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The officious care Once on a time.
Gab. You may do so, and in safety;
Where is he?
Gab. (pointing to ULRIC.)
Beside you! Sieg.
(ULRIC rushes forward to attack GABOR; SIE Ulr. In searching for this man, or—When he's GENDORF interposes. found,
Sieg. Liar and fiend ! but you shall not be slain ;
These walls are mine, and you are safe within them.
[He turns to ULRIC. Ulr. Then wherefore seek?
Ulric, repel this calumny, as I
Because I cannot rest Will do. I avow it as a growth so monstrous,
It will refute itself. But touch him not.
(ULRIC endeavors to compose himself.
Gab. Look at him, count, and then hear me. Enter an Attendant.
Sieg. (first to GABOR, and then looking at ULRIC.) A stranger to wait on
I hear thee.
My God! you look-
As on that dread night
When we met in the garden.
Gab. Count, you are bound to hear me. I came
'Tis, then, Werner Not seeking you, but sought. When I knelt down Sieg. (haughtily.) The same you knew, sir, by Amidst the people in the church, I dream'd not that name; and you !
To find the beggar'd Werner in the seat
And we have met.
Go on, sir.
Ere I do so,
By Stralenheim's death? Was't I-as poor as ever i (Your own heart may inform you why) with such And poorer by suspicion on my name!
[He pauses. The baron lost in that last outrage neither Gab.
Give it utterance, and then Jewels nor gold; his life alone was sought,I'll meet the consequences.
A life which stood between the claims of others Sieg.
You shall do som To honors and estates scarce less than princely.
Sieg. These hints, as vague as vain, attach no less
To me than to my son.
I can't help that.
But let the consequence alight on him
I speak to you, Count Siegendorf, because
I know you innocent, and deem you just.
But ere I can proceed-dare you protect me?
Dare you command me?
(SIEGENDORF first looks at the Hungarian, and Sieg.
Trifling villain ! then at ULRIC, who has unbuckled his sabre Who play'st with thine own guilt! Of all that and is drawing lines with it on the floor-still breathe
in its sheath. Thou best dost know the innocence of him
Ur. (looks at his father and says,) Let the man 'Gainst whom thy breath would blow thy bloody slander,
Gab. I am unarm’d, count-bid your son lay down
No, sir, 'tis enough 'Tis false! That we are both unarm'd- I would not choose Sieg. Who says so ?
To wear a steel which may be stain'd with more
Blood than came there in battle.
Such other weapon, in my hands-spared yours
True May have more names than one. Your lordship had so I have not forgotten it: you spared me for
A crime as
Your own especial purpose-to sustain
I follow'd him, An ignominy not my own.
Solicited his notice -and obtained it-
Though not his friendship :-it was his intention • The tale is doubtless worthy the relater.
To leave the city privately-we left it But is it of my father to hear further ?
Together and together we arrived
[To SIEGENDORF. In the poor town where Werner was conceald, Sieg. (takes his son by the hand.) My son! I know and Stralenheim was succord-Now we are on
my own innocence, and doubt not The vergedare you hear further? Of yours--but I have promised this man patience; Sieg.
I must do som Let him continue.
Or I have heard too much.
I saw in you
A man above his station-and if not
Men such as you appear'd in height of mind
In the most high of worldly rank; you were (Which I frequented sometimes, but not often) Poor, even to all sare rags : I would have shared To hcar related a strange circumstance
My purse, though slender, with you—you refused it. In February last. A martial force,
Sieg. Doth my refusal make a debt to you,
Still you owe me something, Marauders from the hostile camp. They proved, Though not for that; and I owed you my safety, However, not to be so-but banditti,
At least my seeming safety, when the slaves Whom either accident or enterprise
of Stralenheim pursued me on the grounds Had carried from their usual haunt—the forests That I had robb'd him. Which skirt Bohemia-even into Lusatia.
I conceal'd you-I, Many among them were reported of
Whom and whose house you arraign, reviving viper High rank-and martial law slept for a time. Gab. I accuse no man-save in my defence. At last they were escorted o'er the frontiers, You, count, have made yourself accuser-judge: And placed beneath the civil jurisdiction
Your hall's my court, your heart is my tribunal. Of the free town of Frankfort. Of their fate Be just, and I'll be merciful ! I know no more.
You merciful ! Sieg.
And what is this to Ulric? You! Base calumniator! Gab. Among them there was said to be one man Gab.
I. "Twill rest Of wonderful endowments :-birth and fortune, With me at last to be so. You conceal'd me Youth, strength, and beauty, almost superhuman, In secret passages known to yourself, And courage as unrivall’d, were proclaim'd You said, and to none else. At dead of night, His by the public rumor; and his sway
Weary with watching in the dark, and dubious Not only over his associates, but
Of tracing back my way, I saw a glimmer, His judges, was attributed to witchcraft,
Through distant crannies, of a twinkling light: Such was his influence :-I have no great faith I follow'd it, and reach'd a door-a secret In any magic sare that of the mine
Portal—which open'd to the chamber, where, I therefore deem'd him wealthy.-But my soul With cautious hand and slow, having first undone Was roused with various feelings to seek out As much as made a crevice of the fastening, This prodigy, if only to behold him.
I look'd through and beheld a purple bed,
And on it Stralenheim ! -
Asleep! And yet
You slew him !-Wretch! Drew crowds together-it was one of those
He was already slain, Occasions where men's souls look out of them, And bleeding like a sacrifice. My own And show them as they are even in their faces : Blood became ice. The moment my eye met his, I exclaim'd,
But he was all alone! “ This is the man!" though he was then, as since, You saw none else ? You did not see theWith the nobles of the city. I felt sure
[He pauses from agitation. I had not err'd, and watch'd him long and nearly: Gab.
No I noted down his form-his gesture-features, He, whom you dare not name, nor eren I Stature, and bearing, and amidst them all,
Scarce dare to recollect, was not then in Midst every natural and acquired distinction, The chamber. I could discern, methought, the assassin's eye Sieg. (to ULRIC.) Then, my boy! thou art guiltless And gladiator's heart.
stillUlr. (smiling.) The tale sounds well. Thou bad'st me say I was so once-Oh! now
Gab. And may sound better.-He appear'd to me Do thou as much! One of those beings to whom fortune bends
Be patient! I can not As she doth to the daring-and on whom
Recede now, though it shake the very walls The fates of others oft depend; besides,
Which frown above us. You remember,--or An indescribable sensation drew me
If not, your son does,--that the locks were changed Near to this man, as if my point of fortune Beneath his chief inspection on the morn Was to be fix'd by him.-There I was wrong. Which led to this same night: how he had enter'd Sieg. And may not be right now.
He best knows-but within an antechamber,
The dax of which was half ajar, I saw
Sieg. I pledge my life for yours. Withdraw into A man who wash'd his bloody hands, and oft This tower.
(Opens a turret door. With stern and anxious glance gazed back upon Gab. (hesitatingly.) This is the second safe The bleeding body-but it moved no more.
asylum Sieg. Oh! God of fathers !
You have offer'd me.
And was not the first so?
Be brief in your decision ! Gab. (interrupting him.) Nay-but hear me to the Sieg.
I will be so.-
My word is sacred and irrevocable
Gab. I'll take it for so much.
Sieg. (points to ULRIC'S sabre still upon the Pretended den of refuge, to become
ground.) The victim of your guilt; and my first thought
Take also that Was vengeance: but though arm’d with a short I saw you eye it eagerly, and him poniard
Distrustfully. (Having left my sword without) I was no match Gab. (takes up the sabre.) I will; and so provide Por him at any time, as had been proved
To sell my life-not cheaply. That morning-either in address or force.
(GABOR goes into the turret, which SIEGENDORF I turn'd and fed—i' the dark : chance rather than closes. Skill made me gain the secret door of the hall, Sieg. (advances to ULRIC.) Now, Count Ulric! And thence the chamber where you slept; if I For son I dare not call thee-What say'st thou ? Had found you waking, Heaven alone can tell Ulr. His tale is true. What vengeance and suspicion might have Sieg.
True, monster: prompted;
Most true, father But ne'er slept guilt as Werner slept that night. And you did well to listen to it: what Sieg. And yet I had horrid dreams! and such briel We know, we can provide against. He must sleep,
Be silenced. The stars had not gone down when I awoke.
Sieg. Ay, with half of my domains; Why didst thou spare me? I dreamt of my father And with the other half, could he and thou And now my dream is out!
Unsay this villainy. Gab. 'Tis not my fault,
It is no time If I have read it.-Well! I filed and hid me For trifling or dissembling. I have said Chance led me here after so many moons- His story's true; and he too must be silenced. And show'd me Werner in Count Siegendorf ! Sieg. How so? Werner, whom I had sought in huts in vain,
Ulr. As Stralenheim is. Are you so dull Inbabited the palace of a sovereign!
As never to have hit on this before ?
Discovery in the act could make me know
Indeed! His death? Or had the prince's household been Gab. Is it revenge or justice which inspires Then summon’d, would the cry for the police Your meditation ?
Been left to such a stranger ? Or should I Sieg.
Neither— I was weighing Have loiter'd on the way? Or could you, Werner, The value of your secret.
The object of the baron's hate and fears, Gab.
You shall know it Have fled, unless by many an hour before At once :-When you were poor, and I, though poor, Suspicion woke? I sought and fathom'd you, Rich enough to relieve such poverty
Doubting if you were false or feeble: I
Perceived you were the latter; and yet so
Parricide ! no less Sieg.
Yes, Than common stabber! What deed of my life, Gab. Not quite. You think me venal, and scarce Or thought of mine, could make you deem me fit true :
For your accomplice ? Tis no less true, however, that my fortunes
Father, do not raise Have made me both at present. You shall aid me; The devil you cannot lay between us. This I would have aided you—and also have
Is time for union and fer action, not Been somewhat damaged in my name to save For family disputes. While you were tortured, Yours and your son's. Weigh well what I have Could I be calm ? Think you that I have heard said.
This fellow's tale without some feeling ?-you Sieg. Dare you await the event of a few minutes' Have taught me feeling for you and myself; Deliberation ?
For whom or what else did you ever teach it? Gab. (casts his eyes on ULRIC, who is leaning Sieg. Oh! my dead father's curse ! 'tis working against a pillar.) If I should do so?
Ulr. Let it work on! the grave will keep it
The Interior of the Turret.
GABOR and SIEGENDORF.
Gab. Who calls? Yet hear me still !-if you condemn me, yet
Sieg. I-Siegendorf! Take these, and fly Remember who hath taught me once too often Lose not a moment ! To listen to him! Who proclaim'd to me
(Tears off a diamond star and other jewels, and That there were crimes made venial by the occa- thrusts them into GABOR's hand. sion ?
What am I to do
Sieg. Whate'er you will : sell them, or hoard, Who show'd me his humanity secured
And prosper; but delay not, or you are lost ! By his nerves only? Who deprived me of
Gab. You pledged your honor for my safety! All power to vindicate myself and race
And In open day? By his disgrace which stamp'd Must thus redeem it. Fly! I am not master, (It might be) bastardy on me, and on
It seems, of my own castle-of my own Himself--a felon's brand! The man who is Retainers-nay, even of these very walls, At once both warm and weak invites by deeds Or I would bid them fall and crush me! Fly: He longs to do, but dare not. Is it strange Or you will be slain by— That I should act what you could think! We have Gab.
Is it even so ? done
Farewell, then! Recollect, however, count, With right and wrong; and now must only You sought this fatal interview? ponder
Let it not be more fatal still !-Begone!
Yes; that's safe still:
I know too wellAnd our true destination—but not idly.
And knew it ere yourself, unhappy sire ! As stranger I preserved him, and he owed me Farewell!
[Exit GABOR His life : when due, I but resumed the debt.
Sieg. (solus and listening.) He hath clear'd tho He, you, and I stood o'er a gulf wherein
staircase. Ah! I hear I have plunged our enemy. You, kindled first The door sound loud behind him! He is safe! The torch-you show'd the path; now trace me Safe !-Oh, my father's spirit !-I am faintthat
(He leans down upon a stone seat, near the wall Of safety—or let me!
of the tower, in a drooping posture. Sieg.
I have done with life! Ulr. Let us have done with that which cankers Enter ULRIC, with others armed, and with woapons life
drawn. Familiar feuds and vain recriminations
Ulr. Despatch !-he's there! Of things which cannot be undone. We have Ludwig.
The count, my lord ! No more to learn or hide: I know no fear,
Ulr. (recognizing SIEGENDORF.) You here, sir ! And have within these very walls men whom
Sieg. Yes: if you want another victim, strike! (Although you know them not) dare venture all Ulr. (seeing him stript of his jewels.) Where is the things.
ruffian who hath plunder'd you ? You stand high with the state : what passes here Vassals, despatch in search of him! You see Will not excite her too great curiosity :
'Twas as I said the wretch hath stript my father Keep your own secret, keep a steady eye,
Of jewels which might form a prince's heirloom! Stir not, and speak not;-leave the rest to me: Away! I'll follow you forthwith. We must have no third babblers thrust between us.
[Exeunt all but SIEG ENDORF and ULRIC. [Exit ULRIC.
Sieg. There are troo, sir: which
Let us hear no more
With your connivance ?
Sieg. Wolves prowl in company. He hath the key My fullest, freest aid. (As I too) of the opposite door which leads
Then fare you well! Into the turret. Now then! or once more
(ULRIC is going To be the father of fresh crimes, no less
Sieg. Stop! I command-entreat-implore! Oh Than of the criminal! Ho! Gabor! Gabor!
Ulric ! (Exit into the turret, closing the door after him. Will you then leave me?
What! remain to be Thank Heav'n, I see your safe! Denounced-dragg'd, it may be, in chains; and all Sieg.
Safe! By your inherent weakness, half-humanity,
Yes, dear father Selfish remorse, and temporising pity,
Sieg. No, no; I have no children : never more That sacrifices your whole race to save
Call me by that worst name of parent. A wretch to profit by our ruin! No, count,
Means my good lord ?
That you have given birth
this of Ulric ? Ulr. Leave that unto me.
Sieg. Ida, beware! there's blood upon that I am not alone; nor merely the vain heir
hand! of your domains; a thousand, ay, ten thousand Ida. (stooping to kiss it.) I'd kiss it off, though it Swords, hearts, and hands, are mine.
were mine! Sieg. The foresters! Sieg.
It is so ! With whom the Hungarian found you first at Ulr. Away! it is your father's! [Exit ULRIC. Frankfort?
Oh, great God! Ulr. Yes-men-who are worthy of the name! Go And I have loved this man! tell
[IDA falls senseless-JOSEPHINE stands speechYour senators that they look well to Prague ;
less with horror. Their feast of peace was early for the times ;
The wretch hath Elain There are more spirits abroad than have been lain Them both !-My Josephine! we are now alone ! With Wallenstein!
Would we had ever been so !-All is over
For me!-Now open wide, my sire, thy grave; Enter JOSEPHINE and IDA.
Thy curse hath dug it deeper for thy son Jos What is't we hear? My Siegendorf! In mine !—The race of Siegendorf is past!