Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part V — Scene V >> Page 31

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Page 31

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham ; or, the Fall of Bexar. 31

By proper artifice must check his search,
While Pedro takes the prey. We must gain time, Or all is lost once more.
[Veils herself and seems to retires.
Enter Bonham with Texians.
Bonham.. Who's here ?
Maria, [in affected terror.] Spare me ! Protect me, Senor. from this danger
These ruffian soldiery !
Bonham. Donna Maria!
Maria. Ah, Senor Amador! Alas!
I have not sought this meeting.
Bonham, Yes, 'tis well,
Dear lady, that we meet. These are not hours, When, without proper guardianship, your sex
May rove the streets of Bexar. Be't my care
To have you guarded to a place of safety,
Where you will find your uncle.
Maria. Ah, Senor! can it be
That I have forfeited the happy claim
I had upon you in less hapless hours ?
Bonham. What mean you, lady?
Maria. Do I hear aright
You yield me to the fierce and brutal soldier,
For guardianship, at this all-licensed hour,
When plunder keeps the city, and blind fury
Whets every fearful passion known to man!
Bonham. The men who shall attend you
Maria. Better none.
I thank you, Senor: leave me to my fate!
Bonham. Oh, lady, how you wrong me: but with me I pray you be secure. Wilt suffer me,
To guard you to Don Esteban ?
ill aria. Senor, perchance
I cross more pleasant duties. You have cares
That need your presence elsewhere.
Bonham. None to suffer,
By seeing von in safety.
Maria, [aside.] Ay, cheat thyself with that, until too late,
Thou wakest, to know that woman conquers still, And, weak in vulgar weapon, works by will!
[Exeunt Omnes.


A chamber in the castle, the Alamo, Governor Don Este-ban de Montaneros seated at a table. Writing materials before him.

Don Esteban. [Solus.] Was there ever such a stratagem? And how to report it to his excellency, Senor Don Lopez de Santa Anna? That I should live to be surprised—surprised in my own castle. Taken prisoner. Captured by a single man. Nay, he was no single man. His name was Legion. Besides there were two, and I was taken sword in hand. Not taken until I was over-thrown. with a matter of twenty men upon me. That is a point of which something must be made. The dispatch must be eloquent when I reach that part. But to ac-count for the surprise. What shall be said about that. Ha! I have it. Treachery in Mexico. Don Amador de Aquilar— an assumed name perhaps ; but, assuredly a Mexican; a native born citizen of Mexico—one of the deadly enemies of Santa Anna ; seeking to sell the country to the Texians, as the V ucatanese have already sold theirs. It was no Texian force at all—very far from it. Mexicans all, every man of them—creaturesof some chief conspirator in the great city. Let Santa Anna look toit—captured, sword in hand, overthrown. I see his danger. I will warn him of it. No want of vigilance can be charged on me, I'm thinking. Ha! here he comes, Don Amador.'

Enter Bonham and Maria.
Bonham. Your excellency I kiss your hands.
Governor. Don Amador, you are very welcome. Bonham. Senor, I bring your niece as to a place of
Esteban. What, my princess. Ah ! you see me not as when we met last night. Such is the fate of war. Julius, himself', was not superior to its vicissitudes. The great Hannibal yielded to stratagems. Scipio was not always successful ; and shall I he so presumptuous as to expect from fortune what she did not always grant to Caesar, Pompey, Hannibal and Scipio. No, no, modesty forbids the notion. It would he sheer vanity. I must look for adverse winds. I must expect an occasional cloudy day. My own genius is not always equal. The warrior sometimes sleeps as well as the poet. There was a luckless moment which found me napping. Unhappily, just then, my enemy was wakeful. What a coincidence. But a single moment, and see the consequences. Behold we now, a prisoner. But where's your cousin—where's my child, Olivia.
Bonham. in safety at the convent of LaGuayra, Whither I go to bring her.
Maria. Nay, you need not.
Bonham. Need not. lady.
Maria. You will not find her there,
Because of certain stratagems of mine,
To make her safety certain. Ere this hour
She is Don Pedro's bride, and speeds away
To the fair town of roses, or perchance
To Tuscasito.
Bonham. Ha ! Don Pedro's bride
In flight to Tuscasito.
Esteban. Well, let them go
I always meant her for Don Pedro, and don't
See why they should have fled at all.
Maria. Av, but our conqueror does, if I mistake not. He meant her for his own.
Bonham. I did. 'Tis true. I should have asked your blessing
Upon o'er mutual loves.
Esteban. Don Pedro has been hasty. A goad fellow, But with no taste for stratagem
Maria. There you mistake. It was by stratagem He won his bride at last. Don Amador,
'Twas I that counselled him, that, at LaGuayra, Olivia lay secure. 'Twas I that taught him
To clothe his follower in the Texian garb,
And with a specious message, as from you,
I To win her to his arms. 'Twas I that next
When you were pressing on his flying steps,
Arrested yours and gave the needful time,
To make the stratagem sure. I crossed your path, Pretended woman fears I never felt,
And we are here together while they fly,
Unchecked to Tuscasito.
Bonham. Say no more.
Oh! treacherous woman, hateful to the last.
What has your malice wrought?
Maria. My dear revenge,
The only triumph of defrauded love.
Bonham. 'Tis not too late.
Maria. Before you reach La Guayra,
They will have wed.
Bonham. False prophetess, in vain
Your hateful story. Never will Olivia
Consent to his demand.