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So close related to my father too,

On trifling grounds?

D'O.

Oh, as for that, St. George,

President of Chambery's senators,

Is hatching treason-but

[Still more troubled.] Sire, Count Cumiane

Is brother to your father's wife! What's here?
Arrest the wife herself?

Cha.

You seem to think it

Well?

A venial crime to plot against me.

D'O. [who has read the last paper.] Wherefore am I

thus ruined? Why not take

My life at once? This poor formality

Is, let me say, unworthy you! Prevent it,
You, madam! I have served you, am prepared
For all disgraces-only, let disgrace
Be plain, be proper-proper for the world
To pass its judgment on 'twixt you and me!
Take back your warrant―I will none of it.

Cha. Here is a man to talk of fickleness!
He stakes his life upon my father's falsehood;
I bid him-

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Oh, yes-and plain-arrest him-now-drag here
Your father! And were all six times as plain,
Do you suppose I'd trust it?

Cha.

Just one word!

You bring him, taken in the act of flight,

Or else your life is forfeit.

D'O.

Ay, to Turin

Here and now!

I bring him? And to morrow?!!

Cha

The whole thing is a lie a hateful lie-
As I believed and as my father said.

I knew it from the first, but was compelled
To circumvent you; and the crafty D'Ormea,
That baffled Alberoni and tricked Coscia,
The miserable sower of such discord

"Twixt sire and son, is in the toils at last!
Oh, I see! you arrive this plan of yours,
Weak as it is, torments sufficiently?

A sick, old, peevish man-wrings hasty speech
And ill-considered threats from him; that's noted;
Then out you ferret papers, his amusement
In lonely hours of lassitude-examine
The day-by-day report of your paid creatures-
And back you come--all was not ripe, you find,
And, as you hope, may keep from ripening yet—
But you were in bare time! Only, 'twere best
I never saw my father-these old men
Are potent in excuses-and, meantime,
D'Ormea 's the man I cannot do without.

Pol. Charles

Cha. Ah, no question! You're for D'Ormea too! You'd have me eat and drink, and sleep, live, die With this lie coil'd about me, choking me!

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No, no-he's caught! [to D'ORMEA.] You venture life,

you say,

Upon my father's perfidy; and I

Have, on the whole, no right to disregard

The chains of testimony you thus wind
About me; though I do-do from my soul

Discredit them: still I must authorise

These measures-and I will. Perugia!
[Many Officers enter.]

You and Solar, with all the force you have,
Are at the Marquis' orders: what he bids,
Implicitly perform! You are to bring

A traitor here; the man that's likest one
At present, fronts me; you are at his beck
For a full hour; he undertakes to show you
A fouler than himself, but, failing that,
Return with him, and, as my father lives,

Count

He dies this night! The clemency you've blamed
So oft, shall be revoked-rights exercised

That I've abjured.

[To D'ORMEA.] Now, Sir, about the work! To save your king and country! Take the warrant! D'O. [boldly to PERUGIA.] You hear the Sovereign's mandate, Count Perugia ?

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Obey me! As your diligence, expect
Reward! All follow to Montcaglier!
Cha. [in great anguish.] D'Ormea!
goes, lit up with that appalling smile!

He

At least

[D'ORMEA goes.

[To POLYXENA after a pause.

you understand all this?

Pol.

These means

Of our defence-these measures of precaution?

Cha. It must be the best way. I should have else Withered beneath his scorn.

Pol.

What would you say?

Cha. Why, you don't think I mean to keep the crown,

Polyxena?
Pol.

You then believe the story

In spite of all-That Victor 's coming?

Cha.

Believe it?

I know that he is coming feel the strength
That has upheld me leave me at his coming!
'Twas mine, and now he takes his own again.
Some kinds of strength are well enough to have;
But who 's to have that strength? Let my crown go!
I meant to keep it—but I cannot-cannot !
Only, he shall not taunt me-he, the first—
See if he would not be the first to taunt me
With having left his kingdom at a word-
With letting it be conquered without stroke-
With.. no-no- -'tis no worse than when he left it,
I've just to bid him take it, and, that over,
We 'll fly away-fly-for I loathe this Turin,
This Rivoli, all titles loathe, and state.
We'd best go to your country-unless God

Send I die now!

Pol.

Cha.

Charles, hear me !

-And again

Shall you be my Polyxena-you 'll take me

Out of this woe! Yes, do speak—and keep speaking!
I would not let you speak just now, for fear
You'd counsel me against him: but talk, now,

As we two used to talk in blessed times:
Bid me endure all his caprices; take me
From this mad post above him!

Pol.

I believe

We are undone, but from a different cause.
All your resources, down to the least guard,
Are now at D'Ormea's beck. What if, this while,
He acts in concert with your father? We
Indeed were lost. This lonely Rivoli—
Where find a better place for them?

Cha. [pacing the room.]

And why

Does Victor come? To undo all that 's done!

Restore the past—prevent the future! Seat
His mistress in your seat, and place in mine

Oh, my own people, whom will you find there,

To ask of, to consult with, to care for,

To hold up with your hands? Whom? One that's false-
False-from the head 's crown to the foot's sole, false !
The best is, that I knew it in my heart

From the beginning, and expected this,
And hated you, Polyxena, because

You saw thro' him, though I too saw thro' him,
Saw that he meant this while he crowned me, while
He prayed for me,-nay, while he kissed my brow,
I saw-

Pol.

But if your measures take effect,

And D'Ormea's true to you?

7

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