Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part IV — Scene VI >> Page 26

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 26

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 28 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

Bonham. That I am true to thee.
Olivia. Are you a Texian ?
Bonham. I am.
Olivia. But not a Texian rebel.
Bonham. A Texian citizen! The friend of Freedom, Rebellious 'gainst injustice—horn to fight
'Gainst every tyrant that between the sun,
And man, his victim, rears his giant shadow.
This was the earliest lesson of my youth
Taught by rare ancestors. Among the States,
Honored among the empires of the North,
Stand two fair sisters. On the map behold
The Carolinas ! She that nearest lies
To your own land, my love, is land of mine.
Upon the hills of Congaree, I first
Drew breath of freedom. Thence I came to succor Our friends in Texas. Seeking for the foe,
By Loro's springs, in place of him, I found
A trembling fawn, and Love.
Olivia. My Amador!
Bonham. If still I wage the war with Mexico, I do it with half a heart—with fettered hands,
For love, that takes the price of hate, disarms
My soul of half its fury. Thou know'st all
Dost hate me now, Olivia ?
Olivia. Hate thee ? Oh, no !
How should I hate thee.
Bonham. Hear me, Olivia—An hour will make me captive to my foes,
Or see my triumph over them. Even now,
Behold, the crowd is stirring. They prepare
The women disappear. The masques
Survey us from afar. All things declare
For the approaching struggle. Art thou mine? Wilt thou be mine ? —mine only—let the fates
Declare them as they may!
Olivia, Thine—only thine.
Bonham. Then come the foe. Let the wild storm begin ;
I'm eased against its dangers. In my heart,
Whate'er the evil without, sits smiling hope,
Secure in sweet communion with the thoughts
That wait on happy love. But hasten thou,
And, in the costume of the nun, prepare
To mate with me in flight. Away ! they come.
[Exit Olivia.
[Bonham retires to one side of the stage, leans against a column in an indifferent attitude. Enter on the opposite side the Governor, Don Pedro. Don Velasquez, Col. Don Sanchez, the Bravo, and other masques.
Pedro, [to Esteban.] What! shall we scruple now! Hold parley here,
In presence of the spy ?
Esteban. He hears us not.
Pedro. But sees us, and that's quite enough for shame, If we stand gazing at him through our fears,
When that one cry, from fiery hate should be,
Upon him, Braves, at once
Esteban. You are too rash;
Leave it to me. I'll manage it, my friends,
So that no danger--to the ladies, mark me
Pedro. They are all gone.
Esteban. Patience! A little, stratagem
Pedro. And where the need of little stratagem To take or slay one man ? We've but to rush
Esteban. Indeed! and get his bullet in your brains. No, no. We'll act more wisely. Go you, Sanchez, And bring a score of men. with muskets ready ; Meanwhile we'll parley with him.
Pedro. Parley with him : Parley with shame and cowardice!
Esteban. You're but young, Don Pedro, wait the event,
And see the uses of my stratagem
I'll show you reasons for it.
[He leads Pedro and the rest up the stage, while Bon-ham adeanres, and rests a;ti ainst a column in the fore-ground. While this takes place, Oliz+ia, in the guise of a nun, has rejoined him; placing herself on the opposite side of the column upon 'which he leans, and partly behind him.
Olivia, [whispers him.] I am here, Amador. Bonham, [with a glad start.] Ah, faithful! You are here.
Olivia. To die with yuu !
Bonham. Nay, never say to die. We shall not die; Life is too precious now to me, my girl,
With such a treasure. I have friends at hand; Have weapons in my grasp. We shall not perish. Olivia. Harm not my father, Acnador.
Botch am. His head
Is sacred in my sight. I will not hurt
A single hair that claims thy love. But hence ; Hide thee within yon niche. They come.
[Exit Olivia.
Esteban, Pedro and others. re-approach.
Pedro. To falter thus, With but one foe against a score of us.
Esteban. Ah, but the benefits of stratagem. You are but young, my son ; at brave, but lack The wisdom that still teaches how to venture, And calculates the blow before it strikes. Never press closely on a desperate man; Ile drives an ugly bargain for his life, And gains the odds before he loses it : We'll parley with him.
[Advances to Bonham, slowly followed by the rest. Bon-ham retains his position,
Esteban. Most reverend father, I implore your blessing.
Bonham. You have it, son.
Esteban. Most fitly answered—with becoming grace, And holy unction. But most reverend father,
There are about rue those, niy counsellors,
Sage, grave, and potent gentlemen, brave chiefs, Famous in battle, next in great repute
1'o hint, the warrior more than all renowned,
Whom Fame has styled Napoleon of the West"—I say there are, who somewhat doubt your zeal, Who make some question of your holiness,
And strangely do proclaim you nothing better
Bonham. Than hungry wolf in wool of meeker beast.
Esteban. How excellently said. But, reverend fa-
Though not without some curious doubts myself, Methinks they wrong you much ; and, with your leave, I'd ask you certain matters.
Bonham. Caesar may speak !
Esteban. Full of discernment! Upon your arm, my father,
You bear the holy symbol of your faith,
But do you ever lift it to your lips ?
Bonham, [kissing the cross.] Behold!
Esteban, [aside to Pedro.] He could not do it better, were he the Archbishop
Of Mexico. Tell are that any heretic will kiss
Holy Cross. I know better.
Pedro. Pshaw!
Esteban. Mark the further progress of my stratagem. Hein!
And now another question, Holy Father,-