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You do not guess? The day I found

Sardinia's hideous coil, at home, abroad,
And how my father was involved in it,—
Of course, I vowed to rest or smile no more
Until I freed his name from obloquy.
We did the people right 'twas much to gain
That point, redress our nobles' grievance, too-
But that took place here, was no crying shame:
All must be done abroad, if I abroad
Appeased the justly-angered Powers, destroyed
The scandal, took down Victor's name at last
From a bad eminence, I then might breathe
No moment was to lose.

And rest!


The proud result-a Treaty, Austria, Spain
Agree to

D'O. [Aside.] I shall merely stipulate
For an experienced headsman.


Not a soul

Is compromised: the blotted Past 's a blank :
Even D'Ormea will escape unquestioned. See!
It reached me from Vienna; I remained
At Evian to despatch the Count his news;
'Tis gone to Chambery a week ago—
And here am I: do I deserve to feel

Your warm white arms around me?

D'O. [coming forward.]

He knows that?

Cha. What, in Heaven's name, means this?

He knows that matters

Are settled at Vienna ? Not too late!


Plainly, unless you post this very hour
Some man you trust (say, me) to Chambery,
And take precautions I'll acquaint you with,
Your father will return here.


Is he crazed,

This D'Ormea? Here? For what? As well return To take his crown!


He will return for that.

Cha. [to POLYXENA.] You have not listened to this

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His heart, Sire; you may not be used to read
Such evidence, however; therefore read

My evidence.

[Pointing to POLYXENA's papers.

Cha. [to POLYXENA.] Oh, worthy this of you!
And of your speech I never have forgotten,
Tho' I professed forgetfulness; which haunts me
As if I did not know how false it was;
Which made me toil unconsciously thus long
That there might be no least occasion left
For aught of its prediction coming true!
And now, when there is left no least occasion
To instigate my father to such crime;

When I might venture to forget (I hoped)
That speech and recognise Polyxena-
Oh, worthy, to revive, and tenfold worse,

That plague now! D'Ormea at your ear, his slanders Still in your hand! Silent?


As the wronged are.

Cha. And, D'Ormea, pray, since when have you


To spy upon my father? (I conceive

What that wise paper shows, and easily.)

Since when?


To me.

The when, and where, and how, belong 'Tis sad work, but I deal in such.

You ofttimes serve yourself—I'd serve you here :

Use makes me not so squeamish. In a word,
Since the first hour he went to Chambery,
Of his seven servants, five have I suborned.
Cha. You hate my father?


Oh, just as you will!
[Looking at POLYXENA.

A minute since, I loved him-hate him, now!

What matters ?—If you 'll ponder just one thing:
Has he that Treaty ?—He is setting forward
Already. Are your guards here?

Well for you

Cha. They are not! [To POL.] Him I knew of old, but youTo hear that pickthank, further his designs! [To D'O. Guards ?—were they here, I 'd bid them, for your trouble,

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D'O. Guards you shall not want. I lived

T 2

The servant of your choice, not of your need.
You never greatly needed me till now

That discard me. you

This is my arrest.

Again I tender you my charge-its duty

Would bid me press you read those documents.

Here, Sire!

[Offering his badge of office. Cha. [taking it.] The papers also! Do you think

I dare not read them?



Read them, sir!

They prove,

My father, still a month within the year

Since he so solemnly consigned it me,

Means to resume his crown? They shall prove

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Go there!

Your words or pay their forfeit, sir.

Polyxena, one chance to rend the veil


Thickening and blackening 'twixt us two! Do say,
You'll see the falsehood of the charges proved!
Do say, at least, you wish to see them proved

False charges-my heart's love of other times!
Pol. Ah, Charles!

Cha. [to D'ORMEA.] Precede me, sir!


And I'm at length

A martyr for the truth! No end, they say,

Of miracles. My conscious innocence !

[As they go out, enter-by the middle door-at which he pauses VICTOR.

Vic. Sure I heard voices? No!

Well, I do best

To make at once for this, the heart o' the place.

The old room! Nothing changed!-So near my seat, D'Ormea? [Pushing away the stool which is by the KING'S chair.

I want that meeting over first,

I know not why. Tush, D'Ormea won't be slow
To hearten me, the supple knave! That burst
Of spite so eased him! He'll inform me . . .


Why come I hither? All's in rough-let all
Remain rough; there's full time to draw back-nay,
There's nought to draw back from, as yet; whereas,
If reason should be, to arrest a course
Of error-reason good, to interpose

And save, as I have saved so many times,
Our House, admonish my son's giddy youth,
Relieve him of a weight that proves too much-
Now is the time, -or now, or never.

This kind of step is pitiful-not due


To Charles, this stealing back-hither, because
He's from his Capital! Oh, Victor! Victor!
But thus it is the age of crafty men

Is loathsome; youth contrives to carry off
Dissimulation; we may intersperse
Extenuating passages of strength,
Ardour, vivacity, and wit—may turn
E'en guile into a voluntary grace,-
But one's old age, when graces drop away

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