Y Lady Irene, thou art wan to-night,


Methought thine eyes were marvelously bright.

I did not think to find thee trembling so;
Come, come, take heart of grace-
What! Dreadest thou to see a woman's face?
A man's would suit thee best! Well, I did think

A little frolic would have plagued thee naught;
I did not look to see thee wince and shrink

At my unmasking. Tell me now thy thought.
Doth not this page's gear
Of blood-red crimson well become me, dear?
Still pale and silent? What strange thing is this?

These are my lord's apartments, and I think
Somewhere there must be wine. Ah, yes, here 'tis.

These tears of Christ will help thee. Sweetheart, drink! Is't not almost divine ? Ah, Lachrymæ Christi, thou’rt a wondrous wine! How I did fool thee, child! Forgive my glee, I cannot choose but laugh. . .

'Twas writ this way: "Irene, my sweet, one waits who worships thee,

And this the token: Love me, love, I pray!"
Now, was it not so writ?
What chance did favor me in guessing it?
O thou coquette! Thou sly, demure coquette !

Nay, sweet Marchesa, I condemn thee not;
I am myself no prude, and yet-and yet-

No sin is quite so sinful till found out.
It is one thing to sin,
It is another to be caught therein.

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Oh, I have noted how my lord of late

Hath sued thy favor—but I count it naught; 'Tis what we look for in the marriage state

Is't not, Marchesa ? Dost thou sorrow aught
When thy good lord doth stray?
Thou Cost not fret, I warrant.--Welladay!

I do remember—laughable it seems

How once the Duke—ha, ha !-did swear to me That my blue eyes were brighter than bright dreams;

But, faith, it was but lover's gallantry,
For now he doth entreat
Thy twilight hair and dusk eyes darkly sweet.

Art ill, dear friend? Dost feel the need of air?

I'll throw the casement open to the night.
'Tis strange how men do value eyes and hair!

So! Is not yon fair planet wondrous bright?
What mournful sounds prevail !
Is it the moonlight makes thee look so pale?

How lovely is the moon's serene, sweet face!

No woman hath such beauty, yet, alway,
Men have no eyes for aught but woman's grace.

Strange, is it not? And stranger still, to-day
The face they loveliest call,
To-morrow hath no loveliness at all.

What wretched creatures we—that live to make

The sport of men; and each new lover seems Too fond and true a loving heart to break;

Then comes the day that shatters all our dreams, And, at the bitter end, We learn to hate each lover and each friend. Look out upon the hushed and breathless night;

The tranquil stars alone art always true.

What's this? A storm hath quenched their steadfast light.

That flash was fearful! See, the lights burn blue.
'Tis ominous, my dear,
This sudden, dreadful storm-hast thou no fear?
Marchesa, dearest, surely thou art ill!

That wine hath hurt thee? Is it so? Alas,
Fool! I did give it thee with right good will!

With mine own hand I did prepare that glass!
'Twill do its work full well! -
'Twill send thee straight to heaven, my dear-or hell !
Aha! My time hath come! I am his wife!

I am the woman that he swore to love!
And, traitress, thou dost pay me with thy life

For this intrigue! Yea, by the saints above,
Thy life is small requite
For all the hate I've smothered till this night!
That letter—'twas the Duke's—and this the place

The treacherous schemer for a trysting gave!
Yea, writhe and moan and hide thy livid face,

And die and rot in a dishonored grave!
He'll find thee here anon
A festering corpse, thou wanton—ah, she's gone!


"Maid, altogether fair,” he cried, “be mine, my high soprano bride; Let us duet life's journey through. Enchanting singer, what

say you? Our key shall be a little flat, a finely furnished one at that; There we will live on minor scale, in style to make the major

quail." Said she, “I sing too sharp for that, you never catch me in a flat; I choose the notes of higher pitch, the major has them—he is




Written as monologue by Stanley Schell expressly for this book.


CHARACTERS: COLORED GIRL, young, full of joy, yet shy of ex

: pression, speaker present; Miss ALLIE, supposed to be pres

ent. STAGE-SETTING: Sitting-room door L. of center, chairs about

On couch, at right, should be ugly purple gown piped with red. COSTUME: Plain dark skirt, white shirt-waist, no collar. Hair done up in stiff little braids. Each one tied with white rag.

[She stands in doorway, face radiant, holds large box

clasped to her breast.] Miss Allie, it's done come! Does y'all want t'see it?

[Waits eagerly; face lights joyously; enters and sits on

floor, Turkish fashion; holds bor on lap.] I has fer tax y pardon, Miss Allie, dat I ain't got on no collar ner no apern—done fixed m’hair fer de night, too.

[Feels head in apologetic fashion.] I’se jes' 'bout goin'ť bed when I heared de doʻ-bell. Dat yallow man what brung de box, he see I done have no apern on, an' he says, kind o’ laughin”, “Is you de lady o’de house?' 'N' I says, "Go on, nigger, quit dat talkin', mind yer own bus'ness!"

“ Dese yere city cullud people, dey's so impert'nent I ain't got no use fer 'em.

[While talking; zorks hard to get bor untied; lifts lid off box, tissue paper is disclosed; rises suddenly and holds

out box to Miss ALLIE, then quickly shuts eyes tight.] Miss Allie, won't y'all open it out ’n’ lay it onto de couch? I doesn't da’st lif’ up dat paper.

[Trembles with excitement; stands quiet as if waiting;

suddenly opens eyes and looks with joy.] [Ejaculated.] Great day! Look a' dat tail on de skirt, an' all dem little ruffelers, ain't dey—

[Stops suddenly; veil is discovered; gives darting look full of recognition; puts both hands over face and murmurs

in rapturous whisper.] No, Lawd! dat ain't fer me!

[Goes to couch and picks up gingerly edge of veil.] Reckon dis yere veil must ’a’ cost y'all right dear, Miss Allie.

[Awe-struck voice.]. M’ Aunt Nettie up in de kentry ť my home-she's awful rich; she had a weddin’-veil, but 'twa’n’t nuffin' like dis-yere. She got hern t de sto' up dere in de kentry, ’n’dey didn't have nuffin' but pink—dat kind dey puts in de winders ť keep de skeeters out!

[Examines each article separately and with little expres

sions of joy. Suddenly holds up purple wrapper.] Mr. Smif, he done pick dis out hissef. Ain't he got pretty taste?

[Proudly stands a short time in blissful absorption, then

gathers up vcil and holds it out to Miss ALLIE.] Would y' jes' kind o’ drape it over m' haid, Miss Allie? So's’n I kin see how l’se gwine look when I's treadin' up de aisle ?

[Stands .11proudly as if being draped. After a while giggles with delight; shou's embarrassment. Suddenly

throws back head; swings body jauntily from side to side.] How does I look, Miss Allie? 1-is-beaut-ful-Miss Allie? [Surprised.] Aw, go 'way f’um here, Miss Allie

[Laughs; turns to survey herself in mirror.] I'se jes' a common nigger-dat's all !

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