Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part III — Scene II >> Page 15

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Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham ; or, the Fall of Bexar. 15

have a little stratagem. The idea takes me suddenly. Quite an inspiration. I have it now.
Maria. Have what ?
Esteban. Look you, Maria—do you remember this
cavalier ? Had you strength and courage in the moment I
of danger, to open your eyes and see who it was to whom
you owed life and honor ?
Maria, [hesitating.] I am not sure ; and yet I think I did see him. I have some notion that he was a person—a sort of a man.
Esteban. A person! a sort of a man ! Very good, very definite and particular. Well, you shall see him. He will make you open your eyes. A person—a sort of a man. And this of one of the bravest looking of all the cavaliers of the country.
Maria, [aside.] As if I knew not that !
Esteban. You shall see him. You shall say then. It may be that I may then let you into my new stratagem—may possibly ask you to assist a little in the scheme.
Maria. Again—another stratagem ? Always a stratagem, uncle.
Esteban. And why not ? What is life itself but a stratagem—a great bundle of stratagems running on from seven years to seventy. We rise with the dawn to plan, to set snares, dig pitfillls, scheme, trap and take the prey, all of us—halt and woman alike : man for the conquest of the world, and woman for the conquest of the conqueror! Have you no stratagems, wench ?
Maria. Me ! Stratagems. Blessed mother, what a question. What sort of stratagems do you think such a head as mine could carry ?
Esteban. Simple ones enough, doubtless, unless the heart takes a share in the business, and then a woman is nothing but a stratagem. It may be that mine at present will become yours. We shall see.
Maria. Tell me only—does it concern this cavalier ? Esteban. Yes.
Maria. Must it concern me, too, uncle ?
Esteban. Come! come! That is asking quite too much at one time. I must surprise you with it. I like surprises above all things ; a passion that proves my military propensities. One of them, by the way—one of the greatest is about to ripen. This very night, girl—hark you, the mine is to be sprung under Olivia, and she will be in the skies when she least expects it.
Maria. Oh, horrible! What a dreadful design. In the skies when she least expects it. Wily, uncle, what can you mean? What has Olivia done to incur such a fate. This is a sort of gunpowder business. Blow up ! What a horrible idea.
Esteban. Delightful rather. What should I mean by sending her to the skies, but sending her to heaven ?
Maria. But what if she don't want to go to heaven at this early warning.
Esteban. But my process will make her quite happy.
Maria. She does not say so. What if she prefers her own time for it, and by a different process. One does'nt like to be hurried, uncle, even on the high road to happiness.
Esteban. A good phrase that. I like it. The High-road to Happiness. Silly creature, what should be a young girl's idea of the skies and heaven and happiness ?
Maria. I'm sure I don't know. I never thought much of either.
Esteban. Oh. what a simpleton you are. Why, what should be a young girl's idea of happiness but marriage ; of heaven but a husband ; of the skies but a region where all day long she might be catching the sweetest rose-colored loves, and boxing them up for winter. Heaven is only the marriage state under good regulations.

Maria. What ' and you are going to marry Olivia to this strange cavalier? Ah
Esteban. No, indeed. She must find her happiness from another quarter. You know our kinsman Don Pedro de-
lvi aria, [eagerly.] Zavalo. Is he the man ? Esteban. The same.
Maria, [curiously.] Will she marry him ?
Esteban. Doubtless. But I have yet to surprise her with the arrangement. In that consists my stratagem. The explosion takes place to-night : Scene, the bal 'masque; time, midnight. 'Twill be a most famous coup de theatre.
lilaria. I rejoice that I am in season for it. I feel relieved. I had begun to tremble for my stranger cavalier. [Aside.]
Esteban. What think you of my plan.
Maria. Excellent. Don Pedro is just the person for Olivia.
Esteban. Is he not ? So brave.
Maria. So handsome.
Esteban. With so much spirit.
Maria. And so much money.
Esteban. I-Ie will cover his family with honour. Maria. I-Ie will cover his bride with jewels.
Esteban. He fences splendidly.
Maria. And waltzes like My rtillo.
Esteban. Has so much talent.
Maria. And such a lovely hacienda.
Esteban. Is such an adroit diplomatist.
Maria. And wears such a beautiful moustache.
Esteban. Is it not a charming prospect ? Was there ever such a plot ? What a joyful surprise for Olivia.
Maria. It should make her very happy.
Esteban. tihould it not? Ah, you puss. But, hark you, this is all secret. Mum's the word ; and, when all's over—then, hey ! for my other stratagem.
Maria, [indifferently.] That concerns the stranger.
Esteban. Yes, indeed. And another of my acquaintance of the other sex. How ignorant and innocent the creature looks. She little dreams my purpose to blow her up also—send her to the skies after the fashion of Olivia. [Aside.
Maria, [aside.] He is transparent enough, Heaven knows. Well, Heaven prosper it. I am prepared for a blow up, in such company, at a moment's warning.
Esteban. And now, Maria, for Olivia, with whom you will see this strange cavalier—this person, this sort of a man. Ha ! ha! ha ! Such a description of Don Amiador
Maria. Don Amador : is that his name ?
Esteban. Don Amador de Aguilar ; as brave a looking gentleman as comes from Mexico. Come. But mum! Remember—not a word to Olivia. My hand, that prepared the mine, must fire the train. [Exit Esteban.
Maria, [ following.] To all my hopes auspicious, grant
it, Blessed
Maria ; for since I've seen this man, I see
No other. [Exit Maria.

A Saloon in the Governor's Palace. Bonhanm and Oli-
via discovered.

Olivia. You will come fashioned like a monk. Bonham. And you ?
Olivia. A nun in solemn sables ; on my arm This antique cross, a relique of my mother,