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PERCY.

Ay, misery !-beggary !-what you will ! 1

-am a ruined man !

LESTER.

I pray you, by remembrance of young days,
To mock me not!

PERCY.

Lester! thou knowest the wandering life I've led;
How I have roamed through every land and clime,
Wasting my days of youth in frantic rounds
Of wanton, dear-bought pleasures.

(Crossing.)

LESTER.

What riddle's this?

PERCY (occasionally walking the stage).
Oh, shame on me! Oh, sin of all most vile !
That makes home desolate—that breaks the heart-
That snaps the sympathies of loving souls-
And makes man wail his immortality!

LESTER (advancing to Percy, and taking him by

the hand). Speak-speak!

PERCY.

Oh, deem me not what I have seemed to be!
Nor think my heart's as lightsome as my tongue;
Nor judge my soul by th' index of my face;
Nor place to smiles that which pertains to tears;
For I have fed on grief this many a day!

LESTER.

What horrid deed is that which thou hast done?

PERCY (advancing to Lester). Lester! that Grimes does hold a bond from me Of twice two thousand pounds! This very day

(Lester starts.) 'Tis due, and I have not the means to meet it.

LESTER.

And is that all which makes my friend so sad ?
You have outrun your rents ? Nay, is 't not so?

(Percy buries his face in his hands.)

PERCY (in a most impassioned tone). Worse—worse than that: for in an evil hour I launched myself upon those seas of sin, Whose depths are choking with the sunken wrecks Of millions on the millions of gay barks (violently) Which once swam gaily down their smiling waves !

(Mournfully.) The gambling table’s brought me to this pass !

(Impassioned.)

LESTER.

Hast mortgaged thy estates ?

PERCY.

Oh, that were light, indeed, to th' heavy weight
Which crushes them to earth! The bond does give
The fairest unto Grimes for half their worth !

LESTER.

Why hast concealed this sickening news from me?

PERCY.

Look on this world, and tell me what thou seest:
A gay and glittering crowd, which sweeps along
Like bubbles—dancing in the noonday sun !

Or golden clouds, that shade the blue of heaven,
But carry with them ne'er a drop of rain.
See how the miser's worshipped for his wealth;
The sharper for the splendour of his feasts :
Children, how eager for the coming death
Of beings who have been their source of life!
Friendship is crushed to death by love of gold;
And therefore, Lester, be no more amazed
I would not risk a friendship such as thine !

7

LESTER (in a most impassioned tone).
And is it come to this ? What poison courses
Through thy once pure blood ?
Thou wrongʻst the world by judging, as thou dost,
From that small segment in which thou hast dwelt.
Believe me, in that world, in every spot,
From th' Arctic Circle to the Torrid Zone,
Breathes many a soul which lives not to itself ;
That, like the sparkling crystal in the mine,
Sheds a pure light, unnoticed and alone.
Then shake from thee, like dust, these wretched thoughts;
And, as I freely offer ample means
To liquidate thy most unhappy debt,
Believe that hearts are ever to be found,
Whose friendship neither can be bought with gold,
Nor lost for lack of it.

(Takes out a note-book.)

PERCY (buries his face in his hands).
I cannot speak my thanks!

LESTER (looking over bills, and selecting).
Here are four bills : one for thy present use, -
'Tis drawn upon my bankers in Cornhill;
The other three are due to me next week,
And by a house in Guernsey will be paid :

These shall be drawn by Master Grimes :
I doubt not he will see they're good as gold.
Now to his house, where, from thy misery,
I'll reap a harvest of full-ripened joy !
Yonder's the house?

(Exeunt.)

SCENE II.-An old-fashioned apartment in Grimes's house ; a table in flat, with account-books, pens, and ink. Grimes seated, in an attitude of

thought. A lighted lamp on the table.

GRIMES (reading a note).
Sir William Stanton will be here
By eight o'th' clock.

( Throwing note on table.)
The man I've hunted over half the globe ;-
Ay, and will hunt, until his life be mine!
Oh, he shall drain the cup of bitterness
Even to the dregs ! No! nor pleading lips,
Nor eyes half-drowned with tears, nor the memory
Of her I once adored, shall save him from

my

wrath !

( Takes watch out.) Why, this is well. That Percy Manley, too, Who spends his gold with such a lavish hand, Must forfeit his mad bond. He's beggared, past a doubt; or I have sadly missed My aim. Hark!

(Knocking-goes to the door.) What! Percy Manley! and at this late hour !

PERCY (outside). Better so late, than later, to be ruined; My friend, good Master Grimes.

GRIMES.

Comes he on business?

PERCY.

His business is with me!

GRIMES.

We want no witnesses nor intruders here-
All
pay

for time and room.
He cannot enter. (As if to person outside) Sir, you will oblige
Me greatly, by retiring from the door. (Enter Percy.)
Now, gallant cavalier. (Grimes closes door as Percy

enters.)

PERCY (crossing to R.).
Your manners are ATLANTIC I presume !
At least your heart's as deep, though not so OPEN !

GRIMES (sits down in his chair).
You've known me ere this day! Pray take a seat !
Now, sir, your bond is due.

PERCY.

Pray, Master Grimes, what is your private charge
For a good standing in your public room?

GRIMES.

Five thousand pounds to you !

PERCY.

Dost let thy rooms ?

GRIMES.

Yes! but not to beggars.

PERCY.

My purse was once well filled, good Master Grimes :

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