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Just this first night out of so many nights?
Loving is done with. Were he sitting now,
As so few hours since, on that seat, we'd love
No more-contrive no thousand happy ways
To hide love from the loveless, any more.
I think I might have urged some little point
In my defence, to Thorold; he was breathless
For the least hint of a defence: but no,

The first shame over, all that would might fall.
No Henry! Yet I merely sit and think

The morn's deed o'er and o'er. I must have crept
Out of myself. A Mildred that has lost
Her lover-oh I dare not look upon

Such woe! I crouch away from it! 'T is she,
Mildred, will break her heart, not I! The world
Forsakes me: only Henry 's left me--left?
When I have lost him, for he does not come,
And I sit stupidly . . . Oh Heaven, break up
This worse than anguish, this mad apathy,
By any means or any messenger!


Tresh. [without.] Mildred!

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The curse! deliver all you come to say!

What must become of me? Oh speak that thought

Which makes your brow and cheek so pale!


Mil. All of it!

My thought?

How we waded-years ago—

Robert Browning. III.


After those water-lilies, till the plash,

I know not how, surprised us; and you dared
Neither advance nor turn back: so, we stood
Laughing and crying until Gerard came-
Once safe upon the turf, the loudest too,

For once more reaching the relinquished prize!
How idle thoughts are, some men's, dying men's!


You call me kindlier by my name

Than even yesterday: what is in that?

Tresh. It weighs so much upon my mind that I This morning took an office not my own!

I might.. of course, I must be glad or grieved,
Content or not, at every little thing

That touches you. I may with a wrung heart
Even reprove you, Mildred; I did more:

Will you forgive me?


Thorold? do you mock? Or no.. and yet you bid me . . say that word!

Tresh. Forgive me, Mildred!--are you silent, Sweet? Mil. [starting up.] Why does not Henry Mertoun come to-night?

Are you, too, silent?

[Dashing his mantle aside, and pointing to his scabbard, which is empty.

Ah, this speaks for you!

You've murdered Henry Mertoun! Now proceed!
What is it I must pardon? This and all?
Well, I do pardon you-I think I do.
Thorold, how very wretched you must be!
Tresh. He bade me tell you . .


What I do forbid

Your utterance of! So much that you may tell

And will not-how you murdered him . . but, no!
You'll tell me that he loved me, never more
Than bleeding out his life there: must I say
"Indeed," to that? Enough! I pardon you.

Tresh. You cannot, Mildred! for the harsh words, yes: Of this last deed Another's judge: whose doom I wait in doubt, despondency and fear.

Mil. Oh, true! There's nought for me to pardon! True!

You loose my soul of all its cares at once.

Death makes me sure of him for ever! You
Tell me his last words? He shall tell me them,
And take my answer-not in words, but reading
Himself the heart I had to read him late,

Which death . . .


Death? You are dying too? Well said Of Guendolen! I dared not hope you'd die: But she was sure of it.

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Mil. Ah Thorold! Was't not rashly done

To quench that blood, on fire with youth and hope
And love of me-whom you loved too, and yet
Suffered to sit here waiting his approach

While you were slaying him? Oh doubtlessly
You let him speak his poor confused boy's-speech
-Do his poor utmost to disarm your wrath
And respite me!-you let him try to give
The story of our love and ignorance,
And the brief madness and the long despair-
You let him plead all this, because your code

Of honour bids you hear before you strike:
But at the end, as he looked up for life
Into your eyes-you struck him down!


No! no!
Had I but heard him--had I let him speak
Half the truth-less-had I looked long on him
I had desisted! Why, as he lay there,

The moon on his flushed cheek, I gathered all
The story ere he told it: I saw through
The troubled surface of his crime and yours
A depth of purity immovable;

Had I but glanced, where all seemed turbidest,
Had gleamed some inlet to the calm beneath;
I would not glance: my punishment's at hand.
There, Mildred, is the truth! and you-say on—
You curse me?

As I dare approach that Heaven
Which has not bade a living thing despair,
Which needs no code to keep its grace from stain,
But bids the vilest worm that turns on it
Desist and be forgiven,-I-forgive not,

But bless you, Thorold, from my soul of souls!

[Falls on his neck.

There! Do not think too much upon the past!
The cloud that's broke was all the same a cloud
While it stood up between my friend and you;
You hurt him 'neath its shadow: but is that
So past retrieve? I have his heart, you know;
I may dispose of it: I give it you!

It loves you as mine loves! Confirm me, Henry!

Tresh. I wish thee joy, Beloved! I am glad In thy full gladness!


Guen. [without.] Mildred! Tresham! [Entering with AUSTIN.]


I could desist no longer. Ah, she swoons!

That's well.

Tresh. Oh, better far than that!

Let me unlock her arms!


She's dead!

She threw them thus

About my neck, and blessed me, and then died:
You'll let them stay now, Guendolen!


Leave her

And look to him! What ails you, Thorold?


As she, and whiter! Austin! quick-this side!
Aus. A froth is oozing through his clenched teeth;
Both lips, where they're not bitten through, are black:
Speak, dearest Thorold!


Something does weigh down.
My neck beside her weight: thanks: I should fall
But for you, Austin, I believe!-there, there,
'T will pass away soon!—ah,-I had forgotten:
I am dying.

Thorold-Thorold-why was this?
Tresh. I said, just as I drank the poison off,
The earth would be no longer earth to me,
The life out of all life was gone from me.
There are blind ways provided, the foredone
Heart-weary player in this pageant-world
Drops out by, letting the main masque defile
By the conspicuous portal: I am through—
Just through!


Don't leave him, Austin! Death is close. Tresh. Already Mildred's face is peacefuller.

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