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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


Part of the Villa Residence of Elizabeth, at Belrive. Garden Terrace from 2 E. R.H. -- Entrance into the House, 2 E. L.H. -- William discovered sleeping on a garden bench near R.H. -- During symphony enter Elizabeth from house, 2 E. L.H.

Song -- Elizabeth

The summer sun shining on tree and on tower,
And gilding the landscape with radiance divine,
May give to the heart o'er which pleasure has power,
But eve's pensive beauties are dearer to mine.

Through trees gently sighing, the cool breeze of even
Seems sympathy's voice to the ear of despair;
And the dew-drops (like tears shed by angels of heaven),
Revive the frail hopes in the bosom of care.
(During this scene the stage becomes progressively dark.)

Mad. Ninon.. (Within, L.H. 2E.) William! little William!

Eliza. Where can our little favourite have secreted himself?

Enter Madame Ninon, from the house, L.H. 2E.

Ninon. Heaven bless Mont Blanc and all the neighbouring hills! Why, where is the boy? How angry shall I be with him for staying out so late.

Eliza. Why, Ninon, assuage your friendly wrath -- yonder is William.

Ninon. (Goes to the child.) Fast asleep, I declare, the pretty boy -- how like his poor mother, who is gone. La, la, I daresay my Fritz was just such another, only his hair was red. Pretty William -- he was the pin basket. Bless the thirteen cantons, I nursed him. William -- (kisses him) -- a pair of gloves, sir! (William waking.) Fie, you little urchin, sleeping so early this beautiful evening.

(William rises. All come forward.)

Will. Indeed, dear Ninon, I know not how I fell asleep; but I rose with the sun, and thinking I would lie down with it, I closed my eyes, and--

Ninon. Slumbered like a young dormouse?

Eliza. But, William, you have not neglected your books?

Will. Oh, no; for then I should not be such a scholar as my elder brother, Victor Frankenstein.

(Runs to the end of terrace, R.H. 2 E.

Eliza. Alas, poor Frankenstein! he studies indeed too deeply; but love -- blighted love, drove him to solitude and abstruse research.

Ninon. Ah, madame, may love make you happy! Mr. Clerval was here this morning, and looked as handsome--

Eliza. Peace, Ninon! And yet, why should I check your cheerfulness? Ninon, I have given orders to my milliner to make you a handsome new cap. When your husband, Fritz, comes from Geneva, he may call and bring it.

Ninon. Thank you, dear madam; but see--

Re-enter William from terrace, R.H. 2 E., and runs, crossing behind to L.H.

Will. Oh, sister -- oh, Madame Ninon! two travellers are coming up the hill -- such a beautiful lady -- but her guide, I think, has fallen from his horse. See -- here's the lady, helping the poor man.


Enter Safie, supporting the Guide, from terrace, 2 E. R.H.

Eliza. Madame, allow me to offer you assistance.

Safie. Thanks -- thanks, fair lady; it is not for myself I require rest or help, for I am young. But this aged man, my faithful follower, is completely worn with fatigue.

Eliza. Ninon, see him conveyed into the house. Give him your support, and assist to welcome our guests.

Ninon. (Crossing to Guide.) Lean on me, old sir -- aye, as heavy as you like; bless you, my arm is strong. Come, gently -- gently -- there -- there--

(Ninon leads the guide into house, L.H. 2 E.. William following them. By this time the wing lights are turned off.)

Safie. I can only weep my thanks, of late I have been unused to kindness.

Eliza. Your garb and manner denote you a stranger here -- yet you are acquainted with our language, and you appear to have travelled a great distance.

Safie. From Leghorn, a wearisome journey. How far am I distant from the Valley of the Lake?

Eliza. But a few leagues.

Safie. Then to-night I probably could reach it?


Eliza. I would not advise the attempt till the morning -- the sun is down now; you are distant from any inn; your horses are fatigued; permit me to offer in my house refreshment and repose.

Safie. No, no; no repose until my purpose is accomplished. Yet my poor follower needs rest; generous stranger, I gratefully accept your hospitality.

Eliza. And be assured such comfort as Eliza Frankenstein can offer shall be freely yours.

Safie. You -- you mention the name of Frankenstein!

Eliza. I bear that appellation.

Safie. How fortunate! happy chance that brought me to your hospitable door. Know you the family of De Lacey?

Eliza. I knew it well, but years have elapsed since I have heard of them.

Safie. I seek their retreat. Exiled from France, they now exist in the Valley of the Lake.

Eliza. So near, and I not acquainted with their residence! Does the gentle Agatha de Lacey yet live?

Safie. To-morrow's noon I trust I shall discover her.

Eliza. What rapturous news for my dear brother, Frankenstein. Let us in and converse further on this subject, which is of deep interest to me. Night approaches.

Safie. On such a night was I torn from Agatha's brother. Felix, Felix! sad was the moment when you last enfolded poor Safie in your affectionate embrace.

Song -- Safie

Each mountain was tinged with the sun's latest beam,
Sinking red in the fathomless deep;
The pale watch lights of heaven shed their rays o'er the stream;
And nature seem'd lulled into sleep.
All was silent and hush'd over lake, lawn, and fell,
Save the whisper that breathed in the lover's farewell;
When at Fate's stern command two fond hearts doom'd to sever,
And poor Felix and Safie were parted for ever.
[Exeunt into house, L.H. 2E.