratitude—tho' mixed with fear—

Flo.

I am all impatience.

Ant.

I renewed my ardent professions—offer'd my life for the recovery of her's—I labour'd to know her story—The crimson in her cheeks seemed reviving, and her speech returning, when a sud­den loud blast of trumpets, and outcry of my men, alarmed me. They were charged with squadrons of fresh horse, whom the fugitives had called from neigbouring villages. I longed to stay with her—I panted to be with them—my powers, for a time, were suspended—but awaking [Page 24] to that sense of honour, from which no claim should alienate a soldier, I tore myself away. The situation of my mind added to my usual heat—I was desperate in fight, and sustained so many wounds, that I swooned with loss of blood, while my soldiers compleated the victory, and brought me off.

Flo.

I feel for you in all.

Ant.

My outward wounds were slight, and quickly healed; but those within, deep, and still so [...]ly bleeding. My heart, and happiness seem'd utterly to have forsaken me. My enquiries after her were vain, and I returned to my post in the army, loaded with the despair of ever seeing her again, from whom my aff [...]ctions can never stray.

Flo.

You have, indeed, given me cause for concern, as well as wonder.—So engaged, how comes this strange marriage? From what induce­ments? Your mind is above the general tempta­tions of the world.

Ant.

From duty, gratitude, and justice—Long before this event, I was contracted to the lady, whom I now come to marry, by the Marquis D'Oliverc, whose patronage and friendship, from my infancy, would render my disobedience to a re­commendation of his highly improper.—Besides, when he first proposed this match, my heart was wholly disengaged—now there is no retracting.

Flo.

A strange, and perplexing adventure truly!—yet may I not ask who the lady is in Seville, that is destined to call so much merit her's?

Ant.

To you I have no reserve—she is the sister of—

Enter ERNESTO hastily—FLORIO, starting, retires, and muffies himself in his clock.

Only my servant.

Flo.
[Page 25]

Guzman—Guzman! beg Antonio to dispatch him quick.

[Guzman whispers
Ant.

Presently—Well, Ernesto, what news?

Ern.

I have delivered your letter, sir, into your brother-in-law's own hands—He seemed concerned at the uncertainty of your time of arriving; which I, in some measure, removed, assuring him, you would undoubtedly see him this night. He kisses your hands, and expects you with impatience. This letter contains his full meaning—As to your bride, sir—the most accomplish'd creature!—

Ant.

You have seen her then?

Ern.

My being of your train gave me the privi­lege of a domestick, to see her in her chamber­dress, without a veil; which, o'my conscience, I think, could only be contrived to cover faults, or hide beauties.

Ant.

Is she so handsome?

Ern.

I never saw such another, sir—such a shape! such eyes!—your Brussels-beauties, that you used to brag of so, are nothing to her.—Fortune shall chuse me a wife—I'll have no concern with love, or judgment.—But I'll say no more, sir.—Only see her—This master-key, sir, delivered by your brother with great dignity, you are desir'd to re­ceive, as an earnest of that interest and authority, with which you are invested in the family, on the intended alliance. It commands all the apart­ments prepar'd for your reception—a seperate quarter, that opens on St. Vincent's street—nobly furnished indeed!

Ant.

Enough—You'll find Sancho here in the post-house; send him off with my things, and do you wait for me.

[Exit Ernesto.
Guz.

There's some ill near, when this bird ap­pears—she's ominous.

[Page 26] Enter ROSA hastily.
Rosa.

Where's your master, Guzman?

Guz.

Don't you see him?—You've liv'd too long unmarried.

Rosa.

Sir, something in private—requires haste—

Flo.

What now? more misfortunes?

Rosa.

The tablets will instruct you, Sir.

Guz.

You're not going, Rosa?—stay for an answer—

Rosa.

'Tis a command, not a question, puppy.

Guz.

Short and sweet, Rosa!

Flo.

Distraction!—Will you permit me to re­tire a moment?

Ant.

By all means—I'll wait upon you in, and stay your leisure.

[Florio, Antonio, and Rosa, go into Florio's house.
Guz.

Ay, I was sure it was some disaster, it came so hastily and unsought for. Some command from our heroine—I'll be hanged, if it don't end in fighting. My mind's prophetic in these matters—People of their rank generally make love by wrote, and it never fails to end in mischief. Those little black books raise more devils, and destructi­on, than all the conjurer's circles in the universe—Curse o'the inventer of that damn'd artifice of paint­ing words, and talking to our eyes!—If I were to have a hundred daughters, not one of them should ever learn to read or write.—'Tis a quick dispatch, for here she comes again.

Enter ROSA, with a letter.

What not a word, Rosa?—a kind Glance, at least—grown cruel!

Rosa.
[Page 27]

This is no time for fooling.

Guz.

Nay, if you're in your airs—tho' now I think on't better, I will do the honors of our street, and see you to the end of it. I hate being unpolite.

Rosa.

Pry'thee, let go—I shall be well helped up with such a squire as you. If some wandering knight should offer to take your damsel, what would you do?

Guz.

Use no weapon, but a torch—throw aside your veil and shew him your face, and that would guard us both.

Rosa.

D'ye think it would frighten him then?

Guz.

No, charm him, Rosa,

Rosa.

Well, such as it is, I'll venture it, without endangering your well-known valour.

[Exit Rosa—Guzman returns to the house.
Scene changes to the inside of FLORIO's house.
Enter FLORIO, followed by ANTONIO.
Ant.

I must not be denied.

Flo.

You must.

Ant.

I will not.—The disorder and confusion in your looks, the hurry of your spirits, all convince me, some danger attends your undertaking—

Flo.

None, that a friend like you, shall share.

Ant.

Has Florio then forgot, or dares he violate the laws of holy friendship? Have you not often shar'd my griefs, and perils, and must I be denied?—Why arrogate the glory to yourself?

Flo.

At any time, but this—Your business here in Seville was to seek happiness, not misery. I cannot bear to be your obstacle—Leave me, my friend, I beg.

Ant.

I cannot—dare not leave you thus—some desperate engagement calls you—my happiness [Page 28] can but be postpon'd, not destroyed. And think you I could enjoy it, could relish any bliss, loaded with the reflection, that I had abandon'd my friend, when most he needed my assistance?

Flo.

I could forego my own enjoyments, but cannot hazard yours.

Ant.

You dare not trust me with the business.

Flo.

Think you my refusal can arise from dis­trust of my Antonio's heart?—Read there.

[Gives him the tablets. Antonio reads.
Ant.

"Unless you can venture to be under the summer-house-window, at nine this evening, expect no more to see, or hear from her, whose heart your constancy has merited. Yet reflect on your situation, and come not unattended by a trusty friend, as you value our mutual peace."

Ant.

What opposes your union?

Flo.

A tyrant-brother, whose enmity to me (sprung from ill grounded suspicion, and revenge) is so increased by a late accident, which I'll tell you at a fitter time, that he seeks all occasions to de­stroy our loves, and reach my life.

Ant.

Enough—I see the exigence—Obey your mistress's injunction—You cannot want that friend, while I am near.—Wrong me not, Florio, by ano­ther refusal.—I will partake your difficulties, or here ends an intercourse, which friendship has sanctified for years.

Flo.

Your generous mind will be obeyed—tho' 'tis with reluctance I accept the aid I glory in.

Ant.

No formal speeches—to the business—the lady waits—time calls—I cannot be happy, till you are so—Our joys must be mutual, or they are incompleat;

He basely injures friendship's sacred name,
Who reckons not himself and friend the same.

ACT III. SCENE I.

SCENE the Garden, and Summer-house, of HENRIQUEZ.
HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA, discover'd up in the Summer-house.
HONORIA.

THE appointed hour is near, cousin.

Fel.

I should suppose it come, 'tis night already.

Rosa.

And, thanks to kind stars, sufficiently dark.

Fel.

Thanks to kind clouds you wou'd say,

Rosa;

for stars, on this occasion, wou'd not much befriend us—My dear Honoria, rouze yourself; don't flinch, now you are come to the field of action: such schemes as these are the only means a woman has to shew her spirit; and, on my con­science, I verily believe 'tis only the want of op­portunity to shew ourselves, that makes the fool­ish world charge us with want of courage.

Hon.

You will be careful then, my sweet girl; you, and Rosa, will watch very narrowly above; for if my hot-brain'd brother should surprize us—

Flo.

Let us alone to play the centinels—I'll warrant—

Rosa.

I'm confident, madam, he's abroad, and won't return in a hurry: for I heard him say he shou'd pass part of the evening at the corregidor's, and you know he never comes from thence very early.

Hon.
[Page 30]

But in the present state of his mind, de­termin'd as he is on the immediate ruin of my peace, and expecting Antonio every hour, there is no answering for him—Wou'd Florio were come!

Enter FLORIO, ANTONIO, and GUZMAN, in Cloaks, with drawn Swords.
Ant.

Is it not rather too early in the evening for adventures of this nature?

Guz.

I think 'tis always so.

[Aside.
Flo.

'Tis the exact hour she appointed.

Ant.

How dark 'tis grown o' th' sudden! not a single star to be perceiv'd!

Guz.

So much the better; when I fight, I de­sire to have no spectators of my courage.

[Aside.
Flo.

This darkness is popitious—may it but continue a little!—Antonio, I'll step before, and give the sign—you stay here, till you hear the door open, then come on, and follow me.—

Enter HENRIQUEZ and JUAN.
Hen.

The corregidor's house is indeed noble, and the gardens elegantly laid out.

Juan.

The walks and fountains so entice me, I weary myself, before I am able to leave 'em.

Hen.

We have out-stay'd our time, we'll there­fore take the shorter way home; the back door of my garden is at hand. How dark it is!

Hon.

Not yet! I fear the rising moon, and that wou'd betray all.

[Florio strikes on the hilt of his sword.]

I think I hear the usual signal. Who's there?

Flo.

'Tis I.

Hon.

You are not alone, I hope.

Flo.

No, I am doubly guarded.

Guz.

Not that you know of.

[Aside▪
Hon.
[Page 31]

'Tis well,—I'll open the door immediately.

Hen.

I think we shou'd be near the garden gate now.

Flo.

She must be ready, by this time; why dost thou breathe so short, coward?

Guz.

Either I spy more than ourselves, or else my fears do.

Flo.

I think so too; I'll walk aside, till they are gone, to avoid suspicion.

Guz.

So will I, to avoid danger; I have grop'd out a tree, they shan't say I leave the field however.

[GUZMAN climbs the tree.]
[the door is unlock'd.
Juan.

Sure, I heard a door open.

Hen.

I thought so too—At this late hour! what can it mean? it cannot sure be mine!

Ant.

The door open'd; where are you, friend?

Hon.
[At the door]

What stay you for?

Hen.

By hell it is, for that's Honoria's voice.

Juan.

Patience, a moment; and you'll make a clearer discovery; stand a little aside.

Hon.

My love! is it you?

Ant.

Not he, whom you expect, lady, but a friend who—

Hon.

Not he! who art thou then? and what shadow is that?

Hen.

I can contain no longer; vile woman, I am thy destiny, and his mortal enemy.

Ant.

My mortal enemy!

Hen.

Yes, villain, thy life shall answer this at­tempt upon my honour.

Ant.

Vain man! the life, thou threat'nest, is guarded by a trusty sword.

[fight.
Flo.

Clashing of swords! my friend's in danger.

[advances.
Hen.

More of your crew! Ho, Sylvio—Geraldo, Jaques—thieves!—assassins!

Juan.

Bring torches—ho! [Felicia and Rosa leave the summer-house.

Guz.
[Page 32]

Their swords clatter bravely in the dark.

Hen.
[Falls]

I've lost my sword—

Juan.

What, are you hurt?

Hen.

I know not.

[the moon rises
Flo.

What, d'ye give back? you will not easily evade our just resentments, now the rising moon assists us.

Hon.

Now I see him; oh my love, what shall we do? my brother will sacrifice me to his revenge.

Flo.

Trust to my honour; I'll redeem you from his cruelty, or perish. Where's my brave friend?

Ant.

By your side; away—I'll secure your re­treat.

[Exeunt Florio, Honoria, and Antonio.
Guz.

Yonder's my master victorious, and march­ing off with his fair prize—Huzza! I'll down, and join the triumph.

[Exit.
Hen.

No no, tis but a scratch!

Juan.

But while I have been engaged to succour you, the villains have escap'd; they were afraid of the light—lean on my arm.

Hen.

I scorn assistance—I am yet able to revenge my injuries;—I will go seek the wicked cause—

Juan.

Be moderate, however, when you meet her.

Hen.

Moderate!—

Juan.

Or you will never make discovery who these people were, nor what their intent. Hear what I have to offer; go in, and make a cool en­quiry—fie! how unseemly is this fury!—I will, mean while, endeavour to trace these villains to their dens.

[Exit after them.
Hen.

Well, well—I'll try—oh! this ungrateful girl!

[Exit at the garden-gate.
[Page 33] Scene changes to the City.
Enter FLORIO, and ANTONIO, with HONORIA—At a little Distance, GUZMAN, and, after him, JUAN.
Ant.

Fear not, madam, we will defend you against all attempts.

[Exeunt.
Guz.

Yes, yes, there they go—and here's An­tonio, bringing up the rear; they're but just before, sir; my master is bearing her off most gallantly; don't lose sight of me, and you're secure.

[Exit.
Juan.

He takes me for one of his own party; his mistake will enable me to harbour them.

[Exit.
SCENE, Apartments in HENRIQUEZ's House.
Enter FELICIA, and ROSA.
Fel.

I am terrified out of my senses—What can have been the issue?

Rosa.

Heaven knows, ma'am; they may be all kill'd; when we return'd to the summer-house, all was silent; not a soul there. She's lost, at best.

Fel.

'Tis possible, that, in her fright, she ran to her own apartment, by the other stair-case.—Let's go see—

Rosa.

Stop, stop, madam; there's a light, and Don Henriquez with his sword drawn—What shall we do?

Fel.

Step aside, behind this door, and listen to his intentions.

Enter HENRIQUEZ, and JAQUES with Lights.
Jaques.

Not to be found, indeed, sir; we have search'd every room.

Hen.
[Page 34]

Infamous, abandon'd woman! to cast so deep a stain upon our honour; if I find her, I'll sacrifice her blood to the manes of her offended parents.

Rosa.

Hear you, madam?

[Aside.
Fel.

I do, and tremble.

[Aside.
Hen.

Where's her woman, villain? Why don't you call her?

Jaques.

Rosa! Rosa!

Rosa.

Defend me! What am I to say? Here, sir.

Hen.

Where's your mistress?

Rosa.

Sir, she told me, about half an hour since, she would go—

Hen.

Quick—

Rosa.

Into the garden, sir.

Hen.

Ay, then my disgrace is certain, 'tis pub­lick, and perpetual infamy is my portion.—This the reward for all my cares!—my incessant tor­ments!—daily cautions!—hourly admonitions! A man had better have to rule beasts of prey, than women—they have not half their designs—their cruelty—ingratitude! She hath buried my heart in sorrow, and engraven dishonour on the tomb of her ancestors.—She stole away!—her accomplices escaped!—and no means of revenge to be found! Oh! that creatures, which are but feathers in the scale of our enjoyments, shou'd add such weight to our anxieties and torments!

Enter JUAN.
Juan.

Don Henriquez—I have done wonders in your behalf, for so short a time—

Hen.

Tell me—tell me—I burn with impa­tience—

Juan.

I have harbour'd the whole gang.

Hen.

You revive me.—

Juan.

Have mark'd the very house.—

Hen.
[Page 35]

How—Where?—gratify me, quick——

Juan.

I soon discover'd some, whom I suspected to be the villains; but unable singly to attack 'em, I kept a little distance, to observe which way they took, when one of their party, who was be­hind the rest, confirm'd me in my suspicions; mistaking me for one of his own crew, he bade me come on, saying his master was but just before—

Hen.

Good! good!

Juan.

We had not pass'd above two streets, before he stopp'd; and at the second house beyond the church in St. Jago's street, he enter'd, and bid me follow—

Rosa.

The house, where Don Florio is con­ceal'd, madam.

[Behind.
Juan.

I stopping to observe it well, he grew aware of having spoke to a stranger, ran into the house, and lock'd the door. I notic'd it particu­larly, and can't miss it.

Hen.

Then, ere this possibly they have escaped.

Juan.

That is not likely; Where else can they take refuge, at this time of night, in Seville? No—no—we have them safe, I'll engage.—

Hen.

You have given me new life; let me but enjoy my revenge, and, tho' the next moment were my last, I cou'd die contented. Call all my servants—I will besiege that impious dwelling; I'll reduce that theatre of my disgrace to ashes.

Juan.

Again in these mad fits! for shame, con­sult your reason; how wild and impracticable were the attempt, to assail a house at this time of night in a well govern'd city! it would only expose your person and fortune to the rigour of the law, pub­lish your dishonour, and frustrate your revenge for ever.

Hen.

And wou'd you have me tamely stay, till these ruffians, who have invaded my house, af­fronted [Page 36] my person, and stole my sister, may escape my vengeance?

Juan.

Be but rul'd by me, I'll shew you the surest and nearest way to gain it; I'll instantly to the corregidor's, for the aid of his authority, to secure them for the present, and to-morrow give 'em up to the law.

Hen.

Away—away—Conceive you I will wait such slow decisions? Submit a personal injury to the tame formal law? Oh! no; my honour chal­lenges redress from my own arm.

Juan.

Honour consists in reason, and in justice, not in frantick violence—that only is your idol. I pray be calm—reflect—all my design is but to conceal the shame, till we have the villains in our power; which cannot be brought about, by any means, so sure, as by demanding justice against the assaulters of your house and person; trust to my conduct; I'll be speedier than you can think, and bring you satisfaction instantly.

[Exit.
Hen.

Cou'd you fly, you wou'd move too slow for my desires—Oh! how tedious are the moments measur'd by revenge!

Rosa.
[Behind.]

I'll venture, tho' I perish, ma'am, and give her warning of their designs; I'm sure, she's there,—this house is in such confusion, I can run, without being miss'd.

Fel.

Fly, brave girl! and I'll retire to Honoria's chamber, till your return.

[Exit Fel. and Rosa.
Hen.

Yet why? Why am I to be controul'd by other's wills? Why rul'd by other's counsels? Are not my own discretion, and wisdom, sufficient arbi­tors? I'll after, and, at all events, sacrifice the destroyers of my glory; I'll hunt them out, tho' they were buried in the center; or failing, I will withdraw me from the world. Insulted and expos'd, I cannot submit myself an object of pub­lick [Page 37] ridicule, and contempt; much less, can I bear the sight of him, who will expect a spotless sister at my hands.

Enter GERALDO.
Ger.

Sir, Don Antonio is just arriv'd—

Hen.

Who, villain, who?

Ger.

Don Antonio, sir, your brother-in-law; Sylvio has conducted him to my lady's antecham­ber, and bade me give you notice of it.

Hen.

There my shames begin—there they strike deep—this circumstance alone was wanting to compleat my infamy—What shall I say? What do? He'll ask me for his wife—can I tell him, she is—Oh! cursed woman! where shall I find a heart, a tongue, a voice, a face—

Ger.

Your commands, sir—'tis possible, Don Antonio may think it long.—

Hen.

Plague, and the devil!—why tell him—tell him—say you can't find me.

[Exit Ger.]

I will avoid him; I'll hide myself, 'till he's gone—I cannot bear to see him—when he finds no one here to entertain him, he may leave the house offended: let him, with my whole heart; I will undergo any censure, rather than be the reporter of my own disgrace.

[Exit.
SCENE, the Antechamber to HONORIA's Apartments.
Enter ANTONIO and ERNESTO.
Ant.

My friend, and his mistress, safely lodg'd, I may now attend to my own engagements. Yet this strange usage perplexes me; suff'ring me to wait thus long, on my first arrival!

Ern.
[Page 38]

I swear, I am amaz'd, sir. 'Tis not above two hours, since I saw a numerous family here, and, to all appearance, well order'd; now the pages bolt out of their doors, then start back into their holes, like rabbits in a warren; the maids too, as we enter'd, were all peeping out of the garret windows, like the upper tier of ordnance in a ship—all disorder! but here comes the servant, you sent in.—

Enter GERALDO.
Ant.

Friend, where's your master?

Ger.

I can't tell, indeed, sir, he's not to be found.

Ant.

Where's his sister?

Ger.

Truly, I don't know, sir; we men-ser­vants have little concern with the lady's quarters.

[Exit.
Ant.

Humph!—are you sure, Ernesto, you have not brought me to a wrong house?

Ern.

If you are sure we are awake, sir, then am I certain this is the very house wherein, this after­noon, I saw and spoke both with Don Henriquez and your bride; by the same token, there was a lady with her in a veil; and this identical room is the antechamber to your bride's apartment.

Ant.

Then, what can all this mean? I dare not suppose the Marquis wou'd be so importunate to have me sacrific'd to such a creature, as her own brother is asham'd to shew me.

Ern.

Don't fear, sir,—you may soon be set right, in that point; for yonder I see her in the inner room, lying on her couch, and reading: tho' her face is turn'd the other way, I'll swear to her shape, and cloaths.

Ant.

Are you quite certain it is she?

Ern.

There are not many like her, sir.

Ant.
[Page 39]

Since you are sure, I'll venture in, with­out her brother's introduction.

Ern.

Soft, sir, she saves you the trouble, and is coming this way.

Enter FELICIA, with a Book.
Fel.

In short 'tis to no purpose, my concern for Honoria robs me of all attention.

[Throws the Book away.
Ant.

Heavens! that lovely form, which, fear­ing my revolt, appears to prove my constancy and truth.

Fel.

Defend me! who is this? Does my mind bear false witness, or am I enchanted?

Ant.

If it be but a vision—

Ern.

Dear! dear! what fit of frenzy is this? Why, sir, 'tis Honoria—no vision—but a lovely living woman, and your destin'd bride.

Fel.

'Tis he indeed! I'm all amazement—

Ant.

The blessing is too mighty for my faith.

Ern.

Oh! never consult faith about it, sir; ap­proach, and trust your sense.

Fel.

And does he come to wed Honoria? This her intended husband? What mystery is this, and how to be unravell'd?

Ant.

If yet Antonio be not quite forgot—

Fel.

The servant's error has misled him; he takes me for Honoria; how shall I act? Had I not better, for her sake, still favour the deceit? So gain some time, till she returns, or hear how she is dispos'd of! It shall be so—I'll trespass a few moments on the hazard of Henriquez's com­ing to undeceive him, sound Antonio's sentiments, then get off as well as my heart will let me.

[Aside.
Ant.

Thou dear resemblance of her, whom my soul doats on, in pity, speak—Say, art thou that [Page 40] lovely maid, to whom I once presum'd to pay the truest vows of love?

Fel.

I am, Antonio, that very she, whose safety, and whose honour, you made your generous care; and to whom you paid some hasty vows of love.

Ant.

And is it possible, that fortune has com­pleated, what affection began?

Fel.

I cannot but acknowledge she has been peculiarly propitious to you; and I shou'd make an ill return to those vows, did I not con­gratulate you on the blind Goddess's amazing bounty, that has given you, in the wife to whom you have engag'd yourself, the only woman you can love.

Ant.

No doubt my conduct may seem strange, yet hear me speak—

Fel.

And swear again eternal love—and breath again those ardent protestations, which were in­tended for me alone, and not to be transferr'd to an unknown fair?—

Ant.

By my hopes of future happiness, I vow, that, long ere I beheld those eyes—

Fel.

We have not time for explanations now; a further conference wou'd be improper, till my brother's sanction has allow'd our interview.

Ant.

Leave me not, dearest lady, in this uncer­tainty—give me the smallest hope, that you have ever thought your servant worthy a remembrance; then, if I cannot justify myself, discard, despise me utterly.

Fel.

Esteem, that springs from gratitude, can­not easily decay—let that suffice; and, if you are the same Antonio, generous, and noble, as you first shew'd to me, when in my distress'd situation—But how am I transgressing? Honoria must act, as be­comes Don Henriquez's sister; in his absence, longer discourse wou'd be improper; our next meeting may be less restrain'd. [So, my mind is some­thing [Page 41] easier, and his penetrating Donship has not interrupted us.

[Aside.
[Exit.
Ant.

To that next meeting then will I look for­ward, and hope shall be my comforter, for that she did not deny me.—Perfection of prudence, as of loveliness! conscious that I can justify my­self in honour, and integrity, I have no doubt of happiness.

Enter HENRIQUEZ.
Hen.

Sure he has learn'd the whole, e'er this, and is gone to meditate revenge.

[Aside.
Ant.

Noble Don Henriquez—

Hen.

O curse! he's here still; I cannot fly him now.

[Aside.
Ant.

Amazement! avoid a friend that's come so long a journey to cast himself at your fair sister's feet!

Hen.

Ay, now the storm breaks—What shall I say to him?

[Aside.]

You may easily suppose, sir, I am somewhat disconcerted—that you shou'd find my house in such disorder—so unprepar'd for the honour of so brave a guest—

Ant.

I am indeed surpriz'd—beyond what I can express—I scarce imagin'd, Don Henriquez, your sister cou'd have been—

Hen.

Torture! plagues!

[Aside.]

—it is not in a brother's power, Antonio, to make a sister bet­ter, than—

Ant.

In your's it cannot be—I never saw a more accomplish'd creature.

Hen.

Ha! what means he?

[Aside.
Ant.

Notwithstanding your absence, I have just enjoy'd the happiness of an interview; she so far exceeds the rest of her sex I ever saw, her beauty, wit, and discretion, are so excellent, all favourable circumstances join to make me bless this meeting.

Hen.
[Page 42]

How am I to understand this? Can he be in earnest? I will, if possible, contain myself, and try to fathom this.

[Aside.]

You have then seen, and entertained my sister, sir?

Ant.

I have, and with such full delight, that I think all the pains and toils of my past life exqui­sitely rewarded in those few moments of her con­versation; I wish'd them to be prolong'd, but her discretion wou'd not suffer too long a visit, in your absence: and I cou'd not but adore the prudence, that robb'd me of such transcendant pleasure.

Hen.

I am more and more confounded.

[Aside.]

She might have spar'd that caution, sir, since with you—she knew my sentiments—wou'd I cou'd get him away!

[Aside.]

Shall I have the pleasure to conduct you to your chamber? I fear 'tis late, and you want rest.

Ant.

I cou'd not think of troubling you, nor indeed any one, at present, being oblig'd, late as it is, to see a friend, before I go to rest.

Hen.

Shall I attend you?

Ant.

By no means—I must not suffer it; I'll re­turn in an hour, at farthest.

Hen.

Take your own time; you're wholly mas­ter here.

Ant.

I thank you sir—adieu! [I never saw a man so discompos'd, whatever the matter is—Ernesto, bid Sancho attend me out, and stay you in my apartment till I return.]

[Aside.]
[Exit.
Hen.

How am I to interpret all this? One mys­tery breeds another; so delighted with her con­versation, so enamour'd of her form! he seem'd in earnest;—and then to make such a sudden sally abroad, after a long journey too, in a place where I shou'd suppose him an utter stranger, and not suf­fer me to accompany him—but I'll bear no more suspence; I'll to my sister's chamber, and unriddle the whole.

[Page 43] Enter JUAN.
Juan.

Come away, Don Henriquez; dispatch, all's prepar'd; our kinsman, the corregidor, waits you with a strong band of Alguazils.

Hen.

Hush! Don Antonio and his people are arriv'd—some one may overhear us—

Juan.

Has he discover'd your sister's absence?

Hen.

I don't know—I think not.—

Juan.

Away then, to recover her; we have not a moment to lose.

Hen.

Pray, stay a little: I labour with a doubt, will burst me, if not clear'd.

Juan.

Are you mad? Will you permit such vil­lains to escape, and laugh at us for ever? Now's your only time—they will depend on our lying quiet till morning—away—you must not stay an instant.

Hen.

Well, well—I go—I will—

Of all the ills, wherewith our lives are curst,
Suspence, and jealous fears, are far the worst.
[Exeunt.
END OF THE THIRD ACT.

ACT IV. SCENE I.

SCENE, FLORIO's House.
Enter HONORIA, FLORIO, and GUZMAN.
HONORIA.

WAS ever such a distressful mistake!

Flo.

Villain, thou hast ruin'd us; where was thy soul? Had fear utterly banish'd it? Left thee not a grain of common sense? And why did you not let me know it, as soon as we were come into the house?

Guz.

Lack-a-day, sir, what could you have done, if you had known it then?

Flo.

Have sallied out, rascal, and kill'd the rogue, in whose power thou hast put it to ruin us; e'er this, perhaps, he has acquainted Don Henriquez—and we may, every moment, expect the severest effects of rage, and malice, seconded by the appearance of justice—Curse on all cowards! better far be serv'd by fools, and knaves.

Guz.

Why, sir, is it my fault, that I am not a cat? How could I tell, in the dark, whether that rascal was a knight errant, or a knight recreant? I took him for a friend. Were it not for such accidents as these that mock man's forecast, the destinies would never have had a place among the deities.

Flo.

Peace, cowardly, sententious slave! but that I would not disgrace my sword with such base blood, thou should'st not have a moment to live.

Guz.

A thousand thanks then to my base blood, for saving my noble flesh.

[Aside.
Hon.
[Page 45]

For heav'n's sake, Florio, be pacified, and let us consider of some means to extricate ourselves; we must not stay here; my brother will be upon us instantly.

Flo.

To convey you safely hence is my only care; my own danger I regard not. I will my­self conduct you to some shelter from his barbar­ous temper.

Hon.

You should not, for the world. Think what would be the consequence, should you be found by the officers of justice; that would com­pleat our calamities.

Flo.

Run, rascal, and fetch a chair immediately.

Guz.

A pretty errand at this time of night! those rogues of chairmen are mighty good-natur'd; they're likely to obey a servant's orders, after eleven o'clock.

[Exit.
Flo.

But then, to hazard you alone!

Hon.

The danger in that is not half so terrify­ing, as being found here;—admit there were no cause to fear the sad effects of cruelty, and re­venge, yet being seen in your house would be in­terpreted into all that calumny could invent.

Flo.

Tho' the complexion of your brother's malice were as black as hell, it could not cast a stain on innocence like your's.

Hon.

Alas! my Florio, the unhappy are always in the wrong, and slander, once propagated, never dies. Why did I leave my brother's house? Why engage your love and tenderness in an adventure, that may prove your ruin?

Flo.

Depriv'd of you, I live but to be miserable.

Enter GUZMAN.
Guz.

The chair is come, sir, just as I expected.

Flo.

Where is it?

Guz.
[Page 46]

Ev'n where it was. The chairmen are so deeply engaged at cards, they swear they'll not stir for all the Dons in Seville.

Flo.

Rascals!—I'll have 'em, if I drag 'em hi­ther.

[Exit.
Hon.

My Florio, stay; what mean you? O heav'ns! he'll meet my enrag'd brother, and the officers; then I shall be utterly miserable—

Guz.

As much aversion as I have, madam, to throwing myself in harm's way, yet I am really so concern'd at the mistake I have made, that I almost wish I had endur'd a few blows, rather than have brought such a distress upon you—

Hon.

Prithee peace!

Enter ANTONIO, and SANCHO.
Ant.

Where is my worthy friend?

Guz.

Did not you meet him at the door, sir?

Ant.

No.

Guz.

He went out but just before you came in, sir.

Ant.

Madam, I could not think of seeking rest, till I had return'd to inform myself of your's, and my noble friend's state of mind; and to offer my future services, whenever you require them.

Enter ROSA, running.
Ros.

Oh! madam!

Hon.

Heav'ns, Rosa, you here!

Ros.

It's a mercy, I am here, madam—for, thro' fear of being traced, and my intelligence prevent­ed, I have taken so many strange, round-about turnings and windings, I almost lost myself.

Hon.

But what disaster brings you?

Ros.

A terrible one, madam,—you're found out, and pursued—Don Juan, by the help of the moon, and a mistake of some of your party, trac'd you to this house, and, in my hearing, informed your [Page 47] brother of the whole; who is coming with the cor­regidor and officers, to seize all that shall be found within these walls.

Hon.

O unfortunate!

Ros.

Away madam, or you're caught.

Hon.

What a torrent of woes am I plung'd in! my brother's cruel fury has, I doubt not, asperfed my name with infamy, ne'er to be wiped out.—

Ant.

Let the consciousness of your innocence make you bold, and defy worldly censures.—While your own heart approves, you're safe.—

Ros.

They'll be upon you, before you are aware, madam—

Hon.

That Florio should be absent!—and yet to wait his return—

Ros.

Would be madness, madam—

Ant.

Dare you venture yourself with me, ma­dam? Upon my honour, I'll protect you, or perish.

Hon.

My sad situation, sir, obliges me to trouble you, and your late conduct gives me confidence. With gratitude, I accept your offer.

Ant.

I am the obliged, madam. Guzman, go seek your master, and tell him the danger not al­lowing us to wait, I will convey his mistress to a nunnery.

[Exit Guz.]

Within religious walls she must be secure.

Hon.

And stay you, Rosa, to bring me word of his resolves.

Ant.

Hold! On recollection, they will not open the monastery gates, at this hour, without a strict enquiry, and that would equally betray us.—I have it—the happiest thought! I will convey you, madam, to my brother-in-law's. His quality and honour will be a sanction to you, and my wife will with pleasure pay the offices due to your vir­tue, and distress. The liberty, I take herein, I am confident they will approve and thank me for. Sancho, stay here, represent all this to Florio, and [Page 48] conduct him with the utmost caution and secresy to my apartment; happily I have the key—Ernesto sits up for me, so I shan't want it; and, for Florio's better security, tell him, 'tis my counsel that he comes in a chair.

Hon.

Continue here, dear Rosa, till you are as­sured what steps Florio takes; then return home, where I will find some means to send for intelli­gence. To what arts am I reduc'd by my dis­tresses!

Ant.

Let the reflection that you deserve them not, support you to endure them.

[Exeunt Antonio, and Honoria.
San.

Upon my soul, a very gallant compliment my master makes to your lady and her lover, to quit his brother-in-law's, and leave so sweet a bride as Honoria, alone!—

Rosa.

What, is his mistress's name Honoria, too?

San.

Yes, and if she had but as fair a hand­maid as yourself, I should soon forget our damsels in the Low Countries.

Enter GUZMAN.
Guz.

Is not my master return'd?

Rosa.

No.

Guz.

Nor I can't find him—A pretty pickle we are in!—Oons, methinks a man, who has but one grain of wit, wou'd never serve a lover; he had better serve a mountebank, and be run through the body twice a week, to recommend his balsam.—Our masters and mistresses have very prudently sneaked off, and left us to pay the reckoning—Ay, 'tis the same in all times and all places—so spoke the English poet—

Thus little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.
[Page 49] Enter FLORIO, and Chairmen with a Chair.
Flo.

Stay in the entry, till I call you. How now! where's Honoria?

Guz.

Fled away in the dark, sir, with a young man of your acquaintance.

Flo.

Villain, leave fooling.

Guz.

There's none in the case, sir—She never did wiser—had she staid your return, she had fall­en into those clutches which will immediately gripe you, if you don't make off; Rosa has ran, till she had little breath left, to tell you the corregidor and alguazils are coming to apprehend all in this house—so save yourself, sir—she's safe enough—Antonio has taken her to a nunnery.

Flo.

A nunnery, slave!—there she's lost to me for ever—When once they are inform'd of these transactions—

Rosa.

Be pacified, sir, it was so design'd, at first.

San.

But mym aster has convey'd her, sir, to his brother-in-law's, whose credit and quality are so eminent, that the engaging him in your mutual protection, he doubts not, will much avail you—My master's bride, too, will assist to comfort her—I was ordered to wait o'purpose to inform you this; and if you will venture to follow them, to as­sure you, you may depend on a protection there also. I have the key of my master's apartments to conduct you privately; and he intreats you will go in a chair, to avoid being question'd, in case of any encounter by the way.

Flo.

My noble friend! with gratitude I embrace his counsel.

Guz.

Hollo! up with your burden, beasts, and fall into your half trot

[the chair brought, Florio gets into it]
[noise within.
Rosa.
[Page 50]

Heavens! we are all taken! sit still, sir, for your life.

Enter CORREGIDOR, JUAN, and ALGUAZILS.
Cor.

We have them safe.

Juan.

You find, sir, I was right.

Cor.

Some of you search the house throughout: see what servants there are beside those in the hall. Be quick—we wait you here

[Exeunt two Alguazils.
Guz.

This is one of Don Cupid's pretty jests: we are struck upon a rock before we put out to sea.—

Cor.

What are you, sirrah?

Guz.

A creature very like a man, sir, only I want a heart.

Cor.

You're pleasant, sir—Pray Heav'n your mirth continue!—Who is that woman veil'd?

Guz.

Let her answer for herself, if your worship pleases—She has a tongue; set it once a going, and she'll tell more than she knows.

Cor.

Uncover her face.

[an Alguazil goes to Rosa.
Juan.
[to the Alguazil]

Hold, friend!—Cousin, consider, should it be Honoria, 'twould be terrible to expose her here.

Cor.

'Tis just—go, then, and speak in private to her.

Rosa.
[to Juan, addressing her]

'Tis I, sir, Rosa, attending on my lady; I was commanded by her—

Juan.

Enough; I understand the rest, and pity her: bid her sit still; I'll do my best to save her from disgrace.

Rosa.

A lucky mistake: it may save Florio from the officers.

[Goes to the chair]

They take you, for my mistress, sir, sit close; I'll follow, and watch all occasions for your escape.

Juan.
[Page 51]

We have found our wandering nymph, sir.

Cor.

Was that Honoria?

Juan.

No, sir; her waiting-woman Rosa, fol­lowing the chair wherein they were conveying Ho­noria to some other place.

Cor.

We arrived luckily—had we staid a moment longer, they had all been fled.

1st. Alg.

Should we see who's in the chair, sir?

Cor.

No, forbear; the folly is punishment enough to a woman of her rank, without adding that of public disgrace—

Juan.

How singularly happy it was, that you persuaded Don Henriquez to expect us at your house!—Had he been a witness to this discovery, his fury had transgressed all bounds.

Cor.

'Tis true; and matters of this fort had bet­ter be reconciled by the mediation of friends, than either private resentments, or public trials—Who do you belong to, friend?

Guz.

To nobody.

Cor.

Do not you serve?

Guz.

I did; but my master has lost himself—

Cor.

Take his sword.

Guz.

Pardon me, sir—I will surrender it.—I cou'd not bear to be disarm'd by any hand but my own;—This is a weapon, I'd have you to know, of such dreadful execution, that I dare not draw it, but at the call of justice.—Sir, as soon as you reach home, please to hang it up in your hall, and write under it,

This is bold Guzman's sword; O may it be
Ever from rust, as 'tis from slaughter free!
Cor.

Thou'rt a pleasant fellow.

Guz.

Faith, sir, I never make myself uneasy for love, riches, or reputation—nor do I pretend to that great sublety of sense, to feel before I am [Page 52] hurt; and, for the most part, I keep out of harm's way—

Cor.

This fellow's an original.

Guz.

But of so ill a hand, sir, I am not worth hanging up among the worst of your worship's collection.

Enter Alguazils, with two Men and two Women Servants.
2d Alg.

An't please your worship, we search'd the ho [...]se from the cellar to the garrets, and these are all of the family to be found.

Juan.

These are most material—

Cor.

Take special care of this varlet, and the waiting-woman; we'll have the truth from them I'll warrant.

Rosa.

Must we be prisoners together, Guzman?

Guz.

It's not so bad as the bands of wedlock, Rosa.

Juan.

Hold! On reflection, we had better not carry Honoria home, till her brother's fury is abated; therefore, if you approve it, cousin, I'll take her to my house; as it is our desire to com­pose this business quietly, she will be in a kins­man's house with more decency and satisfaction, and will have, beside, my sister to accompany her; and further—

[They whisper.
Guz.

A lovely damsel they are bearing off!—some what hairy, 'tis true, about the chin, but that's a sign of strength. It tickles me to think how like an ass his worship will look, when he opens the shell, to find so rough a kernel.

[Aside.
Cor.

And the lights too?

Juan.

Yes, and your officers—take them all off. I have two of Don Henriquez's servants; we shall be enough to guard our prisoners, and dark­ness will suit us best. The more privacy, the [Page 53] safer will Honoria's reputation be. Cousin, good night.

Cor.

You propose well, sir—this business could not be in better hands than your's—There I'll leave it, and wish you a good night.—Officers, follow me.

[Exit, with Alguazils.
Juan.

You may go about your business, friends; I require none but these. Take up the chair, and follow these your guides.

[Exeunt.
Scene changes to Honoria's Anti-chamber, in Hen­riquez's House.
Enter ANTONIO, and HONORIA.
Ant.

Now that we are safely arriv'd within these walls, madam, dismiss your fears; please to re­main here till I bring lights, and acquaint Honoria with the happiness she will receive in entertaining so fair a guest.

Hon.

Acquaint whom, sir?

Ant.

My wife Honoria—a little patience—she will attend you.

[Exit.
Hon.

Is her name Honoria, too? Heaven pre­serve her from such distresses as attend her name­sake!—But where am I? so far from guessing the house, that, what with my fears, and darkness of the night, I can't conceive what quarter of the town it is: then we have taken so many turnings to avoid meeting my cruel brother, and his train;—but I trust in providence, I am now in a place out of his reach.

Enter ANTONIO with Lights; sets them on the Table.
Ant.

I now go, madam, to fetch my wife; your pardon a moment.

[Exit.
Hon.

And if, as this friendly man flatters me, [Page 54] I can but conciliate a friendship here—Save me! my brother's house!—this is the quarter joining to my own apartment—I cannot be mistaken—This the patronage and sarety I was promis'd!—false, false man—Yet to what end?—Why should he betray me? My Florio cou'd not mean—Oh, no, let me not think it—but that this man, who look'd like truth itself! to whom my Florio thought he could entrust his happiness and life—that he should be so base, to throw me into that danger it was my only care to shun!—All's over now—Struggling and hope alike are vain, and all my future life is misery.

[Weeps.
Enter ANTONIO, and FELICIA.
Fel.

Who can this lady be?

Ant.

It is, I confess, madam, a liberty, which I perhaps ought not to take so early, but the distress of her situation will best apologize to your generous heart—The lady—but she can best relate her story; I will go seek Don Henriquez, and en­gage his power and interest in her behalf.

[Exit.
Fel.

Madam, I—Heavn's—Honoria! Stay, stay Antonio—it is not fit Henriquez should be told—he's gone, and we are undone.

Hon.

Antonio, said you cousin? what mean you?

Fel.

Unlucky girl! you are fallen into your hus­band's hands—I have made such discoveries—

Hon.

O Heaven's!

Fel.

This is the man, to whom you are contrac­ted; and, to aggravate our perplexities, the very hero, who preserv'd my life, and honour; tho', I begin to fear, at the expence of my happiness.

Hon.

His behaviour, and motives, then are well explain'd—The man, to whom I was engag'd, has been a witness to my concealment, my shame—my passion for another—and he has used this means [Page 55] to bring me to my abandon'd home, that he and my unnatural brother, may wreak their cruel ven­geance on me.

Fel.

I am all amazement—How came you into his hands?

Hon.

My Florio, to whom he proves an intimate friend, entrusted me to his care; tho' till this mo­ment, I never heard his name;—that might have alarm'd me—but every slightest circumstance con­curs to ruin me.—

Fel.

But were you distracted, to let him bring you here, or blind, not to know your own house?

Hon.

How could I in such darkness, such fear, such confusion? beside, he brought me in the back way, thro' his own quarter, and had the lights put out, before he introduc'd me—Well, I am pre­par'd to suffer.

Fel.

Not in such haste, my dear girl—while there is life there is hope—I'll struggle to the last moment—Don't you remember the mistake Anto­nio's servant made this afternoon?

Hon.

Yes.

Fel.

Antonio' has done the same, in your absence; and, on your account, I did not disabuse him. He has renew'd his vows of love with equal ardour, as when he first saw me, and seem'd transported to discover his destin'd wife in the woman whom he rescued. There hangs your hope, and mine.

Hon.

Vain suggestion! What hope can we have, while this cruel contract remains such a bar to our general happiness?—Besides, he has seen my bro­ther by this time—the whole is out—and ruin cer­tain.

Fel.

Not so very certain, as you apprehend. Antonio's friendship to Florio, which induc'd him to-protect you, may yet—

Hon.

Friendship! dear Felicia, will that remain unshaken?—will that stand up against these strange [Page 56] events?—against the affront done to his honour? Oh! no—He is not what he was,—his mind, his principles are changed, and I am made the victim to his wrath—

Fel.

Antonio change! It is impossible. Tho' all felicity this world affords should bribe him, it could not tempt him to recede from his pledg'd faith, and honour.—

Hon.

I forgot her interest in him.—Pardon me, my dear Felicia. I scarce know what I say. My mind is wounded by the variety of my afflictions.

Fel.

My lovely girl!—excuse my warmth—but I must repeat my assertions—If we have yet a chance for happiness, 'tis founded in his steadiness and truth—The more I contemplate it, the more do my spirits and hopes revive. If you cou'd se­cure yourself from your brother, this night only, what between my hero and brother—

Hon.

But where secure myself?

Fel.

Steal home with me.

Hon.

How?

Fel.

By the secret door, thro' which you have so often pass'd, to meet your Florio—when last we used it, it was fatal; now it may be fortunate. Once escaped, get my brother's assent for this night's concealment, and ask his further advice, and assistance. I'll answer for him; he is gene­rous, and kind—My lover brave and wise—dry your eyes; O'my credit, you shall not weep, till you have more occasion.

Hon.

He's here again, cousin.

Fel.

Suppose we undeceive him—

Hon.

Undeceive him!—

Fel.

Yes—such a confidence, I am sure, must rivet him to our interests.

Hon.

For heaven's sake, be cautious. I yet have doubts of his conduct.

Fel.
[Page 57]

I have none. Our hopes in him will be made certainties hereby.

Hon.

You'll infallibly repent it—

Enter ANTONIO.
Ant.

Not yet return'd!—A guest in his house too, that's come so far on such a business! some­thing I can't comprehend—I have not yet been able, madam, to find your brother; but think it can't be long e'er he returns; then I'll inform him of the accident, which has made his house this lady's sanctuary.

Hon.

He persists in his mistake, I see.

[Aside.
Fel.

'Tis now time, Don Antonio, to inform you—

Enter HENRIQUEZ.
Hen.

I cou'd not wait at the corregidor's, tho' I promised; my impatience to unfold this riddle burns me up—that Don Antonio should entertain my sister when I was positive—By heav'n she's there, and Felicia with her!—were all my rascals mad, or was it a plot to insult me? and Don Juan! was he mad too? to swear he had trac'd her to another house? either I, or they, or all, must be possess'd—Some enchantment reigns here.

Ant.

Here is Don Henriquez—now I'll inform him, madam, of your sad story.

Fel.

Undone utterly!

[Aside.
Ant.

Don Henriquez—

Hon.

I shall sink.

[Aside.
Ant.

This lady, with your sister Honoria—

Hen.

I know her well, sir.

Ant.

Then you will the easier excuse my bold­ness.

Hen.

In what, sir?

Hon.
[Page 58]

Now it comes.

[Aside.
Ant.

That I have been the occasion of your finding her here, at this late hour.

Hen.

I understand you, sir; she is desirous to pass this night, with Honoria, and assist her in or­dering her nuptial ceremonies.—Ay, in heav'n's name, let her stay.

Fel.

Better than I expected. Courage cuz!

Ant.

But, sir, the necessity, that induces me to—

Hen.

Dear sir, can you suppose an apology ne­cessary for Honoria, and her kinswoman, passing a night together?

Ant.

Is she so near a relation of his? 'tis well I told no more of her story.

Hen.

She knows, I owe her for many favours, and hope to be able to repay them amply.

Hon.

There—can he speak his design much plainer?

[Aside to Fel.
Fel.

For that matter, the cap would fit me, as well as you.

[Aside.
Hen.

Since it is so late, sir, will you give the ladies leave to retire, for the present, to their own chamber? withdraw, Honoria.—

Hon.

Now Felicia!—

[Aside.
Fel.

I don't like this sudden calm—'tis but the fore-runner of another storm; let us fly to shelter.

Hon.

But how, while they remain in the

Aside.

room, thro' which we must pass?

Fel.

We must watch their departure—'tis probable, he'll wait on Antonio to his apart­ment, and we may take that opportunity to escape.

[Exeunt.
Ant.

I will now go see whether Sancho has yet brought Florio to my apartment.

Aside.

your pardon, sir, I will but step to my own chamber, and return immediately.

Hen.
[Page 59]

Shall I conduct you, sir?

Ant.

I know the way, I thank you, sir.—[There's something strange in his words, and behaviour, which indicates disguise and artifice. I must see it expounded.

[Aside]
[Exit.
Hen.

All the feinds in hell, sure, cou'd not con­jure up such another mystery. Juan affirms the people, we fought with, had convey'd Honoria away—when I come to seek her, at home, she's missing, and her waiting wench tells me she went into the garden, whence no one knows of her re­turn. Antonio, just after, protests he saw, and entertain'd her in her own apartment, where I certainly now find her, and that ungrateful woman with her.—These are riddles to pose an Oedipus, and madden a stoick—They must be explain'd, and shall—Yet hold! Antonio said he would return forthwith—here will I wait, 'till he arrives; see him safe at rest, and then extort the whole truth from Honoria.—Could I but be convinced my honour were yet unstain'd, I should, I think, be somewhat easier. The load might be a little lighter, that's all I'm to expect;

No hope of perfect, or of lasting rest,

While unrequited love corrodes the breast.

[Exit.

ACT V. SCENE I.

SCENE, JUAN's House.
Enter JAQUES, with GUZMAN, ROSA, and FLORIO in the Chair.
JAQUES.

DAME Rosa, and brother servitor, in there; and now, my friends, open the chair, and let the lady out.

Guz.

By the darkness, this is the condemn'd dungeon, and when we are led out, it will be to execution.

Jaques.

Away, friends; you shall be paid be­low.

[Exit with the Chair, and locks the Door.
He.

What miserable den am I thrust into?—Rosa—Guzman—

Guz.

I'm here, sir—and Rosa close to me, or I have lost my sense of feeling—one drop just to keep up my spirits—

Rosa.

Booby!

Flor.

I can't conjecture where we are; I did not [...] look out; but wheresoe'er, 'tis better than in the corregidor's hands.

Rosa.

I am as much at a loss as you, sir—the moon clouding, and our quick pace prevented my observing the turnings.

Guz.

I wish they wou'd give us a little light, that we might see whether there was any means of running away, or no. I spy a glimmering under the door; the key turns—I'll venture to secure the candle however.

[He gets on one side of the door—Jaques en­tering with a candle, he seizes it.
Jaques.
[Page 61]

Don Florio!

[Jaques seeing Florio, starts, runs off quick, and double-locks the door.
Rosa.

We're fast again; we've got a light how­ever, and may see what kind of place we are in!

Guz.

Thanks to Don Guzman! I always held stratagem in war, preferable to force.

Rosa.

As I live, sir, we are in Don Juan's house.

Flo.

Heaven forbid!

Rosa.

I'm sure, sir; I have frequented it too often, on Cupid's errands, when you and my mis­tress us'd to meet in Donna Felicia's apartment, to be mistaken in any part of it.

Flor.

'Tis too truly so; our enemies will soon know whom they have entangled in their snares, and then their malicious designs will be compleated.

Rosa.

Stay, I think we have some room to hope—beyond that inner chamber, there is a back­stair-case, if the door be but open; it always us'd—let's try, sir.

Flor.

Lead on, guide.

[Exeunt.
SCENE, HENRIQUEZ's House.
HONORIA' Antichamber.
HENRIQUEZ discover'd.
Hen.

Not yet retunr'd! what an irksome situation to a man of my anxious disposition! in momentary expectation of Antonio, therefore not daring to en­quire into what so intimately concerns my peace and honour; no, I must not attempt an explanation with my sister, 'till the house be quiet, and Antonio retir'd to rest. Shou'd he overhear any part of it, he wou'd reject her hand with scorn.—What strange circumstances have join'd together to pre­vent that single and only event, which might give [Page 62] me ease!—their marriage—'tis one comfort how­ever, that I have her safe now; I have not quitted these apartments; she cannot have made a second garden-excursion—Therefore, till I can settle the whole affair to my wishes, I will endeavour to sub­due my temper, controul my feelings, and be no more under the dominion of such passions, as rend my heart.

Enter Don JUAN.
Juan.

Why wou'd Don Henriquez leave the cor­regidor's, before I—Oh! he's here,—yet how shall I tell it him? Don Henriquez—I—I—

Hen.

What, Don Juan? Why this hesitation?

Juan.

I dread to tell the issue of our search.

Hen.

You need not, my friend; some favour­able circumstances, and a little cool reflection, I trust, have render'd me more temperate.

Juan.

I shou'd rejoice to prove it: but when you have heard my story, I fear you will relapse.

Hen.

Cousin, I've said it—I will not—

Juan.

The corregidor and myself just reach'd the appointed place, time enough for his officers to seize the servants, who were accomplices, when they were just going to convey away in a chair—I cannot speak it—

Hen.

Out with it, man—conveying away whom?

Juan.

Honoria.

Hen.

Honoria!

Juan.

Even so.

Hen.

Oh! ho! ho! ho!

Juan.

Do you laugh, cousin? You are indeed chang'd in temper when the honour of our family is a subject for your mirth.

Hen.

Honoria! ha! ha!

Juan.

This is a worse extreme, methinks, than t'other; your senses are unsettled.

Hen.

You're not in earnest?

Juan.
[Page 63]

I am—I found her there, as sure as you have life.

Hen.

Why 'tis not possible—Antonio entertain'd Honoria here, even now, accompanied by your sister; and even now I left them within, sent her to her chamber myself.

Juan.

Cousin, cousin, what motive can you have for endeavouring to impose on me? I tell you po­sitively I found her there, and her waiting-woman Rosa with her.

Hen.

Cousin, cousin, do not persist thus to af­firm impossibilities.

Juan.

Sure you are making some experiment on my temper; are endeavouring to provoke me to one of your own frantick fits, that I may never dare to counsel you again; I swear to you, upon my honour, 'tis not half an hour since I left Ho­noria bearing away in a chair from the house, to which I dogg'd her, and your man Jaques leading the way, and guarding Rosa.

Hen.

And I swear to you, upon my honour, and the honour of our whole ancestry, 'tis not a quar­ter of an hour, since I spoke with Honoria, and your sister, in this very apartment.

Juan.

Indeed, Don Henriquez—

Hen.

It may be decided this moment; follow me to her.

As they are going off,
Enter, JAQUES.
Jaq.

O! sir, I have such admirable news, yet am so full of astonishment, I scarce have power to tell you.

Hen.

Villain, dispatch.

Jaq.

When I had convey'd madam Honoria—

Juan.

See! I told you so—

Jaq.
[Page 64]

Rosa, and the man-servant who was with them, to your house, I lock'd 'em all three into your antichamber, and went down for a light.

Hen.

This madness is infectious, and my varlet is in one of Juan's fits.

Jaq.

With which when I return'd, who shou'd I see, but Don Florio in the middle of the room, and madam Honoria vanish'd.

Hen.

Florio!

Juan.

How is that possible, if you are sure you lock'd the door, when you went to fetch candles?

Jaq.

Ay, that's the very point, sir; that I can't tell—but—

Hen.

No matter, you are sure you have Florio there?

Jaq.

I'll forfeit my life on that, sir.

Hen.

My injuries rekindle at his name; this moment will I sacrifice the author of my shame, and inquietude.

Juan.

Is then your promis'd coolness—

Hen.

Away; I will not be advis'd, nor con­troul'd: the beast is in the toil, and he shall die.

Enter ANTONIO.
Ant.

Who is the unhappy man, brother, you so severely doom? And what the great offence to ho­nour, which life alone can answer?

Hen.

Sir—I—I—I am a villain if I know what to say to him;—how spiteful is his coming at this moment!

[Aside.
Juan.

His appearance just now is critically happy; I may, by his aid, assuage, at least, if not o'er-rule this madness.

[Aside.
Ant.

Consider me already as a friend, and bro­ther, and as such treat me; give me a knowledge of your wrongs—I have a sword ready to serve in all occasions worthy yourself and me.

Hen.
[Page 65]

This affair, sir, is so unfit—so unluckily tim'd, and your arrival here—it makes—how shall I shake him off?

[Aside
Juan.

Noble Don Antonio, if you value your brother's honour, persist in accompanying him; I have most weighty reasons, which when you know, you cannot but approve.

[Aside to Ant.
Ant.

Wrong me not, Don Henriquez, by suspi­cion: prove, by this early trial of my truth, how heartily I mean, thro' life, to espouse the happi­ness, and interests of your family.

Hen.

I cannot doubt your honour, bravery, or attachment to our house; but, to engage so dear a guest in any cause of danger were inhospitable.

Ant.

Be what it may, let me partake it; you are too noble to employ your sword in an unworthy cause; therefore I must, I will attend you, or you, by your distrust, prevent our promis'd union.

Hen.

Not knowing, sir, the nature of those in­juries, whereon my resentments are grounded, you may perhaps wonder at my desperate measures.

Ant.

You are too good a judge of honour's dues, to pursue such measures, as will not bear a friend's inspection.—We go, sir——

Hen.

To witness my revenge—Lights there.

[Exit Hen. and Jaques.
Juan.
[To Ant.]

Sir, suffer him not to quit your sight, I beg: and use all means to calm his rage; I'll follow instantly.

[Exit Ant.]

Let me reflect a moment;—if Honoria be there (as sure she must) heaven knows to what extremes Henriquez may be driven!—Florio, at least, is there, and I have ignorantly been the means of throwing him into his enemy's power; 'tis therefore incumbent on me, while he has the sanction of my house, to en­deavour to preserve his life, tho' at the hazard of my own.

[Exit.
[Page 52] SCENE, the Chamber in Don JUAN's House.
FLORIO, ROSA, and GUZMAN discover'd: Chairs, Table, and the Candle.
Flo.

How thwart and provoking?

Rosa.

That unlucky door!—I never knew it shut before.

Flo.

We have now no means, Rosa; my dan­gers and distresses are compleat! I must welcome and endure them. Yet shall not my desperate state make me neglect the only duty I can pay;—the amiable, the generous Felicia's reputation must not be left in doubt, even with the base Henriquez, whose cruel temper has form'd suspi­cions unworthy of her blameless conduct; 'tis fit I set him right.

[Sits down to write in his Tablets.
Guz.

A curse on all love! and a double curse on all constant love! 'tis always attended with fatal disasters! or ends in the worst of all, marriage.

Rosa.

I suppose you wish every body to have such a quicksilver heart, as yours: that can settle no where.

Guz.

Why, that wou'd not be amiss for you, my dear Rosa; you might then hope to have your turn, as well as pretty fac'd damsels.

Rosa.

And you wou'd be one of the last, I shou'd hear of; yet 'tis possible you might come, before you were welcome.

Guz.
[Aside.]

She has wit, and good humour; excellent ingredients to pass away time; I have a liking to her person too, but that will end with marriage, and possibly her good humour too;—well, honest Guzman, I wou'd advise you to be wary; if you shou'd couple yourself to a yoke, in­stead of a yokefellow, you'll wear it to your grave. [Page 67] Yet, on recollection, your dancing days are now over; your pleasures are come up to your mouth, you are now for the comfortable joys of life, ease, and eating. And there's no cook or dry-nurse like a wife.

Flo.

Rosa, shou'd aught but well befal me, give these with care to Don Henriquez' hands—either on his desperate arm, or his black testimony at the bar, my life depends; no matter which way 'tis decided.

Enter HONORIA, and FELICIA, thro' a private Door.
Fel.

I think no creature saw us pass thro' the apartments.

Hon.

What a tedious while have we been kept, before they left the chamber! My Florio too! what is become of him? The rage, we perceiv'd even now my brother to be in, makes me tremble, lest, by some strange means, he, as well as myself, may be thrown into his power.

Rosa.

My dearest mistress!

Flo.

Oh! heavens!

Hon.

Florio! then my fears were true.

Flo.

Can I trust my senses?

Guz.

I think not, we are asleep, and dreaming, or haunted by fairies.

Flo.

How is it possible I find you here? Did not my noble friend undertake your protection?

Hon.

So did he yours, yet you are here, and equally expos'd to ruin.—Oh! how I grieve to say, 'tis he that has betray'd us both!

Flo.

Antonio betray us!

Fel.

Oh! no.—

Hon.

It is, too surely—he is the man, to whom my brother has contracted me.

Rosa.

Bless my stars! no wonder we have blun­der'd so, when we contriv'd to take a husband into [Page 68] our party; nothing can succeed, they are concern'd in.

Flo.

Contracted to Honoria! he come to marry my Honoria.

Hon.

The very same, and he has taken these ungenerous means, to sacrifice us both.

Fel.

I will not, cannot think it; I would as soon believe impossibilities, as his apostacy from honour.

Flo.

What's her concern in him Honoria?

Hon.

That adds to our distresses—she, and An­tonio—

Fel.

This is no time to relate adventures—Florio and you must not be found here; therefore, Rosa, take this key, and set open the garden door, that leads to St. Jerome's street, thro' that you may easily escape, on the least alarm.

Hon.

Make haste, dear girl.

[Exit Rosa.
Flo.

Generous Felicia!

Hon.

My lovely girl, under what obligations—how now Rosa! What's the matter?—

[Rosa returns.
Rosa.

Undone past hope! your brother, An­tonio, Juan, and servants, with swords drawn, are, at this instant, in the hall: what will you do?

Flo.

Into this inner room; retire, my love, and let me meet their rage.

Hon.

I cannot leave you—let me but stay, and share your fate—

Flo.

I have no fears, but for you; nay haste; I must compel you to the only means of safety, and concealment.

[Exit with Hon. and Fel.
Guz.

Oh! if that's your scheme, the devil take the hindmost! 'tis for your sake, Rosa, I shun these honourable engagements;—having lost my weapon, the best, I can do, is to walk off with the baggage.

[Exit Guz. with Rosa.
[Page 69] Enter HENRIQUEZ, JUAN, ANTONIO, JAQUES, and GERALDO, with Lights.
Hen.

I will not be persuaded.

Juan.

Cousin, you must: I have an honour too to guard, dear to me as yours is to you; in all, that justice sanctifies, will I tread step for step; but will not permit my house to be the scene of premeditated mischief, and revenge;—already they have stain'd these walls too deeply.

Ant.

Such admonitions are too sacred, surely, to pass unregarded; Henriquez cannot be so lost—

Hen.

I cannot be so lost to my own honour's calls, or nature's feeling, to listen to a cynic's cold advice. Where is the man whose insolence and folly has so far misled him—

Enter FLORIO.
Flo.

Here is the man you seek.

Hen.

What do I see:

Flo.

Whom thou so basely hast betray'd.

Ant.

My friend! my Florio!

Flo.

No more thy friend, Antonio, but Florio, by thy perfidy betray'd, and thrown upon his fate—

Hen.

Let me pass.

Ant.

Hold a moment!

Hen.

What mean you? Is all your fervour in a brother's interest reduc'd to a mean parley with the foe? I'll right myself.

Juan.

Cousin forbear; you shall not have your way; there lies some mystery conceal'd in this, which once unfolded, might perhaps reconcile the difference.

Hen.

It cannot be but by the sword; Antonio, hear me; if that the faith and friendship pledg'd to me want power to rouze you, let your own interest [Page 70] and honour; that man, whom you protect from my resentment, has seconded his insolence to me, by foul attempts upon Honoria's honour.

Flo.

I seek to wrong her honour! the parent of your black designs, and bitter enmity, ne'er yet invented a more hellish salshood; 'tis true, I have lov'd the virtuous Honoria—

Ant.

How, sir?

Flo.

But with such spotless affection, such pure devotion, that she has recompenc'd my passion with esteem; has chain'd me to her service, and I will either live to call her mine, or perish in her cause.—

Ant.

Distraction—daggers to my heart!—

Hen.

Oh! has it rous'd you, sir?

Ant.

Henriquez pause!—mitigate your fury for a moment.—

Hen.

I will not—His life or mine must pay the insolence.

Ant.

Hold, or thro' me you pass; I must be heard. That impious man from infancy have I call'd friend;—allow me but a minute's space, alone to question him about our mutual wrongs—

Hen.

Antonio, do not trifle with me; mean you to let him escape?

Ant.

No, by name and honour; if I deal not in this business to your heart's wish, and honour's credit, my own life shall pay the forfeit.

Juan.

Consent, Henriquez, I beseech you.

Ant.

My heart is bleeding, while I speak—I am not us'd to sue; let me conjure you by your hopes of bliss, by all your dearest wishes, by our pro­pos'd union, grant me this, or here our friendship ceases, and we meet no more.

Hen.

Delay is agony.

Ant.

I will not keep you long.

Flo.

What means Antonio?

Ant.

Darest thou answer my demands?

Flo.
[Page 71]

I can, and justify myself, thou traitor to thy friend!

Ant.

Lead to some other spot.

[Exit Flo. and Ant.
Juan.

This way, good cousin.

Hen.

I will not long be dallied with; these keen sensations will not leave my heart, nor can my fury die.

[Exeunt.
Enter HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA—GUZMAN following.
Hon.

I am frighted to death.

Fel.

At all events, let's follow, and see the re­sult.

Rosa.

Let me go first, ladies, and watch their motions, I'll keep an excellent look-out, and alarm you, in case of extremity.

Fel.

Be it so then; away!

[Exeunt.
GUZMAN alone.
Guz.

There will be mischief soon.—Therefore, as my master has rudely left the ladies, the least I can do is to keep with 'em, and take care of 'em.

[Exit.
Scene changes to the Hall of Don JUAN's House.
Enter FLORIO, and ANTONIO.
Flo.

Give up my title! I never will renounce Honoria.

Ant.

You must—she is so much mine, that none must boast pretensions to her, while I live—in saving you from mad Henriquez' sword, I have discharg'd the engagement friendship made; the injur'd husband now requires his dues.

Flo.
[Page 72]

Spite of my wrongs, I know not how to lift my sword against the breast of him, who has given me such just, such strong, and such re­peated reasons, to admire, and love him.

Ant.

It was Florio, my comrade in arms, my bosom-friend, whom I design'd to serve; not that disloyal man, who has invaded my honour, and my love.

Flo.

Mean, treacherous artifice! to do so gross an injury yourself, then charge me as the wronger! I swear, by all those powers, who both discern, and punish, I never knew that you pretended to Henriquez' sister, till since I came within these fatal walls.

Ant.

How am I to believe you can speak truth in this, who have myself been witness of your falshood to her?

Flor.

I false to Honoria! take heed, Antonio, so foul an injury I cannot brook.

Ant.

Rare confidence! have I not myself assisted your feign'd passion, and been witness of your faithless vows pledg'd to another?

Flo.

Another! what mean device has bred so strange a charge? but dars't thou talk of violated truth? where are those ardent, sacred, and eternal vows, pledg'd to an unknown fair, with which, at our first interview this night, thou did'st abuse my credulous ear, and taught my sympathising heart, torn as it was with it's own griefs, to throb with pangs for thee?

Ant.

Still written here;—base man, I cannot longer bear thy mean evasions; either renounce all claim to Honoria, or this must speak the rest.

Flo.

I'll be reduc'd to atoms, ere I yield her.

[sight.
[Page 73] Enter HENRIQUEZ, JUAN, and the rest.
Hen.

Ay this is well—he shall not 'scape, with­out some marks of my revenge.

[He attacks
Florio, Antonio turns in his Defence.
Ant.

Hold sir; he shall not be o'erpower'd with numbers neither; my honour you invade anew, and wake my pre-engagement to protect him.

Hen.

Flames and the devil! why were not you yourself doing your best to kill him?

Ant.

'Tis true; but if he must fall, he shall not be massacred by odds, but conquer'd fairly like a man.

Juan.

For heaven's sake, cease this violence; I'll dye for't, but some cursed error lies conceal'd, that thus misleads us all.—

Hen.

With my sword alone I'll search it out, tho' multitudes oppos'd me.

[He attacks again, Rosa peeping at the door, cries out Ladies! Ladies!
Enter HONORIA, FELICIA, and ROSA running.
Both.

Hear us! hear us!

Hen.

By heavens, Honoria!

Juan.

Why did not I tell you she was brought here by my direction?

Hen.

Oh! thou vile woman! that I cou'd de­stroy thy memory with thy life!

[He advances furiously towards Honoria; Antonio, Juan, and Florio interpose.
Ant.

Hold, sir;—altho' I do not know this lady, I have, this night, engag'd my faith both to protect, and serve her.

Juan.
[Page 74]

See there! he does not know Honoria.—

Hen.

Not know her! why 'tis not an hour, since I saw him entertaining her at my house; death! all we see is illusion, and all we do inchantment!

Fel.

Suffer me, Don Henriquez, to unspel these charms—Antonio, which of us is it, you pretend to?

Ant.

Which? how can you ask? you know too well the conquest, which you made of my poor heart, in Flanders.—

Juan.

Conquest! heart! and Flanders? what means that now?

Hen.

More riddles every moment!

Fel.

Your contract with Honoria then—

Ant.

Here I confirm it—when I forego so dear a tye, or wed another fair—

Fel.

Take heed, for I am not Honoria.

Ant.

Not Honoria!

Fel.

No.

Ant.

Is't possible? have I been only mock'd with visionary bliss, and are my hopes thus blasted?

Fel.

All now depends on whatsoever turn Hen­riquez' temper takes—Observe his conduct, nor doubt of mine.

Hon.

Astonishment, and disappointed fury seem to possess my brother's thoughts.

Fel.

I'll try to calm them.—Know, Don Hen­riquez, that Don Florio has ever been your sister's constant lover, his private visits, at our house, which have disturb'd your peace, were by me calculated for their interview, after you had refus'd her to his addresses;—my heart was then entirely free; 'tis now engag'd:—if I trespass too far on that reserve, which is our sex's ornament, and guard, let the present exigence, and my gratitude for signal services, plead my excuse, while I declare, it is to that brave of­ficer.—

Hen.
[Page 75]

Humph!

Fel.

This, brother, is that generous commander, whose valiant arm restor'd our liberties, and who engag'd himself the guardian of my honour.

Juan.

This that gallant leader, to whom we are so much indebted?

Fel.

The same.

Juan.

Why did you not inform me sooner of so laudable a prepossession?

Fel.

My dear brother, gratitude, esteem, and a thousand nameless passions, so soon possess'd me, I was asham'd of what you might have call'd a visionary love, and durst not trust my own tongue with my thoughts.

Flo.

Your sister, and this lady, Don Henriquez, both can witness I never had a thought to injure your happiness, or honour. Don Pedro's death was occasion'd by your mistaken jealousy; and you well know, (but that your self, and your domesticks, were the only witnesses of that transaction) I had the fairest claim to the protection of the law, hav­ing been surpris'd at dis-advantage and oppress'd by numbers.

All.

How!

Flo.

Pedro deserv'd his death, and I am blame­less.

Hen.

My shame! my eternal shame! what shall I say? you see me overwhelm'd with confusion; if I have acted in a manner unbecoming my name, and honour, attribute it to love—(I seek not longer to conceal it,) a hurt, a desperate, jealous love for that ungrateful creature.

Juan.

Cousin, I will now own, I have perceiv'd it long; and in justice to our friendship, and alli­ance, have even address'd my sister on the subject; but found such insurmountable objections to your but [Page 76] violence of temper, that, in consideration of what your pride might suffer, I conceal'd my knowledge of your passion, even from yourself.

Fel.

How cou'd a man of Don Henriquez' sense, and penetration, suppose his tyrannic treatment of so amiable a sister, such everlasting doubts, suspici­ons, jealousies, restrictions, and severities, must not disgust rather than win a woman's heart? Cou'd you but have subdued those passions, perhaps, ere I had seen that gentleman, I might have been in­duc'd to think of you in such a light, as your per­son, and natural endowments deserv'd; if a dis­appointment herein be painful, to your self alone you are indebted for it.

Hen.

Forbear, I pray you; shew not the happi­ness I might have reached, nor add the weight of your reproaches, to my self-condemnation; my punishment is sufficient without it;—I have justly railed; when such a heart as mine concedes, the pangs it suffers are not trivial.

Fel.

I am sorry, and ask pardon.

Hen.

Yet to convince you that my sorrow is not selfish; as I have been the source of general uneasiness, I will endeavour to make a general amends, let my own heart suffer what it may: first madam, may you enjoy more happiness, if possible, than I have wish'd to partake with you; and, sir, to you, unask'd I thus resign this contract, which love and justice both forbid me now to claim,

Ant.

Noble Henriquez; I thank and honour you.

Juan.

Sir, take from me her hand, whose heart your worth, and bravery has merited.

Ant.

Thus I receive the sum of happiness, this world can give; and, sir, since you have generous­ly resign'd the name of brother, allow me that of friend, which while I live I will deserve; and suffer [Page 77] me to entreat your concurrence for your sister's happiness, where destiny seems to lead;—I will answer, with my life, my friend will merit her.

Hen.

Sir, she is your's;—and here dies all my animosity.

Flo.

We are now all your debtors; I am pecu­liarly so.

Hon.

My brother, now you are indeed my bro­ther; noble, generous, and kind, you have set my heart at ease, and I am myself again.

Fel.

That's more than I am, I'm sure; I have seen so many wonders, I shan't be myself again this twelvemonth.

Rosa.

They have had a rare come-off; sure, 'twou'd make a good plot for a play.

Guz.

That wou'd be bad for me; for, by the laws of comedy, I should be oblig'd to marry you.

Flo.

Well thought of, Guzman, tho' spoke in jest; you seem well fitted for each other, and your faithful services deserve our general encourage­ment; what say you Rosa?

Rosa.

Sir, I say I have had so many frights to night, I am e'en afraid to lye alone.

Guz.

Thy hand, sweet Rosa; 'tis a bargain; if I dont repent first, I don't care.

Juan.

This union being in my house, let me entreat your stay, to unite in woad'ring at these events, and enjoying general congratulations; cousin you will not refuse me?

Hen.

I will not be a means to thwart your mirth, but endeavour, as well as I am able, to partake it,—my heart has now a new, a difficult, and pain­ful lesson set it, but it must be learn'd; for our adventures prove that womens mild and gentle hearts must be sooth'd by indulgence, not frighted [Page 78] by severity; and that easy, frank, and confiding tempers bid fairest for a generous return,

Since such, and such alone, deserve to share
The confidence, and favour of the fair.

EPILOGUE.

AY!—ay!—they're at it—in a dainty tew;
"Have you the Epilogue?"—"Not I—" have you?
(Miss Macklin and Miss Wilford there I mean)
"I!—I don't know that any has been seen".
"Lud! where's the author?—I'm in such a fright!
"The author, child?—not ventur'd here to-night."
"What shall we do, my dear?"—"I cannot guess"—
To palliate this ridiculous distress,
Will you permit me to apologize
For this hard tax on new form'd comedies?—
In short these Epilogues are grown so trite,
So few the subjects left, whereon to write,
So few the authors with this knack endued,
Perhaps my nonsense may be quite as good.
I've been in front—and, if with leave I may,
I'll give my inferences from this play.
* The beauteous Marg'ret of the Rival-House,
To lower the grandeur of despotic spouse,
Has taught the ladies, in true comic vein,
Rules to maintain, and use, their pow'r o'er men.
My hints (altho' in homelier style than those)
To you, ye Lords of Nature, I'll disclose.
Would you, high Potentates, throughout your lives,
Preserve obedient sisters, daughters, wives,
Avoid Henriquez' faults—be never proud,
Distrustful, jealous, arrogant, or loud;
Where e'er we go, what e'er we do, or say,
Make it your rule—to give us our own way;
Neither attempt to lead us, nor restrain,
But let us have the length of all the rein;
In shoppings, auctions, jauntings, or Quadrille,
Leave us to spend, and lose what e'er we will;
Let all our fav'rite foibles take their course,
(For every breather has some hobby-horse)
[Page] With whatsoever whims or freaks you meet,
Still let your words and looks alike be sweet—
Lord! when thus left to our own tempers free,
The sweetest creatures in the world are we!—
Hence this important Maxim is defin'd,
Ye wise ones, keep it ever in your mind—
We women never frown, if never teaz'd,
And, always humour'd,—we are always pleas'd.
THE END.

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