Fawkes; or, The Prophetess of Ordsall Cave
Midi Music The Guy Fawkes Prince of Sinisters song. You will find it in the first act.
The Prophetess of Ordsall Cave!
A Melo Drama,
In Two Acts.
By. Edward Stirling, Esq
Author of the Pickwick Club, Bachelor’s Buttons, Woman’s the Devil, Rose of Corbeil, The Devil’s Daughters, The Serpent of the Nile, The Dragon Knight, Mr. Horatio Sparkins,
&c. &c. &c.
The Only Edition Correctly Marked by Permission From the Prompter’s Book:
To which is added,
A description of the Costume-Cast of the Characters-The whole of the Stage Business Situations-Entrances Exits Properties and Description
As Performed at the London Theatres.
Embellished with a fine Engraving,
By Mr. Findlay, from A drawing, taken expressly in the Theatre
Printed and Published By J. Duncombe & Co
10, Middle Row, Holborn
First produced at the Queen’s Theatre, Manchester,
Time in Representation 1 Hour, 45 Minutes.
Humphrey Chetham- Green velvet jerkin, trunk breeches, russet boots, sword, hat and feathers.
Catesby- Red spangled shape, sword, hat and feathers, russet boots.
Roger Clayton- Light shape, trunk breeches, hat, russet shoes with rosettes.
Guido- Buff jerkin, large trunks, steel curass, high russet boots, with spurs, large Spanish hat and cloak.
Oldcome- Monk’s dress, cowl, &c.
Heydocke- Dark brown shape, russet shoes.
Wi\lduck- Light brown shape trimmed with white tape, shoes, ruff, blue stockings.
Porringer- Plain brown jacket and trunk, red stockings.
Elizabeth Horton- Slate colored dress, ragged. Second dress-Shroud, cap, &c. as a corpse.
Viviana Radcliffe- Black velvet dress trimmed with point
Scene I.- A portion of Market Lane and Smithy Door leading to Old Salford Bridge, with a distant view of the Collegiate Church. The Borough of S Salford, R.H. A practicable Bridge ascending from the Stage.
Groups of Men and Women discovered in different situations in dejected appearance. Slow music as the curtain rises. First Citizen advances, surrounded by a group of Persons.
1.cit. Ah! A sad day, this, my masters—sorrowful times that see one of our fellow townsmen given to the flames! Poor Master Woodroof! I had hoped the days of fire and faggots had expired with Mary of cruel memory.
2Cit. Why is the good Master Woodroof to be burned like a common felon at the stake?
1Cit. Because he dares to follow the faith of his fathers, and choose rather to part with his blessed life than sin against his conscience by burning Protestants, (Bell tolls.) That’s the awful signal for his last trial. The Virgin support him in it.
Enter 2 E. R. H. a troop of Pikemen, guarding Robert Woodroof, a Catholic Priest, attended by Roger Clayton, a King’s Pursuivant, and followed by a concourse of People. Just as they are ascending the bridge, Elizabeth Orton, the Head Prophetess of Ordsall Cave, enters, hastily, and arrests the progress of the procession.
Eliz. One moment pause! Father, your blessing ere you die, (Kneels to Woodroof)
Clay. Back, beldame! He has enough to do to take care of his own soul without minding yours.
Wood, (Giving small book.) Take this, daughter, and fail not to remember me in your prayers.
Clay. (Seizing book.) What’s this? Oh, I see, I’ve too much much care for your soul to let you read it. I’ll keep it myself. (Places it in his doublet, and waves his hand—the procession moves over bridge. Humphrey Chetham advances from the crowd-snatches the book from Clayton, and presents it to Elizabeth, who follows over bridge. Clayton draws his sword) Dog! How dare you interfere? Papist! Slave!
Hum. I am neither Papist nor slave, but a master
of slaves—an honest man; and I counsel you to amend your manners, and throw
a little humanity into your cruel calling, or you shall find that I , the
dog, may have interest enough to procure your dismissal from a service
which you stain and disgrace! (Crosses R.H.)
Clay. (To 1st Citizen.) Who is that bold speaker!
1Cit. Young Master Humphrey Chetham, son to one of the wealthiest merchants of the town, and a zealous upholder of the new faith.
Clay. And who is the woman he befriended?
Hum. That I will answer, sir. A poor half-crazed being called Elizabeth Orton, who was scourged and tortured during the Queen’s reign, for pretending to the gift of prophecy. Since then, she has scarcely ever opened her lips: her misfortune ought to teach you mercy. (Ascends bridge.) if you know the meaning of the word.
Clay. Where is her abode, my master?
1 Cit. She lives in a cave on the banks of the Irewell, near Ordsall Hall, where she subsists on charity.
Clay. (Aside) Her cave must be searched, it may be the hiding place of a priest—we shall pass it on our way to Ordsall to-night; then, if we can prove that Sir William Radcliffe and his daughter shelter Father Oldcome, the Jesuit, all of whom are in my list, we shall have done a good night’s work. (A distant gleam of red fire is seen from the bridge, and a murmur of horror heard) It’s all over! Another traitor has paid the penalty of his obstinacy.
Re-enter Elizabeth Orton, from bridge, wildly, followed by the Mob.
All. Speak to us, Bess. Prophecy! Prophecy!
Eli. I will speak to you- (Raising her hands.) I will prophecy to you ; and mark me –though you believe me not, my words shall not fall to the ground. I have seen a vision. As I lay in my cell last night, methought that nineteen shadowy figures stood before me—aye, nineteen ( for I counted them over thrice; and when I questioned them their coming, one of them answered me in a voice which yet rings in my ears. "We are the chosen deliverers of our fallen and persecuted race—to our hands is committed the destruction of her enemies. The work will be done in darkness and in secret with toil and travail; but our vengeance will be exterminating, and terrible!" Tremble, blood-seekers, for the hour is nigh!
Clay. (Aside to Soldier.) This mad woman must be secured.
Hum (To Eli.) Peace, woman and fly while there is yet time—the officers will arrest you.
Eli. Let them, I fear not their tortures. I will tell them what I have told the mob; the day of retribution is at hand-the avenger is arrived! Down—down, slaves of a tyrant, and beg for mercy!
Hum. Can none of you force her away!—I will reward you.
Eli. I will not stir from this spot!
Clay.-(To Soldier.) Seize
her! She shall answer this with her life. (Soldiers advance)
Hum. You had better pay no heed to her talk; she is a poor crazed being who knows not what she says. I will be surety for her conduct.
Clay. Look to yourself, for I have just learned that you were last night at Ordsall Hall; and if report speaks truly you are not altogether insensible to the charms of Sir. William Radcliffe’s fair daughter, Mistress Viviana. See to it, young sir.
Hum. What is this to thee, knave?
Clay. Such as you shall presently find. Away with that brain-struck fool! To prison with her.
Eli. (Breaking from Soldiers) Tremble, ye evil-doers! Ye despoilers of the innocent! The day of vengeance is at hand! The bolt will soon fall on your sinful heads—aye, it will strike them all, the great ones of the land.
Clay. Drag her off! (Soldiers advance.)
Hum. Nay, gentleness, if ye are men—
Eli. Ha, ha, I defy you.
Clay. Transfer her with your pikes! (The soldiers level their pikes at her, and are advancing, when Guido Fawkes rushes over the bridge, and throws himself before them, sword drawn. Chord. Picture)
Gui. Back! Back, slaves!
Eli. (Screaming and embracing his knees.) ‘Tis he!—the avenger! My dream was true.
Clay. Upon them! Slay her!
Guy. Not while this arm wields a sword! Approach me not, good sir- if you value life, look to it. I am no holiday soldier, these hands know how to use a sword, and in such a cause as this, where helpless woman is opposed to proud oppression, I think the courage of a thousand men would swell my veins; therefore look to it, my master, or by the word I’ll beat such a devil’s tattoo upon your cowardly sconces that shall make you remember this day above all days in the calendar.
Clay. Why do you arrest our authority? See you not she is mad?
Gui. Then she is more in want of a protector—her misfortunes cry for aid at the hands of all that wear the form of man—a poor, withered, blighted creature! Look up, you are safe now; they shall not harm you if they were ten times their number. (Elizabeth weeps.) Are you men? Can you gaze unmoved upon these tears?
Clay. We have a duty to perform.
Gui. So have I: to protect a poor, weak woman from the hands of ruffianly insult! Who will dare say me nay, or stay me in my resolve? Is it you? Or you? Or is it your valiant leader there, whose duty teaches him to trample on the unfortunate ad defenseless? Baugh! Call yourselves soldiers? I ‘m ashamed of you! (Leads Elizabeth up the bridge-Mob shout.)
Eli. Ha, Ha! Accursed tyrants! Thus I free myself from bondage. (Leaps from bridge.)
Hum. She has plunged into the stream. Save her-save her!
Gui. That will I do, or perish! (Springs after her—all group round in astonishment and horror-Picture.)
Exterior of the Hostel of the "Seven Stars," at Withing Grove, now Withy Shade Hill.
The door opens, and Watling Wilduck runs out pursued by Peter Porringer, the Host.
Por (Seizing Wilduck by hand.) Hold, my fine runaway, or by the devil and St. Dunstan I’ll hand thee over to the constable’s whip. You shall be my tapster.
Wat. I won’t. I’m no serving man—I shall serve nobody unless I serve them out, (Aside,) which I do as often as I can. Unloose your ugly fingers- they spoil my hands. Let me go, or I’ll choke you with my fist. (They struggle.)
Por. Help! Help, my masters-rescue! Here’s a bouncer of ale running off from the "Seven Stars" without paying! (Several Persons enter, D. F.) Aid me, masters, to lay this malapert-dog by the heels.
Wat. One question: What do you do to a man when he can’t pay for his drink?
Por. Kick him into the street.
Wat. Then kick away, old Sourgrapes, for I haven’t a groat to save me from hanging. (Mob laugh.)
Por. This jest, knave, shall not save you.. My tenant you are, and shall be for a year and a day by Act of Parliament; so into the house troop—varlet! (Drags him towards D.F.)
Wat. Help—help! Will nobody help a poor youth against this old beer-barrel?
Enter Humphrey, l E. L. H.
Hum. How now, what is this? What new scrape have you got into? It is but two nights since that I gave bail for thee to the town-watch. What is the matter?
Wat. No great matter, worshipful master, but a grievous mischief. This huge cat-a-mountain is bent upon converting an honest lad into a dishonest rogue! He would make a tapster of me, and I know no rule whereby I should be compelled to aid in swilling people by serving out his muddy ale, or giving them the gripes with his verjuice, which he calls wine.
Por. He is a base varlet. Master Chetham—(ShakingWilduck.) a beggar, whom I’ve known of old and claim by the statute books—I, Peter Porringer of the "Seven Stars."
Hum. I’m at a loss to know by what statute you seek to establish your right to his person.
Por. There is no right, it’s all wrong—you know not the law, worthy sir. He is poor—ergo, he is a vagabond.
He came into my parlour to-night to beg a draught of old October—ergo he is a beggar. Now, what says the boroughreevm Guttles Statute Book, Edward the Fourth, Chapter the Fifth, thus it saith (Drawing out parchment.) "It is enacted that henceforth every person not having any visible means of living, found loitering about not seeking work, bay be seized and set to work by any one willing to give him meat and drink; and if he run away, he may be judged to be a slave to his employer one year and a day, to work and labor, however vile that labor may be he pleaseth to put him to. " Now, I have no wish to put in force all this law, for I like the knave’s wit, vagabond though he be; and if he will stay here, he shall eat and drink the best the "Stars" can furnish. Speak I fair, my masters?
Omnes. All fair! All Fair!
Hum. Well, I think you might manage to lead a merry and easy life with this worthy host; and your grandfather, Master Heydocke, of the Hall, will be right glad to be released from your presence. He shall not detain you against your will.
Wat. Why, for that matter, I dare at any time match my light heels against his barrel belly when I am tired of his service; and as he gave me a good supper free of expense, I’lll e’en turn tapster for a time. You’ll tell my granddad, sir, of my trade—so huzza for double chalks, long credit, and short measures!
Omnes. Bravo, tapster!
Wat. What can I do for you, gentle sir? (Bowing) Step in and taste our taptub—prime wine—real stuff—bright as a morning star, and warming as sunshine; stingo that will make a man tell twenty lies in the same time that it takes him to tell one. Ale, sirs, fit for honest men, and would go sour for want of drinking were it not for honest rogues like myself-eh, Master Sourgrapes?
Hum. (Laughing.) You are a merry knave, master, and I care not if I break my fast with a cup and mouthful, for it will be long after the morning repast when I reach Ordsall Hall. You shall tend me.
Wat. Willingly, worshipful sir. This way—step into the "Stars;" serve you with anything from a hogshead of ale to a mousetrap! (Exit into House bowing Master Chetham in grotesquely, followed by Citizens, laughing—he pompously runs against Porringer, and throws him violently into the House. )
A Chamber in Ordsall House.
Enter Heydocke, the Steward, followed by MasterRobert Catesby, in traveling dress 1 E. R. H.
Cat. Deliver this letter to your mistress, and acquaint her that Sir Robert Catesby, of Ashby St. Legers, craves instant speech with her.
Hey. Heaven bless your worship! I thought you were with my master, Sir William, at Holywell in Flintshire.
Cat. I am now on my way thither, but I came round by Manchester to see if any assistance could be rendered to the unhappy victim, Woodroof, but found on my arrival he had just been put to death! And now having satisfied your curiosity, good Master Steward, pray summon your young mistress, Viviana, for I have that to say which is of import.
Hey. I will, your worship. Dangerous times these, good sir, Ah, lack-a-day! A man may go to bed healthy, hearty and strong at night, and wake up in the morning with his head under his arm.
Cat. Generous old fool! How will this proud beauty receive me? ‘tis many years now since her eyes encountered mine, and I well remember, girl—nay, infant as she then was, they fell upon me with displeasure. But all things mortal change—and of all things women most, and she is but one. It is of the utmost consequence that I win her, for her alliance and rich domains would prop our cause—yes, then our great attempt to hurl the tyrant from his throne could not fail; but I will persevere till she yields, She is necessary to my purpose, and shall be mine!
Enter Viviana Radcliffe, followed by Heydocke—he bows and exits, I E. R. H. Catesby bows and pauses.
Viv. I understand that you desired to speak with me on a matter of urgency, Mr. Catesby?
Cat. I did so; and can only excuse my abruptness and ill manners on the plea, that the contemplation of your charms has driven all other matters out of my head.
Viv. Sir, if the purport of your visit be only to pay unmerited compliments, I must at once put an end to it.
Cat. I have only obeyed the impulse of my heart—but I will not again offend. If you have read my letter to your father you will learn the object of my visit.
Viv. I have not. (Returns letter to him.) I can give no opinion on any matter of difficulty.
Cat. Are we overheard?
Viv. By no one you would care to overhear us. Father Oldcome is without.
Cat. Let him come forth! What I have to say concerns him as much as yourself, or your father. I would gladly have his counsel.
Old. You shall have it, my son. What has the bravest soldier of our cause to say to its lowliest servant?
Cat. It is this. I bring certain intelligence, that Robert Clayton, the King’s pursuivant, now in Manchester, bears a warrant from the Earl of Salisbury for Sir William Radcliffe’s arrest.
Viv. My father’s arrest! What, what is laid to his charge?
Old. Treason! For so it is accounted by the present execrable law, for (To Oldcome) sheltering you. If he is convicted of this offence, his doom will be death—death on the gibbet.
Viv. My poor father!
Cat. From what I gathered in the town, the officers will visit the house to-night; and now Miss Radcliffe knows the purport of my visit.
Viv. Our lady be praised! They will not find my father. (To Oldcome) But for you. What’s to be done in this terrible emergency.
Old. Fear not for me , child, my course is clear. I will quit this roof at once, deeply regretting that by entering it, I have placed those I loved in peril.
Viv. Oh, no, you shall not go.
Old. My presence brings misery and destruction on all! Hinder me not. I will hence at once. (Crosses to c.)
Cat. Hold, father! The step you are about to take may bring what you are anxious to avoid. If you are discovered and apprehended in this neighborhood, suspicion will attach to your protectors, and the officers will wring the secret from the servants, Stay where you are—let them search, I will baffle their vigilance
Viv. He speaks the truth: you must not depart; there are plenty of hiding places as you know, within the mansion—they will not discover you.
Old. I obey. Whatever course you adjudge I will follow.
Viv. Should the officers ascertain my father is in Chester, and pursue him thither!
Cat. A trusty messenger must be immediately dispatched to warn him.
Viv. Will you be that messenger?
Cat. I would shed my heart’s best blood to pleasure you.
Viv. Then I may count upon this service! For which, rest assured, I will not prove ungrateful.
Cat. Doubt me not; charged with your wishes, the wind shall scarcely outstrip my speed. (Moving to L.H.)
Viv. A thousand thanks!—Heaven speed you! (Turning from him.)
Cat. (Turning, and kneeling at her feet.) Forgive me, Miss Radcliffe, if I once again even at a critical moment like the present, dare to renew my suit. I fancied I had subdued my passion for you, but your presence has awakened it with greater violence than ever!
Viv. Rise, sir, I pray!
Cat. (Seizing her hand.) Hear me, I beseech you, before you reject my suit—consider well that in these perilous seasons no man can call his life his own. Your father may fall—you may need a protector! Do not cast me from you—I will be your willing slave! Let me hope----
Viv. (Disengaging her hand.) I-I cannot do this. Nay, I must own the truth. My affections are already engaged to one with whom I can ne’er hope to be united; therefore, let me intreat you to forego this vain purpose, and think of me no more. Commanded me in all duty to my dear father, and believe me, I shall ever feel bound to you in gratitude for this days service!
(Exit curtseying, R.H.)
Old. (Crosses, L.) You have your answer, my son.
Cat. I have, but not one that I will take. She must—she shall be mine! You will assist me for the cause we serve?
Old. Right willingly!
Cat. Then to the winds with despair! I’ve been too often used to a woman not to be daunted by them. Who is this rival she glanced at?
Old. Master Humphrey Chetham of Crumpsall.
Cat. Then let Master Humphrey Chetham of Crumpsall, keep at a respectful distance from my charger, for I’ve a miraculous notion of sheathing it in the carcases of those that stand between me and the sunshine. Farewell! I’ll to horse—to Chester, and try the father; perhaps he may be more easily wooed than the daughter. Farewell!
(Exit Catesby, L.H. Oldcome, R.H.
Scene IV—Ordsall Cave on the Banks of the Irewell—a gloomy Cavern. (See Work) At back an opening, through which Ordsall Hall is seen, the river, and distant Country by moonlight.
Elizabeth discovered reclining on a couch. Guido pacing the Cave with hurried steps.
Gui. (Regarding Elizabeth.) Poor sufferer! Your couch is less rugged than the hearts of persecutors—it is thus they would bruise and trample upon all who have the sin of poverty upon their souls; but I shall yet live to set my foot on many of their proud necks—the day will come, haughty masters, deceive not yourselves. Ye look upon the poor as slaves, and set up as rulers over them; any law you make is but to keep them more in subjection. They are ground down to better their morals; their harmless sports cut, lest they should become vicious; their hours of relaxation limit their fear they grow idle. Kind considerate rulers that ye are! But the time will assuredly dawn when the people will shake off all these galling fetters; when every man shall sit under his own roof, and none have power to make him fear. Hear me, ye lords of the earth, you who have for your possessions too much yearly-you evil giants of England-ye who keep a city guard to feed the beggars on stones—to imprison like dogs, the poor and helpless. Hear my warning, and beware! Ye are sharpening the fangs of the people; and when ye least dream of it, will find their teeth buried fast and deeply in your throats! Ye are going full gallop to the devil!
Eli. (Rising on couch.) Where am I?
Gui. (Approaching her.) In safety—this is your rude dwelling place.
Eli. How! How came I here? I, I thought they gave me to the torture.
Gui. In the hands of providence, I was the humble instrument to snatch you from the hands of your enemies.
Eli. Yes, I remember it all now. You saved me from the brutal soldiery, and plunged into the dark waters. Alas! This worthless clay scarcely deserved so much: a few short fleeting moments, and I am dust. Raise me up. (Guido raises her) In that old house (pointing to Hall.) which you see yonder, I was born. I would willingly take one look at it before I die.
Gui. And the other mansion which I discover through the trees is Ordsall, is it not?
Eli. It is, and thither must you speed- supporters of our cause are in danger—your strong arm must aid them—(Sighs) My once peaceful happy home, look on me—this form which is now so hideous, that children fly from me, once drew the eyes of men upon me—they called me the flower of the Irewell side. The great ones of the land would rein up their steeds to gaze on me—proud knights have worn the heather bell in their caps for my sake; then I went singing all day like a bird among the broom. I had no care—my step was as light as the fallow deer, but I fell a victim to a villain—the father of the lordly possessor of that hall, Sir Robert Radcliffe. A son was the event of my shame and that son perished by his father’s sword. He for a paltry infringement of the law was condemned to die and Sir Robert Radcliffe, his own sire, doomed him to suffer. My boy was hung—I have his scull now—I have washed it with my tears. I was mad-persecuted, scourged for mad! Then I was wont to weep whole days. I soon grew heartless and dry, and lived alone for vengeance!
Gui. Take comfort, you may yet live for better time.
Eli. No, no, I am dying; the lifeblood within me grows cold, and runs through my veins. Let me have air—I am stifled! (He brings her forward.) Thanks! Thanks! You will live to see happier days than these—the clouds that enshroud our faith is fast dispelling. I have seen it all in my vision—I see it again, even now. (Wildly starts.) Yes, yes, yet hold; there is black danger in the struggle. He, the chosen instrument of vengeance, is seized in the very act of triumph—he is dragged before his judges. I see him—they condemn him. Ah! He is now in a dreary dungeon. See,--the torturers advance; he is placed on the rack; once-twice they apply the dreadful engine. Mercy ! he confesses—he is led to execution—I see him ascend the scaffold—the fatal axe----
Gui. Hold! This is past endurance. Whom do you behold?
Eli. His face is hidden from me, but his figure is not unlike your own. Hush! I hear the executioner pronounce his name. How are you called?
Gui. Guido Fawkes.
Eli (Screams) it is the name I heard. Thou art doomed. (Laughs wildly, and falls.)
Gui. I beseech you tell me more of my future destiny—speak!
Eliz. I can—can—not, it is denied me. When I am gone seek out Doctor Dee, the Wizard Warder; he, he holds the web of fate at his command—he will tell you all, all. I come, my child! Thy wretched mother comes to join you.
Gui. She’s dead, and with her the secret of my fate; unless, indeed, this wizard, whom I’ve before heard named in terms of wondrous praise, can unfold the truth, but come what may I will go on-my oath is pledged; and though all the powers of darkness opposed my onward course, still Guido Fawkes would laugh to scorn their puny efforts, and strike the ermined tyrant on his throne!
(Exit R. H.
Scene V.—Ordsall Hall, as before. Chamber.
Enter Watling Wilduck, bowing grotesquely, followed by Male and Female Servants all armed grotesquely with spits, brooms, shovels, old guns, rusty swords, &c. They are all talking when they enter.
Wat. Silence-silence, gentlemen’s sons and ladies daughters and listen to the voice of wisdom. I am here to lead you to victory! For that great, glorious, and constitutional object, I have dropped in from the "Stars;" my master, the worthy vintner Porringer, having lent me to my venerable granddad, to defend the hall against the evil comers. Are you all armed?
Wat. Do you know how to use them?
Wat. That’s all right, then. (Aside.) And I know how to use my legs , so that’s all right. Hem—hem! (Pompously.) Attend, good serving men and maids, seriously—women. I mean, for I fear there are but few—hem! among you, but let that pass. Before we mount guard for the night, I’ll deliver you a speech to raise your drooping courage—stand round and attend. My noble, gallant and enlightened countrymen—Weazel Wiffle, I’ll make you swallow my sword if you tickle the girls. Where did I leave off! Oh, at my noble, gallant, and enlightened countrymen—
A Female. And women’—we are all alike.
Wat. Are you? I never found it out, then. You have assembled together for one of the noblest purposes under the sun. Namely—to take care of yourselves, to defend your liberty and your master’s daughter from the tools of authority! Sooner than suffer the rogues to enter this dwelling, you’d do----
1 Man. Nothing!
Wat. Very good; and that as seldom as possible. Mr. Sourthistle, your next quarter’s wages will never be paid! Fall in, and shoulder your weapons! (They all do so, awkwardly.) Is that the way? Ha! I’m ashamed of you. Present your arms, thus; (Lowers his pike.) and when the enemy appears, about and charge. (Bell rings violently-heavy blows, and voices heard without—the Servants scream and run off.) Stop, stop! Fair play—let’s all start fair:--
(Runs after them)
Enter Viviana and Heydocke
Hey. They are here, my lady, they are here—we shall all be murdered!
Viv. Compose yourself, Master Heydocke, the search may not take place; and if it does, Father Oldcome is safely concealed behind your secret panel.
Clayton, (Without.) This way! I will not leave a corner of the house unvisited.
Enter Clayton, with four Guards.
Viv. Who are you, sir? And what is your errand here?
Clay. I am a state messenger, and I come in the name of the king to search for a traitor concealed here. My duty allows no delay; let the search be made quickly, or I must use force.
Viv. Do you know to whom you offer this rudeness? I am the daughter of Sir William Radcliffe.
Clay. I know it, I hold a warrant for your father’s arrest. (Motions to Men to search.) Strike the wainscot with your pikes! (They do so.) Ah! By Heaven, there is a secret door! Force it—we shall soon unkennel the old fox. (The Soldiers burst open the secret panel with their pikes—Clayton enters through it.)
Viv. (Aside) all is lost!
Clay. (Returning with Oldcome. ) Father Oldcome, you are my prisoner!
Viv. (Clinging to him.) You shall not take him!
Clay. Leave go your hold, young mistress (Dragging Oldcome by the collar.) and rest thankful that I don’t arrest you with him.
Viv. Take me, but spare him—in mercy spare him!
Old. You solicit mercy from one who knows it not.
Viv. Help! Help!
Clay. You may spare your voice, fair lady, no help is at hand. (He is dragging Oldcome toward the aperature, when Guido Fawkes darts through it, followed by Humphrey Chetham. Guido levels pistol at Clayton’s head.)
Gui. ‘Tis false, hound! (Picture. (See Work.) Humphrey rescues Vivian, and carriers her through panel.)
Hum. Follow me, father!( Guido strikes one of the Soldiers down and holds the others at bay.)
Gui. Fly for your lives—not a moment is to be lost! I have taken greater odds, and in a worse cause, and have not been worsted. Away, I say! I will defend this passage till you are beyond reach of danger. (Humphrey, Viviana, and Oldcome disappear.)
Clay. After them—hew down that bold traitor! Shew him no quarter—his life is forfeit to the king. Slay him !-
Gui. They dare not move a footstep. (Pointing pistol.)
Clay. Cravens! Do you fear?
Gui. (Derisively) They do.
Clay. Cut him down without mercy! Are you afraid of one man?
Gui. They are.
Soldier. (Sullenly) Our pikes are no match for his petronals.
Gui. They are not; and you will do well not to compel me to prove the truth of your assertion. As to you, Master Pursuivant I shall hold your life but a just retribution for the fate you have brought upon the unfortunate Elizabeth Orton.
Clay. Ha! You are the soldier, then, that saved the false prophetess from drowning. Down with your arms, or you die! (Catching a pike from one of the Soldiers.)
Gui. Back or I’ll lodge a bullet in your brain.
Clay. Footsteps! Our comrades are at hand. Now we triumph!
Gui. Then it is time for me to be off. (Springs into aperture, still presenting pistol. ) Farewell, most worshipful masters! When next we meet look to your precious sconces.
Clay. Confusion! He will escape ! force open the panel, (Another party of Soldiers enter, and assist in breaking the panel open; when they succeed, and are about to enter Wilduck is discovered standing in the entrance with a long pole, with which he knocks the Soldiers down as they approach. Scene closes.)
Scene VI- Vaults of Ordsall Hall.
Enter Humphrey supporting Viviana, and followed by Father Oldcome, slowly.
Hum. Pray lean on me a few minutes, and we shall reach the opening that leads to the river’s banks.
Viv. I cannot go further—my strength fails,
Enter Guido Fawkes hastily.
Gui. How comes it that you are here? I kept the wolves at bay thus long to enable you to make good your retreat.
Hum. Miss Radcliffe is too weak to move, and I could not persuade Father Oldcome to leave her.
Old. No, the sooner my painful race is run the better; but I will not abandon my benefactor’s child.
Gui. Then lose no time-the tigers are on our track, and will soon reach the vaults; a faithful serving man guided me hither, and is misleading the officers in my cloak.
Viv. What will become of us?
Hum. My horses are on the bank, if we can reach it. Once there I will lead you to our only place of refuge—they are hid beneath the old lime tree avenue. I was riding here to-night to offer you my assistance, when this stranger (Pointing to Guido. ) crossed my path, and begged permission to join you. I consented; we entered the hall by this passage, when just as we reached the panel, we heard your shrieks-the spring was touched, and you know the rest.
Viv. And shall never forget it. (Distant voices.) They are coming! (Clinging to Humphrey.)
Hum. We must to horse, then, if you would avoid them, Will you fly with us?
Viv. I will do anything rather than be left alone with those terrible men.
Hum. This way, then. Courage, and we are safe. (Takes her in his arms, and exits followed by Oldcome.)
Gui. (Cocking pistol.) I’ll just prepare a welcome for my friend, the gentle pursuivant; if he comes within pistol shot again to-night, I send him to sup with the devil!
(Exits cautiously after the party,)
Wilduck runs on wrapped in Fawkes’s cloak, from opposite side. Voices in pursuit.
Wat. I’ve distanced them for a moment. One pair of heels is worth two pair heads in a race, especially when it happens under ground. I wish I was in the ‘Stars" again—this earthly home don’t suit my complaint. Leaving duty to old grandad out of the question, I peppered the sconces of those knaves soundly. The strange soldier threw me his cloak-what for I can’t guess- (Voices heard "This way.") Here they are again.
Enter Clayton and Soldiers, hastily
Clay. There stands the traitor, arrest him. (The Soldiers surround Wilduck.) Cut him down!
Wat. (Falling on his knees.) Why should you do that, I’ll cut myself down, good masters.
Clay. Who are you knave?
Clay. What brings you here?
Clay. Where do you come from?
Wat. The "Seven Stars."
Clay. Fool! Your name?
Clay. Don’t trifle, knave, What is your business here at this time?
Wat. A wild goose chase.
Clay. Varlet! You have been schooled in this lesson to mislead us. Whither does this passage lead?
Wat. To the river. (Aside,) I wish you were in it!
Clay. Your only chance of safety is by conducting us on the track of the fugitives. Some of you go round to the stables and bring forth the horses,--they shall not escape.
Now, young springald, lead the way—hesitate, and you die! (Urges Wilduck forward-Soldiers exeunt, L. & R.)
Wat. Pray don’t, I’m wanted in the "Stars;" the customers are waiting-- my master is sick, and mistress can’t do without me.
(He is forced off by Clayton.
Chat Moss, a vast extent of Marshy Bog occupying the whole of the Stage from wall to wall, illumed at intervals by the appearance of the Moon. A narrow winding path from U. E. R. H. to centre of Stage over the Bog, which is of canvass. A stunted decayed Tree, L.C. at where the path is supposed to turn. Stage down, and canvass practicable in parts for Soldiers to fall through. The whole Scene conveying a wild and dreary solitude, for which (See work.) In 2 E.R.H. a plot of Ground, supposed to be the boundary of the Marsh on that side.
Enter Humphrey Chetham, Viviana, Oldcome, and Guido Fawkes moving slowly. They pause.
Hum. This is the mark I am at to yield us safety, Chat Moss.
Old. Are you crazed? It is the most dangerous marsh in Lancashire.
Hum. Trust me, and you shall traverse it in safety.—
Viv. I would sooner trust myself to the Pursuivant and his band, than venture upon its treacherous surface.
Gui. How is this, sir? Is it from heedlessness or rashness, that you expose us to this new danger?
Hum. If there is any danger, I shall be the first to encounter it—the treacherous character of the marsh constitutes our safety. I am acquainted with a narrow path across it, from which the deviation of a foot will bring certain death: if our pursuers attempt to follow us, their destruction is sure.
Gui. Forward, then—our lives are in your hands. (Distant voices in pursuit.) the blood-hounds are upon the scent!
Viv. The marsh will at least hide us.
Hum. Follow me singly, and do not swerve a hand’s breadth from the path, or it will be fatal. If I should miss my way and sink, don’t stir for your lives! (They move slowly forward by the narrow path. Clayton and Soldiers appear U. E. R. H.)
Clay. They must have crossed the bog. Forward!
Gui. Quicken your pace-they are making towards us.
Hum. Let them do so, they can do us no further injury.
Clay. That’s false! Let this speak for me. (Fires at them.)
Gui. Missed by the rood! May this prove surer, my master. (Fires-one of the Men falls into the marsh with a heavy groan.)
Hum. Waste no more shot, the swamp will fight our battles for us-the road turns here. We must not let a sound betray the course we are about to take.
Clay. On, on; they will yet avoid us (A light is seen wavering on the marsh.)
Viv. Heaven be praised! Some one has heard us, and is hastening to our assistance.
Hum. Woe to him that follows it. The light you behold is an ignis fatuus.
Old. It is only an exhalation of the marsh.
Gui. By the mass! Our enemies are deceived by them, and follow to their death.
Viv. Save them! Save them!
Gui. It is impossible! Already they struggle with their doom. (Loud cries, and the Soldiers pursuing the lights, R. & L.H. are swallowed in the bog; as one succeeds in reaching the party, urged on by Clayton, who is at the tree; by this time Guido Fawkes struggles with the advanced Soldier.)
Gui. Give way, wretch! The grave yawns for thee.
Clay. One thousand crowns for their heads!
Gui. (Plunging sword through the Soldier.) Die!-(He falls into the bog; all are now lost but Clayton, who kneels and begs for mercy-Guido levels his pistol at him---Humphrey, Viviana and Oldcome, reach R.H. plot of ground and kneel in thanksgiving.)
Viv. We are saved! Thank Heaven!
Clay. (Clinging to tree.) Mercy! Mercy! (The Soldiers are seen sinking in the marsh pursuing the lights crying for aid. Picture.)
End of Act I.
Scene I—Interior of the "Seven Stars." Tables, Chairs, Drinking Glasses, &c.
Catesby seated at a table exultantly, with a glass in his hand.
Cat. So, Sir William Radcliffe politely, but firmly rejects my proffered alliance with his daughter, the fair Mistress Viviana; and for what, forsooth? Because the lady has pledged her faith to a mere stripling, one opposed to our cause too; and I am patiently to endure this? To sit down quietly, and see the hopes of my existence, my success for ever wrecked? No, no. (starting up) Revenge is still left me, and I will use it—all shall perish! I have certain information of their escape from the Pursuivant, and of their proposed return to the hall this night, thinking all pursuit will cease. They shall find a harm will come. Master Roger shall be apprised of their intent. I marvel he tarries thus long-the hour I appointed for him to meet me is past. Oh, vengeance! What iron food thou art! How hard, and how long do we live upon thee, until every nerve becomes like iron, and only heats in the furnace of our hatred, until a touch of it would burn the coldest steel and all the flames of hell could never make it hotter! (Slight tap at the door)
Enter Watling Wilduck, as Tapster.
Wat. A stranger, worshipful sir, muffed up closely in a cloak desires to have speech with you.
Cat. Shew him to me.
Wat. Yes, your right honorable worship!
Cat. ‘Tis Master Clayton.
Wat. This way, sir, this way—welcome to the "Seven
Stars," the best hotel in Manchester or Salford, to boot.—
Clay. (Throwing aside his cloak.) Leave us!
Wat. With much pleasure, sir. (Aside) By the holy poker! It’s the man I met with under ground at the hall; and that I gave the slip to by leading him into a muddy ditch.
Cat. Go, varlet.
Wat. Yes, but I’ll soon come again, for I’m sure there’s mischief afoot.
Clay. Now, sir, what is the secret you have to unfold? Does it concern the service of—
Cat. It does. What would you give to have the family of Sir William Radcliffe in your power? (Wilduck appears peeping through closet window in flat.)
Clay. A hundred pounds! They have caused the death of some of my best men, and it was with much difficulty that I escaped from that cursed bog with life myself. Give them to my hand, and name your own reward.
Cat. The death of young Chetham!
Wat. (Aside) Oh, tankards and taptubs!
Clay. Will that be politic? His father is a man of power in the town, and right loyal to the king’s majesty. My authority does not warrant it.
Cat. Authority! What will that serve you in my project? Listen: to-night he will return to Ordsall with his mistress, the Spanish soldier, and Oldcome. You must fire the house, and in the confusion ‘twere easy to put all to the sword—Chetham among the rest.
Wat. News! Wholesale villainy. O, you ugly scoundrel!
Clay. We are overheard! (Draws his sword, and runs to closet-throws open the door, and discovers Wilduck.) Come forth! This is the eaves-dropper (Drags him forward.) What have you heard?
Cat. Speak, rogue! (Threatening with sword.)
Wat. Nothing!- I’m deaf.
Clay. Why, by my sword! Now I look at the knave’s face, it is he that put us out of our track in the vaults of Ordall last night, and assisted in the escape of the traitorous crew.
Wat. No, no, your worship—that was my twin-brother: one so much like me, that we are always taken or mistaken for the same—like as two peas in a pod!
Clay. Brother or no brother, you shall stand an hour or two in the town’s pillory to teach you better manners for the future. (Calls.) Grayling, Rupert! Ho there!
Wat. Mercy! Don’t harm a poor orphan.
Enter two Troopers.
Clay. Let this varlet be put in the pillory—you have my warrant for it.
Wat. They haven’t mine, though.
Clay. Away with him! (They seize him.) Follow me, sir, and we will confer further on this plan of thine—it likes me well if it were probable.
Cat. Probable! The snare is set-the pitfall is already dug under their feet: they must and shall perish:
Exit with Clayton.
1 Soldier. Now, my youth! (Dragging him to wing.)
Wat. Help! Rescue! Master! Mistress! Murder! Robbery!
Enter Dame Porringer, with a ladle.
Dame. How now, my merry masters, what’s all this uproar about? Whom seek ye?
1 Soldier. This scoundrel!
Dame. We have no scoundrels here but yourselves.—Troop, and take your hands from my drawer!
Enter Peter Porringer.
Por. He’s brought his pigs to a pretty market at last with his knave’s tricks: the pursuivant has ordered him to stand in the pillory.
Dame. Malicious dog! What harm has the poor youth done!
Por. I’m glad of it at all events—now I shall be rid of him.
Dame. Then you shall be rid of me too. I’ll let you see that I can play lady to your lord—you took him in for your own pleasure, and he shall now stay in for mine! You never do nothing, old sauce-pot; fit only to sleep a-days and snore a-nights! (Strikes Porringer with ladle.) And now, my brave troopers, release my serving-man or I’ll settle this about your empty sconces! (Soldiers laugh, and drag Wilduck towards the wing—he cries for help.) Unhand him, knaves! ( She belabours the Soldiers with her ladle until they are off, then turning round perceives Porringer, who has hid himself in a corner.) You, you hangdog! But I’ll let you see that I’m both master and mistress here!—
(Beats him off.) Fly, troop, vanish!
Scene II- The college. Doctor Dee’s Study. (See work.) A small chafing Pan, or dish for fire. On a Bench lies the extended body of Elizabeth Orton, covered with a wrapper. A large back Curtain conceals a recess.
Doctor Dee and Edward Kelly discovered, the
former consulting a book, the latter kindling a fire.
Dee. The charm will soon be completed, and the departed sister shall reveal—
Guy (Without) Where are these impostors, violators of the tomb! (Enters with sword drawn.) At length I have found you in your den, ye worse than famine-stricken wolves! What devilish rites are ye about to enact that ye thus profane the sanctity of the grave! (Points to the body of Elizabeth.)
Dee. And who art thou that darest thus to interrupt us?
Gui. It matters not, I sought you on another errand; but having seen you commit this sacrilege I warn you, you are both known to me. You, John Dee, Warder of Manchester; and you, Edward Kelly, deserve to be burnt at the stake for your damnable practices! I know, also that is the body of the ill-fated prophetess, Elizabeth Orton—that you have disinterred it. Restore it, or I will denounce you to the authorities of the town!
Dee. Knowing thus much you should know more, namely—that I am not to be lightly provoked: you have no power to quit this chamber, or move a limb but at my pleasure. (He throws over Guido the contents of a small phial—Guido becomes transfixed. Chord.) Were it my will I could fling thee fathoms deep into the earth beneath our feet, or hurl you from the tower of yon lofty church!
Gui. (In a hollow tone.) Let me be free, and I will depart.
Dee. Will you swear never to divulge what you have seen?
Dee. I will trust you, because your presence interferes. (Touching him with his wand.) Now, be gone-you are free!
Gui. (Moving towards him.) Suffer me to tarry, I would ask a question of your skill. She, when living, bade me here; but I regarded you as an impostor till this night, I watched you in the church yard, and followed you unobserved to this chamber.
Dee. Your name?
Gui. Fawkes! Guido Fawkes!
Dee. Nay, then, I guess the question you would answer.
Gui. Am I known to you then, reverend sir?
Dee. As well as to yourself. Yes; look, Kelly, it is the very face-the bronzed and strongly marked features—the fierce black eye! I would tell you the inquiry you would make before it is uttered. You would learn whether the enterprise-the plot against the king and parliament, on which you are engaged-will succeed?
Gui. I would.
Dee. I will not refuse your request!-yet, I would caution you to beware how you pry into the future.
Gui. I have no fear-let me know the worst.
Dee. Enough! Yon inanimate body I have power over for a short time: its spirit shall return to answer your questions. (Forms a circle on Stage with his wand.) Stir not as you value life! You shall learn the cause and manner of your death. (slow music.)
Close our sanctum doors, and round.
Blood is wanting to complete the charm.
Gui. I will furnish it, father, speedily. (Pricks his own arm with dagger.)
Dee. Place your hand on yonder corpse. (Guido does so.) ‘Tis well—the charm works. (A blue light descends and plays over Elizabeth’s head—Thunder-wild music.) She moves—she moves! Remove your hand, or mischief may befal you.
Sister, I do abjure you, speak!
Down on your knees-the spirit is at hand! (Guido kneels in the circle—Dee moves his wand—Thunder— Elizabeth Orton, clad in white vestments, slowly raises from the bier, the blue light still playing over her head.)
Eli. Why have you called me back to earth!
Dee. Daughter, in life thou wert endowed with the gift of prophesy, in the tomb that which is to come must be revealed to thee. (To Guido.) Speak to her, and be brief; only as long as that flame burns have I power over her.
Gui. Spirit of Elizabeth Orton—if indeed thou standest before me- I would learn what you in part revealed in the lone cave: my future destiny in our cause. Will the end be successful?
Eli. To you-the conspirators—to all---
Dee. Proceed- the flame is expiring.
Eli. I can no more. I am summoned hence. Beware! One shall betray—beware! (Disappears-thunder.)
Gui. Another moment! One only question, and I am content. Cannot again you command her return?
Dee. Impossible! The spirit is fled. Be warned; you are embarked on a perilous enterprise.
Gui. I cannot retreat. No, no; resolved am I, that if I stood alone I would go on. Before we part, I would ask if you know of other means whereby an insight may be obtained into the future.
Dee. Many, my son. I have a wager glass in which you may behold exact representations of coming events, if you dare on them. The progress of your wild scheme to slay the king—your powder plot!
Gui. I dare all risks, and defy fate!
Dee. Behold, then! (Waves his wand-the curtain opens and displays magic mirror of gauze, in which are a group of figures- Guido Fawkes, and Father Oldcome. Fawkes is taking an oath—blue fire.) Did you recognize the assembled conspirators?
Dee. Look again. (Music-Curtain opens, and discovers a vault with barrels of powder, faggots, &c. and Guido Fawkes is in the act of firing a train, seized by the Guards.
Picture Closed in)
Gui. (Starting) Betrayed!
Dee. Have you seen enough?
Gui. No; I would behold what is yet to come.
Dee. Rash man, look again! (Music-Curtain again opens, and discovers a group of skeletons, their fingers pointing to Fawkes stretched on the wheel bleeding and dying. Picture.)
Gui. (Rushing from circle.) I will not die that felon’s death! Hence with your hellish jugglery! I am a man, and do defy you!
Dee. It is your fate!
Gui. No, no! recall those words, and I will bend to your power; it is not that I fear to die, let it be but a soldier’s death-my sword in hand! But to be thus torn and mangled—See, see, Elizabeth Orton rises again before me—she beckons me after her. I come-I come! She leads me into a gloomy cavern-it is filled with barrels of gunpowder-I see them ranged one above another. Ah! I know where I am now; it is the vault beneath the Parliament House-the king and his nobles are assembled in the hall above. A torch-a torch! That I may fire the train, and blow them in the air! Quick-quick! I have sworn their destruction, and I will keep my oath—what matter if I perish with them? Give me a torch, I say, or it will be too late. Is the powder damp that it will not kindle? And see, the torch is expiring. Distraction! To be baffled thus! Why doe you glare and gaze at me with those stony eyes? Who are those with you?—friends? No, they are armed men; they seize me-they drag me before a grave assemblage. What is that hideous engine? The rack? Bind me on it-break every limb-ye shall not force me to confess! Ha, ha! I laugh at your threats-ha,ha,ha! Led me to the scaffold—drag me to execution; the rope is twisted round my head in serpent folds,-it strangles me. Ah! The knife is at my breast; it it pierces my flesh! My heart is torn forth!—Save me! I die—I die! (sinks heavily on the ground; the red fire is again seen, and the spirit of Elizabeth Orton rises pointing to wheel, skeleton &c..)
Scene III. – Another Apartment in the "Seven Stars."
Enter Humphrey Chetham, and Viviana, in converse.
Hum. Miss Radcliffe, something tells me that this moment will decide my future fate. Emboldened by the manner in which we have been thrown together these last few days, I venture to declare to thee once more the passion I have so long indulged for you; a passion which I thought deep and fervent as ever agitated human heart, has hitherto from the difference of our rank, and yet more from the difference of religious opinions, been without hope. Think of the peril in which your worthy father stands; think of the terrible persecutions of your faith! Earnestly, fervently let me solicit you to give me a husband’s right to watch and defend you? Your answer! (Father Oldcome, who has listened to part of the conversation, advances)
Old. You must take it from my lips, Master Chetham, Miss Radcliffe never can be yours.
Hum. Be pleased to let her speak for herself, sir!
Old. I represent her father, and have acquainted you with his determination.
Hum. Viviana, is this true? (Snatching her hand.)
Viv. (Sorrowfully.) It is!
Hum. (Relinquishing her hand.) Then, there is no hope for me.
Viv. Alas! Nor for me. I am about to vow myself to Heaven!
Hum. Viviana, reflect I beseech you; reflect before you take this fatal, this irrevocable step.
Old. Young man, in Sir William Radcliffe’s name, I command you to desist from further solicitation.
Hum. I obey; and as I can now be of no further service to you I take my leave.
Viv. Farewell, Master Chetham! I will not attempt to oppose your departure, for much as I grieve to lose you- and that I do, these tears will testify –I feel that it is for the best. I owe you much; more, far more than I can ever repay. Next to my father, there is no one whom I regard—nay, whom I love, so much.
Viv. Love! Since you compel me to repeat the word, I avow it boldly, because I would not have you suppose me ungrateful; and because I never can be yours.
Hum. I will not again attempt to dissuade you from the fatal solemnization you have formed of burying your charms in a cloister; but if you do love me, why condemn yourself? Why condemn me to hopeless misery?
Old. It is yet in your power to change Miss Radcliffe’s resolve.
Old. By being reconciled to our faith.
Hum. Then it must remain unaltered: that I will never consent to. Farewell! (Pressing her hand to his lips,) I will not prolong an interview so painful to us both; the best wish I can desire for you, is—that we may never meet again.
Old. Daughter, I cannot too highly approve of your conduct, but---
Viv. But what, father? Do you think I have done wrong in dismissing him?
Old. By no means, but I would rather shun your taking the veil, that you should bestow your hand upon some worthy gentleman.
Viv. Such as Mr. Catesby?
Old. Aye, Mr. Catesby—none more worthy; he will
be at once a father and a husband to you.
Viv. Urge me no more! I will make every sacrifice consistent with principle and feeling, but this I will not make. If I, at a word, banish and chill my love’s best affections, think you, then, that I can accept another’s wooings! No, no, father, you know little of woman’s love; it is our source of life-the very essence of our being; the chain from which spring all our joys and unity of thoughts; and for its hiding place it has our heart of hearts!
Old. Catesby’s suit is worse than useless, then.
Enter Guido Fawkes, hastily
Gui. Father, you must away instantly with your charge, there is sudden danger abroad.
Old. From whom, my son?
Gui. I suspect from Master Catesby, I passed him unperceived but now in close converse with the Pursuivant, St. Gregory pardon me for having spared him! Now, why should Catesby, a champion of our faith, league with a sworn foe? He has, also, grown wilder and more calculating of late, and I fear is but lukewarm in our cause. Let him look to it: if I can but once obtain proofs that he is tampering. I’ll have his life though I loose my own! (Loud shouts without.) What tumult’s this?
Enter Dame Porringer, weeping.
Dame. No tumult, your worship, but a pilloring
my loving dutiful serving-man. Watling Wilduck is set in the town’s pillory
for doing a good action. I’m so vexed, that I could fain draw every toper
a tankard of vinegar instead of ale; and score any man two pints instead
Gui. Who has done this?
Dame. The king’s pursuivant, backed by one Master Robert Catesby; they were here in close league together, and the poor innocent lamb, Wilduck, attending on them when he was seized and dragged off for having assisted Miss Radcliffe to escape from the Hall last night.
(Exit wiping her eyes.
Gui- May the curse of Heaven light upon the traitor!—‘Tis, then, as I suspected! were he here, I would trample him to death beneath my feet; and he is entrusted with all our secrets-by my advice, too. I shall go mad! Fly you instantly, father, to the Hall, there await my coming. This poor dolt shall be freed from his peril-he must apprise our friends. The craven Catesby may betray all; there is a deep treachery afoot; but by my father’s bones I will sweep the dog from the earth! Away, father, away! (Shouts and laughter without-Fawkes hurries off, sword drawn. Oldcome exits opposite.)
Scene IV.—The Pillory, erected in the same scene as Act I. Scene I. A concourse of Persons of both sexes assembled-Watling Wilduck discovered standing in the pillory, which revolves. Soldiers guarding. The Mob laugh.
Wat. Why do you laugh, my merry masters? The pillory is no silly matter; the only difference between it and the stocks is –that you cannot sit down. My legs have been acquainted with the stocks a score of times, now my neck must have a trial. Turn and turn about is fair play—eh? (Mob Laugh.)
1Man (To a tall man.) I say, old chap, you would make a capital sign for the "Seven Stars," and would draw plenty of customers.
Wat. Not so much as you, old skin-flint, especially if the town-crier was to go round and round, and tell the people that a man might be seen there, who was dry nursed by a fishing rod; and fed with a fire shovel instead of a pap spoon; and fed three years upon gridirons and graters!—(Pillory turns round)
Omnes. (Laughing.) Bravo! Bravo, Wilduck!
1 Soldier. Thou art a saucy knave and deservest to have thine ears cropped, and I’ve a mind to do it.
Wat. You couldn’t find it in thine heart! You are a man of such kind heart you would tremble to see a blow struck. Why, I have seen you turn pale when only looking at the man your mother washed for. You are very brave when the foe is a mile off. (Mob laugh.) Are you not kept by a retired tripeman, who being too fat to take outdoor exercise amuses himself to get the cry further to get an appetite for breakfast.
1Citizen. Ha-ha! He’s well answered. Shall I fetch you a priest! You are twelve feet nearer Heaven now, Wilduck.
Wat. No occasion for that, Simon Lickspit, your own ugly face is enough to put us in mind of our latter end. Go home, and kill the fleas in the puppies, my masters.
1 Citizen. Ha ha! Ha! Well said tapster. Ha, ha, ha!
Wat. A hunt for your father among the crowd, for you have the look of nine or ten that I know, for you were a across between the devil and a dustman. (Mob laugh—second Citizen skulks off.)
1 Citizen. Give us a sermon, Wilduck; you are in a merry key, and you will never stand before a better congregation, man.
All. Aye, aye-a sermon, a sermon!
Wat. A sermon then be it, my jolly sufferers! Hear, my brethren, here am I nearer to Heaven than any of you; and if you hope to be saved from being run over, I would advise you all to get into the pillory as soon as possible.—Here you may overlook, and see how it is that fools have the best fortunes, and have the best luck. If you have characters, get rid of them as fast as you can—perish all conscience—it is a thing to die on, but not to live on;--therefore it is better to be fat than to be honest!
1 Soldier. Silence, knave!
Mob. Go on-go on!
Wat. Never heed the gentleman, friends, he is talking to himself.
1 Soldier. Another word, and I’ll gag thee! (Threatens –Mob yell at him; at this moment Guido Fawkes forces his way through the crowd to the pillory, muffled in his cloak.)
Gui. How now, varlet! What new mischief has brought thee here?
Wat. The wine cup, and my infernal tongue.
Gui. Know ye not, my masters, that poverty is a grievous sin in the eyes of the law, and is a pleasure for which all poor devils are daily punished? Release this man, or I will, though I lose my neck for it!
Wat. And Mob. Hurra! Bravo!
1 Soldier. A rescue! A rescue! Down with the churls!
(Soldiers level their pikes at them.)
Gui. Forward, brave hearts! Give these tools of authority a spice of your quality. Let the prisoner free-on me rest the blame. Upon them! (the Mob shout and rush upon the soldiers, headed by Guido Fawkes-momentary struggle- Guards defeated-Wilduck liberated, and the first Soldier forced into the pillory on the soldiers of the mob.
Scene closes in the confusion.)
Scene V.—Landscape, Sunset. With a View of Hulme Hall.
Enter Catesby, moody.
Cat. Yes, I must change swords—perchance a few blows with the favored Master Chetham –the favored, chosen lover! I have dogged his steps to this path; a few moments and he will be up with me. How am I changed of late! I who once had a heart overflowing with kindness to all men, now stands aloof an enemy to mankind—all my affections poisoned; my love, a woman’s word; but I will think no more of her—my blood is gall!
Enter Humphrey Chetham wrapped in a cloak.
Cat. Do I accost Master Chetham, of—
Hum. I bear that name, sir.
Cat. The favoured suitor of Miss Viviana Radcliffe I believe?
Hum. I don’t know who you are, or by what authority you thus rudely question me. Good even, sir!
Cat. One moment—I will explain my right, and briefly. ‘Tis that of an injured man! You have robbed me of my hopes, and thwarted my ambition, young sir.
Hum. Who and what are you? I know you not.
Cat. Robert Catesby, the rejected suitor of Viviana Radcliffe, and your chosen foe! I have an arrear of hate to settle that must be discharged on this spot. Are you prepared?
Hum. In what?
Cat. To fight to the death for the lady of your love: and by the rood, you shall do so till you win her! I am not the man to let a serpent sting me, and not crush the reptile when in my power! Draw sir, and defend your life!
Hum. Ruffian! Why do you thus assail me?
Cat. Because I hate you with a bitter hate! Because you, stripling as you are, have dared to cross my path! Let this content you.
Hum. I will not be forced into a quarrel with every moody misanthrope. Let me pass-I have no more words for you.
Cates. You are right-let’s to blows! Come on, sir—your guard! (Chetham turns away.) I cry your mercy! Have I mistaken my man? Do I bandy weapons with a popinjay whose plumage is too delicate to ruffle with unsightly weapons?
Hum. Would you dare—
Cat. Question your courage? I do. Out with your sword and prove your manhood, coward!
Hum. Scoundrel! You have forced this brawl upon me. Look to your life! (They fight-Fawkes rushes in, and beats up their swords.)
Gui. What handy work is this, my masters? Throat-cutting in the open day! Put up your weapons! (Catesby frowns.) Tut, tut, man! I’m too old a soldier to be frightened by either the flashing of a pistol, or the sight of a sword! (Aside to Chetham.) Leave him to me—I have news for you.
Hum. This man shall first answer—
Gui. Nothing! I will call him to a good account. Mistress Viviana has returned to the Hall--speed you thither—danger again threatens: the myrmidons of the law are on their track—some assistance may be rendered. I will speedily rejoin you at the Hall. No hesitation: the safety, perhaps the life of her you love, cries to you for aid.
Hum. I dare not resist the magic of that name! (To Catesby) I leave you, sir. When next we meet, one or both of us shall answer for this day’s outrage!
Cat. Boaster! My good sword would rust with thy craven blood! Master Guido Fawkes why have you, an emissary of our sworn league thrust yourself between me and my offended honor?
Gui. Your honor! Bah! A mouse-a rat, A cat has more honor with a dish of stolen cream than thou hast.
Cat. Dastard! Have you no fear for your life?
Gui. None. Put up your sword—you will need it anon. Robert Catesby, you are a traitor-a black and perjured traitor! A false friend, and betrayer of the innocent! A curse to the cause you have sworn to aid! A stain and reproach to manhood! Now do you understand me, or have I not spoken plain enough to suit your subtle brain?
Cat. Are you mad?
Gui. No. Honest- a thing you know only by name-Thus it is, Robert Catesby. You have betrayed the house and family of a firm upholder of our faith, Sir William Radcliffe, into the hands of our enemies, well-knowing Viviana’s return thither. This I know you have done; for this your blood shall answer. Nay, frown not, sir-I am not to be frightened by the clouds on a traitor’s brow!—Exchange word or look of defiance with me and I’ll pluck your black and envious heart from your craven body as a warning to all, who would to gratify their own ambition, sell their country’s good!
Cat. Dog! Accursed dog! Let this speak for me. (He rushes upon Guido with his sword, aiming a blow at his breast- Guido wrests the weapon from him, and throwing him down, holds it to his throat.)
Gui. What withholds me from dying this weapon in your blood? Mercy? Believe it not. Scorn, scorn and loathing. I cannot slay an helpless wretch, or groveling worm!—Take your life, if it is worth the having; for my part, if such a burden was tacked to my shoulders, I’d hang myself for spite in my own garters!
Cat. (Aside-rises) Curse of my unsteady arm!
Gui. (Breaking his sword on his knee. ) There! Now your sword is as harmless as your anger. Look to your future conduct: no more treachery, for if you but move or utter a single word that shall bring injury on those I serve, not all the saints in Heaven shall save your recreant carcass from my just retribution!
Cat. Fool that I was to suffer my temper to attain mastery over my cooler judgment! Hypocrisy had been the weapon to oppose against this man’s anger—this honest man’s justice. The mask being now cast aside I’ll openly to work- join the king’s party, and aid the Pursuivant in his attack tonight. Death or vengeance is the star that shall guide me in this coming struggle!
(Exit L. H.
Scene VI.—Chamber in Ordsall Hall Side Window, Same as in Act I.
Enter Viviana and Oldcome.
Old. I scarcely know what it is I apprehend, daughter, but circumstances have occurred which render it impossible we should remain here. I regret we ventured to return so soon.
Viv. Is our return, then, discovered?
Old. Not as yet, I trust; but I have just ascertained from a messenger that the Pursuivant, whom we thought had departed for Chester, is still lounging within the town, and declares he will leave no house unsearched ‘till he finds us. He has got together a fresh band of soldiers, and is now visiting every place likely to afford a shelter.
Viv. If this be true, why remain here a single moment? Let us fly at once.
Old. That would avail nothing. Every approach to Chester is guarded: soldiers stop and examine every suspected person.
Viv. Heaven protect us!
Old. But this is not all. By some mysterious means, the designs of our party to dethrone the king have been betrayed. There is some secret traitor among us.
Humphrey- (Without.) Where is Miss Radcliffe? I must have instant speak with her! (Enters.) Your mercy, madam, for this abrupt intrusion-I had a thought never to have seen you more, but danger threatens-that must plead my pardon!
Viv. What is the matter?
Hum. The king’s Pursuivant and his men, are rapidly approaching the house. I managed to ride by them unperceived. Resistance will be vain—they more than treble our number.
Viv. Oh, that I could join my father at Holywell; with him I could feel safe.
Hum. Fear nothing—I will die to save you! Nothing shall induce me to quit you again.
Viv. I place myself in your hands-do with me as you please.
Enter Guido Fawkes, L.H.
Gui. We are beset by our enemies! Catesby has betrayed us. To the vaults, and let me alone confront them,--That accursed Pursuivant has escaped me once, but he shall not do so a second time.
Old. My son, think not on this caitiff; your life is of consequence to the great cause. Think of your bright destany. (Shouts without, and red fire at window.)
Gui. The work’s begun, and the rogues labour merrily, Look! By Heaven they have fired the out buildings. It is Clayton’s work, I’ll be sworn.
Viv. The home of my father doomed to destruction. Alas-alas! I thought myself equal to every calamity, but this is more than I can bear.
Hum. Do not grieve. I and Fawkes will render all the assistance in our power to extinguish the flames—they have not yet reached the hall. Let me convey you to the vaults?
Heydocke. (Crying, without.) Help, help! Will nobody help a poor sinful sinner? (Enters) Oh, my noble mistress and worshipful masters, we’re undone. They’re carrying off everything valuable in the house—plate, jewels, ornaments, money—everything except myself. Now they’re setting fire to the house.
Hey. Wretches, indeed! But this is not all. They mean to cut all your throats. I heard them say it in he storeroom as I lay concealed under a heap of lumber. In searching for me, the robbers chanced to come upon a barrel of gunpowder?
Hey. Well, sir, I heard the Pursuivant remark to one of his comrades: this is a lucky discovery; if we can’t find the fugitives, we’ll blow them and the old house to the devil!
Gui. Where is the barrel of gunpowder you speak of, now?
Hey. The villains took it with them. I suppose they have got it in the court yard. (Shouts)
Gui. Shout on, poor tools of office- you have lighted a fire which shall be quenched with your blood! Follow me –I may need your help!
Hum (Leading Viviana.) Father, do you watch over Miss Radcliffe-I will follow Fawkes. Much I lament this frightful waste of life.
Viv. We owe all to you—our lives and liberty!
(Exit supported by Humphrey and Oldcome.
Hey. They’re all gone to their destruction, poor lambs! What shall I do! Where shall I go? I don’t want-I don’t know how to die! (Standing by window-Wilduck jumps through suddenly, and knocks him down.) Murder!—murder! Spare me!
Wat. Hush, grandpapa! I’m come to save you. Of all the roaring boys and dare devils, I owe the Pursuivant a turn for the pillory he gave me. We’ll soon pepper these rascally soldiers.
Hey. Bless thee, boy! How you alarmed me. Where are the brave lads you speak of?
Wat. Hid in the garden, the cow-house, and the hen coop-leave them alone for feathering their nests. At my signal-already agreed on- on they’ll pounce, handle their weapons, and set to work like fighting cocks! ( Waves his hand at window and a very ragged wild long –haired man appears on the outside with a pitchfork) don’t be be alarmed, it’s only a very particular friend of mine, Billy Oxhead, the butcher of Pendleton. (To Oxhead.) Lead some of the swash bucklers round to the "Stars"—you know the whistle. Vanish! (Oxhead disappears.) Now grandfather, tuck yourself under my arm; and I should like to see the man, woman, or child, that dares lay finger on you. (Takes Heydock’s arm.)
Hey. What would you do if they did, Watty, son?
Wat. Do? Something too terrible to mention. Frighten the children, kiss the women, (aside.) and run away from the men.
Scene VII- Exterior of Ordsall Hall, and out buildings occupying the whole of the Stage. The hall stands R. H. an antiquated gable pointed building with practicable Windows and Doors, Porch. Opposite L.H. the Stables and Offices with Doors and one with a flat Roof, steps to ascend from without. At the back, Walls and large Gates. Beyond the Walls, set Trees. A gleam of red fire is seen proceeding from some of the out Buildings, R.H. when Scene opens, Night.
Clayton, Catesby, (half masked, and muffled in a large cloak), and a party of Soldiers, discovered just entereing the House; some with torches, pikes, guns &c. and others carrying valuables, plate in baskets, &c One Man carrying a barrel of gunpowder. Catesby stands apart contemplating the Scene,
Clay. Place your prize in a place of safety, then yonder to the back entrances—they cannot have escaped us. Burn the traitors out! (Soldiers disperse. To the Soldier with the powder.) Place the powder there. (Pointing to the building with the practicable roof.) We’ll use it anon to give the finishing stroke to the night’s work, and blow the old rookery to the devil! (he places the barrel in the doorway of the building) Keep good watch, and see that none leave the house by yonder door. I’ll after the rogues, or they’lll loiter in the buttery hatch. Master Catesby, will you go with me? We may stumble over our fair rebel.
Cat. No. I will watch here—I’ve little heart for the work.
Clay. Be it so; my soldiers require strict discipline.—(E. at back- the Soldier paces the stage before the barrel.)
Cat. What a poor weak slave am I, thus to cower and tremble at the ruin I have caused! How sunken from my once high state. Betray my friends, and league with midnight slayers to gratify a wild revenge. Oh, would that I had ne’er been born; or that she- my soul’s worship- had been mine. But mine she shall be! Who will dare keep her from me? Have I not perilled my soul’s happiness- turned a black traitor, and forsworn all hopes of honour for her? This night shall make her mine, or dig for me a grave! (Retires up R. H.)
Enter Guido Fawkes, from a low door at the extremity of the Hall, supposed to lead from the cellars. He pauses, and looks round cautiously.
Gui. All appears quiet; the knaves have carried their doings to another quarter of the Hall. (Turning round, sees the Soldier sitting on the barrel) Ah! The prize I seek- yon knave guards the powder. Poor wretch! I must release him from his task- I must possess the barrel at all risks. Fawkes steals to him-knocks him on the head (Music. He creeps under the shadow of the walls round Stage towards R. H. Just as he approaches the spot, the Soldier starts-Fawkes crouches down behind steps-the soldier looks round, and finding all quiet, he seats himself- with his petronal, and secures his cloak. The Soldier calls for help-Fawkes repeats the blows, and he falls dead. Voices heard and alarm-"This way."} The kites return: darkness befriend me! (He wraps the Soldier’s cloak about him, and places the body in the buildings. Then seats himself on the barrel. Clayton and Soldiers return. )
Clay. The voice seemed to come from this part of the court yard. (Sees Fawkes) No ,Darvely is at his post,--Mount those steps: here we may safely see the destruction of the old crow’s nest, and escape the burning. (They ascend the low roof, keeping their backs toward Fawkes, and the vault down in the hall.)
Gui. They are saved! To-morrow’s sun shall light upon their graves! (Humphrey, Viviana, and Oldcome, emerge slowly from the vault’s door. Fawkes whispers, pointing to Clayton.) Not a breath, or we are lost for ever! (Tearing off the head of the cask- a gleam of light is seen in the hall, and shouts heard-Viviana clings to Humphrey- shouts increase and sound of blows. Catesby rushes on.)
Cat. We are overpowered by a wild rabble. (Seeing Chetham and Viviana.) Ah! May ruin blight ye all. Die sorceress! (He is rushing on Viviana when Humphrey shoots him-he falls. Clayton alarmed by the pistol, attempts to descend and finds steps removed.)
Gui. Yes, by me-your worst foe. Wretch! recommend yourself to mercy, you have but a moment’s life!
Clay. Rescue-rescue! Help! (The hall by this time is in a state of conflagration; the rabble headed by Wilduck arrive on the Soldiers at all entrances- Fawkes fires a pistol into the powder barrel, it explodes, blowing up Clayton and party. The gates are burst open, and another body of rabble rush onward, some climbing the street outside the walls, others mount the falling buildings, overcoming the Soldiers amidst the burning ruins. Wilduck carries Heydocke on his back. Chetham, Viviana, and Oldcome, in centre.)
Viv.(Clinging to Chetham.) I am thine for ever!
Gui. (Waving his hand in the air.) The hour of vengeance is arrived-we are free! (Grand Tableau-red fire.)
The Curtain Falls.
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