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Dion. I pardon him.
Pyth. O gods!
[Shouts and drums.—Damon staggers from the
scaffold into the arms of PYTHIAS.
George W. Lovell.
LOVE'S SACRIFICE; OR, THE RIVAL MERCHANTS.
MATTHEW ELMORE, a wealthy Merchant, is supposed to have murdered
the Count Du Barre, who had basely wronged him. ELMORE adopts the Children of the supposed murdered Man, and betroths his Daughter MargARET to EUGENE DU BARRE. Paul LAFONT, a rival Merchant and Enemy of ELMORE, discovers the presumed Guilt of the latter, and threatens to denounce the supposed Murderer, unless ELMORE will consent to his Marriage with MARGARET. To save her Father, she agrees to the “ Sacrifice."
Scene—A room in Elmore's House.
ELMORE discovered, seated. Elm. Discovered—ruined—lost! Am I the same Who stood an hour ago this house's master !The proud, the wealthy, courted, honoured Elmore ? Oh, lie-oh, gilded lie--now stripped so bare ! [Starts up. What madness tempted my return to France? It was that burning fever of the heart, That elsewhere found no rest :-it was the cries, Haunting my ear, of those whom I had orphaned, Calling me here to fill their father's place!
And now, in stretching forth my hand to them,
Enter MARGARET, slowly.
Mar. [Faintly, and keeping at a distance.] Sir-
Elm. [Faltering.] My child-
Mar. That's still his voice—the same, whose gentle tone
from me, my child ? [She slowly and fearfully advances towards him, and,
with an evident struggle, places her hand in his. She shudders at my
beliefI could bear all but that. Girl, they have told thee
Elm. No-not all! They may have told, perhaps, How one I hated wedded one I loved, But none could ever tell thee how I loved herThe wild, the maddening passion-let it pass! Perhaps she answered to it:-he, at least, Who won her, thought so— -till his jealous doubts Reproached her innocence. She bore him childrenBut, swayed by the gross frenzy of his thought, He loathed the sight of them, and called them bastards ! Oh, then her outraged honour, no less proud Than it was pure, broke her young heart !-She died !
Mar. Oh, happy !-Yet go on.
Elm. It was the night Fixed for her burial—and I sat alone : I was not mad, for I had consciousness, And knew my desolation. The deep toll Of the loud convent bell, with measured stroke, Fell on my ear, till its repeated sound Gnawed, like a living thing, upon my brain. And then there came the flat and heavy tread Of those who bore her—they must pass my house ; Convulsed, I started up and fled !--Close by, Sullen and black-tempting to thoughts as darkThe plashing river lay. I neared its bankPerhaps with sinful purpose—ay, thou tremblestBut sinful thoughts, indulged, bring sinful acts Before unthought of. In my very path, In that wild hour, he crossed me—he himself, Who had consigned her to her early tomb. We spoke—but what, I know not; yet I know I taunted-spurned him—charged him with her blood. He challenged me, and drew. I was unarmed,
But with one hand I struck aside his sword,
Mar. [Faintly. ] Go on.
Elm. Oh that it had !—for when the blow was struck, When his loud death-shriek rang upon my brain, And his pierced corpse fell heavy at my feet, Oh, then indeed all changed !--- The murky air Grew thick and choking-lightnings flashed before meA thousand thunders bellowed in my ear, And every one cried, “Murderer !”—I fled, And knew not whither, till I found myself In a strange land, with strangers gathered round me: And there was one who watched and pitied me, Pouring the balm of woman's tenderness Upon my bruised spirit, till I grew To love her—not as I had loved before, But with the quiet of a calm affection That leaned upon her soothing gentleness, As on a place of rest from my 'scaped shipwreck : She was thy mother, child
Mar. [Sighing:] Go on, go on.
Elm. But blood was spilt, and the avenger's wing Hovered above my house. It was on her
That the blow fell: she drooped, and she, too, died :
shrink from my sight, And shudder at my touch ! Mar. [Flinging her arms round his neck, and bursting
into tears.] Father !—my Father!
[Then breaking away from him, continues hurriedly. We'll speak no more of this—we will forget itAll shall be well-fear not-all shall be wellAnd yet one question first.—Is there no hope The sentence may
Mar. And one word more-
Elm. He I slew ? Alas, poor child !
Mar. Enough-we'll talk of it no more ! 'Tis past: we'll never name Eugene againAll shall be well
Elm. [Suddenly.] Margaret, I know thy thought ! But sooner shall they tear me limb from limb
Mar. Hush ! hush! You shall be safe.
Elm. Never, child, never,
Mar. A sacrifice !