« PreviousContinue »
What, quite ? Has he no plea ? no provo- And call upon the gods, and think he loved cation
her ! From lover, or from wife ?
Col. Poor, dear, damn’d tyrant ! and Da Riva.
None that I know of, where goes he now? Except her patience and the lover's merit.
This amiable and happy personage, Antonio's love, you know, is old as bis, Has been more tried, and I believe is spot- lonna made his appearance, is now, we
who had left Da Riva just before Coless. Col. Dear Rondinelli!-Well, but has
are told, on his way to Florence from this husband
his country-house, hesitating about No taste of good in him at all ? no corner
taking his fair wife to town to let her In his heart for some small household grace enjoy the holidays on the advent “ of to sneak in?
his most pleasant Holiness the Pope,"Da Riva. Nay, what he has of grace in
for fear of the said Antonio, and still him is not sneaking.
more afraid of leaving “ her in the In all, except a heart, and a black sbade shades, love's natural haunt." For Of superstition, he is man enough! surely the man is jealous—though, Has a bold blood, large brain, and liberal Heaven knows, without any other cause hand
than that he knows Antonio loves her, As far as the purse goes ; albeit he likes and loved her before her husband ever The going to be blown abroad with trumpets. saw her face. Antonio is even now Nay, I won't swear he does not love his wife
in the country-house of the “ sweet As well as a man of no sort of affection, Diana,"—and the two friends agree to Nor any domestic tenderness, can do so.
visit her, and accompany her and Col. A mighty attaching gentleman,
" the bright Olympia"-" divine i'faith,
widows" both, and known to them And quite uxorious.
formerly at the baths of Pisa as Du Riva.
Why, thus it is, He highly approves her virtues, talents, lanti's villa close by, partly that they
“ Sunlight and Moonlight"-to Agobeauty : Thinks her the sweetest woman in all Flo
may bring to Antonio rence,
" Better news of his saint's health, Partly, because she is,--parily, because Partly for other reasons which you'll see.” She is his own, and glorities his choice ;
Sprightly fellows-ready for any And therefore he does her the honour of
mischief! making her
Scene II. is a room in the villa of The representative and epitome Of all he values,-public reputation,
Agolanti, and we there find Fiordilisa,
Ginevra's maid, and Giulio, a page, Private obedience, delighted fondness, Grateful return for his unamiableness,
not at this moment making love, but Love without bounds, in short, for his self
somewhat flurried on account of their love :
lady's anger at “ Signor Antonio's letAnd as she finds it difficult, poor soul,
ter,” which they had slipped into her To pay such reasonable demands at sight
hand only to be sent back unopened. With the whole treasure of her heart and
Fiordilisa. Oh! she says dreadful smiles,
things. She says you and I The gentleman takes pity on-himself!
Will kill her; that we make her, or would Looks on himself as the most unresponded to . make her, And unaccountably ill-used bad temper
Tell falsehoods to her husband, or bring In Tuscany ; rages at every word
down And look she gives another; and fills the
His justice on our heads; and she forbids house
me, With miseries, which, because they ease
However innocent you may call or think himself
it, And his vile spleen, he thinks her bound to
Bring letters any more.
She bade me
give it you And then finds malice in her very suffering !
Back again-see-unopen'd. Col. And she, they tell me, suffers dangerously?
Pretty innocent_with the pretty Da Riva. 'Tis thought she'll die of it.
name-Fiordilisa! Some small 'flirta. And yet, observe now :
tion ensues, and Giulio sings a someSuch is poor human nature, at least such wbat silly stanza to his guitar-when, Is poor human inhuman nature in this man, in no serene mood of his own mind, That if she were to die, I verily think enters Agolanti. His eye catches a He'd weep, and sit at the receipt of pity, glimpse of the paper in Giulio's vest;
and he knows at once-so quick-sighted that when you think of the friends of and quick-witted are the jealous—that whom death has deprived you, or may it is a letter to Ginevra from Antonio. deprive, and whom it will give you joy to The page
is not so much abashed as meet again beyond the grave, you may not perhaps might have been expected ; be unwilling to behold among them the face and, knowing his dear lady's innocence
"6" ANTONIO RONDINELLI. of any fault, puts on a bold face, and indulges-aside-in some rather cut
"" Written with prayers and tears before
the sacred image of the Virgin.” ting critical notices on the demeanour of his master, who on the spot dismisses We do not very well know what him from his service without a written to say of this letter. It proves the character. Here is the letter.
perfect purity of Ginevra, and that
Antonio's love was honourable as " • Most harmless ;—I dare to add most' hopeless ; and so far it is well. It also virtuous !'
punishes Agolanti-and that is better; “ And here again below:
while we can easily conceive an audi666 I have written what I have written on
ence interested by it, because earnestly the outside of this letter, hoping that it may expecting some revelation to be made
towards the close. move you to believe the possibility of its not
But why was it being unworthy to meet the purest of mortal
sent-and for the third time? He im. eyes.'
plores her to take care of her health ;
but what did she care about her “ Filthiest hypocrite! caught in his own
health who was not only willing, birdlime. [Opens and reads the letter.
but desired to die? He assures her of 6. As you have opened neither my first his devoted love; but that she well knew, letter nor my second, written at intervals of and to her—a wife, but an unhappy six months each, from the moment when my one-it could give no true comfort. name was first again mentioned to you since He asks her not to forget him-when your marriage, I hardly dare hope that the
he might be numbered with the dead; words I am now writing shall have the bless- but not to call such request fanedness of being looked upon, although they tastical_it was needless, and he has truly deserve it.
not the look of a dying man. Loving • Truly, for most piteously they deserve
ones, divided by destiny on earth, it. I am going to reward (may I utter such hope to meet in heaven. Why, then, a word?) your kindness, by the greatest and
such a letter at all ? And oh, how most dreadful return I cau make it. I will
could he - Antonio Rondinelli-- think write to you no more. " But this promise is a thing so terrible
of thus endangering the life of such a
That was very, and so unsupportable, except in the being as Ginevra ? hope of its doing you some good, that I have
very selfish; and love like his should one reward to beg for myself;
have recoiled in horror from the risk dition, but as a last and enduring charity.
of subjecting his “ soul's wife " to yet « I no longer ask you to love me, howa
worse indignity and outrage froin her ever innocently, or on the plea of its being body's husband. some shadow of relief to you (in the sweet
In Scene 111.- another room in Ago. thought of loving) from an unhappiness, of lanti's house-Ginevra, Olympia, Diawhich all the world speaks.'
na, Colonna, and Da Riva are dis[Agolanti pauses, greatly moved. covered sitting, Fiordilisa standing " Is it so then? and the world speaks of
behind her lady's chair. They are
talking about the approaching celeAnd basely speaks! He has been talking brations, and very engaging talk it then,
is ; the raillery is light and elegant, And acting too. But let me know this all.
and we are in love with both the
[Reading. widows. But we love Ginevra. Few “ Neither yet will I beg you not to hate
as her words are, and somewhat sad me; for so gentle a heart cannot hate any
withal, they give a delightful impresbody; and you never were unjust except to
sion of her character. But Agolanti yourself. (Pauses a little again. enters, and light grows gloom. Say "• But this I do beg: first, that you will
what she will be she glad or pensive take care of a health, which Heaven has - willing to witness with her husband given you go right to neglect, whatever be and friends the coming spectacle, or your unhappiness; and which, under Heaven, to keep aloof and retired from the is the best support of it;--and secondly, throng, she but irritates the ill-condi
not as a con
tioned hypocrite--all she can do to and heaven seems pever so heavenly find out his wishes, that they may be as when gazed on through tears. hers, is not only ineffectual but turned
Act II. SCENE II. against her; and while, in an under
A chamber hung with purplo, and contone, he accuses her of “insolence
taining a cabinet picture of the Maand "a woman's plot," the savage donna, but otherwise little furnished. “ wrings her hands sharply;" and as Ginevra discovered sitting at a winthey quit the room, mutters
Enter AGOLANTI. “ Be in the purple chamber
Ago. Every way she opposes me, even In twenty minutes. Do you hear me speak ?
with arms A fair day to my courteous visiters, And may they ever have the joy they bring.”
Of peace and love. I bade remove that
picture Curse him !-we already hate him at From this deserted room. Can she have the close of the First Act as well as if had it we had abhorred him for a dozen Brought back this instant, knowing how my years, and devoutly wish him at the anger, devil, between the horns of the old Just though it be, cannot behold unmoved dilemma.
The face of suffering heaven? Oh, artifice In the First Scene of the Second In very piety! 'Twere piety to veil it
From our discourse, and look another way. Act, we are introduced to Antonio, of whom we have been predisposed to [During this speech, Ginevra comes forthink highly, in spite-perhaps you
ward, and AGOLANTI, after closing the would say because of that letter.
cabinet doors over the picture, hands He is walking with his good friends
her a chair ; adjusting another for Colonna and Da Riva in a garden of
himself, but continuing to stand. Diana's villa, and they wisely seek to
The world seems
glad after its hearty drink comfort him, not by show of condo
Of rain. I fear’d, when you came back this lence, but by the medicine of mirthful
morning, spirits. There is no puling sentimen.
The shower had stopp'd you, or that you talism in this play; and, though An
were ill. tonio takes but small part in the mer. Ago. You fear'd ! you hoped. What riment, yet knowing it is kindly meant,
fear you that I fear, he does not discourage it either by Or hope for that I hope for ? A truce, sour or sullen looks--though gloomy madam, he is not glum, and at the close of the To these exordiums and pretended interests, scene kisses Olympia's hand with a Whose only shallow intent is to delay, cheerful gallantry:
Or to divert, the sole dire subject, But 'tis time-though no time has Soh! you would see the spectacle ! you, wbo been lost-that we should see husband start and wife together-alone--that we At openings of doors and falls of pins. may know the amount of their misery, Trumpets and drums quiet a lady’s nerves; and think if it is ever to have an end.
And a good hacking blow at a tournament Ginevra has obeyed the order to get Equals burat feathers or hartshorn for a her to the purple chamber-twenty
stimulus minutes have crawled by her—and
To pretty household tremblers.
Gin. Agolanti is at her side. He believes
I express'd that he is a pious man-with a deep
No wish to see the tournament, nor indeed sense of religion ; but Da Riva, who Any thing, of my own accord; or contrary knows him better, told us, you will
To your good judgment.
Oh, of course not! Wishes recollect
Are never express'd for, or by, contraries ; “ In all, except a heart, and a black shade Nor the good judgment of an anxious husOf superstition, he is man enough.'
band Well_he will surely not be incensed
Held forth as a pleasant thing to differ
with. by the sight of superstition in another in his wife. Ay, but hers is not a
Gin. It is as easy as sitting in my chair black shade, but a white light; and
To say, I will not go : and I will not.
Be pleased to think that settled, therefore her adoration is odious to his
The more easily eyes, and he is wroth to behold her
As 'tis expected I should go, is it not ? kneeling before the Madonna. The
And then you will sit happy at receipt sorrowful have upward-looking eyes, Of letters from Antonio Rondinelli.
Gin. Return'd unopen'd, sir.
To give the hearer pain ? me pain ? your Ago.
How many ?
husband ? Gin.
Three. Whom in all evil thoughts you so pretend Ago. You are correct as to those three. To be uplike.
I cannot dare pretend it. Open'd ?- Your look, madam, is wondrous I am a woman, not an angel. logical ;
Ay, Conclusive by mere pathos of astonishment; See there--you have ! you own it! how And cramm'd with scorn from pure un- pretend then scornfulness.
To make such griefs of every petty syilable, I have, 'tis true, strong doubts of your re- Wrung from myself by everlasting scorn ? gard
Gin. One pain is not a thousand; nur For him, or any one ;-—of your love of
one wrong, power
Acknowledged and repented of, the habit None,-as you know I have reason; Of unprovoked and unrepented years. though you take
Ago. Of unprovoked | Ob, let all proWays of refined provokingness to wreak it. vocation Antonio knows these fools you saw but now, Take every brutish shape it can devise And fools have foolish friendships, and bad To try endurance with ; taunt it in failure, leagues
Grind it in want, stoop it with family For getting a little power, not natural to shames, them,
Make gross the name of mother, call it fool, Out of their laugh'd-at betters. Be it as it Pander, slave, coward, or whatsoever opmay,
probrium All this, I will not have these prying idlers
Makes the soul swoon within its range, for Put my domestic troubles to the blush ;
want Nor you sit thus in ostentatious meekness, Of some great answer, terrible as its wrong, Playing the victim with a pretty breath, And it shall be as nothing to this miserable, And smiles that say “God help me!"- Mean, meek-voiced, most malignant lie of Well, madam,
lies, What do you say?
This angel-mimicking non-provocation Gin.
I say I will do whatever From one too cold to enrage, and weak to You think best, and desire.
tread on! Ago.
And make the worst of it You never loved me once. You loved me By wbatsoever may mislead, and vex?
notThere—now you make a pretty sign, as Never did -90--pot when before the altar, though
With a mean coldness, a worldly-minded Your silence were compell’d.
What can I
say, And lie on your lips, you took me for your Or what, alas! not say, and not be chided ? husband, You should not use me thus. I have not Thinkivg to have a house, a purse, a liberty, strength for it
By, but not for, the man you scorn'd to So great as you may think. My late sharp love ! illness
Gin. I scorn'd you not--and knew not Has left me weak.
what scorn was— Ago. I've known you weaker, madam, Being scarcely past a child, and knowing But never feeble enough to want the nothing strength
But trusting thoughts and innocent daily Of contest and perverseness. Oh, men too ! habits. Men may be weak, even from the magnani- Oh, could you trust yourself—But why mity
repeat Of strength itself; and women can take What still is thus repeated day by day, poor
Still ending with the question, Why Advantages, that were in men but cowardice. repeat ? ” (Rising and moving about. Gin. (Aside) Dear Heaven! what hum- You make the blood at last mount to my blest doubts of our self-knowledge
brain, Should we not feel, when tyranny can talk And tax me past endurance. What have I thus ?
done, Ago. Can you pretend, madam, with Good God! what have I done, that I am your surpassing
thus Candour and heavenly kindness, that you At the mercy of a mystery of tyranny,
Which from its victim demands every Utter'd one gently-sounding word, not virtue, meant
And brings it none ?
Ago. I thank you madam, humbly, These walls. My hand seems to me not That was sincere at least.
more human Gin. beg your pardon.
Than animal ; and all things unaccountable. Anger is ever excessive, and speaks wrong.
'Twill pass away.
What's that? Ago. This is the gentle, patient, unpro
[A church-organ is heard. voked
Yes, I hear that. And unprovoking, never-answering she ! 'Tis Father Anselmo, madam, in the chapel, Gin. Nay, pay, say on ;-I do deserve Touching the new organ. la truth, I ask'd it-I
him, Who speak such evil of anger, and then am Thinking that, as the Signor is so moved angry.
By whatsoever speaks to him of religion, Yet you might pity me too, being like It might have done no harm to you and him, yourself
madam, In fellowsbip there at least.
To hear it while conversing. But he's old Ago.
A taunt in friendliness! And slow, is the good father. Meekness's happiest condescension !
[Ginevra kisses her, and then weeps Gin.
abundantly. So help me Heaven! - I but spoke in con- Gin. Thank Heaven! thank Heaven and sciousness
the sweet sounds!
I have not Of what was weak on both sides. There's Wept, Fiordilisa, now for many a day,
And the sound freshens me ;-loosens my In that, would you but know it, and en
[Music. courage it.
O blessed music! thy feet we lie, The consciousness of wrong, in wills not Pitied of angels surely. evil,
Perhaps, madam, Brings charity. Be you but charitable, You will rest here, and try to sleep awbile ? And I am grateful, and we both sball learn. Gin. No, Fiordilisa, (rising ) Meeting Ago. I am conscious of no wrong in this what must be, dispute,
Is half commanding it ; and in this breath Nor when we dispute, ever,-- except the Of heaven my mind feels duty set erect. wrong
Fresh out of tears. Bed is for night, not Done to myself by a will far more wilful,
day, Because less moved, and less ingenuous. When duty's done.
So cheer we as Let them get charity that show it.
may. Gin. (who has reseated herself.) I pray [Exeunt ; the music continuing.
you, Let Fiordilisa come to me. My lips
There is something too absolutely Will show you that I saint.
painful in this scene, though it could [AGOLANTI rings a bell on the table ; not be helped, since such is the charac
and FIORDILISA enters to her mis- ter the dramatist has chosen to draw tress.
in Agolanti ; but it is a scene of great Ago. When you have seen your mistress power—and the name of Ginevra is felt well again,
at the close to be falling in among those Go to Matteo; and tell him, from herself, endeared to our heart, by the meek That 'tis her orders she be excused at present endurance of unmerited suffering, that To all that come, her state requiring it, serves to bring out from the concealAud convalescence. Mark you that addi
ment of its calm the strength of their tion.
native virtue. Framed by gracious She's getting well; but to get well, needs
nature with all holiest affections-not [Exit.
one of them all may she be permitted Fior. Needs rest! Alas! when will you
to enjoy-all of them interdicted to her let her rest, But in her grave ? My lady! My sweet
even as an orphan; and the sweeter
humanities frowned uponas sins against mistress! [Applying a volatile to her temples.
duty to him who is her deliberate deShe knows me.- He has gone :--the Sig
stroyer. And what though she knows nor's gone.
that she is pitied ? Pity can sooth (Aside.) She sighs, as though she mourn'd
sorrow that but disturbs or abates a him.
happiness that is still, in spite of sorrow, Gin. (listening.) What's that? felt to be happiness indeed-such hapFior. Nothing, madam ;-I heard no- piness as can be beneath the skies; thing.
but when all in the heart is sorrow, Gin.
Every thing sorrow without hope, what can pity do Gives me a painful wonder ;--you, your but turn away and weep! face,
But how fares it with Agolanti ?