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your report ; you might compromise He refers to the question of his mar. yourself by remaining too long alone riage with the Princess of Brunswick. with the reigning Duke.
as one concerning him alone, and on Count, (going out.) This agent is a which he alone will decide ; takes his demon, and deals in the black art. mother to task for disposing of Eu
Duke, (rings. To the servant who genie's hand without consulting him, enters) My hat, my sword !-I must the chief of the house ; and finally take a turn in the park; my heart is comes to the treaty with Bavaria, the too full ; I want fresh air. Intrigues particulars of which he had so cleverly without end! So to maneuvre be- extracted from Count Steinbausen, hind my back, to settle the most im- and with reference to which, he says, portant affairs without saying a word he has thought it his duty to send priof them to me! (At the door he meets vate instructions to his ambassador at the Princess, and returns with her into that court. The Duchess is astounded the apartment.) Ah, Eugenie, I am re- at the extent of his information, forjoiced to see you for a moment alone! gets her nerves, gets angry, and inIn two words, our plan perfectly suc- veighs in good round terms against ceeds. My Secret Agent is already the wretched spy, the Secret Agent, one of the most dreaded personages at from whom her son invariably assures the court. All think themselves ob- her that he has learned the things served by him, no man trusts another which she had thought to keep from -bardly trusts himself--and our most him. After an interview with Count dangerous foes hasten to confide to us Steinhausen, she makes up her mind their secrets.
to leave the capital for a country villa Some amusing scenes follow this of her own. The palace she finds unone. All the principal personages of bearable since the arrival of the inthe piece, namely, the Duke, the triguing stranger whom none can disDuchess, Eugenie, Count Steinhausen, cover, but who discovers everybody's his nephew, and the Grand Chamber- secrets. The Count is alarmed at the lain, are assembled in the saloon in idea of being left to bear the brant of which the whole action of the comedy the Duke's displeasure, which he feels passes (the scene is not once changed), he has deserved. He is mistaken, when the Duke is observed to be look the Duchess informs him. She is going attentively out of the window into ing to pass a part of the summer at the park. The obsequious courtiers her villa of Caserta, in order to escape make remarks to him on the beauty from a residence where the ground is of the scenery, on the advantageous mined under her feet by an inscrutable point of view, on the good effect of a opponent. Her son may remain with new ornamental summer-house, on the his Secret Agent; the ministers are splendour of a gigantic flowering aloe. invited to accompany her. She deThe Duke allows them to see that it sires the Grand Chamberlain to have is none of these things that fix bis at- her carriages immediately prepared ; tention, and their curiosity becomes the Princess will go with her; her excited. “I think,” he at last carelessly ladies can follow the next morning. remarks, “that, if I was not mistaken, In half an hour, the prompt and imI saw my Secret Agent pass yonder, perative dame requires her carriages through the great alley, leading to the to be ready at the garden gate. The basin." He then leaves the apartment, Chamberlain is confounded by the sudand forthwith Count Steinhausen sends denness and rapidity of the move. his nephew to seek the Duke's myste The Duke, he observes, does not aprious counsellor, whilst the Chamber pear to intend quitting the capital, for lain hurries away, also bent upon mak. he is out shooting. So much the beting his acquaintance. Whilst the two ter, says the Duchess to herself, and courtiers are thus employed, a scene goes into her apartments to give directakes place between the Duke and his tions concerning the journey. Count mother. The former intimates to the Steinhausen, left alone, paces the Duchess that he is disposed to concern stage in much perturbation. himself more than has been his wont Count. This goes too far, and, on in state affairs, which are often closely duly weighing the matter, it is not in connected with his own private affairs. accordance with my duty to his High
ness. But what shall I do? The Count, (aside to him.) Not yet! Duchess is roused, I know the strength Duchess. Now, my Lord Chamberof her will; there will be no turning lain, have you attended to my comher from this decision. If the Duke mands? were only here! So fine an opportu- Chamberlain. Your Highness's orders nity to display myself as his most faith- have been exactly fulfilled, the carful servant will hardly again occur ; riages are ready, but-(he looks at the but then it is impossible to refuse obe- Count.) Butdience to the Duchess. Hitherto all Duchess. But what, my Lord ? orders have emanated from her, it Count. Speak out, inform her Highwere rebellion against the highest au- ness of what you have heard ! thority. (He walks up and down.) (Chamberlain, in the utmost embarStop !- that may do! That way it is rassment, shrugs his shoulders.) possible. Yes, yes, I preserve the Duchess. Am I at last to know what Duchess from a rash step, and the this means ? Duke will thank me for it.
Count. My Lord Chamberlain is (The Grand Chamberlain enters.)
quite beside himself—it is indeed a
very strange circumstance—word has Chamberlain. The carriages are he
been brought from the guardhouse ready: but I entreat your Excellency
that the strictest orders have been to give me something in writing, to
given to allow no carriage whatsoever justify me in case of need. My head
to leave the palace this evening. swims. Castle, corridors, staircase,
Duchess. No carriage to leave the carriages, everything seems turning
palace? round with me.
Count. That was the order, was it Count, (gravely.) My dear Lord
not so, my Lord ? Chamberlain, we are in a very impor
Chamberlain, (who looks with protant crisis. You must not accompany found astonishment at the Count, in a the Duchess, I fear.
lamentable tone.) Chamberlain. My disgrace--my in
Yes, that was the
order attention yesterday at table.
Duchess. And from whom did that Count. Possibly. It is not long since
order proceed ? I told you that events would here
Count. From his Highness the come to pass, whose force we should be able to resist only by sticking firm- Duchess, (to the Chamberlain.) From ly together.
the Duke ? Chamberlain, (grasps his arm.)
Chamberlain. From his Highness You see how I cling to you.
the Duke. Count. Good I Stand by me steadi
Duchess. And who brought the orly. I know your presence of mind.
der ? Chamberlain. My God! What must
Count. The Secret Agent. I do?
Duchess. What is this I hear, my Count. Not much ; merely announce Lord Chamberlain, who brought the to the Duchess that the carriages are
order ? ready, and then, looking at me with
Chamberlain, (drawing a deep an air of embarrassment, you will add : hry
breath.) The Secret Agent. But !
Duchess, (with an air of resignaChamberlain, (looking very much
tion.) 'Tis well, my Lords; my jourembarrassed.) But!
ney is postponed until to-morrow Count. But !— Your face is really
morning! capital !
The Duke is somewhat astonished (Enter the Duchess and the Princess.) to find that his Secret Agent has been
Duchess. We are ready. Now, acting independently; but on learning gentlemen, — what is the matter from George-who since the arrival Count Steinhausen, how thoughtful of the mysterious counsellor has found you look and you, my Lord Cham- his importance increase, and is noticed berlain, what has occurred so to dis- by the Duchess's ladies-his mother's compose you?
proposed escapade, he presently guesses Chamberlain, (looking dreadfully that it is Count Steinhausen, whose confused.) But
carriage just then drives into the court,
who has invented an order to prevent elderly man, and is unmercifully quiz. her departure. He gives instructions zed by the Count, who informs him to his valet, and withdraws into his that he has taken all his trouble for cabinet in time to avoid the Count. the wrong person, for some harmless One of the first things Steinhausen saunterer in the park, that the real learns from George, who skilfully se. agent is young, tall, slender, and a conds bis master's schemes, is, that at former college companion of Oscar's, breakfast that morning the Secret who had met him the day before. PreAgent has made & complaint of sently the Chamberlain begins to sushim, for having given an order in his pect the Count of secretly courting the name. The Count, who is perfectly Duke, and of playing him false. In terrified at this prompt discovery of his turn he tries to prevail upon George an act he had taken every precau- to present him to the Secret Agent, tion to conceal, endeavours to in- whom he is still convinced he has talked duce George to obtain him an inter- with in the park; being confirmed in view with the mysterious stranger, that belief by the valet's admission makes great promises, and at last ob- that the description he gives of his aptains from the valet the assurance that pearance corresponds with the reality. he will do his best. Left alone, the George promises to acquaint the Sepuzzled Steinhausen reverts to the cret Agent with his wishes. discovery of his having given the order As may be supposed, the Duchess's that detained the Duchess, and asks nerves were at the very worst, in conhimself how it can have been made. sequence of the prohibition of her deHis suspicions at last rest upon the parture. She made bitter complaints Grand Chamberlain, the only person, to her son, and then returned to the ho thinks, who can possibly have be- subject of the double marriage she bad trayed him. The chief officer of the set her mind upon, entreating the court believes himself in disfavour with Duke for God's sake to leave her quiet, the Duchess, in consequence of a re- which meant, in her mouth, to let her cent slight piece of negligence on his have her own way in everything. In part, and doubtless he is trying to gain despair at her obstinacy, the Duke favour with the Duke by betraying was on the point of confessing all to the ally whom he had recently promised her, the device of the Secret Agent and to stand by to the last. The Duke's his love for Eugenie, and of entreatplan is succeeding even beyond his ing, as the reward of his frankness, expectations; mistrust and discord als her consent to his union with his ready spring up amongst his opponents. cousin. But this weakness was but
When Count Oscar went out into the momentary, and he fortunately abpark to look for the Secret Agent, he stained from a step which would have fell in with an elegant-looking young deprived him, in an instant, of the man, who he doubted not was the per- vantage-ground he had won. He saw son he sought. He made his acquaint- Eugenie, put her on her guard, and ance, talked with bim about the park entreated her to be firm. His mother, and the weather, dogs and horses, and he knew, was about to propose to her endeavoured, but in vain, to lead him the hand of Count Oscar, and the to topics of stronger interest. He was good lady's proposals of that kind not even able to inquire his residence, strongly resembled commands. He owing to the sudden manner in which was not mistaken. In a long scene the stranger took his leave, and disap- the Duchess informs her niece that peared amongst the shrubberies. He the Duke is to marry the Princess of has just given his uncle these particu- Brunswick, and that she has found a lars, and has learned from him the husband for her in the person of the projected most advantageous alliance younger Count Steinhausen, to whom with the Princess Eugenie, when the she has promised her band. Eugenie Grand Chamberlain enters. He too objects that she has not been conhas seen the Secret Agent. He found sulted; the Duchess appears to think him feeding the ducks in the great that would have been unnecessary basin, made his acquaintance, and had previous to the arrangement of the the waterworks played for his gratifi- affair, but consults her now that the cation. He describes him as a short thing is done. The imperious lady has no notion of any one but herself truly unhappy attachment. I lovebaving a will. Driven into a corner, I love—the Duke's Secret Agent! Eugenie intimates that she has already
(During the last sentences the Duchess given away her heart. The Duchess
has slowly risen; the Princess falls is indignant. At that moment the
at her feet.) Duke appears at the door of his cabi.
Duchess. Horror! You shall learn net. Duchess. What do I hear, unhappy
to know me, Princess ! girl ? How must I understand your (Hurries out in great anger. The Duke words ? You love?
steps forward, gently raises the Prin. Duke, (aside.) 'Tis the first time cess, and kisses her hand.) that I play the eavesdropper, and as Princess. Oh, heavens ! Your Highsuredly it shall be the last; but who ness has overheard me! would now quit this place ?
Duke. Yes, Eugenie, it was the Princess. Yes, I love.
happiest moment of my life. How Duchess. Unheard - of boldness! heartily do I thank you, in my own When did this inclination arise?—who name, (smiling) and in that of my is its object? Must I dread your an- Secret Agent. swer?
Early in the fourth act occurs a Princess. Unfortunately, Duchess, long and not unimportant scene bemy answer cau hardly be satisfactory tween the Grand Chamberlain and to you. I do not love him whom you Oscar. The young Count is greatly have fixed upon for my husband, and amused to see the whole court electriwhom I yesterday for the first time fied by the proceedings of the Secret saw; but the man whom I do love, I Agent, and its chief personages dancing love with the whole strength of my just as the Duke pleases to pull the heart; should I otherwise have dared, strings. He ventures a shrewd susshould I have had the courage, to picion that the Secret Agent is an make you this confession, opposed to imaginary being, and that the Duke your wishes, to your commands ? is amusing himself at the expense of Duchess. And the person?
all around him. The Chamberlain is Princess. I scarcely dare to name down upon him like lightning. Oscar
had asserted that he had conversed Duchess. What am I to hear ? with the Secret Agent, and that he
Princess. Oh! your Highness, I am was an old college friend of his. He grieved at this scene, grieved to be dow admits that he was previously compelled to name to you him on unacquainted with the young man he whom my affections are fixed. I well met in the park, and that his uncle had know that I shall hardly or never ob- jested when he said that they had tain your consent; but do not on that been at college togetber. The Cham. account suppose, Duchess, that the berlain is more than ever convinced object of my love is unworthy of me. that Count Steinbausen is not acting Not so, indeed, for he is one of the openly with him, and that the elderly best and noblest men at this court. gentleman for whom he set the whole (Duchess makes a gesture of astonishment.)
waterworks of the park plashing and
springing, is the right man, the real Princess. Yes, at this court; but Simon Pure. To cure Oscar of his the position he occupies is so peculiar scepticism on the subject of the mysthat I scarcely dare to explain myself terious agent, he informs him, in strict more fully.
confidence, that the Princess Eugenie
is in love with the Duke's enigmati(Further signs of astonishment on the cal adviser. The Chamberlain is not part of the Duchess.)
aware of the projected marriage of the I well know that the whole weight young Count and the Princess. It is of your Highness's displeasure will now Oscar's turn to start and be confall upon me, and yet is the moment vinced ; and he vows to himself to find come in which I can neither depy, nor out the Agent and challenge him to recede, nor yet keep silence. Oh! mortal combat. This scene is followed Duchess, I am grieved, inconsolable by one between the Duchess and her I feel how much you will blame my son. She denounces the Secret Agent
as a spy and a traitor, declares her aside.) I wonder if the Secret Agent detestation of him, and hopes that she has come. It has struck seven. never may see him but once, at the (Coughs.) Hem! hem! moment of his departure, to express Count. Hem! hem ! 'Tis be! to him her abhorrence. Before his Chamberlain. He is already there! arrival her son was dutiful and pliant, Count. Shall I wait till be speaks and to his evil suggestions she attri- to me? I think I had better, butes all the unpleasantness, and the Chamberlain. I think I will wait till conflict for power, that has since oc- he says a friendly word to me. curred between them. The Duke coaxes her, and proposes a treaty of
(A short pause.) peace, on conditions acceptable to Count. His silence is strange! He both parties. The Duchess is willing consented to meet me! to conclude it, but on one sole condi- Chamberlain. He knew very well tion,- that the Secret Agent shall that I was to come! quit the court. This the Duke refuses, Count. Hem! hem! (coughs loud.) but presently offers to compound the Chamberlain. Perhaps this extraor matter. On condition that his mother dinary coughing means that he exshall arrange the breaking off of his pects me to speak first. projected marriage with the Princess Count. This is losing time! I will Amelia of Brunswick, he promises that address him. (Aloud) I beg you to be she shall see the Secret Agent, and assured, sir, how rejoiced I am, yes, that then, if she still insists upon it, how honoured I feel myself, to be alhe sball quit the court. After some lowed to make your very interesting reflection she agrees to this compact, acquaintance. and asks when she is to see him. The Chamberlain, (aside.) Good heasame evening, is the reply--wben she vens ! that voice! Can I believe my and the court are assembled in that ears? Well, him I certainly did not saloon, the Secret Agent shall come suspect! Shall I answer him? Oh, out of the Duke's private apartments the traitor! Ha! he shall know that and present to her an unimportant he is detected! (Aloud) I also, sir, feel paper. Thus we have everybody it an extraordinary honour to be alhoping or expecting to see the Secret lowed to renew your acquaintance. Agent. Oscar is everywhere seeking Count. Am I bewitched, or is that him, to call him to an account for the voice of the Grand Chamberlain ? Eugenie's attachment. Count Stein- Chamberlain, (aside.) It is truly inhausen and the Grand Chamberlain credible ! Such falseness, such duplihave each separately been promised city! by George (who is instructed by the Count, (aside.) Is it to be believed Duke), an interview with the Secret that after all the Grand Chamberlain Agent immediately after nightfall. was the Secret Agent, and that it is One condition is imposed upon them, he who has taken us in so completely ? namely, that they are to meet him in Duke, (opening the door of his prithe dark. It is the only way in which vate apartments.) Bring lights, it is he can be prevailed upon to make quite dark in the saloon! their acquaintance. The scenes that Count. That alone was wanting! follow are rich in complications, and The Duke! dramatic situations.
Chamberlain. My God, he will deCount, (enters softly, coughs.) tect me with his Secret Agent! Hem !-hem !-hem! There seems (Both seek the centre door, but, into be no one here as yet. I am the stead of finding it, they run up against first, and I only hope the Secret Agent each other.) will not keep me long waiting ; I fear Chamberlain. For God's sake, let me lest some officious lackey should come go! in with lights. It is dark enough here, Count. I will not have recognised at any rate.- What door will he come you! out of, I wonder? Hardly out of the Duke, (with a servant carrying Duke's cabinet; that were too danger- lights.) Ah! gentlemen, a conference ous! Ha, I am right I the centre door in the dark! The decisions should opens !
be gloomy, that you come to in this Chamberlain, (steals slowly forward obscurity!