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ANTONY AND VENTIDIUS.

199

kill me.

Ven. They will not come.

Ant. Why didst thou mock my hopes with promised aids, To double my despair? They 're mutinous.

Ven. Most firm and loyal.
Ant. Why did they refuse to march ?
Ven. They said they would not fight for Cleopatra.
Ant. What was 't they said ?

Ven. They said they would not fight for Cleopatra.
Why should they fight, indeed, to make her conquer,
And make you more a slave ?

Ant. You grow presumptuous.
Ven. I take the privilege of plain love to speak.

Ant. Plain love! Plain arrogance, plain insolence !
Thy men are cowards ; thou an envious traitor.
0, that thou wert my equal, great in arms
As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee
Without stain to my honor !
Ven. You

may
You have done more already — called me traitor.

Ant. Art thou not one ?

Ven. For showing you yourself,
Which none else durst have done? But had I been
That name, which I disdain to speak again,
I needed not have sought your abject fortunes,
Come to partake your fate, to die with you.
What hindered me to have led my conquering eagles
To fill Octavius' bands? I could have been
A traitor then, a glorious, happy traitor;
And not have been so called.

Ant. Forgive me, soldier ;
I've been too passionate.

Ven. You thought me false;
Thought my old age betrayed you. Kill me, sir !
Pray, kill me! Yet

you need not; your unkindness Has left

your

sword no work. Ant. I did not think so ; I said it in my rage. Pr'ythee, forgive me.

(They shake hands. Thou shalt behold me once again in iron ; And, at the head of our old troops, that beat The Parthians, cry aloud, Come, follow me!

Ven. O, now I hear my emperor! In that word Octavius fell.

Ant. O, thou hast fired me! My soul 's up in arms.

I long

And mans each part about me. Once again
The nobleness of fight has seized me.
Come on, my soldier!
Our hearts and arms are still the same.
Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I,
Like Time and Death, marching before our troops,
May drag fate on with us, mow out a passage,
And, entering where the utmost squadrons yield,
Begin the noble harvest of the field.

DRYDEN (altered.)

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Are we

M. de Ferrières (pronounced Ferryair), after years of extreme poverty, has

risen suddenly to opulence. His son, George, returns home from sea, and questions his father as to the source of his wealth. The father evades his inquiries. George follows him to the gaming-table, sees him play with M. Dubourg, and win all his money, and satisfies himself that his father cheated at cards. He stands overwhelmed, and, in the following scene, intimates to his father what he has discovered. If convenient, there should be a table on the stage, with a pack of cards on it, and a chair on either side of the table.

Enter M. DE F. first, Left; then GEORGE, Right.
M. de Ferrières. What would you, George ?
George. (Aside.) How shall I broach it?
M. de F. You tremble, my son ! What's the matter ?

George. (Looking around him.) No one can enter ? sure of that?

M. de F. Why all these precautions ?

George. (With much emotion.) Did Dubourg lose all — all — at cards? Did you win his all ?

M. de F. The luck went against him.

George. (Mustering courage.) But that money — you will give it back to him ?

M. de F. How ?
George. You will give it back to him — will you not ?
M. de F. Are you mad ?

George. 0! keep it not, my father! Keep it not! Dubourg is a merchant. He must have that money in order to meet his engagements. Without it he is ruined. Give it him back. It is all I ask.

M. de F. (Looking at him with surprise.) I do not under.

stand you.

George. (Aside.) Yes, it is my duty! (Aloud.) You must renounce all that you won from Dubourg ; absolutely, you must.

THE GAMBLER'S SON.

201

M. de F. The more I look at you, the more am I astonished. Are you

in your senses, George ? This paleness - these convulsive movements - What has happened to you ?

George. I am very wretched !
M. de F. Are you suffering?
George. More than I can tell.

M. de F. You alarm me! What profound despair! Speak, George!

George. I shall never be able
M. de F. It is I who beseech you

I, your father.
George. (Recoiling.) My father !
M. de F. You repel me, my son.
George. O, misery!

M. de F. Have I ever failed in a father's love and care? From your youth upwards have you not found me your best friend ?

George. Ah, yes! I have not forgotten the days of my childhood. Often do I remember me of the lessons you used to instill when we dwelt in our humble hut. Every principle of honor and of virtue - it is from you that I have received it; and nothing is forgotten. M. de F. You know it; you were the object of my

tenderness; all my hopes reposed on you. George. Yes! You would say to me in those days, “ My whatever

may

be
your

fate, remember that he is never without consolation who keeps his conscience pure !” You said it: my father, and I remember it well.

M. de F. George, that state of destitution and wretchedness, to which I had reduced you and your mother, how did I reproach myself with it! That horrible poverty — that absolute want what torture ! And what regrets did I experience because of you, whose heritage I had so foolishly dissipated !

George. "Did I ever utter a complaint ? Did I ever reproach you with our misfortunes - our poverty ? Have I not always cherished, respected, served you?

M. de F. Yes, George is a good son ; he is no ingrate; he will not heedlessly wound a father's heart.

George. No, no! Only one boon.
M. de F. Speak, my son.
George. That money of Dubourg's -
M. de F. (Angrily.) Again you recur to it!
George. Do you not remember those words which

you

added to your lessons ? “ All that now remains to us, my son, is honor !

M. de F. Doubtless. But how wretched, George, had you been without this change of fortune which time has brought !

son,

George. This fortune — its source? Teal me whence you –

M. de F. (Interrupting him.) Never could you have presumed to marry her you love; never would a career have been opened to you; you would have had no means of exercising your talents, no resources ! You do not realize the humiliation which poverty brings with it in an age like ours, where favor and conșideration are measured according to the amount of gold one bas; where the virtues are repulsed, merit disdained, talent ignored, unless intrigue or fortune open the way.

With gold one has every thing without it, nothing.

George. (Aside.) All is now explained. (Aloud.) Ah, well! my choice is made : indigence and probity.

M. de F. Indigence — the return of all those sufferings you once experienced? Can aught be worse ?

George. Yes - dishonor.
M. de F. (Aside.) I tremble. (Aloud.) What would you

say?

George. That there is no wretchedness equal to mine, sir !

M. de F. Sir?(He gives his hand to his son, who takes it with a disordered air.)

George. Hear me. Can you imagine all which that man suffers who sees in a single day the overthrow of all that he believed in — the destruction of what he had regarded, up to that moment, as the summit of his hopes and affections ; who sees the past rendered hateful, the future desperate, since he can trust no longer in all that he had adored and respected ? Love, honor, ye sole blessings which make life precious, ye are gone - gone for ever!

M. de F. George ! George. Do you comprehend, sir, this misfortune without consolation ? A son who cherished, who revered his father, who bore with pride an honorable name – ah, well! this son — he must now blush for evermore, and repulse that man whom he had learned to venerate and love.

M. de F. Gracious powers !
George. Ay, sir; for he knows all.
M. de F. What knows he ?

George. He knows that yonder, at that table, an old friend was ruined by him.

M. de F. And if hazard did it all ?

George. No, sir, no; that old friend was deceived swindled.

M. de F. Swindled ? George! You believe it?
George. Ah! 't is that belief is the burthen of my woe!

was

THE GAMBLER's son.

203

before you

M. de F. And if it were not true ?
George. (Producing a pack of cards.) That pack of cards -
M. de F. What of them ?
George. They are — they are — 0, shame! I can not say it !
M. de F. Ah! you know not what real misery is.
George. I know what honor is, and I will not permit -
M. de F. Would you ruin me ?
George. Shall I let

you

dishonor me? 0, I have no longer a father! The name he gave me, here I give him back. I am but an orphan, without a home, without means; but still -- still, sir, I have a conscience left, and what that dictates I will obey to the death! Farewell!

M. de F. What would you, unhappy boy? Is it not enough that I am humbled thus ? that you see me blush and tremble

before my son? What would you more? Go! I fear you not! (He produces a pistol.) I fear nothing !

George. (Placing himself before him.) I, too, sir, am without fear; and to me life is hateful.

M. de F. What sayest thou? Be mine alone the
George. (Wresting the pistol from him.) My father !
M. de F. I am no longer thy father.

George. (Rushing to his arms.) Yes, yes! You are my father still.

M. de F. O, anguish insupportable ! George. All may be repaired. Go where you will, your son will follow. This city — we must quit it.

it must be restored - - must be restored, I say. Happiness shall yet be ours. Do not hesitate, my father !

M. de F. Think you I have never anticipated a situation like this? But fate has driven me on.

George. What would you say ?

M. de F. In our old house, beneath that humble roof where I suffered so much, my passion for play, that deadly passion which had devoured my substance, was not quite extinct

. I sought in secret to satisfy it; often, to find the opportunity, I had to have recourse to men of the lowest grade, to vagabonds and ignoble gamblers. Yes, George, yes — I, the Count de Ferrières — I, your father, played with such! They taught me terrible secrets And yet I did not think to make use of

them. But I returned one day to Paris, and there tried my fortune. It proved favorable. Considerable sums successively came to reänimate my hopes. I still was guiltless. But no, no! my heart was no longer so. The greed of gold had filled it wholly. Ambition, vanity, the need of luxury, all contributed to my infatua

This money

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