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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


Exterior of the Cottage of Old De Lacey. On R.H. U.E. 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 R.H. side of the cottage door, and a stool also on the L.H. side of the cottage, whereon De Lacey is discovered seated, leaning on his cane, a common harp at his side. -- Music.

De L. Another day is added to the life of banished De Lacey. (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! 'tis the flute of Felix! -- my children come. They must not suppose me cheerless -- my harp is here -- 'tis a fair deceit on them -- my harp 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. -- De Lacey returns to his seat L.H. of cottage, and plays the harp. The Monster enters, L.H. 2 E., attracted by the harp, suddenly perceives De Lacey, and approaches towards him -- expresses surprise by action that De Lacey does not avoid him -- discovers his loss of sight, which the Monster appears to understand by placing his hand over his own eyes, and feeling his way. At the conclusion of the music on the harp -- occasioned, as it were, by the Monster having placed his hand on the instrument -- a short pause, and during which the Monster, having lost the sound, appears to be looking for it, when the harp music is again resumed. In the midst of the music (without ceasing) a voice is heard.)

Felix. (Within, R.H.) This way, Agatha.

(The Monster, 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 harp music by De Lacey, when

Enter Felix and Agatha, R.H.

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 her father.) We have returned, dear father. Have you wanted us?

(Agatha leads her father forward.)

De L. (C.) No, no, Agatha! You anticipate all my wants, and perform every little office of affection with gentleness.

Aga. (R.) Is it not my duty, and am I not rewarded by your kind smiles?

De L. Amiable girl, let thy poor father kiss thee. (They embrace.) Felix, my son, where are you? (Felix comes forward, L.H., 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!

De L. 'Tis on my hand.

(Pressing her hand to his lips, which he had held in his while speaking to Felix.)

Felix. (Assuming gaiety.) Now must I to labour again. Our fuel is nearly exhausted. My time has been so lately occupied I have omitted my task in the forest.

(Music. -- Felix takes up a hatchet and chops a log of wood at U.E. R.H.)

Safie. (At a distance, U.E. L.H.) 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, U.E. L.H.) Felix!

(No music.)

Felix. That magic sound! Alas! no -- there is no such happiness in store for me!

Safie. (Without, at 1E. L.H., louder.) Felix! Felix!

(Music. -- Felix drops the hatchet, rushes forward. -- At the same instant Safie enters, L.H., and falls into the arms of Felix.)

Felix. 'Tis she! -- Safie! Beloved of my soul! -- Ah! revive!

De L. (On R.H.) Safie, the traitor's daughter? Impossible!

Aga. (On L.H.) 'Tis, indeed, our sweet Safie!

Felix. (2nd on R.H.) We never will part more! Father! father! would that you could behold her! It is my dear, lost Safie.

(Music. -- Safie revives, crosses to old De Lacey, kneels, and kisses his hand, during which the Monster appears at the little hovel, watching them, and then retires within again.)

De L. Bless you, my child! where is your father -- where the treacherous friend who devoted us to ignominy?

(Safie rises.)

Safie. I have fled from him; he would have sacrificed his daughter, loathing the idea that I should be united to one of Christian faith. I -- I have sought the love and protection of my Felix!

Felix. Faithful girl! Your constancy shall be crowned by my eternal love and gratitude.

Aga. (L.H.) But, Safie, you are fatigued. Come, dear girl, and on my lowly couch seek repose.

(Music. Safie affectionately kisses and presses De Lacey's hand, embraces Felix, crosses back to Agatha, and is led into the cottage by Agatha and Felix.)

Felix. (Who returns with a gun from cottage-door.) Father, I am wild with joy! -- no longer the sad, pining Felix. The sun of prosperity again gleams on us -- Safie has returned! I am rich! -- happy! But hold! I must procure refreshment for our guest. Our larder is not too much encumbered with provision. I'll to the village -- I'll cross the forest -- I'll hunt, shoot -- and all in ecstasy! Farewell, father! I'll soon be back. Farewell!

[Exit Felix, R.H.

(Music. -- De Lacey turns up the stage, and again seats himself on his cottage stool, L.H. side of door. -- Re-enter Monster, examines log of wood, takes up hatchet, intimating he understands the use of it, and rushes off with the hatchet, L.H. -- Music ceases.

De L. (Calls.) Agatha!

Enter Agatha from cottage.

Aga. Did you call, father?

De L. Sleeps your sweet guest?

Aga. Fatigue will soon lull her to repose. I should not have left her had not I thought I heard you call me.

(Exit Agatha into cottage again. -- De Lacey rises and takes up the basket of flowers from stool on the R.H. side of the cottage door.)

De L. (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 anticipations of joy!

(Music. -- De Lacey replaces the basket of flowers, and returns to his seat, leaning pensively on his cane. -- The Monster, L.H., enters with a pile of green faggots with foliage on his shoulders. -- Crosses to U.E. R.H., and throws them loosely on the stage -- Smiles with gratulation at that which he has accomplished. -- Approaches De Lacey, falls flat at his feet, then kneels to him, and is about to press his hand. -- De Lacey feels around him with his cane and hand, without the knowledge of anyone being near him, and seated all the time -- then calls.)

De L. Agatha! Agatha!

(Music. -- The Monster instantly retreats into hovel, and Agatha enters from cottage 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!

De L. How?

Aga. Here is fuel to last us for a long time. How could we have been so bountifully supplied? Come, father, to the cottage -- come!

(Music. -- Agatha leads De Lacey 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!

Song -- Agatha

(Flute accompaniment, L.H., behind the scenes.)
In vain I view the landscapes round,
  Or climb the highest hill;
In vain, in vain, I listen to the sound
  Of ev'ry murmuring rill.
For vain is all I hear or see,
  When Victor dear is far from me. (Thrice.)
But hark, hark, hark,
  My love, my love is near,
His well-known dulcet notes I hear. ( Thrice.)
  Oh, yes, my love is near,
I hear him in the grove;
  Soon will he be here,
And breathe soft vows of love.
  Oh, fly not yet, ye blissful hours,
Oh, fly not yet away;
  While love its soft enchanting pours,
Prolong, prolong your stay! (Thrice.)
  Oh, yes, my love is near,
I hear him in the grove,
  Soon will he be here,
And breathe soft vows of love!
[Exit Agatha into cottage. -- (The cottage door in centre of flat.)