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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


A Wild Forest. -- 1st Grooves.

Enter Felix, L.H., 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!

Song -- Felix

Thy youthful charms, bright maid, inspire,
  And grace my fav'rite theme,
Whose person kindles soft desire,
  Whose mind secures esteem.
Oh, hear me then my flame avow,
  And fill my breast with joy --
A flame which taught by time to grow,
  No time can e'er destroy.
My tender suit with smiles approve,
  And share the sweets of mutual love.
When autumn yields her ripen'd corn,
  Or winter, darkening, lowers,
With tenderest care I'll soothe thy morn,
  And cheer thy evening hours.
Again, when smiling spring returns,
  We'll breathe the vernal air;
And still when summer sultry burns,
  To woodland walks repair--
There seek retirement's sheltered grove,
  And share the sweets of mutual love.
(Felix retires up stage, R.H.)

Enter Frankenstein, L.H.

Frank. In vain do I seek a respite from these dreadful thoughts -- where'er 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 on R.H.)

Frank. Good stranger, can you direct me to the habitation of old De Lacey?

Felix. Better than most persons, I trust.

Frank. How! Felix De Lacey!

Felix. The same! the same! Frankenstein! your hand, 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. Egad! I'm overjoyed to see you!

Frank. And Agatha?

Felix. Has still a warm corner of her heart for you. Come, we have only to cross the wood.

Hammerpan. (Without, R.H.) Any good Christians in the neighbourhood?

Felix. What have we here!

Enter Hammerpan, 2 E. R.H., with a long pole, tinker's utensils, fire kettle, etc.

Ham. Real Christians! human beings! Oh, good gentlemen, have you seen it?

Felix. It! -- what? (Crosses to him.)

Ham. Ah! that's it! As I live, an hour ago, I saw it 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; we've done business together before now.

Felix. I know you not!

Ham. I mended your kettle t'other day. You did me a good turn -- one good turn deserves another -- I'll put you on your guard -- the very devil is abroad.

Frank. (Aside.) How!

Felix. (Laughs.) Ha! ha! ha! You romancing tinker!

Ham. You may laugh, but the other gentleman don't laugh. You may perceive he believes it. (To Frankenstein.) I saw it -- I saw it with this one eye.

Felix. One eye!

Ham. Yes, I've lost the other -- a little boy threw a pebble at it, and I've been stone blind ever since, gentlemen. He was ten feet 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.) What did this strange object! (To Hammerpan.)

Ham. It didn't 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 of our broth, and burnt its fingers in our fire.

Frank. And what became of this creature?

Ham. I wasn't 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, we'll 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, we'll on to the cottage.

Frank. So, so! (Apart.) I will follow ye!

[Exeunt Hammerpan and Felix, R.H.

Frank. 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 in murder and wretchedness! a whole country may execrate me as its pest! Every thought that bears towards my baneful project causes my lips to quiver and heart to palpitate. I must now to the cottage of Felix. Agatha, fairest Agatha, instead of smiles, your lover will meet you with dark and hopeless despondency.

[Exit Frankenstein, R.H.