by Richard Brinsley Peake | Stephen C. Behrendt, Editor
A Romantic Circles
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SCENE I: An apartment in the House of Elizabeth, at Belrive. Table and chairs. The hurried music from the close of the First Act to play in continuance until this scene is discovered, and Frankenstein enters, hastily, to centre of stage. Music ceases.
FRANK. At length in my sisters house! and safe! I have paced with quick steps, but at every turn feared to meet the wretch my heart palpitates with the sickness of fear! [He does not pursue me dreams that have been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space, are now become a hell to me the change so rapid, the overthrow so complete ] What have I cast on the world? a creature powerful in form, of supernatural and gigantic strength, but with the mind of an infant. Oh, that I could recall my impious labour, or suddenly extinguish the spark which I have so presumptuously bestowed. Yet that were murder murder in its worse and most horrid form for he is mine my own formation. Ha! who approaches?
Enter Elizabeth, they embrace.
ELIZ. My dear Victor! my dear brother!
FRANK. Elizabeth! [My love, how sweet is this embrace ]
ELIZ. You [are] come to stay, I hope, until our wedding is over. Clerval will be here presently. Alas! Frankenstein! your cheek is pallid your eye has lost its wonted lustre. Oh, Victor, what are the secrets that prey upon your mind and form? The pernicious air of your laboratory will be fatal to you.
FRANK. (Apart.) Fatal indeed!
ELIZ. I pray you, for my sake, cease I understand upon one subject you have laboured incessantly.
FRANK. One subject! (Aside.) Am I discovered?
ELIZ. You change colour, my dear brother. I will not mention it I there is a wildness in your eyes for which I cannot account.
FRANK. (Starts.) See see he is there!
ELIZ. Dearest Frankenstein what is the cause of this?
FRANK. Do not ask me. I I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room.
ELIZ. Calm your mind, Victor.
FRANK. Pardon me, Elizabeth. I know not what you will think of me.
ELIZ. I have intelligence of one dear to you and for whom, prior to your close attention to study, you had the tenderest regard. Say, Victor, will you not be glad to hear that I have a clue to lead you to your lost love, Agatha DeLacey!
FRANK. Agatha! dearest Agatha! her name recalls my sinking spirits where where is she to be found? Oh, would that I neer had been robbed of her! Twas her loss that drove me to deep and fatal experiments!
ELIZ. A traveller! a beautiful Arabian girl, was here but last night; she was seeking Felix DeLacey, the brother of Agatha, to whom she had been betrothed she gave me the information that the family are but a short distance from hence the Valley of the Lake.
FRANK. And Agatha there? Agatha! there is yet life and hope for me Ah no. (Aside.) The dreadful monster I have formed! away with thought! Elizabeth, I will instantly seek her. Agathas smiles shall move this heavy pressure to the Valley of the Lake. Farewell, sister, farewell!
(Embraces Elizabeth, and Exit hastily)
[ELIZ. Unfortunate Frankenstein! what can thus agitate him? he will not hint the mysterious calamity to his affectionate sister but he flies now to seek her who possessed his first love, and Agatha will sooth his mind to its former peaceful state Ah love! All potent love! If care or misfortune prey on my heart, I have only to think of Clerval, and be happy.
When evening breezes mildly blow,
When pleasures smile no longer gleams,
SCENE II:A wood in the neighbourhood of Geneva. A Bush A Gypsys fire flaming, over which hangs a cauldron. A group of Gypsies discovered surrounding the fire in various positions. All laugh as the scene discovers them. When Tanskin, Hammerpan, with others (male and female) advance to sing the following
Urge the slow rising smoke,
TANS. I tell you it was even so, friend Hammerpan a giant creature with something of a human shape; but ugly and terrible to behold as you would paint the Devil.
HAM. And does this monster any mischief, or is he a pacific monster?
TANS. I never heard of any being harmed by him!
HAM. Then why are you so frightened, Master Tanskin? For my part, should he come across my path, let who will fly, Ill stand my ground like an anvil!
TANS. And get well beat like one for your pains.
What sounds are those?
HAM. (Returning to the fire.) Why, tis Felix, the son of old DeLacey. The young fellow is much famed for his excellence upon the flute, as the father for his piety, charities, and twanging on the harp, which, together with the beauty of his daughter, seems to have turned the heads and won the hearts of all the surrounding country. Now my merry wanderers, our meal is smoking. Ifaith, Im in a rare relishing humour for it, so, prithee, Dame, ladle us our porridge, with a whole dead sheep in it. Fegs, it scents rarely! (Sniffs.)
Music. The gipsies crowd round the fire with their bowls. The Demon rapidly crosses the platform at the back Disappears.
1ST GYP. Hilliho! what tall bullys that? the steeple of Ingoldstadt taking a walk. See yonder, comrades!
HAM. See what?
TANS. (Trembling.) As Im a living rogue, tis he!
HAM. One of the Devils grenadiers, mayhap! Pooh, pooh! Old Tanskin, we all know you are a living rogue, but you wont frighten us with your ten feet. Come, give me a drink, I say.
One of the gipsies gives him a wooden bowl.
Gentlemen Gipsies, heres all your good ha! ha! ha!
Music. The Demon appears on an eminence of the bush, or a projecting rock.
Help! murder! wouns! tis the Devil himself! away with the porridge!
Music. Throws bowl away. Hammerpan and all the Gipsies shriek and run off The Demon descends, portrays by action his sensitiveness of light and air, perceives the gipsiess fire, which excites his admiration thrusts his hand into the flame, withdraws it hastily in pain. Takes out a lighted piece of stick, compares it with another faggot which has not been ignited. Takes the food expressive of surprise and pleasure. A flute is heard, without. The Demon, breathless with delight, eagerly listens. It ceases he expresses disappointment. Footsteps heard and the Demon retreats behind the rock.
Enter Agatha, followed by Felix, his flute slung at his back.
AGA. Those sweet sounds recall happier days to my memory. In the midst of [our] poverty, how consoling it is to possess such a brother as you are. Dear, thoughtful Felix, the first little white flower that peeped out from beneath the snowy ground you brought, because you thought it would give pleasure to your poor Agatha.
FELIX. We are the children of misfortune; [Agatha ] povertys chilling grasp nearly annihilates us. Our poor blind father, now the inmate of yon cottage he who has been blessed with prosperity to be thus reduced the noble-minded old DeLacey. Wretched man that I am, to have been the cause of ruin to both father and sister.
AGA. Why, Felix, we suffered in a virtuous cause! Poor Safie, thy beloved
FELIX. Is, I fear, lost to me for ever. The treacherous Mahometan, her father, whose escape I aided from a dungeon in Paris (where he was confined as a State prisoner), that false father has doubtless arrived at Constantinople, and is triumphing at the fate of his wretched dupes.
AGA. Nay, Felix
FELIX. Alas, Agatha! for aiding that escape, my family my beloved family are suffering exile and total confiscation of fortune.
AGA. But Safie still loves you?
FELIX. That thought is the more maddening! Safie! fairest Safie! and she was my promised reward for liberating her faithless father dragged away with him and forced to comply with his obdurate wishes. Oh, she is lost lost to me for ever!
AGA. Let not hope forsake you, Felix
FELIX. [Agatha! It requires resignation to bear our heavy woes.] The early passion of each of us has been blighted, our rigorous imprisonment and sudden banishment have driven all trace of thee from thy admirer, young Frankenstein.
AGA. Dear Felix, press not more wretched recollections on my mind. I consider Frankenstein lost to me for ever. In abject poverty, dare I hope that the brilliant and animated student could eer think of the unfortunate Agatha. (Weeps.) Let me dry these unworthy tears and exert a womans firmest fortitude. My soul is henceforth devoted exclusively to the service of my poor dark father.
FELIX, you shall behold me no longer unhappy.
DUET FELIX AND AGATHA
Of all the knots which Nature ties,
Music. The Demon cautiously ventures out his mantle having
been caught by the bush, he disrobes himself leaving the mantle attached
to the rock; he watches Felix and Agatha with wonder and rapture,
appears irresolute whether he dares to follow them; he hears the flute
of Felix, stands amazed and pleased, looks around him, snatches at
the empty air, and with clenched hands puts them to each ear appears
vexed at his disappointment in not possessing the sound; rushes forward
afterwards, again listens, and, delighted with the sound, steals off
catching at it with his hands.
SCENE III: Exterior of the Cottage of Old DeLacey. On right, a hovel, with a low door, near which are two or three large logs of wood and a hatchet; a small basket with violets on a stool at the right side of the cottage door, and a stool also on the left side of the cottage, whereon DeLacey is discovered seated, leaning on his cane, a common harp at his side. Music.
DEL. Another day is added to the life of banished DeLacey! (Rises and comes forward.) But how will it be passed like the preceding days in wretched poverty, hopeless grief, and miserable darkness! (Calls.) Agatha! Felix! Alas! I am alone! Hark no I thought I heard footsteps my children come. They must not suppose me cheerless my lute is here tis a fair deceit on them this lute which has so oft been damped with the tears from my sightless eyes the sound of it is the only indication I can give that I am contented with my lot!
Music. DeLacey returns to his seat and plays several chords. The Demon enters, attracted by the lute, suddenly perceives DeLacey, and approaches towards him expresses surprise by action that DeLacey does not avoid him discovers his loss of sight, which the Demon appears to understand by placing his hand over his own eyes, and feeling his way. At the conclusion of the music on the lute occasioned, as it were, by the Demon having placed his hand on the instrument a short pause, and during which the Demon, having lost the sound, appears to he looking for it, when the lute music is again resumed. In the midst of the music (without ceasing) a voice is heard.
FELIX. (Within.) This way, Agatha.
The Demon, alarmed, observes the little door of hovel, which he pushes open, signifies that he wishes for shelter, and retreats into this hovel or wood-house by the ending of the lute music by DeLacey, when Enter Felix and Agatha.
FELIX. (Apart to Agatha.) Observe his countenance, beaming with benevolence and love behold those silver hairs and, Agatha, I I have reduced him to this pitiable state of poverty!
AGA. Cease, Felix this self reproach? (Goes to DeLacey.) We have returned, dear father. Have you wanted us?
Agatha leads her father forward.
DEL. No, no, Agatha! You anticipate all my wants, and perform every little office of affection with gentleness.
AGA. Is it not my duty, and am I not rewarded by your kind smiles?
DEL. Amiable girl, let thy poor father kiss thee. (They embrace.) Felix, my son, where are you? (Felix comes forward, and takes his hand.) Now I am cheerful I am happy! indeed I am, my children. Let me encourage you to cast off your gloom. What a tear, Agatha!
AGA. Nay, dear sir!
DEL. Tis on my hand. (Pressing her hand to his lips, which he had held in his while speaking to Felix.)
The Demon appears watching them with attention and interest.
FELIX. (Apart.) At first my fathers countenance was illuminated with pleasure but thoughtfulness and sadness have again succeeded (Assuming gaiety.) Now must I to labour again. Our [stock of] fuel is nearly exhausted. My time has been lately so occupied I have omitted my task in the forest.
Music. Felix takes up a hatchet and chops a log of wood.
AGA. And I, too, have been neglectful these flowers of which you are so fond, my dear father, have witherd they must be replaced
[Music she takes them from the basket Felix is busied cutting the wood ]
SAFIE. (At a distance.) Felix!
AGA. What voice was that?
FELIX. It cannot be no it was but fancy!
Music resumed. Felix chops the log in continuance at a similar break in the tune the same voice heard again, nearer.
SAFIE. (Without.) Felix!
FELIX. That magic sound! Alas! no there is no such happiness in store for me!
SAFIE. (Without, louder.) Felix! Felix!
Music. Felix drops the hatchet, rushes forward. At the same instant Safie enters, and falls into the arms of Felix pronouncing "Felix."
FELIX. Tis she! Safie! Beloved of my soul! Ah! revive!
DEL. Safie, the traitors daughter? Impossible!
AGA. Tis, indeed, our sweet Safie!
FELIX. We never will part more! Father! father! would that you could behold her! It is my dear, lost Safie.
Music. Safie revives, and crosses to old DeLacey, kneels, and kisses his hand, during which the Demon appears at the little hovel, watching them, and then retires within again.
DEL. Bless you, my child! where is your father where the treacherous friend who devoted us to ignominy?
SAFIE. (Rises.) I have fled from him; he would have sacrificed his daughter, loathing the idea that I should be united to one of Christian faith. Sickening at the prospect of again returning to Asia and being immured in a harem ill suited to the temper of my soul now accustomed to a nobler emulation I I have sought the love and protection of my Felix!
FELIX. Faithful girl! Your constancy shall be crowned by eternal love and gratitude.
AGA. But Safie, you are fatigued. Come, dear girl, and on my lowly couch, seek repose.
Music. Safie affectionately kisses and presses DeLaceys hand, embraces Felix, crosses back to Agatha, and is led into the cottage by Agatha and Felix.
FELIX. (Who returns with a gun from the cottage-door.) Father, I am wild with joy! no longer the sad, pining Felix. The sun of prosperity again gleams on us Safie is returned! I am rich! happy! But hold! I must procure refreshment for our guest. Our larder is not too much encumbered with provision. Ill to the village Ill cross the forest Ill hunt, shoot and all in ecstasy! Farewell, father! Ill soon be back. Farewell!
[Music. Exit Felix. The Demon ventures out, and looks with a kind expression on DeLacey.
DEL. Good Felix! Now, by the return of Safie will his hopes be rewarded yet must he remain in perpetual poverty and unceasing labour. But this instant, did he complain that our store of fuel was consumed unless he possessed superhuman strength his days employment must be doubled where are my favorite violets?
Music. DeLacey feels for the Basket which contained them the Demon apppears to comprehend his wish, and rushes off.
DEL. My flower basket not yet replenished. My dear children amply repay my former anxious care they have toiled for my support thoughout our misfortunes
Music. The Demon re-enters cautiously and tremblingly with a handful of flowers, which he gently places in the basket.
DEL. Thanks dear Agatha! ever watchful of your poor fathers comfort
Music. DeLacey turns up the stage, and again seats himself on the cottage stool. The Demon examines log of wood, takes up hatchet, points to the wood, intimating he understands the use of it Agatha appearing at the window The Demon rushes off with the hatchet. Music ceases.
Enter Agatha from cottage.
AGA. Did you call, father?
DEL. Sleeps your sweet guest?
AGA. Fatigue will soon lull her to repose. I should not have left her had I not thought I heard you call me. Ah, father, some one has punished my negligence by replenishing your basket of violets.
DEL. Did you not fill it, Agatha?
AGA. No, dear sir. Ah, Felix has forestalled me.
Exit Agatha into cottage again.
DEL. [No person has been here since the departure of Felix.] (DeLacey rises and takes up the basket of flowers from the stool. Smelling the violets.) How delightful is the perfume! more exquisite because I am debarred the pleasure of beholding these sweet emblems of spring! The touch and scent elevate my spirits! How ungrateful am I to complain! In the contemplation of thee, oh, Nature, the past will be blotted from my memory! the present is tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipated joy.
Music. DeLacey replaces the basket of flowers, and returns to his seat, leaning pensively on his cane. The Demon enters with a pile of green faggots with foliage on his shoulders and throws them loosely on the stage. Smiles with gratulation at that which he has accomplished. Approaches DeLacey, falls flat at his feet, then kneels to him, and is about to press his hand. DeLacey feels around him with his cane and hand, without the knowledge of anyone being near him, and seated all the time then calls.
DEL. Agatha! Agatha!
Music. The Demon instantly retreats into hovel, and Agatha enters from cottoge door.
Agatha, child, I pray you lead me in. (Rises from his seat and comes forward.)
AGA. Yes, father. Good Heavens! why, Felix could not have returned from the forest so quickly? What a quantity of wood!
AGA. Here is fuel to last us for a long time. [ Surely some kind spirit [watches over us or] how could we have been so bountifully supplied? Come, father, to the cottage come!
Music. Agatha leads De Lacy into cottage, afterwards comes forward.
Frankenstein! vain is the endeavour to drive you from my recollection. Each bird that sings, each note of music that I hear, reminds me of the sweet moments of my former love!
(Flute accompaniment, behind the scenes.)
In vain I view the landscapes round,
Oh, yes, my love is near,
(Exit Agatha into cottage)
SCENE IV: A Wild Forest.
Enter Felix, with his gun.
FELIX. Not a shot yet and, egad, joy has made my hand so unsteady, that were a fine pheasant to get up, I could not bring it down again. Thy return, sweet Safie, has restored me to existence. When I thought I had lost thee for ever, I was occupied by gloomy thoughts, and neither heeded the descent of the evening star nor the golden sunrise reflected on the lake; but now my love fills my imagination, and all is enjoyment!
Thy youthful charms, bright maid, inspire
When autumn yields her ripend corn,
Felix retires up stage. Enter Frankenstein.
FRANK. In vain do I seek a respite from these dreadful thoughts whereer I turn my eyes, I expect to behold the supernatural Being! to see him spring from each woody recess but on, on to Agatha, and repose.
FELIX. A traveller! and surely I know his air and manner. (Comes forward.)
FRANK. Good stranger, can you direct me to the habitation of old DeLacey?
FELIX. Better than most persons, I trust.
FRANK. How! Felix DeLacey!
FELIX. The same! the same! Frankenstein! You know, my friend tis long since we have met.
FRANK. Your strange and sudden disappearance from Paris
FELIX. Makes as strange a story, with which I shall not now detain you. Come to our humble cottage. [ Ah, Frankenstein, we have been as poor as mice, and our dwelling is not much larger than a trap ] Egad! Im overjoyed to see you!
FRANK. And Agatha?
FELIX. Is queen of the Castle! and between ourselves Frankenstein has still a warm corner of her heart for you. Come, we have only to cross the wood. [ Im in high spirits, my friend Ive this day recoverd my mistress but that will make another strange story. This is indeed a lucky day Safie is restored and I ramble out to kill a Pheasant, and pop upon a philosopher who is likely to become a brother-in-law ]
HAM. (Without.) Any good Christians in the neighbourhood?
FELIX. What have we here?
Enter Hammerpan, with a long pole, tinkers utensils, fire kettle, &c.
HAM. Real Christians! human beings! Oh, good Gentlemen, have you seen it?
FELIX. It! what?
HAM. Ah! thats it! As I live, I saw it an hour ago in the forest!
FELIX. What do you mean by it?
HAM. My hair stood on end like mustard and cress, and so will yours when you see it!
FELIX. Get you gone! you are tipsy!
HAM. I wish I was. As I take it, you are Master Felix, of the Valley of the Lake; weve done business together before now.
FELIX. I know you not!
HAM. I mended your kettle tother day. You did me a good turn one good turn deserves another Ill put you on your guard the very devil is abroad.
FRANK. (Aside.) How!
FELIX. (Laughs.) Ha! ha! ha! You romancing tinker! [ and pray how was his worship dressed?
HAM. [Dressd why it was stark undressed all but a cloak.] You may laugh, but the other gentleman dont laugh. You may perceive he believes it . (To Frankenstein.) I saw it I saw with this one eye.
FELIX. One eye!
HAM. Yes, Im blind of the other a little boy threw a pebble at it, so Ive been stone blind ever since, gentlemen. He was ten foot six long, (Holds his pole high up.) with a head of black lanky locks down to his very elbows.
FRANK. Tis the Demon! (Apart to himself)
HAM. I lifted up my hammer to strike it but I was so tremulous that I knockd my own head instead.
FRANK. What did this strange object? (To Hammerpan.)
HAM. It didnt speak to me, nor I to it. I saw it at first in the forest picking acorns and berries and then, after it had dispersed our tribe, like a ferret among the rats it took a drink at our broth, and burnt its fingers in our fire.
FRANK. And what became of this creature?
HAM. I wasnt curious enough to inquire. My wife was in fits at the sight of the devil so I was obliged to keep my one eye upon her.
FELIX. Your one eye has been pretty well employed. Come, come, gipsy, well cross the wood and see if this man mountain is to be met.
HAM. The good genius of wandering tinkers forbid!
FELIX. (To Frankenstein.) And now, my friend, well on to the cottage.
FRANK. So, so! (Apart.) I will follow ye!
(Exeunt Felix and Hammerpan)
So! the peasants have already been terrified by the ungainly form!
Ambitious experimentalist! The consciousness of the crime I have committed
eternally haunts me! I have indeed drawn a horrible curse on my head!
He may be malignant, and delight [for its own sake] in murder and
wretchedness! a whole country may execrate me as their pest! Every
thought that bears towards my baneful project causes my lips to quiver
and [my] heart to palpitate. [But, away with these wretched reflections ] I must now to the cottage of Felix. Agatha, fairest Agatha, [fairest
Agatha,] instead of smiles, your lover will meet you with dark and
hopeless despondency! (Exit Frankenstein)
SCENE V: Evening. Interior of the cottage of DeLacey. The thatched roof in sight. A woodfire. Through an open rustic porch are visible a rivulet, and small wooden bridge a wooden couch Music. DeLacey discovered seated thereon, with Agatha next him in attendance. The Demon appears through the portico, watching them, and regards Agatha with rapture. Agatha kisses her fathers hand, takes a small pail or hand bucket, and trips through the portico on to the bridge to procure water. The Demon having retreated on Agathas approach, pursues her on the bridge. Agatha, turning suddenly perceives the Demon, screams loudly, and swoons, falling into the rivulet.
DEL. Gracious Heaven that cry of horror! Agatha!
The Demon leaps from the bridge and rescues her.
DEL. Gracious Heaven that cry of Horror! Agatha! My sweet child, where art thou? Agatha, Agatha!
Music The Demon places Agatha, insensible, on a bench near DeLacey.
DEL. This silence this suspense is dreadful!
The Demon tenderly guides the hand of DeLacey and places it on Agatha.
DEL. My child cold, cold, and insensible! this mystery cruel fate Dead? no, no, no, her heart still beats. Kind Heaven has saved me that pang! Felix, Felix, where art thou? My dear daughter, for your poor fathers sake revive!
Music. Agatha recovers. The Demon hangs over them, with fondness. Felix and Frankenstein suddenly enter.
FRANK. Misery! The Demon!
FELIX. What horrid monster is this? Agatha, my father is in danger? The Demon retreats.
Music. Felix discharges his gun and wounds the Demon, who writhes under the wound. In desperation pulls a burning branch from the fire rushes at them beholds Frankenstein in agony of feeling dashes through the portico. Safie Enters to Agatha. Hurried Music.
Tell us tell us what form was there?
The Demon is seen climbing the outside of the Portico. He bursts through the thatch with burning brand.
The fiend of Sin
The Demon hangs to the Rafters, setting light to the thatch and Rafters, with malignant joy as parts of the building fall groups of gypsies appear on the bridge, and through the burning apertures who join in the Chorus.
FULL CHORUS OF GYPSIES
End of Act II
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