Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part III — Scene IV >> Page 19

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Page 19

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham ; or, the Fall of Bexar. 19

The groves near the convent of La Guayra. The walls of the convent shining; white from the hills in the dis-
Enter Don Pedro.
Pedro. He comes not. Curses on him. Should he fail me..
Let him not hope to 'scape me. I will slay him Without remorse, though grasping on the altar, He called upon the Blessed. Host for succor. my dearest hope he perils. All my heart Is full of her perfections, and her's only. And shall he rob me of them? Have I lived
And toiled, nor seemed to seek, and loved at distance, Still unpresumming lest I should endanger The precious gift I coveted, for this? But no. It shall not. I will to the palace
And drag him from her presence, though she pleaded With all the eloquence of love and beauty, And—but it needs not. My impatient spirit
Be hush'd. He comes, mine enemy comes, to perish.
Enter Bonham.
Oh! you are here at last. I've waited long
And somewhat dreaded lest my hints, too guarded, Had failed to touch your valor. 'Twas my fear, That I should have to press upon your pleasure, Disturb you in the presence of your mistress.,
And goad you by impatient word and buffet
To do your weapon justice.
Bonham, [coolly.] Angry, Senor?
Pedro. I am. I hate you.
Bonham. Wherefore?
Pedro. Enough. I hate.
Hate to destroy.
Bonham. Nay ! Nay! I trust not, Senor;
I'm in no mood to perish at this moment.
Now when the sun shines brightly on my future That never shone before. What angers you ?
Pedro. My ai swer's in my sword.
Bonham. To fight you now
Were only to assail you at advantage
You're feverish now, scarce master of your weapon, Let us forbear a season while you tell ale,
Wherefore your wrath.
Pedro. Enough! It is my humor.
Bonham. That's not enough for me. Why should I fight
To gratify your humours ? You must show me Some cause of provocation.
Pedro. Will a blow do it.
Bonham-. Nay 'twill not need ! If you're so desperate, You force the fight. I will not be dishonored;
Will fight you when you please.
Pedro. Be it now then.
Bonham. Be it so; and yet I would 'twere other-wise.
My cue is not for fighting. On this weapon
Hangs fifty times the value of your life.
Pedro. Dost mock me ?
Bonham. Such madness might deserve my utmost scorn.
Most like I do.
Pedro. My taunt shall break thy teeth. Come on. Come on,
And hear me Senor,—such is my conviction,
That you are in my path, the deadliest foe
That ever filte rear'd up against my fortunes,
That I have sworn, by all I prize the most,
To slay you without pity, even as the hunter,
Spears the wild boar that griding on his weapon,In death betrays the malice of a passion That death alone defeats.
Bonham. Child fury, Senor, Unworthy of a man. Your oath is idle, If you rely on such. We are apt to fight, If right I read your anger, for the favor
Of the fair lady in the palace here.
Pedro. And if the prize be precious in your sight, As still it is to mine, I challenge you
Fight like a man.
Bonham. I have been thought a man; Will fight as one, but not one blow to prove My love for her. I will not wrong her beauty To make her youth, her charms, her innocence, The prize of ruffian strife. 'Tis for your humor That I make bare my weapon. I ant ready--Now stand we point and foot to foot,
Arid play your game as all your wealth were on it--Your blood upon your head.
Pedro. The blood of both, If need be, but no words.
Bonham. Let the steel speak. [They fight.] It makes a merry music
Might touch with fear the maids in yonder convent Could they but see our danger, and know farther, That we are young, both bachelors and fighting, Because there still are beauties in the land, And love is not an exile.
This is spoken merrily, in broken sentences as the play of the duel will allow. Bonham being quite playful, while Pedro becomes more and more furious.]
Pedro. [Fight and pause.] Scha ! is this fighting ? Bonham. It is the mode I use when the mood suits toe; You are too angry, Senor, for a swordsman,
Your play is rash and wild. In cooler moments Your weapon were a good one.
Pedro. You laugh at me.
Bonham. I can't do else. You are no match for me. Pedro. Demonios! We shall see. [Resumes the fight more desperately and Bonham disarms him.
Bonham. The day is mine.
Your life is at my mercy.
Pedro. Take it then.
Bonham. Away ! You are a madman.
Pedro. I shall be
"Till I have vengeance. [Draws a dagger and rushes on Belgic in.
Bonham. Fool. [ flings him of and wrests the dagger from h ion.]
For this too, as you see, I am prepared.
Pedro. Hell's curses on thee. We shall meet again. [Exit Pedro. Bonham. [Solus—putting up his sword.]
'Tis well the time is short. A few more hours
And we may laugh to scorn the single danger
Of one man's jealous rage. Yet 'twos a risk
I did not idly covet—did not seek.
Upon the safety of this single life
Hangs the best hope of Texas—hangs the fate
Of San Antonio. Bexar, to her fall.
Nods at my signal. The Alanto's walls
That now frown darkly on the distant plain,
Shall, in a few brief hours, obey my voice
Or silence me forever in her keeps.
How heavy grows this silence. As if night
Were hurden'd with its weight of doom already. Would it were over. Be but Milani true
And I grow happy in the loves I win,
Or tremble with the doubts of love no more.
The hour awaits the man, and he is here.
[Exit Bonham.