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Full Online Book HomePlaysThe Spanish Student - ACT II - SCENE I
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The Spanish Student - ACT II - SCENE I Post by :Troy_McDonald Category :Plays Author :Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Date :June 2011 Read :1084

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The Spanish Student - ACT II - SCENE I

ACT II: SCENE I

SCENE: PRECIOSA'S chamber. Morning. PRECIOSA and ANGELICA.

PRECIOSA. Why will you go so soon? Stay yet awhile.
The poor too often turn away unheard
From hearts that shut against them with a sound
That will be heard in heaven. Pray, tell me more
Of your adversities. Keep nothing from me.
What is your landlord's name?

ANGELICA. The Count of Lara.

PRECIOSA. The Count of Lara? O, beware that man!
Mistrust his pity,--hold no parley with him!
And rather die an outcast in the streets
Than touch his gold.

ANGELICA. You know him, then!

PRECIOSA. As much
As any woman may, and yet be pure.
As you would keep your name without a blemish,
Beware of him!

ANGELICA. Alas! what can I do?
I cannot choose my friends. Each word of kindness,
Come whence it may, is welcome to the poor.

PRECIOSA. Make me your friend. A girl so young and fair
Should have no friends but those of her own sex.
What is your name?

ANGELICA. Angelica.

PRECIOSA. That name
Was given you, that you might be an angel
To her who bore you! When your infant smile
Made her home Paradise, you were her angel.
O, be an angel still! She needs that smile.
So long as you are innocent, fear nothing.
No one can harm you! I am a poor girl,
Whom chance has taken from the public streets.
I have no other shield than mine own virtue.
That is the charm which has protected me!
Amid a thousand perils, I have worn it
Here on my heart! It is my guardian angel.

ANGELICA. (rising). I thank you for this counsel, dearest lady.

PRECIOSA. Thank me by following it.

ANGELICA. Indeed I will.

PRECIOSA. Pray, do not go. I have much more to say.

ANGELICA. My mother is alone. I dare not leave her.

PRECIOSA. Some other time, then, when we meet again.
You must not go away with words alone.

(Gives her a purse.)

Take this. Would it were more.

ANGELICA. I thank you, lady.

PRECIOSA. No thanks. To-morrow come to me again.
I dance to-night,--perhaps for the last time.
But what I gain, I promise shall be yours,
If that can save you from the Count of Lara.

ANGELICA. O, my dear lady! how shall I be grateful
For so much kindness?

PRECIOSA. I deserve no thanks,
Thank Heaven, not me.

ANGELICA. Both Heaven and you.

PRECIOSA. Farewell.
Remember that you come again tomorrow.

ANGELICA. I will. And may the Blessed Virgin guard you,
And all good angels. (Exit.

PRECIOSA. May they guard thee too,
And all the poor; for they have need of angels.
Now bring me, dear Dolores, my basquina,
My richest maja dress,--my dancing dress,
And my most precious jewels! Make me look
Fairer than night e'er saw me! I've a prize
To win this day, worthy of Preciosa!

(Enter BELTRAN CRUZADO.)

CRUZADO. Ave Maria!

PRECIOSA. O God! my evil genius!
What seekest thou here to-day?

CRUZADO. Thyself,--my child.

PRECIOSA. What is thy will with me?

CRUZADO. Gold! gold!

PRECIOSA. I gave thee yesterday; I have no more.

CRUZADO. The gold of the Busne,--give me his gold!

PRECIOSA. I gave the last in charity to-day.

CRUZADO. That is a foolish lie.

PRECIOSA. It is the truth.

CRUZADO. Curses upon thee! Thou art not my child!
Hast thou given gold away, and not to me?
Not to thy father? To whom, then?

PRECIOSA. To one
Who needs it more.

CRUZADO. No one can need it more.

PRECIOSA. Thou art not poor.

CRUZADO. What, I, who lurk about
In dismal suburbs and unwholesome lanes
I, who am housed worse than the galley slave;
I, who am fed worse than the kennelled hound;
I, who am clothed in rags,--Beltran Cruzado,--
Not poor!

PRECIOSA. Thou hast a stout heart and strong hands.
Thou canst supply thy wants; what wouldst thou more?

CRUZADO. The gold of the Busne! give me his gold!

PRECIOSA. Beltran Cruzado! hear me once for all.
I speak the truth. So long as I had gold,
I gave it to thee freely, at all times,
Never denied thee; never had a wish
But to fulfil thine own. Now go in peace!
Be merciful, be patient, and erelong
Thou shalt have more.

CRUZADO. And if I have it not,
Thou shalt no longer dwell here in rich chambers,
Wear silken dresses, feed on dainty food,
And live in idleness; but go with me,
Dance the Romalis in the public streets,
And wander wild again o'er field and fell;
For here we stay not long.

PRECIOSA. What! march again?

CRUZADO. Ay, with all speed. I hate the crowded town!
I cannot breathe shut up within its gates
Air,--I want air, and sunshine, and blue sky,
The feeling of the breeze upon my face,
The feeling of the turf beneath my feet,
And no walls but the far-off mountain-tops.
Then I am free and strong,--once more myself,
Beltran Cruzado, Count of the Cales!

PRECIOSA. God speed thee on thy march!--I cannot go.

CRUZADO. Remember who I am, and who thou art
Be silent and obey! Yet one thing more.
Bartolome Roman--

PRECIOSA. (with emotion). O, I beseech thee
If my obedience and blameless life,
If my humility and meek submission
In all things hitherto, can move in thee
One feeling of compassion; if thou art
Indeed my father, and canst trace in me
One look of her who bore me, or one tone
That doth remind thee of her, let it plead
In my behalf, who am a feeble girl,
Too feeble to resist, and do not force me
To wed that man! I am afraid of him!
I do not love him! On my knees I beg thee
To use no violence, nor do in haste
What cannot be undone!

CRUZADO. O child, child, child!
Thou hast betrayed thy secret, as a bird
Betrays her nest, by striving to conceal it.
I will not leave thee here in the great city
To be a grandee's mistress. Make thee ready
To go with us; and until then remember
A watchful eye is on thee. (Exit.

PRECIOSA. Woe is me!
I have a strange misgiving in my heart!
But that one deed of charity I'll do,
Befall what may; they cannot take that from me.

Content of ACT II: SCENE I (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play/drama: The Spanish Student)

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