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What dost thou here ? - art like a cursed sprite Thos. I'll do as thou hast said ! give me thy hand!
All that gave joy and beauty to my life,
[A STRANGER advances, and pauses before Thomas. now keep it! Stranger. Are you the lord of Torres ?
But I must part from you - my road lies hence. Thos.
I was he! Thos. My road lies any way. — I'll go with you. Strang. You are the man I seek !
Strang. (going forward.) The ground was good Thos. What is 't you want?
and now the seed is sown I can bestow no favouns, give no gifts —
Which will produce a harvest for my reaping ! I have not even a stiver for myself!
[Thomas remains, looking into the ralley for Strang. Nothing I ask; I seek but to confer.
a few moments, and then follows him. Now listen to my words, my noble friend! I knew a man whose case was like your own;
The interior of a miserable hut, cold wood-ashes lie He saw his treeless woods, his desolate mansion,
upon the hearth, and straw, as for a bed, in one Gone to a stranger's name-yet what did he?
- Enter Thomas of Torres, in a miner's Sit still and make a moan about the past,
dress; he carries a lighted fagot in one hand, and And call himself ill names and beat his breast ? a log in the other. No, no!- he was another kind of man!
Thos. I'll have a blaze anon.-The night is cold, He made a vow to win his lost lands back;
And firewood costs me nothing. To set a tree for every tree he felled;
[He lays wool upon the hearth, kindles it ; To dwell in his ancestral home again !
and then bolling his door, sils down upon Thos. And was his vow performed ?
a log by the fire. Strang. Indeed, it was!
'Tis bright and warm ! Where he had counted one in his wild youth, These dry pine logs burn cheerily enough; In his old age he counted twenty fold;
Hissing and crackling, blazing merrily, And died within the room where he was born. They are good company - and better still,
Thos. To win the faithless lady of his love They cost me nothing - do not call for wine, Made he a vow?
Sauces and dainty meats, and savoury dishes Strang. That vow he did not make; They live without rich doublets - do not need Because I know not if his heart had loved.
Gold-hilted swords, nor rings, nor laced cravats. But you may make that vow.
A fire's a good, companionable friend,
A comfortable friend, who meets your face
Ilungry? he doth prepare your viands for you Thos.
She was to me Are you in darkness ? he gives light to you —
Familiar from your childhood -- are you poor?
What matters it to him? he knows no difference Strang And she loved too?
Between an emperor and the poorest beggar! Thos. Methonght she did.
Where is the friend that bears the name of man Strang, She did - nor would have wedded Will do as much for you? When I was rich, Another man might she have made her choice. I could have counted out a hundred men,
Thos. Ha! say you so ? Could I believe it true, And said, “ All these would serve me, were there I'd make the vow and keep it!
I swear to you And any one, or all, had sworn they would; She was compelled to wed against her will - But when need came, where was the readv friend And, but that it were sin, she still would love you! Said " Here's my purse, good fellow!"
Curse on them!
A fine moonlight night. — A lonely field in the est I slept on down; the hangings of my bed
tremity of the valley of Torres. - Enter Thomas Were damask; I did eat from silver;
wilh an ass, he takes off the bridle and turns it lo All sorts of meats, and rare elaborate dishes
graze. Were set before me, with the choicest wines;
Thomas. There, thou poor, half-starved, patient l'pon my hands I wore most dainty rings,
animal, And of the whiteness of my hands did boast ! There's grass, rare, green grass for thee! eat thy fill, Look at them now-hardened and seamed and dark; Would thou could'st take a store for forty days ! I wear no jewels now - I drink no wine.
This once was mine - I tell thee, it was mine! A crust of bread, and a poor herb or two'
I know it inch by inch — yon leafy hedge
The time would come when I should steal in here My limbs I use — and I use all my senses ;
A thief o' nights ! I see, hear, feel, taste, smell as I did then.
Ah, I remember wellGo to! thou hast not lost much by the change! There is a little hollow hereabout, Ay, but thou hast! thou wast a rich man then, Where wild-briar roses, and lithe honeysuckle Had'st friends, at least thy riches made them for thee- Made a thick bower; 'I was here I used to conie, Wast lived - poor wretch! - art loved now, thinkest; To read sweet books of witching poetry! thou ?
Could it be I? No, no, I am so changed, Look at thy sordid frame - look at thy garb- I will not think this man was once that boy; Look at thy blackened face, thy length of beard, The thought would drive me mad! I will but think Thy uncombed, tangled locks - could she love thee? I once knew one who called this vale his own; "Tis but a process I am passing through ;
I will but think I knew a merry boy, To-day the grub, but on the morrow morn
And a kind, gentle father, years agone, The painted butterfly!
Who had their dwelling here ; and that the boy [A rap is heard at his door. Thomas Did love this lonely nook, and used to find
starting, deadens the light with ashes, and Here the first nests of summer; here did read
And then, that as the boy became a youth,
And gentle feeling strengthened into passion, give me shelter.
Hither he wandered, with a girlish beauty, Thos. Who are you—and what brings you to this Gathering, like Proserpine, sweet meadow-flowers;
door? Trav. A weary traveller who hath lost his way; And that he ihen did kiss that maiden's cheek
And that they sate beneath the wild-briar rose, And chance has brought me here.—1 am sore spent; The first time as a lover! Oh my God! The night is chill and stormy, give me shelter. Thos. My hut is no fit place for guest to lodge in! A noble-hearted boy! he grew a man,
That was the heir of Torres - a brave boy, I've neither chair nor table, bread nor wine.
And what became of him? Ha! pass we that Trav. But you have fire — and a good roof above Would that I knew not what became of him!
you: Thos. A little further on a village lieth ;
[He advances into the hollow.
'Tis even as then! this bower hath little changed, You 'll there get fire and shelter, and good cheer. Trav. Direct me there.
But hearts have changed since then - and thoughts
have changed, Thos. (carefully opening his door.] First you must And the great purpose of a life hath changed ! pass the mines;
Oh that I were a bird among these boughs,
To live a summer life of peace and joy ;
To never fret my soul for broken faith;
To have no onward hope, no retrospection!
Ah! there's the tiny glow-worm as of old !
That's beautiful and pure have I forgotten! O'er the old tower; you cannot miss the way. [He shuts to the door, and bars it. And it was the bright marvel of my boyhood
Years is it since a glow-worm crossed my thoughts, Am I to lodge all weary travellers ? If he got shelter, he'd be asking food.
A fire, and yet so cold! let's feel it now,
IT 'ris as it was then. (He stoops to pick it up. No, no, i' faith, the world was none so ready
Heavens, it is gold ! To give me aught - I've feasted guests enow!
And here is more! bright, shining, glorious gold! (He puts out his fire, and then throws (He pulls away moss and tools, and draws himself on the straw.
out a small bag of gold coin.
Let me into the moonlight - gold, gold, gold ! I might have groaned for that poor wretch's groan
But for a hundred brave, broad, golden pieces
[He takes off his belt, and then securely firing It were no sin to take a robber's gold,
them in it, fastens it round his body. [A step is heard approaching. Thou shalt be my true breast-plate, Ha! some one comes !
My heart's joy, my night and day companion ! [He shrinks into the shade, and lies close But hence! this is no land of safety for me. under the bank.
[He goes out. Man. Now, by your leave, good friend, Who may you be ? Thos. A poor night traveller,
SCENE V. Who takes up his cheap quarters 'neath the hedges.
Man. I'm in the like case too. But, honest friend, Several years afterwards.-A dark night in a distant I have a little liking for your pillow,
country. — A field of battle covered with dead. May'st please you take the farther side o' the bed!
Enter Thomas of Torres with a small lantern in Thos. First come, first served – it is a well
his hand, known adage. Man. Come, come, my friend, these are my ancient Thos. Rings; dagger-sheaths; gold chains and quarters ;
spurs; massy gold embroidery—this is all clear gain I have a foolish liking for this spot
--no deduction for agents—no plaguy discount-all All are alike to you —
net profit! [he gropes among the bodies.] But ha! Thos. I have possession,
thou art worth looking after! Come, my young And will maintain it!
gentleman, I'll be your valet Let go your sword. Man. It shall then be tried !
Poor wretch! that was a strong death-grasp! Now (He lays hold on Thomas, and they off with your rings !-one, two, three! I'll lay my struggle together.
life thou wast a coxcomb—a fine blade, with wit as Ha! ha, you thief, then you have got the bag! keen as thy sword's edge. [he tears open the pockets.] Thos. I have!
Empty, empty! I'd be sworn he expended his gold Man. You villain! you marauding thief! on his outside—I've known such in my day! [Thomas rushes into the thicket
(He goes forward ;- a groan is heard. the man follows.
Thos. Here's life among the dead :—mercy! that Man. [within the thicket.] I am a dead man, help!
sound oh, I am murdered !
In this unearthly silence chills my blood. Christ help me! I am murdered !
A faint Voice. For the dear love of Christ, be't Thos. (rushing oul.] He is not! no!
friend or foe, Cuffs do not murder men!
[He runs off. Make short my death!
Thos. What, art thou sick of life?
Voice. It is not life — it is a living death!
Thos. (approaching him, and looking at him atlen.
tively.) Ha! thou’rt an argosy with treasure laden! A cave by the sea shore. — Enter Thomas of Torres ; Voice. My sword is at my head — for pily's sake, he takes out the bag.
Make short work with it!
Thos. (seizing his hand.] Gems worthy of a king! Thos. Now let me count - now let me see my Wounded Man. [raising himself.] Off with thee, gains.
thou accursed plunderer, — Ah! it reminds me of the thirty pieces,
Thou stony-hearted wretch, off, off! The price of blood! I would give every piece
[He faintly strikes him off, and then falls To know he were not dead! A murderer
back dead. — Thomas proceeds to strip the Thomas of Torres a night murderer!
body. No, 't is not so ! they were not killing blows - Thou art a magazine of gems and gold ! I will not think of it!
(He draws a gold chain from his neck. Now let me count
What, more? Some love-gift!— 'Twas a heavenly (He counts out a hundred pieces. lady, Oh, thou most goodly thing — most lovely gold For whom our earthly gold was all too mean, Dearer unto my soul than meat or drink;
That she was set with lustrous pearls o' the sea More beautiful than woman! Glorious gold, Let's see this radiant jewel of a lady! I love thee as a youth his earliest mistress !
Heavens! it is Isabel - the gentle queen Come to my beart, thou bright and beautiful - Of my young love — and this was her good lord' Come, come!
[He hugs the gold. Methought the voice had a familiar tone. Brigh: prize, I care not how I won thee, Mine ancient friend! thus have I paid thee back I'll ease my heart with thee! A hundred pieces ! The treachery of thy wooing. - Yet, poor Count, Had it been five-and-twenty-even fifty,
My heart misgives me for despoiling thee
And thou, bright Isabel! it was for thee
Thos. Produce your sureties! I made the solemn vow, which I am keeping;
They have proved false Accursed, wretched spoiler, that I am!
Alas! they proved themselves false friends indeed! Let me begone! I will not look again
They left the city ere I knew my loss, Upon a dead man's face — at least to-night!
And are not to be found.
Thou wast a fool
Gent. (pointing to the caskel] This casket, sir, I
sent to you in pledge;
It holds the jewels of my dying wise,A foreign city.-A miserable den-like room, surround. She will not need them more! ed with iron chests, secured with heavy padlocks — Thos.
I'll not accept it! the door and windows grated and barred.— Thomas I'll have my money, every doit of it, of Torres sitting at a desk, with pen and ink before Principal and interest, paid down this day! him.
Gent. Inhuman wretch!- will you profane the
chamber Enter A FINE GENTLEMAN.
of my poor dying wife! Gent. Good morrow, most excellent sir!
I'll have my money!
[The Gentleman, in great agitation, lays down sand gold pieces, and knowing your unimpeachable
a bundle of parchments before him. honour, I have pleasure in asking the loan from you.
Thos. Well, what of these? Thos. Humph!
Give me the further sum Genl. Your rate of interest, sir, is? Of twenty thousand pieces on these lands
Thos. Thirty per cent. for spendthrift heirs, and These parchments will be surety for the whole! two responsible sureties.
Thos. (glancing over them.] The lands of Torres ! Gent. The terms are hard, sir.
ha! ha! ha!- and you're ? Thos.
They are the terms! Gent. The lord of Torres. Gent. Sir, twenty per cent. is high interest: else- Thos.
How shall I be sure where
Of the validity of these same deeds ? Thos. Then go elsewhere!
Lord of T. I've heard it said that you are of that [The Genileman turns on his heel,
country ; and goes out whistling. If so, the signatures of its late lords, Thos. The jackanapes !
Father and son, may be well known to you.
Thos. (carefully examining them.] I had some Enter A GRIM-LOOKING MAN.
knowledge of them—these are theirs : Man. He cannot pay, sir; he declares it impossi. And you give up your right unto this lordship ble, and prays you to have patience ;- and in the For the consideration of the sum meantime leaves in your hand this casket.
Of twenty thousand pieces ? Thos. Copening it.] Baubles!-Can't pay!-impos- . Lord of T.
No, no, sir; sible! - I say I will be paid !
That doth exceed my meaning. Man. His ship was lost in the squall — he must Thos.
Then pay down sell the furniture of his house to cover your demand, The original sum, with interest, or a prison and he prays you to have mercy on his wife and Shall be your home this night, children!
Lord of T.
"T would be unjust Thos. Wife and children! talk not to me of wives To give away my children's patrimony ! and children !- I'll have my money!
Thos. Sir, take your choice. — Resign this petty Man. I tell you, sir, it is impossible, without you Jordship, seize his goods.
Or go you to the prison ! Thos. Then take the city bailiff, and get them appraised.
[Ple resumes his pen, and sils down Man. I cannot do it, sir! - You shall see him
doggedly to his calculations. yourself. (asile.] The nether mill-stone is running
Lord of T.
Ah, my wife, water compared to his heart! [He goes out. My little innocent and helpless children! Thos. Twenty thousand gold pieces, and seven
Thos. Your home shall be a dungeon on the months' interest—and give that up because a man
morrow! has wife and children. — Ha! ha! ha!
Lord of T. Thou cruel bloodsucker! thou most (He resumes his pen, and calculates
Most iron-hearted scrivener!
Spare your tongue ! Enter A GENTLEMAN, with a depressed countenance. Ill words obtain not men's consideration
Gent. Sir, my misfortunes are unparalleled Pay down the principal and interest ! My ship was stranded in the squall last week, Lord of T. Sir, forty thousand pieces for the And now my wife is at the point of death!
Of Torres were a miserable price —
And 't would have seemed ungracious to refuse her. Too cheap were it at sixty thousand pieces !
But I'll beware, and keep out of her sight,
the lord of Torres, with money-bags on his table. None fai.er under the broad face of heaven!
Lord of T. I am the Lord of Torres ! that one Thos. Sir, I am no extortioner, God knows;
thought I love fair, upright dealings! I will make
Is with me night and day. The lord of Torres ! The twenty thousand pieces you have asked
A rich lord, who need borrow gold nor silver, A thousand pieces more, and drop my claim
But will add heaps unto his countless heaps, To the whole sum of interest which is due !
Gold to his gold, and silver to his silver ! Lord of T. Forty-one thousand pieces, and five
(A low rap is heard, and a poor widow hundred
enters limidly. *T is a poor price for the rich lands of Torres !
Widow. Pardon, my lord : I am an aged widow, Thos. You do consent- let's have a notary. Whose children's children's bread depends upon me. Lord of T. Give me till night to turn it in my I hold a little field, which we have held, thoughts.
In my dead husband's time, for forty years. Thos. I'll give you not an hour!-- not e'en a The field, to us, is as the staff of life ; minute! [he stamps on the floor with his fool. Good tenants have we been, and regular, Enter a BOY.
Never have missed our rent on quarter-day;
But Quick, fetch the notary!
now your wealthy neighbour, John o'Nokes, [The Lord of Torres covers his face with Desires to have the field 10 add to his —
He will be here anon to make his offer;
Oh my good lord, befriend a feeble widow,
'T is not for me,
To make a worthy offering to my lord -
We are but poor — the field is all our wealth
[She lays a few small silver coins before lady, wrapped in a long cloak and veiled; two
him, and a gold ring. younger ones follow, supporting a third-the master Lord of T. You shall not be disturbed in your of the vessel follows them.
Wid. Ten thousand blessings on your noble Lady. Are these, good sir, the best accommoda
lordship! tions ?
[She goes out.
Lord of T. (lesling the ring and coins] They're Master. Unless you pay the price of what are
sterling gold and silver, though the weight better. Lady. [throwing back her veil, and showing a fair
Is small; but every little addeth to the whole. but sad countenance]
Enter Join O'NOKES. Sir, I have told you more of our distress
John [bouing very low.] There is a little field Than may be pleasing to a stranger's ear;
a worthless field, I seek no favours on my own account,
My noble lord, which brings you little profit
My land, and is upon the utmost verge
Lord of T. I have no thought to sell that little Follow me, madam. She shall have my cabin:
field. But stay, my gentle mistress, lean on me!
John. My lord, its worth is small to your estate ; [He supports the young lady out, and To mine 't is otherwise -- and she who rents it the others follow.
Is poor, and hath no management of land. Thos. Why, yonder is the lady of the pearls — Lord of T. She pays her rent as true as quarterThe Isabel of my fond, boyish passion!
day. And she is poor, is burdened with three daughters ! John. That rent is small : my price would yield Four women in a house would be expensive!
you more. I was a fool to think I e'er should marry
Lord of T. I would not do her wrong, she is a Marry, forsooth, a widow with four daughters,
widow ! And a poor widow too! No, I 'll not marry!
John. She is a widow only through their crime "T is well they're gone ;-if they had seen me here, Her husband died for murder -- a foul murder, She might have asked for help in her distress, Done in this very field !