Page images
PDF
EPUB

; the

ing alone amid the sandy desert; nothing seeks or lives beneath my shelter; thou art a father and a husband being of a lovely wife and helpless infant hang upon thy life Go go! Alonzo, go! to save, not thyself, but Cora and thy child!

Al. Urge me not thus, my friend; I had prepared to die in peace.

Rol To die in peace! devoting a tender wife and babe to misery, to madness, and to death! For, be assured, the state I left her in forbids all hope, but from thy quick re

turn.

Al Alas! what a painful thought!

Rol If thou art yet irresolute, Alonzo, now heed me well. I think thou hast not known that Rolla ever pledged his word, and shrunk from its fulfilment. And, I in truth declare, if thou art proudly obstinate to deny thy friend the transport of preserving Cora's life, in thee; no power that sways the will of man shall stir. me hence ; and thou wilt have the desperate triumph of seeing Rolla perish by thy side, with the assured conviction that Cora, and thy child are lost for ever.

Al Oh! Rolla! you distract me!

Rol. A moment's further pause, and all is lost. The dawn approaches; fear not for me; I will treat with Pizarro as for surrender and submission; I shall gain time, doubt not, while thou with a chosen band, passing the secret way, mayest at night return, release thy friend, and bear him back in triumph. Yes; hasten, dear Alonzo. Even now I hear the frantic Cora cail thee: Haste! Haste! Haste !

Al. Rolla, I fear your friendship drives me from honor, and from right.

Rol Did Rolla ever counsel dishonor to his friend?
Al. Oh! my preserver! (Embraces him.)

Rol. I feel thy warm tears dropping on my cheek: Go! I am rewarded [Throws the friar's garment over Alonzo.]There! conceal thy face; and that they may not clank, hold fast thy chains. Now may kind providence prosper thee !

Al. At night we meet again. Then, so aid me Heaven! I return to save, or perish with thee!

[Exit.]

He is safe! He

Rol. He has passed the outer porch. will soon embrace his wife and child! Now, Cora, didst thou not wrong me? This is the first time throughout my life I ever deceived man. Forgive me, Oh, thou God of truth! if I am wrong. Alonzo flatters himself that we shall meet again. Yes; there! (lifting his hands to Heaven) assuredly, we shall meet again; there possess in peace, the joys of everlasting love and friendship; on earth, imperfect, and embittered. I will retire, lest the guard return before Alonzo may have passed their lines.

CHAPTER CVII.

ROLLA AND ELVIRA.

E. WHO art thou? Where is Alonzo ?

Rol. Alonzo is filed.

Elv. Fled?

Rol. Yes, and he must not be pursued. Pardon this roughness, (seizing her hands) but a moment's precious tó Alonzo's flight.

Elv. What if I call the guard ?

Rol. Do so, Alonzo still gains time.

Elo. What if thus I free myself? (Shews a dagger.) Rol. Strike it to my heart.

Still with the convulsive

grasp of death, I'll hold thee fast.

Elv. Release me; I give my faith, I neither will alarm the guard, nor cause pursuit.

Rol. At once, I trust thy word; a feeling nobleness in those eyes assures me that thy soul is noble.

Elv. What is thy name? Speak freely. the guard is removed to the outer porch. Rol. My name is Rolla.

Elv. The Peruvian leader?

By my order

Rol. I was so, yesterday; to-day, the Spaniard's captive. Elv. And friendship for Alonzo moved thee to this act? Rol. Alonzo is my friend; I am prepared to die for him. Yet, is the cause a motive stronger far than friendship. Elv. One only passion else could urge such generous

rashness.

Rol. True.

Elv. Gallant Ingenuous Rolla! Know that my purpose here was thine to save thy friends

Rol. How! a woman blessed with gentleness an courage, and yet not Cora!

Elv. Does Rolla think so meanly of all female hearts? Rol. Not so; you are worse and better too thar. we are! Elv. Were I to save thee, Rolla, from the tyrant's vengeance, restore thee to thy native land, thy native land to peace, wouldst thou not rank Elvira with the good? Rol. To judge the action, I must know the means. Elv. Take this dagger.

Rol. How to be used?

Elv. I will conduct thee to the tent where fell Pizarro sleeps; the scourge of innocence; the terror of thy race; the fiend that desolates thy afflicted country.

Rol. Have you not been injured by Pizarro ?

Elv. Deeply as scorn and insult can infuse their deadly

Venom.

Rol. And you ask that I shall murder him in his sleep! Elv. Would he not have murdered Alonzo in his chains? He that sleeps, and he that is bound, are equally defenceless. Hear me, Rolla, so may I prosper in this perilous act as searching my full heart, I have put by all rancorous motives of private vengeance there, and feel that I advanced to my dread purpose in the cause of human nature, and at the call of sacred justice.

Rol. The God of justice sanctifies no evil as a step towards good. Great actions cannot be achieved by wicked

means.

Eiv. Peruvian! since thou dost feel so coldly for thy country's wrongs, this hand, though it revolt my soul, shall strike the blow.

Ral. Then is thy destruction certain; and for Peru thou perishest! Give me the dagger.

Elv. Now follow me; but first, and dreadful is the hard necessity, you must strike down the guard. Rol. The soldier who was on duty here?

Elv. Yes, him; else seeing thee, the alarm will be instant. Rol. And I must stab the soldier as I pass? take back the dagger.

Elv. Rolla!

- Röl. That soldier, mark me, is a man. All are not men that bear the human form. He refused my prayers; re fused my gold; denying to admit me, till his own feelings

bribed him. For my nation's safety I would not harm that

man.

Elv. Then he must with us, be the hazard what it may. Rol. Be that plainly understood between us; for, whatever betide our enterprise, I will not risk a hair of that man's head, to save my heart-strings from consuming fire.

CHAPTER CVIII.

ALMAGRO, PIZARRO, AND ROLLA.

Almagro (without.) BEAR him along, his story must (Entering)

be false.

(ROLLA in chains, brought in by soldiers.)

Rol. False Rolla utter falsehood! I would I had thee in a desert with thy troop around thee; and I, but with my sword in this unshackled hand!

Alm. Is it to be credited that Rolla, the renowned Peruvian hero, should be detected like a spy, skulking through the camp?

Rol. Skulking!

Alm. But answer to the general; he is here.

Enter PIZARRO and Officers.

Piz. What do I see, Rolla?

Rol. O to thy surprise, no doubt.

Piz. And bound too?

Rol. So fast, thou need'st not fear approaching me. Alm. The guards surprised him, passing our out-post. Piz Release him instantly. Believe me, I regret this insult.

Rol You feel then as you ought.

Piz. Nor can I brook to see a warrior of Rolla's fame disarmed. Accept this, though it has been thy enemy's. (Gives a savord.) The Spaniards know the courtesy that is due to valor.

Rol: And the Peruvian, how to forget offence.

Piz. May not Rolla and Pizarro cease to be foes?
Rol. When the sea divides us; yes! May I now depart?
Piz. Freely.

Rol. And shall I not again be intercepted?

Piz. No. Let the word be given that Rolla passes freely.
Enter DAVILLA and Soldiers, with the Child.

Dav Here are two soldiers, taken yesterday, who have escaped from the Peruvian hold, and by the secret way we have so long endeavoured to discover.

Piz. Silence; imprudent! seest thou not! Pointing to Rolla.)

Dau. In their way they found a Peruvian child, whe

seems

Piz. What is the imp to me? Bid them toss it into

the sea.

Rol. Gracious Heaven! It is Alonzo's child! Give if it

to me.

Piz. Ha! Alonzo's child? Welcome, thou pretty hostage Now Alonzo is again my prisoner.

Rol. Thou wilt not keep the infant from its mother!

Piz. Will I not? What, when I shall meet Alonzo in the heat of victorious fight, thinkest thou I shall not have a check upou the valor of his heart, when he is reminded that a word of mine is this child's death?

Rol. I do not understand you."

Piz. My vengeance has a long arrear of hate to settle with Alonzo; and this pledge may help to settle the

account.

Rol. Man! Man! Art thou a man? Couldst thou hurt that innocent? By heaven! it is smiling in thy face. Piz. Does it resemble Cora?

Rel. Pizarro! thou hast set my heart on fire; if thou dost harm that child, think not his blood will sink into the barren sand: No! faithful to the eager hope that now trembles in this indignant heart, it will rise to the cominon GOD of nature and humanity, and cry aloud for vengeance on its fell destroyer.

Piz. Be that peril mine.

Rol. (Throwing himself at his feet.) Behold me at thy feet; Me, Rolla! Me, the preserver of thy life! Me, that never yet have bent or bowed before created man! In humble agony, I sue to you; prostrate, I implore you; but spare that child, and I will be your slave.

Piz. Rolla, still thou art free to go; this child remains with me.

Rol. Then was this sword Heaven's gift, not thine ☀ Seizes the child.) Who moves one step to follow me, dies upon the spot. (Runs away with the child.)

Piz. Pursue him instantly; but spare his life.

ALMAGRO and soldiers pnrsue.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »