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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


A wood in the neighbourhood of Geneva. On L.H., a Bush -- a Gipsy's fire flaming near 3 E. R.H., over which hangs a cauldron. A group of Gipsies 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,
Give the faggot a poke,
For unroofed rovers are we;
Whilst our rags flutt'ring fly,
We the brown skin espy,
Our vellum of pedigree.
Behold each tawny face
Of our hard-faring race,
Which the cold blast ne'er can feel;
See our glossy hair wave,
Hear us, loud, as we crave
But dumb only when we steal!
Tan. 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?

Tan. 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, I'll stand my ground like an anvil!

Tan. And get well beat for once for your pains. (Flute heard.) What sounds are those?

Ham. (Returning to the fire, 3 E. R.H.) Why, 'tis Felix, the son of old De Lacey. 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. But come, my merry wanderers, our meal is smoking. I'faith, I'm in a rare relishing humour for it, so, prithee, dame, ladle us out our porridge. Fegs, it scents rarely! (Sniffs.) Leeks, mutton, porridge, with a whole dead sheep in it.

(The gipsies crowd round the fire with their bowls.)

Tan. (Pointing off, L.H.) See there! that's he! that's the tall bully. He looks like the steeple of Ingoldstadt taking a walk. See yonder, comrades!

Ham. See what?

Tan. (Trembling.) As I'm a living rogue, 'tis he!

Ham. One of the Devil's grenadiers, mayhap! Pooh! Pooh! old Tanskin, we all know you are a living rogue, but you won't frighten us with your ten feet. Come, give me my drink, I say. (One of the gipsies gives him a wooden bowl.) Gentlemen gipsies, here's all your good -- ha! ha! ha!--

(Music. -- The Monster appears on an eminence of the bush, L.H. 2 E., or a projecting rock.)

Ham. Help! murder! wouns! 'tis the Devil himself! Away with the porridge!

[Music. -- Hammerpan and all the Gipsies shriek and run off, R.H. U.E. The Monster descends, pourtrays by action his sensitiveness of light and air, perceives the gipsies' 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. Tastes the food expressive of surprise and pleasure. Footsteps heard, and the Monster retreats behind the bush, L.H. Enter Agatha, followed by Felix, his flute slung at his back, L.H.

Aga. Yes, my dear Felix, our father is anxious for your return. He bade me seek you, and conducted by the mellifluous sounds of your flute, the task was not one of great difficulty. Oh, Felix! how delightful is the reflection that both you and my father possess the skill of banishing for a few moments the horrors of our present misery. In the midst of 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 -- poverty's chilling grasp nearly annihilates us. Our poor blind father, now the inmate of our cottage -- he who has been blessed with prosperity to be thus reduced -- the noble-minded old De Lacey. Wretched man that I am, to have been the cause of ruin to both father and sister.

Aga. Nay, 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! (Crosses to L.H.) 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 e'er think of the unfortunate Agatha. (Weeps.) Let me dry these unworthy tears and exert a woman's firmest fortitude. My soul is henceforth devoted exclusively to the service of my poor dark father. Felix, you shall behold me no longer unhappy.

Duett -- Felix and Agatha

Of all the knots which Nature ties,
The secret, sacred sympathies,
That, as with viewless chains of gold,
The heart a happy prisoner hold,
None is more chaste -- more bright -- more pure,
Stronger, stern trials to endure;
None is more pure of earthly leaven,
More Like the love of highest heaven,
Than that which binds in bonds how blest
A daughter to a father's breast.
[Exeunt Agatha and Felix, R.H.

(Music. -- The Monster cautiously ventures out -- his mantle having been caught by the bush, he disrobes himself leaving the mantle attached to the rock, on L. 2 E.; he watches Felix and Agatha with wonder and rapture, appears irresolute whether he dares to follow them; he hears the flute of Felix, R.H. 2 E., 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, 2 E. R.H.)