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Clara. If, indeed, Ferdinand had not offended me so last night.
Louisa. Come, come, it was his fear of losing you made him so rash.
Clara. Well, you may think me cruel_but I swear, if he were here this instant, I believe I should forgive him.
By him we love offended,
How soon our anger flies !
Behold him, and it dies.
Last night, your roving brother,
Enraged I bade depart,
Deserved to lose my heart.
Yet, were he now before me,
In spite of injured pride,
Before my tongue cou'd chide. Louisa. I protest, Clara, I shall begin to think you are seriously resolved to enter on your probation.
Clara. And, seriously, I very much doubt whether the character of a nun would not become me besi.
Louisa. Why, to be sure, the character of a nun is a very becoming one at a masquerade, but no pretty woman, in her senses, ever thought of taking the yeil for above a night.
Clara. Yonder I see your Antonio is returned-I shall only interrupt you; ah, Louisa, with what happy eagerness you turn to look for him! (Exit.
Louisa. None-The messenger is not returned from my father.
Ant. Well, I confess, I do not perceive what we are to expect from him.
Louisa. I shall be easier, however, in having made the trial; I do not doubt your sincerity, Antonio; but there is a chilling air around poverty, that often kills affection, that was not nursed in it-If we would make love our household god, we had best secure him a comfortable roof.
Nor wilt thou the fond boast disown,
To reign the partner of a throne.
And by that hand, I've press’d to mine,
By Heav'ns, I would not part with thine !
Then how, my soul, can we be poor,
Who own what kingdoms could not buy?
In serving thee, a monarch I.
And rich in love's exhaustless mine,
Enter MAID, with a Letter.
Ant. My dearest Louisa, you may be assured, that it contains nothing but threats and reproaches.
Louisa. Let us sec, however-[Reads.] Dearest daughter, make your lover happy; you have my full consent to marry as your whim has chosen, but be sure come home and sup with your affectionate father.
Ant. You jest, Louisa !
Louisa. [Gives him the Letter.] Read-read. · Ant. 'Tis so, by Heavens ! sure there must be some mistake; but that's none of our business--Now, Louisa, you have no excuse for delay.
Louisa. Shall we not then return and thank my father?
Ant. But first let the priest put it out of his power to recall his word. I'll fy to procure one.
Louisa. Nay, if you part with me again, perhaps you may lose me.
Ant. Come then there is a friar of a neighbour. ing convent is my friend; you have already been diverted by the manners of a nunnery, let us see, whether there is less hypocrisy among the holy fathers.
Louisa. I'm afraid nut, Antonio-for in religion, as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere.
(Exeunte Enter CLARA. Clara. So, yonder they go, as happy as a mutual and confessed affection can make them, while I am left in solitude. Heigho! love may perhaps excuse the rashness of an elopement from one's friend, but I am sure, nothing but the presence of the man we love can support it-Ha! what do I see! Ferdinand, as I live ! how could he gain admission-by potent gold, I suppose, as Antonio did-How eager and disturbed he seems he shall not know me as yet.
[Lets down her Veil. Enter FERDINAND. Ferd. Yes, those were certainly they—my information was right.
[Going. Clara. (Štops him.) Pray, signor, what is your business here?
Ferd. No matter- no matter-Oh, they stop (Looks out.] Yes, that is the perfidious Clara indeed!
Clara. So, a jealous errorI'm glad to see him so moved.
[Aside. Ferd. Her disguise can't conceal her-No, no, I know her too well.
Clara. Wonderful discernment! but, signora
Ferd. Be quiet, good nun, don't tease me-By Heavens, she leans upon his arm, hangs fondly op it! O woman! woman!
Clara. But, signor, who is it you want?
Ferd. Not you, not you, so pr’ythee don't tease me. Yet pray stay-gentle nun, was it not Donna Clara d'Almanza just parted from you?
Clara. Clara d’Almanza, signor, is not yet out of the garden.
Ferd. Ay, ay, I knew I was right-And pray is not that gentleman, now at the porch with her, Antonio d'Ercilla ?
C'ara. It is indeed, signor.
Ferd. So, so; now but one question more--can you inform me for what purpose they have gone away?
Clara. They are gone to be married, I believe.
Ferd. Very well-enough—now if I don't mar their wedding!
[Exit. Clara. (Unveils.] Ithought jealousy had made lovers quick-sighted, but it has made mine blind-Louisa's story accounts to me for this error, and I am glad to find I have power enough over him to make him so unhappy. But why should not I be present at his surprise when undeceived ? When he's through the porchy I'll follow him; and, perhaps, Louisa shall not singly be a bride.
Adieu, thou dreary pile, where never dies
A Court before the Priory.
Enter Isaac, crossing the Stage.
Art. What, my friend Isaac !
Isaac. What, Antonio ! wish mejoy! I have Louisa safe.
Ant. Have you?-I wish you joy with all my soul.
Isaac. Yes, I am come here to procure a priest to marry us. . Ant. So, then we are both on the same errand, I am come to look for Father Paul. you
Isaac. Hah! I am glad on't-but, i'faith, he must tack me first, my love is waiting
Ant. So is mine. I left her in the porch.
Isaac. Ay, but I am in haste to get back to Don Jerome.