Olla Podrida
by Frederick Marryat
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THE MONK OF SEVILLE 1 Metropolitan Magazine, 1833.

THE GIPSY 85 Metropolitan Magazine, 1834.

ILL-WILL 159 New Monthly Magazine, 1837.

HOW TO WRITE A FASHIONABLE NOVEL 179 Metropolitan Magazine, 1833.

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK OF TRAVELS 200 Metropolitan Magazine 1833, 1834.

HOW TO WRITE A ROMANCE 214 Metropolitan Magazine, 1835.

S.W. AND BY W. 3/4 W. 225

THE SKY-BLUE DOMINO 243 New Monthly Magazine, 1837.

MODERN TOWN HOUSES 260 New Monthly Magazine, 1837.




THE FAIRY'S WAND 313 New Monthly Magazine, 1840.


Prefatory Note

This edition of Olla Podrida does not include the "Diary on the Continent" which appeared first in the Metropolitan Magazine 1835-1836 as "The Diary of a Blase" continued in the New Monthly Magazine 1837, 1838, as "Confessions and opinions of Ralph the Restless." Marryat himself described the "Diary" as "very good magazine stuff," and it has no fitting place in an edition of his novels, from which the "Diary in America" is also excluded.

The space thus created is occupied by "The Gipsy," "The Fairy's Wand," and "A Rencontre," which I have ventured to print here in spite the author's protest,[A] that the original edition of Olla Podrida contained all the miscellaneous matter contributed by him to periodicals that he wished to acknowledge as his writing. The statement may be regarded as a challenge to his editors to produce something worthy; and I certainly consider that the "Gipsy" is superior to some of his fragments, and may be paired, as a comedy, with "The Monk of Seville," as a tragedy.

[Footnote A: Preface to first edition of O.P. printed below.]

But I have not attempted any systematic search for scraps. "The Fairy's Wand" was published in the same year as, and probably later than, Olla Podrida itself, and need not therefore be "considered as disavowed and rejected" by him. "A Rencontre" was always reprinted and acknowledged by its author, being, for no ostensible reason, bound up with Joseph Rushbrook, or The Poacher, 1841.

This seems the most appropriate occasion to supplement, and—in some measure—to correct, the list of novels contributed to periodicals by Marryat, which I compiled from statements in The Life and Letters by Florence Marryat (also tabulated in Mr David Hannay's "Life"), and printed on p. xix. of the General Introduction to this edition.


(Edited by Marryat, 1832-1835.)

The Pacha of Many Tales, May 1831—February 1833; and May 1834—May 1835.

Peter Simple, June 1832—September 1833. The novel is not completed in the Magazine, but closes with an announcement of the three volume edition.

Jacob Faithful, September 1833—September 1834.

Japhet in Search of a Father, September 1834—January 1836.

Snarleyyow, January 1836—January 1837.

Midshipman Easy. One specimen chapter only. August 1835.


The Privateersman, 1845-1846.

Valerie (the first eleven chapters), 1846-1847.

The Phantom Ship, 1838-1839.

The bulk of this volume is reprinted from the first edition of Olla Podrida, in three volumes, Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1840. "The Gipsy," from the Metropolitan Magazine; "The Fairy's Wand," from the New Monthly Magazine; and "A Rencontre," from the first Edition of The Poacher, 1841.

R. B. J.

Author's Preface to the First Edition

I have not yet ventured upon a Preface to any of my writings, and I did not expect that I should ever have written one. Except in a work of importance, which may demand it, a Preface is, generally speaking, a request for indulgence which never will be accorded, or an explanation to which the Public is indifferent. It is only when an explanation is due to the Public, or to the Author's reputation, that he should venture to offer one. If a work is well written, the Public are satisfied; if not, they have just cause to feel otherwise; and if an Author obtains justice, he obtains all that he has a right to expect.

I write this Preface, because I consider that it may save me from a hasty remark or two, which it may be just as well to forestall. During the ten years which I have taken up the pen, I have furnished miscellaneous matter to various Periodicals, which, if it were all collected together, would swell into many volumes. Among it, as must be the case under the circumstances in which it was written, there is some which I consider tolerable; but the major portion is but indifferent; and I should be very sorry indeed, if at any future time, when I may not have the power to prevent it, all these articles should be collected and printed as mine. If ever it were done, it certainly would not be by my friends: I wish it, therefore, to be understood, that in the portions of these volumes which consist of republications, I have selected from the mass, all that I wish to acknowledge as my writing; and that the remainder (with the exception of the papers on nautical subjects, which are of no interest to the general reader) may be considered as disavowed and rejected. The major part of these volumes consist of a Diary written when I was on the Continent. It first appeared in the Periodicals, under the title of a "Diary of a Blase:" the title was a bad one, as I did not write up to the character; I have, therefore, for want of a better name, simply called it a "Diary on the Continent;" and I mention this, that I may not be accused of having intentionally deceived.

F. M.




ANSELMO DON GASPAR, A monk disguised as a cavalier.

DON FELIX, A Spanish nobleman.


SUPERIOR of the monastery.

ANTONIO, Servant to Don Gasper.

MANUEL, A monk.

JACOBO, Porter to the monastery.

SANCHO, Servant to Don Perez.

DONNA INEZ, A noble lady.

ISIDORA, Her niece.


BEPPA,} } Servant to Serafina. } both wives of Antonio } NINA, } } Do. to Isidora.

Monks, Choristers, Attendants, &c.

Scene laid in Seville.

Olla Podrida

The Monk of Seville

Act I. Scene I.

Enter Don Felix and Don Perez.

Felix. You say his name's Don Gaspar?

Perez. So he styles himself; but of what house, parentage, or country, cannot be gained. He keeps aloof from all, bears himself gallantly; and 'tis manifest that any question discourteously put he'd answer with his sword.

Felix. He's skill'd in fence, then?

Perez. There's none to match him. I, who have foiled half Seville, am but a scholar in his hands, when at the School we've joined the assault in courtesy.

Felix. A proper man?

Perez. Beyond comparison. He hath all the stamp of true nobility. Pride in his eye; in his address, dignified; in modes most perfect; the most envied of the men, and the most admired by all the dames of Seville.

Felix. Successful, then?

Perez. He confides in none; and hath no intimate; but I am informed he is resistless, and I much suspect, my rival.

Felix. With the Donna Serafina?

Perez. Even so; she has changed much of late; and I have discovered that one, who, from report, answers to his description, is highly favoured.

Felix. But, Perez, did you not tell me you had left her?

Perez. In faith I had; but when I discovered that another sought her, my passion then returned; and now that she rejects me, I dote upon her more than ever.

Felix. Perez, when will you be wise? when will you cease to trifle with the sex?

Perez. Never, I hope: women are my game; and I live but on the chase. Sighs, oaths, and amorous ditties are my ammunition; my guitar is my fowling-piece, and you must acknowledge that I seldom miss my aim.

Felix. I grant it, Perez, but it's cruel sport, and quite unworthy of a cavalier. How many wounded birds have hid themselves to die!

Perez. Poor things—why did they not keep out of shot range? It's useless to preach, Felix, I must have my amusement.

Felix. Be careful, Perez, that it prove not dangerous; there is no honour gained by broken vows, false oaths, and tampering with maidens' hearts. It is a fault in you I would were mended; and our relationship makes me thus free to speak my mind. It is unworthy of you.

Perez. But sufficing good for women—they are but playthings; and thus far am I renegade, that, with the prophet, I cannot allow them souls.

Felix. You are incorrigible. Change the discourse, or I shall lose my temper and that opinion of you, which, 'gainst my better sense, I fain would keep. Our subject was Don Gaspar.

Perez. Yes—and my object is to find out who he is, and, if basely born, to hunt him out of Seville.

Felix. That there's mystery is evident; but when you hunt, see if such quarry, good Perez, turn not to bay. But new in Seville, I ne'er have encountered this prodigy; if his rank be mere assumption, he must be exposed; yet, Perez, there may be many causes for an incognito. Our Spain is wide and well peopled with those who boast high ancestry.

Perez. If then so wide, there's room for him elsewhere. But here comes Sancho with intelligence. (Enter Sancho.)

How now, Sancho,—what have you discovered?

San. (Affectedly.) I am not quite a fool, Santa Petronila knows that, good sirs,—not quite a fool. I think you are fortunate in your servant. You'll excuse me, but I have seen the person whom you mentioned.

Perez. Well—

San. I have seen him, sir, by Saint Petronila!

Perez. And spoke to him, I trust.

San. Yes, sir, and, by the same holy saint! I have spoken to him.

Perez. To what purpose have you spoken to this Antonio?

San. To your purpose, sir.

Perez. What did he tell you? I cry your patience, Felix, but this mule cannot be driven. What did he tell you, sirrah?

San. You do not know what first I said to him,—would you have the answer before the question?

Perez. Well, what said you first to him?

San. With all good courtesy I wished him a good morning. He did the same to me.

Perez. Well.

San. I then discoursed about Saint Petronila, the wind, the pope, and the weather. No, I recollect, it was the weather before the saint. I think—yes—I am sure it was; how the saint brought in the wine, I know not; but we proceeded on to wine and women, which last discourse made us thirsty, so we adjourned into a wine-house. Saint Petronila shrive me! when we became most intimate, and after much beating about the bush, I discovered that his master—

Perez. Who—what?

San. Don Gaspar, sir.

Perez. Idiot! is that all?

San. No,—only half; I found out more without him. He finished off his wine and left me without any more information, declaring that was all he knew himself; and that he had to meet a lady. Let me alone for finding out, Saint Petronila be my guide! I watched him, and as I turned the corner, found him in close whispering with the Senora Beppa.

Perez. The attendant of Donna Serafina; then are my doubts confirmed. Treacherous sex!—but I'll be revenged! Did you speak to them?

San. Not when Antonio was there. I never interfere between man and wife, the blessed saint knows that.

Perez. His wife!

San. Yes, his wife; but when Antonio quitted her, I then accosted her; and to my cross questions—

Perez. She gave you crooked answers.

San. Precisely so, signor, and record it, Saint Petronila; she said that I was a fool!

Perez. The wisdom of the woman! Come, Felix—Sancho, you will go home and await my return.

[Exit Perez and Felix.

San. That Antonio is a good fellow, Saint Petronila assist him! how he does make me laugh! we were sworn friends in two hours; and he promised to drink with me whenever I pleased: I wonder why he never offers to pay his share of the reckoning? He thinks it would affront me, I suppose! but when we are more intimate, I'll hint the contrary. Excellent fellow! how he did make me laugh! Then when next we meet, I'll ask his advice about my love affair! I am sadly in want of a confidant; now I've only my own wit, and the good saint. He's a man you may trust, I'll be sworn. Lord! how he did make me laugh! [Exit.

Scene II.

Street opposite Anselmo's lodgings.

Enter Antonio.

Well, I'm supposed to have as much wit as my neighbours, and yet I cannot make out this master of mine. He's a perfect mystery, and the more I try to unriddle him the more he riddles me. If I am deep, he is deeper. In short, I am no match for him, and thus I prove it. In the first place, he finds out everything I would conceal, and conceals everything I would find out. Secondly, he reads all my thoughts, and takes care that I shall read none of his. Then he disappears when I turn my back, and re-appears before I turn my face. He has discovered that I am a rogue, yet retains me in his service. His chamber is always locked when he goes out, and I am obliged to wait below upon board wages. There's some mystery about that chamber. I have watched repeatedly on the staircase to see him enter, but never can; and when I would swear that he is not in, it is I only who am out; for I am summoned to his presence. There's mystery! When he does appear, who is he? Don Gaspar; but of what family, and from what part of Spain, no one can tell. Mystery upon mystery! He may be the devil, and I feel my conscience touched; for no good ever came from the devil's wages. I'll to my confessor, and seek his counsel. He's a good man, and lenient too, to such poor rogues as I. But he insists that I appear each se'nnight, and sum the catalogue of my offences: perhaps he's right; for if I staid longer away, some of them—as I am no scholar,—say half—would be forgotten. [Enter Nina veiled, who passed by him, and exit.] There's a nice girl! What a foot and ankle! Now had my master seen her, there had been a job for me to dog her home. We lacqueys are like sporting dogs; we follow up the game, and when they stop their running, make a dead point, until our masters bag them for themselves. [Nina returns. Enter.] She's coming back. This time I'll poach a little for myself. Fair lady, can I serve you? [Nina stops, but turns away. Antonio kneels.]

"Turn not away, fair angel, for since last You bless'd my eyes, my thoughts have been on you; For weeks I've follow'd, not daring to address you. As I'm a bachelor, and free to wed, Might I your favour gain, a life of tenderness, To you, my love, I'd tender."

(Aside.) I borrow'd that speech, excepting the last flourish, from my master: but since he has used it like his cast-off clothes, 'tis mine by custom. (Aloud.) Will you not answer? I love you, madam, have loved you long; and, by my soul! ne'er said so much before to any woman breathing. [Nina turns round and lifts her veil, Antonio turns away.] (Aside.) By all that's intolerable, my Toledo wife! (Turning to her.) Holy Saint Frances! It is, it is my wife!

Nina. Yes, sir, your injured, your deserted wife!

Ant. And are you still alive? then I am once more happy! (Offers to embrace her.)

Nina. Forbear! When was I dead, you wretch?

Ant. Why, Nina, I've a letter from Toledo, that states that you are dead; you died a treble death, yourself and twins.

Nina. What?

Ant. Twins, my love, sweet pledges of affection. I've the letter in my pocket; I've kept it there for months, pored over it for weeks, and cried over it for days. (Fumbles in his pocket.) Now I recollect it is in the pocket of my gala suit. What an infamous forgery! Come to my arms, my dear lamented, but now recovered wife!

Nina. Keep off, you wretch! What did you say just now? "I've loved you long, and ne'er have said so much to any woman breathing."

Ant. Well, my love, no more I had, except to yourself; and you I thought were dead. Why, my dearest Nina, it is a proof of my constancy. When I first saw you, I said to myself "that is the only woman I ever saw with a foot and ankle so pretty as my Nina's;" and the more I looked at you, the more your sweet figure reminded me of yourself. In fact, it was your likeness to yourself that created the first emotion in my widowed heart. Had I fallen in love with anybody else, my dearest Nina, you might have cause for anger; but I assert, to fall in love with my own wife proves me a paragon of fidelity.

Nina. O, Lopez, could I but believe you!

[Antonio turns away and takes out his handkerchief.] (Aside.) As my master says (turning to Nina),

"Lay bare my heart, my Nina, read each thought, And there your image, deeply graven, find."

[She turns away. He pretends to be much affected; at last she embraces him.

Ant. (Aside.) Into her arms and out of that scrape, thank my wits! (Aloud.) And now, my love, how long have you resided in this city?

Nina. But a few days. I serve the Donna Isidora. I was left behind in sickness, at their country seat, some time ago, and but now have joined her. Where have you been, my dear Lopez?

Ant. Wandering about everywhere and anywhere, a lost man, since I heard of your loss;—yes, a miserable man. But of that hereafter. What seek you now?

Nina. The lacquey of Don Gaspar, called Antonio;—can you assist me, as I am in haste?

Ant. Why yes, I think I can. Behold him here; I am that same Antonio, and, for my sins, Don Gaspar's lacquey.

Nina (walking away angrily). It was convenient, perhaps, for you to change your name. You are Antonio, indeed!

Ant. No, my dear wife; but it made me feel more happy (placing his arm round her waist). You used to call me Lopez; dearest Lopez; and when I thought you dead, the very name, when summoned by my masters, reminded me of your dear self. I could not bear it; so I changed my name.

Nina. Dear Lopez! And do you really tell the truth? [Antonio kisses her.]

Enter Beppa.

Ant. By this kiss I do!

Bep. (aside). So, so, good husband! I have long suspected this. I'll watch your motions.

Nina. Well then, dear Lopez, you must give this letter to your master. He must not fail to-night. When shall I see you?

Ant. This night, if possible, there shall be more than one love-tale, my Nina. [Exit Nina.

[Beppa, who has gradually advanced, boxes Antonio's ears.

Bep. "There shall be more than one love-tale, my Nina." And this hand shall tell another tale (striking again), thou base villain!

Ant. (escaping from her, rubbing his ears). O Lord! for tail read head. (Aside.) This it is to have two wives. (Aloud.) Why, Beppa, are you mad? How can I help it?

Bep. How can you help it!

Ant. Yes, how can I help it? I must obey my orders.

Bep. Obey your orders!

Ant. Yes, obey my orders, or lose my place. My master, who is amusing himself with a young lady, says to me, "Antonio, that servant girl hangs about much in my way, you must make love to her."

Bep. Make love to her!

Ant. Yes, make love to her. "I'll be hanged if I do," says I, thinking of my own sweet little Beppa. "Then you will be starved if you don't," said he. And as I found that he did not mean to be in earnest, I thought that there could be no harm in a little by-play.

Bep. By-play!

Ant. Yes, by-play. Well, I refused long, for it went against my conscience. Then he took this purse of ten moidores, and said, "Refuse me, and quit my service. Consent, and take this purse; the money will support your wife."

Bep. (snatching the purse). Now, am I to believe this?

Ant. Believe it! why, have you not the proofs? How should I possess ten moidores? Money is not to be had for nothing now-a-days. I meant to have told you all, but have not seen you since.

Bep. She called you Lopez?

Ant. She did. I would not give my name. No other shall call me "Dear Antonio," excepting my own true lawful wife!

Bep. (turning away with indifference, and putting the purse in her pocket). Well, allowing all this to be true, and that's of no great importance, what a villain is your master, sir, to pay his court unto another, when he vows fidelity to my mistress, Donna Serafina!

Ant. Upon my honour, I've enough to do to defend myself; though I must confess that his conduct is infamous.

Bep. I'll to my mistress, and make known his treachery? [Going.

Ant. Do no such thing! Bad news, though true, is never paid for; but the purse opens when the tidings please, although they're false as——(points down below). What's your message?

Bep. My mistress dies to see him.

Ant. Tell her he'll come to-morrow evening. He said as much when last I saw him.

Bep. When last you saw him! Is he not here?

Ant. He's here, and there, and everywhere, and nowhere.

Bep. Where is he now?

Ant. That I don't know; but not here, that's certain.

[Window opens, Gaspar calls loudly from within window—

Gasp. Antonio!

Ant. Santa Maria! Yes, sir.

Gasp. Go to Castanos, and see if my guitar be strung.

Ant. Now, how did he get there? Beppa, I must off. Remember my advice!

Bep. (scornfully). I will. Good-by, Mr By-Play. [Exit Beppa.

Ant. (looking up). How the devil did he get there, if not by the help of the devil! For it was not by the help of the door, I'll swear. To-morrow I'll confess—that's certain. [Exit Antonio.

Scene III.

Moonlight.—A garden belonging to the house of Donna Inez.—A balcony looking into the garden.—Donna Isidora and Nina discovered on balcony.

Isid. He comes not yet.

Nina. Senora, 'tis not time.

Isid. 'Tis more than time; I heard the convent bell Strike long ago.

Nina. 'Twas not the hour of night, but the sad toll Announcing some high obsequy.

Isid. Yet, still, 'tis time he came.

Nina. And here he would have been, but you forget You chided him for venturing so early. Your aunt had not retired when last he came.

Isid. He does not wish to come,—I will not see him. Tell him my resolution. [Exit, petulantly, Nina following.

Enter Gaspar, in the dress of a cavalier.

I overheard her vented thoughts, poor girl! She counts the minutes by her throbbing heart, And that beats time too fast. Now will she hang her head, and weep awhile. Like flow'rets waiting for the morning sun, That raise their mournful heads at his approach, And every dew-drop, like a diamond, glistens, While they exhale sweet perfume in their joy,— So at our meeting, smiling through her tears, Will she appear more fresh and beautiful!

[Re-enter Isidora and Nina. As they appear, Gaspar retires.

Isid. The moon's so bright, that faintly you discover The little stars which stud th' unclouded heav'n; The wind but scarcely moves the trembling aspen, And not a sound breaks through the still of night. All Nature's hush'd; and every passion lull'd, Save love, or fierce revenge. Is this a night To stay away, false, yet loved Don Gaspar?

Nina. Be patient, lady, he will soon be here.

Isid. He cannot sure be false. Perchance some danger hangs upon his steps; Men are so envious of the fair and good.

Nina (looking). Senora, look; I see him in the distance.

Isid. He comes! Where, Nina? O yes! that is he. Well, now, I'll tease him. Nina, quickly in; I vow I will not show myself this night. [Exit Isidora.

Nina. I wish I had ten ducats on the hazard. [Exit Nina.

[Gaspar sings to his guitar without.

Song (mournful strain).

"The mocking moon doth coldly fling Her rays upon my breast of flame, And echo mocks me as I sing. O my guitar! to thee what shame! She answers not, though thy best string Is loudly hymning forth her name. Isidora! Isidora!"

[Isidora appears at the balcony.

(A livelier strain.)

"No more the moon doth mock me now; Her bright rays glad my breast of flame, And echo, beautiful art thou! O my guitar! to thee no shame! She comes! love throned upon her brow! My strings hymn forth once more her name! Isidora! Isidora!"

Enter Gaspar, who approaches balcony.

Isid. Why hast thou staid so late? Did but the moon Turn on my anxious features her soft rays, Thou wouldst perceive how fretfulness and tears Have doubled every minute of thine absence.

Gasp. And would 'twere day, that thou, sweet love, mightst see The fervid passion stamp'd upon my brow. I dared not disobey thy late command; Yet, did I fret, and champ the bit of duty, Like some proud battle steed arching his neck, Spurning the earth, impatient for the fray. So my young heart throbs with its new delight, That it e'en now would burst its cords asunder, And make one joyous bound into thy bosom.

Isid. Say, Gaspar, dost thou fondly, truly, love me?

Gasp. Do I love thee, Isidora? If it were not for thee, sweet love, The world would be a blank, and this existence A dreary void, I would not stumble through; But having thee, a paradise it is, So full of perfumed airs and flow'rets sweet, I would resist the angel's flaming sword, If it were raised between our plighted loves, Ere I would be from thy loved presence thrust. Thou art the heav'n of my idolatry! For thee I live and move,—for thee I breathe; For thee and for thy love, if thou knew'st all——

Isid. I would know all—there's mystery about thee! Gaspar, thine image here's so deeply graven, That nought can e'er efface it. Trust me, then, love, As I would thee. There's not a thought I own, No, not a fond emotion of my soul,— Not e'en the slightest ripple o'er the mind, When calm and pensive as it used to be, But I would tell it thee. O couldst thou view my heart, and see thyself So firmly master of its deep recesses, Thou wouldst be confident. If thou shouldst be ignoble, fear not me, Love shall draw out thy patent of descent, And trace thy ancestry to more than mortal. If thou hast hated, and hast found revenge, Yet fear not me, dear Gaspar. Whate'er priests say, it is a noble passion, And holds an empire in the heart of man, Equal in strength and dignity with love. Be it a tale of sorrow or of crime, (O say 'tis not the last!) still let me share it, That I may comfort thee whene'er we meet, And mourn it only when I grieve thine absence.

Gasp. My Isidora, oft thou'st press'd me thus; Since thou wilt hear it, then, it shall be told; But one sad chance, most fatal to us both, Is fetter'd to it.

Isid. And what is that, my Gaspar?

Gasp. That once reveal'd, we ne'er may meet again.

Isid. Then I'll not hear't. Away with prying thoughts So fraught with mischief! Not to see thee more! Then might the angel pour the vial out, That vial of fierce wrath which is to quench The sun, the moon, the host of stars, in blood! Not see thee more! then may they work my shroud, And cull the flowers to strew my maiden corpse. Without thee, Gaspar, I should surely die! Wert thou the ruler of the universe, Commanding all, I could not love thee more! Wert thou a branded slave from bondage 'scap'd,— 'Tis now too late,—I could not love thee less!

Gasp. (aside). One soul so pure redeems a world of sin! Thou Heav'n that I have mock'd, O hear me now, And spare! let her not feel the bitter pangs Of disappointed love! Draw the barb gently, That she may sigh her soul away, and sleep Throughout her passage to a better world!

Isid. What say'st thou, Gaspar!

Gasp. I call'd down blessings, loveliest, on thy head. Heav'n grant my prayers!

Isid. I, too, have pray'd for thee, and will again! But speak to me. Why didst thou come so late? How short, methinks, are nights. There's hardly time For those who've toil'd, to gain their needful rest,— For those who wake, to whisper half their love.

Gasp. Night is our day, and day becomes our night; Love changes all, o'er nature rules supreme; Alters her seasons, mocks her wisest laws, And, like the prophet, checks the planet's course. But from this world of hate, the night has fled, And I must hie me hence. O Isidora! Though my seeming's doubtful, yet remember, 'Tis true as Heaven, I love thee!

Isid. I'm sure thou dost, and feeling thus assured, I am content.

Enter Nina, hastily, from balcony.

Nina. Madam, the lady Inez pass'd your door, And, passing, tried the bolt, e'en now I hear Her footsteps in the corridor.

Isid. We must away, dear Gaspar. Fare thee well! Nina shall tell thee when we next can meet.

[Exit Isidora and Nina at balcony.

Gasp. So parts the miser from his hoarded wealth, And eyes the casket when the keys are turn'd. I must away. The world e'en now awakes, and the wan moon (Like some tired sentinel, his vigil o'er) Sinks down beneath yon trees. The morning mist Already seeks the skies, ascending straight, Like infant's prayers, or souls of holy martyrs. I must away. The world will not revolve another hour, Ere hives of men will pour their millions forth, To seek their food by labour, or supply Their wants by plunder, flattery, or deceit. Avarice again will count the dream'd-of hoards, Envy and Rancour stab, whilst sobbing Charity Will bind the fest'ring wounds that they have giv'n. The world of sin and selfishness awakes Once more, to swell its catalogue of crime, So monstrous that it wearies patient Heav'n. I must away. [Exit.

Act II. Scene I.

The street before Anselmo's lodgings.

Enter Antonio.

If ever fortune played me a jade's trick, 'twas when she brought my wives to Seville. So far have I contrived to keep them separate; but should they meet, they'll talk; and then, woe to that most interesting of all subjects, myself! I am sure to be discovered. Why, in half an hour, their rapid tongues would range o'er half the creation. Now, Beppa is my first wife, and, like all other first choices, the worst. There's vengeance in her, and she'll apply to the authorities; then must I to the galleys. Who wants a wife? I have one—aye two—to dispose of. Here comes a fool I trifle with. (Enter Sancho.) So, comrade, what's your business now? (Mimicking him.) Saint Petronila! you are a faithful servant, ever stirring to do your master's pleasure.

San. 'Tis not his pleasure that I am upon—it is my own: I go to Donna Isidora's.

Ant. What dost thou there?

San. (affectedly). I please a damsel, and she pleases me.

Ant. I do not wonder at it. Barring a certain too intelligent look that thou hast, thou art a pretty fellow, and made to charm the ladies. Who is this damsel of your choice?

San. You'll keep my secret?

Ant. As faithfully as I do all others.

San. It is the maid of Donna Isidora. I knew her at Toledo, and for years kept her company. During my absence,—Saint Petronila strike him with the leprosy!—a certain Lopez, a dirty, shuffling, addle-pated knave, stepped in between us, and married her. She took the poor fool purely through pique, because I did not write to her; and the holy saint knows I had not then learned.

Ant. (aside). Now would I beat his pate, but that I think the fool may assist me out of my difficulties. (Aloud.) What! love a married woman! For shame, Sancho! I had thought better of you.

San. I loved her years before she married; and since the marriage, her husband has deserted her, and I have met her often. Nina, for that's her name, has often told me how much she repented of her marriage with the fellow; and could I prove that he were dead, she'd marry me, Saint Petronila directing her, and make a wiser choice in second wedlock.

Ant. (aside). The cockatrice. (Aloud.) Sancho, I knew this Lopez. He is not quite the person you describe; but never mind. Yesterday, he came to Seville, and told me how much surprised he was to find his wife here.

San. Then he's come back. Saint Petronila aid me! how unfortunate!

Ant. (musing aside). I have it! (Aloud.) Sancho, we have ever been the best of friends. I respect you much. I have most joyful tidings for you, and, if you will be counselled by me, Nina is yours.

San. Indeed! I can't see how. I think I had a better chance before.

Ant. Tut, man! you've now a certainty. Sancho, your ear—Lopez is dead!

San. The scoundrel dead! My dear Antonio (embracing him), I thank you for the news, and so will Nina too. But can you prove it?

Ant. I can, but in strict confidence. Pledge me your word you never will divulge, not even to Nina, what I now confide; for the women have the power to sap the stoutest resolution. Swear on your knees.

San. (kneeling). I swear by Petronila, my adopted saint.

Ant. Well, then, this Lopez was a noisy braggadocio. Last night we had some words whilst waiting near the gate of Donna Serafina. From words we came to weapons, and, by a lucky thrust, I sent his prying soul the devil knows where. His body I secreted in the garden.

San. I envy you. Would he were alive again, that I might kill him too, my guardian saint assisting! I should be the better welcome.

Ant. Indeed!

San. Not that it matters; I am convinced she loves me well. I'll to her straight, and with these welcome tidings make her right happy.

Ant. Not quite so fast. When that you tell her, she will ask for proofs, and from whence you had your information.

San. Why, that is true; and she'll never rest till she worms the secret from me: Saint Petronila, lock my breast!

Ant. Therefore, Sancho, it must appear as if there was no secret. Tell her 'twas by your hand that Lopez fell; I am content that you shall have with her all the credit of the deed. She'll love you better.

San. Why, so she will. My dear Antonio, you are like my holy saint, a friend indeed!

Ant. If she doubts the fact, you'll come to me. I'll give you proofs most positive.

San. Thanks—thanks!

Ant. Now take advice. Women, like eels, are rather slippery; already she has once slipped through your fingers. Their minds are weathercocks, and there's wind always blowing. Press her, then, hard, and marry her at once.

San. I will, I will. Thanks, dear Antonio!—Saint Petronila will reward you.

Ant. I risk much to serve you. You'll meet me here to-night. I must now to confess this heavy deed. You'll come.

San. I will—addio! [Exit.

Ant. So, so the fondling, ever coaxing Nina Loves this soft fool, and wishes I were dead. I did think better of her. We men deceive, 'tis true; but still no longer Keep on the mask, when we've our purpose gain'd. With us 'tis tiresome; but with the women, 'Tis ne'er removed; for mask'd they live and die! [Exit.

Scene II.

The Monastery.

Gaspar, as Anselmo, enters with Jacobo.

Jac. Twice hath the brother Manuel sought for you; He came from the Superior.

Gasp. You told him I was absent?

Jac. I did, and also where you might be found. They sent a messenger, who soon return'd, Declaring there thou hadst not been to-day.

Gasp. Truly, I had forgotten 'twas the day That I with Don Baltasar did appoint. 'Twas thus my treach'rous memory did beget This chapter of cross purposes. [Bell without.

Jac. Someone rings. That jingling bell pursues me unto death; In faith, this porter's is a tedious office. [Exit.

Gasp. More tedious still the wearing of the knees Upon this pavement. I am weary of it.

Enter Jacobo, with Antonio.

Jac. One who inquires for thee, Anselmo, Who would confess.

Gasp. (Takes a confessional chair.) I know the man: Jacobo, leave us. [Exit Jacobo. My son, we are alone; now thou may'st profit By holy rite, and on thy bended knees Pour out thy soul to me in deep contrition. Hast thou perform'd the penance I enjoin'd For the sad stumblings thou did'st last confess?

Ant. I have, most holy father, to my belief Obey'd thy strict injunction. I have so much to think of for my master, My thoughts are scarce mine own; Still do I often call upon the saints.

Gasp. I trust thou dost—and not as I have heard That worldlings do, invoke them in mere blasphemy.

Ant. Nay, father, when I call, I am sincere.

Gasp. Thou dost evade, I fear, with double meaning. But to the purpose—by what sins hast thou, Since last we met, endanger'd thy poor soul?

Ant. Father, my mind is ill at ease. I serve A master most equivocal—a false one In all he says and does; in love—in everything. I know not what to think. He's here and there— In fact, I do believe he is—the devil.

Gasp. Give me the grounds for this thy strange suspicion.

Ant. He keeps his chamber lock'd, his haunts unknown. He comes when least expected. How he comes I cannot tell. He goes, and Heaven knows where. I ne'er can make him out with all my prying.

Gasp. It would appear thy master doth not trust thee. Why should'st thou watch, and seek to find out that He would conceal? This base prying nature Is a dark sin, and must be check'd by penance. Hast thou no more?

Ant. Yes, father, I've a grievous fault to tell; One that I'm fearful thou wilt much abhor— An accident, 'tis true, and most unlucky— I have two wives in Seville.

Gasp. Two wives! Thou hast profaned the holy rite! What! wedded twice! and say 'twas accident!

Ant. An accident—they both have come to Seville.

Gasp. It is a heinous sin—one that demands Justice on earth; scarce pardon claims from Heaven. Two wives! How long hast thou thus lived in sin?

Ant. 'Tis now three years since I did wed the second! I had forgot, my memory is so bad, I wedded was before—till yesterday, I chanced to meet with both of them in Seville.

Gasp. Thy memory's most convenient, but the law Will not o'erlook thy crime when it is known.

Ant. We'll leave it to the law, then, please thee, father. The sin is one that carries its own penance.

Gasp. How could'st thou venture on so foul a deed?

Ant. Example, holy father! bad example. It is our masters who do ruin us. My present one, for instance, loves two ladies, And woos them both. Sad reprobate he is!

Gasp. Another's fault can't sanctify thine own, Else all th' ordinances of our church were useless; Thou art more knave than fool, Antonio, And yet made up of both. For this thy crime I have no absolution. Haste thee hence, And tremble at thy state of sad perdition! [Exit Gaspar.

Ant. (looking after him). More knave than fool!—why, yes, that's true. What a scurvy fellow! No absolution! I shall take the liberty of changing my confessor. So, good sir, I give you your warning. Must not pry either! Does he not pry into my conscience as far as he can? Why, his whole life is a life of prying!—I have no opinion of these monks! They're no better than they should be. The law must take its course—there's the mischief. Let me only contrive to get out of its clutches now, and I'll take my chance for getting out of the devil's hereafter! [Exit.

Scene III.

A Street in Seville.

Enter Felix and Perez, meeting.

Felix. Perez, well met; I hoped to find you. Have you discovered who your rival may be? and what answer have you gained from Donna Serafina to your most urgent pleadings?

Perez. Confusion light upon her! She hath returned my letter without opening it; and sent a request that I will desist from useless persecution. Beppa, her confidante, I have contrived to parley with; and what with bribes and much entreaty, I have ascertained that this Don Gaspar is the rival who supplants me.

Felix. I doubt it, Perez—doubt it much. I, too, have gained some information from Sancho, who associates much with one Nina, Isidora's favoured woman. From this source I've learned that this Don Gaspar is her favoured cavalier, and that last night they had a meeting.

Perez. Yet I am sure my knowledge is correct, and that the Donna Serafina grants him those favours which I consider are but due to me.

Felix. Why, what a conscientious cavalier is this, who thus monopolises all our beauties! I fain would see him. What is he like? His properties must be wondrous indeed. Where is he to be met?

Perez. He often passes this way to the Prado. I wish to meet him also, but not in courtesy. Indeed! see, here he comes!

[Enter Don Gaspar and as he would pass by, Perez steps before him. Gaspar moves on one side and Perez again intercepts him.

Gasp. Don Perez, at first I imagined this was accident, but now your conduct will admit no such interpretation. Do you dispute my passage?

Perez. I do—until we have had some little parley.

Gasp. Then, sir, your parley. Be brief. Indeed, I know not what there is between us that demands it.

Perez. I believe, Don Gaspar, that you woo a lady.

Gasp. 'Tis not impossible.

Perez. You will oblige me if you cease to woo.

Gasp. Don Perez, I never brook affront. What has already passed demands a deadly meeting. But to reply to your strange request, who is the lady I am commanded not to woo, and upon what grounds?

Perez. The lady is the Donna Serafina—I grant a fickle, yet a lovely one. You call yourself Don Gaspar. Who is this Don Gaspar that ruffles thus with our nobility? Detail your ancestry and lineage. Of what family are you? Where are your possessions? show me the patent of your descent or else——

Gasp. Or else, Don Perez?

Perez. I publish you through Seville!

Gasp. Then do it quickly; you've no time to lose. First let me tell you, sir, that had not reasons, and those the most cogent ones, forced me to hide my quality, I had not so long submitted to the doubts which are abroad. Still my secret is mine own and shall remain so. Who and what I am, Don Perez, you shall never know. You have not long to live; and now, sir, let me pass. We meet again when least you wish it.

Felix. Perez, indeed you are to blame. Don Gaspar has the right of every man to wear the incognito, either from choice or from necessity. He has never intruded on your company, bears himself correctly, and wears the form and stamp of true nobility. Thus much in justice must I say. If you must quarrel let your cause be good.

Gasp. Sir, I thank you (bowing to Don Felix).

Perez. Still do I hold my words, and challenge him impostor!

Gasp. Did you retract them it would not avail. But time is pressing, and I cannot wait.

Perez. When do we meet again?

Gasp. I said before, when least you wish it. (To Don Felix) Signor, farewell! [Exit Gaspar.

Perez. By heavens! I hold him craven! Do you think that I shall hear from him?

Felix. Hear from him! I saw no signs of fear, but much of rage, and that but ill suppressed. In faith he is a noble cavalier! You'll hear, and see, and suffer from him too, or I mistake.

Perez. What did he say? when least I wished it?

Felix. Those were his words.

Perez. They're pregnant with some meaning.

Felix. No doubt—we'll ravel out this mystery as we walk. Come to the Prado: this smiling day will bring the fair ones forth. Come, come! [Exeunt.

Scene IV.

A Street before Anselmo's Lodgings.

Enter Antonio.

What with the messages from my master's two mistresses, I am not a little puzzled to keep my two wives apart. I have spread a report of my absence by another channel, which will reach Nina; and, unless she comes for my effects, which Beppa surely would, there is no fear. Now must I wait for Sancho.

Enter Beppa.

Bep. One is as sure to find you standing here, as to find the figure of our lady in the church.

Ant. I wish the likeness went further, and that the same presents were offered to me. I should be rich.

Bep. You will never be rich. You are not honest.

Ant. It is my poverty has made me otherwise.

Bep. And while you are otherwise you will be poor. You shut the only gate by which riches can enter.

Ant. And yet, good wife, I have occasionally seen great rogues amass great wealth.

Bep. Castles built upon the sand, without a good foundation!—a pile of industry heaped up in vain. But I have known you long, and it is useless to reason with you.

Ant. Pray, may I ask, what has made you in such a sermonising humour to-day?

Bep. No; but you may hear why I am come to you. I am sent to know if your rogue of a master comes to my lady to-night.

Ant. He does, to the best of my knowledge, and belief.

Enter Sancho.

Ant. Sancho, I have been waiting for you (to Sancho aside). I'll speak to you directly (pointing to Beppa).

Bep. I'm sure there is mischief. I'll stay to plague him.

Ant. Well, Beppa, you have your answer, and I have no doubt but Donna Serafina is impatient.

Bep. She may be: but, Antonio, I want to put a question to you, now that I am here; who is that girl with whom I caught you the other day,—that Nina!

San. Saint Petronila! caught him with Nina? Why he's a married man and your husband.

Bep. I know he is, to my misfortune. Yet still he makes love to other women. I caught him kissing her.

Ant. (aside). Confound her!

San. Kissing her! (To Antonio) Your most obedient! Then I understand why you fought her husband.

Bep. Fought her husband did you say?

San. Yes, and killed him—a dirty rascal, whose name was——

Ant. (putting his hand on Sancho's mouth). Your honour, Sancho! recollect your oath!

San. I had forgotten. Saint Petronila, refresh my memory! But this requires some little explanation.

Ant. And you shall have it, but not now. All's right.

San. All's right?

Ant. (aside to Sancho). Yes—this woman's jealous of her. As soon as she is gone I will explain the whole.

Bep. (aside). Now are there knavish tricks in practice. (Aloud) You know this Nina—this girl of his?

San. Why, yes—I know the woman.

Bep. Then if you do, tell her she's a shameless wanton, thus to seduce a married man, and that Antonio's wife will spoil her beauty if she come across her. You understand me?

San. Why, yes; it is very plain, by Saint Petronila!

Bep. Husband, farewell. I trust you'll mend your ways. [Exit Beppa.

Ant. Cursed jealous cockatrice! Why, Sancho, you are serious.

San. Why, yes, a little. I thought you were my friend, but if you are only doing a friendly act for Nina in getting her a husband——

Ant. My dear Sancho, I'll explain it all. Nina is virtuous. It was her husband that she kissed, and this alone has made that woman jealous.

San. Why should she be jealous of Nina's kissing her own husband?

Ant. Because that husband had my livery on; and Beppa swears 'twas I. When Lopez arrived here he wanted a situation, but his clothes were so shabby, he could not offer himself to any gentleman. I lent him a suit of mine, a very good one too, and yet the wretch had the ingratitude to quarrel with me, although dressed in my clothes. They are on his body now. When he met his wife he kissed her, and Beppa, who was passing by, thought it was I; and this is the whole mystery. You can ask Nina how her husband was dressed when she met him, and her answer will prove the truth of what I say. Only, you must not mention a word of me or of Beppa. I hope you're satisfied.

San. Why, yes—it seems the truth.

Ant. Well, now, Sancho, let me know how Nina received the news of her husband's death.

San. Women are strange creatures! Would you believe it? When I told his death—Saint Petronila, be merciful to me!—although she always disliked him, she cried and sobbed most bitterly; and when I would have consoled her she pushed me—yes, me, Sancho, away! Saint Petronila!

Ant. I almost repent of my scheme. I wish it had been Beppa that the fool fancied.

San. But this did not last above ten minutes. She then wiped her eyes, and suffered me to kiss her.

Ant. So soon—confound her! He shall have her (aside).

San. O more than that: when she became more tranquil she smiled—hi, hi, hi! by the lips of the holy saint, she did!

Ant. (aside). The Jezebel! (Aloud) But, Sancho, was she quite satisfied with your assertion of his being killed?

San. No; she said she must have more proof, that there might be no mistake; for, as she truly observed, it would be an awkward thing to have two husbands.

Ant. (aside). It is to have two wives. (Aloud) Sancho, proceed.

San. I followed your advice, and told her 'twas by my hand that Lopez fell—Saint Petronila pardon me the lie.

Ant. What said she then?

San. Why, at first, she repulsed; but then remembering that second thoughts as well as second husbands were the best, she dried her eyes, and was content; don't you see how fresh I am with the joy?

Ant. (aside and looking contemptuously on Sancho). Confound him!

San. What say you?

Ant. That you're a happy man. Did you press her hard to marry you at once, as I advised you?

San. I did, and at last she promised, as soon as she had seen her husband dead, to marry me immediately.

Ant. Now, Sancho, I will be your friend. Of course I must not appear in this, nor must my name be mentioned. But if to-morrow at dusk will suit you, I'll drag his body from the place where I concealed it, and lay it in the path which leads to the summer house—you know where I mean, just where the row of tall chestnut trees——

San. I know exactly. Thank you, Antonio. She said to-morrow night she thought she would be able to come out. I'll go to her immediately, and make the appointment. Saint Petronila, smile on my joys of wedlock! [Exit Sancho.

Ant. How I hate women!... If that fool had mentioned the name of Lopez, the crafty Beppa would have discovered the whole affair. What with keeping my own secrets, and finding out those of my master, I have enough to do. So far the former has been well managed, now for the latter. [Exit into house.

Scene V.

An Apartment in the Guzman Palace. Donna Inez discovered seated at table.

Inez. Last night, again, beneath my niece's window I heard that tuneful voice; and if mine ears Deceived me not, my Isidora's too. As I pass'd by, a light whose feeble rays Shone thro' the vacancy beneath the door Proved that she'd not retired. I much suspect She is entangled in some web of love. Yet oft have I enjoin'd her to advise With me, her friend, and truest counsellor. But 'tis in vain; Love ne'er would be so sweet,—so fondly cherish'd, If not envelop'd in the veil of secrecy: And good intents are oft in maidens check'd By that strange joyous fear, that happy awe, Which agitates the breast when first the trembler Receives its dangerous inmate. I've summon'd her, for now I must endeavour To be her confidante. (Muses.) 'Twere better first I made her mine. And sympathy may win the treasured key, Which startled love would willingly retain.

Enter Isidora.

Isid. You wish my presence. (Aside) Hush, my tell-tale heart.

Inez. Hast thou slept well, my child?

Isid. My dreams have been confused, but not unhappy.

Inez. Oh! may'st thou never wake to mystery! Thine is a dang'rous age: my Isidora, Thou little know'st, that while thy path is strew'd With flow'rs, how many serpent dangers lurk Beneath the sweets.

Isid. I will not stray, then.

Inez. It is a happy resolution. If, in my youth, I had been so resolved, I had not loaded mine old age with care, Nor soak'd my pillow with remorseful tears.

Isid. I've often seen you weep, and then retire, Nor glad me with your presence, until after You had communion held with Father Philip; Then have you smiled again, that is to say, Smiled mournfully, as does the winter's sun, Gleaming through heavy clouds, and scarce deigning To light up sober nature for the minute.

Inez. True, dearest child, for such is our blindness, That we reject our greatest boon, until We can receive support from it alone. 'Tis time thou should'st receive my confidence, And learn the danger of clandestine love.

Isid. (aside). She must suspect me. (Aloud) I'm all attention.

Inez. To say I once was fair, and that mine eyes Were bright as thine are now, were almost needless. I had a mother most considerate— Kind to excess, yet ever pointing out The path to virtue, and to happiness. One precept above all did she enjoin, And sure 'twas little in exchange to ask For so much kindness—wisely to seek her counsel Ere the heart was wounded. You hear me, love, I oft have made the same request of you.

Isid. (faintly). You have.

Inez. I promised faithfully, as thou hast done, And well, I know, wilt keep the promise made. But virgin fear induced me to withhold My confidence, until it was too late. My heart was given and my troth was plighted; Don Felipe, such was his cherish'd name, Implored my silence; our frequent meetings Were sanctified by marriage: then I learn'd It was an old and deadly feud that barr'd His long sought entrance to our house; but soon He hoped our marriage publicly t'announce, And strife of years to end, and peace restore By our acknowledged union. Alas! two days before this much-sought hour, My brothers were inform'd I did receive My husband in my chamber. He was surprised And murder'd—basely in my presence slain!

Isid. Oh Heavens!

Inez. They would not listen to my frantic words! They would not credit our asserted union! They dragg'd me to a convent in their wrath, And left me to my widowhood and tears, Tore my sweet infant from my longing arms, And while I madly scream'd, and begg'd for pity, The abbess spoke of penitence and prayer. Reason, for weeks, forsook me: when again I was awaken'd to a cruel world, They would have forced me to assume the veil.

Isid. To me, that force had been most needlessly Exerted. What haven could the world offer So meet for such a wreck of happiness? What could induce you to repel that force?

Inez. The hope, that one day I might find my boy— A hope which still I cherish. Years have fled; My brothers fell by those who sought revenge, And I remain'd, sole scion of our noble house, In line direct. Then did I seek my child. Those who attended at the birth inform'd me It had a sanguine bracelet on the wrist. By threats and bribes at last I ascertained My child had been removed unto the hospital Built in this city for receiving foundlings. Full of a mother's joy, a mother's fear, I hasten'd there, alas! to disappointment! All clue of him was lost, and should my boy survive, The heir of Guzman's noble house may be Some poor mechanic's slave! (In anguish throws herself into a chair.)

Isidora (kneels beside Inez). Indeed 'tis dreadful. I marvel not you grieve To think that he survives in hapless penury, Unconscious of his right, perchance unfitted, And if recover'd, prove no source of joy, But one of deep regret, that a young stock Which culture and the graft of education Would now have loaded on each bough with fruit, Neglect hath left degenerate and worthless. How should I joy, yet dread to meet my cousin, Should your maternal hopes be realised!

Inez. He is my child. You cannot feel the pangs Which rack a mother sever'd from her own.

Isid. I've often thought how sweet that love must be Where all is sanction'd, nought is to conceal— When hand may lock in hand, heart beat with heart, And the whole world may smile but not upbraid. Such love a sister towards a brother bears, And such a mother feels towards her son. I have no brother—none of kin but you. Now, dearest mother, for mother you have been Unto my childhood and now budding youth, Would that my feebleness could e'er repay Your years of love. O that I could console you, And prove me grateful! Heaven ne'er be mine If these, my sobbing words, be not sincere.

Inez. 'Tis well, my child, thou canst console me much: Let my sad tale but prove to thee a beacon And I am satisfied. Tell me, my love, Hast thou no secrets hidden in thy breast? [Isidora, still kneeling, covers her face with her hands.] Hast thou fulfill'd thy oft-repeated promise?

Isid. Forgive me, dearest aunt; forgive and pity me!

Inez. Last night, my child, I heard the sound of music: Methought thy name was wafted by the air With most harmonious utterance.

Isid. Forgive me, aunt, but say that you forgive me! You shall know all.

Inez. I do, my Isidora, I forgive thee (raises her). But I must have thy confidence, my child. Who is this cavalier?

Isid. Alas! I know not.

Inez. Not know, my Isidora? Hast thou then Been so unwise as to receive a stranger?

Isid. Alas! I have, but too much for my peace.

Inez. Thou lov'st him then? [Isidora throws herself into the arms of Inez and bursts into tears.] (Aside) The barb has entered deeply. (Aloud) Isidora, Come, come, cheer up, my love, I mean not to reproach. All may yet be well.

(Inez kisses Isidora, and they separate.)

Thou say'st he is a stranger?

Isid. I only know he calls himself Don Gaspar. I have indeed been foolish.

Inez. Has he ne'er mention'd his condition, His family or descent?

Isid. Never; and when that I would question him, He answers vaguely. There is some mystery.

Inez. With honest love concealment never dwells. When does he come again?

Isid. To-morrow even—and he'll keep his word.

Inez. Then will I see him. Fear not, my love, No trifling cause shall bar thy happiness. Be he but gentle, e'en of Moorish blood, And honest, he is thine. Go to thy chamber, Thither will I follow, that we some project May devise, which shall remove all obstacle. [Exit Isidora. I like not this Don Gaspar, and my heart Forebodes some evil nigh. I may be wrong, But in my sear'd imagination, He is some snake whose fascinating eyes, Fix'd on my trembling bird, have drawn her down Into his pois'nous fangs. How frail our sex! Prudence may guard us from th' assaults of passion, But storm'd the citadel, in woman's heart, Victorious love admits no armistice Or sway conjoint. He garrisons alone. [Exit Inez.

Act III. Scene I.

The monastery.—Procession of monks, choristers, &c., returning from performing service in the chapel.—The organ still playing in the chapel within, Anselmo at the head of the choristers.—They pass on bowing to the Superior, who, with Manuel, remain.—The organ ceases.

Sup. (looking round). Anselmo hath pass'd on. I do observe, Of late he shuns communion. 'Tis most strange. Say, Manuel, hast thou discover'd aught? Doth he continue steadfast and devout? Or, borne away by youthful phantasies, Neglect the duties of our sacred order?

Man. He bears himself correctly, and e'er since His last offence, when self-inflicted pain Proved his contrition, he hath ever seem'd To be absorb'd in holy meditation.

Sup. May this continue, he's of great import To the well doing of our monastery—— Yet he hath not of late confess'd his sins.

Man. Perchance he hath not err'd. Forgive me, Heav'n, Rash words like these when all are born to sin! I deem'd that he had nothing to confess Except the warring of his youthful passions, O'er which he strives to hold dominion.

Sup. I would it were so; but, too frequently, I do perceive a furtive glance of fire From 'neath his fringed eyelash wildly start, As does the lightning from a heavy cloud: It doth denote strong passion—much too strong For youthful resolution to control.

Man. Why then permit him to behold the world And all its vanities? 'Tis true, our coffers Are somewhat help'd by that he brings to them, Instructing music, a gift from nature In him most perfect. Were it not better That he within our cloister'd gates should stay?

Sup. Then would he pine; for our monastic vows Are much too harsh, too rigid save for those Who, having proved the world, at length retire When they have lost the appetite to sin. There's much depending on the boy Anselmo; He is a prize whose worth I little knew When first into our brotherhood he came.

Man. I comprehend you not.

Sup. Thou canst not, Manuel, but I will confide What has been reveal'd to me alone. Well thou know'st for years I have confess'd The Donna Inez. From her I late have learn'd She bore a child in wedlock, which she lost; And, by the notices which she has given, I find him in Anselmo.

Man. In Anselmo! Then he's the rightful heir To all the Guzman wealth.

Sup. 'Tis even so.

Man. Father, how long since you discover'd this?

Sup. But a few months before he took his vows.

Man. Why did you then permit them?

Sup. To serve our holy church; which either way Must gain by his belonging to our order. The lady mourns her son. If I restore him, She must be grateful. Thus our convent will Become endow'd with acres of broad land. And should he choose still to retain his vows, When he has learnt the story of his birth, Then will our monast'ry no doubt receive The wealth he values not, but we require.

Man. I do perceive—'twas prudently arranged— What wait you for?

Sup. To see if he will turn his thoughts to Heav'n; But, look, he moves this way. Leave me with him. [Exit Manuel, and enter Anselmo. Where hast thou been, my child?

Ans. Lending mine ear to those who would unload A conscience heavy with repeated sin— Giving advice and absolution free To those who riot in a sinful world.

Sup. Yet still be lenient. We in holy bonds Expect not men exposed, to be so perfect. Tell me, for lately thou hast not confess'd, How throbs thy heart? Do holy thoughts prevail? Art thou at peace within, or does thy youth Regret its vow, and yield to vain repinings?

Ans. I am, most holy father, as Heav'n made me— Content, and not content, as in their turns The good or evil thoughts will be ascendant. When that the evil thoughts the mastery gain, I try to curb them. Man can do no more.

Sup. At thy rebelling age, 'tis doing much. Now put my question to thy inmost soul And answer me:—could'st thou rejoin the world And all its pleasures, now so bright in fancy To youth's all ardent mind, tell me sincerely, Would'st thou reject them?

Ans. Why call in question that which ne'er can be? My vows are ta'en, therefore no choice is mine.

Sup. Most things are possible to mother church, As would this be—a dispensation sought Might be obtain'd.

Ans. (at first with joy in his countenance, then assuming a mournful expression). It would not be a kindness. Who, my father, In this wide glorious world is kindred to Anselmo? I will confess, I sometimes have indulged Half dreaming thoughts (O say not they are sinful!) Of the sweet hours of those, who, lapp'd in bliss, See brothers, sisters, offspring, clust'ring round, Loving and loved; then have I wept to think That I have none, and sadly felt convinced 'Tis for my happiness that I am here.

Sup. True, my Anselmo, 'tis a dreary world, And still more dreary when we've nought to cling to, But say, if thou hadst found a doting mother, One that was nobly born and rich, who hail'd In thee the foundling heir to large estates, What then?

Ans. (starts, and after a pause). I cannot say—my thoughts ne'er stray'd so far. Father, you oft the dangers have set forth Of dreaming fancies which may lead astray; Yet do you try to tempt me, by supposing that Which shakes my firmness, yet can never be.

Sup. We are but mortal. I did wish to know Thy secret thoughts, and thou withhold'st them still. At night come to me, then shalt thou confess, For I would learn the workings of thy soul.

Ans. First let me strive to calm my troubled mind: I will confess to-morrow.

Sup. Then, be it so. [Exit Superior.

Ans. 'Tis strange. He ne'er before essay'd me thus. A doting mother, wealthy too, and noble! O! if 'twere true, and I could gain my freedom! But these are very dreamings. Hold, my brain! For he has conjured up a vision wild, And beautiful as wild! Wealth, ancestry, A mother's love! But what are these to thee, Thou monk Anselmo? go—go and hang thy head Within the cowl, droop'd humbly on thy breast— For know, thou art a monk, and vow'd to Heav'n! Oh parents stern! to fling me thus on fate! But vows more stern that thus debar me from The common rights of man! Why were we made With passions strong, that even Nature laughs When we would fain control them? Lone to live And die are rebel acts, to Heav'n unpleasing. Say I were humbly born of peasant race, I should have glided on the silent brook; Or highly bred and nobly father'd, Dash'd proudly like the rapid flowing river. But in these confines against Nature pent, I must remain a stagnant torpid lake; Or else marking my wild course with ruin, Till my force is spent and all is over, Burst forth a mad, ungovernable torrent.

Enter Jacobo.

Jac. What Anselmo! not outside the convent gates, and service over this half hour! By St Dominic, it is as I expected—thou hast fallen in with the Superior, and hast been ordered home with penance.

Ans. Not so, Jacobo. The Superior and I roll on in different orbits. Saturn and Venus are as like to jostle as we upon our travels.

Jac. Well, I've an idea that there's something wrong, and my news will not be very agreeable to you: the key is, in future, to be delivered to the Superior at nine o'clock, and, if required, it must be sent for.

Ans. Indeed! then he must suspect that we are not so regular. Still, I must out to-night, Jacobo—I must indeed!

Jac. Impossible!

Ans. (giving him money). I must, Jacobo. Here's for thy wine, much watching needs it.

Jac. The Superior calls me, brother; I only wish there was brotherhood in our drinking. The noble juice which mantles in his cup would cheer me in my vigils.

Ans. And that will purchase it. I must be out to-night. Let the Superior have the key, but do not lock the door. You understand, Jacobo?

Jac. I do; but there's danger in it. Holy Virgin! the Superior comes this way. Anselmo, you had better to your cell.

Ans. I detest it. Now must I play the hypocrite.

Enter Superior followed by Jacobo.

Sup. (observing Anselmo). Thou here, my son! I thought thee at thy cell.

Ans. I wish'd to seek it; but till vesper chimes I must employ in teaching melody; But that the coffers of our holy church Receive the thrift, my mind were ill at ease Thus mixing with the world; for holy vigils Are better suited to my early years. (Kneeling.) O bless, my father, my untoward youth And teach my thoughts to find the path to Heav'n.

Sup. (bending over Anselmo). Bless thee, my child, may thy young heart Turn now to Heav'n, as Samuel's did of old! May holy thoughts pervade thy youthful mind! May holy dreams enrich thy peaceful sleep! May heavenly choristers descend in visions, And point thee out the joys awaiting those Who dedicate on earth their lives to Heav'n.

[Exit Superior, after blessing Anselmo.—Anselmo, still kneeling, watches the departure of the Superior.

Ans. (rising.) He's safe.

Jac. Hah, hah! do you edify?

Ans. Peace, peace, Jacobo! 'Tis time that I were gone.

Jac. You will return before the door is lock'd?

Ans. Because you will not lock it. I shall be home at midnight: it must be so, Jacobo. If not, expect no further gifts from me; and what is more, a full confession of the many times you have been bribed to secrecy. [Exit Anselmo.

Jac. Why, what a penance if this should be discovered! They know how much I love my wine, and always punish me with water. I should have to drink the Guadalquiver dry before the Superior would give me absolution. Well, we all have our besetting sin; and a pot of good wine will put my soul in more jeopardy than all the temptations that the world contains. I suppose I must forget to lock the door. I'll only bolt it; that will satisfy my conscience as a porter. [Exit Jacobo.

Scene II.

Street before Don Gaspar's lodgings.—Enter Antonio.

Ant. I wonder where my master is! I expected him sooner. He may be in his chamber, but 'tis impossible to say. Why, here comes Beppa, and that knave Garcias with her. I've often thought they are too intimate; I will retire and watch them.

Enter Beppa, followed by Garcias.—Antonio advances behind.

Bep. But, Garcias, is this true?

Gar. It is, upon my faith! Sancho revealed it in his cups. Don Perez, afraid to encounter with Don Gaspar, has hired bravos to dispatch him.

Bep. I rejoice at it. A wretch like him deserves no better fate, and my poor mistress will be well revenged. Indeed, his servant is no better.

Gar. What! your dear husband?

Bep. My scoundrel husband! Unhappy day I married him! It was but yesterday that I found him kissing another.

Gar. Indeed!—You can revenge yourself.

Bep. I almost wish I could.

Gar. (kissing her hand). Then kiss again.

Bep. Pshaw! that's but poor revenge.

Gar. I'll join the bravos, and strike him down, if you will marry me.

Bep. Not so, good sir: it were indeed to make a better choice, to take a murderer in second wedlock. I ask but to be free; and leave the time to Heaven.

Gar. Then fare ye well. [Exit Garcias.

Ant. A very pretty proposal, and a very pretty plot have I discovered! yet will I conceal my knowledge. (Shows himself.) Good day, again, my Beppa! Who is that friend of yours? (smacking lips in imitation of kissing).

Bep. (after a pause). Well, good husband, how could I help it?

Ant. How could you help it!

Bep. My mistress ordered me.

Ant. Oh, I understand!

Bep. Yes, only a little by-play, you know.

Ant. Or else you must quit your service. Pray who is the gentleman to whom your mistress is making love?

Bep. That's a secret.

Ant. Of course she gave you ten moidores for me.

Bep. Really I don't remember.

Ant. Indeed! why, thou—thou—

Bep. Good morning. I must to my mistress. Adieu, Antonio. [Exit Beppa.

Ant. Well; I like thee better than usual. Thou hast refused him for me, and would not have him murder me; that's something in a wife now-a-days. I have obtained a key which fits my master's door; and now I feel assured he'll not come back, I'll find his secret out. I must be quick. Suppose he should be there. Impossible! he would have summoned me. At all events I'll risk it. [Exit Antonio.

Scene III.

Interior of Don Gaspar's room.—Enter Antonio.

Ant. Pugh! what a heat I'm in! I really tremble with delight or fear—I can't tell which. If he should come, what shall I say? Oh, the news I gained from Beppa. That will do. (Looking round.) Well, I see nothing after all. Why should he keep his chamber locked? But, then, there's that chest; let me try—locked fast;—nothing to be gained from that. Still, he comes in by some other way than the door, that's clear; we must have a search for a trap door. (He looks round, and then under the bed. While he is on his knees, feeling the boards, Don Gaspar enters by the secret sliding panel, and observing him, draws his sword, and, as Antonio rises, he points it to his breast.)

Gasp. Villain! how cam'st thou hither?

Ant. (much alarmed). Sir, sir, I came—came (recovers himself)—I came to save your life, unless it please you to take mine before I can speak to you.

Gasp. To save my life!

Ant. Yes, sir; I knew not where to find you; I thought you might be here, and so I forced the lock with a rusty key. I meant to say, that I knew you had another way out from your chamber, and I have been looking for it, that I might hasten to you, to save your life.

Gasp. Well, sirrah, first prove to me that you can save my life, and then, perhaps, I may overlook this impertinent intrusion.

Ant. Sir, I overheard a conversation between the valet of Don Felix and a woman, in which they stated that bravos were hired by Don Perez to waylay and murder you, Don Perez not caring to meet you with his sword. This night they wait for you.

Gasp. Is Don Perez then so basely treacherous?

Ant. Indeed he is, sir! You must not out to-night.

Gasp. I must, and fear them not. For this I overlook your prying—nay, more, I will in confidence explain the secret of this chamber; but, mark you! keep it, or I shall soil my rapier with thy knavish blood. This private entrance hath much served me (showing the sliding panel).

Ant. May I be so bold as to ask how?

Gasp. It oft has saved my life. It is about a year since, and about three months before you entered my service, that I gained the love of one named Julia; she was too fond, and urged me to marry her, which I refused. Her brothers, who were at home at the time, wrested from her the cause of those tears which she could not control. I met them both, and with ease disarmed them; I did not wish to slay them, I had already done them injury. These officers, who were more annoyed by my conquest than even their sister's shame, hired bravos, as Perez now has done, who sought to murder me. Each night that I went home I found them near my door: twice I fought an entrance to my own house; a friend, who was aware of the inveteracy of those who toiled to procure my assassination, hired me this chamber. For months they watched the door with disappointment, until the brothers being recalled to join their troops in Murcia, the bravos ceased their persecutions.

Ant. How did you escape them in the city, senor?

Gasp. In daylight I was safe; at night I wore the garb of a holy monk, that lies upon that chair. You'll keep my secret?

Ant. Yes, sir, when I know it.

Gasp. Have I not told it you?

Ant. You have told me that at times you are a monk, and at times a cavalier. Which is the real character, him of the rosary, or him of the rapier?

Gasp. (aside). The knave is deep. (Aloud.) I am a monk but when it suits me.

Ant. But, sir, is there not danger in thus assuming a holy character, if it were known—the Inquisition?

Gasp. I grant it: but we do many things which, if known, would subject us to something unpleasant. I serve two mistresses; but, should I marry them both——

Ant. (starting back). Then would you to the galleys, at east.

Gasp. Exactly so. I merely put the case, for I was told by Donna Isadora's maid, you are her husband; and this I also know, from your own mouth, you are married to Beppa.

Ant. There's some mistake, sir; for Nina is married to one whose name is Lopez. I cannot, sure, be he!

Gasp. If I can be both monk and cavalier, as you assert, why may not you be Lopez and Antonio? A name is changed as easily as a garment. But in your face I read conviction; I'm certain you have two wives!

Ant. It must be as you please, sir. Perhaps I may have confessed as much to you as a holy monk.

Gasp. (Laughs.) When did you ever meet me in a church?

Ant. I do not say I have, sir; but then your knowledge is so certain.

Gasp. Suppose, then, that I know your secrets, thou wilt surely not reveal mine. There's for thine intelligence. (Throws him a purse.)

Ant. May Heaven preserve my gracious master!

Gasp. This night must I to Donna Serafina's.

Ant. Will you, then, venture forth?

Gasp. Yes, I'll robe myself as holy monk. They dare not strike, even though they have suspicion. You may go. I shall not return to-night. [Exit Antonio. Scoundrel!—he is too cunning to believe me— Yet still I have the secret of his wives. (Muses.) This night I have discover'd the base Perez Again essays his most inconstant fair, Blind as inconstant. She rejected me When, as Friar Anselmo teaching music, I offer'd her—'tis true, unholy love; And I by Perez was thrust out with shame, Spurn'd with contumely as the door was closed, With threats if ever I appear'd again, To blazon forth my impious attempt, and— Yet did she cozen me with melting eyes, And first roused up the demon in my breast, Then laugh'd in malice.——I hate her for it! Now as Don Gaspar, I've supplanted him, Pride and revenge, not love, impelling me; These gratified, I would shake off a chain Which now, in amorous violence, she'd rivet. Further, Don Perez, in his jealous mood, Has as Don Gaspar braved me. They shall find, I hold life cheap when I would have revenge! [Exit.

Scene IV.

A garden near the house of Donna Serafina, which is in the back of the scene.—A balcony.—Enter Gaspar in a friar's dress, over that of a cavalier.

I pass'd them, and they bow'd unto my blessing. Why, what a world of treachery is this! Who would imagine that this holy robe, Professing but humility and love, Conceal'd the cavalier, swelling in pride, Seeking revenge, and thirsting for hot blood? Off with this first disguise! (Throws off friar's gown.) What then appears? A fair proportion, more deceiving still. ——In holy garb I fret within my cell, Sigh for the joyous world I have renounced, And spurn the creed which hath immured me there. When like the chrysalis I 'scape my prison, And range a free and garish butterfly, I find the world so hollow, base, and vile, That, in my mood, I hasten back once more, With thoughts of never wand'ring forth again, But, see,—Don Perez comes. I will retire. [Gaspar withdraws.

Enter Perez.

Perez. Fool that I am! like some robb'd bird to hover About the nest that's void. Her heart's not mine. 'Tis now three moons that I have sued in vain; Her casement closed by night, her door by day. O woman, woman! thy mysterious power Chains the whole world, and men are nought but slaves Unto the potent talisman— If man prove false and treach'rous, he is spurn'd, Contemn'd, and punish'd with resentment just. To woman faithless still we kneel and sue, For that return our reason holds as worthless. Well! this shall be my last—for, by yon moon, So oft a witness to my fervent vows, So true an emblem of inconstant beauty, This night I woo her back, or woo no more.

[Retires; sings to his guitar, unseen; or beckons on chorus.

Ere lady that you close in sleep Those eyes that I would die to view, Think, think on mine that watch and weep, And on my heart that breaks for you!

The sun does not disdain to turn, And on the meanest weed to shine, That scorch'd up dies, and seems to burn With love, as hopelessly as mine.

One look—one word—hear, hear my call! O cruel! can you still deny One look,—though it in scorn should fall? One word,—although it bid me die?

Perez, coming forward, looking up at the window after pause.

She will not hear, nor bless me with her sight!

Enter Gaspar in cavalier's dress.

Gasp. Well met, Don Perez. Thus I keep my word. And "when you least do wish it," I am here. Was it well done to send out hired stilettos When you had challenged me to measure swords?

Perez (aside). The scoundrels then have miss'd him! (Aloud.) Know, Don Gaspar, I do not deem thee worthy of my steel. But, as we meet—'tis well—defend thyself! (Draws.)

Gasp. Defend thyself, Don Perez! Thy best might And skill befriend thee,—else thy life is nought! (They fight round. Don Perez falls.)

Perez. I'm slain! Don Gaspar, or whoe'er thou art, If thou have Christian charity, seek out Some holy man. (Gaspar retires.) He's gone!

[Gaspar, with friar's gown and hood on, returns to Don Perez.

Gasp. Look up, Don Perez! Knowest thou this form? Thou dost require some holy man to shrive thee, Ere thou pass away.——Don Perez, answer! Know'st thou this form,—these features?

Perez. Thou art the Friar Anselmo. I have wrong'd thee, And ask forgiveness. O then pardon me! And, as thou hop'st t' enjoy eternal life, Feel no resentment 'gainst a dying man! (Faintly.) Shrive me, good father, for I'm sinking fast. Yon stream of blood will not creep on its course Another foot, ere I shall be no more.

Gasp. Thou saw'st Anselmo. Now raise up thine eyes, (Throws off his disguise.) And see Don Gaspar! who has just reveng'd The wrongs inflicted on the spurn'd at monk.

Perez. Whoe'er thou art, mysterious, awful being! At least be satisfied with thy revenge. If thou art holy, shrive me!

Gasp. I am a monk, and yet not holy (putting on gown, and folding his arms).

Perez. If thou art a monk by vows, thou'rt holy. 'Tis not my blood that's now upon thy hand, And shall hereafter be upon thy soul, Which makes thee less so: thou'rt but an instrument. I pray thee, shrive me, that my guilty soul May quit in peace this tenement of clay.

Gasp. Does he not speak the truth? Tell me, my heart, I think—I feel——I can forgive him now!

[Gaspar takes out his crucifix, returns to Don Perez, and, kneeling, presents it to him. Perez kisses the crucifix, and falls back dead. Gaspar remains hanging over him.

Don Felix (without). What hoa!

Enter Don Felix with servants bearing torches.

Gasp. (still kneeling by the body). Who calls?

Felix. We seek Don Perez, who this way did bend His steps some hours ago; and not returning At th' appointed time, we fear some mischief Hath befallen him.

Gasp. Behold then here the body of some gallant, Whose face I know not. As I pass'd this way I heard the clash of high and fierce contention, And when I came, this most unhappy man Lay breathing here his last. I shrived him, And he since has died.

Felix. It is Don Perez. Holy father, saw you The other party in the contest?

Gasp. Save that a manly figure flitted by, And vanish'd in the shadow of yon trees.

Felix. Raise up the corpse, and bear it to my house. This bloody work, Don Gaspar, must be thine! Perez, thou hear'st me not! but, by this sword, I will revenge thy death! [Exit Don Felix and servants carrying body.

Gasp. Thus far have I escaped suspicion— Now will I to the monastery.

[Casement opens, and Donna Serafina appears at window.]

Ser. Who's there?

Gasp. (aside). I had forgotten her.

Ser. Who's there?

Gasp. A father of the neighbouring monastery, Attracted hither by the clash of swords, And but in time to shrive a dying man.

Ser. Good father, didst thou hear the names of those Who were engaged?

Gasp. Not of the murderer, who has escaped. The one whose body has been borne away, Was call'd——Don Gaspar.

Ser. Don Gaspar! Father, surely thou mistak'st? It was the other cavalier who fell.

Gasp. The words of dying men are those of truth; He call'd himself Don Gaspar, and he begg'd I would take off his scarf, and, with his love, Bear it to Donna Serafina.

Ser. Then it is true—and I am lost for ever! Father, recall those words, those dreadful words! Say 'twas not Don Gaspar, and I'll load Thy monastery with the wealth of India. Its shrines shall blaze with gold and precious gems, And holy relics shall be purchased thee, To draw all faithful Christians to thy gates!

Gasp. I cannot change the name, and, if I could, 'Twere no less a murder. Lady, good-night.

Ser. Good father, stop—thou hast a scarf For Donna Serafina. I am she— Where is it? give it me.

Gasp. Are you that woe-struck lady, Serafina? Alas! indeed you have much cause to grieve. He loved you well.

Ser. Give me the scarf.

Gasp. I cannot, lady; 'tis not fit to offer, For it is tinged with blood.

Ser. Give me the scarf! I'll kiss away the blood, Or wash it off with tears!

Gasp. That I cannot, the casement is too high; Nor can I tarry longer. The last message, Together with the scarf, I will deliver Before to-morrow's sun shall gild these trees.

Ser. Then be it so. O Gaspar! Gaspar! [Exit from window, and closes it.

Gasp. One hour of misery, like hers, exceeds An age of common earthly suffering; And when at last she hears the unvarnish'd truth, 'Twill but perplex her more. Oh destiny! Why am I thus a blood-stain'd guilty man In early years? still yearning towards virtue, Yet ever falling in the snares of vice! Now do I loathe the amorous Serafina, Who sacrifices all—her fame—her honour, At Passion's shrine. How do I adore The chaste, the innocent, sweet Isidora! Yet in my love, so ardent and so pure, There's guilt—deep damning guilt—and more, There's cruelty and baseness! I plant a dagger In the fond breast that cherishes the wound; Nor will she feel the pain until withdrawn, And happiness—nay, life—will issue with it. How inconsistent, selfish, treacherous! Heav'n pardon me—how can I pardon ask For that I never can forgive myself! [Exit Gaspar.

Act IV. Scene I.

Street before Anselmo's lodgings.

Enter Antonio.

Ant. At last I have his secret, and one of moment too. A monk, and yet a cavalier! A friar's gown and a gala suit! vowing to heaven and vowing to the ladies! Abjuring the world, and roaming through it with a vengeance! Telling his beads, and telling me lies! But I am not so easily to be deceived. I thought very often that there was a similarity of voice between his and my confessor's, but when I saw the friar's gown, and he accused me of having two wives, it all flashed upon me at once. A pretty fool has he made of me! No wonder that he knew my rogueries when I confessed them to him. What's the having two wives to this? Mine is a paltry secret of a poor lacquey, but his is one which will obtain a price, and it is well to be first in the market. Whom shall I sell it to? let me see—Don Felix——?

Enter Beppa.

Bep. What of Don Felix, husband? Do you wish to serve him?

Ant. Yes, if he'll pay me well.

Bep. I presume Don Gaspar has not paid you: then must you help yourself.

Ant. Why so I do, whenever I can. But he takes care of that.

Bep. He might have done, but hardly will do so now.

Ant. Why not?

Bep. Because he's dead.

Ant. Dead! Are you sure of that?

Bep. Quite sure, for I myself beheld the contest. Such fierce exchange of hate I ne'er imagined, or that you men were such incarnate devils.

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