« PreviousContinue »
DELAYS AND BLUNDERS.
A CT I.
SCENE I. Outside of County Gaol--Houses and
Trees representing the Street in a country Towna Bridge in the Centre, and extensive open Country bebind it-Stage partly darken'd-LAURETTA ST. ORME seen crossing the Bridge with a Basket in her hand,
Enfer LAURETTA. HARK ARK! (looking back alarmed) it was the
found of feet! I'm watch'dol am disco. ver'd !- (falls against the wing ) Oh Heavens ! my rash imprudent zeal has ruind all-no-(recopering) 'twas but fancy-nothing but the passing breeze -and I may venture to proceed.-I know -I'm sure that he'll condemn me; but 'tis a long, long month since I have heard what passes in that dark abode-perhaps his health may luffer by con. finement-perhaps his poverty denies him t'en life's common comforts--perhaps-Oh! the sufpense is insupportable! and I were not the daughter that he chinks me, if I endur'd it calmly(knocks at the prison gate)— I will but ask, and then again to my retreat.
GAOLER (Speaking ibrough iron grating). Who's there at this time of the morning? Lauretta. One to enquire after Mr. St. Orme.
Gaoler. St. Orme!--the prisoner confin’d for murder?
Lauretta. Aye: as ’ris said, for murder !
Lauretta. Sray, Siimspare me but a moment-
Gaoler. Well --I'll take it. (Opens gratingamtakes parcel--buts it again, and exit.)
Lauretta. Thanks--thanks and yet those prison gates
--h! that they'd open wide, and once more give a father to my arms !--then should my humble talents still alift him—then would we seek again that hapless mother, who needs a hul. band's and a daughter's aid.-But these are idle hopes--the dreaded hour approaches !--the day of trial is at hand !-Oh spare him!-spare him Heave!
Enter GAOLER from the gate. Gaoler. So,-instead of reviving the prisoner, your present threw him into violent agitation-and here -(producing a letter) -- he fends you this aniwer.
Lauretta. (Reading it aside.) “You have done “ very wrong-return instantly to your retreat in
" the mountains; and never forget that you alone
were present at the murder that there's no “ other witness to convict me ; 'tis for your sake " and your unfortunate mother's that I wish to « live-Conceal yourself but four days longer, « and we may still meet and still be happy !”. Oh! let' me fly to my retreat! - Tell him I cheerfully obey bis wishes, and thank him for his counsel. (GaoleR exit, and LAURETTA going up stage, stops on seeing it lit.)-Ha! the morning breaks, and the broad glare of day will lead to 'my discovery !-unseen to reach the mountains is impoffible ! -weak, thoughtless girl !-to risk so much for selfish-momentary joy!What's to be done? I know-hard by, there is a thick impervious wood—there, I'll secrete myself 'rill night, and then set forth again-and if thy safety rests on my concealment, fear not, my father !-we will be happy still.
[Exit. Enter STERNLY and two Servants of Sir EDWARD
DELAUNY's. Sternly. Come bustle to your daily occupation lads--search every where for the witness, and recollect how near 'is to the aflizes.
ist Servant. We do. But when you recollect 'cis now five months since Sir Frederick’s death, and chat we've hunted for this Miss Lauretta every day
Sternly. Aye, plague on her, she got all this knowledge of tricks, shifts, and disguises, from turning stage player—but the present baronet is bent upon revenge, and that the trial may be
properly conducted, he expects this very morning a great London Solicitor-one Mr. Postpone-fam'd for integrity and talent--and if our only evidence be not forth coming, how can even he assist us!
so away-lose not a moment, whilft I wait his arrival at the ion. (Servants exeunt.)— Yes, yes; I must look about me like Sir Edward, for if Mr. St. Orme don't suffer, I fancy somebody else will.
Henry SAPLING (without). There !there, you rogues !
Sternly. Hah!-Who comes here ?-Surely not the London lawyer already. (Looks out.) No-as I live, Mr. Henry Sapling! who has been at sea these four years the nephew of my old neighbour. I wonder whether he's the same unsuspicious, simple youth he us'd to be. Enter Henry Sapling in a naval uniform, fol
lowed by two Post boys. Henry. (His purse in his hand.) There-that's for the chaile and four—and here-here's a guinea for yourselves. (Exeunt Post-boys.) - What, Sternly! my old acquaintance Sternly ! --why, how you ftare and gape.- dare say, now, you think this extravagant travelling.
Sternly. To be sure I do.
Henry. Well-it's very likely--but I'm just come from fea, to touch a legacy; and, between ourselves--we failors are so unus'd to accounts and econoniy, and in short, I feel money such a load to me, that I see I shan't fail pleasantly till I've chuck'd it all overboard. But, I say-how's nunky?
Sternly. Oh!-quite a new man since you saw him.--Why 'tis but a fortnight ago, he married Sir Edward's cousin.
Henry. Married is he?-Thank fortune!--So am not I, Master Steward.
Sternly. Why thank forcune?-I think I could recommend a wife to you, Mr. Sapling.
Henry. Whose wife?-Not nunky's I hope.
Sternly. Now his ward--the lovely Miss Honoria, who was brought up with you.
Henry. Plha--don't talk of ilhe's a charming creature !—but a wife!-. do you know, Sternly, in all the storms and batiles l've encounter'd, tha: was my confolation-says I -"never mind-blow on my boys !-you're nothing to the gales of matrimony.”-No-give me quiet-independenceliberty give me Lady Sensitive.
Sternly. Lady Sensitive !—Who's 'Lady Sensi. tive?
Henry. Mum-say nothing met her at the Opera-pick'd up her fan-handed her to her low chariot-receiv'd her card-call'd next morningneat house in Mary-le-bone-green blindsflower-pots---singing birds-black boys--white Jiveries -and she and her maid fo fashionably dress’d, that, upon my honour, all their clothes put together only weigh'd two ounces three scruples.
Sternly. Plha- this is a trick-lhe'll lead you into dissipation.
Henry. No-lhe'll make me domestic-she's so fond of me, that if perchance I dine at the coffeehouse, she sends me twenty messages before the cloth's remov'd-and if I don't return at the moment lhe expects me-poor soul! she goes into a fit !-yes, she does-I find her screaming, and the whole house swimming with hartshorn, laudanum, and cordials--there's tenderneis!-there's love for you!
Sternly. Love with a vengeance !--but prayabout the load ?-(pointing to the pocket.)-Don't The help you to chuck fome of it overboard ?
Henry. No-there's the worst of her - Ihe's so proud, and so disinterested, that, except now and shen allowing me to pay her coachmaker, and her