Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part II — Scene II >> Page 12

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Page 12

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 12 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

and occasionally a peasant. Bonham enters as a gay Mexican cavalier, while Crockett is garbed as an arriero, or mule driver.

Bonham. All goes as we would have it. You appear The very person that your habit speaks you;
A yeoman of the States, a wagoner,
May well beseem the Mexic muleteer,
And play the pert with all the natural grace
Of our brave western hunters. A good bronze, Is that upon your cheeks. Renew it often
When the chance favours. We must separate now. You hurry to our lodging. 'Tis not well
We should be seen together. I will join you
Within the hour and bring your last instructions ; Meanwhile forget not you were born a Mute!
Crockett. Rum is the word!—tile uncongressional word :
It's mighty hard not to forget it, Major,
But I am in for it now.
Bonham. And must go through!
'Tis but a day. Away! We separate.
Crockett. All, ha! You're for staying awhile longer among these beauties. Well! I'm tough and gristly now but I was tender enough once,and there was a time when the very sight of a pretty gal used to make my heart thump agiu my ribs, for all the world like a cracked drum at a Nashville muster. I like to look at the critter still, but she don't snake the old chum beat any longer. But, mum's the word; the Major's looking wolfish! I'm off.
[Exit Crockett.

Bonham, [solus.] She comes not ! And I look for her in vain.
Bright eves, sly glancing through their falling veils, like stars through pliant folds of floating cloud, Shine on me as I pass ; and swan-like forms,
Swim iu spiritual movement 'wougst the trees.
But hers—among the thousand still supreme,
Leaves them to fruitless triumph. Can it be
That she has play'd upon my foolish passion
And mocks me with her promise ? Idle fear!
She cannot thus do wrong unto herself,
And to that angel purity of glance,
Needing no sweet assurance from her tongue—Though that were angel's too. She must be here! Why do I seek the crowd ? In some lone spot, Hallow'd by solitude from the vulgar mood,
''Tis there that true maid would receive her lover ;—There, by you silent groves that skirt the river, Methinks she wanders now : and—Ha! she comes,
Even now, from thence. I will conceal myself. [Goes aside, awhile Olivia enters, looking anxiously around her.
Olivia. I see him not! No torn] in all the Plaza, Tells me of him. He has forgotten me !
How should I move so proud a heart as his ?
What charms are mine that I should make this conquest, Oh! wherefore should I hope—yet wherefore tremble Lest he forget tae ? Can it be, my heart,
I love this stranger?
Bonham, [behind her.] If you do, dear lady, It were the blessing, which, beyond all others, His inmost spirit prays for.
Olivia. What have I said! Ah, Senor, you surprise me.
Bonham. Sweet surprise! At least, to the offender ! Ah, forgive we
If, stealing on thy steps, mine ears grew happy 'With what they drank from thy unconscious lips. Oh! let me make complete the dear assurance, By the frank homage of a heart that brightens

In the sweet glimpse vouchsafed me of your own. I love you, lady !
Olivia. All! Senor, do you love me ?
Bonham. With all my heart, with all my strength and soul,
My thought, my hope, mine eyes, I love thee, lady. Olivia. All, Senor! Oh I my foolish heart be still, Nor in the sudden trouble of this joy,
Declare your foolish fondness. [Aside.
Bonham. Not a word, Nor look of blessing, lady ? Did'st thou hear,
The faith my worshipping heart has offered there ?
Olivia. Did I not hear! Can I believe thee, Senor? Bonham. Say, shall I swear it, lady ? By what star, Brightest and sacredest in Beauty's eyes,
Purest in Heaven's! Prescribe to me the oath,
And by the stars—and by those eyes, I swear,
And on this hand ;—nay do not keep it from me.
Olivia. Oh, do not swear! It needs not—will not prove
What you declare so fondly. Do but speak
Or look—the words once more, and
Bonham. Speak, O ! speak!
Olivia. And—I'll believe you!
Bonham. Will you believe me!
Ah ! sweetest, never did a maiden's faith
Less peril on a lover's! From that hour
When my most fortunate eyes, by Lova's rancho Beheld your beauty
Olivia. Senor, by that rancho—That scene of strife and dread, I still remember, Never to lose it—when the wild Comanche, Smote me to earth, and 'neath his savage fury, Hopeless, I shriek'd for succor, and—I found it!
Nor succor only ! You carne, you conquer'd, Senor, More than the desperate savage.
Bonham. Dear Olivia,
The same eventful victory made me yours,
Captive to those clear eyes, and witching beauties, That seem to sadden o'er their own swift triumphs, As if the world had nothing left to win.
Olivia, [softly and in low tones.] To me it bath not, now.
Bonham. My prize, my precious angel l
Olivia. And did you love me then?
Bonham. That very moment!
All! sure you must remember how I held you,
Close lock'd in my embrace,—the danger over,—Feigning belief that, in your feminine terror,
Your strength had left you.
Olivia. And it had, believe me,
Else I had never suffered such embrace, Even from the one so
Bonham. Wherefore on the word, So filll of precious promise do you pause?
Olivia. Oh, no, I should not speak; but you were
The strength of will, at least, if not of person, Had left me when I trembled in your arms. Nor would 1 chide you with a show of rigor That needed no display. 1 heard your voice;
Its gentle accents soothed me ;—saw your form--And in your loving tenderness of look, Felt any thing but weakness. I was strong, And—but 'twere most unulaidenly to show, How great my weakness now.
Bonham. Speak on! Speak on! Give to each dear emotion fitting speech,
That I may feel, how bless'd o'er other men, This fortunate moment makes me.