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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


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

Enter Clerval from terrace entrance R.H.

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, soft, she approaches.

Enter Elizabeth from the house on L.H.

Cler. Elizabeth, my love, why that look of anxiety?

Eliza. Oh, Clerval! we have had strange occurrences since you quitted me yesterday, our house is full of guests, my brother has brought here the family of De Lacey of whom you have heard me so often speak--

Cler. The family of De Lacey, the relatives of Agatha.

Eliza. 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.

Eliza. A few hours may explain these mysterious transactions. See now (Looks towards House L.H.) 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 Elizabeth and Clerval R.H., and enter Frankenstein from house.

Frank. Oh! how 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! Yet he preserved the life of Agatha -- he had some feeling of affection -- 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 his destruction. (Takes out pistol.) I dare 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 L.H.

Aga. Frankenstein, I behold you unhappy -- flying to solitude -- and I cannot help sup- posing that you might regret the renewal of our intercourse. Dear Frankenstein, I still love you, and confess that in my airy dreams of futurity you have been my constant friend and companion.

Frank. Agatha, you shall be mine! I will then divulge to you the secret which disturbs -- nay, distracts me. (Music, the Harmonica. -- Distant bells.) Those cheerful chimes announce the wedding day of Elizabeth and Clerval. My care-worn looks will but damp their merriment.

[Music. -- Exeunt Frankenstein and Agatha, R.H.

Enter Felix and Safie from house, L.H.

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 sigh 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, R.H., and Elizabeth, with Clerval, re-enter, R.H. I E., the dancers having all ranged themselves on L.H.)

Ninon. 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, R.H., except Madame Ninon.

Ninon. There they go to be coupled, pretty dears! (Calls towards, R.H.) 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 her family here in consequence, as I am told, of their cottage being accidentally destroyed by fire last night. Oh! here the fellow comes, with his basket at his back, creeping like a snail.

Enter Fritz, from terrace entrance, R.H., 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 the basket.) Here's the trout, and the sugar-loaf and the melons, and the nutmegs.

Ninon. But dear Fritz, where's my new beehive 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.

Ninon. 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.

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

Fritz. Lord, here's a rummaging fuss for the cap. I'm 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.)

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

Fritz. Not an egg, I hope, Ninon!

Ninon. 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!

Ninon. You careless, good-for-nothing fellow! 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 saw such a piece of quackery as that cap in all my life!

(Draws the basket after him into the house, and comes forward on the L.H. during the duet.)

Ninon. 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 loss I will be merry, and dance till I can dance no longer.

Duet -- Ninon and Fritz

(Welsh air.)
Ninon.  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, L.H.) Away!

Ninon.  Your manners were not taught in France.

Fritz.  La, wife! you never learnt to dance,
        A horse at fifty -- (Aside) -- cannot prance--
        Ah, nay!

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

Fritz.  Yes, I guess you'll hobble neatly.

Ninon.  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!

Ninon.  Don't wife me, you saucy fellow!


Fritz.  I won't wife you, I'm only mellow.

Ninon.  I ne'er was tipsy.

Fritz.  You ne'er were tipsy, only mellow.
[Fritz dances her up to the house, L.H. Ninon turns, boxes his ear, and they exeunt into house, L.H. Music. -- The Monster appears from terrace entrance, watching about, and retreats R.H., as Fritz re-enters from house, L.H.

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

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

Fritz. Oh, dear! who's that? There now, that's the way just to make me nervous again. What do you want, Master William?

Will. (On L.H.) I can't get a soul to speak to me in the house -- some are busy -- some are gone 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's calf.

Will. Do play with me, Fritz.

(Music. -- Dances backwards towards the balustrade of terrace, when the Monster, during the foregoing speeches had been watching the child, then disappearing by falling flat on his face between the balustrades of the terrace, waits the opportunity as William is tripping backwards, and suddenly seizes the child, throws him across his shoulder (à la Rolla), and rushes off, R.H. terrace entrance, to hurried music. Fritz, turning round, sees them, utters a try of horror, and speaks through the music.)

Fritz. Help, help, murder! Wife! the devil! Oh, my nerves!

[Exit Fritz, frightened, into house, L.H.