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RICHELIEU;

OR,

THE CONSPIRACY.

ACT I.

first B a p.

SCENE I.

A room in the house of Marion de Lorme; a table towards

the front of the stage (with wine, fruits, fc.), at which are seated Baradas, four courtiers, splendidly dressed in the costume of 1641-2; the Duke of Orleans reclining on a large fauteuil ; Marion de Lorme, standing at the back of his chair, offers him a goblet and then retires. At another table, De Beringhen, De Mauprat, playing at dice; other courtiers, of inferior rank to those at the table of the duke, looking on.

ORLEANS (drinking). Here's to our enterprise!

BARADAS (glancing at Marion).

Hush, sir !
ORLEANS (aside).

Nay, count,
You may trust her; she dotes on me; no house
So safe as Marion's.* At our statelier homes
The very walls do play the eavesdropper.
There's not a sunbeam creeping o'er our floors
But seems a glance from that malignant eye
Which reigns o'er France; our fatal greatness lives
In the sharp glare of one relentless day
But Richelieu's self forgets to fear the sword

* Omitted in representation, from “ At our statelier homes,” line 3, to the end of speech, line 13.

The myrtle hides; and Marion's silken robe
Casts its kind charity o’er fiercer sins
Than those which haunt the rosy path between
The lip and eye of beauty. Oh, no house
So safe as Marion's.

BARADAS.

Still, we have a secret,
And oil and water-woman and a secret-
Are hostile properties.

ORLEANS.

Well-Marion, see How the play prospers yonder. (Marion goes to the next table, looks on for a few moments,

then exit.)
BARADAS (producing a parchment).

I have now
All the conditions drawn; it only needs
Our signatures: upon receipt of this
(Whereto is joined the schedule of our treaty
With the count-duke,* the Richelieu of the Escurial),
Bouillon will join his army with the Spaniard,
March on to Paris, there dethrone the king;
You will be regent; I and ye, my lords,
Form the new council. So much for the core
Of our great scheme.

ORLEANS.

But Richelieu is an Argus ;
One of his hundred eyes will light upon us,
And then-good-by to life.

BARADAS.

To gain the prize We must destroy the Argus: ay, my lords, The scroll the core, but blood must fill the veins Of our design; while this despatched to Bouillon, Richelieu despatched to Heaven! The last my charge Meet here to-morrow night. You, sir, as first In honour and in hope, meanwhile select Some trusty knave to bear the scroll to Bouillon; Mid Richelieu's foes I'll find some desperate hand To strike for vengeance, while we stride to power.

* Olivares, Minister of Spain.

ORLEANS.
So be it; to-morrow, midnight. Come, my lords.

[Exeunt Orleans and the courtiers in his train. Those

at the other table rise, salute Orleans, and reseat themselves.

DE BERINGHEN.

Double the stakes.

DE MAUPRAT.
Done.

DE BERINGHEN.

Bravo; faith, it shames me To bleed a purse already in extremis.

DE MAUPRAT.

Nay, as you've had the patient to yourself
So long, no other doctor should despatch it.

(De Mauprat throws and loses.

OMNES. Lost! Ha, ha, poor De Mauprat!

DE BERINGHEN.

One throw more?

DE MAUPRAT.

No; I am bankrupt (pushing gold). There goes all

except My honour and my sword. (They rise.)

DE BERINGHEN.

Long cloaks and honour
Went out of vogue together, when we found
We got on much more rapidly without them;
The sword, indeed, is never out of fashion;
The devil has care of that.

FIRST GAMESTER.

Ay, take the sword To Cardinal Richelieu : he gives gold for steel When worn by brave men.

DE MAUPRAT.

Richelieu !

DE BERINGHEN (to Baradas).

At that name He changes colour, bites his nether lip. Ev'n in his brightest moments whisper“ Richelieu," And you cloud all his sunshine.

BARADAS.

I have mark'd it, And I will learn the wherefore.

DE MAUPRAT.

The Egyptian
Dissolved her richest jewel in a draught:
Would I could so melt time and all its treasures,
And drain it thus (drinking).

DE BERINGHEN.

Come, gentlemen, what say ye: A walk on the Parade!

OMNES.
Ay; come, De Mauprat.

DE MAUPRAT.

Pardon me; we shall meet again ere nightfall.

BARADAS.

I'll stay and comfort Mauprat.

DE BERINGHEN.

Comfort! when
We gallant fellows have run out a friend,
There's nothing left, except to run him through!
There's the last act of friendship.

DE MAUPRAT.

Let me keep That favour in reserve; in all besides Your most obedient servant. (Exeunt De Beringhen, fc. Manent de Mauprat and

Baradas.

BARADAS.

You have lost,

Yet are not sad.

DE MAUPRAT.

Sad! Life and gold have wings, And must fly one day: open, then, their cages, And wish them merry.

BARADAS.

You're a strange enigma: Fiery in war, and yet to glory lukewarm; All mirth in action, in repose all gloom. These are extremes in which the unconscious heart Betrays the fever of deep-fix'd disease. Confide in me! our young days rollid together In the same river, glassing the same stars That smile i’ the heaven of hope; alike we made Bright-wing'd steeds of our unform'd chimeras, Spurring the fancies upward to the air, Wherein we shaped fair castles from the cloud. Fortune of late has sever'd us, and led Me to the rank of courtier, count, and favourite, You to the titles of the wildest gallant And bravest knight in France; are you content? No; trust in me; some gloomy secret

DE MAUPRAT.

Ay;

A secret that doth haunt me, as, of old,
Men were possess'd of fiends! Where'er I turn,
The grave yawns dark before me! I will trust you;
Hating the cardinal and beguiled by Orleans,
You know I join'd the Languedoc revolt-
Was captured-sent to the Bastile-

BARADAS.

But shared
The general pardon, which the Duke of Orleans
Won

for himself and all in the revolt, Who but obey'd his orders.

DE MAUPRAT.

Note the phrase,
Obey'd his orders.” Well, when on my way
To join the duke in Languedoc, I (then
The down upon my lips-less man than boy)
Leading young valours, reckless as myself,

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