Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part IV — Scene IV >> Page 24

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Page 24

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 24 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

Bonham. I have!
Olivia. Is she not beautiful ?
Bonham. Very beautiful !
Olivia, [mournfully.] Ali! I knew you'd think so !
Bonham. Wherefore do you sigh?
Olivia. At your good fortune, Senor. You will be The envy of all Bexar ! 'Tis not often
A stranger makes such conquest. Doubtless now, You have forgot some other vows : I know it :
Some other maid, in secret sighs—forsaken,
For your new passion.
Bonham. 'Tis I that am forsaken !
Were you, indeed, the mistress of your art,
You'd know that true to all my bosom's pledges, The maid I loved. who vow'd to me her heart,
Has failed me, and is false!
Olivia. She is not false !
Bonham. Ha! Speak!
Olivia, [aside.] Ah, me! my soul; she comes again ! —Senor, behold your conquest, where she conies, Princess Papantzin. On this talisman,
I close your hand. 'Twill keep you to your faith, If even in your heart the flame of love,
Burned for another.
[ She closes his hand upon the antique cross, and disappears just as Donna Maria enters.
Bonham, [seeing it.] Ah! can it be ! Olivia!
She's gone! I'll seek her ! [Is about to go. Maria. Senor, stay!
Bonham. Princess !
Maria. Nay! not another word of mockery ! You know me as the woman that I am,
Most weak when strongest, or I had not come, Once more, to bare the weakness of a heart,
Already too much scorned !
Bonham. Cruel Lady !
Ungenerous as unjust. Too well you know
Such feeling in this bosom never yet,
Mock'd the fond heart in yours.
Maria. Hear me, Senor!
I said I had your secret. Until now,
I knew not that, beneath this priestly garb,
Other than gallant Cavalier was hid ;
But now, indeed, your secret is my own !
You are a traitor here. I know you now,
A Texan rebel ; whose position here,
Dooms him to death, a sudden and a sure,
From hands of hate and vengeance!
Bonham. Ha !
Maria. Dost hear!
Your comrade, the Camanche, has betrayed you! Bonham. How know you this! By whom! How Where!
Maria. To me he has betray'd you. Thoughtlessly, Beguiled to speak, he answered me in English, A tongue I little know ; but in the ears,
Of keen suspicion, wrought upon by passion,
The understanding quickens: a briefsentence,
Fell from his lips ; but that sufficed to show me, Your secret, and his own.
Bonham. What secret, Lady ?
Maria. Would you evade,—deny? Are you not then, A Texan? One, who, found in Bexar's walls,
Stands in the two-fold danger of the spy
As well as rebel!
Bonham. To other ears than yours,
Dear Lady, it were easy to deny
Connexion with the man you deem my comrade. Maria. Himself declared it!
Bonham. Impossible!
Maria. How Senor : my own earsBonham. Deceived you, Lady.
Maria.. Nay, Senor, that were more impossible. My heart was on his accents, for I knew him Your comrade. I had seen you both together, Whispering in seeming confidence. At noon You were in close communion on the Plaza, Too close to seem the Common chance encounter, Of. unconnected strangers.
Bonham, [aside.] It needs but time ! How must I play the masquer with the heart, And lull to sleep the vigilance of hers.
Maria. You muse : You meditate!
Bonham. Methinks it needs,
I should not answer rashly. Grant it said, This person is my comrade. If I err not, You are not here in simple mockery,
To tell me oldie doom, the shot, the scaffold! You have a purpose!
Maria. I have a purpose, Senor!
Down woman pride; down, swelling heart ; be still, Ye struggling thoughts of shame, that threaten me, With worst of human scorn—the scorn of him, Whose love is all I seek. Oh, gaze not, Senor, While I declare this purpose. I am come To buy you with your secret.
Bonham. Do I hear!
You cannot mean it, Lady.
Maria. By my shame,
I do! I do! How low this passion sinks me, To what abasement of my soul and feeling, My sex's pride, my maiden modesty,
I need not more describe ! Fatal passion, That flings me, shameless, on unwilling arms!
Bonham, Let me have time to think—to
Maria. Not an hour!
Speak in your peril, in your hate, your passion ; With all your doubts upon you ; all your fears : —With thought, you will despise me.
Bonham. But one hour!
Maria. Why a moment ? The question is your fate or mine :
—Your safety from a doom—a death of shame : Mine from a life more full of it.
Bonham. One hour ;
Give me one hour for thought.
Maria. Alas! I give it;
But you speak coldly. You will play me false : You meditate escape! Oh, bitterness! That I should sink to this.
Bonham. One little hour.
Maria. Be it so. 'Tis now eleven ; at twelve! Bonham. My life then, Lady
Maria. Your love! Your love! O, Senor, I cannot now be generous! Do not hate me, If, to the very moment of your promise,
In my despair, I hold you! [Exit Maria.
Bonham. Be it so.
The hour must find the answer! I have none.
Enter Crockett.
Bonham. Ah, David, you have ruined me: your tongue!
Crockett. Bang the tongue, say I. I've never been quite the master of it since I went to Congress. But Lord love you, Major, how could you hear of it ? It was the merest slip ; a fag end of speech ; a sort of little eend of' an argument. The truth is, I was taken in by that Queen, or Empress, or whatever she is. lit the very midst of her Spanish talk, not a word of which did l understand, and so warn't bound to answer, you know, what does she do, but pops out upon me some broken English about you, and before I could say Jack Robinson, I had said a great deal more. I hope there's no harm done!