Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part IV — Scene II >> Page 20

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Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 20 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

PART IV.—SCENE I.

Night. Within the Ramparts of Bexar. The sentries lie sleeping by the gate. Enter Bonham and Crockett with the keys.

Bonham. The gates are ours, the sentinels asleep—Your work is ended, comrade, barely ended
Milan is on his march. In three hours more
Comes the grand struggle. Meanwhile for the mask ; You, garb'd as the Comanche, are secure,
In silence; but beware of speech to any
Your tongue were fatal to us. You can play,
The masker, as a hunter, happily,
By signs and action ;—but the tongue, the tongue ; Keep that in bonds, dear comrade.
Crockett. A needful warning enough, major, to an ex-member of Congress. But if I was Quincy Adams now, you would lecture me in vain. He, poor fellow, can't help his tongue. -But the hunter who has properly lamed his rifle to make his speeches, knows pretty well when he ought to keep silent himself.
Bonham. Do so, to-night, and all goes as it should. Now to your preparations. Bring your weapons, Be in full costume, as an armed Comanche,
The masque will sanction it. Beneath my cassock, I am a Texian. When you hear my bugle,
Make answer with your own. 'Twill waken Milan's And the full chorus of our shouting comrades
Will waken Bexar, not again to sleep,
'Till she or we are silent, or subdued.
Away 'Tis victory or death to-night.
[Exit Bonham.
Crockett. Well! 'Who's afraid of victory ? Not I, And as for death—we'll call it victory.
[Exit Crockett.

SCENE II.

The chamber of Donna Maria. She is preparing for the Ball, with Jacintha in attendance.

Jacintha. There Senorita, you are ready. Truly you are a princess. The great princess Papantyin, whose dress you wear, never looked half so beautiful in the times of Montezuma. You will win every heart in Bexar.
Maria. Have you done your best? I tell you, Jacintha, my fate hangs upon this night.
Jacintha. Oh that's what you 've said a thousand times before.
Maria. But never 'till now in earnest. On this night I peril all my hope.
Jacintha. What to a man ?
Maria. Ay but one among a thousand. But go forth,
See if my cousin's ready. I would see her.
See if she's ready! That I know. She is not.
[Exit Jacintha.
And will not be to-night. The blow I've struck, Will keep her in her chamber. To make certain, 'Twill need another. I will urge upon her
A frank submission to her father's will,
Show her the hopelessness of any struggle,
Dwell loudly on the sinfulness of passion,
That wars with filial duty; and in painting,
Make doubly odious, to her shuddering spirit,
These nuptials that she loathes ! Ah ! if I err not, The arrow from my bow, already shot,
Sticks last and deep, and, humbled in her terror, She keeps her chamber close. The Bal Masque Shall be my field of triumph. Do I look
Prepared for conquest? Are my charms displayed, In happiest fashion ? Is there, in my habit, My glance, the free array of linked beauties, The smile that smarts, the danger that invites, The flowing tresses that, in youthful fancies, Beguile and lead them wanton,—'till the heart Clings to the one perfection it beholds,
And knows one faith forever? Are these mine? Look 1, indeed, the princess, born for sway
O'er hearts and o'er affections,—prouder sway, Than sovrans over subjects ?
—Mock me not—[addressing the mirror.]
Thou bright misleader of' the weak heart's passion, That, through the blinding spells of vanity, Presents a lovelier image to the owner,
Than charms the stranger's eye. Delude me not, Bright mirror, nor abuse that easy faith
That woman gives thee still. I must believe thee ! This form, these eyes, this port of regal splendor, Were made for conq nest. Shall it be to-night! I wait not for thy answer.
Re-enter Jacintha.
Speak Jacintha ! M v cousin ?
Jacintha. Why, Senorita, your cousin's not dressed; And does not mean to dress for the Bat Masque.
Maria. I'll go to her. Auspicious to my prayer, The field is won—I have no rival there.
[Exeunt Omies.

SCENE III.

The chamber of Olivia. She sits in a desponding attitude—her hands crossed in her lap—her head drooping upon her bosom. Duenna in attendance.
Duenna. My child, shake off this sadness. Take the counsel of one who honors the world—who loves you dearly, as if she were your mother. You're too quick, to hearken evil tidings.
Olivia. Stay! she comes!
Enter Maria followed by Jacintha.
Maria-. Can it be possible, my dear Olivia,
You do not go to-night?
Olivia, [with a sad smile.] You see, my cousin. Maria. But why this, Olivia ?
Olivia, [reproachfully.] Can you ask?
Maria. Ah! but your father's wishes—well, you know How much his fond designs—his dearest hopes,
The all that he has schemed for, hang upon it.
Olivia. 'Tis for that very reason 1 remain.
Maria. Surely you will not then oppose your father. Olivia. I know not—cannot think. I must have time. Let us not speak of it now. I sent for you
To see your dress. 'Tis very beautiful.
You look the princess. You were born for conquest—Will conquer. Go, my cousin; I'll not keep you.
Maria. It makes me sad to see you so—to leave you--It vexes me, I told you.
Olivia. Let it not.