Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein by Richard Brinsley Peake A Romantic Circles Electronic Edition Edited by Stephen C. Behrendt

ACT III

SCENE I:

The Garden of Elizabeth, at Belrive. – Morning. (Same as Act I, Scene II.)

Enter Clerval from terrace entrance.

CLER. What a delightful morning! It is an auspicious commencement of the day which is to make me happy in the possession of my love! Elizabeth yet sleeps, peaceful be her slumbers! [Love has awakened me – the freshness of the air, and the beauty of the scenery animate me to the height of cheerfulness – ] Soft, she approaches.

Enter Elizabeth from the house.

Elizabeth, my love, why that look of anxiety?

ELIZ. Oh, Clerval! We have had strange occurrences since you quitted me yesternight, our house is full of guests, my brother has brought here the family of DeLacey of whom you have heard me so often speak –

CLER. The family of DeLacey, the relatives of Agatha.

ELIZ. By some extraordinary mystery, which is yet unexplained to me, the Cottage in which Frankenstein discovered his mistress and her family was destroyed by fire; they arrived late last night and all appear overcome with fatigue and terror; some dreadful calamity hangs about my dear brother.

CLER. How astonishing is his conduct. Alas! my sweet Elizabeth, in the midst of all this misery I am selfish – I trust these singular occurrences will not postpone our marriage. Consider, our friends are invited, the church is prepared.

ELIZ.. A few hours may explain all. See now (Looks towards house.) Frankenstein approaches – observe his agitated countenance and restless step; he has not slept since his return – he has armed himself with pistols and appears continually watching.

CLER. We will retire and avoid him for the present. This way, love.(Exeunt)

Music – Enter Frankenstein from house.

FRANK. How am I to avoid the powerful vengeance of the monster formed by my cursed ambition. I gave him energy and strength, to crush my own guilty head! My hours pass in dread, and soon the bolt may fall which will deprive me of existence! [The diabolical act I have committed in raising a being, recurs each moment and conscience stricken – I shudder to think --Agatha! Agatha! gladly would I sacrifice my own life to preserve yours – ] Yet the Demon preserved the life of Agatha – he had some feeling of affection – [and] how were those feelings requited! – by detestation, scorn, and wounds! – his look of everlasting malice! He will watch with the wiliness of a serpent, that he may sting with its venom! There is no hope but in the destruction of the Demon. (Takes out his pistol.) I must not cease to guard and protect my friends. (Going to the door.) Agatha has arisen. (Conceals pistol.)

Enter Agatha, a locket round her neck, from the house.

AGA. Frankenstein, I behold you unhappy – fleeing to solitude – and I cannot help supposing that you might regret the renewal of our connexion. [Do you love another?

FRANK. Agatha! Can you forgive my cold neglect? At the sight of you, my long smothered passion bursts out anew – but I thought you lost – receive me once again with smiles and bring me back to life and hope.

AGA. These transports ill accord with the heavy gloom which pervades you – ] Dear Frankenstein, I still love you, and confess that in my airy dreams of futurity you have been my constant friend and companion.

FRANK. [Blessed sounds – ] Agatha, you shall be mine! I will then divulge to you the secret which disturbs – nay, distracts me.

Music, the Harmonica. – Distant church bells.

Those cheerful chimes announce the wedding day of Elizabeth and Clerval! [This way – Agatha – ] My care-worn looks will but damp their merriment.

(Music. – Exeunt Frankenstein and Agatha)

Enter Felix and Safie from house.

FELIX. Listen, Safie, to those merry village bells; they ring a rare contrast to our last night’s misery. Soon, my eastern Rose, will they chime for us; and then away with care. This kiss – (Embracing her.)

SAFIE. Fie, Felix! In open daylight. You will deepen the blush of your Eastern rose.

DUET – SAFIE AND FELIX

Come with me, dear, to my mountain home,
And Hymen shall hallow the peaceful dome.
Leave all the world for love and for me,
And I will be all the world to thee.
Our life shall be all holiday –
Shall be all holiday.
Come o’er the dew-bespangled vale,
Where the violet blue and primrose pale
Peep from the verdant shade.
Come o’er the dew-bespangled vale,
Where the violet blue and primrose pale,
Where the violet blue and primrose pale
Peep from the verdant shade.
Come o’er the dew, &c., &c.

We’ll fly to the shady grove,
And sign and whisper, love,
Till day begins to fade,
Till day begins, &c., &c.
We’ll roam, and I will woo thee, love,
Where birds sing sweetly through the grove –
Where birds sing sweetly thro’ the grove
Till day begins to fade.

We’ll roam, and I will woo thee, love,
Where birds sing sweetly thro’ the grove –
While birds sing, &c., &c., &c.

Music, with the bells. – Enter Madame Ninon, leading a group of Dancing Villagers, from the terrace entrance, and Elizabeth, with Clerval, re-enter.

NIN. Now, Madame Elizabeth – now, Mr. Clerval – we are all ready, and the priest is in waiting.

Music resumed. – Elizabeth and Clerval, as also Safie and Felix, join the procession, and all the villagers dance off to music along the terrace, except Madame Ninon.

NIN. There they go to be coupled, pretty dears! (Calls.) Fritz! Fritz! Where is my stupid husband? I’ve stretched my neck out of joint looking for him. I expect him from the market at Geneva with a cargo of eatables and my new-fashioned beehive cap – all for our wedding festival of Mr. Frankenstein, who has brought his bride and family here in consequence, as I am told, of their cottage being accidentally destroyed by fire last night. Oh! here the fellow comes, with a basket on his back, creeping like a snail.

Enter Fritz, from the terrace entrance, with hamper at his back containing various articles, a lady’s cap, and a live duck.

FRITZ. Here I am, spousy. I've brought your list of articles.

Ninon assists him in putting down his basket.

There’s the trout, and the sugar-loaf, and the melons, and the nutmegs.

NIN. But dear Fritz, where’s my new beehive [cap] you were to bring from the milliner’s at Geneva?

FRITZ. Somewhere, I know. (Looking and examining the contents of the hamper, cautiously opening the top.) The three live ducks are lying a top of the maccaroni, squeezed up under the large Gruyere cheese.

NIN. I hope to goodness my cap is not squeezed up!

FRITZ. It’s quite safe, I tell you. I put it at the very bottom of the basket.

NIN. It will be in a nice state for my head, then!

FRITZ. lord, here’s a rummaging fuss for the cap. I was so nervous about it – you cautioned me so, you know. (Still kneeling and searching the hamper.) Oh, dear, where is it now? Oh, la, to be sure, spousy – here it is at last; la, I knew it was safe. (He pulls the cap out, with a live duck in it.)

NIN. (Takes her cap from him.) Oh, Fritz, it’s spoiled! That duck has been laying in it.

FRITZ. Not an egg, I hope, Ninon!

NIN. Alas! see how it is rumpled. (She takes from the cap two or three of the duck’s small feathers, which fall on the stage.)

FRITZ. (Aside.) Ha! – he! he! Cap and feathers!

NIN. You careless, good-for-nothing dog!

FRITZ. (Aside.) Dog and Duck!

NIN. Take the basket in, you sinner! (Having first replaced her cap in the hamper.)

FRITZ. Oh! (To the duck.) You look very jolly, my fine fellow, considering you are going to be killed for dinner. Wait till the peas are ready! I never seen such a piece of quackery as that cap in all my life!

Draws the basket after him into the house, and comes forward during the duet.

NIN. My finery destroyed by that varlet! But even that shall not disconcert me. My sweet mistress is united to-day to the man of her heart, and in spite of my cap I will be merry, and dance till [I’m so old] I can dance no longer.

DUET– NINON AND FRITZ

(Welsh air.)

NIN. Oh! I’ll hail the wedding day,
And be the gayest of the gay,
Till age has tripp’d my steps away.

FRITZ. (Re-entering from house.) Away!

NIN. Your manners were not taught in France.

FRITZ. La, wife! when you’re too old to Dance –
A horse at sixty – (Aside.) – cannot prance –
Ah, nay!

NIN. While pipes and tabors playing sweetly,
With all my soul I’ll foot it featly,

FRITZ.. Yes, I guess you’ll hobble neatly.
Wife!

NIN. Don’t wife me, you saucy fellow!
Sure you’re tipsy –

FRITZ. Only mellow.
We’ll all be so, for that is fun and life!

TOGETHER. Don’t wife me, you saucy fellow.
I won’t wife you, I’m only mellow.

NIN. I ne’er was tipsy.

FRITZ. You ne’er was tipsy, only mellow.
Wife!

Fritz dances her up to the house, Ninon turns, boxes his ear, and they exeunt into house.

Music. – The Demon appears from terrace entrance, watching about, and retreats as Fritz re-enters from house.

FRITZ. Oh! (Rubbing his cheek.) What’s the use of a fine cap to her? she’s so short, unless she stood upon a chair, in the crowd – no one would see her, or her new-fashioned bee-hive either.

During the above speech, William comes from the house, behind Fritz on tiptoe, and gives Fritz a smart smack on the back, who being fearfully alarmed, cries out lustily.

Oh, bless my soul! There now, that’s just the way to make me nervous again. What do you want, Master William?

WILL. I can’t get a soul to speak to me in the house – some are busy – some are going to be married – will you play with me, Fritz?

FRITZ. I like a game of play – it’s so relaxing. When work was over I used to play with my cow.

WILL. (Throwing a ball.) Run and fetch that ball –

FRITZ. Lord, my dear, that’s very fatiguing. – What a way you’ve thrown it – right among the cauliflowers.

Music – Goes off. Demon suddenly appears at the railing – watches the Child – Fritz returns.

FRITZ. Here it is, Master Willy! There’s your ball, William Frankenstein.

WILL. Now again.

FRITZ. La – no – you give me more trouble than your brother used in his laboratory – when he –

William throws the ball behind the balustrade.

I won’t fetch it – you may find it yourself –

Demon points to William – intimating that the boy must be dear to Frankenstein.

WILL. If you are too idle to go – I’m not –

FRITZ. I shan’t look –

William goes to the balustrade. – The Demon suddenly seizes him.

WILL. Help! help! help!

FRITZ. Ah – that won’t do – that won’t do, young master – I’m not to be had –

WILL. Help! help!

Music. The Demon stops the boy’s mouth – and throws him across his shoulder – Fritz turns – sees them – utters a cry of horror – the Demon rushes off.

FRITZ. Help! help! murder – wife! wife! the devil – oh my nerves!

(Runs off)


SCENE II:

A Country View. Rustic Church in the distance. A large Yew Tree, spread plentifully with boughs. Music. – A Foreground with pathway behind it. The procession, as before, returning from the marriage ceremony. The corps de ballet, Villagers, preceding, dancing, followed by Felix, Safie, Clerval, and Elizabeth.

[CONGRATULATORY SESTETTO

[Agatha – Safie – Elizabeth – Felix – Clerval and Bass

[Since all to beauty’s rip’ning bloom
[Their cheerful homage pay,
[Be not displeas’d that we presume
[To hail thy bridal day.

[But if, by Time’s all conquering hand,
[Thy bloom must wear away,
[The roses of thy mind shall stand
[And never more decay.]

NIN. (heard without.) Oh, mistress! Oh!

FRITZ. I couldn’t help it – murder!

Ninon and Fritz enter.

NIN. But where did you leave him?

FRITZ. He left me – Oh dear – (Cries.) Murder!

NIN. Oh wretched fate!

ELIZ. What is the matter, good Ninon?

NIN. William, your brother William is the matter; the boy is lost. I sent him to that Fritz, that he might be out of the way.

FRITZ. Yes; and now he’s out of everybody’s way.

ELIZ. This is most extraordinary – a frolic of the little rogue.

FRITZ. No, no, it isn’t; I saw – my nerves! Oh, dear! I saw – a great something snatch him up. (Cries.) I – oh dear – oh dear. Oh! murder!

CLER. Here’s Frankenstein.

Enter Frankenstein, with a pistol.

ELIZ. My dear Victor, know you aught of William? The child has been missed in a most unaccountable manner.

FRANK. My brother missing!

NIN. Fritz was with him.

FRITZ. Oh, master! a great creature – [wrapped in a mantle] oh! oh! oh! [(Cries.) murder!]

FRANK. [(Aside.) No sooner has the idea crossed my imagination than I am convinced of its truth – the horrible Demon!]

CLER. Hasten, my friends, one and all – all search. Our pastime is marr’d till the boy is found.

Music. – All exeunt in consternation at different entrances, excepting Frankenstein, who appears lost in desponding reverie. – He turns; the boughs of the yew tree are pulled apart, and the Demon is discovered behind it, with William in his grasp. – Frankenstein draws a pistol, and points it – the Demon holds forth the child, when Frankenstein lowers his pistol, and kneels. – The Demon again shoulders the child, and rushes off within the path. – Frankenstein rises, and pursues them in despair.


SCENE III:

An Apartment in the Villa Belrive. – A wide folding window opening to the Garden, closed. A table with red baize covering.

Enter Agatha and Ninon.

NIN. The most unaccountable disappearance of my dear little boy, at such a moment – on such a day – when we should have been so merry!

AGA. It is indeed strange and fearful; let us hope that William will soon be discovered, and brought home. (Aside.) The wild phantom that fired our cottage, surely, is not concerned.

NIN. I can do nothing but think of William – that is your room, ma’am – (Pointing to the door.) – you will find it well furnished – with such sweet blue eyes – everything is comfortable – unhappy little boy! There’s a fire grate in the room – with two little dimples on each cheek! There’s a cabinet in the corner – curly locks! Forgive me, ma’am; I fostered the pretty child, and I cannot get him out of my head.

AGA. Pray leave me, Ninon, and give me the earliest intelligence of Mr. Frankenstein’s return.

NIN. All the festivities of the wedding-day destroyed, till this dear unlucky urchin is found. [Bless me the large looking glass, with the curtain undrawn – well, it may e’en remain so – for we cannot be gay till the truant comes back.] (Sobbing.) The sweet little, naughty, rosy-cheek’d rogue! how I will whip him when he comes home. (Exit Ninon)

During the above the Demon is seen at the window watching, and disappears.

AGA. Frankenstein! what a singular fatality is attached to you – with wealth and friends, doomed to be miserable! – This mystery! – I feel a heavy foreboding of mischance! a presentiment of evil pervades my mind. I may regret the day that I have again met Frankenstein – I may rue the hour that I left our humble hut.

(Exit Agatha to Room)

Afterwards, enter Frankenstein, reflecting – two pistols in his belt.

FRANK. One sudden and desolating change has taken place – the fangs of remorse tear my bosom and will not forgo their hold! – pursue the Demon! One might as well attempt to overtake the winds, or confine a mountain torrent. My poor Brother – I – I am thy murderer – the author of unalterable evils. [I live in momentary fear lest the monster I have created should still commit some signal crime which by its enormity will almost efface the recollection of the past.] There is scope for fear, so long as anything I love remains. (Goes to door.) Agatha! she reclines sleeping on yon sofa [ – yesternight’s fatigue.]

Music. – The Demon during the above soliloquy reappears on the balcony of the window – and while Frankenstein is looking in at the door, the Demon creeps in at the window, crouching beneath the table, unseen.

Sleep on, sweet innocence! I dare not leave you; I will stay and guard your slumber, or the remorseless Demon will snatch your breath away.

Music. – Frankenstein takes out a pistol and primes it – lays it on the table.

The wretch ev’n now may be haunting the room – let me search around.

[Searches – The Demon eludes him – Frankenstein goes to the curtain which covers the glass.

This Drapery which covers the glass may conceal the monster.

Frankenstein feels the drapery fearfully with the point of the sword – while Frankenstein is thus employed – Demon creeps along the floor into Agatha’s room – Frankenstein draws the curtain – Agatha’s door is reflected in the glass.]

Oh, Agatha! would that I had banished myself for ever from my native country, and wandered a friendless outcast over the earth, rather than I had again met you – perhaps to bring you in the grasp of my fiendish adversary – perhaps to – (A piercing scream.) – My blood curdles! that shriek! Ah! What do I behold!

In the large glass – Agatha appears on her knees with a veil over her head. – The Demon with his hand on her throat – she falls – the Demon disappears after tearing a locket from Agatha’s neck.

My last, last hope! (Rushes into room.)

The figure of Frankenstein appears in the glass, kneeling over the body of Agatha. The Demon crosses by the window in a boat with great swiftness – exulting.


SCENE IV:

An Ante-chamber in Belrive.

Enter Elizabeth, hastily, meeting Ninon. – Music ceases.

ELIZ. Whence is this fresh alarm?

NIN. I know not madam. Oh, wretched day for poor Ninon! Mr. Frankenstein is stark mad; he ran but out this instant, jumped into his boat, and rowed off rapidly.

Enter Fritz, alarmed.

FRITZ. Oh, oh, oh! – I’ve seen it – seen it again! The great monster, it got out of one of our windows and scudded off in a boat, and there’s Mr. Frankenstein got another boat, and is going after the great creature like lightning.

ELIZ. Where – where are our friends?

FRITZ. Mr. Clerval and Mr. Felix have followed Mr. Frankenstein.

SAFIE. (Without.) Help! ah, help!

Enter Safie hastily, throws herself into the arms of Elizabeth.

SAFIE. Ah Madam! Agatha, my sister – the gentle Agatha – I fear, is no more!

OMNES. Agatha!

ELIZ. Gracious Heaven! what horrible destiny hangs over us?

SAFIE. Stretched on the ground she lies! [a livid mark on her neck!) Ah! Elizabeth, the spark of life may yet not be extinct.

ELIZ. Hasten – hasten to the room. (Exeunt hastily)

Hurried Music.


SCENE V:

Wild Border of the Lake. At the extremity of the stage, a lofty over-hanging mountain of snow.

Music. – All the Gipsies discovered in various groups. A pistol shot is heard. The Gipsies start up alarmed. A second pistol is fired nearer. The Demon rushes on with the locket worn by Agatha, during the piece. The Gipsies scream out and fly in all directions. Hammerpan is on the point of escaping, when the Demon seizes him, and Hammerpan falls down on being dragged back. The Demon points off to intimate that Frankenstein is approaching, throws down the locket, commands the gipsy, Hammerpan, to show it to Frankenstein – the Demon threatens him, and rushing up the mountain, climbs, and disappears. Enter Frankenstein, with two loaded pistols and a musket unloaded. – At the same time Hammerpan rises and gets near first wing.

FRANK. In vain do I pursue the wretch, in vain have I fired on him. (Throws his gun from him.) He eludes the bullet. Say, fellow, have you seen aught pass here?

HAM. The giant creature, who aroused us in the forest, rushed upon me but this instant, and pointing to the path by which you came, intimated that I should give you this. (Presents locket to Frankenstein.)

FRANK. ‘Tis Agatha’s – the murdered Agatha! Malicious fiend! it will joy you to know that my lacerated heart bleeds afresh. Revenge shall henceforth be the devouring and only passion of my soul. I have but one resource – I devote myself either in my life or death to the destruction of the Demon. Agatha! William! you shall be avenged!

HAM. See yonder (Points.) the monster climbs the snow.

FRANK. Then this rencontre shall terminate his detested life or mine.

Music. – Frankenstein draws his pistol – rushes off at back of stage. – The gipsies return at various entrances. – At the same time, enter Felix and Clerval with pistols, and Safie, Elizabeth, and Ninon following. – The Demon appears at the base of the mountain, Frankenstein pursuing.

CLER. Behold our friend and his mysterious enemy.

FELIX. See – Frankenstein aims his musket at him – let us follow and assist him.(Is going up stage with Clerval.)

HAM. Hold master! if the gun is fired, it will bring down a mountain of snow [on their heads.] Many an avalanche has fallen there.

[FELIX. He fires – ]

Music. – Frankenstein discharges his musket. – The Demon and Frankenstein meet at the very extremity of the stage. – Frankenstein fires – the avalanche falls and annihilates the Demon and Frankenstein. – A heavy fall of snow succeeds. – Loud thunder heard, and all the characters form a picture as the curtain falls.

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Published @ RC

August 2001

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